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Archive for February, 2010

Can I tell you how glad I am that it’s Friday?

I AM SO GLAD that it’s Friday.

I’ve been down with a cold this week, and today is the first day since Monday that my health has been on the mend instead of in decline. Fortunately, my boss is awesome and let me work from home today so that I could still sort-of relax and recover, but not have to take a sick day.

Anyway, this week’s Friday Frivolity is my latest YouTube obsession (not counting the Phantom Reviewer): “Twilight Sucks! Emo Vampire Song” by The Key of Awesome. Watch and enjoy.

Happy Friday!

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Today’s quote comes from an e-mail that my mother recently sent me. It’s from Alice Munro, a Canadian author that I hadn’t heard of before and now am rather curious to read:

I can’t play bridge.  I don’t play tennis.  All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn’t seemed time for.  But what there is time for is looking out the window.

It is certainly a delightful quote, and terribly refreshing to me. There are so many things that other people manage – sending out their Christmas cards on time (or, at all), keeping up with music, being “the life of the party,” or knowing all about German history – that I really admire and wish I could emulate. Certain ones I could accomplish – there are history books to be read and Christmas cards to be purchased in September. But somehow, like Alice Munro, for these things “there hasn’t seemed time.”

This week for me has been a lot about realizing the things that I have – praise God – managed in some form or another and not worrying so much about those things for which there hasn’t seemed time.  I tend to assume the abilities and enjoyments God has gifted me with are trivial and that other people are accomplishing so much more. Comparison leads to discontent, jealousy, meanness, bitterness.  But gratitude lets us enjoy our own lives and admire those things in others’ lives that we cannot manage ourselves. So I will head into my day thankful that God has blessed me with a really wonderful family, a brain that works, an ability to listen well and a very nice window out of which to look. And hopefully he will also give me the grace to honestly admire and rejoice in the skills and accomplishments and blessings of those around me.

What about you, readers? What are things that you admire but haven’t found the time or the inclination for? How do you deal with the temptation to compare yourself to others? What are you thankful for in your life?

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I’m doing a classroom-style Kay Arthur Bible study at my church on Sunday nights. So far it’s been educational, exciting, overwhelming, and challenging, and tonight I learned something at the class that was unrelated to the lesson. Actually, it was something I overheard the instructor telling another young woman as we waited for the class to begin.

She was telling my classmate about a man who was praying to God about the “future wife” he was looking for. But he eventually came to the conclusion that he first needed to pray about whether or not it was even in God’s plan that he marry at all–which would change his perspective on dating and the kind of woman he sought. It was only a snippet of a conversation that I overheard, but it was enough to turn on a light bulb in my head. Here was something, I realized, that I needed to be doing as well.

Lately, I have really been questioning whether God even has it in His plan for me to be married someday—but I haven’t been praying about it seriously. This hasn’t changed my desire for a boyfriend, or heck, a date next Friday. But I have been learning a few things about myself that have made me question if I’m supposed to be married someday.

For example, I am an introvert who needs alone time to recharge her batteries and stay sane. This doesn’t necessarily mean I am shy or that I have no social skills, but I do thrive on alone time. The #1 thing I hate about living in the DC metro area is that it’s too expensive for me to have my own place, because I desperately want to live alone. Although I have friends that I treasure and I absolutely love to make new ones, I’m not really a people person in general. And my things that I enjoy about being single haven’t really changed. Also, I don’t really want to have kids, and 99.99% of Christian guys that I have met … well, they want them.

And yet I have some qualities that seem ideal for being married someday. Firstly, if I may be honest and yet put it lightly, I’m not crazy about the idea of lifetime celibacy. Aside from that? Well, I may hate sports, but I like sports bars (mmm, bar food) and I wouldn’t begrudge a man his Sunday-night game (unless that interfered with church, and God gave us Tivo for a reason). I couldn’t care less which way the toilet paper comes off the roll. I don’t need jewelry or flowers, I can carry my own purse, and I would never ask, “Does this make me look fat?”

Some people know that they will get married someday, it’s just the when or to whom that remains to be seen. Other people, as Paul writes in I Corinthians 7, know that they are called to a life of celibacy and singleness. I’m in a strange state of limbo and could see myself going either way. Hence the need for serious prayer about this issue. In the past, when I said “IF I get married,” or “IF I find someone,” it was followed by a wistful sigh of self-pity. Now I use “if” seriously, genuinely not knowing that marriage is in my future. Sadly, some people, who have been conditioned to do so, jump at the chance to say things like, “Of COURSE you’ll find someone! Don’t be silly! Guys are just stupid and don’t know what they’re missing.” Then I have to correct them and say, “No, really. I really don’t know if I’m going to get married!”

