Sunday, September 25, 2011

Injury time

For the first time in my life, I am entirely incapable of walking independently, thanks to a knee injury from soccer last Tuesday. The doctors don't think it's too serious, but can't tell much for certain until the swelling goes down and the x-rays are looked at more closely. In the meantime, I've been hobbling around on crutches and feeling incredibly thankful for all of the following things:

Roommates who drive me to the doctor and carry my things around and share their Aleve and ice packs

Students who write priceless sympathy cards and offer to be my helper in the classroom

Colleagues who carry my lunch from the microwave and give medical advice and offer rides and knee braces

A sister and brother-in-law who trade me cars because I can't work the clutch and do all the work setting up tents and Thermarests and things so I can still go camping

Friends who get my meals and refreeze my ice and carry my coffee and give up their seats and chase all the stray balls while I play one-legged ping-pong

Thanks, guys. For the help, and for helping me realize how much more comfortable I am with helping other people than being helped. It's a humbling experience. And one I will remember even when it's over. Hopefully that will be soon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Home Alone

One housemate is out of town for a wedding, the other just moved halfway across the country, and the new one won't arrive for another week, so it's just been me and the dog. I've been taking full advantage of the situation: playing bad pop music on the piano, practicing the mandolin, turning up my "top of your lungs" mix and singing, talking to the dog in Mandarin, having zucchini cake for breakfast, eating the cream cheese icing straight out of the bowl in the fridge, making random things for supper out of fresh garden veggies and questionable leftovers, leaving dirty dishes all over the kitchen, coming home from soccer late at night and making lots of noise. Ah--good song's on. Singing time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Story of E

About a year ago, I wrote about The Story of B, and how my story wasn't B's exactly, but that I didn't know quite what it actually was.

I started thinking about my story again more intentionally this summer, after reading Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest and realizing that most of the things I love and do and think are connected to what he calls "the Movement"--the confluence of the social justice and environmental and indigenous peoples' movements. It began with a mental web, during one of the summer's backpacking trips, of how all the books I'd read in the past several months connected in some way to those bigger ideas. But it was more than just the books; I started thinking about the college courses I'd taken, the jobs I'd had, the organizations and activities I'd been part of. They all had something in common. They all had me in common. It sounds obvious, I know, but it gave me a different lens for looking at who I am and what this story of mine might be.

I wanted to see what it might look like, visually, this diagram of things I've read and studied and thought about and valued, so I sat down on the floor one day and scribbled pages of ideas connected with arrows all over pages, until the mass of words and lines was so chaotic that even I couldn't tell what I had written. So I went online to prezi and made my first-ever zooming presentation. Forgive my lack of expertise with the program. Even with the prezi, not everything related can sit nicely side by side, and I had to stop drawing arrows because they were covering up too many of the ideas, but it's a start. I didn't create a path for you to follow in viewing this diagram because it not only is not linear, but it has no beginning and no end. Too many branches and forks. I don't have a path for a web. Explore as you wish. Press the play button down there, and zoom and move.

There are many more ideas that could be added and arrows that could be drawn, but I had to leave it somewhere. It's a work in progress. Not just the presentation. The story itself. Here you have it:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Revenge of the junk in the cupboards

Spoke too soon, apparently, about the virtues of stashing stuff away in cupboards. As I was putting away the grocery bags today, I found a branch in the back of the pantry. Pulled it out...and pulled and pulled...and found:

a potato tree.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Victory of a pack rat

Confession: I have three cupboards in my office filled with junk that I can't bring myself to throw away because I think one day, someday, it might be useful. Today was someday. I finished planting the fall crops in the garden today and used the junk closet not once, but twice.

Twine that the thrift store guy used to tie a dresser (now fully functional, with the 100+ Disney/Barney/Lisa Frank stickers removed and the drawers glued back together) to my car is now tying up the pear tomatoes:

And an old license plate is now keeping water and soil from escaping through the corner of a garden box where the planks had come apart:

Finally, a valid response to the people who tell me I need to throw this stuff out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Short and sweet

That is the theme for upcoming posts. Ambitious thoughts for long, deep entries rarely make it out of my head and onto the screen. With the end of an adventure-filled summer and the beginning of a new school year just days away, it's time for the annual taking stock of life and reevaluating priorities--and writing is one of them. Four sentences. Done.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just a city girl

But I'm not, even. At least I didn't think so. And then I came back here to my college town for a wedding and realized just how far I've digressed from my small-town mindset, and it made me a little sad. My road trip buddies and I pulled into town late afternoon after two days of driving and found the brother-of-a-friend-of-the-grandparents-of-a-friend, who showed us into the part of the house where we'd be staying. When I asked about a key, he said, "Oh--well, we never lock our doors around here, but if you want to, keys are somewhere..." Once I dumped my stuff inside, I went for a walk along the Mill Race to get the blood flowing in my legs again. Apparently half the town of Goshen had the same idea, and I was soon reminded that in this alternative universe, you are indeed supposed to make eye contact, smile, maybe even say hello to everyone you pass. And I still recognized a good number of them. Between that walk and First Friday and breakfast at Rachel's Bread on Saturday morning, I ran into dozens of people I needed to catch up with--old college friends, professors, siblings of friends, friends of siblings, the families of a brother-in-law and a college boyfriend, a coach, a tennis teammate, a stand partner from college orchestra, a neighbor. It's humbling to realize that even after being gone for four years, there are still people here who know me and love me. And this small-town girl loves them back.