Friday, December 31, 2010

A day, a year, a lifetime

I looked out my window this morning to have a world of brightness greet me. The snow glazed over the trees, and I caught the sun at just the right angle peaking through the trees. It was gorgeous, all day.
My mom was getting calls through out the day, about papa.
I remember being little and running out of things to do. I'd ask mom, "Can I read a story to you?"
"Why don't you go read to Papa?" She'd say.
Oh yeah, of course, why didn't I think of that. I'd run to his room, where he'd be in bed about to take a nap, or he'd be watching TV. Sometimes he'd be in his chair just taking in the world. I'd crawl up right beside him and begin my small picture book. He loved listening to me read, or so I thought, until I'd look up every once in a while and catch him dozing. Those are my favorite memories with him. Sometimes we'd go for a walk, when he was healthy enough.
I remember him ending his visit, and leaving to go back home. He basically said goodbye like the next time we saw him would be when he didn't remember who we were, or he'd be dead. We didn't like him thinking like that.
I remember at Kristina's high school graduation he said he wouldn't make it another 4 years to mine. I prayed and hoped he would... and we're almost there!
He was right. Last couple times I've come to visit him, he doesn't know who I am. He calls me "that nice girl." On good days he'll pop a few jokes, and make everyone laugh.
It was such a wonderful, beautiful day today. It's almost over and I think how long it would feel if I had to struggle for every breath I took today. What a tedious, exhauting job! My mom cryed a lot today. "Papa might not make it through the night." It's New Years Eve! Almost 2011! I graduate! Grandpa, you're so close! You might not remember who I am, but it would mean so much to me if you made it to my graduation. At least to 2011! Don't give up, you're almost there.
I have a feeling I'm going to want to get out of here soon. Good thing break is almost over. I need to run. But running in 7 degree weather can't be good for you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The beat without a drum

The light is dim as the Christmas tree next to me sparkles in manifest glory. The 12 strands it took to fully light the 15 ft tree eluminate the room. It's late and everyone is in bed, but not me. I'm knitting away, creating something beautiful for my closest friends late christmas gifts. My ipod is turned to my favorite playlist. The 23 saddest songs out of the thousands contained in the small device. All of these songs are slow and depressing. Some of them have awful memories attached to them, and as I listen I revisit the dreaded places. Others are just pure, raw distress. In the quiet you can feel the pain someone went through in order to create the sensation you feel as you listen to the song. I admire their ability to put so much blunt emotion into music. That's the way it should be. It drains all that you have left in you and leaves you dry. These songs make me stop and reevaluate my life. I think of all the relationships that need mending, and ways to heal them.
I love to listen to this playlist on long trips, sitting by myself on the bus back from Alaska... I'm sure I'll listen on my way to Africa as well...
I remember lying in bed each night last year. My roommate sound asleep. Sometimes it was just me and these sad songs to keep me company as I drifted into unconsciousness. Sometimes, when I got lucky, the rain would grace me with it's presence and slash against my windows and drip from the roof above. I would lay awake in bed with a broken, bleeding heart. No need to cry and wake up my roommate, I'd let the rain do it's job. These songs rip my heart out and make it bleed for all the saddness in the world. And I let it bleed... and then I pick up the pieces and move on.
They say I'm heartless because I don't cry in movies and I laugh at sad stories. I have no sympathy for those "heart broken" teenagers. I've been accused of being part of a "heartbreaking gang of girls," as someone once put it. They've never seen me cry. "Heartless!" they say. Sometimes I just don't want to feel... that's all.
Why are these awful songs my favorite, you say?
As I sit here innocently knitting away, they remind me that I'm still human.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh Africa! I'm Coming!

