Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I've Discovered...

That there actually are a lot of songs about rainbows. Who knew?

More to follow later...

Monday, November 29, 2004


Like the corner of my mind. I don't think my mind has a corner. I've seen a human brain outside of a skull before, and there are no corners in one. Although, I found out that if you remove a brain and don't put it into a bag to keep it's shape before it is put in preservative, then it just becomes a pile of mush. Hope no one is eating.

Anyhow, in my boredom (things are slow again), I went and reread my friend Amy's columns in her archives. This article in particular caught my mind today, and started me down the path to reminiscence.

My four years in the KH overlapped Amy's in three of them (she was there a year before I moved in, and I was there a year after she left). Those four years in the house were probably the most interesting, challenging, and wonderful ones of my life.

My first year in the house was kind of blah for me personally. There was a lot of tension in the house, though, over things that had happened in the past. As I was the only new resident that year, I was the only one not directly involved in the situations, though I knew about them. The tension was sometimes difficult to take, as both "sides" tried to get me to support them, though given the nature of the problems, there was really only one choice I could make in that regard.

That year I supported my roommate as she became Catholic, broke my foot walking down the men's wing stairs after going up to look at some quasi-pornographic pictures left by one of my housemates on a chalkboard after Thanksgiving break, learned that it is possible to hang a softball glove from a hanger in the closet, discovered that I'm horrible at golf, and found that it is in fact possible to spend literally an entire weekend sitting on the couch and watching TV.

My second year in the house was probably the worst year for me (well, except for the last year, but that's another story). I just never found a niche that year. There were a lot of "cool" people in the house that year - the artsy type, but not in a good way (read: elitist). They had alcohol in the house, which broke one of the cardinal rules (I don't know if Amy knew that or not, so if you read this, it may be a surprise), and they broke other rules left and right. Now, I'm not little miss law and order (though that is a good TV show), but having respect for your housemates when you live in community is important.

That was also the year my dad got sick, and I decided to keep it from everyone but Amy and Ty (and Renee, but she didn't live in the house). In retrospect, that was probably a big mistake. I probably would have been a lot more sane if people knew what I was struggling with. But I hated people feeling sorry for me, and I hated when people were kind out of sypathy more than out of genuine feeling. Plus, I've had too many experiences in my life where I've been told, explicitly or implicitly, that people don't want to be burdened with my problems. It was easier to keep it inside.

That year, I met Joe (who I will write about next year) - which was an experience in and of itself - and became a fairly liberal apologist for the Catholic Church (to balance out Jim and Stefan's Mother Angelica like opinions - they are both priests now {shudder}). I learned that one should never take three lit classes in one semester while also taking Spanish comp. and doing a practicum. I found out (the hard way) how important it is to check the oil in your car before going on a trip and not to ignore the oil light on the dashboard. I discovered that working retail is not for me.

I cooked a meal for 60 people all by myself on College Student Sunday at the church because my cook group mates decided to go see Wayne's World instead of doing any prep work the night before. Do you have any idea how much cheese you need to shred to make pizza for 60 people?

My roommate got pregnant that spring. I vomited the morning after she told me with sympathy morning sickness (and as a bonus, it delayed a Shakespeare test I wasn't prepared for by one day - didn't help much).

My first senior year was probably the best year in the house. It wasn't without tension - the presidential election of 1992 saw to that. But we really came together as a community right from the start.

That year, I overcame one of my most major fears and jumped off a cliff on our opening retreat (I was attached to a zip line, of course), despite the fact that I was still recovering from when I ran myself over with a van at camp (have I written about that? If not, I must sometime.). I never could have done that if I hadn't been comfortable with those people.

Despite the arguments over dishes left laying (or lying) in the kitchen, we really did help each other with chores and the like. We were a diverse group, but it worked.

That year, we pulled a classic practical joke on my roommate, B. B was a really lovely person, but she was tremendously gullible and naive. She believed just about everything anyone told her, a fact that we were all sensitive to when it mattered. She was also the worst driver known to man. It took her 10 minutes to park her car when all she had to do was pull into a parking space. Picturing her parallel parking still makes me cringe.

