Monday, December 27, 2010

Doctors: Useless Waste of Money or Heroic Life Savers?

If you know my family very well, or if you know my mom at all, it should come as no surprise to you that I have only had a handful of doctors appointments in the 22 years I have been alive. I have NEVER had a good experience in a doctors office. Now, you might argue that no one ever has fun during a doctors appointment. However, I will respond to that with this; I have never been helped by a doctor in any way, shape or form.

My first experience with a physician occurred, or didn't occur, at the time of my birth. You see, no one believed my mom knew what she was talking about when she was shouting that she was in transition  down the hospital hallway. The nurse had to actually see the top of my head before she even believed that my mom was pregnant, therefore, the doctor barely made it in time to help me into this world.

That should have tipped me off. I should have just know from that point on that no doctor would ever try to actually help me.

As a child, I had very few check-ups. However, if something was really wrong my mom was not completely opposed to checking with a doctor to making sure I wasn't on the brink of death.  I wish she would have just let me die.

I was six, or seven, or maybe eight years old. I don't even really remember what was wrong, I just remember not being able to walk and having to stay in bed forever. So my mom decided to take me to the doctor. Dr. Jacobson A.K.A. Dr. Hateful Jerk. Now if my mom took one of us to the doctor, it meant we all had to go to the doctor. So when Dr. HJ came in to see me, he was also greeted by Mom, Mary, Tj, Amy and Emily (possibly Cody as well, depending on what my actual age was). Now, I was a very modest and shy little girl. I didn't even like to look at strangers, let alone talk to them. Did Doc. HJ care about that? Nope. He made me take my clothes off. I had never been so humiliated in my life. Standing in the doctors office naked, being poked and prodded, while my entire family watched. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Tj laughed! Ooooh, it still makes me so mad! People who think that stuff doesn't matter to children are stupid. You should never make a child do something that a grown-up would be humiliated to do (Mom!).

That was when I first began to HATE doctors, mostly male doctors. I played make believe games about doctors torturing me. I actually remember laying on my back in the hallway, kicking my feet and screaming "Doctor no!" That was when I kicked a tack off the wall, it fell into my mouth, and I swallowed it. After being rushed to the hospital, the doctors informed my parents that they could either do a surgery that might kill me, or just wait till I "passed" it on my own. Thus began the daily toilet search. I couldn't flush until my parents had inspected the toilet. This was both traumatizing and confusing...

Then there was the time I thought I broke my foot...I was hyped up about getting to wear a cast, use crutches, and miss work/school. Only to be told I had a small fracture. So I was sent home so heal on my own...That foot still bothers me.

Then, I had a nice long break from doctors. Years of bliss, spent enjoying youth and health with no fears of the dreaded "white coats".

Then suddenly, in February of 2009, all that changed. On arriving home from Uganda, I became deathly ill with a mysterious disease.

Symptoms:
A strep like rash, covering my entire body from head to toe. (It was the worst on my hands and feet.) Extreme pain and constant itchiness.
Swollen joints...as in every joint in my body was swollen. Shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, toes. You have never felt true pain until you have swollen, itchy elbows.

Everyday, the swelling and the itching increased. After four days, my mom took me to urgent care. This should be a hint as to how worried she was. The doctor who saw me tested me for scarlet fever, but really had no idea what was wrong. She advised to me see my regular doctor as soon as possible.  So we made a appointment and I somehow managed not to die while waiting for my appointment. Well, Monday morning rolled around and I woke up in seemingly perfect health. Slightly embarrassed, I went in to meet my "regular" for the first time. His response? "Well, you were sick." Oh great, thanks for the help useless man doctor.

Although the rash and swelling went away, I never felt like I went back to normal. From that point on, my immune system has been really weak. I get sick every few months, and not just sick, but really really sick. After a year, I finally started to improve. Then in April I went to India for two weeks.

It might have been a result of eating curry spiced mystery meat, not being able to breath, having the worst motion-sickness of my life, or walking along a beach dotted with human excrement, but when I got home, I was sick for months. Let's just say...my stomach hurt.  Once again, I went to the doctor. A new one, this time a woman. I had high hopes that she might actually be able to help me, however I was again disappointed. Her response? "It's because your getting older". Oh right, now that I have reached the mature age of 22, my body can no longer properly digest food. That makes perfect sense.

