I can relate

6 12 2007

Far Away

giving credit where credit is due


Nothing comes to mind

22 10 2007

I’m not sure why I’ve been so inhibited about writing recently.  There are probably mulitiple reasons, but I’m going to blame it mostly on the weather.  I noticed a dramatic drop in my motivation and general mood as the weather turned cold.  I think it affected alot of people.

But I got a kick in the pants in the form of Abby telling me she was tired of checking my blog and finding it hadn’t changed.  So here I am… why does it feel like I have too much to say and nothing at all to say at the same time?  I think I get self-conscious about being self-absorbed.  Which just leads to more introspection and more self-absorption.  Vicious cycle.

Work has turned challenging.  On one hand I have a tendancy to be bored.  The babes don’t need as much “care” as they used to, but they aren’t into interactive play as much as they will in a few more months.  They like to play on their own with you nearby/ will play with you for a few minutes than wander off, and come back later for a little bit.  On the other hand, we’ve been unable to establish a good schedule for the past several weeks.  It has alot to do with the fact that Liz is now ready for one afternoon nap, but Ray still needs two.  This is a problem of logistics, and I’m still trying to solve it.  It also has to do with trips both of them have taken recently and how that can disrupt their normal routines.  Today has gone pretty well so far, and if the rest of the week could go like this we may be on our way to more stability.  One can only hope.  And then in a few weeks there will be something new causing problems.  It’s sort of inevitable.  I tend to alternate between being very content with my job, and feeling like I need a change.  Often the later is caused by a feeling that I’m not doing my best.  I could do more research into what kinds of stimuli and play are appropriate at this age.  Maybe I’ll set a time to go to the library and do some reading.

Mike and I have been talking alot recently about where we are going to live after we get married.  The understanding was that he would move up here to Evanston.  We talked for a while about staying in the condo with Becca and all living together, but recently decided that wasn’t a good option.  Mike and I are going to have a difficult enough time adjusting to being in the same place and being married.  We spent the first four months living in the same place.  Since then we’ve been long distance.  We need to help ourselves out as much as possible, and adding another person to the mix would be unfair to ourselves and to them.

The idea of me moving back to Goshen has also arisen of late.  I’ve felt pretty negatively about that idea, although the more I consider the options the more torn I am.  It’s not that I don’t like Goshen, on the contrary, I love it.  It’s the closest thing I have to a home town.  There are things I dearly miss about being in Goshen.  Knowing more people, Assembly, the college, my family, the natural surroundings.  But Goshen is somewhere I want to come back to later in life.  I don’t want to live there now and get sick of it.  I also don’t feel that there will be very many opportunities there for my current career, and I certainly wouldn’t be “worth” as much.  Ideally I’ll be able to do my own childcare and also contribute financially by doing a nanny share with another family.  This may be an option in a place like Goshen, but is far more likely in a city setting.  Of course (hopefully) that won’t be an issue for a number of years yet, but I also don’t want to be moving around alot.  I also would be very sad to leave the life I’ve been building here.  I feel like I’m finally starting to put down some feeler root in this community and to be ripped up in a few months would be not only painful, but disappointing.  But on the other hand, asking Mike to come up here is asking alot as well.  He doesn’t know very many people up here, and he doesn’t have work contacts.  His internship next semester very well could turn into a job opportunity if we were to live in the area.  One way or another one of us is going to be giving up an awful lot.  It still sort of amazes me that he considers it worthwhile.  At this point we’re still planning to be here after June 7th, but with my our minds open to other possibilities should circumstances change enough to warrant another look.

I’ve been having strange dreams recently where Mike is severely injured or in danger of dying.  Can’t my subconscious just leave me alone!

Oh man, Liz just woke up and started crying.  She had only been asleep for 40 minutes.  Not long enough!  For a little bit it didn’t seem like she was going to let me put her back down.  Thank goodness she’s back asleep.

If only I wasn’t so tired

25 09 2007

The wedding was lovely, my solo went really well because I was distracted enough by a faulty mike stand not to be nervous, the new condo is a mess because Becca and I are both working full time and were gone over the weekend, and I have not been getting enough sleep.