I imagine it to be a steaming hot place. Stepping off the plane into an oven. Sitting on the bus miserable, with a tinge of excitment, almost completely soaked. Sweat dripping from my skin as I eat bread and peanut butter for breakfast in the morning. Sweat washing my face as I pick up yet another stone and set it on my baby brick wall. Sweat rolling off my brow as I race towards the soccer ball and kick it to my new found friends and teammates of little rascals. My hair in a tangled, wet, mess as I sing praise songs for VBS. Completely soaked as I lay ontop of my sleeping bag, in my tent, on the toasty sand, unable to sleep from the heat.
I've imagine all of this a billion times. But in all this nasty wetness, I really hope, just once, I get completely drenched in rain. I hope it pours. It would be a warm rain, from a warm day. And maybe we'd all get malaria and die after that, but I want to smell it. It would be such a different smell from the after rains here. We smell the rain hitting the pavement. But what does it smell like 10 hours from the closest pavement, surrounded by sand dunes and wild life in the middle of the desert? Now that, I can't imagine.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Seeing Isn't Always Believing

He looked down at the small boy distressed in his seat, "Santa isn't real." He said.
The young boy said nothing, but kept looking straight ahead.
"Have you seen Santa?" He tried again.
"No." The boy responded. He looked up into the mans eyes. "Is a million dollars real?" He questioned.
"Yes." The man replied.
"Have you ever seen it?"
"You don't have to see things to believe they're real."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

I lost track of the days this week. Without a normal schedule they somehow jumble all together. Someone told me it was Thursday today. I didn't believe them so as I sat down to write this I had to check the date on the computer and compare it to the calendar on the wall. It's true, they weren't in fact lying to me.
This means Christmas is just around the corner. It's actually less than around the corner, it's practically staring me in the face (good thing I got my Christmas shopping done). It doesn't feel like Christmas at all. The only time I had a hint of that Christmas joy was the morning I awoke to the first snowfall in mid November. It hasn't snowed in a long time, what is with this weather?
Maybe I'm just Mr. Scrouge this year, or is this the way a normal 17 year old feels?
You know, I did practically nothing all day today and my back aches.
Does this mean I'm getting old?


Yesterday afternoon I went to the Spokane Valley Mall to get all my Christmas shopping done. As I was riding down the escalator this cute, small girl maybe 3, was standing next to me. She looked as if she knew exactly where she was going. I looked around, no mom running around the corner to come get her. "Where's your mom?" She didn't say anything. As she hopped off the escalator, she took off running and leaping around through the crowds of people down the long strip of stores. I kept my eye on her as she ran from store to store, stopping briefly to take a peak in each one. She was looking for her mom, no doubt she was lost. A man selling things at his stand asked if she belonged to us. "No, but we're keeping our eye on her." Finally a lady came out of a store and saw the young girl looking in.
"Are you lost?" She asked.
No response.
"Do you know where your mommy is?" She tried again. The little girl shrugged her shoulders. "What's your name?" The lady tried.
"Eveyln." She whimpered out. She still looked pretty bold, like she wasn't afraid of anything.
"Eveyln, do you know what your mommy's name is? What do people call your mommy?"
"I'm five." She said as she held out her fingers to indicate the amount. There was no way she was actually five.
"You're five?" She asked in disbelief. "Wow, you're a big girl... Do you know what your mommy was wearing? Did she have a pink shirt on? Was it black?"
"Yeah! Black!"
"Good! Was she wearing jeans?"
"Maybe..." You could tell Eveyln wasn't as bold as before and was starting to get frantic.
"Eveyln stay right here, I'll be right back." She turned to go inside to ask for the store clerk to call for security, but as she turned to go in, the store workers came out and told her they'd already called security and they were on their way. The security worker arrived a few minutes later and took Eveylns hand. Evelyn began to look a little panicked. As they walked away together the repeated questions began again...
"Hi Eveyln, I'm Rachel, do you know what your mommy was wearing? Did she have a green shirt on? Was it pink?"

I feel like I'm in an adventure of my own running around boldly maybe looking in a few stores here and there when it feels like I'm missing something, but for the most part I'm making my way through the store just fine on my own. Everyone else in the mall can tell from a mile away I have no idea what I'm doing or where I'm headed. But I'm ok with that for now, people can say what they want. No one confronts me at first, I'm out on my own, and it feels great. Until finally someone pulls me off to the side and starts throwing questions out at me that I don't know the answer to because I've wandered off alone. That's when I start to panic. And when the realization hits me that I need to go back to my mom, and the security gaurd comes to help me find her, I wonder if I ever will. And if I ever do, after disobeying, will I get punished? Will she even want me back?

