30 September 2007

IOU (Dad)

Of all the people who have populated my life, my dad is probably the one who has logged in the most prayers on my behalf. Even today, in the middle of my all-grown-up-ness, he prays for me. For my kids. For illnesses and meetings and soccer games and preschool lessons.

I have no empirical proof, but I'm quietly convinced that my survival thus far is due in no small part to the prayers of my father. Especially during my teen years.



See, there was this boy. Let's call him James, not so much to protect his identity as to keep me from having to type his actual name repeatedly. So his fake name is James and I was twelve and there was this boy.

I met him because Christy thought he was cute. Our eighth grade symphonic band was performing in the gym of another school, and he was a freshman usher in a pink shirt, standing just inside the back door.

It's a long-established corollary that junior high girls travel in packs, and we weren't about to uproot the tradition. So. All twelve of us accompanied Christy out the back door (past cute boy) to gather on the lawn in a cluster of whispers and giggles. I'm certain we were sufficiently annoying.

But an interesting thing happened as we single-filed-it past Mr. Pink Shirt. I glanced up just as I walked by, to find him watching me. He smiled.

And so it began.

We dated off and on (and off and on and off and then on again) until I was seventeen and nearing the end of my senior year.

I'm struggling for words here.

What can I tell you about James? He was fiercely in love with me. He was wonderful. But he was also chased by metaphorical demons, plagued with fears so ravenous. And when he was terrified, which he often was, he turned dangerous.

Sometimes I wondered how it was possible to be so hollowed out, not a trace of me left, but still writhe in the onslaught of fresh pain. My soul was raw; scraped through, beaten numb, stretched so thin I should have disappeared altogether.

Yet I survived.

And I have to credit that to someone else, to Someone Else. To the people who petitioned on my behalf, and to the God who answered.

Foremost among the petitioners, I believe, was my father. I was in no position to think, let alone be logical. I was in no shape to stand up for myself, to want to live. So he did it for me.

I fully believe that when the choice was die or not die, I pulled the not die card every time because he did it for me.

James would tell you that I left him. He's mistaken. I didn't have it in me to leave. God life-flighted me out of my personal Death Valley until I could breathe again and hope enough and regain the sanity to choose to live.

It was my very own modern day miracle, born out of a prayer campaign spearheaded by my father.

Thanks, Dad. I certainly do owe you.

29 September 2007

but also

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

Matthew 11:28-30

pensive

I've been feeling out of sorts lately. In a hazy, undefinable funk.

--I'm carsick all day, whether or not a car is involved. (No, I'm not pregnant.) (Yes, I'm sure.)

--Sometimes I'll stare myself down in a mirror and wind up surprised at how little I recognize me. It's not that I've changed--I look much like me ten years prior--it's more that I have a picture, an expectation of my appearance in my mind. And this isn't it.

--I'll reach the end of a day so exhausted my bones sag, yet feeling like I've accomplished scarcely anything.

--I plucked my first white hair this past week. Precursors have been popping up in my eyebrows, so this was to be expected. Yet I can't seem to muster the appropriate horror; just a vague that's cool sort of thought. I suppose the novelty will wear off after a half dozen or so.

--Somewhere between occasionally and often, I wake up with fresh shock at the clutter that has crept back into my house. And I'll go on a cleaning rampage and throw out tons of junk and also some non-junk that I'll have to re-buy the next week. Well, lately I've registered this sort of shock at the (non-tangible) clutter that has crept into my life. I need to simplify, to pare down to the essentials. And I feel too tired to begin.

--Fall is my favorite, but I'm allergic to it. I'm also allergic to summer and spring. I seem to be running out of seasons.

--I hope to be back soon. Thanks for checking in on me. :)

27 September 2007

iridescent wishes



“When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start coming out.”
--Elizabeth Bowen

25 September 2007

Last night in the life of nic

...featured another rousing game of backyard family kickball. We divvied up teams, which prompted the first round of pouting (done by son #2), who wanted me instead of his dad. {I'm not sure when they'll figure out that Dad is better at kickball, but for now it's nice ego-fodder.}

There were people who wanted to kick but not run, people who ran even though they hadn't kicked, and people who kept changing their minds on which fence post was second base.

And then there was Elle. She played for both sides, rolled the ball back to the pitcher instead of kicking it, abandoned the field to frequent the slide, and often couldn't be coaxed off first base (the tire swing).

I haven't the faintest clue who won.

I imagine someday the kids will grow into the game, and we'll produce something a little more along the lines of actual kickball. And I also imagine I'll miss these days like crazy.

23 September 2007

for the love of the game snack

The running after the ball part isn't all bad



but according to my five year old,

the best parts of the game



are the Sponge-Bob cheesy crackers



and the drink with the yellow straw.