Anyway, one afternoon, Todd and I were watching TV in the living room. There was really nothing interesting on, so we mostly stared out the picture window instead. We saw B coming home from student teaching, and watched her try to parallel park in front of a building across the street. It literally took her 20 minutes (yes, we timed her). As she was crossing the street, Todd asked me, "Want to have some fun?" and when I agreed, he said to follow his lead. When B came in the house, he gave her an incredulous look and said, "B! I can't believe you did that!"

She looked confused (not an uncommon sight), and asked, "Did what?"

"Parked there! It's illegal!"

"No it's not. There's no yellow line."

"Yeah, it is. Tell her, Sheryl."

Thinking fast, I said, "Don't you know that it's illegal to park in front of law firms?"

"What?" was her reply.

"Yeah," I said. "It's illegal to park in front of law firms in case the police have to bring accused criminals to meet with their attorneys." Now first of all, the firm across the street handled civil law cases. Secondly, anyone with an ounce of common sense would never belive that crock of...well. But this was B we're talking about, and I could see on her face she was starting to believe me.

We went back and forth for a couple more minutes, telling her she had to go out and move her car, when Joe came in. Thinking quickly, Todd said, "Joe, tell B that it's illegal to park in front of a law firm."

Joe, always one to pick up on teasing and practical jokes immediately agreed and insisted that Brenda go out and move her car for her own sake.

Well, that must have been enough to sway her doubts, because she started to head out the door. I, of course, softie that I am, let her off the hook before she actually moved the car. Still, it was good for a laugh.

That was also the year my dad died. He passed away in April, four days after Easter. I don't know how I would have survived without my housemates. The supported me when I had no one else to do so (other than my mom, of course). They offered to type my senior thesis so I could get in turned in on time since I was missing time for the funeral (they couldn't because I was editing as I typed, but it was a generous offer). They took care of all my house and chapel obligations that weekend. When I came back, the distracted me when I needed it, left me alone when I wanted to be left alone, and were just generally there for me. That's what community was all about.

My last year in the house was a nightmare to put it lightly. We got a new female director that year, M, who rubbed me the wrong way right from the start. She said some hurtful things to Ty about me on our retreat the first day of the year. She didn't know I heard. I don't feel like going into detail about that right now, though I will at some point. Suffice it to say, that year, the motto of the KH was "dysfuctions R us."

I really became who I am today during my Gannon years, and I can thank the Kirk House for a big part of that. God was truly good in leading me to that place at that point in time.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I Was Wondering...

Can anyone think of any songs about rainbows other than Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Rainbow Connection? Why am I asking such an inane question?

Well, I began an e-mail to a friend with the question, "So why are there so many songs about rainbows, anyway?" Then I realized that I couldn't think of any songs about rainbows except for those two. Which meant that Kermit was given to wild hyperbole. That would be a shame if it's true. I'd hate to see a childhood icon reduced to the status of a drama queen.

So, now back to real life.

Well, I had Thanksgiving dinner with the couple from the church who was orginally from Pittsburgh. It was a little awkward because I didn't know any of their family, and I'm shy (plus all their kids and grandson were talking about was Halo 2, and I know nothing about video games. Another product of my deprived childhood. ;)). But despite that, it was...familiar. There was no weird food like there was the one time I went to someone's house down here, they turkey tasted bland and slightly dry like it's supposed to, and the stuffing was plain old bread stuffing. It was kind of nice.

I don't remember (and don't feel like looking to see) if I mentioned it, but the pastor from that church e-mailed me. It was nice that he acknowledged me. I e-mailed him back asking him if I could meet with him sometime and talk about everything I have been thinking and reflecting, and praying about. He hasn't gotten back yet, but that's OK.

Talking to someone doesn't mean I'm making a committment, does it? I just think I have taken my contemplations as far as God and I alone can. I need another person to help me to guide my...quest.

Tomorrow my department (all two of us) is moving to the other building. Don't know how I feel about that. I really wish they would just hire me, already. I'm tired of not having benefits (especially since I skipped my period for the past two months - no fear of pregnancy, but who knows what else?), and a few more dollars an hour would be nice. Heck, even a dollar more an hour would be nice (Access people should make more than what I am. They only asked for Excel when they contacted the agency. It was a bonus that I knew Access.).

My NaNo novel kind of hit stagnation. But I'm ok with that. I surpassed 10000 and 20 pages single spaced. I won't be ignoring it now.

