Sunday, April 30, 2006

I can't see why you'd want to live here

My 25th birthday on Thursday was at least pretty okay. Went out to lunch with my mom and Cata, had tiramisu with a candle thanks to Cata, got flowers from both of them, presents from my mom (sweet slip-on Vans, soundtrack to the Rosemary & Thyme television series), cards, phone calls from friends, etc. Also had a good voice lesson and am making progress. Finally got to open my card from S which he gave me before he left and told me to save for the day; very nice, love reading his little notes to me. When I got to work on Saturday, I found a card in my inbox there, and I thought at first that it was from co-workers, but didn't think they did much for birthdays unless I would have worked that day, which I didn't. The card turned out to be from S's mom and grandma, which was probably one of the best feelings in the world, or one of the best feelings I've ever had. His mom must have dropped it off at the library for me, which touches me beyond all reason.

I went to Calvary Chapel today, which is where S and I have been going to our Bible study and some Sunday services. It was kind of strange to be there, because I've never gone without him, but everyone seemed glad to see me, or told me they were glad to see me. I stayed for fellowship, which isn't totally like me, but I felt comfortable and not sad. Got to talk to some people I knew and a couple new people. The Pastor's message was also very interesting, on 2 Samuel 13, because we've been going through Samuel for a while now. Kind of a serious topic, and I wished S could have heard it. I hope there's a podcast version of it eventually.

I got my syllabus for my Introduction to Library and Information Sciences class, so now I know what my homework is. This is good for me, because I have something to work on (there's a project due the first week of class!) and I can kind of ease into it when I have free time, which is often. I'm going to start the readings so I can just review them before classes begin in order to have things to say. I ordered my textbooks online, and I'm fairly certain the financial aid stuff is worked out. I'm getting excited to learn. I'm getting excited to have the weeks fly by. I'm also getting excited for my cousin's wedding at the end of June. I'm also going to try to come up with something to occupy my time in July and August before it's back to school books in September.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

You may remember me from such medical shows as...

While watching TLC earlier this evening, and hearing the names of the evening programming, I was reminded of Troy McClure. The titles of shows tonight?

"I Am My Own Twin"
"101 More Things Removed from the Human Body"
"The Man Whose Arms Exploded"

It's getting better since you've been mine

I actually have to admit that it's not getting better. I still miss S terribly, thinking about him constantly and trying not to worry, and am to the concocting stage where I try to think of ways to go to Alaska to see him, but obviously I'm not going to actually do that. Everybody has told me how it gets easier.

"It gets easier!" they say.

Well, it's been three weeks and it's not getting easier. I feel less like crying all the time, but missing him is now a regular state of emotion for me. Yesterday, I brought flowers and a card to his grandmother who just had hip surgery, so I got to see her and his mom and Zipper the dog.

I need to think of something else, because I can't talk to him while he's on the Chilkoot Trail. I need to busy myself with something. Maybe I'll start another book this afternoon.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I've been trying to get back to the center

Just saw a Cathedral kid here at the library, a senior. Was reminded how lots of kids, my sister's former classmates in the class of 2005, are going to be coming back to our town for the summer. This means shindigs and parties and soirees starting in mid-May and going until September, no doubt. This makes me happy because I like many of my sister's friends and count them as my own, and this also means something to do, which I don't have right now.

My Catholic Apologetics class wrapped up last week, which means I now have Tuesday evenings free. I'm going to check with a co-worker who plays piano and also takes voice lessons with my teacher if she would like to have an "evening of song" sometime soon. Got the sheet music I ordered for possible wedding music. Need to test it out, see if the arrangement is too simple or if it's the right vocal range.

I have three weeks before my graduate school class begins, which can't come soon enough. I think S leaves for a three-week trek, doing trail work out of cell service area, further north. I'm going to have to figure out a new way to be comforted in times of stress, and I need to let go of some crap that I'm just holding onto to make problems. Everything is okay, and I am blessed to be able to call S my boyfriend.

Note to self: discuss medical insurance stuff with mom.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Don't be alarmed, I fear we're falling back to ground

Long day at work because I was overly tired. Not sure how late I was up talking to S, but it's safe to guess I got about six hours of sleep altogether. Some coffee kept me alive this morning but I forewent caffeine at lunchtime so I was somewhat dragging.

After work, met with Cata and Andrea and my cousin Emily to celebrate her 13th birthday today. We went to out to eat and then came back to our house to play some cards and have cake with everyone. The huge margarita I had in lieu of actual food at dinner is probably not helping with my lack of sleep. I keep foibling letters while typing, but I'm not drunk in the least, it's just a matter of having been up since 7am.

Here's hoping listening to some Circa Survive will rouse me so I can stay awake until at least 10pm...

