Kt, a really good friend who was at the farm during my first year here, has a blog for her random thoughts and musings (which, by the way, are often more profound and funny than random). She is an excellent writer, also, so her posts are definitely worth checking out. Fifteen feet, incidentally, is a scuba diver's level of decompression -- see her explanation of it for more. Kt, you're awesome!
So I'm pretty unabashedly, undeniably type A. I like things in nice neat piles, I like to organize and delegate ad nauseum, I know where everything goes (even though it's not always put there, it all has a place), I stay busy and get things done quickly and well, I keep track of every last detail.
And then there's half of my team, who are type B... I find that when I encounter them, especially when I am planning some event with them, I become super-A (a personality sometimes verging on my evil twin).
My team decided (a week before the 4th of July) that there should be a full day of activities. And they further decided that M and I should plan them. No sooner had the meeting adjourned than M and I sat down and met. Twenty minutes later, I had a flier prototype and a to-do checklist ready to go -- I'm headed into my weekend and the last thing I want to do in the middle of my weekend is to have to plan farm activities.
I was proud of myself.
Then I encountered my teammates -- I said "there's a checklist" and M said "why do we need a checklist? we can just communicate". I thought (but didn't say, though I should have) "that's precisely what I have done -- communicate."
I said "can you announce this tomorrow?" K said "why tomorrow? there's a whole week left." I thought "but why not tomorrow? There's only a week to drum up enthusiasm. Besides, how hard is it to announce something?" I said "aaarrrggghhh. I'm going to take a walk."
I said "here's the schedule." J said "I can help." I said "okay. what do you want to do?" J said "I dunno. I'll let you know eventually." I left. "no worries" they all say. "it'll just happen." in the mean time it's me that's making it "just happen."
I give up. I've done my part for now. I'm letting go and I'm going to be bitter about it (oh, wait... does bitterness mean that I've let go? ;)) and I'm going to pretend that it will, in fact, just happen.
Whine, complain, gripe, moan...
Did you know that type A people have higher incidence of heart disease? I'm convinced it's because there are so darn many type B people in the world! ;)
Today I was driving through Great Barrington, a cute New England large-ish town, waiting for someone to finish a doctor's appointment. I got myself an icecream cone that was dribbling down my fingers by the time I got to the car because of the heat. I climbed back in the car and turned on the radio, which happened to be playing ragtime music. I sat and watched a bumper-stickered Vermont car drive by and two labs stick their heads way out the window to stare at me. I watched a man in a lime green shirt walk by with his two young daughters skipping beside him. I watched an older couple saunter down the street arm in arm. I watched many other people move a little slower than they might have normally because of the heat -- linger a little longer and perhaps notice a little more. And all of this was to my own personal soundtrack of Scott Joplin. Ah... Now that's living.
I usually am very wary of fad books. In my experience, they almost never are all that they're cracked up to be. Thus, I didn't touch the Harry Potter series until about a year and a half ago, and in fact I tended to poo-poo them. But then I finally caved and read the first one, mostly to prove to the world that I really wouldn't like it.
But I did. I couldn't put it down, just like everyone said. It was book-candy: a great story without too much density but fun all the same. It doesn't use my academic brain but does engage my imagination.
So, six books and how many hundreds of pages? later... I'm actually waiting excitedly for number seven to come out and the fifth movie to come out and feeling slightly silly about it all.
I am impressed with how the books grow as the characters in them grow -- these are truly books you could grow with as an adolescent, reading each book when you are Harry's age and encountering a lot of age-appropriate and socially important themes.
Besides that, though I never imagined saying it, they are just quality books for anyone looking for something fun to read.
And I chose... shut up. Thus, I will tell you all about it.
I was training for a marathon (26.2 miles) and was really excited about the training schedule I had and about the duration of my motivation -- I was on schedule for almost 6 months.
Then I tried to cure my aching arches with Dr. Scholls inserts... and everything went downhill from there (except not the pleasant, "whee" kind of downhill that gives energy on long runs...). I ran 1 mile in the insoles and had to take them off and lay them by the side of the road because of the blisters they were giving me. (not necessarily the Dr. Scholls inserts' fault... maybe just my persnickity feet's fault...)