I watched Pollyanna on Masterpiece Theatre tonight. My mom wouldn't let me read that when I was a kid. I never really knew why, and I still don't. I mean, she even let me read Judy Blume at an age when I was a little too young for it (in terms of subject matter, not reading level). She let me read pretty much anything I wanted, in fact, as long as she read it too and we talked about it. But I wasn't allowed to read Pollyanna. Hmm.

I'm going to go have English muffins now. Are they the same as crumpets? If so, I think I'm going to start saying that instead. Just because it's a fun word.


Monday, November 22, 2004


Well, yesterday I said that the pastor at the church I've been going to was going to introduce me to a couple who was originally from Pittsburgh next weekend. He went one better. I called home this morning to check my messages and there was one from the wife inviting me to Thansgiving dinner.

Can I just tell you how blown away that leaves me? I've never met these people, they have never met me, and they are inviting me into their home on a day that is traditionally all about family. I don't know how to respond to that, on a lot of levels.

I'm excited and scared and confused and...I need to get home to do laundry.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Stepping Out of the Closet (so to speak)

OK. Get your minds out of the gutter, perverts among you. This has nothing to do with sex.

However, I was reflecting this week that being a Catholic by baptism and exploring a Protestant church is very much like being a gay person and being in the closet, at least here in Louisiana. And that is made even worse when you have worked for the Catholic church in a previous life. I'm afraid of the Catholic people I know rejecting me if they found out I've been going to a Lutheran Church and liking it. I think my manager would just about have a heart attack.

What I really need, what would make all of this easier, would be validation from someone I know who is Catholic. But that isn't forthcoming, I guess.

But this afternoon, I took a big chance and did something out of character for me. I went to lunch with the young adult group at the church I've been going to. The pastor (who remembered my name despite the fact that I have only ever told it to him once) handed me an invitation as I was leaving. I was tempted to ignore it because I was scared, but I don't know anyone close to my age around here and decided to step out of my comfort zone. There were about 10 people there, including the pastor (who is not a young adult, but a good guy). The interesting thing is that no one there was originally from Louisiana. Everyone was from the midwest. I didn't talk much because I didn't know anyone (yeah, I'm an introvert) but I was really comfortable. Culturally, it was a good fit for me. The pastor said he would introduce me to a couple at the church who was originally from Pittsburgh next week.

I have to say, I really, really like it there. People are never welcomed like that in the Catholic Church. I'm just really scared to go any further with this exploration. Maybe I'll take a chance and sit down and talk with the pastor sometime. Maybe Advent - they are doing weekly Wednesday night services then. Maybe the new liturgical year can be a new start.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I'm Still Alive

I just haven't been able to get here to write very much. Still working on NaNo - finally broke 10,000, which was my personal goal. Anything else Imanage to produce is gravy now as far as I'm concerned. What I have completed is 21 single spaced pages. Other than my senior thesis in college, I have never written that much on one thing. Two more pages and I will surpass that, too. I'm really excited and kind of proud of myself.

Work has been a little less awful. I don't much enjoy what I am doing, but at least I'm doing something productive. There is a position open here that I really want to apply for, but I'm not allowed as I am a temp. If the company gave me permission I could, though, but I can't figure out who to ask.

I wanted to share this little piece with y'all (Hi again to my regular reader! Surprised you're still with me given the paucity of updates.). This was in the order of worship for the church I've been going to. They were finishing up their stewardship campaign this past weekend. It started with a story that I chose not to include here because the message is still relevant without it and I don't feel like typing it.

Good stewards care for all that God has entrusted to them, including themselves, and their own faith lives. We've encouraged you over the last few weeks to seriously examine your own stewardship and to consider what more you can give. We have called your attention to several important questions God asks of us: Where are you? What have you done? Where is your brother/sister/neighbor? Who do you say that I am? In those questions is the element of accountability. God does ask certain things of us. God does want to hear us say "Yes!" Surrounding those questions, too, however, are the gifts of grace and forgiveness from a "Yes-saying" God, a God who loves and cares for us, a God who knows we cannot continually give without also receiving. When we feel empty, our lives cannot speak Jesus. In those moments when we feel like we wander through the wilderness, we can come to worship. Here we will know that God is always saying "Yes" to us.

This little piece just really spoke to me. It was a reminder that despite dark days, frustrations, and everything else, God loves me enough to say "Yes" to my creation and my continued existence. And that is a pretty cool thing.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Unrequited Love

No, I haven't been thinking of Charlie Brown and the little red haired girl.

