Friday, June 30, 2006

Off to the C-Bus!

In a few hours I am off to spend the holiday weekend in Columbus, OH with the Pizzi family. This means the following things:
1. At most of Allison's family gatherings, I will stick out like a pale, freckled, redheaded giant. I generally find this amusing.
2. I will get to appreciate the spectacular fireworks display at Columbus' famed Red, White, and Boom festival from a private party held on a boat. After my horrendous experience at the Taste last year, I am looking forward to a much more pleasant Independence Day experience.
3. I am having a really hard time staying on task today, what with the sunshine, open road (or not so open, depending on traffic), and long weekend so close at hand.

Okay, back to work. Again.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Summer school...

"Time in the summer does not seem to move; instead, time collects, or perhaps it might be better said to pool. One of the spiritual lessons of summer is just that: to allow time to pool. To halt in our headlong rush. To be fully in a particular time. To stop long enough to see what lies around us, rather than to be always merely glimpsing."

- from Summer: A Spiritual Biography of the Season, edited by Gary Schmidt and Susan Felch (as quoted in CT July 2006)

Visual Vacation

Daydreaming of relaxing on a beach somewhere with a cold, fruity beverage in hand? Have little chance of actually doing that? Then try on this artsy summer-inspired wallpaper (compliments of Starbucks) and you can at least minimize your work and escape to your desktop every once in awhile. Or, if an artsy print isn't your thing, try this beautiful image from Kenya (compliments of Simon).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Perk of the Two-Six

In Illinois you have to renew your driver's license when you turn 26. I have been looking forward to this event for quite some time...really, ever since I left the Secretary of State office at the age of 21. You see, the last time the guy taking my picture didn't tell me when he was going to take it, and so he snapped my mug while I was waiting--completely expressionless--for the signal to smile. Result: a picture so pathetic you might have thought my dog had just died. I know, I know, in the grand scheme of things one's DL pic doesn't really matter much, and a particularly bad one even makes for a great ice breaker when party conversation is feeble at best, but I have to confess I feel much better now that my DL pic sports a smile rather than a vacant stare.

Today, my experience at the Secretary of State office was so pleasant that I want to take back any jokes I've ever cracked--or laughed at--about the DMV. I walked in and was immediately beckoned up to the counter. The lady who processed my new license was as pleasant and helpful as could be. The nice young man at the camera gave me plenty of warning, and I was out of there, new license in hand, not 3 minutes later. I even received a friendly greeting on my way out the door. Jesse White - way to go on hiring those people. Sec of State office staff - I salute you!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Golden Girl

Yes, today is my golden birthday, the day when the age one turns and the day of the month conincide. I did a little research and tried to find the origin of the term; you know, some explanation of why this particular precious metal was picked to represent the occasion, as opposed to say, one's silver birthday or platinum birthday, or why it's a metal at all and not a gemstone (Today is my sapphire birthday), or even a fruit (i.e. Today is my kumquat birthday). But alas, it seems that other than the novelty of matching numbers, one's golden birthday really means very little (which should be some consolation to those born early in the month whose golden birthday passed them by before their cognitive skills had fully developed). It does, however, make for a killer party theme.

Allison threw me a birthday party Saturday night, complete with lots of gold decorations, gold accessories, gold-themed snacks (to which my very creative friend Erin, who can run with a theme like no one else I know, contributed greatly), some gorgeous yellow gold roses, and both new and old friends, which any former Girl Scout knows are both silver AND gold (go on, sing the song in your head, you know you want to).

Yesterday afternoon was family time, where we celebrated the back-to-back birthdays of my brother and me (he was born on the 25th) with lunch and a viewing of Cars, a film I heartily recommend. And then last night my friend Bethany and I enjoyed some very tasty Mongolian BBQ followed up by a stroll along the river and a dish of ice cream and cookie dough that was definitely worth cheating on my diet for.

