May, 2008

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What did YOU do this weekend?

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Stay tuned for the surprise: coming Monday!

Y’all come back now… again… tomorrow… maybe.

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Guys, I am very sorry to report that the special surprise will not be happening today. Due to circumstances out of my control, it is not ready to be unveiled JUST yet.

But probably tomorrow. Probably.

Dang. Who wants to unveil a surprise on the weekend, when everyone is not at their computer all day to see it? I might wait until Monday for the surprise.

Or I might post it tomorrow. I’ll see how I feel.

I like to keep you on your toes.

Sorry. SIKE! Just kidding. But seriously. Sike.

In other news, I just finished the season finale of “Lost” (yes, at work. So?). And all I have to say is that Michael Emerson and Yunjin Kim are the best actors on that show. Phenomenal.

Y’all come back now, you hear?

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Be sure to check back later today for a very special surprise. I’m serious.

But before your mind goes all haywire, know that the surprise is none of the following:
1) An engagement ring.
2) An ultrasound photo.
3) Anything related to “Lost.” I haven’t watched yet. DONOTTELLMEANYTHING!!!!!

In the meantime, to sustain your minds and hearts, here is something that I learned yesterday and tried last night with the fabulous Mary Hiemstra, visiting from Seattle:

Purée a can of black beans (rinse them first, then refill the can with the beans and water to the top), add a brownie mix and some coffee grounds, and bake. The world’s greatest tasting brownies ever. High fiber, high protein, low fat. No bean-taste at all. Try it – you will not be sorry.

No fear

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Have you ever been really afraid of something? Totally terrified that this thing, this event, would be awful and painful and you just didn’t want to experience it… only to find that, when it happened, it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought it would be?

When I was a nanny, I took the boys to the doctor for their yearly check-up. This particular year, the older boy was due for shots. At 6-years old, the prospect of having a needle shoved into your arm is about as appealing as driving a nail straight into your forehead – and so, understandably, this boy was upset.

Understatement.

This boy was inconsolable. Thrashing with terror. Not screaming, not wailing – shrieking out of absolute anxiety and alarm. No amount of words, wit, or bribery could calm him.

But he needed the shot. And the doctor was busy. So I had no choice but to wrap my entire body around this flailing little boy, and, gripping hard, to restrain him. Despite his maniacal shriek straight into my ear, the needle was in and out of his arm before he even knew it had happened.

And when we told him that it was over, his face relaxed, he stood up, and nonchalantly said, “That didn’t even hurt. Can we go get ice cream?”

A few months ago, I was really, really afraid of something. It stole my sleep, and caused a lot of tears, and kept me constantly on edge. I remember telling my mom, “I wish that it would just happen – that way, I wouldn’t need to be afraid of it anymore.”

Finally, it happened. And it was hard – for about a second. But then, the strangest thing occurred in my heart: I felt so much better, and moved forward. The thing that I was so afraid of was an obstacle, a hurdle, a hiccup in my journey. But once I was over it, the road became open and wide. And little by little, in the strangest ways, my prayer gets answered.

I think this calls for ice cream.

Broken record

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

I am only on the second episode of season 6 of “24,” and I have already heard Jack Bauer say some version of the following lines:

“Mr. President, don’t do this.”
“It’s too late!”
“I know about al-Fayed.”
“I’m sorry, but that information is classified.”
“I’m going after the bomber.”
“With all due respect, Mr. President, you are wrong.”
“I’m trying to save your life!”
“One of your men is a traitor.”
“I was afraid I would die for nothing – at least now, I’m dying for something.”

And of course, the phone is constantly ringing at CTU:
“Boop boop – BEE doo”

There have been guns and torture devices and love connections and explosions and maddeningly naïve civilians and doors kicked down and hot, young, recent college graduates fighting terrorism. It’s all so familiar.

However, an extremist has also been killed by a swift human bite to the jugular. So I guess that’s new.

Shifting my perspective

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

I worry. I worry about my bank account and my weight and my future. I worry that I am on the wrong track. I worry about gas prices and war and skin cancer. I worry about my lack of health insurance. I worry that I am never going to have the opportunities that I hope for. I worry about the fact that I am building nary a family nor a resume nor a nest egg.

