You’re Really Growing On Me

November29

After dinner with the witty, blue-eyed chap, he indulged my morbid curiosity and took me the BodyWorlds exhibit at Science World. Together we lingered around the plastinated deceased, considering life and death and how on earth they [successfully] created Drawer Man. He was not deterred by my dark and twisty side, which gloried in the company of the cadavers, so we went out again. And again. And so on.

Quite quickly we navigated the no-man’s land of casual dating and the nervous volleys of phone calls and texts fired from the trenches; we made our relationship facebook official. This was followed by several reenactments of Meet the Parents during a marathon weekend of birthday celebrations (his, not mine). After rave reviews from all three sets of parents, my nerves were considerably calmed and we have settled into something I’m reticent to call a serious relationship. Because serious is such a dreadful word – serious condition, serious illness, serious accident, serious repercussions… Serious has a nasty connotation; serious tends to imply that something terrible has been done to you.

I like to think this development is quite wonderful.

Last night, McDreamy – who has earned the moniker by means of  possessing ridiculously thick hair, an impish grin, and eyes blue enough to make Patrick Dempsey jealous – cooked me dinner. After digging into the fabulous meal he whipped up, we sat with our feet propped up on the cold glass of the coffee table and attempted to rationalize how quickly we’ve jumped into our serious relationship. I joked that we had already spent about 150 hours investing in our relationship through phone calls, texts, and various outings, which is more time that some couples invest over a matter of months.  Today, my McDreamy corrected me: we’ve spent 75 hours together and 25 hours speaking on the phone – and that doesn’t include the 3600(ish) text messages we’ve exchanged.

So maybe we’ve jumped into the deep end a little.  I’ve always been a serious relationship sort of girl; I like to have the relationship clearly labeled and understood by both parties. But this time it seems different. For the first time in my life I believe I deserve a brilliant man and it just so happens that one fell into my lap. I’ve got a man in my life who cooks me dinner and remembers my complicated Starbucks orders.  He does all the little thoughtful things that matter.

I could get used to this.

Wilbur

November17

Saturday night (or Sunday morning, depending on how you prefer to think of it), I dreamt I had a little fish.  He was a little blue Betta Fish and I named him Wilbur.  Wilbur and I had a unique bond; we could communicate telepathically, sharing all our thoughts and ideas. I put Wilbur in a glass bowl so that I could take him everywhere with me, including work on Sunday morning. Instead of wrangling my tiny humans at the Bell Campus, our congregation was apparently meeting in the upstairs hallway of the Lynnwood Embassy Suites. Wilbur did not like this and he asked me not to leave him with the giant carps in the water features. I promised I wouldn’t. We roamed the hallways thinking about the much bigger fish and discussing what we would have for lunch.  Later at home, my mother chopped cabbage, and it flew into Wilbur’s bowl. Apparently, I left him sitting on the kitchen counter. He was perfectly thrilled to swim through the leafy vegetables, nibbling as he pleased. He told me how much he loved the cabbage and very much wished that I would give him cabbage every day. I promised I would.  And then Wilbur died. He hopped greedily from his bowl into a pot of chili and gobbled and gobbled. Once he had gobbled his full, he floundered, unable to swim. He tried to call to me, but by the time I found him in the chili and dug him from the mass of beans and beef, it was too late.  He swam no more and floated belly-up in his bowl.  When I woke up, I felt a pervasive sense of loss.

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s normal to dream so vividly or to respond to dreams with such a depth of emotion.

Sleeps.com offers the following to help interpret my dream:

To see live fish in a dream is very much good luck unless the fish was carp, in which case it is a warning against subjecting yourself by your actions to criticism. A fish swimming in clear water is an omen that you will acquire personal wealth and power. but to see a dead fish as in a market is an omen of disappointment. Cooking and eating fish, except carp, indicates your present endeavors will meet with success.

Hmmm…

LBD

November10

Today I bought the most perfect little black dress.  I put it on and stood in front of the mirror, blinking blankly at myself, genuinely surprised because it fit. It fit really, really well.  Despite my hard-to-dress, slightly disproportionate petit frame, it looked as thought it had been made for me. It brought out the absolute best parts of me and it made me feel like a million bucks.  Even though the Christmas party, to which I intend to wear the dress, is over a month away, I had to try it on once more once I got home, and the child in me wanted to play princess and bounce around, dressed to the nines in my fabulous dress.

