Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Your hands! They're like biscuits with sticks jammed in 'em!"

I haven't posted in over a week (Apologies, as I'm sure you are all sitting around waiting for me). It's been a strange week or so; I've been intermittently grumpy, and who wants to read the grumblings of a grumpy me? I don't even want to write them.

That doesn't mean the week was terrible--there were plenty of good times, lots of friends, and countless things I wish I had written down but didn't. So, here's a couple highlights, if they can be called that:

Ben came and hung out this weekend, and we were at Powell's at Hawthorne, and I was searching for a book (there's a story there, but first...). Ben was talking to me, and this guy came up behind him, trying to go down the aisle. He was probably in his early 20's. But here's the thing. The guy was wearing a bowler hat. Like a proper, It's-1901-and-it's-time-to-hitch-my-horse-in-town-or-whatever-guys-in-bowler-hats-did-back-then hat. And then, when Ben moved aside to let him pass, the guy gave us the tiniest of bows, complete with one of those weird rolly-hand waves, and said, "Pardon me," in a voice that I honestly couldn't tell if it was silly, or just his normal voice.

It was my favorite moment of that day.

Here's the thing about the books: Eric's books hate me. I think they've all talked to one another, and signed a suicide pact. If they get sent to my house, they know the kamikaze mission is on. Last summer, I sent him a text that said, "I have to buy you a new copy of Cloud Atlas because I just smashed a bug in it."

Seriously. I was minding my own business, reading, and a GIANT bug of unknown origin landed on the page. I shrieked, slammed the book shut, and then...blech. Bug guts all over the page, luckily on a paragraph I had finished. So I own that copy now, and I'm pretty sure there's still some kind of brown spot somewhere around the middle.

I don't think these things happen to normal people. Case in point, the death wish that had me in Powell's in the first place:

I've been reading his copy of Love in the Time of Cholera. The other day. I set the book down on my bed, and when I sat down, I bumped it, and it fell. Could have happened to anyone, except that this book is clearly part of the suicidal insurgency. So rather than falling gracefully to the floor, it tumbled partway, and then allowed pages 41-51 (and only those pages. I smell a plot afoot) to catch on my bedframe, ripping them three-quarters of the way down the page. I am pretty sure I said, "You're kidding me," out loud. So that copy's mine now. Eric gets a new one.

I'll probably, hopefully be blogging more regularly from here on out. At the moment, I have had too much coffee, and it's making me jittery and I kind of feel like my brain is clicking too fast. Please tell me someone else has felt that way. :)

And before I go, a friend of a friend saw these restroom signs in Vermont. I think they should be universal:

and then...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"The wind picked up. Are you a witch?"

Maybe I should have catchy little categories, like "Free Stuff Friday". But it's not Friday, so maybe the category should be called "I'm lazy and it's free." Let's go with that one.

Jesus Hates Religion. Part two of the Emmaus series, text and audio.

Jeremy Okai Davis. This is the artist I've been bragging on. His work is up at Seven Virtues, and it's awesome.

Seven Virtues Coffeehouse. They're not giving anything away for free, and they haven't updated their site, but there it is. I think they should change their name to "Heather's Other Home", but so far they haven't caught that vision yet.

Caitlin Schwerin. I don't know Caitlin, but she's a recent Portland transport who used to work with Amanda Rae, my best friend growing up. I think her art looks fun, and she's showing it on Alberta for Last Thursday (exact details are on the website).

Lauren Zettler does Soundgarden. Lauren is from New York, and I follow her on Twitter, and when I ask her things (like, "Can I share your free song?"), she's always nice about it, which makes me feel like less of a creeper. I saw Lauren back in May with some friends at a little hole in the wall coffeehouse on Williams. She sang for a tiny crowd, and there were these creepy mannequin heads behind her. But her voice is awesome, and I like the way it seems to change the song. And it's free!

Lastly, Jason Boyett's blog about Rich Mullins. My mom bought me a tape of Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth when I was 7 or 8, and I literally have never stopped listening to it (on cd, now. :) )

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Can you guys hear me? Am I deaf?"