So, all my single ladies: Do you know for sure you want to get married and that someday, somehow, you will? And if you are, what are you praying? Perhaps that God will not only prepare your future husband for his new life with you, but that you will be prepared as well. And for those of us who don’t know, are you praying for God’s wisdom, that He will show you what you are to do and be? I think in either case, it’s also good to remember to pray for patience, and for the peace to be content in our current circumstances, whatever they are.

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Taylor Swift’s song “You Belong With Me” is a classic tale of boy-meets-girl, girl-waits-an-eternity-for-boy-to-realize-girl-is-perfect-for-him-and-dump-his-current-girlfriend-while-girl-listens-to-him-complain-about-current-girlfriend.

By the time adulthood rolls around, though, it’s not nearly so cute.

Of course, if you haven’t heard the song, look for it on YouTube—preferably with the music video. Then meet me back here.

In response to this song, I have written a version for when the girl gains some self-respect, stops being codependent, and gets tired of hearing the guy complain about the girlfriend he won’t dump.

Note: This song is only partly autobiographical—and may not be in the parts you’d think. Except perhaps for the gun-cleaning, houseplant-killing part. That’s all me.

You’re on the phone with your girlfriend
(She’s a b…witch)
She’s going off about something that you said
‘Cause she doesn’t get your humor—no one does.

I’m in my room on a typical Tuesday night
Cleaning my gun, playing music that you don’t like
But that don’t matter, I’m just doin’ my own thing …

She wears short skirts, I like trousers
I kill houseplants, and she demands flowers.
Can’t wait for the day when you wake up and find
That what you’re looking for
Wasn’t there this whole time

If you could see that there’s no one who understands you
Stop your whining and just man up to
See you’re annoying me
(You’re annoying me.)

Sitting at the bar with you, sipping my G & T
Can’t help thinking of where else I’d rather be
Hearing you complain and thinking to myself:
“Hey, what am I, crazy?”

You had a laugh that could brighten up my whole day
But lost its charm since you asked how much I weigh
You say I’m sweet—I know I’m better than that
Hey, not my fault you’re with a girl like that

She wears high heels, hey so do I!
She likes shopping, and I do … sometimes …
But that’s not what counts when you wake up and find
That who you thought you loved has made you lose your mind

If you could see that simply no one understands you
Been here all along to try to make you see
You both annoy me!

Hanging ’round and waiting ’til you beckon?
Ain’t no way! Not gonna waste a second.
Baby, you annoy me
(You’re annoying me.)

Oh, I remember your drunk calls to my house
In the middle of the night
But you know I’ll kick your a$$ if you try that one more time
Don’t know your favorite songs
Pretty sure I never will
I don’t know where you belong
But I know—not with me

Can’t you see that she is not your only problem?
Been here all along, so why can’t you see?
You’re annoying me…

Hanging ’round and waiting for your beckon?
No way! Won’t waste another second.
Baby, you’re annoying me
(You’re annoying me.)

You’re annoying me…

Have you ever thought just maybe
You’re annoying me?
You’re annoying me…

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I deserve to marry Josh Groban more than his average fan.

Why?

Because I find him unattractive.

Huh?

Yes. And yet I adore him. Because I love his music and his voice. (Cheesy? Indeed, sometimes, but I’m rather fond of certain cheeses.) And his Twitter account is absolutely hilarious. Therefore, my love is not based on something shallow like appearance. … Plus, he has a doofy charm about him.

(Please, no one email/comment to tell me what a jerk he is in real life. I don’t want to know.)

It’s kind of like a mild version of Phantom of the Opera — physically unattractive with a beautiful singing voice. Though I hope that Josh Groban doesn’t kill people with magical lassos and trap them in torture chambers. That is, I’m assuming he doesn’t, but you never know with these celebrity types.

But if I may be serious for a moment, listening to his music actually does makes me think, “I should keep Josh Groban in mind when I think of my future husband.” Not that I’m going to marry Josh Groban — just that I should remember that I’m probably going to marry a man who is not 100% my ideal, physically. But, just like my job, and Josh Groban, he will have a number of qualities that will more than make up for it.

There. That’s my not-entirely-sober thought for the day. Tomorrow’s Friday Frivolity will actually make more sense.