So I swore off doctors for good. Until recently when I once again became ill.
Symptoms: Horrible hacking cough, snotty nose, and a reoccurring fever.

I've been sick for over two week now, and there's still no end in sight. So when my mom once again suggested I go to the doctor, I swallowed my pride and hoped for the best. What did she say "Well, sweetie everyone wants to be healthy for the holidays. You can take some amoxicillin, but honey, if you have a virus it won't help you at all." Ok great,  thanks for nothing.

What do doctors even go to school for anyway? 
Apparently, a licence to call everyone honey...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do You Like Chicken? Well, Grab A Wing and Come On!

Now I know that it is a little early to be talking about this year ending, I mean we still have 22 days left of 2010 and I am sure I still have much to learn before the new year dawns. However, I am feeling nostalgic this morning so I don't really care that it's too early. Therefore I present to you....

Life Lessons of 2010:

1. It is possible to live without my owning a car. Car pooling can be frustrating, but it also creates extra time with family. An extra ten minutes with someone everyday can be really nice!

2. In India I learned that trusting and obeying Christ has nothing to do with personal comfort. I learned sometimes the most beautiful things are surrounded by filth. India is a place of darkness, but it houses some of the most amazing servants of Christ. It was in India that I first began to desire to really study the bible. I was placed in a position of respect and awe by some of the most amazing people I have ever met and I have never felt so undeserving of anything in my life. I long to become worthy of that respect. I also learned that I love garlic na-an and I hate curry, and that ice cream and hard boiled eggs are not the same in every country and should be ordered with caution.

3. Apparently my mom is a foxy babe. Everywhere I have ever gone with just my mom I have had to endure everyone telling her how young she looks and hear people gush about how she doesn't look like she could be the mother of eight. I resent this. She is the mother of eight, and she looks like it to me! She is the only mother I have had and I resent people telling her she doesn't look right for the part. Alfie's (our friend on the flight home from India) infatuation with her really made me feel old... Well, Mr. Alfred German/Furniture Man...my mom IS a party, but one that you'll never be invited too!

4. I love to write! Maybe someday I will write a book.

5. I learned that having alone time is necessary to my mental health. People watching, reading, walks and just sitting quietly are wonderful pastimes. Eating out alone is just as fun as eating out with a friend.

6. It may have taken me 22 years, but I finally discovered mornings. I never new how wonderful the morning time can be, with the proper amount of sleep of course...

7. I remembered that I love school, but don't get good grades because I hate homework. Watching people run to class is always funny. Conversations with fellow students are great inspiration for funny blogs.

8. I realized the hopelessness of people all around me. I don't have to go to another country to be a missionary, there are people who are searching for something to fill the void that only the Lord can fill. I've learned there is more to being a Christian than just being an example. That being a light to the world involves so much for than simply treating people with respect. That showing someone Christ through lifestyle is not enough. This year I woke up to the reality that most of the people around me are headed to a eternal hell and that I know the way to escape, yet I hesitate to help.

9. College students selling magazine subscriptions are way too aggressive. When I say I don't have money to help send you on a European tour, I'm not lying. I don't hate the dying children at Phoenix Children's Hospital, but I don't see how a magazine is going to make that big of a difference in their lives.

10. I learned the necessity of coffee. I went from a coffee hater to an addict. I mostly blame early morning work events and my so called friend, Tracey.

11. I learned some new pick up lines, courtesy of Josh:
You dropped your smile.
Do you like chicken? Well grab a wing and come on!
You like to cook? I love to eat!
Bible college? Well, my name is Joshua David Matthews..all very strong bible men.

12. I've finally gotten to the point where I really don't feel the need to impress anyone. If I don't want to wash my hair, I don't. If I want to take a nap in the grass at school, I do. I repeat outfits. I say what I think. I sing loud and out of tune. It's nice.

13. Perms are better in theory.

14. And most importantly I've learned that God is in control. No matter how hard I try to take over, control or plan my life I never will succeed. The theme of this blog pretty much sums up this entire year.

Jeremiah 29:11
 For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

15. Yes, God knows the plans He has for ME. That's good enough.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Denny's: Cocky or Not?

Ask me anything...but be careful. It might be inspiration for a blog post.

Someone once stated "You Denny's are cocky about being Denny's." I have to say "someone" because the the poor sucker who said this didn't have the guts to reveal his identity. I can't imagine why...

