Monday, October 31, 2005

May your Halloween be better than my Yesterday

Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day- a pumpkin day. Alas, I spent most of yesterday in bed. This is the tactic I famously use when I am depressed. The entire day started out horribly and continued to be horrible. (I will not incriminate any husbands.) At a certain point I felt so numb that the tears just poured down my expressionless face. Feeling like a complete waste of space, disappointed in my unused, uninteresting theology degree, furious at my in-laws for asking Darin how much I got paid, furiouser at Darin for answering, missing home, regretting my choices, wanting more out of life, just plain angry... But the worst part about yesterday? My mom had emergency surgery.

I got a semi-panicked call from my brother Dave about noon. Apparently mom had been rushed to the hospital just moments after I talked to her Saturday night while dad was on a weekend retreat. She was having stomach pains, so I told her it "must have been the Splenda." I also gave her the bad advice of ordering in from our favorite Mexican restaurant and renting old movies. Good one, Louise.

Warning- Gross description to follow: Turns out that mom had a fifteen-year-old lump of fat on her stomach that formed in order to protect her body for some reason. (My mother has a lot of health problems, so we're not sure why.) Her intestine started to strangle the lump, causing it to leak. Luckily, no intestine was damaged and the surgery was successful. After a few days in the hospital, mom should be back to her definition of 'normal.'

After Darin forced me out of bed, we went on a walk through the leaf-flooded ravine behind our apartment. The weird day ended with alcohol, ice cream, and Monsters, Inc. Considering the circumstances, I slept very well.

I hereby declare that today will be a Good Day! I have the entire day to read/relax, my triceps ache gloriously from my morning workout, my coffee is dark and delicious, and What Not to Wear is on in twenty minutes. Things can only get better from here, right? Right? Um... Guys?

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Friday, October 28, 2005

I'll Be Home for Christmas?

On the way home from the market, Darin brought up our Thanksgiving plans. He told me that he would like to take a few days off from work so we could visit his hometown family and friends. Something in me snapped and my happy-go-lucky persona did a 180. I viciously replied with an unnecessary comment about how Darin needs his mommy. After Husband's surprise turned to anger, he demanded why I said that. I dissolved into tears and sobbed, "I wanna go HOME!" Turns out I'm the one who needs her mommy.

When Jim returns from his vacation next week, I am going to present him with reasons why I should be allowed a week or two off from work during Christmas. Pray for me- I need this!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The homosexual workplace

I am in an entirely different environment working in fashion retail. I am no longer surrounded by Latin verbs or cradle Catholics. The Real World has been a challenge with some fun thrown in with a dash of employee discounts. One of the difficult yet most interesting aspects of fashion retail is interacting with different "lifestyles."

My manager is a practicing homosexual. Until today, I could have told you that he never mentioned this to me. The men that I work with are typically artsy and well-dressed. Many of them are also, like Jim, practicing homosexuals. Most of them do not advertise this fact. Tommy, on the other hand...

Tommy started working with me about a week ago. He is a stylish fella, a pretty nice fella. His mother is Jewish and his father is Catholic, so he calls himself a "Cashew." (I found this rather clever.) The first thing I noticed about Tommy was how friendly he was while introducing himself. The second thing I noticed was how tight his pants were on his bottom. The third thing I noticed? Tommy seems to feel a need for everyone to know that he is a practicing homosexual. He interjects the fact into almost every sentence- including staff meetings.

Shift leader: We are getting a shipment Friday night-
Tommy: You know where I'll be- at the club for gay night!

Shift Leader: These new jeans are men's-
Tommy: Well, I know men.

If a straight man said anything like the above regarding women, it would be sexual harrassment. Tommy also tends to boss around, snatch coworker's customers if he finds them attractive, and interrupts constantly. My impression of Tommy is that he does not find his identity outside of being homosexual. He does not see himself as an individual human person, but merely as a part of the homosexual movement. My opinion on active homosexual lifestyles aside (rather the Church's opinion), this is not right.

Despite our differences, Tommy and I get along just fine and work together well. Maybe just by loving him and treating him with kindness, he will come to a better understanding of his primary identity as a beloved child of God.