But then I remember that everyone in my family is safe and healthy. I have been given the opportunity to chase a dream – something that not everyone has. I spend my free time going on walks with two working legs, and cooking delicious food, and thinking big, luxurious thoughts. Somehow, every month, I am able to pay my bills (almost) on time. I have a lot of shoes and a lot of clothes and a whole lot of washcloths. And I have a hope and a future.

So guess what, Tuesday? You can’t get me down.

I am back from illustrious Overland Park, KS, where I spent Memorial Day weekend. Currently, there is a lot to worry about. And there is a lot to be thankful for.

Older, wiser, more conniving

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Yesterday marked the release of the long-awaited, long-anticipated fourth chapter in the “Indiana Jones” saga. I probably won’t see it. Not that I have anything against the movie – it’s just that I haven’t been to a movie in months, and haven’t really had the desire.

Have movies lost their magic for me? Maybe so.

But since we’re speaking of Indiana Jones, I bring to you another Annie the Nanny story from the archives of my life.

Little Brother: “Let’s play Indiana Jones!”

Big Brother: “Okay, I’ll be Indiana Jones.”

Little Brother: “No, I’M Indiana Jones!”

Big Brother: “No I AM.”

Little Brother: “NOOOOOOO!!!! I AM!!!!!”

Big Brother: [long pause] [far-off look in his eyes] [wheels turning] “Okay. I have an idea. How about we’re BOTH Indiana Jones. But you call me ‘Indiana Jones’ and I call you ‘Puff Boy.’”

Little Brother: “Okay!”

Competition

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

It appears as though Jim Halpert may have a run for his money.

This was the world’s most humble and magnanimous win I have ever witnessed. I am blown away by this man. His modesty and grace make him so likable, I can hardly stand it.

David Cook has cemented himself into my heart, and single-handedly convinced it to beat again. If you need me, I’ll just be over here swooning.

PS: All of my big talk about hating men in vests? Retracted. Revoked. Reversed.

Weighing the pros & cons

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Nashville: The GOOD
• Rosepepper Cantina and their delish margaritas
• The full-scale replica of the Parthenon (we are the Athens of the South)
• Gentlemen who hold the door

Nashville: The BAD
• Too many guys in stove-pipe jeans and vests and weird almost-rat-tail hair
• The Tennessee GOP’s video attacking Michelle Obama
• Seen on a church billboard: “God answers knee-mail”

Happy Happy :: Joy Joy

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I struggle with discontentment on a regular basis. Oh mercy, I fight it at every turn. I am convinced – convinced – that if I could do or get juuuust one more thing, then I would be happy.

Throughout the years, my “one more thing” has taken different forms. When I was little, I wanted a Popple. And then a Skip-It. And maybe a Teddy Ruxpin.* As I grew older, that desire turned into a kitten, and then a boom-box, and then a car, and then to move away from my hometown. Once I was established in Seattle, it became a cell phone, and then a boyfriend, and then to turn 21, and then an iPod, and then a job, and then that dress at Anthropologie, and then to lose 5 pounds, and then a Macbook, and then a plane ticket, and then a couch, and then freedom, and then a purpose… all the while, searching simply for contentment.

I want things. I want them my way. And I want them now.

I know in my head that more things and more achievements and more experiences will not make me happy – there will always be something next, something greater, something bigger and better. My head knows this. My heart, though, is harder to convince.

Now that I’m here in Nashville, stripped of a lot of the comforts that I had come to rely on in my former city, I am confronting my discontentment every single day. I don’t have the same level of security and resources and time-tested friendships that I had in Seattle. I find myself making suppositions – that I just need to find a fulfilling job, or be really popular, or write some awesome songs, or be skinnier, or do something extravagantly impressive, or maybe just buy that little shelf at T.J. Maxx for my bathroom – and then my time here will have some purpose.

But I’m convinced that there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is an easy quick-fix, a circumstantial band-aid that covers up the real festering issue. Joy is authentic. Joy cannot be shaken by the everyday emotional rollercoaster. As I am tossed about by the winds and the waves, joy holds like an anchor.

And joy only comes from one place. And so these days, I am praying for joy.

*Let it be known that as a child, I never got a Popple, or a Skip-It, OR a Teddy Ruxpin. Maybe this is the root of my panic-driven, constant, grasping need for more and more?