I guess that’s all anyone can really ask for – the perfect fit that brings out the very best in you, but maybe I’m not just talking about the dress anymore.

posted under The Norm | 1 Comment »

Blue Eyes and Witty Quips

November9

With exception to a minor detour via the Jersey Shore (major guido!) I’ve been single for three years. I’ve been on a handful of dates in that time, the result of which was a collection of unbelievable stories (no really, you wouldn’t believe them if I told them to you!) and a firm conviction that getting a latte and manicure by oneself is the most lovely way to spend an afternoon.  I had become perfectly content with being single. However, I recently met someone who isn’t at all content with the idea of my single lady status, and he seems set on changing this. So I’ve started dating again.

I hate dating.  I hate lingering in the no-man’s land between interest and relationship. I hate panicking about what I’m going to wear. I hate feeling my stomach drop because I catch myself about to leave the house with the price tag still on my sweater.  I hate sitting across a dinner table, unsure of what the person on the opposite side thinks about me. And I hate feeling like I’m going to hurl while doing all of the above. The entire process is thoroughly exhausting.

But as it turns out, last Friday I found myself sitting opposite of  this particular chap, sharing a piece of chocolate cake, and descending into fits of giggles.  And I suppose he found me to be charming enough; we’re going out again on Thursday.  What can I say? I’m a sucker for blue eyes and witty quips.

Things I Hate #473: Not Being There

November9

For the first time, I feel like my life in Canada is taking root and flourishing. I love both of my jobs; I work with some of the most fabulous, exciting, inspiring co-workers and tiny humans. School is going really well and I’m enjoying my coursework. My group of friends is growing. And I went on a date (!) last Friday with a pretty great guy.  Still, at times it feels like I’ve left little pieces of my heart with other people, friends with whom I share so many treasured memories. I realize we all grow up and scatter; it’s part of the journey. We all have to spread our wings eventually, and sometimes the wind carries us in unexpected directions. Kiana is applying for jobs that could take her overseas, or – at least – out of Washington. James works for Boeing; he has a real, grown-up, super important job as an engineer.  Simon is about to graduate film school, at which point he’ll be increasingly free to tell the world some incredible stories.  And I feel like I’m missing it. I don’t get to share their journeys the way I used to.

Today, I learned another of our friends is having a hard time.  He’s been a brilliant friend to me through the years, and I have some very dear memories of growing up with him. He was one of my closest friends, and we spent many a summer night sharing secrets and singing country songs together.  More acutely than with the others, I feel disconnected from his journey. I’m powerless to do anything to help him. We’re thousands of miles apart, and any offer to be there for him feels so hollow.

I really hate not being there.

Drops in the Bucket

October28

Days like today, I become acutely aware of my own mortality. I just heard that a friend lost his grandfather, and it’s sobering. I appreciate the way my friend spoke of the matter; he said that life is fleeting, and our time on earth is just a quick drop in the bucket. So true!  Yet we spend so much time pursuing the wrong things while our proverbial drops race towards the bottom of the bucket and disappear into the mass of other drops that have gone before us. We should all be more concerned about the ripples we’re making because once we’ve hit the bottom of the bucket, the ripples are all that will  remain. The kinds of ripples we make ultimately define the kind of people we are and the way we’ll be remembered.

Several years ago, I had just begun dating someone when his great aunt passed away. I never learned the woman’s real name; to everyone, myself included, she was Aunty Boo-Boo.  I’m not sure why she was called Aunty Boo-Boo and I’m positive her real name was something along the lines of Ruby or Muriel or Maureen; her real name was nothing like Boo-Boo, I knew that much.  Aunty Boo-Boo had been a hoarder, of sorts. She was a high-class hoarder, however.  She was very wealthy and her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder manifested itself in her need to buy every color available of whatever she purchased. If she wanted a set of blue towels, she would buy the same set in pink and peach and yellow and green.  She would use the blue towels and the pink and peach and yellow and green towels lived forever in boxes piled floor to ceiling.  It should not surprise you that I became the recipient of many relics de Boo-Boo as the family set about cleaning out her mansion of treasures.  I received what I affectionately call my Boo-Boo beads, two long strings of black plastic beads that were coming in to fashion once again on the eve of Boo-Boo’s death.  The boyfriend’s mother also gave me a greeting card box with smiling twin kittens on the front of it; Kitten Cuties, the box says. Inside were innumerable treasures – a WWII era Navy Booster pin, a Navy production award pin, pretty silver ring, a quality set of false pearls, and an antique 14 karat gold Hamilton timepiece. These were of little consequence compared to the real jewelry the family divvied up. From what I saw, Boo-Boo was a woman of impeccable taste.  What strikes me whenever I think about Aunty Boo-Boo is the long arm of her legacy.  As a girl that never met Aunty Boo-Boo, I carry her antique treasures, and I will carefully preserve them and pass them on to someone else in the future.