Then I went to visit mom and dad. I was so excited that I was actually able to, more or less, keep up with dad on his 5 mile run that I neglected to notice my blister, which was open and not doing well. We got back to the house and I looked down to find a full half of my right shoe had turned red with blood soaked all the way through to the outside.
So I stopped running for two weeks to allow it to heal. Then, because my momentum was gone, I didn't get back the motivation to run for another week. And, as my track coach used to say, it takes two weeks to gain back what you lose in one week of not running...
So the last two weeks, my vacation weeks, were my self-dubbed "put up or shut up" weeks. I gave it a good effort, I think... And I had the heat of Iowa as a bit of an all-too-easy excuse not to run, but I also had the extra time of vacation as a good reason to run my little heart out. But in the end, I just couldn't do it. I'm still able to run fairly impressive distances, but there's no way for me to get back on schedule for any marathons this year.
But never fear... I haven't given up that easily. I'm hoping to find a mini to run (or, failing that, create my own mini-mini just for me), commit to running over the winter, register for smaller races along the way, and try again next year. Perhaps there will be a marathon in my grad school town that I can enter...
I have learned much from my attempt. One -- my personality makes it much easier for me to run (or do other things like that) when I have a specific goal in mind (like a race or performance or deadline). Two -- I love being a runner and need exercise in my life to keep me sane. Three -- going from no running to marathon in 10 months is possible but darn hard. Four -- it's really hot in Iowa. Five -- carrying your own water in a pack is convenient but pretty heavy. Six -- always buy shoes that fit and have removable insoles. Seven -- running, for me, increases my pain tolerance to the point that I sometimes don't notice pains I really should notice... always pay attention to what your body is saying through your pain. And there's more, but you get the idea.
It's been good. And I'm sorry I have had to revise my original goal, but I'm not sorry I tried. Next year I'll try again. And perhaps next year will be my marathon year.
Here is a wikipedia article on contradancing... I'm excited that I might actually get to my first contradance in months tonight -- I'm experiencing contra-withdrawal, I think, typically indicated by feet that won't stop moving and a desire to put on a flowy skirt and do a gypsy. =)
So I'm preparing for the GRE and finding that my vocabulary isn't as large as I would like to to be... or as large as ETS would like it to be, perhaps is more accurate. Who ever uses words like "multifarious" and "stygian" and "meretricious" and "opprobriate"? I suppose I've heard them somewhere along the line, but... It is now officially my goal to correctly label as many things "stygian" as humanly possible. But I guess I'm not doing too badly on the vocabulary thing -- Mr. ETS says that I'm still decent compared to most of the population of GRE test-takers...
But I'm also finding that I love math and dearly miss it. I lept out of bed this morning, my Sunday, to take the math section of the practice test, which I'd been too sleepy last night to attempt. I spent a whole hour taking the test and then more time correcting my answers. And I had fun! Most of my mistakes were, as they often are, careless. I'm thoroughly amazed that I remember so much. Am I a nerd?
I've decided to stop practicing or studying because the scores I got on the practice exams are scores with which I'm satisfied. But that means that the actual test-taking date is closer than I had originally thought (since I should take them as soon as I can). Which means that I'm starting to feel the adrenaline / anxiety rush of being an academician again... I like it. And, I wonder, am I ready to go back?
What five things in my life do I take for granted?
1) Having full use of my hands -- I have always found hands fascinating and recently I've noticed how many things I wouldn't be able to do without them. Piano / organ / guitar, crocheting, typing, writing, back rubs,....
2) Farm fresh food -- I always remember this when I travel, but when I'm here at the farm, I forget that it's not usual to have spinach salad from greens just picked from our gardens the day before or honey from our own bees or milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, bagles, danishes, applesauce, etc. all processed on the farm and made with our own products as much as possible
3) A car that works well and money for travel -- I was noticing that this week in thinking about guests at the farm who don't have access to cars. I love the feeling of freedom and options that I have when I have my own mode of transportation (though I try to use it as little as possible). I suspect I would feel trapped if I had no access to easy travel.
4) my Christian upbringing -- I grew up having Bible stories as bedtime stories and going to church and being surrounded by people who were ever trying to live more morally and virtuously. My faith, more than anything else, has given me hope and ability to love, and I was blessed to have such a great jumpstart in the life of faith as a child.