Today, my actual birthday, has been made very sweet by calls and emails and ecards from friends and family, and more coupons arrving in my inbox offering me free stuff, just for being born. Birthdays are a great gig.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On being a 6 foot redhead

When I was a senior in high school I applied for a bunch of obscure college scholarships in hopes of shaving off a few thousand from the amount I would have to borrow. One of the scholarships for which I applied was offered by Tall Clubs International. To apply for the scholarship you had to be, um, tall, and you also had to write an essay on something like "What being tall means to me..."

I don't remember what exactly I said in that essay, but I think it was something horribly cheesy like, "Being tall is a heritage I embrace with pride because it connects me to both my immediate family and my long lost Scandinavian ancestors." Yeah, it was wonder I didn't get the scholarship. (Though it turns out that my tall friend Rachel, whom I met years later, applied for the same scholarship (albeit in a different year) and won...she must have had a kick butt essay.)

Anyway, if I were to write that essay today, I would have something different to say. Sure, I'm still cool with my height, and just coming off my family reunion (full report with pictures coming soon) I think it's rad that I can hang out with my dad, brother, and assorted relatives and feel almost short, or at least, average, but if I were to write that essay today, I think I would say something like, "Being tall is a million different little realities. Like having to contort yourself in order to shower at some hotels where the showerhead is at neck level. Like being near the front at church and feeling like you need to apologize to the junior higher in the row behind you. Like having to resign yourself to a lifetime shortage of legroom in most vehicles, airplanes, and arenas." And, the reality that prompted today's musings, "Like getting your head cut off by the mirrors in public restrooms."

Being tall has its perks (being able to utilize that cabinet over the fridge) and it has its disadvantages (clothes shopping in general). Thankfully God has surrounded me with enough tall friends that I've never felt the need to join a club of the vertically gifted (though I was fine with taking their money, had they offered). Now that I've found their website, though, I wonder what it could do for my dating life...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thursday Miscellany

My apologies for being a bit of a blog slacker. My thoughts have been a bit scattered lately, and the horizon clouded with grief...the Taylor accident, the homegoing of my boss's father a couple weeks ago, the heart attack and sudden death of my uncle this past Tuesday night. Lots to process, little time (taken or made) to sort out my thoughts. And so, here's the fruit of a scattered and distracted mind on a Thursday afternoon:

* After a lifetime of resisting the little woven wheat squares, I have converted: I like Triscuits.

* Rwandan Christians love and respect the sacredness of prayer. Many churches in Rwanda close and cover all of the doors and windows during times of corporate prayer.

* After many years away from the game, I've recently made 3 new friends with whom I am cautiously and excitedly exploring the Chicagoland badminton subculture. Apparently, there are pockets of adults all over this metropolis who take their shuttlecocks very seriously. They scare me a little. And, on Monday night, my new doubles partner and I took on a pair of them who made me feel like I was a big oaf swatting at flies, rather than an athlete trying her best to be at least modest competition on the court. You know you love a sport when you get your butt kicked and feel publicly shamed, but still want to get out there and play again.

* Coffee-Mate has a new fat-free liquid creamer flavor, Cinnamon Vanilla Cream. It's the bomb.

* I was cashiering at B&N last night and this adorable elderly man in a yellow sweater approached my register cradling a big, beautiful hardcover copy of Gone with the Wind. He confided, “I’ve got one graduating from high school, and I hope they find this book as exhilarating as I did when I first read it.” Although admittedly cynical about his grandchild’s appreciation for Margaret Mitchell’s classic tome, I wanted to hug the man.

* Although it gets a bit lonely at times, there are lots of benefits to working in an office of one. For example, I don’t have to make small talk at the water cooler. I’m not good at small talk.

* Community officials in Sydney, Australia have decided to install a loudspeaker system in a local park that will play Barry Manilow music in an attempt to rid the area of teenage hooligans who hang out there and disturb residents and business owners. This following a successful experiment a few years ago in which Bing Crosby music was used to drive teenage loiterers from an Australian shopping center.

* Tomorrow night I leave for a short vacation in Nashville with my immediate and extended family. I’m looking forward to it, but am ridiculously stressed about all of the big and little things that need to get done before I go.

* I find it ironic that the word “blog” is not recognized by Blogger’s spell check.