Monday, December 20, 2010

the music you can't stand yet somehow love

Every family has their problems.
I noticed today that mine are trifiling, negligible, inconsequential, and frivolous, yet abstract, elaborate, transcendental, and overall exaggerated.
It's like a discord of notes jumbled together in dissonace waiting to make a joyful resound and resolve in satisfaction. Persistently lingering... conforming into a harmonious correspondence of sounds in resolution.

Restraining the Urge to Dance

UCA performed their Christmas concert at The Fox again this year. Every time I went out to sing, either for octet or choraliers I just wanted to start running around and dancing. It reminded me SO much of theater looking out into the audience. The stage was perfect, backstage was pretty close to the old theater I was use to, maybe not as nice. I could remember some of the cheerleading routines I did a few years ago on stage. It's my last year of high school, I wish it was more like High School Musical!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

People Watching

My sister was telling me today that one of her favorite things to do as a family is go "people watching." Shopping at the mall is always one of our family Christmas traditions, before Christmas and afterwards. You can always find Kristina, Mom, and me shopping away, and outside the little store on a bench is Dad and Ben sitting contently "people watching" they call it.

There was a light snow falling as we walked past the ice-skating rink towards Flatirons mall in Colorado one Christmas afternoon. I remember my sister telling my dad, "Dad, I just love this place! One day, I'm going to get married here!" Now if you asked her about this memory today she would vividly remember saying this, but I'm pretty sure she's changed her mind. We entered the food court, Christmas music mixed with loud talking filled the place. My dad asked us, "So, what do you want to do?" Surprisingly my sister didn't say, "SHOP!" She use to have a problem with this, she couldn't leave a store without buying something, even if it was at a grocery store! Instead my sister and I looked at each other and said, "I don't know." We sat on the rock extending from the large fireplace in the middle of the room. "Wait here, I'll go get some cinnamon rolls."
He stood in line, and returned with two large cinnamon rolls. As my sister and I scarfed them down, he just sat there, watching people. I remember him telling us that was one of his favorite things to do. Just sit and watch people. They were all so different, you never came across someone exactly the same. So my sister and I finished our treats and just sat there and watched people with Dad. It's such a good memory, I think for both my sister and I. I wish I would slow down every once in a while, just to sit and watch. I wish life were that simple again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Than a Job

I was in a light sleep, and I heard the sound of a subtle knock on my door. I rolled over and looked at the clock, 7:30. There was no way I was getting out of bed. The knock came again this time a little louder. It was silent. They knocked once again even harsher. Silence. They pounded on the door, like they were going to bust into my room. I didn't budge. I guess I fell back asleep, but it wasn't a deep sleep. I heard the knocking again. I rolled over once again, it was 8:15. Nope, not getting up. They knocked a little louder. It was silent. They knocked once again even harsher. Silence. They pounded on the door as if to knock it down. I didn't budge. I figured the deans were available for a key or whatnot. There were plenty of other options besides me. Other R.A.'s have keys to unlock their door for them. What about their roommate? They shouldn't have lost their key to begin with. I'm an R.A. I stay up late, they don't get that. I rolled back over and returned to sleep, only to find myself awoken yet again, this time by the high screetching sound of my alarm clock. It's an awful sound, and I was already in a bad mood. I layed there for a couple minutes in bed, contimplating if I should get up. I forced myself to crawl out of bed. I was grumpy, very grumpy. Why are people so inconsiderate, I'm up all night doing a job, working on homework, and they think they can just come take away even more of my sleep for no good reason. Lack of sleep makes me grumpy... and then I felt guilty, because after all, my job isn't on the clock, it's year-round. It's 24/7. It never stops. Someone is always watching. I'm suppose to be available ALWAYS, even in the middle of the night when I'm asleep and someone is homesick crying out in the hall. This is my job. And one of the reasons I love it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Way I am