But more importantly, Mike proposed on Friday night. I’m too tired to be giddy on my blog right now, but I’m very, very happy. He had a blanket and a bottle of wine down on a small dock down at the dam when I came into Goshen late Friday night. The poor man had to deal with me pushing back the time of my arrival about an hour and a half over the course of the evening. He said exactly the right thing, and it would sound corny if I repeated it, but it was perfect. And it took my breath away.

Then we headed back to his place to get ready for the Brick house “gender confusion” party. I wore a pair of black pants and one of his shirts and ties, and then dolled him all up. Seriously, he cleans up pretty nice. After I finished his hair and makeup and he was still in the chair I fished out his ring (I knew he was proposing that weekend…it’s a long story) and got down on one knee. I got some hand flutters and giggles from him. The rest of the weekend was a whirl wind of seeing people.

It would be a lie to say that I’m not still fearful, but that’s were faith comes in. The faith that I’m not destined to live the same mistakes/miseries over and over again. Faith that love and commitment are not out of my grasp.

The best moment of the weekend was talking with a newly married couple I’m friends with. She advised me to find a time to be alone after the ceremony and before the reception. I was struck by the though of those first few moments of marriage. What an amazing thing!

Living in the inbetween

6 09 2007

Music: Bubbly by Colbie Caillat (It’s been running and running through my head for days)

My very good friend and former roommate Abby recently posted about being intentional on her blog.  I admire that, and I’ve thought alot about it too, have times when I feel like my blog is a bit useless, but intentionality in this matter is not for me.  I’ve come to realize that it’s ok for my blog to be mediocre.  It helps my family and friends keep up with me and it gives me a venue to tell my story.  I do have a personal journal, but there’s something about sharing myself with others that creates a motivation that my private journal can’t generate.  But I’m very excited to see what direction Abby’s blog goes.

I have been a ball of nerves lately.  I’ve been anxious and distracted and worked up.  I’m a terribly impatient person when it comes to life changes.  And some big ones are coming up.  We just found out today that we should finally be able to move next weekend.  I unfortunately will be in Oregon, but the girls have been gracious enough to agree to move without me.  Bless them.  So at least I know now when it’s going to happen.  That’s a start to me calming down.  Now comes all the work of getting ready.  I have been working some in the past few weeks, but there’s much much more to do.  I can’t wait to be in the new condo!  My own room!  A deck!

If only moving was the only thing looming in my future.  I haven’t written for a while.   I’ve been avoiding myself in this medium.  The me that comes out in this blog tends to talk about Mike, about my journey through a broken engagement and on to new hope.  It’s all so good.  Mike’s home and it’s been a blessing to be able to put my arms around him and look in his eyes and remember the ways I love his actual presence in my life.  Things are serious.  Things are happy and exciting and joyful.  In equal measure there are times when things are terrifying and painful and uncertain.  I keep thinking there’s going to be a breaking point, a time when the pairing of pain and pleasure break apart and I can move forward with joy and leave behind the anxiety.  So the question that’s been rattling around is “should I be going so far down this path if it terrifies me this much?”  And I know the answer is yes.  I feel it even more strongly after talking with my pastor and hearing him encourage me to trust that answer.  The “problem” is vulnerability.  My grief bulks.  But it is a necessary risk to take to be happy, being vulnerable.

I’m sure I sound like a broken record.  I’m sure I’ve said all those things already somewhere in this blog.  But the problem is that it doesn’t just go away.  I guess I just have to trust that life has something better for me than repeated rejection.

And little by little it gets better and worse.  Stronger grief paired with stronger faith.  How easily pain mingles with pleasure.

I’ve been holding on so tightly to this part of my story.  My pain, my betrayal.  Because I’m young and it makes me feel more important.  More valid.  But slowly I’ve been turning it into just another part of the storyline.  My past, not my present.  So hopefully you won’t be hearing much more about it.  For my sake if not yours.