My existence outside of the comfortable Little Catholic Bubble is collectively amusing, scary, disheartening, and pleasant. I hope I keep my identity in check, too!

Friday, October 21, 2005

To my neglected readers

As I am acquainting myself with the new work schedule, I haven't been posting as often. My apologies, oh illustrious blog viewers. Here are some highlights/lowlights of the week thus far:

  1. Working at the GAP has been great! Compared to my old insurance job? Let's just say that we actually have a training program regarding what the job entails, unlike said insurance co.- And I am a believer that insurance is more important than fashion. That was the hardest part of working for the insurance company. I may have royally screwed up people's life insurance because of my lack of training.
  2. The first few weeks of a new job is the hardest part for me because of the criticism. I don't like it when "the scary turtleneck lady" (a moniker which my co-worker Azra gave one of the managers) constantly informs me of the "way things are done." I mean, I'm still learning! Don't take that tone with me! Wench! But seriously, I don't mind that much. She's just a scary turtleneck lady that overdoes her job.
  3. Going from seeing Darin too much to not seeing him at all has put a strain on our relationship. We're actually in a "fight" right now... well, actually... I am in a fight with him. The apologetic messages on my cell to giving me much-needed back massages do not change the inherent fact that I am a stubborn German woman. Groan.
  4. The leaves are finally changing and I love it! On the west coast we don't have many trees that change colors. Very beautiful.
  5. I still miss my crazy mom.
  6. I desperately need chapstick. If anyone has seen a tube of Burt's Bees sans label, please contact my dry lips.
  7. Hey, you know how McDonald's has been advertising their "Premium Roast" coffee? Well, I finally tried it yesterday morning on my way to work. It's GOOD! Better than Tim Horton's.
  8. I need to pray more. I need more motivation. I feel very secular right now, and I am not sure when/how to combat it.
Thanks for stopping by! I promise that my next post will cover something more interesting. Au revoir!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Inlaw Lovin'

My in-laws are visiting this weekend. Which is good. I like them a lot and we've known each other for years. Things are a tad awkward right now- Darin went to work, leaving me with them for eight hours. Mr. Dad is tinkering with the beautiful oak dresser he built for us (and a bedside table to match!) while Mrs. Mom reads a book about Celtic spirituality. I, on the other hand, alternate between reading my latest Agatha Christie, surfing the net, and changing outfits on a whim. These various activities are dotted with conversation about nothing in particular.

This is the first time the Mr. and Mrs. have visited Darin and I since we've been married. I have definitely impressed them with my unique culinary and Feng-Shui decorating skills. Napoleon Dynamite says, "Yesss." I am very different from my husband's parents. I have absolutely no qualms about disagreeing and arguing with Mr. Dad about ethics and religion, making me the antithesis of his placid wife. I don't think he's used to lasses of a fiery nature such as myself. That's what a Catholic liberal arts education will do to ya. And compared to Mrs. Mom I am a sloppy disaster. No wonder Darin had a hard time with my ability to actually leave the dishes in the sink overnight.

In 30 minutes, we are meeting Darin at Applebee's. I feel like steak. Take that literally if you like. Oh, and tonight I am going to treat our guests to classic film viewing pleasure.
***Brace yourselves for this next comment. Stop reading completely if you are prone to heart failure and/or hemorroids.***

My inlaws have never seen a Fred Astaire movie.

Have no fear- this enigmatic issue will be resolved as of 9 p.m. Eastern time.

UPDATE: I miss my mom and dad desperately. I miss their quirky personalities, their immature way of arguing, their innate understanding of who I am, my mother's raucous laugh, my dad's annoyingly obvious comments... I am homesick and I need "love vibes" from Mutti. (This is when she hums while holding me super tightly.) This weekend visit has deepened my need for mom and dad. I called Ma after they left and cried,"I need you! Even though you and Pop annoy the hell out of me sometimes, I need you!" She understood perfectly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I'm Cocoanuts

"I can see it now: you and the moon - wear a necktie so I'll know you." -Groucho

There's nothing like a good Marx Brothers flick. Watching Harpo accost every female in sight makes my day. Ooh, I came across this great cartoon:

I'm a huge Muppet fan. At age five I would pretend that I was Jim Henson's daughter, assisting him in creating his puppets and such.