I just happened to notice last years yearbook placed on my window sill this evening as I was closing my curtains for the night. I picked it up and read through my notes. There was one in particular that caught my eye. It read:
So basically you are the nicest person I have ever met. Seriously. I think you have the best personality of the student body! I'm so glad you came to UCA, you really add so much to our class... Karalee, never NEVER change. You are so kind to everyone, and that is so valuable. You will get far in life if you are slow to anger and speak kindly like you do now. Next year is going to be a blast, I can't wait!..."

It's my favorite note in my yearbook, because it's one of the niceset things someone's ever said to me. But I look at it, and read it, and I can't help feeling guilty. It doesn't help that I really look up to, and have a lot of respect for the person who wrote it. I feel like an awful person. Like they're totally blind to reality and I have no idea how I fooled them. I'm not the angel they think I am. I'm human too. I'm scared to spend more time with them now out of fear they really get to know me. What did I do to make them believe this? The more time I spend with them, the more flaws they'll discover. It's weird because they've seen me at my most vulnerable, and yet I wonder if that had anything to do with the way they view me. They're so nice, and we get along well, I want to be closer friends, but I'm so frightened. We're in the real world, no one is this perfect. Please, please still like me. Take me the way I am.


I just finished watching the moive, "Inception" and I could watch it about 5 more times before I really appreciated it, if you know what I mean. As I was watching it, I thought of ideas stolen from the "Matrix" and "Chronicles of Narnia." They had these dreams, where you can go inside of a dream. They went 4 dreams deep. It was like they couldn't stand living in reality but had to create their own fantasies. They lived for dreams.
I thought of how different my life is when I come home. It's like I'm living in two different worlds. One at school, and the other when I'm at home. They're two completely different places, and atmospheres. They're both so good at the moment, I can't decide which one is my reality, and which one is my fantasy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mac & Cheese

I was sitting in Spanish class today suppose to be singing a Christmas carol when flashbacks started coming. I looked around and no one was singing. The teacher, and maybe one other student, but that was all. We were all suppose to be singing, the teacher kept saying "todos! todos!" But everyone just looked at her like she was crazy. I remembered sitting in Mrs. Blaire's choir class back in kindergarten all the way through about 3rd grade I was too cool to sing. My best friend Carrie and I would sit there and glare at everyone else, especially the teacher or make fun of those around us who were actually singing. I remembered those days and thought about lunch coming around the corner. Now if I was in 1st grade I would probably be getting ready to go home for the day to watch Arthur while I ate my Mac & Cheese. How I miss those days! Oh Mac & Cheese! I wanted to be
out of school eating Mac & Cheese SO bad! It sounded SO good! So I promised myself I'd eat it for dinner. I don't usually eat dinner, but tonight is an exception. I just got done with basketball and whipped me up some good ol' Mac & Cheese... Kraft kind of course, and I even had milk to make it creamy! So now I'm sitting here eating it, in my dorm room alone, and I'm trying to comprehend just how fast life has flown by. Not much changes from 1st grade. And now that I'm done, I wish I had peas.