Well this forced me to ask myself the question "ARE Denny's cocky about being Denny's?"


Good things about Denny's:
We're funny.
We're Hospitable. 
We (most of us) Love Jesus. 
We're funny. 
There's lots of us. 
We're a pretty good looking bunch. 
We love to eat. 
We love to laugh. 
We're funny. 
We stick together (except when we don't). 
We amazing snugglers. 
We're stylish. 
We're funny. 
We're talented. 
We know how to throw a party. 
and...We're funny. 


Bad things about Denny's:
We have big heads.
We are critical.  
We're crude. 
We're vulgar. 
We like to eat. 
We're funny at the expense of others. 
We have big heads. 
We have bad, and I mean BAD tempers.

Now, if your not a Denny, you look at these lists and think...."Ok, they have good and bad qualities. Like anyone." But, if you are a Denny you look at this list and think "Hey, why are all those great traits listed on the bad list? Those are all good things!" For instance...Big Heads. Our abnormally huge craniums are the inspiration for so many good jokes. Large head jokes never get old.
So funny = good trait.  That pretty much destroys the bad list...
We may be critical, but out criticisms are almost always funny. We're crudely funny, vulgarly funny, hugely funny, even when we make you cry you have to laugh because we are hatefully funny. 

So are we cocky? It's possible. Actually, YES we are cocky. Definitely...but are we cocky ABOUT being Denny's?

I don't think so. At least, I'm not.

As I replied to Mister DennyFamily-Hater, I wouldn't say cocky. I would say proud. We're not a perfect family and there's not one person who would deny that (at least no one would seriously deny it). But we love each other, support each other, and really have fun together. Not many people can say that about their families, let alone their extended families. So yes, I am proud to be a Denny.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update

1. $200 deposit Check!

2. Plane Ticket $480 Check!
(One way! Scary!!)

God is faithful!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Old vs. New (A Little Movie Trivia)

Last night I went to the pre-screening of  How Do You Know with my friend Dianne. I am contractually sworn to confidentiality about the contents of the movie, so don't expect me to tell you about it. To quote the document I signed "serious injury, either physically or fiscally" will occur if I break my contract. So although I cannot reveal the contents of the movie, I believe I can say that it prompted a very serious thought process for the drive home; The evolution of movies over time and my personal reaction.

I grew up watching old movies and I love them...but have they negatively effected my view of the modern world? Is it possible that life was really as pure and musical and magical as the early screen depicted it to be? Of course not! I know that to be true, yet I still find myself longing for the "good old days" of the world that ended long before my existence.

Of course, I have always been a fan of love stories. (Is it just me, or have the heroines in the movies gradually gotten older and older? Not that there isn't a fair share of old movies that have old people falling in love...but really, who wants to watch grey and wrinkled Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey locking lips? Or if we want to get even uglier, Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart falling in love in the middle of a dirty river while covered in leeches? Although, the modern day version is even worse....because it can't get worse than Diane Keaton and Jack Nickelson. Side note, love stories about old people are so gross...not because old people don't deserve love, but because they have such thin lips. Thin lip kisses should never be shown on the big screen...)

Maybe I should get back to my original train of thought so I can get to the point...

I no longer qualify for my love story dream. Why? Because I am too old. If a movie is ever going to be made about my love story it will have to be set in modern times. Sigh. Because back in the day being 22 years old and unmarried automatically give you the title of a spinster. I'm not even sure what the definition of a modern day spinster is...but I would guess you would need to be in your late 60's possibly early 70's to be disgraced with earn that title. Yes, in my movie, I would be cast as the career woman who suddenly found herself rapidly approaching middle age. I would realize that I needed to find love before my child bearing days ended, I would possibly decide to go on a journey to find myself, or maybe in a act of desperation I would put someone in a coma in order to become engaged.

I know that I have blogged a few times about my singleness. Maybe because I've always been single. I told someone at work the other day that I have never had a boyfriend. His response? "Do you like girls?" Ha! I confuse the modern world, which is why I feel that I belong somewhere in the horse-and-buggy, medieval, gothic, old-world, victorian, western realm.

Maybe I need to to buy a Delorean or locate a space/time continuum.

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Disclaimer: I love being single. Right now, I wouldn't have it any other way. When I talk blog about my singleness I am not complaining. It's just part of my life, and I think about it. I'm content where God has me and am not looking for encouraging advice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Memory Lane: Pet Peeves.

