Friday, April 28, 2006


The Indy Star featured a more detailed article today. You can read it here. It does a good job of portraying the ethos of Taylor.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Grief Removed Yet Present

My post earlier today was stark and brief because I could come up with no words or phrases to adequately describe the lump in my throat or the heart that aches for a community that is 4 years and many miles away even as it is an ever present part of who I am.

The words still aren't coming, so I am grateful to my friend and fellow Taylor alum Heather for her explanation of this feeling. It's in moments like this that our faith would seem almost absurd if not for the reality that our faith is all we have.

Please Pray...

Anyone who's attended a small, tight-knit college knows how much a death can rock the campus. Well, imagine the impact of five deaths at once, and then, please, pray fervently.

Last night a van carrying 10 Taylor University students and food service employees was traveling back to the Upland campus from Fort Wayne when it was hit head-on by a semi that crossed the median on 69. Four students and one employee were pronounced dead on the scene, while the other students and staff and the driver of the semi were airlifted to the hospital. (You can read the Taylor news release here.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Appreciate Me.

Today is Administrative Professionals Day, a day that "recognizes and celebrates the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, and other office professionals for their growing and diverse contributions to the workplace."

You might think--as I did before an informative google search just now--that this is just another "Hallmark Holiday" created to boost card and flower sales, but it turns out AP Day (and Week) has a long and illustrious history. Okay, well, maybe that's an overstatement, but I was surprised to learn today that Administrative Professionals Week was originally organized as "National Secretatries Week" (with Wednesday of that week being the day to really appreciate your secretary) way back in 1952 by the National Secretaries Association and a consortium of office product manufacturers. (The name of both the week and the association was changed in 1998 to Administrative Professionals).

Personally, I love the fact that office product companies were in on the deal. I love office products. I have ever since I was a little. Some kids begged their moms to take them to the toy store; I got ridiculously excited about a trip to the local stationery and office supply shop. (I know, I know, the nerdiness runs deep.) My new knowledge of the origins of this day makes me wonder if my affinity for office supplies predestined me for a stint (and as much as I enjoy my job I really hope it's only a stint) as an administrative assistant. I mean, maybe somewhere deep in my subconscious I accepted this job because I knew it would give me direct access to places like Staples and Office Depot and total and uncontested jurisdiction over the ordering of ink cartridges, post-it notes, and filing folders. It's something to consider.

In the meantime, I am thanking the Lord today that my boss does communicate and demonstrate his appreciation for me, and not just one day a year (otherwise it would look entirely suspect that he chose to go on vacation this week).

So, on AP Day, here's a shout out to my boss, for being wonderful to work for and never treating me like a mere secretary. After all, I am a Professional. :)

Friday, April 21, 2006

"Is it okay to cry over spilled contacts?" OR "Why Sam's Club Just Might Save the Day"

I mean, I know milk is off limits, but what about those little plastic discs that make the blind to see? Well, valid reason or not, despite resolutely telling myself "this is silly and I will not cry again," I've succumbed to puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks for the third consecutive morning.

It all started Wednesday morning when, in a not-really-awake-yet stupor, I accidentally washed my contact lenses down the drain. (My emergency plumbing efforts turned up some stinky green gunk, the kind my friend Lynn would term "nasty mafungoo," and a corroded earring I lost who knows how long ago, but sadly no contacts--apparently the recovery my father made when I made the same mistake back in high school was a one-time miracle.) Now, if I wore disposable soft contacts like the majority of the vision-impaired masses, it would not be that big of a deal. However, I am among the minority who wear rigid gas permeable lenses, the kind that last for years but are far more cumbersome to replace and tend to be quite expensive.

I'm not really sure where all these tears have come from, since I'm not much of a crier in general, but it's been a rough week, and they've seemed to recur each time I've hit a brick (i.e. monetary) wall trying to get them replaced. Which is where I think Sam's Club Optical is going to save the day, because I discovered this morning that I can get an eye exam AND a pair of contact lenses for over $100 less than my regular eye doctor was going to charge me for the lenses alone. How about that!? As my hippie heroes on AR would say, "Hot Dog!" I remain a little skeptical, given the various metaphorical doors that have slammed shut in my face this week, but I am hoping to experience a little wholesale club redemption this evening. We shall see. Or I should say, I will see, and hopefully through affordable little lenses.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The things that bring us together

They say (you know--"they," the people who say stuff) that the only things certain in life are death and taxes.