I got the job, by the way. I am now a lingerie consultant. Poor mom. She's a bit scandalized by my new career. "What!? Oh, honey... Do be careful." "Don't worry," I reply. "I'll make sure the underwire can't cut me."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Coffee, Artichokes, and Weird Al

I am glad to say that today was one of those rare "perfect days." Since Darin worked all night, I made sure to stay up relatively late reading a book. (Unfortunately, it was one of those murder mysteries where the main character is disturbingly similar to yourself. FREAKY. I had to call Darin twice.) He came home early this morning and we slept until noon. I could have gotten up earlier, but I was much too warm and comfortable. A definite bonus of unemployment.

I brewed the last of my Jack Daniel's coffee and enjoyed a buttered english muffin while Darin feasted on strawberry poptarts and his grapefruit juice concoction. The weather was perfectly cool and crisp. An apple cider and pumpkin day. We began it with overdue grocery shopping, selecting pillows for our new couch, window shopping, and simply enjoying each other's company. After dinner, we started off for Michael's to buy frames for our apartment decor, namely Mary Mark's "Still Life with Artichokes" and Klimt's "The Kiss."

At a rather long stoplight, we noticed a Hollywood Video employee waiting in angst to get across the street to work. (Darin and I recognized his uniform immediately because we were shift leaders at HV for three years.) It was exactly 5 o'clock, so we assumed it was time for work. The purple-shirted young man (let's call him Herb) paced maniacally, growled, and kept hitting the button that supposedly controls the stoplights. They totally don't. As Darin yelled in vain, "They're only there for your peace of mind! They don't care if you want to cross the street!" Anyway, Darin and I had a big laugh watching poor Herb and his dilemma develop as not one bloody car let him cross. When the light finally turned green and the white glowing man miraculously appeared, Herb booked it across the street to Hollywood Video with flailing arms and a desperate face, not paying any attention to the blind Michigan drivers almost colliding into him. Darin and I just hysterically laughed. Poor Herb.

After our errands I ran into Starbucks for a vanilla latte, and we headed home. Oh, and I got 10 cents off my drink because I answered their trivia question correctly: "What country does the word 'chai' come from?" I said omnisciently, "It is a Chinese word meaning 'tea.' 'Chai tea,' therefore, is quite a redundant phrase." Amazing what one can learn from a Celestial Seasonings box.

The entire day was highlighted with Weird Al car music. Darin rapped. It was simultaneously hilarious and screwy. I had to remind Darin that he is an Ohioan white boy. Here's an excerpt of my husband's musical talent (he has this memorized):

Always at my PC, double-clickin' on my mizouse
Upgrade my system at least twice a day
I'm strictly plug-and-play, I ain't afraid of Y2K
I'm down with Bill Gates, I call him "Money" for short
I phone him up at home and I make him do my tech support
It's all about the Pentiums, what?
You've gotta be the dumbest newbie I've ever seen
You've got white-out all over your screen
You think your Commodore 64 is really neato
What kinda chip you got in there, a Dorito?
You're usin' a 286? Don't make me laugh
Your Windows boots up in what, a day and a half?
You could back up your whole hard drive on a floppy diskette
You're the biggest joke on the Internet
Your database is a disaster
You're waxin' your modem, tryin' to make it go faster
Hey fella, I bet you're still livin' in your parents' cellar
Downloadin' pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar
And postin' "Me too!" like some brain-dead AOL-er
I should do the world a favor and cap you like Old Yeller
You're just about as useless as jpegs to Helen Keller

Darin actually understands what the above means. Computers. I live with a man and eight computers.