I felt like blogging but was feeling very uninspired, so I decided to read some things I had written in the past. I found this "note" that I wrote for my Facebook back in September of 2009 and I decided to repost it to my blog! A few of my pet peeves have changed, but I'll leave the post as I wrote it originally. Enjoy!

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The last few weeks I have been very irritable.....for some reason everything gets on my nerves. Yesterday when I watched an episode of I Love Lucy that was all about pet peeves, I realized I have been keeping a mental note of my irritations.


1. When Amy takes a shower, she seals the shower curtain shut on the sides using the shampoo and conditioner bottles. When she get's out, she has to open one side, but just leaves the other side how it is. So whenever I take a shower after Amy, all the shampoo bottles (like eight million) all fall into the tub. 

2. My cell phone is crazy. Sometimes the screen is inverted, sometimes it's all white, and sometimes it's split or double. It makes using my phone a process. Drives me nuts. (Thankfully, I now have a new phone.)

'3. Here is another shower one. I used to live down in the other end of the house (in what is now Hunters room). There is one bathroom and four bedrooms down there. When I lived on that side, we all shared the bathroom. Then I moved into very lovely "mother-in-law" quarters. I got my own bathroom, sitting room, and kitchen. After I moved....MY bathroom somehow morphed into the "girls" bathroom. 

4. I love to read. When I am reading a good book, it's hard to focus on anything else. Last week, I lost my book somewhere. I was right in the middle, so I can't stop thinking about it. I hate it! (I found my book month later, and finally finished it. Villette by Charlotte Bronte) 

5. I have three brothers. They like to try to kill each other....it's somehow fun for them to strangle each other. It makes me a nervous wreck. 

6. I love to cook. I enjoy food. I HATE when people are picky eaters. Can't stand it. 

7. I own about ten pairs of old navy flip-flops. I can never find them....or on rare occasions when I can....the colors don't match. 

8. The AC at my work is broken. (We moved :)

9. My family members often feel the need to remind me that I am an old maid. They like to tell me about all the great single men out there. After I am informed, they seem to feel that I should overwhelm them with gratitude, do everything in my power to hunt the poor guy out, snatch him up before he gets a chance to think and marry him. When I don't respond in the said fashion, it causes quite a stir. They all take turns lecturing me. I wish they would just give up on me and move on to the next sister in line. (Still single, still the case, still annoying!)

10. I don't have a closet. Enough said.

11. Every morning, I set my alarm early enough to give myself time to go hiking before work. Someone always turns it off so that it doesn't wake me and resets it.....very sneaky. 

12. Sometimes when I go in my room, I find snoopy all cuddled up on my clean clothes.

13. We have two very large driveways, but our carport is only big enough for three cars. My dad used to park in the round driveway, and everyone was happy. Sadly, his contentment didn't last. Now he has a self-appointed permanent spot on the far left side (my old space). If I try to park in Pop's space when his car is gone, he takes his revenge by parking bumper to bumper with my car so that I can't get out. I finally just let him have it. I would take my mom's space, she always parks in the middle, but I feel too guilty to do that to her. This leaves the far right space. Amy and I have a silent duel for this spot, but it's really just all about luck....and timing. If I'm gone when she get's home, she wins. If she's gone when I get home I win. I hate losing. (Now I don'have a car at all. Oh, how I miss those good old days!) 

14. Wednesday my mom's clients come for appointments. I hate when they block us in the driveway. It's very rude. 

15. Cody is reading over my shoulder right now. I don't like when people read over my shoulder. Go away.


I think a list of 15 complaints is long enough. I know all these "pet peeves" are random, and I hope that someone can laugh about them. Actually....now that I have vented a little, I feel somewhat better. Although I still wish I could find my book. You know, I was thinking...someone always has to start those annoying chains and surveys people fill out. So maybe this can be one. I really am curious about what drives other people crazy.
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One reason I love journaling and blogging is so that I can look back and remember the little things. It's funny how time changes everything, yet nothing changes.   

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dough.


I'm not talking about bread here... I'm referring to Benjamin's, lettuce, a little cha-ching, cheddar (and not the cheesy kind). Yeah, we're talking about cold hard cash.

