catching up like we've been apart

My parents came home yesterday after 2ish weeks in Montana. I was on call last night, so they made supper and brought it to my apartment. Dad and I made popcorn on the stove, which we haven't done since I was maybe seven. My puppy was baffled by the sound of the popping. The results were delicious, by the way. Then today I went grocery shopping with Mom, which I also haven't done for a long time. It has been a good weekend with my parents...I hope I can be mature enough to get along with them when I move back home this semester. I'm guessing the fall will be so full of activity that I won't see them often enough to be annoyed. I hope. Because we'll all be happier if we can just get along.
I watched two movies on my computer today: Nanny McPhee (for the purpose of seeing another Colin Firth movie) and What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, an old Johnny Depp classic. I also spent some time outside taking care of Teresa's plants this morning. It was gorgeous weather! Wowza. And my dog got a bath...you have to understand that this is a less-than-annual thing. She looked skinny and funny when she was wet.
I have officially been cooped up too long in my room. Maybe I should leave.


things i love

1. this view of the San Jaoquin Valley
2. inspiring articles juxtaposing life and faith
3. being professional on the telephone
4. orange popsicles
5. Lauralee's "Johnny Cash" dance
6. eating with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews
7. doing a difficult job well and sweating
8. today's piercing blue sky and the hot sun to go with it
9. raiding my parents' fridge for string cheese and snappy vegetable dip
10. discovering a good book
11. singing songs with a strong harmony
12. my sister's poetic enthusiasm
13. Teresa's birds, Bayliss and Louis, after I give them treats
14. hitting a tennis ball with all my angst and beating Josh out of a point
15. opening my cell phone and seeing the message indicator
16. my month-old sandals which are already worn down and dirty from wear and tear
17. hope
18. my dad's three-minute phone calls
19. my mother's one-hour phone calls followed by another 15-minute phone call
20. pepperoni pizza
21. driving the Green Goblin
22. anything citrus-y
23. meeting friendly older people and sharing a smile with them
24. rubbing a friend's back when she's upset and feeling like I am doing something for her just by being there
25. washing dishes while listening to Bebo Norman
26. getting mail in the workstudy mailbox!!!! woo-hoo!
27. my nephews' dimples
28. my new black shirt with ruffles
29. ice cream with chocolate anything
30. tlc



Today is one of those days where time seems to drag on. I was dozing off over noon break, and I woke up to the sound of the ticking clock. And I could hear every second. I felt my boring life dragging on....and then I started humming that wonderful Cash/Carter hit, "It Ain't Me, Babe", to the rhythm of the ticking, which I don't advise. It was really slow.

Lauralee and I got the day off on Tuesday and spent it shopping in Sioux Falls. Fun times were had, and money was spent. Not too much, just the right amount to make a successful day off. Hooray for purple clothes.

Last week, there was no time to be had. Now time is an epidemic. I'm bored out of my mind, and hoping the feeling will only last for a couple of hours rather than the rest of the summer. Do you ever feel like you're going out of your skull? Your nerves are racing and you feel as though something important should be happening but then it's as if nothing important is ever going to happen....EVER. All I want is a little excitement, and then I get all reflective and think, "Well, this is life. This is what it's all about. It's not exciting, it's only something to get through." Then at other times I get way more from life and everything is wonderful and I can't stop smiling at the littlest things.

But today is not one of those days.



Today I realized again how much I hate the thought of being far away from any of my family members. My parents are leaving for a couple of weeks, and I may not see my brother and sister-in-law and nephews for awhile. And my sister's in Montana. I like hanging out with friends, but I enjoy having my family around, too. I'm nervous about student teaching on the West Coast and then deciding where to look for a job. Some people are way more independent than me and they like having space from their families. I look at most other cultures, and family is central to these cultures. In China, people think Americans are insane for making their infants sleep in cribs in separate rooms from their parents. The only assisted living homes are those belonging to the families of the elderly who take care of their aging relatives. Why is a person in America only considered successful if they do everything on their own? I am a little more sensitive to this issue since being so homesick in China, but I still don't embrace that part of my culture. I don't agree. I think family should still be central. Of course, family does not necessarily have to be blood-related, but I think many of us take our families for granted. I don't want to turn this into a bad ABC Family movie, but I like my family and I wouldn't mind being near them for a long time.


my happy place

These pictures are from the English department's visit to Willa Cather's homeland last October. I was fascinated by the open spaces (even more desolate and bare than around Sioux Center). The day started out cloudy and turned to rain, which was disappointing at first. But once we reached the actual plot of land that Cather grew up on, the sun came through and pierced the dark clouds just before disappearing over the endless horizon.

The renewal of God's creation swept over me and I was refreshed. It's amazing what 20 minutes of sunshine can do after twelve hours of rain clouds.