We’re all like Aunty Boo-Boo in one regard or another. Our actions all impact other people. Sometimes our zany actions lead to great stories told at dinner parties after a compliment on a killer set of beads or a unique pin. Our actions also have the possibility to create a legacy of infamy, transforming the very memories of us into the skeletons in the someone else’s closet. Or, if we are wise and blessed, our actions can leave footprints on other people’s hearts, forever making the world a better place. I know what kind of ripples I intend to make.

posted under Reflections | 1 Comment »

Things I Love #9: This Poem

October27

I find this delightfully witty. And true.

Bloody Men
by Wendy Cope

Bloody men are like bloody buses –
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You’re trying to read the destination,
You haven’t much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you’ll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.

Things I Love #74: A Rocket To The Moon

October12

My musical obsession du jour is A Rocket To The Moon, a pop-rock group from Braintree, Massachusetts. (As an aside, Braintree has got to be the coolest city name of all time, but let us not digress).  A Rocket To The Moon is reminiscent of the pop-rock I devoured as a tween, but the bands tunes are more delicately nuanced. The band’s infectious melodies and subtle lyrics are perfectly paired.

Also, I met the lead singer, Nick Santino, last month. I didn’t realize he was nearly so cute until I looked at the picture we took and saw his freckles. Isn’t he the cutest?

I now have a fascination with freckles and voluminous greaser-inspired hair.

Check out some of their original stuff…

And a totally awesome cover…

Things Things I Hate #327: Columbus Day

October12

I hate Columbus Day.  I hate the fact that we praise him as the man that discovered the “new world.”  When Columbus reached the Americas, there was already an indigenous population. They had discovered the land and settled it long before he did. Moreover, Leif Eiriksson, a viking explorer, reached North America some 500 years before Columbus set sail.

So why all the fuss about Columbus?  Why does he get a day? I wish I knew.

The history books gloss over the atrocities committed by Columbus and his men. I can’t say I disagree with this, as his actions were very gruesome and not at all appropriate for small children. Yet, by secondary school, you’d think more educators would take strides to rouse us from our blissful ignorance about Columbus and his expeditions. From his first interactions with one people group, the Arawaks of the Bahama Islands, Columbus planned to capture and enslave this peaceful group.  Of them, Columbus wrote:

They willingly traded everything they owned… They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features… They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

This was, eventually, what Columbus and his men set out to do.  He exaggerated the resources of the Americas and was given a seventeen-ship fleet and 1,200 men to snatch up any and all resources.  Historian Howard Zinn (whom I love, love, love and mourn, nearly 9 months after his death) wrote:

The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives. But as word spread of the Europeans’ intent they found more and more empty villages. On Haiti, they found that the sailors left behind at Fort Navidad had been killed in a battle with the Indians, after they had roamed the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor (emphasis added).

As you can imagine, Columbus and his cadre hardly showed their captives common respect. It isn’t surprising that a multitude died needlessly.  Sea travel, disease, and brutality took its toll, and Columbus was unable to repay those who invested in his slave trade. He turned his attention to hunting for gold and mutilated the natives who could not bring it to him.   The Europeans had lofty dreams of fields laden with gold; this was not a reality. The small pieces of gold the indigenous populations had were happened across in streams, no more than tiny flecks. Still, Columbus pressed the Arawaks.  Zinn wrote:

…they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.

Avoiding the brutality, the Arawaks commited mass suicides and killed their babies to save them from a life of torture. Zinn offers startling statistics: within two years, half of the 250,000 Haitian Indians had committed suicide or been killed by the Spanish; by 1650, none of the indigenous people or their ancestors remained on the island

Columbus represents a dark period of history that merits careful reflection, not celebration.  He did not discover North America. Instead, he laid the groundwork for brutal subjugation and domination over those Europeans encountered in the “new world.”  I cannot fathom why we would possibly designate a day in his honor.  This seems akin to celebrating the slave traders that brought hundreds of Africans to the United States in the eighteenth century. It’s our duty to dig through history as best as we can and to preserve and protect it in its purest form. Continuing to celebrate Columbus Day shrouds the man’s actions in fiction and undeserved glory. As a generation of young people with the power to write truer, more-accessible history, we need to educate ourselves and others, lest we proliferate the same moral failings in the future.

