Yeah, so I've sucked a little at blogging regularly. But it's because I've found and been obsessively reading freakin' awesome weblogs like this, this, this, and this. Oh yeah. And this. Whew. It's been busy and fascinating. How in the world can other people read so many blogs AND write on their own? Annnnnd have a life? I'm pretty much amazed.
I've been spending lots of time with the family lately. Since this is pretty much the last time I'll ever be living at home. (!!)
So, we live in the suburbs. There are no real sidewalks outside of neighborhoods, hardly any crosswalks, and public transportation sucks (does it even exist here?). Tonight three of my siblings and I decided to walk a few miles to Subway (and Handels!) for dinner. On the way there, Anthony asked me if I thought our family is "greener" than the average family. Seriously, where does he get these questions? :) We got into a discussion about it and how we could be more "green." At Subway he told the sandwich guy he didn't want a plastic bag for his kids' meal, because he's "green." The teenage boy looked confused. Probably since the suburb we live in? Is called Green.
It's a little strange how "green" is becoming such a marketable word, though. Everything from TLC's "I've Got Nothing to Wear" to Oprah is touting the trendy "green" label. Glamour magazine even did a special for Earth Day. It's so odd. I'm kind of torn as to whether I think it's a great thing that more people are starting to care about conscientious living or if I'm totally skeptical of their insincerity. Fair weather fans, you know? It's probably a bit of both. Because I can't claim to be some hard and sturdy environmentalist who's living her life completely free of consumerism. But at the same time, I constantly find myself slightly sickened by all of this sugar coating of environmental concerns so as to make it more palatable to those who might not want to risk their comfort. I can't resolve how I feel. I vacillate between wanting to reprimand others and guiltily wishing to be blissfully ignorant. :)
Also? Can we talk about how worried I am about kids and technology? Because. Oh. My. Gosh. I don't think kids play outside much anymore. Honestly, in my day (ha! can't wait to say that to my kids...) we played flashlight tag, ghost in the graveyard, football, kickball...anything and everything outside! We knew all of the kids in the neighborhood and somehow we'd always know what was going on. My mom would let us play for hours at a time without really knowing where we were. (I fear I might be slightly more neurotic as a mother...)
Where have all the kids gone? Is it just my neighborhood or does there seem to be less kids outside in general?! Now they've got computers, AIM, video games cell phones, ipods, Netflix and DVR to entertain them for hours. It's so depressing. My little brother and sister aren't even sure how to go about meeting the kids in the neighborhood. So they stay holed up inside, all plugged in to computer and the TV. So the only way they meet friends is through church groups, school, or camps. Which means someone has to drive them to their friends' house - which means more gas money and carbon emissions. :-) Oh dear. I better stop or I'll completely depress myself. I think that people are forgetting how to interact in person - our companionship is being reduced to emails, Facebook, AIM, blogging (!), and don't get me wrong - I think technology is extremely useful. Dude, I am the Google Queen! I have lived in 3 different countries - the internet keeps me in touch with very mobile friends! My fiance lived out West - without our cell phones and Google chat, it would have sucked even more! : ) But I still think that technology can give another way out from true intimacy. Not just with kids, but with adults, too. We don't need to go out and meet the neighbors, let's just stay inside and watch our 1,000 channels on digital cable. But the difference with kids is that they won't know another way.
If I have kids, there's no way they're gonna have cable or video games. I'll kick them out the door, even if they'll be the ONLY kids playing outside by then. :)
Leany is off and married in Houston, my wedding is increasingly closer (invites almost all sent! tuxedos picked! shower in 2 weeks! registry finished! etc!) and I am surprisingly getting into all of this planning stuff. Black and white, calla lilies and a little burgundy/red wine-ishare the themes of the wedding. Along with love, sustainability and all things FUN!! :) Being at Eileen's wedding actually made me super excited for me and Mike's wedding. (side note: There is no really great way to word that. Let's review our options, shall we? Mike and I's, Me and Mike's, I and Mike's, Mike and Me's....it's been a problem when trying to word this. I generally stick with Our Wedding or My Wedding but that just sounds selfish. Anyway...I just had to vent. It's been bugging me.)
Tomorrow marks my first task as the newly appointed Americorps VISTA for Ohio Campus Compact. A conference call at 11:30 am. I'm so so sooo excited to be a part of such a wonderful organization. Idealistic organizations RULE! Plus, I'll get to hang out with kids. :)
Guess what?! Mike is arriving Saturday, June 30th at 9 am. AHHH!!! The 11 month long distance relationship is almost over... It's about freaking time! : ) Can I just say - I am so excited for the future! This month will be full of family and fun, then Mike comes, then family trip to San Francisco, then job training in Chicago, then moving into the apartment in Dayton, then starting my job! Then getting married, then a wonderful honeymoon in New England (full of bed and breakfasts, farms, Ben and Jerrys, and so much more...) *sigh* :)
amy, jamie, me, and craig rocking out at leany's wedding. so. much. fun!
