Archive for October, 2008

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surviving unevenness

October 30, 2008

No surprises here, I am still busy.  Sometimes I am busy in a boring school/work kind of way, other times it is a meetings/obligations/social things kind of way.  Either way I don’t entirely feel like I am handling it well.  For example today on break, I started crying because I had missed hanging out with my friends last night (thank you library school).  Or earlier this week when I went on a two day nostalgia fest by rereading lots of gchats and emails from the glorious post college summer of 2006.*  Some of that reading has reminded me of past crushes that I had forgotten I had felt so strongly about.  Some of that reading reminds me of how that summer is a little bit like my life right now.

Back then I was living at home with my parents, working two part time jobs and finishing up an online art appreciation course.  Now I am living in a house with lovely people, all a bit older than myself, working a full time job and taking two evening classes.  Back then I had a huge crush on a rather hard to read fellow who I was planning a bit road trip with.  Now I have a crush on a rather hard to read fellow who I take walks with and plan parties with.  Back then some of my friends were in Colorado, some of them were in Seattle, basically a good number of them weren’t in Goshen.  Now I have good friends a lot of places that aren’t Evanston and too top it off, I rarely have time to hang out with my great friends that do actually live near me.

Essentially what I really want to do with this post is whine a little bit about my life, especially how I don’t like not seeing my friends.  Because here’s the deal, along with being fun to be around, etc, my close girlfriends are one of the biggest ways I stay sane.  While I really love my new housemates, I haven’t really gotten to the point where I can have really deep conversations about boys, life, classes, tv shows, etc with them.  And I don’t feel close enough to them to just let myself have a good cry when I need it.  So instead I flit around, attending meetings, going to work & classes, occasionally forcing myself to actually complete an assignment, all while feeling stretched thinner and thinner.

Of course thoughts like this tend to make me nose dive back towards quitting my job and working part time while finishing grad school.  But then I realize (as I sit at work, writing this blog) that my job is a pretty cushy one and it would be highly doubtful that Starbucks would pay me quite as much money to sit around answering student’s questions.

So yes, this post is also a good example of the uneven nature of my life right now: planned, full of good things, but also driving you and me both a little crazy.

*The one plus in all of that was remembering the great time my brothers and I had surprising our parents with a visit from the supposedly-living-across-the Atlantic-Tim on Father’s day.  I reread the email my dad sent the family about it and got a lot of warm fuzzies from that and this awesome picture.

Dad, Mom, Abby & Jonathan

Dad, Mom, Abby & Jonathan

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Bibles in schools

October 27, 2008

Last week as I was leaving work to go catch the bus, I ran into a group of Gideon men giving out small orange New Testaments.  I took one and stuck in my purse (where it still is today) and walked to the bus stop.  This bus stop is within a block of the high school so as I waited there it began to fill up with high schoolers who had also received their free Bibles.  Here are some of the reactions I saw:

1. One girl, who obviously has some talent as a drama queen, came up with to several of of her friends ranting at quite a loud volume about the inappropriateness of handing out New Testaments on a Jewish holiday.  This led to a discussion about the different religions present at the school.  One boy nearby stated that if you weren’t Jewish or Muslim, you were therefore Christian.  The reactions from the group around him, quickly caused him to state that he was joking.

2. Another boy, hoping to entertain/impress the nearby group of girls, began to read out loud from the Bible in his best TV preacher style.  This included a good amount of pacing and holding his fingers in a peace sign above his head.  Apparently he started in the Gospels (Luke, I think) because he kept talking about Emperor Pilates (pronounced like the exercise) , which I quickly realized was his pronunciation of Pontius Pilate (sounds like pilot).

3. A little while later I overheard one boy telling another that he planed to take the book home to his mother and tell her he had found a new faith, because she was an observant Jew and this would obviously annoy her.

4.  While one student did toss his Bible to anther student and I heard one student talk about tearing out some of the pages, I didn’t see anyone actually destroy their copy.  In fact several appeared to be reading it, or at least picking out interesting passages.

5. After the bus finally arrived and the 30 waiting students and myself got on, I noticed a boy from my church engaged in lengthy discussion with another student about the New Testament.

6. A few days after the Free Bible Day, I was in the library at school when one of our students (a recent immigrant from Asia) came up to me and asked if we had any Bibles in the collection.  He had been reading the New Testament he recieved the other day and wanted a book that had larger type and an old testament.  After showing him wear the Bibles were on the shelves he asked me a few questions about all the different versions we had and said he thought the book was interesting.

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oh hai!

October 23, 2008

I learned that greeting from Flickr, apparently it is hello is LOLCAT.  The past two weeks have been good ones, but very full, hence the lack of the blogging.  So in order to update you all here is a little phototabulous summary.

First I had a birthday party with other Cana October Birthday Women.  It was amazing, lovely and left me feeling very accepted and included which I have to say are both pretty great things to feel.  Oh and we had a pinata and Sue broke it! (kudos to Erini for this awesome shot!)

Then they made me wear the pinata, and for once my head was actually too small! (Kudos again to the Erini for this shot too!)