If you’re curious about Columbus or other dark and twisty parts of history, I encourage you to pick up some of Zinn’s books. A People’s History of the United States is a particularly riveting read.  It chronicles the United States from the time of Columbus through the 2000 Election from the view of the underdogs in society. He writes the little known stories of women, slaves, and war vets and adds a fabulous human dimension to history.  Read it. You’ll love it. And it’ll make you think.

Things I LOVE #993: Border Agents

October8

First, should begin by saying I love men in uniform. I’m not so sure that it’s the uniform itself that interests me so much or the fact that the man wearing the uniform is usually forced to launder said uniform frequently, have his pants sit at a reasonable altitude, and keep his shirts buttoned at the right holes.  I know that sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many men I’ve dated that can’t grasp those concepts.  I pseudo-dated one guy who owned two pairs of jeans and confessed – on our first undate, no less – that he only washed his jeans every few months.  My stomach turns whenever I really think about that one; so I try not to really think about it. That’s on the distant end of the gross-continuum, I realize, but it illustrates a point: a lot of men (not all!) need a woman to nag them into basic levels of hygiene. As someone that feels like she’s become the mother of a rambunctious five year old in past relationships, I’m giddy at the thought of striking hygiene from my nag list.  This, however, has been a massive digression from my point…

Border Agents.

They have a certain self-assurance, if not arrogance about them that I find intriguing.  And they seem to really like me.

Two weeks ago (or was it three?), when Mogo and I ventured southward for the Hanson concert in Seattle, we were hauled into secondary. Mark, the border agent that had to deal with me, was lovely.  I realized as soon as he pulled me into his little closet-office and said, “It’s cool. You can call me Mark,” that I didn’t have anything to worry about. I didn’t particularly care that I had to surrender my green card either, with exception to the fact that doing so dashed my dreams of, well, Mark and a life with him south of the line. Once Mark had finished making me giggle through my questioning session, he had to go outside to a dreary booth, leaving me in the very capable hands of a fine cadre of young agents. Said young agents, who weren’t kind enough to introduce themselves, spent an hour teasing me about my Hanson event (“I don’t believe you! Those guys are like 40. Somebody google it.”) and casting me the occasional smile between cursing at their crashing computers. There’s something very flattering about having the attention of 3 or 4 reasonably attractive men in uniform, let me tell you.

Fast forward until today…

The US Border agent on the south-bound leg of my lightening-fast trip chatted with me for several confusing moments before asking for my ID.  It was an admittedly slow afternoon.  Our conversation went as follows:

Him:  Good afternoon, ma’am. How you doin’?

Me: I’m great.

Him: I’m so glad to hear it

Me: Uh, thanks. How are you?

Him:  I’ve got issues.  Think you can help me?

Me:  **speechless moment** I could recommend a few good therapists.

Him:  Nah. I’m usually alright, as long as I’m medicated. *wink*

Me:  **rendered entirely speechless**

Him:  Where you goin’?

Me:  Bellingham

Him:  Retail therapy?

Me: uh, that’s the plan.

Him:  Can I see your ID?  **takes ID** **looks at ID** Well, Miss Naomi, what  are you gonna bring me back?

Me:  I’m planning on heading back through the Pac Highway crossing, sorry.

Him:  Well that’s too bad!  Have a fun trip.

Me: Uhhhh, thanks. Have a good one.

Him: **long awkward pause** So, uh, you’re good to go.

Me: Thanks.

Awkward. But flattering.

I’m under the impression that the border agents on both sides have some sort of secret network. As I returned to Canada, yes, taking the Pac Highway crossing (yes, to avoid the over-eager border agent at Peace Arch), the border agent jokingly asked me, “What did you bring me?”   He did, however, ask for my ID and make the normal inquiries before hand. The Canadians are clearly more professional.

So I like border agents. I’ve found I have little hassle crossing the border if the agent is under 35, especially if I roll up playing Mmmbop, smiling sweetly like I’m everything that is sunshiny and wonderful in the world.  This is an advantageous discovery, and it has greatly simplified my travels.

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I am a blue-jeans-wearing, latte-drinking, 20-something, displaced Seattleite living outside Vancouver, British Columbia. I’m the girl you’ll see with a venti Starbucks cup (quad venti hazelnut nonfat latte) permanently fixed in my left hand and a massive purse. I love fast cars, great books, intelligent comedies, thought-provoking conversations, and flip flops. While some consider me a shopaholic, I prefer the title “shoe collector.”

By day, I work in Children’s Ministry and produce The Kindlings, a podcast about faith, culture, and “things that matter in contemporary life.”  By night, I’m an aspiring novelist with a narcissistic twitter addiction.