My main character in my NaNoWriMo story (which has a title now: Wall of Windows - go me!) has met up with her secret high school crush (he's a priest now, so at the moment no romance there - though in the rewrite he might become an Episcopal priest...possibilities...) and it made me start to think about my own unrequited high school love.

His name was Mike. He was a CAS student, too, so we had quite a few classes together. He was a quiet guy, even if he was a headbanger. Wasn't the best looking guy, but he wasn't painful to look at either. And he had a wicked sense of humor.

I met him my freshman year, but I didn't really get to know him until one of my best friends started to get interested in one of his best friends (turns out they only dated because they were both tall - gotta love high school reasoning). But the fact of the matter was that I had a crush on him from the beginning. He was a little bit dangerous (to this Catholic school girl who had never even seen a PG rated movie up to this point) and that was cool. Plus, he was a writer, which I loved, since most guys had no interest in that.

Even if he had shown any interest in me whatsoever, I couldn't do anything about it because I wasn't allowed to date until my senior year. But, starting in junior year, there was a little something between us - a connection if you will. I'm sure it was completely platonic on his part, but it gave me a little thrill nonetheless.

Senior year we became closer friends. One of my best memories from that year was having lunch at Pizza Hut with Mike, Chris, Monn and Dave (he of He-Dave fame, though he doesn't know that) after taking the SATs. We all had so much fun that day, and Mike and I really clicked. I just loved his sense of humor. It was biting, and sarcastic, and dark. Just like mine.

A couple weeks after that, he was giving an oral report on the Illiad in English. Our teacher, Mr. McB. kept delaying and talking, and he was just standing in the front of the room waiting to start his report. He was getting impatient, and he gave me a look, which I returned with a grin. Monn noticed and from that day on, any time he walked by or was anywhere near Monn nudged me and said, "Ooh. Electricity, Sheryl. I see sparks!" or various other comments along those lines.

The problem with all this is that he was dating someone by that time. All we knew for sure about her was that she was out of school and didn't go to Langley. Rumor had it that she was 23 and in a metal band. Geeky ol' me couldn't compete with that.

I never really met up with Mike after high school, though I saw him from afar downtown a few times. I think someone told me that he became an accountant or something like that, but I don't know for sure. If he did, that makes me sad. I could see him collaborating with someone on an underground comic or something like that. Preparing tax reports and financial statements just doesn't compare.

Mike H., Langley High School class of 1989, if you happen across this site someday, drop me a line. You are one of the few people from our class I miss.

Alas, my love remains unrequited.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Brk Brk!

I'm sick and tired of labeling and filling pill bottles with candy, which I've been doing for the past two and half days. I'm also feeling decidedly uninspired to write. So instead...

chef jpeg
You are the the Swedish Chef.
You are a talented individual, nobody understands
you. Perhaps it's because you talk funny.

"Brk! Brk! Brk!"
Kokin' der yummee-yummers

"Wild Strawberries...and Creme"

"Der Swedish Chef Kokin' Bokin'"

"Vergoofin der flicke stoobin mit der brk-brk

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Just Checking In

Well, I did end up voting last night. I won't say who I voted for (the wonders of the secret ballot), but I will say I wasn't happy about it. I didn't like either of the major party candidates, and I wouldn't have been happy either way.

Someone once asked me who I could vote for with a clear conscience. Two names came to mind: John McCain and Joe Lieberman. They are both moderate, and I think they are both honorable and ethical. I could deal with seeing either of them in the White House.


Well, I spent the whole day at work today filling pill bottles with candy and packing them in boxes. Yeah. $75,000 for that BA to be a shipping clerk. Is it any wonder I get down sometimes?


My NaNoWriMo story is going pretty well. I got hung up on transitions yesterday, though, so I'm a little bit behind. But honestly, I'm not stressing about word counts. I'm just hoping to break 10,000. I'm over 2,000 so I may actually do it.

Gee. That's pretty much all I have to say. Hmm. Hi again to my regular reader, whomever you may be. It makes me happy to see your ISP pop up in my stats a few times a week. Drop me a line or leave me a comment and introduce yourself, if you like. Or stay anonymous - I do that a lot. Either way, hope you're having a good week.