Friday, September 25, 2009

In the Rain

Let us dance in the rain

Hold our mouths up

And forget our tongues

Let us grab hands

And dance in the rain


As Willanona the rat scampered over my toes, and nibbled my ears, and cuddled against my belly, I read Stargirl once again. Schoolbooks lay scattered all around me, but I could not read them. I had to know Stargirl again; I had to remember.

I skipped through some words, but savored others--almost like I could taste them. Reading that story is like touching a small bit of something inside me. Perhaps that something is in all of us. Archie, Stargirl's surrogate grandpa, would say it is the primitive within us: the unevolved human inside each person.

But I say it is the soul. God has given us a spirit that moves, that feels, that lives. If we have this soul, why do we become stagnant? How is it that we still the beats in our hearts and embrace normality? When did we stop splashing through fountains and looking strangers in the eye?

Night fell around me last night and I went to sleep feeling discontent with humanity. While babysitting Gabe and Sophie this morning, however, I was reminded that "Stargirl" is still in us. As Gabe grabbed my hand, pulling me to the ground to examine an ant, I remembered. When Sophie asked me, "Did you see your shadow? There's mine!" I remembered. While I looked up into a tree at a nest Gabe had pointed out, I remembered.

Many people become obsessed with work, busy with school, and fall into such a hectic way of life that they forget to remember to watch the ants and see the shadows. But children will always remember. And so should we.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Who wears short shorts?

On Sunday afternoon I went to a music ed. picnic with Jessie. When she invited me, I thought "picnic!" and imagined lots of yummy food, lots of people, and lots of lemonade. That, however, wasn't exactly how things turned out.

We arrived on campus early, so Jessie showed me around a little. Finally we set out to find the picnic. After a long walk in the sweltering sun to where we thought the picnic was, we received directions otherwise and headed back in the opposite direction. We walked. And walked. And then we walked some more. Then we kept walking.

We passed the soccer fields and razed construction sites, and finally found the pavilion where the picnic was supposed to be. No one but a plate of cookies was there, so I stripped off my socks and shoes and skipped into the pond.

(If you can't see it, the sign says: Do not feed or abuse the alligators. Ha!)

Eventually people arrived, and Jessie and I suffered through the most pathetic excuse for a picnic that I have ever experienced. On our way back to the car, I decided that we should climb one of the heaps of dirt by the construction site. (Pictured above, if you hadn't figured that out.) Much against Jessie's will, we hiked up the "mountain", and pushed our way through tangles of weeds and vines with thorns. Though Jess may not agree, I thought it was a spectacular adventure. What is life if we do not seize the extraordinary in simplicity?

The only bad part about climbing the mound of dirt was that it wasn't content to just stay on the hill. Far too much followed us home in our shoes.

To change the subject rather dramatically...I love short shorts on guys. In fact, I often ask myself why I couldn't just live in the 70s. Boys in short shorts and tall socks everywhere you look. As I was about to go to bed on Sunday evening (climbing mountains is rather tiring, you know), I found Drew and Chris goofing around in the den in short shorts. So, instead of going to bed, I joined Drew, Chris, and Macy in a late-night short shorts and tall socks photo shoot. It was pretty great.

I'm so glad Drew and Chris are home. Even though they keep me up way past my bedtime far too often, I wouldn't give up our crazy late-night shenanigans for the world.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chicken Sushi

Boston Market is officially revolting. I took Mrs K there this afternoon and watched in disgust as grease literally dripped from the food they served to her. To make matters worse, there were twelve whole chickens rotating in this giant plastic box, and one chicken's wing kept moving. I watched in horrified fascination as it circled above the open fire and then flapped.

I don't think I'll be able to eat chicken for a long, long time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Think I Smell a Rat!

While driving in the car for FOUR days this summer, I read a book about pet rats to my sisters.  After that, we all wanted one.  Everybody but Mom, that is.  But Caroline was persuasive (or persistent) enough to eventually win her over, and on Labor day we went to pick out our rats. Caroline named hers Zibby.  Mine is Willanona. 