21 September 2007

field trip

While Em formed careful letters, we talked about grocery lists, and how they help you remember what you'd like to buy.

In the background, Elle shouted out suggestions. ("Chwotate! Tooties! A bouncy ball!")(En Englais: "Chocolate! Cookies! A bouncy ball!")




Em read his list to me eight times on the way to the store.


He checked off each item as we placed it in the cart.




And voila! A happy half hour of grocery shopping and education all wrapped up together.




Perhaps the next field trip will be to a spa...

19 September 2007

And also

Is it completely irrational for me to want this book and this when I do not know how to knit?

Because I'm just wondering.

yesterday I was convinced my pinky was broken

I slammed it in a closet door.



A fun time was not had by all.

18 September 2007

updates and happenings

1. Sunday I had the best cheese of my life. Fresca something. Hold on, let me google it. Ah, here we are. Queso fresco, which I think just means fresh cheese. It was wet and crumbly, which sounds el disgusto, but these are apparently good things in a cheese.

2. Also on Sunday, I cut Elle's hair. Every time I turn around, these kids need a haircut. Anyhoo, I lopped off about 4-5 inches, and I'd have to say the hubby is taking it quite well this time. His two main comments were fairly neutral: "Wow, you cut a lot off." And "Hmmmn, she looks...different."



3. Awhile back, I overheard a second-hand account of a conversation that troubled me. Conversers: two single people, late twenties, early thirties. The guy says to the girl, "The thing that freaks me out about marriage is that ten years down the line, she could go crazy. Just completely lose it. And we'd have kids together and everything."

And I'm hearing this, thinking, Thank goodness that fellow isn't married.

Actually, no. My first thought was: Because it is all about you. (It helps if you read that with the most condescending tone musterable.)

Followed by my second thought: If you think you're going to find a female who won't be affected by depression/anxiety at some point in her life, you're the delusional one.

But my third thought was the one with the words fellow and thank goodness.

I suppose I was bound to take this personally as I've had my fair share of the crazies. But still, he could have said this instead:

"So sometimes I think about marriage and how you never can guarantee what will happen. She could have a crisis, a total breakdown. But that's why I want to marry her; so she'll never have to face something like that alone."

4. I really like pico de gallo. And chocolate tea, although probably not at the same time.

5. The first trees are succumbing to fall's beguiling blush:



6. Every morning Em asks if we can take a break from preschool. And every morning I say, "Um sorry, but no." Five is a little young for senioritis, but this kid's got it bad.

7. Hubby took the younger two for donuts this morning, which yielded a small space of quiet for me. Then he returned with this:



which is how I knew it was going to be a very good day indeed.

16 September 2007

this post courtesy of my uncle Loren

{My maternal grandparents}



They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of
hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is
their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just
like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they
wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of
what they were capable? But if you listen real close, you can hear
them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it?
--Carpe--hear it?--Carpe--carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make
your lives extraordinary.

15 September 2007

saturdays should be relatively cogitation-free

If you woke up this morning wondering who my favorite actors are, this post is just for you. Multiple Disclaimers: Don't take this too seriously; these are off-the-top-of-my-head kind of lists...and keep in mind that in most cases I know blessed little about the actual person, so we're just talking superficially here. I like them on screen.


Female:
1. Emma Thompson

2. Joan Cusack

3. Maggie Gyllenhaal

4. Meg Ryan

5. Scarlette Johannson

Male:
1. Anthony Hopkins

2. Denzel Washington

3. Johnny Depp

4. Jude Law

5. Robert Sean Leonard/Steve Zahn (It was a tie, okay?)


Alrighty now, give me an off-the-top-of-your-head top five. No deliberating. Let's see 'em, folks.

13 September 2007

therapy

Well, it looks like you all are dead-set on helping me overcome my aversion to tag. Emily has blessed me with this middle-name meme, where each letter reveals something potentially fascinating about yours truly (emphasis on the potentially).

I'm all about self-improvement today, and besides, who can say no to Em? So here we go.

My middle name is Keli'i which is Hawaiian for royalty or chief or some such thing. If I'm wrong, don't enlighten me; I like to think it means your-royal-chiefness. {Incidentally, I've always thought it sounded masculine (probably because of its proximity to Keali'i), but my parents named me after a girl at the Nanaikapono Church in Nanakuli. So at least two of us are female chiefs. Chieftesses? Whatever.}

Alrighty. Now here we really go.

Kinda sorta ambivalent. Don't get me wrong: when I have an opinion, it's firm. But when I don't, I can wishy-wash-it with them best of 'em. My answer to just about any question: "It depends."