Last evening I agreed to drop off my parents' taxes at the post office on my way home from my weekly date with my mom and her washer and dryer. Not wanting to mess with the traffic around the post office, I left my car in the parking garage and strolled over to the big stone building to find it, not surprisingly, a flurry of activity. I was a bit surprised by the crowd, however. Passing through the door I joined an almost surreal collection of people, brought together by the inevitability of taxes and a propensity for procrastination. For my suburban hometown, it was quite a melting pot: college kids and gray-haired grannies, men in suits and Indian women in saris, Hispanic restaurant workers just off the late shift, caffeinated soccer moms and a few middle-aged men who smelled strongly of beer, all waiting their turn to approach the counters festooned with tacky red, white, and blue decorations and manned by bored-l0oking postal workers. It was an intriguing crowd, all clutching their envelopes and the little number tag that dictated the length of their wait.

Part of me wanted to stay and people watch, but I snapped out of that pretty quickly and craned my neck for the bin where I could drop my envelopes and be on my way. You'd think they'd be right up front and clearly marked, but no. Not feeling particularly assertive (most peoples' body language landed them somewhere between haggard and angry) I put on my best "forlorn face" and a minute later a gentleman took pity on me and pointed to the back of the room where the bins sat, hidden by the crowd. I deposited my charges and continued home, musing on the things that bring us together.

Monday, April 10, 2006

First Birk

Back in the fall I created a personal holiday called First Fleece, which marks that first glorious autumn day when the air is just crisp enough to warrant donning my beloved fleece pullover when venturing out of doors. Watching the weather forecast this morning, I decided that today would be the perfect day to celebrate First Fleece's spring counterpart, "First Birk" - that first spring day when, given warmer air and sunshine, dusting off my Birkenstocks and baring my toes to the world is not a move I will frigidly regret once I get out the door. And so it is was with great ceremony and satisfaction that I slipped into my familiar cork and leather footwear this morning and sallied forth (energetically, not violently).

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lenten Diary: Week Five

[If you haven't been following my observance, you might want to read this for background. Or not.]

Day 33: While a storm howls outside, beating rain against my balcony doors and sending flashes of light through the blinds, I’ve curled up on my loveseat to do a little reading. In chapter 3 of TROG, Buchanan talks about how busyness kills our hearts, and how we can invite life back into our lives by slowing down and taking notice. I know this from experience (both the death that comes from busyness and the benefits of slowing down) but it is good to be reminded. He quotes a scholar and poet who said something like, “We are all born poets. The question is when we stop being one.” (The actual quote is more eloquent, but I am parted from the book at present and forced to paraphrase.) The Sabbath liturgy at the end of the chapter then challenges the reader (i.e. me) to make every effort to take notice, and then to translate those observations to poetry.

I can count on one hand the times in my life I’ve actually sat down determined to write a poem—once during a poetry unit in 5th grade, once when I fancied myself in love, and a few other occasions in between. I’m more of a prose girl myself, and I think it’s because paragraphs are more easily qualified. I can read or write a paragraph and know whether it’s decent, superb, or needs serious revision. I have no such intrinsic or acquired gauge when it comes to poetry, so whether reading or writing a poem, I am unable to assign value, which leaves me feeling uncertain and unknowledgeable, feelings to which I admittedly hostile.

So maybe dabbling in poetry is a good and not-too-threatening way to venture outside my comfort zone this week, to exercise a Sabbath heart. And maybe I’ll discover that I was born a poet and didn’t know it. J

Day 34: With Chapter 3’s liturgy in mind, I spent this morning’s return trip from the airport intentionally engaging my senses and composing a poem based on my observations. Here’s what I scribbled onto Caribou napkins at trip’s end:

Heralds spring but
dampens earth and spirits
Sometimes plopping
now assaulting
With narrowed eyes
I grip the wheel
Squeaking wipers demand
more water, less frequency
never satisfied
Heavy lids, dull brain
cry for coffee, moose it, please
compensate for daylight saved
and waking amid shadows
Passenger fills silence
recounting others’ lives
Trucks rumble by, my stomach within
Stifle another yawn and
Notice the day.

Day 35: Thanks to a TV commercial viewed this morning, I had that darn Olson Rug jingle stuck in my head for the entire morning commute. Grrr.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

You Scream, I Scream...

Hey, if you know me, you know I love getting stuff for free: coupons, samples, rebates, frequent buyer programs...I am the queen. Well, this time, the deal is just so yummy I had to share the news! Go to the Cold Stone Creamery website and sign up for their birthday club. When the anniversary of your arrival on this planet rolls around, they send you an email with a coupon for FREE ice cream. Sweet deal, eh?

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Title is Mine!

Today is a happy day in SuzLand: this morning I wrote and deposited the check that pays off my car loan and makes dear Paloma Blanca (pet name for my white Chevy Malibu) mine-all-mine. The event was not quite as "ceremonial" as I had anticipated (turns out they send the title by mail rather than hand it over on the spot with a congratulations and a firm handshake) but nevertheless I am feeling very adult with a side of accomplishment.