Bonding time with Willa.

Willa loves to sit on shoulders.  Sometimes she'll sit on my shoulder for over an hour, just snuggling in my hair.

People think of rats as dirty creatures, but Willa bathes constantly.  In fact, she's a little OCD about it.

Whenever I sit on my bed doing homework, Willa sits with me.  She'll crawl around and explore, or just cuddle up next to me.

We love our rats.  They are sweet and friendly, and love to be around people.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Will Remember

I was in the kitchen making cookies. The phone rang. Drew answered. I heard the fuzz of the TV being switched on. When I saw the airplane tumble the building down, I didn't think it could be real. How could a little plane do something like that?

Mom came home. She cried and cried and called Daddy and told him to come back from work.

For the next few weeks we were glued to the blurry television set. Everything else stopped. Life stilled as we watch the towers fall again and again, as we listened to stories of survival, and saw the grief poured out for those who didn't survive.

I remember the names being read at the memorial service. Names of those who had been killed. Names liked the crosses at Normandy. Too many names.

We will not forget.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dog Days

When I was younger I used to go on great expeditions about my neighborhood. I'd ramble up and down the streets, scamper up the neighbors' trees, and hide in people's bushes. Although I loved playing these games alone, I longed for a dog. I dreamt of what he would look like, how the leash would feel in my hand, how well behaved my dog would be.

After ten years of endless petsitting, I'm not much of an animal person anymore. But there are still a few dogs I love. This afternoon while walking Bear, the dog I'm petsitting right now, I felt a slight coolness in the air. So I set off to the park with him. He looks like a werewolf--his hair sticks up in tufts all over his body; the leash felt sticky in my hand; and he wasn't the least bit well behaved.

Yet I felt like a child again, in love with a puppy. We ran through the pine needles and onto the tennis court. Watching Bear streak madly around the court--his tongue lolling halfway to his knees, his rough paws skidding on the green cement--I realized why I love this dog. He has something of the beast in him. A wildness that will not be tamed by flannel beds or a leash. He is not a pet. He's a dog.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

College Kids (Oh, Relient K!)

As I was cruising along on I-4 in the fast lane, enjoying the cold AC in my newly fixed car, I suddenly glanced the 408 (that's where I was 'sposed to be!) sign in my peripheal vision. Sucking in my breath, I threw a glance over my shoulder and began cutting across lanes. Horns honked around me, but the Lord allowed me to make it across unscathed. My heart beat wildly, my legs felt like jello, and all I could think was, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord!"

After accidentally not paying for the toll, and almost turning on the wrong street, I made it to the community college. Now to get to class... Thankfully I had followed Jessie's advice to find my classes prior to the start of class; I got to Fresman Composition I with no problem. In spite of the very out-of-date hot pink suit my professor was wearing, I like her tremendously, and am excited to be in this class.

Getting to the next class was a little more of a challenge. I started off in the wrong direction. Eventually I decided to ask for directions, and was pointed the opposite way. When I poked my head into my Psychology class, I found a very large classroom packed with people. Trying to be inconspicuous (but largely failing, thanks to my big backpack bumping me along), I tiptoed to a seat in the middle. I think I'm going to love this professor. His name is Ivan Applebaum (a name so great it caused me to choose the class), he is probably in his 70s, and he swears like a sailor.

Determined not to be late for another class, I rushed to Fundamentals of Speech. I thought the class started at 11:15. I got there exactly on time. It didn't start until 11:30. But I was glad to be early, because I got to meet Sarah, who spent the summer doing mission work in Kenya. Immediately we began sharing stories and reminescing about our time in Africa. Professor C overheard us, and began referring to us as "the Africans". Apparently he thought it quite funny, because he took every possible opportunity to announce that "the Africans" would know the answer to that, or "the Africans" wouldn't know how to use the computers. I hope it was all in love...

All in all, it was really a great day.

And now I am planning out my schedule and freaking out a wee bit. Time to hit the books! Goodnight.