Oh my gosh, so many silly things. But first of all, a one-woman dialogue:

*h*: Hey, self?
*h* (self): Yeah?
*h*: I'm really not a fan of this whole "Let's not sleep at night" thing.
*h* (self): Yeah, I know.
*h*: So... yeah. A memo, is all. (Get it?)
*h* (self): Got it. How are you feeling?
*h*: Actually, I feel kinda funny.
*h* (self): Uh oh. Need a bucket?
*h*: Not that kind of funny...more like 'I keep giggling aloud at my own thoughts' funny, so let's run with it.

Ta da! Thank you. I will accept my Pulitzer and other baubles of appreciation via UPS.

So, my tv's been broken since I moved in here (and when I say "broken", what I actually mean is "I can't get the universal remote to work which means I can't get the tv to switch to video mode which means I can't get the converter box to work which means it's sorta kinda broken." Seriously, if you can fix it, you're welcome to do so at nearly any time.), which means that I don't watch much tv, and when I do, it becomes this wonderfully exciting thing.

I tried to watch a couple summer shows via Hulu, but I gave up, and I feel better about that now that I know Kevin Skinner won America's Got Talent. I mean, the guy's talented, no doubt, but he's so backwoodsy that I'm just afraid that two weeks into his Vegas show he's gonna go on a coke-fueled rampage, swimming in the fountain at the Bellagio, pointing out hookers and slapping transvestites. Take care of yourself, Mr. Skinner. Meanwhile...

The Office had its season premiere last night (and yes, so did Parks and Recreation but I missed it so ssshhhh...), and if there is one show I will always find a way to watch on the night it airs, it's The Office. And I learned something last night. I really like watching that show with people who love it, and like watching it with people who are sometime casual observers a lot less. Since one of them may be reading this, let me say for good measure, I love you and I think you're great and I will not let our varied levels of devotion to this show affect our friendship, apart from the fact that I might not hang with you Thursday nights.

But usually, if someone doesn't love The Office, but also doesn't dislike it strongly enough to not watch it if it is on somewhere they happen to be, the following will happen: They will laugh some (but not as much as me), they will become a harmless and unintended peanut gallery, from which will be heard statements such as, "Um... okay..." and "Oh my gosh...." and "Wow. He's kind of a jerk..." and all of these will be made with slight (I think mostly unintended) hints of disdain. And usually, if you ask a casual observer of The Office if they are a fan of the show, they will say something like, "It's funny sometimes, but it's so awkward. Like, I know it's supposed to be, but sometimes it's just too awkward."

This is usually the point where I will announce that I love the show, and I will feel like a heathen and a failure. But the fact is that the casual observer is right, the fact that it's so awkward is what makes the show, because you either see moments like that (hopefully to a milder degree) all the time and feel like you know people like the characters in your own life, or you don't. But I'm sorry, I find the idea of Andy describing his maybe-gay maybe-not-gay fantasy about Brad Pitt to his gay coworker hilarious (ask someone who's gay, and I can almost promise you they've had a mellow form of that conversation with a straight coworker). And Jesus still loves me, and I'm sure he would love Andy Bernard, too, were he real.

After that, this new show Community was on, which stars this guy named Joel McHale, who used to be on this show on the E! network (or maybe still is) called The Soup, where he stands in front of a flat-screen tv and talks about clips from all the different talk shows and reality-tv shows.

Please don't ask me why I know this--I can only suggest that my brain is and has always been a sponge for useless trivia and has no room for practical things, such as how to live--but there have been at least three other hosts of the talk show show, which used to be called Talk Soup, and they are John Henson, Aisha Tyler, and GREG KINNEAR, YOU GUYS.

So John Henson is now kind of a cartoon of his former self, and he did the narration on that dumb Wipeout show and I think DirectTV commercials or something, which makes me kind of sad. Aisha Tyler was on Friends way back when, long after I had stopped watching, and I'm sure she has done other great stuff, I just don't know what it is. But still, she's funny, she seems awesome, and I think we'd be good friends. Call me, Aisha!

And Greg Kinnear, like way, way, way back. I love Greg, and no matter how many Little Miss Sunshines he is in, I will always hear, "It's high times for you, isn't it Melvin? The gay neighbor is terrified!" in my head when I see him, and this will make me want to hug him and take him home. And by the way, if you are in the sad position of never having seen As Good As It Gets, that should be fixed immediately, because that movie is hilarious and sad in a great way, and Greg Kinnear is perfect.