Myself, Barb, Anne and Sue, we turned 178 this year (28 years in one year had to be rough!), which means I actually turned 44.5 this year instead of 25.

Okay, so this one is a fake, it is of Jess from back during our trip to England, but I couldn’t believe how much this next picture reminded me of it.

See, same expression and everything.  Proof that Jess hasn’t lost her looks in the past year and half.  Then on Sunday, Becca, Jess and I hit up the good ole Chicago Botanic Garden.  We did the walking around thing, then Becca and I did the photo thing, while Jess did the journal thing.

Apparently it is pretty darn gorgeous this year.  I would also like to note that the above shot (as are all of the photos in this post, straight out of camera (this has more to do with my lack of time and less to do with my photography preferences/skills)).

Then we met up with three Reba friends, David, Anali and Kara.  We hung out in the grass.

Then Kara and Jess spun around a bunch of times, cause you know spinning is fun.

The weather was gorgeous.

The next weekend, my younger brother visited me for the weekend.  This was mainly due to my bribery in the form of tickets to an Old Crow Medicine Show.  The concert was awesome and Jonathan and I played games, watched Lars and the Real Girl, ate Ethiopian and Sushi (different meals, same day), and visited the Museum of Science and Industry.  As you can tell from the picture, Jonathan also found time to stalk me from across the street, good times.

Then on Sunday, Tim and Charletta returned from Iowa so we all (Stewart, Charletta’s brother, included) used their rental car to once again visit the Chicago Botanic Garden.  It was beautiful, lots of mums, and full of people I think are awesome.

Like this one,

and this one,

and these two.

And as you can tell from my earlier post we took lots of jumping pictures.  This one will be the cover of our ska-punk band as soon as we find a way to work in two guitars, a fiddle, a viola and one interpretive dancer (I’ll let you guess who all does what).

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reason #982 my family is awesome

October 21, 2008
IMG_6314.JPG, originally uploaded by AbbyN.

Were you having a bad day?  Hopefully this helped, if not try this one.

IMG_6311.JPG, originally uploaded by AbbyN.

All better?  Good, you are welcome.

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I just gave and so should you

October 21, 2008

For those out there who a) don’t know b) live in Canada c) live in Indonesia, this election season is big stuff around here.  People all over are getting involved in a variety of ways.  One of my co-workers makes buttons at the local Obama office, another teacher I know travels to Wisconsin on the weekends to get out the vote and people from all over are making donations and caring.  Which I have to say is pretty awesome to see.  Yesterday I got an email from my dad announcing that he has broken his 56 year habit of not donating to presidential campaigns and gave $86 bucks (see comments) to Obama.

I was so inspired I followed suit (but not as much because I am neither that old or that having-the-money right now) and I also donated money to the Human Rights Campaign (a pretty awesome organization that fights for the rights of all regardless of sexual orientation).  This past year California did a wonderful thing and legalized same sex marriage, which was beautiful, inspiring and long overdue.  Some really cool people I knew from college got married and lots of other happy couples around the nation.  But unfortunately a little thing called Proposition 8 is threatening that.

So without further ado, go! Yes, go right now over to HRC (or your other favorite advocating organization) and donate.  Maybe only 5 bucks or your leftover lunch money or your entire 10,000 dollar inheritance, but just go and give a little.  Maybe it will be your 5.73 that makes the difference and preserves the right for people in California to be awesome with whoever they want.

Looky Daddy is another one of those wonderful parent blogs and he recently created this and other posters to help build awareness about Proposition 8

Now is the time to donate. Let your support be known.

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so today was definitely going to suck

October 10, 2008

With three co-workers out for the day, three classes requiring instruction (which I have NEVER done before), and a big vacuum of people who are in charge and can make decisions; I wasn’t exactly thinking today would be a good one.  Plus last night I got a call from one the three subs we had scheduled today and she was sick, so make that 3 absences and only 2 subs.  Throw in bad stomach cramps, complexities of getting one of the subs (a new one) into the bureaucratic nightmare that is the sub policy, and teaching for the first time and I was 100% sure today was going to be not good.

But then something weird happened and I survived, sure the cramps were/are AWFUL and I kinda felt a little crazy for a bit, but I taught students!  I helped them find resources.  I got them to pay attention to me and by the second class (the classes were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd periods), I was actually feeling a bit knowledgeable and actually comfortable with doing all that.  So while I am still indeed counting down the minutes to the end of the day, part of me is really glad that this happened, because I got to experience a bit of what my future career might feel like and you know I think I can do it.

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what 25 looks like

October 7, 2008

What 25 looks like, originally uploaded by AbbyN.