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Monday Musings

Happy Monday!  To those of you who have the day off – I hope you are enjoying it!  To those who don’t – well, I hope you are still enjoying it.  Today’s quote of the week has long been a favorite of mine, as it appears in one of my most favorite and often-re-read books, A Room With A View by E.M. Forster. The quote itself is actually from British poet Samuel Butler:

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

This expresses so well the awkwardness of learning to live.  You can’t go in your room and practice having friends, or confrontations, or dinner dates. Well, you can, but you can only get so far before 1.) your flatmates think you’re crazy or 2.) you need a real person to interact with. So you go out into the real world, take risks, try this, try that, hit some really squeaky notes, hit some really glorious ones, hurt some people’s ears, and delight some people.

I like the freeing-ness of this thought. Mistakes will be made, but we can learn. And God – through His Word, though our parents and friends and teachers and pastors and neighbors – is ready and willing to give us lessons and to forgive our squeaks and squawks and help us live beautiful lives that are a blessing to other people and to ourselves as well.

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According to Bethany, my spiritual gift is Ranting. Hence, this letter.

Dear Valentine’s Day:

There is no sense in denying that, for years, we have lived with a powerful mutual loathing. Although I have been long resigned to this state of existence, I am aware that it was not always so. In my childhood, you were simply a random day in the middle of winter reserved for wearing pink or red, eating chalk-flavored candies with “Fax Me” printed on them, and cutting out hearts with red construction paper. Maybe there were cupcakes or cards from Grandma, but that was the general gist of it.

Upon entering middle school, however, these relatively pleasant memories were corrected, to be replaced with memories of adding to the usual 12-year-old angst reminders that I was an unpopular outcast, when I witnessed my classmates pair up to “go out” with one another (to where? McDonald’s?) and send the pretty, more popular girls carnations—with the number received clearly illustrating one’s middle-school social caste.

Sadly, this tradition was carried on into high school, though we were mature enough to at least pretend to laugh it off, and perhaps send carnations to our most beloved, still-single friends in an act of solidarity and mutual comfort. This comfort was particularly critical for the high-school spinsters who clutched the carnations to their bosoms as they rushed between Spanish class and choir practice, dodging through the obstacle course that featured more than a few couples engaged in the infamous hallway-make-out sessions.

With the progression to college, it was hoped that such unseemly acts of immaturity would be left behind in an environment of education and openness. However, the act of Flower-Based Social Stratification remained, especially perpetuated by young women whose eyes glinted like Tiffany diamonds and whose fangs dripped with brownie batter, hoping to impress the guy in the dorm across the street so that the lyrical vow of “Ring By Spring” would be honored. Such women sneered and taunted those who dared to defy the spirits and deities of Valentine’s Day by wearing any color that was not red or pink (with mercy given to those who wore white, but particular woe upon those who dared to wear black!), and rolled their eyes at those who postponed a day of celebration to take advantage of candy sales on Feb. 15.

Unfortunately, my dear Valentine’s Day, even in the “real world” after the bubble of college, I cannot escape your hatred, and you continue to cultivate mine. Although I am known as a staunch libertarian and defender of free-market capitalism, you are, with very little doubt, the one result of true capitalism that I despise over every other.

I hate everything you stand for: overpriced greeting cards, low-quality chocolate, candy message hearts (which STILL taste like chalk), shallow sentiment felt only because society has told us that it MUST be felt, pointless traditions (as no one really knows which St. Valentine is being honored on 2/14), the color pink, obligations to celebrate (much like New Year’s Eve, Mardis Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, and the U.S. Fourth of July), the societal requirement either to feel bad about being single or to celebrate singleness as a way to overcompensate, bad romantic comedies, and disrespect for the (possible) death of a martyr—especially one who (may have) died in defiance of one of history’s greatest tyrannies.

This year, I was about to declare a truce and say that perhaps this year it will not be bad after all, since a dear friend will be in town to visit, and another dear friend who already lives here will be around. But now this dear friend is sick, and the flight has been canceled, as we are currently buried in several unprecedented feet of snow, and I am unable to even see ANYone, but must remain in my small and drafty apartment, without even the comfort of booze or chocolate to sustain me.

I wanted to think better of you this time, Valentine’s Day. I was ready to offer the olive branch, the white flag, but then you decided to pull this charming little stunt. And for that, I feel obligated to keep on hating you, until I am a shriveled old spinster living with my hypoallergenic cats and throwing chalky candy hearts at passersby.

With All Sincerity,

Me.

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