Whew! All that to say that Community was actually pretty funny, and then Jay Leno's "new" show came on and everyone got kind of quiet and sad, because it's Jay Leno, which means it's not funny.

Okay, before I go, I feel like I need to share something that proves I still have a working brain: literature! I finished Franny & Zooey, which I loved and want to read like four more times, and just started Love in the Time of Cholera. And in defense of why I love novels, check out this first line:

"It was inevitable: The scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love."

Are you kidding me? That's the kind of first line that makes me a total mess: I don't know whether to curse, or pray, or make out with the first man I see. And I'm only 30 pages in, but the whole book is like that! It makes me read it slow, not because it's particularly difficult, but because the words are so lush. His sentences go on for days, but they manage not to waste a word. I usually like prose that really clips along fast, but those 30 pages were kind of heavenly.

See? Brain still works. Maybe I shouldn't fix my tv... having this much to say about it is kind of great.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"He's more a slinker than a crawler."

Lots of stuff is going on, most of it good, but I can't talk about all of it right now. One thing I can talk about, as I have been asked several times in the last week or so, is why I am choosing to remain in Portland.

I received an email today in response to a resume I sent off yesterday informing me that of the over 130 applicants for this particular position, I was not selected for an interview. It's gotten to the point where this doesn't surprise me, and it doesn't even make me sad. It just is.

Someone asked me the other day, when I said I wanted to stay in Portland, if I was truly open to whatever God had for me, whatever role, whatever location. I didn't exactly take offense to the question, but I find it odd that anyone would assume that choosing to stay in one place and being open to God's leading would be mutually exclusive. I have always been open to God's leading for my life, and if there's one area He has always been clear about, it has been my home, whether it be temporary or permanent. I truly feel that I am called to be in Portland right now, job or no job. The fact that I am not looking for jobs nationwide is not a denial of God's direction--it is actually in response to it.

Every time I have moved, I have known it was time to go before I knew where I was headed. And every time I have moved, God has placed the location in front of me without ambiguity. The situations may not have always worked out the way I envisioned or hoped, but I have been in the right place at the right time. I think of my semester in Dublin, after graduating Linfield. I found swiftly that I did not like the city. The internship with the Irish Film Institute didn't turn into any sexy job prospects, and I didn't meet anyone who was going to whisk me away and show me an entirely new and entirely thrilling life.

But I shared a house with four other girls in Spencer Dock, and I was surrounded by kids who were incredible, some of whom I am still in touch with today. I came home from work every day to at least three kids on my doorstep, who would talk to me and share with me, often until after dark. I don't miss Dublin in the least, but I do miss them. And I know I was in that house for that short time for a purpose.

Being here feels similar. I love this city more than I ever have another (except maybe Galway, maybe...). I have never felt more at home in a place, and I have never felt more potential for growth than I do right now. Yes, hunting for a job is tiring, demoralizing and depressing. But being in this city and being unemployed has given me the opportunity and availability to have conversations I could not have dreamt up, and to be involved with ministries I would otherwise have to leave behind.

There are, of course, things I don't love about Portland. I hate how divided the city can feel, how important your neighborhood is to your social standing, and how some types of people have come to represent the whole of Portland (if you're unsure, pay attention to the type of thing someone says is "so Portland"--it will invariably be something hipsterish and slightly wacky, as if hipsters are the only people who live in the city.). But being here makes me feel alive, makes me feel like life is in motion and reminds me daily that God, and not Heather, is in control. When the time comes for me to leave Portland, I believe I will know. It may be soon, or it may not be for many, many years. But I know that when I leave this city, it will not be to seek greener pastures or because life doesn't seem to be working according to my own plan. It will be because God has made it clear that my time in Portland is finished, at least for a time, and He has something new in store. I might not know exactly what that is right away, but I know that His guidance will be clear, and will not be tainted by my own hopes and fears.

And again, I feel like that's a good place to be.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Because sometimes you just need free stuff.

Emmaus Church had its official launch last night, and it went really well. As promised, here's the link to the message, both in text and mp3 form. Jesus Hates Religion, Part One. I love, love, love this church.