5) Literacy -- I can read, and I love it. I, in fact, have no idea what I'd do if I couldn't read...
And there are many other things, too... but that's five... and laundry is still waiting for me. ;)
So, same folk -- mom, sarahesperanza (sojournersboots.blogspot.com), and monica (link on sidebar)
1) Friends and family asked me to keep in touch, and I am notoriously bad at writing letters and returning phone calls and e-mails.
2) I don't often massage my ego in such a direct way -- but I find blogging to be, in some ways, refreshingly narcissistic.
3) I fancy myself a decent writer and this gives me an opportunity (as most of you other bloggers have already said) to dip my toes in the waters of writing for public consumption.
4) It is a good way to do some journaling-type-stuff -- processing aloud, as it were, of the many things that happen day to day. It also keeps me thinking about what parts of my life are noteworthy or funny or abnormal or interesting or... Sometimes, otherwise, I'm tempted to take my life for granted.
5) I feel slightly guilty when I don't... And besides, it can be a splendid way to procrastinate on things like... oh... like doing laundry, for example... not that I was supposed to do laundry today and am avoiding it or anything...nope... that's definitely not why I'm blogging right now...ahem...
So I'm supposed to tag someone, but I don't know that I know many bloggers that haven't already been tagged. So mom, you're it (if you catch this); sarahesperanza, you too; and Monica.
I've lost from my mind some of the things I was going to say about this, but perhaps that simply means that what I've got left in my gray matter is what's really important to say.
From where I'm sitting, it looks like my denomination is dying. I love the Church of the Brethren dearly, and I think it will be tremendously sad for the world when it is no longer. (If you don't know about the Church of the Brethren, check out my link to it on the sidebar or wikipedia it -- surprisingly, there's a pretty impressive entry on us there.) It seems to me that simplicity, service, peace, and community (the four main values indicated in our tagline), not to mention Jesus are precisely what the world needs at the present moment. So... I will stop sermonizing here, but I think you get my point -- I am very sad, for me and for the world, that the Church of the Brethren is not thriving.
However, I am looking for a resurrection, and it became abundantly clear to me at the CoB Young Adult Conference that, if a resurrection happens, it will likely be much because of God's working in the young adults of the denomination.
So YAC was amazingly fun. I wouldn't have gone had I not been asked to coordinate opening worship, but I can't imagine now not wanting to go. The people are amazing, the worships were very meaningful, the values and questions and lives of the young adults there are inspiring. Eighty young adults gathered in a worship space singing clear, spontaneous, unaccompanied, four-part harmony... need I say more?
As for my part in the weekend, it went quite well. Worship planning is one of the things I count among my gifts. I often will have somewhat of an idea about what the worship will look like, but I never know how God is going to flow through it until I actually experience it -- and often it happens that I am filled with awe, not at what I have come up with, but at how God has used the stick hut I constructed as a glorious temple. It was that way again for this worship, giving me no choice but to breathe a prayer of thanks.
So, if you are the praying type, pray for God's will for the Church of the Brethren (though I have to admit that I'm trying to convice God that it is in fact his will for the church to give it the strength to come back...).
And, for all you young adults out there who are Church of the Brethren or all you people who know CoB young adults or all you young adults who wish you were CoB... Next year's gathering of young adults (age 18-35) is in Estes Park, CO. The planning committee is aiming for 250-500 of us next summer. Check out the YYA section of the CoB website for more information. (Or talk to me if you need any convincing!)
I also have a link on the sidebar to A Place Apart's blog (from there you can get on their website, too) -- in my mind this also holds hope for the Church of the Brethren, though this resurrection (as perhaps any resurrection) will likely look much different than a simple recast of the old or even current CoB.
I strive to be
a shaper of stars,
a farmer of hope,
a fisher of people,
a student of paradox,
a shepherd of dreams,
a daughter of love,
and a co-creator of life,
because these are the things to which I am called.
I am very often not those things, but I can certainly say that I try with all I have.
Some people dream of catching stars, /
to glean from them some light. /
But I would like to shape a star, /
send whirling into flight /
The product of my passion's fire; /
to mold with naked hands /
and feel the searing pain of flesh /
as star grows bold and grand. /
If then I offer it to God, /
I fling with all my might /
and gasp as it, a piece of me, /
assumes its place in night. ~L. Stone