From an answering machine I just called from work

Child's voice: "Hi, we're not here. Leave a message after the frog... Frog!"

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I am also the moon in the trees and the blind woman's tea cup

Today I subbed at the Waite Park Library, which went well. It's great to have the option of subbing for some extra money, but also to be able to turn down sub dates if I just want a day off. I don't depend on them the way I used to when I worked only in branch libraries. Working at the main library has been really great all-around.

I also had a voice lesson earlier today and actually got to sing. My teacher had started me back in lessons with some work on my jaw (I tend to clench it and do other weird things) and the placement of vowels when I sing, but we worked on a few pieces in Italian and I sang through them, not ruining them completely. I guess my standard for myself when I sing is a lot higher than for people who are hearing me sing, so I'm not going to stress out about singing for Simon and Eve's wedding in June. I really do want to start practicing, so I ordered some sheet music and I've already found someone who will play piano so I can practice, so that's exciting.

I work all day tomorrow but I'm going to take my cousin Emily out to dinner at Mexican Village, because she will be 13 years old! Her mom and older sister are in Ecuador visiting my cousin Angie, so (I found out on Tuesday) Emily is kind of "on her own" as far as her birthday goes. She has a party next week, but I said we should "do it up" and maybe even go to a PG-13 movie...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Finding the alligator

From a few weeks ago, an overheard conversation while I was working at the desk at the library:

Little boy to his mom, "I found the alligator!"

Mom to little boy, "Alligator?"

Little boy points.

Mom says, "Oh, elevator!"

So now when Andrea and I have taken breaks together at work, I tell her we should take the alligator. She always agrees.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In the good graces of Grandma Dolores

S asked me yesterday if I would do him "a favor," and when I said I would try, he asked if I would visit his grandmother. Apparently, she misses seeing me at their house, where S lives with her and his mom. I thought it might be kind of difficult, going to his house without him actually being there, kind of like how it was weird to be on his end of the city, knowing he is not there, but I told him I would nonetheless.

This morning, I took my take-home Catholic Apologetics final exam and then drove to the north side. My "excuse" for stopping by was that S had asked if I would return his library books, so when I got there, his grandma showed me where the books were, and asked if I was "in a hurry," and I had about 20 minutes before I needed to get to work, so I sat down and we chatted for a while.

She showed me some photos from Easter 1987, told me about her upcoming hip replacement surgery, and asked how I was doing. I said that the last few days have been better than the first few, but that I miss S very much. Another family member stopped by, his Aunt Bonnie with her son Mitchell, and she also asked how I am. Mitchell was shy at first, but did let me know that he is four by holding up his fingers, and he opened up once he'd had some M&Ms.

It's been really good getting to know S's family and they've all been very nice to me. His grandma obviously likes me, which is important to me. If she didn't, I would wonder what she would see that would make her think I am wrong for S in any way, but since she does, it means a lot. Mitchell waved to me when I left, and grandma wouldn't let me leave without taking some rice krispy bars to have with my lunch.

Monday, April 17, 2006

It's easier when no place feels like home

Easter was pretty cool, grandparents came over for dinner, Andrea and I sent Cata on an Easter egg hunt, and hung out with my cousin Erik who got home from Colorado yesterday evening. It's good to have Erik back, and to know he's glad to be home. Apparently, being a ski lift operator at a ski resort is really boring! Huh, who would have figured.

Well, upon the advice of my cousin Jess, I finally read "The Five Love Languages for Singles" by Gary Chapman. I've read a lot of books on relationships and love in the last few months, but this one is different. It really gets at the heart of what individuals perceive as "love," be it acts of service, physical touch, quality time, gifts, or words of affirmation. I'm having a hard time figuring out my primary language, because I accept all five as displays of love. I love thoughtful gifts, hugs, having chores done for me, being told I'm great, and spending quality time with people I care about.

When I told S about the five love languages, he said I'm good at doing all five as well, which was interesting for me to think about. From his perspective, I am very loving toward him, and I barely even think about it. Sometimes I will have a vague sense of "I would like to give this to S," or wanting to help him, but that comes from my appreciation for him. And of course I offer words of affirmation, quality time, and am open with my physical affection for him, as well. He also does all five for me, though I think my primary love languages are probably touch and quality time (quality conversation), which is probably why I miss his physical presence so much, and the five minute phone calls every few days make me feel so cut off from him. But some long conversations over the weekend have helped with that.