I'm not gonna lie, my first panicky thought after reading my acceptance letter to CCBCE was "Ohhh shoot, I'm gonna need some money". As I've said before, I'm a planner (well more of a "go-with-the-flow-planner" I don't care if my plans change, but I feel safe within the boundaries of a plan).  Well, one thing I decided early on was that I would not be sending out support letters. Not that I think there is anything wrong with fundraising through support letters, I've actually sent them before and may need to send some in the future, but not for this.

(PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT asking for money, but sharing a praise report!)

The first logical step was to break down the amounts needed:

1. $200 deposit
2. Plane Ticket  $700-$1000
3. Laptop $500-$1000
3. Tuition $3,000
5. 30 day mission trip: $300-$600

Step 1. $200

I might only have $12 in my bank account, but $200 is totally doable. 
As many of you know I started planning a garage sale for next weekend with a $200 minimum goal. Well, last night I worked a serving event and received a $250 cash tip! (Thank you God!)


Step 1. $200  Check!

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."- Philippians 4:19


I have been working as a catering server for five years now. This is the largest tip I have ever received. I can't wait to see how God works to provide the rest of the money that I'll need!


Hey, Garage sale, we have a new goal! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hungry or Hungary?

I have some EXCITING news! Really, wonderfully, exciting news. However, in order to appreciate the "good stuff" I think you need to know the story behind it...

*Notice: This will not be a short entry, but if you know me and love me, I think it will be worth it for you to stick with it and read to the end.*

It was the summer of 2005, I was seventeen years old and graduating high school a whole year early. I was young, optimistic, stubborn, and self-assured. I knew exactly what I would be doing with my life, and no one was going to stop me. I had planned on studying culinary arts from the time I was twelve years old, and now it was actually happening. Starting in the spring, I would be a full time student in the Scottsdale Community College Culinary Arts Program. After that, I would be a personal chef for a rich family and on the road to success and riches. I had always been told that I was mature for my age and so much of that perception stemmed from the fact that I knew what I wanted and I wasn't easily distracted from my goal.

Time passed so quickly that year. I loved school, and although I didn't fit in (at all!) with the other students I still had a good time. It was very hard, both physically and emotionally for me. 8-10 hours a day on my feet surrounded by the type of people my parents had worked my entire life to keep me away from. Yes, I had led a fairly sheltered life. Not that I was totally ignorant of what the cynics call the "real world", but still, I had never been in the thick of it before. More than half the students were drug addicts and just a select few were not alcoholics. Needless to say, I stood out. I confused people and so became an easy target. Actually, to tell the truth, I rather enjoyed it. I think my large obnoxious family must have prepared me....

So I finished the program and started working towards my associates degree. I didn't have a definite plan for the next step after that, but hey, I was ahead of the game and had lots of time to decide! Most of my friends were just graduating high school and people were impressed with how far ahead I was. I'd always wanted to travel. I am so attracted to other cultures (mostly what other cultures eat), so I started looking at Hotel & Restaurant Management and Hospitality & Tourism programs at different colleges around the US.  I actually started the application process for at least three schools, but for some reason, I never fully pursued them. I also applied and got accepted for a study abroad program called Semester at Sea but decided not to go (mostly because it was $50,000 for one semester). I didn't stress about the future much; I was a full time student with a part time job and an active social life. I just didn't have much time to think about it.

Suddenly, two years passed and I was graduating with the degree I had been planning on and working towards for over half my life. Instead of being happy, I wanted to cry. Now what? If I had learned anything over the last few years it was that working as a chef was the last thing in the world I wanted. I decided to "take a break" from school, work full time and save money.

Now came the hard part…answering the questions:
"So Callie, what are you doing these days?"
"Where do you go to school...Oh really...Well, what do you want to do?"
and worst of all:
"Dating anyone? Are you even interested in anyone?"
Because, as we all know, if you're a young woman whose not going to school you better be looking for a husband to support you....

Than an amazing thing happened. I had an opportunity to go to Uganda on a mission’s trip. I had been part of a team in high school that went to Mexico loved it. I’d always wanted to go on another trip somewhere and couldn’t have been more excited for this adventure.