People keep asking me about life after graduation. After the initial jubilation and sheer excitement of the NOT HAVING TO DO ANYMORE SCHOOLWORK! things have settled a bit. The whole getting-ready-for-a-wedding-in-3-months-and-a-new-job-in-2-months thing is somewhat distracting and keeps me busy.
I graduated at 10am on Sunday, at 9am on Monday, I got a call from Stephanie (lovely mother of 6 beautiful children, whom I have babysat for a few years). So a job basically fell into my lap. I'm working about 4 or 5 hours a day there - eating cereal, making Mac and Cheese, helping them with schoolwork (4 of them are home schooled), swimming, and hugging Anndrea - the SMALLEST 2 year old alive. It's a nice gig and leaves me time to do my own thing.
Our wedding webpage took me a few hours. After which, Anthony promptly dissed. "That would take me 2.4 seconds. Plus, your fonts are kind of boring." Ah, loving brotherly support. My mom and I finished all the invitations and blah blah blah wedding. :) Michael comes in 2 days, WOO! Let's find a place to live.
I need to go fold laundry! make bed! finish watching riding in cars with boys! eat dinner! and hot chocolate!
But instead, I am writing on this thing. Study days at the my school are a few days when studying doesn't really happen. What happens is people drink and procrastinate and sleep in and eat breakfast with their roommates and watch too much TLC and eat too much cereal. Or maybe that's just me. :) I have an exam on every day but Monday next week. And three papers to finish. And then? I'm an effin' college GRADUATE.
Sometimes I hate being a woman. See? Stupid cute shoes! Why must you tempt me? I should know better.
Next. SUNDAY. I GRADUATE NEXT SUNDAY. Last night I was volunteering at a soup kitchen and was talk to another volunteer - a businessman in his 40's who graduated from my college 22 years ago. We were discussing how expensive the school is, and he said, "Well it's all worth it...if you can get gainfully employed, of course!" and gave me a hearty laugh.
I stopped drying the industrial size metal pan I was holding and wanted stay say, "Dude, I just told you, I'm working with inner city youth at an education center next year. Do you think I will be "gainfully employed" EVER?? Don't you think the ways I grew and changed because of what I studied is valuable or is it only getting a well-paying job?" Now, granted, this man was volunteering his Tuesday evening at a soup kitchen, so he's not an evil-spirited, money mongering man (unless it's, like, his way of making up for a DUI? yep, probably a DUI, he did go to UD after all :) Gosh, how much of tangent am I going on here? Speaking of Tangent, I have one. Our school makes us buy them. They SUCK. But at least we get free computer care while we're here. And that has meant a new hard drive, with backed up files!, and a new CD-Rom drive. It's been a rough four years for Lappy. I'm really going wild with these links. Sorry! You just know it's because I'm procrastinating.)
Do you still remember what I was talking about? The guy at the soup kitchen? Gainful employment? Anyway, I, for one, am pretty darn happy to be making next-to-nothing but working towards a more just future in whatever little ways I can. (Check back in a year to see if my youthful idealism has faded. But am marrying an even bigger idealist, so I'd guess not)
How's this for youthful idealism?
Tara (right) and I, circa 1987. (I was actually a little bigger than her at this point! Didn't last long)
The first few steps out of my house and onto the sidewalk fill me with a sense of freedom. I'm leaving my house behind, with all its worries and responsibilities. I am doing something for myself, something besides the endless barrage of schoolwork that hangs over my head. My feet pound methodically on the pavement and my breathing falls into rhythm with my stride. The darkness surrounds me, so as to give me privacy and time free of distractions. This time is truly a mental break from the world. The nighttime is my absolute favorite time to run. It's just me, the road, and the darkness. The cool darkness means I have the streets to myself. A handful of cars might pass me, but they can't see me. I am alone.
Since I've been running for a while now, I'm able to run a few miles without being distracted by the pain of it. I don't usually count down the minutes until I'm done, because I don't even think about the fact that I'm running. It's almost like my body is running so my mind is free. At the end of the day, I can process what happened, what I need to do tomorrow, and what I want to do five years from now. I have resolved arguments, planned out my day, written a paper in my head, and prayed while running. I have learned to face myself more and to take the critical action of really thinking about myself and my day. Instead of plodding through day after day without pausing to take it all in, I am able to withdraw from it all and ponder.
I feel good about myself when I run. I feel healthy and strong and able. Able to push myself and do something. And sometimes, I'll admit, I feel smug. I do. Not that I'm the world's greatest runner or even that I have talent as a runner. But that I am committed to something. I am committed to trying to be healthy - and running is the best way for me to do that, both physically and mentally. :) Running gives me this inexplicable surge of hope and euphoria. I just feel so in control of my life, so in tune with God, and just really at peace. Even if I go on a run because I am totally pissed and I need to get my frustration out, I end up feeling better. It's amazing.
Running isn't about competition or goals for me. I run when I want to and don't when I don't. I might improve a little now and then, but overall, I'm not a fast runner, I don't run everyday, and I can't run forever. But no one knows, no one judges me, it's MY thing. And that's what I love. I hope I'll be able to do it forever.