Saturday night was a good time. I wrote about it on, but let me say that I will probably never get tired of seeing Saves the Day. This was my fourth time seeing them, and they continue to play a good show, and as long as they keep putting out albums along the lines of rock music, I will buy them and probably like them. This isn't the case with all bands I've liked (case in point, Weezer), but the consistency is there with Saves the Day. Circa Survive was also awesome to see. I would definitely go to another show of theirs, they had a good live show vibe, the lead singer has that incredibly vocal range, and it was fun. Andrea said it was one of the best shows ever, and I guess I kind of agree.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go

I feel so much better today than I did yesterday. A couple calls from S, though short, lifted my mood, and eating some tacos (on Good Friday, I know, I'm awful) helped my lack of interest in food. I think I may be a bit lovesick, situationally depressed from the temporary loss of my "man," as one of my co-workers keeps calling him. "So did your man leave you? How long did you cry when your man left?" and etc. The text message from S around 2am also keeps popping into my head and makes me smile. I have a good "man."

Andrea and I are going to Minneapolis tonight to rock out at the Triple Rock to see some bands (five?!) we like, namely Circa Survive and Saves The Day. I think this will be the fourth time I will see Saves The Day, and the second time I've seen Moneen. I don't even remember the last time I saw Moneen, but they are on my Live List so there it is. I think we're going to see Andrea's boyfriend, Chris, either before the show or after to hang out. Chris is rad, so that should be fun. I love that I like Andrea's boyfriend.

I think I got some sun yesterday from sitting outside reading "Library: An Unquiet History" by Matthew Battles and listening to music on my iPod. That is one of the great advancements of our modern age--the ease in which we can listen to music while out-of-doors. Imagine having a pianoforte out in the garden in Jane Austen's era, 1780-1820 or so. Ladies in hats and gloves tinkering away to create a country air in the country air.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Women want similes... or at the very least, phone calls

When I got off work and had my doctor's appointment, I came home and laid in the sun on the deck for a while, listening to Billy Collins Live, which I got from the library. My favorite poems of his tend toward the humorous, as in "Forgetfulness," "The Lanyard," and probably the best, "Litany."

The difference between most long-distance relationships and what I have going right now with S is that most people can call up their beloved and say, "Hi," with at least some frequency. Or they can shoot off an e-mail and get a response in a day or so, or they can even pick up a pen and scribe out a letter, but I haven't heard from S—in any format—since Sunday afternoon. I can't address an envelope, "S.S., the Alaskan Wilderness, Alaska, U.S.A." and hope to receive a response.

Obviously, I am trying to keep my cool and have a sense of humor about this, because what else can I do? Listening to sad songs and crying and feeling lonely are the route direct to Depressionville, and boy do I ever not want to go there. My doctor's appointment was near S's neighborhood, and just driving down 9th Avenue was difficult, because the last 40 times that I've driven down that street, I've been on my way to see S or have been in a car with him.

I need to go do something distracting now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

"I am the undisputed lord of virtual tennis"

Google searched myself in a moment of e-vanity. Found this comment on, which for some reason struck me as quite fitting.

Today is brilliantly nice outside. Like, to a ridiculous point, being around 70 degrees in April. This doesn't happen in Minnesota very often, but I think it's a gift from God.

Another gift from God: my cousin Eddy spoke yesterday for the first time in five weeks since his skiing accident and subsequent coma. He is above a vegetative state and below a minimally concious state, but when my aunt Laura and uncle Frank were at the hospital last night to visit and work with Ed to give my uncle David a break, Eddy spoke.

Eddy said, "Yes" in response to a question, "Thank you" in response to a nurse telling him he was doing very well, and "It hurts." Thankfully, a nurse was there, because the hospital staff hasn't observed all of his progress and his ratings on the scales they are using haven't been high enough to maintain a level of care that my family would like him to be getting. Thank God!! I know it is probably a long road of recovery ahead, but to know that Eddy can speak is wonderful.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

And you read your Emily Dickinson, and I my Robert Frost

"Try to reason about love, and you'll lose your reason." — French proverb

Today I've been watching "Throw Mama from the Train" and hanging out with our Colombian exchange student, Cata, and her friend from Chile, Karin. It's cool to learn about other cultures from the perspective of students in the United States. Karin is studying speech pathology, the same as my sister Andrea, but her job prospects are kind of more interesting because she is bilingual.

We also used Google Earth to look at South America and Alaska, where S called me from today. Ketchikan looked interesting from the photos I found on the internet, and had surprisingly clear cell service. These first few days really are the hardest, according to Eve. She gave a good perspective yesterday when we hung out, since she and my cousin Simon were apart for four years while she was in school in St. Louis and he was back in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is nowhere near four years for me and S, and I am trying to keep a grip and have fun and not worry too much about the "what ifs."

I did end up in the Bloomindale's dress department yesterday, and I tried on about 15 dresses with advice from Eve, Andrea and Chris. With their excellent help, I found something I like that strikes a happy medium between affordable and attractive. When I modeled it for Cata, she said, "Ohh, it's very Beth... conservative with sex appeal." It's black lace, to the knee, v-neck, cocktail dress style. And it was a $350 dress for less than a fifth of that amount, plus I already have shoes to wear with it. Sweet.