That trip changed my life. I was confronted with poverty and hopelessness in a way I didn’t know was possible. Suddenly I realized just how much I had and therefore how much I wasted. I spent almost two weeks playing with dirty, starving, adorable and fun children. When I got home I was so confused. Suddenly, I began to question God in a way that I never had. Why, God? Don’t you care? You are so powerful, and I am so weak, so why don’t YOU change it? I would if I could…I can’t help that I was born to wealth. What do you want from me? Should I build a mud hut in my yard to ease the guilt of my comfort?” I wrestled with these questions for months. Finally two people gave me advice.

The missions’ pastor at my church helped me to see that the true poverty was not the lack of physical things, but rather the lack of information. The real need was for access to The Word. Not that the poverty wasn’t real or that we shouldn’t help, but that the larger focus should be on the spiritual need and the spiritual starvation. I have been blessed, but not because I live in a rich country, but because I have every tool at my fingertips to study and learn and to share my knowledge of Christ with others.

The other person who helped me was a guest musician at a college group I was attending. He told me that so many Christians here see the deplorable situations and question God and pray that He will provide for them and help them, yet at the while have the resources to be the answers to that very prayer.

While I struggled with these questions, another year passed and I had another opportunity to travel to a third world country. This time the destination was India. My experience in India was vastly different from Uganda. For one thing, I HATED it. I struggled with my American pride and the attitude of “how do these people live like this” the entire time. The smells, the trash, the food, everything made me sick (both figuratively and literally).

Yet I accomplished something in India that I never had expected to do in my life…I got up in front of a crowd and taught a lesson. This was a huge deal for me…I had always been the little shy girl who cried if I had to answer the phone or talk to a stranger. Now I was teaching a wonderful group of young women my own age. They loved to hear from me; their faces lit up with bright smiles the moment I stood for my short and simple lessons. I needed to be humbled and God made sure it happened.

Once home, I continued to search for purpose, feeling inadequate because I didn’t have a plan for my life. It might not be something that people think about often, but as a young American and “student aged” I can tell you, people expect a plan. Well, guess what? God has a plan for my life and I don’t have to know it.
That is a statement that has taken me my entire life to say. Even now, as I type those words, I still wish God would fill me in…

Well this summer I decided, for a variety of reasons, to go back to school. This time for fun! Yes, fun. I signed up for Ballet, Personal Exploratory Writing (creative non-fiction), and Ceramics. My plan was to waste some time and have an outlet besides work. Gods plan was to plant a new desire in my heart.

The writing of my classmates has allowed me to glimpse into their lives. I have heard stories of abuse, neglect, fear, confusion and sorrow. Everyday, my compassion for the lost here in my own country is growing. I feel an urgency that at times I wish I could ignore. I look into the faces of the unsaved and am confronted with the fact that if what I believe is true, they are doomed to hell. To be honest, I have to say that I lack the courage to share the truth. I lack the training and the drive that I know I am going to need. I know that if I don’t begin to equip myself and dare to step out of my comfortable life that I will be consumed with self loathing. It’s time for a change.

So now, are you ready for the BIG news? You should be after reading my entire life story!

I have applied to and been accepted to the Calvary Chapel Bible College Missions Training program in Vijta, Hungary!

It is a year long program that starts in February of the Spring 2011 semester. I’m done wasting time, waiting for a “plan”. From now on, my only plan is to live my life for Christ. So, please pray for me as I prepare for this time in my life. I know I am going to need it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seventy-Four Peices of Trash

One of my favorite pastimes is browsing second hand book stores. There's absolutely nothing like it. It's distracting, relaxing, and yes, even exciting. Well, I had some time between classes today, so I decided to peruse thphoenix public library website(which, for obvious reasons isn't as satisfying, but definitely still a time waster). Out of curiosity, I clicked the "Most Borrowed" link and I was more than a little disturbed by what I found.

The number one most borrowed book? 

Come on!? Is this really, truly the MOST borrowed book in Phoenix, AZ? This really doesn't inspire much confidence in my neighbors. For the fourteen branches through out Phoenix there is a total of seventy-four copies of this book. Seventy-Four!?

Now thoroughly worked up, I decided to investigate a little deeper.
I searched for my all time favorite book, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Wondering what I found? Well, to quote the library...
"0 of 1 available system wide, with 1 current hold."
Only one copy. One copy of the very best book ever written.

Now I began to try and defend humanity. This is just a fluke....maybe Jane Eyre isn't as popular as it should be, I can't just stop here and admit defeat. The search continued.