Plus, I'm ambivalent in the sense that I teem with inconsistencies and contradictions. Sensitive yet critical. Intuitive yet pragmatic. Okay next.

I was leaning toward engaging or enigmatic or endearing or earnest, but that would be dishonest, and I don't have a d in my name. Unfortunately.

So I'll have to go with preoccupied with the existential. I'm forever redefining what I believe about life, truth, God, purpose. Establishing why I hold fast to the notion of absolute truth, evaluating my belief that we can know it (or a shadow of it), examining whether my approximations of reality may even come close. TMI and you don't care, eh? Moving right along...

I seek out people who make me laugh. Honestly, I value wit far more than I ought: never mind if you're completely empty of moral character; be clever and you're instantly on my list of favorite people.

Insecure yet sensationally cocky. Another contradiction that means me.

Introspective. (And over-analytical and self-deprecating and mildly neurotic.)(I need a longer name.)


And now I shall tag Brillig, because she's fun and also a genius.

"`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe..."

12 September 2007

oh dear

So last night I figured out that blogger counts my own profile clicks toward the total views of my profile. Heheheh. And since I was at 897 (yes, I know all the rest of y'all are in the thousands, I don't wanna hear about it), I clicked and back-clicked several times so I could reach 900.

Then the guilt settled in.

See, I have this moral policy against voting for myself. And this felt a lot like voting for myself. In all of my varied candidacies (ie for posts so hallowed as Key Club Recording Secretary), I could never muster up the gumption--the arrogance?--to check that little box next to my name. Which I own as being oddly out of character, but there we are.

Perhaps my hesitance originated from the first and only time I DID pick me: fourth grade, the illustrious race for Student Council 2nd VP (one of only two slots we lowly fourth graders could run for). I lost. Moment of silence, please. So maybe that's it; maybe I equate self-votes with God smiting me with a loss. Hmmmn.

All was good, though, as the kid who beat me (Steven Nichols) became my first boyfriend (sixth grade, 1988). As first boyfriends go, he was pretty sweet. And just think, if I had beaten him way back when, I'm sure I wouldn't have found him remotely attractive. (Alas, it wasn't meant to be, because who wants to wind up as Nicole Nichols? Um, no thank you.)

But I digress.

The point of this whole rambling bit of fun was onefold: confession. I self-voted, I confessed, I am now able to enjoy the rest of my day. That is, if you forgive me. Which I hope you do.

Happy cleanse-your-soul Wednesday.

11 September 2007

september

It's an apples-and-caramel-dip kind of morning.

The air is laced with a soft chill and woodsmoke, heady and sweet like hickory. A sharp breathful is almost strong enough to taste. Here and there along the ryegrass, tapered fingers of sunlight poke through white sky, brightening beaded rain into a field of jewels.

The wind rustles with secrets, awakening me from summer's languid dream, my pulse stirred and quickened with the magic that heralds autumn.

07 September 2007

Answer Key

(I've also stuck the answers in the original post so y'all don't have to scroll back and forth. For those of you with photographic memories--cough, cough, Lovelyn--feel free to disregard my thoughtfulness.)

1. Sharkbait! Hoohaha! (Finding Nemo)

2. Drama, drama, drama. (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days)

3. Hahaha. Hello, boys...I'm baack! (Independence Day)

4. No touchy. (The Emperor's New Groove)

5. I gotta see about a girl. (Good Will Hunting)

6. He went from totally geek to totally chic. (Can't Buy Me Love)

7. Nobody puts Baby in a corner. (Dirty Dancing)

8. Last year, more people were killed by automobile accidents, heart attacks, lung cancer, and natural causes combined than by any one tomato. (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes)

9. Calm down. The veil is not attacking you. (Runaway Bride)

10. Praise the Lord, the South has risen again. (Sweet Home Alabama)

11. There's a ninety-five pound Chinese man with a hundred sixty million dollars behind this door. (Ocean's Eleven)

12. Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die. (The Princess Bride)

13. Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. (When Harry Met Sally)



(cue drumroll) And the winner is



Congrats. As soon as I figure out what, exactly, you have won, I shall send it on over.

whose idea was this, anyway?

So in spite of the fact that I have just two pupils, my preschool-at-home generates a colossal amount of fighting.

My students argue over how many times we sing the morning song (now it's a non-negotiable 2x, as dictated by moi), who gets to sit on the red pillow (all floor pillows have been henceforth exorcised), and whether the daily conditions are cloudy or windy when constructing our weather graph. And this is just the first five minutes.

We also fight over whose snack is bigger, whether that crayon is blue or blue-green, and if the proper pronunciation is cwayon or tayon.