Walking around Lake of the Isles was also great. Next time we do that, I'm going to bring my camera for the shot of the Minneapolis skyline above the million dollar houses along the lake's edges.

Friday, April 07, 2006

But I still wonder all the time

I know it's kind of late, but I'm about to exercise and watch more "Rosemary & Thyme." This television series is the perfect thing to take my mind off... other things.

Speaking of those other things, I talked to S a couple times this evening, calling me from the ferry. I know I've nothing to be worried about, and yet I poke and pester and somehow come up with invented horrible situations. Everything is fine, but S is right—I am going to learn a lot while he is gone. Like how co-dependent I really am, for instance. Gah.

I made plans with Eve for tomorrow, because an entire day off with nothing to do was really scaring the crap out of me. I sensed a good distraction in going to Minneapolis to hang out in Uptown or wherever and maybe make a stop at the Mall of America in order to go to J.Crew and Bloomingdale's to scope out dresses for Eve's upcoming wedding. We might walk around Lake of the Isles, so I'll have to dress warmly. Just hope I don't get shot at. That's me, the optimist.

Ugh, ready to get my endorphins pumping and clear my mind. Be gone, evil thoughts!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Put on a happy face

Trying to be a little more optimistic than this Ukranian woman. S is in the air at this moment, and I'm singing in a mass in about two hours. Listening to the Pixies, going to help my mom make chicken soup, and hoping to get more than six hours of sleep tonight (staying up until 6 this morning with S may not have been the best idea, but hey, he was allaying sadness and anxiety).

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Learning to self-soothe

Today is nutty at work. Someone called in sick and someone else took the day off, so we're juggling the entire Circulation department with two people. I'm going to be out at the desk twice in five hours, but oh well.

It's getting warmer outside, but I'm having to wear warmer clothes to work because they turned on the air conditioning. The library is old and the heating is very weird. Some parts of the library will feel like a million degrees, but our back work area is about 68 or so. I think it will be worth it to spend millions of dollars on a new library in the next three years, so we can have proper lighting and heating/cooling systems.

Watched "The Count of Monte Christo" with S and his cousin Nate last night. In these last few days before he leaves, S seems to be pretty attached to me. I know he'll be okay once he gets there and is busy with everything he'll be doing, but I am a little concerned about his emotional state without his usual support, essentially his immediate family and me.

My new mantra: it's only five months, it's only five months...

Monday, April 03, 2006

When I'm away she puts her makeup on the shelf

Still getting over my cold from two weeks ago. I'm going to make some tea when I am on my last break here at work tonight, but I really want to just kick this whole being sick thing.

Went shopping with S and his cousin Nate yesterday. Looked at hiking boots and sleeping bags and got to hear every salesperson say, "Wow! Alaska!" in a jealous way. Earlier at chapel, when S told people he was leaving, their reactions went like this:

a) looking at me and giving me the "pity look," and then
b) excitement/"I-want-to-go" kinds of statements, followed by
c) comments about being eaten by bears, concluded with
d) have a great trip/we'll be praying for you.

It's weird right now, because I want to offer him extra support and encouragement and affection and tell him reassuring things, but I also want to kind of detach, get ready to let him go, get used to him not being around. I know I will be okay, but that look of pity I keep getting reminds me how much I really like S and how much I enjoy his presence and how much I might miss him.

In other news, there may be T-Mobile coverage in Juneau and surrounding areas, so if he could find a safe place to keep his phone while he's out in the wilderness fending off those bears, he might keep his plan alive. This means I could potentially be able to leave him voice mail and let him know when I work and things so he could call back.

Ugh, this is going to be strange.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Random thoughts on living at home

Had a somewhat bad night of sleep. Did yoga to calm myself and clear my mind, and then S called and I couldn't get back to sleep for quite a while. I probably got enough sleep, but it was in weird bursts.

I'm reading an article called "Parents Are the New Friends" by Rachel Hutton from Minnesota Monthly. A coworker handed it to me to read on my break. It's about living at home, with the parents, and the author's reasons for doing so.

I've had this discussion with a couple people in the last few months, and the thing is: we like living at home. Parents are the new friends, it seems, and they like having me around. As the author writes, "What kind of roommate offers to drive you to the airport at 4 a.m.? Or stays by your side if you have the flu?" So true.

I am also thankful for seeing my parents as human beings, not just as "the 'rents." I see them as normal, an example of a marriage, people I can go to for advice and tea and sympathy.

I have thought about moving out, moving closer to St. Kate's, finding a different job in the cities, and who knows what may happen in the coming months. But for now, I am happy to live with them, happy to call them friends.