The results were a little better when I searched for Pride and Prejudice, "5 of 21 available system wide, with no current holds". So at least five people have an idea of what a good book is. However, I was appalled at  the list of books my search prompted; annoyed that titles such as Pies and Prejudice, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies where at the top of the list. Ugh. How dare Seth Grahame-Smith add "and Zombies" to such a lovely title.
Granted, I'd been limiting my searches to what some might define as "chick flicks" so I expanded to JRR Tolkien.
One copy of Jane Eyre, twenty-one copies of Pride and Prejudice, zero copies of The Hobbit, nine copies of The Lord of the Rings, and Seventy-four copies of Poor Little Bitch Girl.

Phoenix, you disgust me.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Ceramics Projects

I finally finished some of my ceramics projects!  I still have some other things I am working on, just waiting to glaze. I love this class! It's relaxing to work in the art studio. I have always been creative, but not really what could be considered artistic, you should have seen the disaster that resulted in my instructor telling me to sketch my dead tree idea! Well, guess what, I am artistic! SO THERE!   


Last week we started learning to "throw" on the wheel .  I have to say is that it looks so much easier than it actually is. I can't help but be reminded of Isaish 64:8



Out of everything I've made so far, I have to say that these trees are my favorite. The assignment was to make something at least twelve inches tall that had to do with Halloween. Well, I hate Halloween, so I pretty much ignored that part, but I was a little inspired and the end result was dead trees. My class mates kept asking me what I was planning to do with them (which is a little stupid in my opinion, what does anyone do with ceramics projects?). 

Well, here's what I did and I think they fit in quite nicely. I'm excited to see what else I end up with. 

 But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaish 64:8

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A writer? Maybe.

"I'm a writer" I thinkIt's a thought that catches me by surprise. My handwriting is atrocious. My spelling, like that of a 3rd grader. Still, I think I'm a writer. 

I collect journals. Buying new ones even before the old are filled. In fact, I have hardly ever finished a single journal. The two or three that I've managed to fill over halfway are some of my greatest treasures, although I do mock them. 

"Did I really say that?" I laugh at my attempts to sound well versed and poetic. Still, I know that if I wrote it, I meant it. I labor over word choice, often crossing out words that don't quite fit. 

Yes, my attempts are humorous. I keep trying. I want my voice to be heard. I have something to say and I want people to listen. My empty journals say this more than hundreds of filled pages ever could. 

I am a writer and I am learning to write. Learning to say things on paper that I wouldn't or couldn't say out loud. 

I am a reader. I've always been. Now I am learning that writing for myself is so much better than relating to the words of someone else. I don't have to laugh at my feeble attempts. I'm trying, right? 

I want to fill every journal on my shelf. Well, maybe I'll just buy a new one. A empty journal represents a story yet to be told. It represents an adventure yet to take place. My old, empty journals belong to stories that have already played out but go undocumented. To fill the pages with the present or dreams of the future would be blasphemous. 

Empty pages deserved to be filled, right? Isn't that the purpose for which they were created? Maybe I feel this way because I am a writer. 

Am I really a writer? 
I think. 
I think I am.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Funky Toe

Some might find it interesting that given the power to change one of my physical features that I would choose to change my toe, but it really isn’t that hard to understand once you know how much my poor toe has been through. Hurt, deformed, permanently damaged, mocked…yes, my big toe has been through quite a lot. It all started that fateful day,  12 years ago…
I was ten years old, and definitely in my “awkward stage”  uncoordinated  and klutzy as can be.  One day while looking through the pantry, I dropped a jar on my foot. My toe instantly started swelling and bruising. A few days later my toenail fell off. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning. Of course, the nail grew back…but it was different, thinker and shorter. My nail bed was damaged, and having an ingrown toenail was common and often resulted in an infection. I started referring to it as my funky toe, and my - oh so compassionate -  siblings quickly followed suit . Eventually, I went to the foot doctor and had an procedure done to prevent it from becoming ingrown. It wasn’t as painful anymore, but I will never forget the words the doctor said…I asked him if there was anything I could do to make it grow back normal (now that I was in Jr. High, being normal was very important to me). He said no, and that my toe would always be bulbous. For some reason, I found that extremely offensive, yet strangely funny.  He couldn’t have known that he christen my poor toe with a new name.
I started to avoid wearing flip-flops, and often would curl my toes under my foot to hide my deformity. One magical day while getting a pedicure I discovered something amazing…it was possible to get an acrylic nail on your toes!  Of course, I decided to try it. I was thrilled with the result, was even wore open-toed high heels to a wedding! I couldn’t have been prepared for what followed…while out on the dance floor, someone stepped on my toe, ripping both the real and the fake nail off by the roots.  This became somewhat of a cycle. My nail would grow back, I would get a fake one, and eventually both nails would come off. I started only getting the fake nail for special occasions,  but  by now my nail bed was even further damaged. Even the slightest stub of my toe can cause my nail to detach itself.  That I’ve lost my toenail so many times, in the most opportune places has been a joke in my family for years.  I’ve even lost it Disneyland! Heck, I wouldn’t let Prince Charming anywhere near my foot, even if he did have my glass slipper!
My funky, bulbous toe is, by far, my worst feature…