Not obligated

18 06 2007

Now that I’ve released myself from feeling like I should blog, I really want to.  So maybe that last post was a lie.  Also things have calmed down in my life a bit (sort of).  Things that have been happening recently:

I started working with all three babies.  We hired a woman to help me, but she quite suddenly this weekend after just 4 day.  That was stressful.  But my friend Erini agreed today to fill in for the rest of the summer.  Thankyou so much Erini!  You’re a gem.

We’ve pretty much been accepted for the coop that we’re trying to get into, so now it’s just a process of waiting for two of the units to open up (only one needs to open up for us to move since Abby’s gone and we can squeeze 3 women into one condo for a little while).  This could happen any time.  But there’s complications with the one that’s supposed to be opening up soonest.  The woman who lives there is having trouble getting into her new condo.  So it could be next week or it could be in two months.  I’m bad at this sort of unknown waiting.  Grrrr…

Also, a friend of mine from H.S. (also named Abby) just got engaged and is planning on getting married in Oregon sometime in September.  She asked me to be a bride’s maid 🙂  She was going to be one of my bride’s maids, which reminds me, I STILL have her bride’s maid’s dress in my closet at my parent’s house… I’ll have to remember to take it this summer.  Any ways, the complication is that she and her fiance set the date for September 29, the exact same day that I’m supposed to be in my friend Fallon’s wedding!  Abby and Edder (short for Edwardo I think… hum, should probably know this) are considering changing the date of their wedding.  I’m not the only reason, but I’m part of it.  How amazing is that!

Their engagement got me thinking about Mike and I (big surprise there right), but for good reason.  Abby and I told each other about our perspective new relationships in the same phone conversation just over a year ago.  She and Edder have been dating just over a month less than Mike and I.  It’s been interesting to watch both of the relationships grow and compare notes.  I’m a bit jealous of Abby that she’s reached this stage, one that I definitely want to be at, but at the same time, I’m really grateful for the fact that Mike and I need to take things slower.  We’re not at the same place in our lives, he’s still in school, and most of our relationship has developed from a distance.  I’m glad we can’t move as quickly as Abby and Edder could because it would be too fast for me.  I’d be dealing with alot more fear.

A group of interns has come to Reba (our local church) to learn about intentional community.  It’s been fun to start getting to know some of them.  Three of the guys live in the apartment above us and they invited our apartment (unfortunately Abby and Jess couldn’t come due to the fact that they were hopping the pond and spending two weeks in England) to dinner on Friday.  They served Becca and me an amazing meal of Indian curry, eggplant stirfry, and a milk and rice pudding with saffron in it!  Pretty impressive given the fact that they hadn’t had any food in their apartment the day before.

My first response was WTF!

29 05 2007

I’ve been good.  I’ve been really good.  No searching on facebook.  No looking him up on IM.  And then!  Fate twists in the knife and brings him to me.  Today I received an IM message saying that a peice of mail from my bank for me had come to his new apartment.  How weird is that!  It’s a new debit card.
I realized a while later that there is a good (although still screwy) explaination.  We had a joint checking account while we were engaged, and I’m guessing this is a new card for that account.  But I specifically remember cancelling the account and opening a new one, so this must be some sort of error.

It’s a little bit like the wedding magazines I keep getting several years too late.

We didn’t talk long, but other than the initial shock and fighting the desire to get into a more lengthy conversation, it wasn’t too bad.  It really is a kind of pain that just keeps petering out.

Confession time

19 05 2007

every once in a while (more frequently in the last few days) I check my ex-fiance’s facebook account or add his IM screen name to my list and read his away messages.  I know this is a bad idea and distructive and I always feel shittier afterward.  It’s such a compulsive thing.  I don’t know exactly why I do it.  I don’t know why I care what’s going on in his life.  I had a dream about him last night, so that may have prompted it today, or maybe doing it recently prompted the dream, who knows.  Am I looking for signs that he and Suzi aren’t doing well?  I don’t really want them to be having problems, but if I’m being truly honest, there would be a part of me that was glad.  I don’t think it has anything to do with me wishing them ill will.  I think it’s because I still have trouble with the fact that he moved on so fast and that my absence from his life didn’t seem to make him unhappy.  It makes me feel replaceable and unimportant.  I’m fully aware that this is not true, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel it.