Elle takes her position as Director of All Things Oppositional quite seriously (one can only hope she gets promoted soon), and her brother is not quite above bickering back. So it could be a really long school year, for some of me more than others.

On other matters, I'm drawing the deadline for the movie game (see below) at midnight EST. Get those answers in pronto.

Also, I'm pleased to report that I've finally found the "soft rock" station squished between all that ubiquitous country music which seems to have hijacked the airwaves. (They're demanding their horse, dog, girl, truck, house, and beer back, or they will not go away. Good golly, I crack myself up.)(PS Please do not come beat me up; I'm generally quite wimpy.) Anyhoo, the soft rock makes for a jolly good sing-along while I sew; right now Pretty Woman is playing. When, exactly, did I turn into such a sap?

As it's challenging to sing and type at the same time (without typing the words I'm singing), I must be off. Happy Friday to all.

06 September 2007

quote this

Because it's Thursday and all, you're going to indulge me and play this little Name That Movie game*. Really, you are.

E-mail me your answers, and for all of you who get at least one movie correct, I'll throw your name into a pot or a shoe or something and send the winner a prize that he/she may or may not want. How's that for motivation?

{Tip: And if you get all of them correct, I will totally know that you cheated and googled the quotes, so at least mess up one, okay?}

Here we go.
Answers added 9/8/07

1. No, of course I like you. It's because I like you I don't want to be with you. It's a complicated emotion.

I don't want to play the gender card right now. You want to play a card, let's play the "let's not die" card.

I shall call him squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my squishy!

This is not whale. You're speaking like, upset stomach.

Finding Nemo


2. A: Our love fern! You let it die!
B: No, honey, it's just sleeping.

Ooh, call him in the middle of the night and tell him everything you had to eat that day.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days


3. If I had known I was gonna meet the president I would've worn a tie. Look at me, I look like a schliemiel.

Yes, yes. Yes. Without the "oops." Thataway.

John Lennon. Smart man. Shot in the back. Very sad.

Independence Day


4. Oh, look. A golden-throated small-winged warbler. Just one more for exotic bird bingo. I am loving this.

He's doing his own theme music? Big, dumb and tone deaf. I am so glad I was unconscious for all of this.

Let's take a look-see. Hate your hair. Not likely. Yikes. Yikes. Yikes. And, let me guess, you have a great personality.

The Emperor's New Groove


5. You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.

Sometimes I wish I had never met you. Because then I could go to sleep at night not knowing there was someone like you out there.

Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out. We have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it's great. But you know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, cause I think, maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye. No see you later. No nothing. You just left. I don't know much, but I know that.

Good Will Hunting


6. I need to talk to you. Every time I call you're either taking a bath, washing your hair or you're out of the country. That was a good one, by the way.

We sit in the visiting section, Kenneth. At our own school.

Can't Buy Me Love


7. Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you.

I carried a watermelon.

Where is my beige iridescent lipstick?

Dirty Dancing


8. I can say without fear of contradiction, that under no circumstances, and at no time has that current administration expended any public monies whatsoever for the purchase of the fluffy flower print toilet paper.

Hey, can somebody please pass the ketchup?

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes


9. No, No, I want to destroy this man's life, career, everything. I want revenge. Now on a sins scale how bad is that? Can I Hail Mary my way out of that?

That's only funny at Camp Birchwood in the tent at three in the morning and it's raining and my leg is the pole. That's the only time that's funny.

Hi, leave a message after the beep. If you want to send me a fax then buy me a fax machine.

Runaway Bride


10. Do we know... Mo?

Like I could tip a cow BY MYSELF!

Look at you, you have a baby! In a bar.

Sweet Home Alabama


11. Oh, that's terrific! It will be nice working with proper villains again.

You have lovely hands. Do you moisturize?

They say taupe is very soothing.

Ocean's Eleven


12. Anybody want a peanut?

I just want you to feel you're doing well. I hate for people to die embarrassed.

That does put a damper on our relationship.

The Princess Bride


13. Oh, really? When I buy a new book, I read the last page first. That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.

Trust me, she looked weird. Her legs looked heavy. Really, she must be retaining water.

I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts.

When Harry Met Sally



*inspired in no small part by the ever-inspirational Kindra

05 September 2007

endeavors of the scholastic sort



Our first day of preschool-at-home went swimmingly. Our schedule is two hours of something along the lines of:

morning calendar
songs and finger play
journal
snack
project
story time
carpet activities





I suppose it is a nice thing to put that education degree to use every now and then.

01 September 2007

grave warning

I am vacationing for the long weekend a few hours north. Do not engage in revelry and cyber shindigs without me or I might have to get all Chuck Norris on you.