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pro's Ranch Market


This morning my dad woke me up to go shopping with him and my mom. The original plan was to go to the Costco Business Center for a projector so we could watch a movie while relaxing in the pool (this has been one of Pop's fondest dreams for years...in his perfect plan, my whole family floats on inner tubes while watching Jaws).  Well, as usual with my parents, any trip on a Saturday morning includes multiple stops at yard sales and random stores, and somehow or another we landed at a Mexican grocery store.

And not just any store, this one might as well be located Mexico. I love stuff like this. 
I'll never forget my first experience in a Asian grocery store (thanks to Carol Farr), but this was so much better! Now, I LOVE grocery shopping, and I think I am one of the few people in the world who likes to "window shop" in grocery store. It's the Denny blood in me...what can I say; we just love food.

       
           

 
        





Food from other cultures is so fascinating to me. It's amazing that we have pretty much the same ingredients but use them in such different ways. 


For example:  Cow stomach can become menudo (which I sampled, by the way),




and chicken feet must be delicious if prepared properly!
                                                


















I could have stayed in the store forever, wondering up and down the isles, but alas, all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, the end came before I was ready when a manager informed me that taking pictures of items in the store was not allowed. I did manage to sneak in a few more, but not without feeling a trifle guilty. Oh well, it was time to be on our way. 











 



                                                     American stores are so boring.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MZUNGU! MZUNGU, PHOTO ME!

Eng 217 - Personal and Exploratory Writing :) My first homework assignment in over two years....
Pick one of the following prompts: 
1)Using vivid words and details, describe your personality. 
2)What is the best thing you ever did? (Most Honorable? Most effective? Most fun? 
3)If your mind where a house, what would it look like?


                                MZUNGU! MZUNGU, PHOTO ME!

I suddenly found myself totally surrounded by small, black, smiling faces. I made no attempt to get away, although if some fresh air had made it through the odor of unwashed bodies, I would not have complained. I never expected my slightly outdated digital camera to create such a response.

I’m not sure what I did foresee when I headed halfway around the world to visit an orphanage in Uganda. I knew I would be saddened by the poverty, the constant reminder of death, and the cultural differences. What I never imagined, was the fun I would have. Every morning for five days, I showed up at the orphanage and just played and played. I can’t remember a time when I have given so much of myself. The little girls literally fought over holding my hand, sometimes I had as many as five hanging from each one! The boys just tried to make me laugh, each one trying to out do his friends so that my eyes would focus on him alone. The older girls hung back, but a simple smile or word from me would cause their faces to light up with pride at being noticed.

With the language barrier, I needed someway to connect but was unsure of what to do. When I first pulled out my camera, it was for personal reasons. I wanted to remember the details of this new world around me. Of course, they wanted to see what I had photographed, and pretty soon the crowd of children around me doubled. Everyone shouting “Mzungu” (meaning “White person”) “Muzungu, Muzungu, photo me! Photo me!” At first there was some order. I would take a picture and then show it to the crowd, but I was quickly surrounded, lost in a sea of faces…I couldn’t even see sunlight! Soon, I was just snapping photos. I took as many pictures as I could, and each time I revealed a new one, the children giggled with glee at the sight of themselves.

With all the media coverage over the last few years, I knew that I would see physical hunger. But the emotional hunger, the need for the affirmation that comes with a hug, a smile, a hand or a picture…that was a surprise. It was also something I could give, a small way that I could help. I have never felt such a sense of purpose, before or since. Taking those pictures, holding those hands, being there for a short time, just to love those kids…it was the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done.