But this is a self-intervention.  You are all now my unwitting accountability partners.  I will post every time I look him up, and the embarrassment of having to admit it publicly will be a deterrent (I hope).

Feeling Caotic

18 05 2007

I want Mike to come home.  I want to be able to talk to him about something important to me.  I want stop feeling so anxious.  I want to stop feeling antsy.  I’m scared for how it’s going to be this summer.  It’s not a matter of not knowing if I’ll be able to manage the distance.  I know I can.  No, the question isn’t if, it’s how.  What ways am I going to cope?  How will I learn to be ok that I’m not always ok?  How will I stop the fears from taking over when the reminder of why this is all worth the risk is not present.  Mike’s great, but we don’t connect as well over e-mails, and several days with no contact takes its toll on my psyche.   hum.

And as a sidenote, I’ve been thinking about the fact that I write about my relationships alot on my blog and why that makes me uncomfortable.  Am I scared of what that says about me as a person?  What does that say about me as a person?  More over, does anyone really care.  I was reading the new blog of a college classmate and in his first entry he mentions “blahgs” and I wondered… would he see mine that way?

Interview IV

9 05 2007

First of all I want to say it’s really hard to be satisfied with these answers because the questions were so amazing and thought provoking!  Thankyou so much for the challenge Mel.

1. In answer to Flutter’s question about the most important thing about you, you replied, “when I was 9 my parents and I moved to Zambia.” Wow! What are some of your best or most vivid memories of that time and place?
There are so many!  Like the time that my dad killed a spitting cobra that almost attacked my mom by throwing a hammer at it and hitting it in the head.  Or the way the world looks at night when there’s no artificial light for kilometers and kilometers in all directions.  Or going swimming on horseback and learning to jump at the tiny British expatriate school that I attended for a few months.  Or the first time I saw the mist and heard the roar of Victoria Falls.  Or being charged by a rino when my dad drove too close.  Or when a couple of my friends were almost run over by a runaway ox and cart at the little play set by my house.  Or my mom crying because we were told by the mission board back home that we had to leave the country in two weeks (this was later retracted, but we had originally planed to stay for 3 years and only stayed for 2)  Some time I should do a series of stories from those two years.  That would be good blogging fodder.

2. In your post to the person who found you through the broken engagement search, you said this: “I had to relearn to value myself as an individual,” and you also said this: “I made strong commitments to myself about maintaining my self worth and independence.” How do you feel you are doing with these self-affirming actions these days? Has a new relationship posed any challenges for you in still making sure to meet those goals for yourself?

It’s a daily struggle.  I think these are areas that will take continued growth and attention for the rest of my life.  But I’ve made huge strides.  Granted I had a long way to travel to even reach a healthy place, but it feels good to be able to look back and see how far I’ve come.  It’s not really something you can quantify, but I value and like myself much more than I used to.

Dating Mike has been a struggle in a lot of ways.  I have to fight the urge to rely on him for my self worth.  I have to fight the urge to plan my life around him.  Luckily, he doesn’t allow me to depend on him too much, and he has a way of being supportive while encouraging me to be the strongest person I can.  It’s hard road though because it’s a fight against my natural inclinations.
3. As a nanny, what’s the most important goal (besides “keep the child alive”)that you keep in mind, both at the start of each day and at the start of each new job?

That’s such a hard question for me because I’m a novice nanny.  I feel like I’ve been through a trial by fire the past 10 months.  I’ve had two different jobs with very different situations.  Nothing in my past or education has given me the insight or preparation for this career.  So until now I haven’t really had the luxury of having clear goals at the start of a job.  I’m still a little wet behind the ears, but now I would say the goal with each child is to guide them in becoming independent, joyful, articulate, socially and emotionally mature people.  To provide them with the challenges that will help them to grow at a leave where they are able to succeed.  This of course is easier said than done.  Just because a child has the capabilities necessary to tie their shoes doesn’t mean that they have the focus to complete the task or that it’s going to be easy for you to have the patience to wait for them to complete it.  It’s also my goal to find ways to make the family’s life easier.  Oh, and to give the kids as much love as possible.  That’s the easy part.