So yep, I did it hit the ole quarter century mark, the weird indicator that I have completed at least 1/4 of my life or probably in all honestly a little bit more than that.  What did I do to celebrate this momentous occasion, you may ask?  Well the first celebration occurred Friday night, a full 2 days before the actual birthday when my former roommates and I went out to eat at Tapas Barcelona, the amazing Spanish restaurant.  Along with great sangria, sparkling conversation, BACON WRAPPED DATES, olives, food and more food, the highlight of the evening had to be the long video tapped reading of the dessert menu by Jess and Libby.  Jess used her best british accent, because you know that is fitting when talking about spanish desserts, and then Libby echoed every few words in her freaky old man accent.  Really the video just has to be seen to be believed (I am looking at you Erini!).  Of course not one to stop the partying, I went back to Jess and Libby’s apartment and attempted to indoctrinate Libby and Zach in the awesomeness of Burn Notice, but this failed when I noticed I was almost falling asleep at the late hour of 11:30pm.

Saturday (or pre-birthday) was spent getting things done, cleaning my room, sorting fall/summer clothes, watering plants, vacuuming and most importantly NOT DOING HOMEWORK.  So of course it was a wonderful day.  Then to top it off, Becca and Jess brought over some Peanutbutter Buttercream Butterfly Cupcakes* and then I opened their presents which consisted of Simply in Season and the game Alhambra, both of which I am super exited about.  We then proceeded to watch the first two episodes of West Wing Season 1 with my housemates.  It was great, I love watching great television with people who obviously also enjoy it.

Sunday (actual birthday) started off with the usual breakfast with the house, then church.  Where I received plenty of birthday wishes and probably the most creative/best card I have ever received.  I have to say Sunday birthdays are nice, because you are guaranteed to run into lots of people you know and you don’t have to go to work.  After church Becca came over and we made pesto out of the remains of our backporch basil plants, yummy stuff.  Then during the afternoon I received phone calls from every member of my immediate family, which was really lovely.  And I got a very sweet voicemail from Steph, so all in all it was a great birthday weekend.

*Becca should totally get a patent for these, they were amazing! (Actually I should say ARE amazing, seeing as I just had another one for lunch today)

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mother dear

October 6, 2008

Today is my mother’s 56th birthday or another way to put that is her 25th year of having her birthday dominated by her attention loving middle child daughter.  While I cannot make up for the many childhood oversights of her birthday I can at least try to give her birthday a bit more attention now.  First for those of you who haven’t met my mother you are indeed missing out.  In attempting to describe her I thought of a character from my new obsession show, Burn Notice.  The main character (Michael)’s mother is constant source of frustration for him, whether it is through her chain-smoking, inability to take his line of work (ex-spy) seriously or constant her ability to manipulate him into doing favors.  I don’t think I could come up with a more complete opposite to my own mother.  While our relationship has been in no way perfect, I consider myself to be incredibly blessed to have a close relationship with and great appreciation for my mother.  But grandiose statements only go so far in describing my mother, so here is a memory from childhood and a picture to do the trick.

Mom

I am 7 or 8 and standing in the kitchen of the old house (the one my parents built soon after their wedding).  It is summertime and despite the breeze from the oscilating fan, the air is muggy.  Standing in front of the stove is my grandma checking on the large canner full of peaches for the winter.  I am perched on a step stool in front of the sink watching my mom select peachs, halve them, peal off the fuzzy skins and place them in the vinegar bath.  The pale orange peach halves bob against each other so enticingly that I can’t resist and grab one.  I bite into it and the tang of vinegar quickly gives way to firm sweet peach that melts beneath my tongue and mouth.  As juice runs down my chin, I realize I may have grabbed too quickly.  But when I look up at my mother, she grins and bites into a peach.

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Best Moment at Work Ever!

October 2, 2008

Today in a mild confusion, I reprimanded a student (who I thought was actually supposed to be in class) for not working.  I tried to do it nicely, basically pulling a guilt trip by saying, “what would you be doing if your teacher was in this library?”  But of course a few minutes later I find out that these two students were not actually with the class in the other library and therefore were just here on a free period.  So I went over the students and apologized, informing them that I had thought they were actually with a class.  But then instead of brushing me off, acting annoyed, etc, the student actually THANKED me for the reprimand, saying “oh I should have been doing this homework anyways!”

Dear Lord, I think I have died and gone to heaven.

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kinda belated, somewhat bashful birthday list

October 2, 2008

So I have had some requests to produce a list of things that would be cool to receive for my birthday. Now birthday lists can quickly kinda get out of control and so I should probably emphasize that no one should feel ANY obligation to get me something for my birthday.  I tend to feel like I have too many things most of the time anyways, so definitely don’t get me a present out of obligation.  However should you have a burning desire to spend your well earned cash on me, here are a few things I think are neat.

Amazon wish list (This list mainly consist of a new water bottle, books by people who write blogs that I absolutely love, and the remaining Sandman books that I haven’t purchased yet)

The Simply in Season cook book (I really can’t believe I don’t own this one already, just last week I had to steal Becca’s copy to make Butternut Bisque soup, oh and I don’t have Extending the Table either) (UPDATE: Thanks apartment girls!)

– A big pretty plant holder from Ten Thousand Villages (I really, really need to repot my odd looking pinapple like plant that Meryl bought for me in college at the local Wal-Mart.  The thing has gotten immense!)