I am home now and the apartment is decorated and rationed. The soundtrack from "Annie" is playing and I just finished doing a little dance routine to "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile." Darin laughed. Out of pity? Out of embarrassment? Perhaps, but he's too nice to mention it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Cute Animal Quiz

Happy Sunday! Since Darin will be at a friend's house all day (and not home until tomorrow because of his mentally-ill work schedule), I must amuse myself. What better way to waste one's time than taking a quiz to find out what cute animal you would be if God changed His mind? Ah, the mysteries of life... It'll give you a little self-esteem boost, too. "I'm a wittle duckie? I'm not such a lazy self-righteous wench after all!" See what I mean? Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

You Are A: Puppy!

puppy dogBeloved by all, puppies are energetic, playful, and loving. Your playful and outgoing nature is part of what makes you a puppy. Known for their loyalty, puppies make great pets for young and old alike. And an innocent puppy face can melt anyone's heart!

You were almost a: Pony or a Bunny
You are least like a: Turtle or a FrogWhat Cute Animal Are You?

Take the quiz and report back with your results!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

In a Name

Some of you have wondered about the title of my blog. If you are still in wonder, keep reading.

Lucy looked hard at the garden and saw that it was not really a garden but a whole world, with its own rivers and woods and sea and mountains. But they were not strange; she knew them all. "I see," she said. "This is still Narnia, and more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below, just as it was more real and more beautiful than the Narnia outside the stable door! I see... world within world, Narnia within Narnia..."

This excerpt from C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle describes the ending of the enchanted world of Narnia. I have had a devotion to the Chronicles of Narnia since I was about five years old. When I was ten, my brother David suggested that I read the entire series every three years or so. He told me, "The stories will change as you have changed." I took his advice and found that he was absolutely correct. As I mature, these so-called children's books mature with me. The stories and characters change, the typology deepens, and my understanding continues to awaken. They bring me back to the 'basics' of what the Christian life is truly about.

Since I graduated,stepped out of my little catholic college, and got married, my world has gotten bigger. It is the same as it was, but as Lucy affirms, it is "more real and more beautiful." In short, "world within world" is what I am presently experiencing.

"World within world," however, extends far beyond my current status. The phrase also refers to my quest, my purpose. As I strive to know, love, and serve God (and continually fail, I might add), my hopeful end is heaven. Lewis' description of heaven in The Last Battle somehow gives me motivation to continue striving towards becoming a better person: I want to see a deeper, better, bigger, more awesome earth, where there is no such thing as 'subjective truth.'

So, friends... I hope this somewhat crude posting makes a little sense. I hope each of you have a lovely autumn day!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Just give me a d@mn job!

I feel at peace with my decision to leave the sketchy insurance company. No more jokes about rewarding a job well done with milk and cookies instead of a stiff drink at the bar like "normal people," no more secret meetings solely dedicated to trashing other employees, and no more "Join-us-and-make-40K-a-year!" false promises. I've spent much of this past week watching the Style network, scouring antique stores for my much-needed dose of Agatha Christie paperbacks, Jazzercising (it's not just for blue-hairs anymore!), and hangin' with hubby.

On a whim, I went into the mall yesterday to see if the GAP was hiring. Yes, they are. Yes, I interviewed on the spot because the manager's 3 o'clock appointment didn't show. Yes, I had a second interview with the merchandising manager this morning. Yes, they love me. Moral of the story- start potentially crappy days with a Memorare.

I believe I will get the job. I'm pleased, but a little heartbroken because this means that I probably won't be able to fly home for Christmas, as the holidays are when the employees are most needed. Sigh. I desperately want to go home for the holidays. But who can resist a 50% discount?

On a lighter note, my Astaire & Rogers DVD Collection came today. I'll make Darin watch The Barkleys of Broadway with me tonight before he pulls yet another all-nighter at work. When he has to work all night, I stay up as late as possible so we can sleep together longer when he comes back at 8 am.

I know this next paragraph will not flow as well as a college graduate's "professional" blog should, but this is funny. I walked in the apartment yesterday and Darin was asleep on the couch with nothing on but my bright yellow ladybug boxers. (Laugh, twitter, tweet)

I 'll be back later. In the meantime, enjoy this wedding picture.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Getting to know me

1. Laughs are good. Laugh a lot. Humor is not from Beelzebub.

2. As a strong Catholic, I invite anyone to disagree with me. Let's discuss our differences and embrace our similarities. I love my Catholic faith and believe in everything She teaches. Bring any questions to the table and we'll talk!