Day to day I try and keep them on a schedule of sorts.  It’s hard with babies, but everyone’s happier if there’s structure to the day.  I try to take them out every day, weather permitting.  I try and think of new things the girls can learn, whether that’s how to put the blocks in the bucket or how to not chew on books.

4. Just in the posts I’ve browsed, you mention singing, dancing, salsa lessons, “wheel throwing lessons,” whatever those are, fiddle lessons… do you think you will be a perennial student? In other words, do you agree with the notion that a person should continue to learn something new throughout their lives? Do you plan on doing so?

I definitely think I’ll be a student most of my life.  There are so many things I want to learn and be able to do.  I love the creative outlet of art, music and dance classes.  If I had more money and more energy I’d be involved in a lot more classes.  I am hoping to do some “wheel throwing lessons” this summer.  Wheel throwing is a part of ceramics and is how most hand made pottery is formed.

5. You said last summer, “I just want to feel like something I do really touches someone.” This isn’t a question, it’s a statement: I have really enjoyed reading your blog; it has touched me. While our lifepaths are not extremely similar, I can hear echoes of my own heart from before I settled into the life I have now in your words. I do hope you keep going; your honesty and freshness are very neat to read.

Crossing paths

6 05 2007

Mike and I meet in Chemistry lab. The first day he turned to me and asked if I wanted to be his partner. I couldn’t figure out how he knew my name. I figured it was due to the fact that I was a senior and in a small school like Goshen most people are at least aware of everyone else. We just happened to be standing next to each other, otherwise it would have never happened that way. I don’t think a choice of where to stand has ever affected me so much. I will always be awed by how our getting to know each other was due to freakish chance. But I guess alot of people come into our lives that way. Just not usually with me. I tend to know people through predetermined connections.

What this post is really about though is the fact that Mike and I had a number of chances to meet before this point, but we never did and I think our relationship is largely due to that fact. I wouldn’t have seen his value if I had met him any earlier.

When we were very young, ages 4-8 (me) and 2-6 (him) we went to the same fourth of July fireworks display in the same park in Syracuse. Now this park isn’t very big. A pavilion, one play set, some lawn and a very small beach. Most likely we would have been playing on the play set together. What if we had met then? What if our parents had met and become friends. It wouldn’t have been unlikely with the way my dad likes to meet new people, and there would have been plenty of connections. There was the Mennonite connections, and I think by that point my parents might have been renting our old house to Mike’s aunt, although that may have come a few years later. Regardless, if I had gotten to know him at all at that stage I’m sure I would have remembered him a little. I have a great memory for faces. I’ve been able to recognize a few old elementary classmates around town that I haven’t seen since we were 8 or 9. So I probably would have noticed him around campus when he first started at Goshen. I might have even introduced myself and asked him if he remembered me. But he would have been a freshman and I would have been dating Jesse and I just wouldn’t have seen him that way.

Or nine years later. When I was a senior in high school, I almost moved back to Goshen with my parents and I would have gone to Mike’s high school. In a school of several hundred I would have at least known who he was. But he would have been a freshman and I would have been a senior and he would have been way too young for me. And he would have always been little Mikey to me. We probably would have been in a play or musical together. That would have been fun, but he would never really grow up in my eyes.

Mike is friends with Abby’s little brother, and Abby recently came across some picture from our sophomore year of Mike hanging out at her house. What if I had been over that day? Jess was. I could very well have been too. Again with the young thing. He was only a senior in High School.

Around that time we were attending the same church. Not a large church mind you, give or take 100 people on any given Sunday so it’s kind of surprising that we never meet there. After we started dating, Mike remembered that he had noticed me there once when I went up to make an announcement. I had recently shorn my hair off and must have been wearing ambiguous clothes because at first he wasn’t quite sure of my sex. Once he determined that I was a girl, he figured I was a lesbian (My home church is openly welcoming of homosexuals so that’s not a huge leap to make, although a bit stereotypical) Talk about your first impressions.

Life is a tricky thing. Change one strand and everything could be different. Yes, Heroes got me thinking, but this has been on my mind for a while. Thank God for Chemistry.