Monday, December 6, 2010


She told me she could never forgive her mother. She hated her.
I asked her, "But what about what Jesus says in the Bible about forgiving others 70x7?"
"I don't care." She'd say.
"But Jesus forgives us everyday for the sins we commit, and in His book commiting murder is just as bad as the "little" sins we do without realizing it everyday."
"I don't care. I hate her. You don't understand what she did to me. She ruined my life."
"Jesus says we're suppose to follow His example..."
She told me how it all started. How her grandma got her mom to start smoking pot. How her mom was cheating on her dad. How her mom's boyfriend actually killed a pregnant woman and her baby by kicking her in the stomach, and he spent 8 months in prison afterwards. Not long enough. She told me about her mom beating her dad and how she had to try to protect him. She said her mom and her mom's boyfriend were following her and trying to kidnap her. She didn't know what they were going to do to her but she couldn't sleep, and even now she is haunted by nightmares about them finding her and killing her father, the only one who has ever really loved her. And without him, she belongs to no one, both her and her sister are orphans. She told me about all the renewed restraining orders. She said she almost had to go live with her mom but one of her best friends, Eric from a foster home got everyone in the school, teachers, principal and all to sign a petition to let her stay with her dad. That's the only reason she is where she is today. She said her mom only pretended to love her now so she could get money from child support. She said she'd accepted her mom on facebook, because deep down inside, she really does still love her and she misses her. She said her dad told her to block her, but she didn't want to. I told her she needed to block her for her own safety, and she said she would, which made me feel better inside. She said she was angry at God, and she'd been told that "everything happens for a reason." But she can't understand what God's reason behind ruining her life is. She said she was angry with him for a long time, and she stopped going to church. But she thinks maybe one of his reasons is for her to realize what kind of mom she NEEDS to be to her children instead of the way it was for her. She said she wanted to go out and make a difference in the world. Start organizations for kids that have to live through the same thing she had to. She said she was going to adopt a bunch of kids when she got older and make a good life for them. She has dreams of living on a mountain, with a boat and a farm, with lots of munchkins running around and a happy husband. She's scared she won't ever find a husband, but I know she'll be cautious. She has a good sense of judgement and a good head on her shoulders, she'll be fine.
She had a confession to make, "Remember all those times you came into my room and saw me crying? And I told you I had a stubbed toe?"
"Yes." I replied.
"I lied to you. I didn't have a stubbed toe. I was crying because I was looking at pictures of my mom on facebook in her 'new life' without all of us. It made me sad."
"Oh Amy!... Will you forgive her if she ever changes?"
"She always says she's changed. She says she's been to classes and she's got counseling and help, and she wants to take us back. But she really doesn't care about us. She told that to my face. She hates me. As much as I wish she'd love me, she never will... I don't know."
"Amy, I hope you can forgive her."
"I know."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Night in Venice

She was a little nervous, a little excited. She walked down the stairs to meet him and you could tell he was nervous too. He commented on how great she looked, but it almost sounded rehearsed. First he gave her a small collecters bear that he'd renamed to "Swenson." Then he pulled the corsage from it's case and put it on her wrist. She giggled at her own clumsiness as she attempted to pin the boutonniere on. She pinned from the inside out, so the pokey side was sticking out of his jacket.
He offered her his arm and off they went to Venice. They gave the man at the door their ticket and walked over a bridge filled with sparkling water. They wandered to their seats. After grabing dinner, an italian soda, covering their fruit with chocolate from the chocolate fountain, and roasting a marshmallow over the candle decorations on the table, they found themselves in line for a picture. As they sat at the table posing for the picture, you could tell it looked awkward. But, that's the way the picture guy seemed to want it. He must really enjoy his job. They went their seperate ways to change for the activity, ice skating.
They met each other again at the bus. They began asking random questions all the way there. When they entered they first played an interesting version of ice hockey, without the skates, playing to win a $10 itunes giftcard, but unfortunately their team scored a total of 0 points. They skated and talked, asking questions the whole night. He was a good skater, she was a beginner, but he stayed at her pace as she made her way around the rink. Others were slipping and falling left and right, but somehow they seemed to keep their balance. There was one more game to play for the night. The couples lined up at one side of the wall with their hands on their partners shoulders. "Ready? Go!" He started skating as she leaned in the opposite direction against him, skating backwards. The couple to the right decided spur of the moment to take an immediate left and before they knew it, BAM! They almost came tumbling down, but his movements were too quick and he caught her before she could take a fall. They lined up again and rushed to touch the other side of the rink and returned to the other end in 2nd to last place. The game ended, the champion was found, and they continued skating around the rink. Finally the bus was loading and they returned to the dorms. She thanked him for asking her as they hugged each other goodbye. They headed in opposite directions back to the dorms and returned to normal life.

Oh the silliness of banquets. I wonder if it changes things.