3. Books rock my world. From Poirot to Betsy & Tacy, from Theology of the Body to Harry Potter, books trump television in a major way.

4. ...But I do like my TV... I am a follower of TCM, "Desperate Housewi
ves," "What Not to Wear," "How Do I Look?," and am trying on "Reunion" for size.

5. Gumby is the greatest cartoon ever made. Who agrees with me?

6. Van Gogh is a genius. My brother has a mug with his portrait on it: when you pour hot liquid into the mug, his ear disappears. I could amuse myself with that cup all day.

7. Although I adore Gene Kelly with an unhealthy passion, no one compares to Fred Astaire.

8. I have a coffee addiction. My new favorite is the "Jack Daniel's" blend. I am not a lush by any means, but the java has a lovely subtle flavor.

9. Marriage is more difficult in certain ways than I thought it would be and easier in others. Now when I am angry, I can't run back to my dorm room in tears and make cookies with my girls. Darin and I are now forced to immediately solve the conflict. This has been challenging, but wonderful for our relationship as well.

10. My confirmation saint is Perpetua.

11. My favorite accessory? Shoes! (On Sale!) Oh, and a good lip gloss is crucial to any face.

12. Because of my friend Angel, a White Russian is my current alcoholic beverage of choice. My classic favorite is a "Bun Warmer," hot chocolate with a generous amount of peppermint Schnapps.

13. A "half-assed Catholic" is one who has no intention of following the teachings of the Church, yet calls oneself a Catholic. I have little tolerance for half-assed Catholics. If you're gonna do somethin', do it right! I will temporarily step down from the podium.

14. I love to exercise! Jazzercise is a great way to do it. Cardio, strength, stretch, dance... it's a blast. My instructer Sophia is amazing and oh so fun.

15. My family: I am the youngest of five- 3 sisters and a brother. We are all amazingly different, too. My parents are hippy pagans turned staunch catholics. Very funny people.

16. I just quit my job at an insurance company for several reasons: first, my boss would shamelessly gossip/lie about others in the office. Secondly, he was dishonest about the job's perks and pay. Thirdly, I am much too fun for insurance.

17. I love my animals. I have a black mutt named Pepper, Lulabelle the cat (my pride and joy), and a mother-daughter kitty duo named Betsy and Tacy. Sadly, they live with my parents on the west coast, so I don't see them often.

18. I think I am getting a job at the GAP. Heaven. For a job.

19. Switchfoot is an amazing band! Check 'em out. They are one of the very few secular bands who support the pro-life cause.

20. Darin and I definitely want a lot of kids, but we are postponing right now with Natural Family Planning because he is still in school for Graphic Design.

21. No, NFP is not "Catholic Birth Control."

22. My friend Megen says I dance "ghetto." I say she's probably right.

23. Did I mention I love being Catholic?

24. If I could do anything at all, I would perform for a living. Acting and music are my passions, and I must admit that I am very good at them. My grandfather was an actor, too. (Most of his career was in theatre.) I would have loved to meet him.

25. I used to show horses, but it proved to be the type of thing that whoever has the most money does the best. I plan to get more horses someday and just have fun with them- no unnecessary competition.

26. A major reason I started this blog is to write more and write better. I want to keep up on my edumacation. Oh, and I would love to make new friends and keep old ones through this blogamajig, too. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Let's try this again...

I have to admit that I tried this once before about five months ago, but wedding planning, an evil academic dean, and college graduation in the works made a blog practically impossible. I am glad to say that I am back! A little more composed, a little more confident, a little happier. A little wiser, perhaps? I have now been married 2 1/2 months. After an extremely intense four years of dating, Darin and I have experienced an amazing growth in friendship these past few months. I am fortunate to be able to experience all these changes coming my way with him and Him. Get my drift?