I also made a really surprising, comforting discovery on noisetrade.com, which is an awesome website, if you haven't found it yet. They let you either pay what you want for the music they offer, or you can get it free by telling five people about it. And there's tons of music. One of the EPs I found is called Woman's Work is Alchemy and it's from this woman named Sarah Masen. When I was in high school, she released an album called Carry Us Through that I really think is partly responsible for me not completely losing my mind in high school. So go listen, tell your friends. I'm so glad she's still recording.

My old roommate Gabriele and her boyfriend Victor are visiting this week, so I'm hoping to get a lot of time with them. Knowing Gabe, the time will make for some fantastic stories.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Let's try this.

Fair warning to anyone who stumbles upon this one: I haven't slept, and so when my brain is less sleep deprived, I may think wiser of it & take it down, but for now...

I haven't slept because I don't have a job & it's really stressing me out right now. So, I thought, even though (I think) everyone knows I am looking for something, let's see what a reminder might do. And for the record, many of you have been very helpful & have given me a lot of good suggestions. However, given the fact that I have a disability, I have to narrow my job search considerably. I cannot do any type of work that requires that I handle:

  • food.
  • live animals.
  • infants or small children.
  • any people who may become either violent or physically unsteady (so nothing where I may potentially be required to wrestle someone to the ground or hold someone up.).

This might seem like I'm kidding around, but virtually every job that has been suggested to me so far has included one of those four categories. And I understand, it's what's out there right now.

What I need is a desk, somewhere in the Portland Metro Area. Does anyone know of such a thing? A job in a ten-mile radius that has a desk? It doesn't seem like it should be hard to find, but I sure don't seem to be having any luck. I figure this can't hurt.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Jeanie? Jeanie! JEANIE!"

I've had another couple lovely days...Molly threw a toga party in honor of her birthday Saturday night. Because I was driving, and I am "responsible", I had one beer and nothing else, and if life has taught any of us anything at all, it's that being the only sober person at a drunken party can either be the sixth layer of hell (or so), or it can be fantastic. I chose fantastic.

This morning, I went with Eric to Screen Door for breakfast, and I wish I had thought to take a picture of it, because it was, if nothing else, imposing. Goaded by someone else's Facebook bragging, I decided I needed to try the chicken and waffles, which is apparently their breakfast signature.

What I GOT was a giant sweet potato waffle with four huge pieces of chicken-fried chicken piled on top. The whole thing was held together by a giant knife. Yeah, that's right. And you know what? My body probably hates me, but it was so delicious. Most of it is in my fridge right now, which means tomorrow is destined for equal deliciousness.

Today was also the big relaunch of Emmaus church, and I have never seen that many people in that building on a Sunday night. The message was great (and will be posted here tomorrow for those of you who are interested), the mood was great, and my parents finally got to come down and see what the church was about, which meant a lot for me.

Tomorrow is another launch into the finding-a-job foray. To be perfectly honest, I kind of gave up last week, and am really hoping to knock out some good work starting tomorrow. In the morning I'll see if the house or the coffeeshop is the best place to do that. If I can manage to not have an interruption of someone wonderful (which of course, I always welcome) maybe I can actually do myself some good. As always, prayers, positive thoughts, tips, and good words with YOUR boss are always appreciated. :)

Before I go, I have to share this, courtesy of the Willamette Week, and spotted by Beth, under "Musicians Available":

"Crappy bass seeks crappy band to play crappy music for skanky ho's...Serious about improving, having a good time."

So, who wants to hire Jeremy? Oh, Portland, I love you.

No quotes, just housekeeping. :)

For one thing, September 11 is kind of a weird day. I'm guessing some of you feel like me: you kind of want to do something, but you don't know exactly what. And yes, I remember exactly where I was that day and no, I don't really want to talk about it, and I think that's ok. And then I found this on The Mom Creative, a blog I follow, and I really liked it.

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it? It also makes me wonder if Mr. Rogers' real-life neighbors ever felt like they were living in an extreme state of irony, but that's another post entirely. Hopefully, it will never be written.

In other news, I have made some basic changes to the blog. I really hope Blogger didn't resend a post every time I made an edit. If it did, I apologize. I'm new. There's really nothing you need to chase down and find, except for the picture of Christina and Spock (it's in the "Happy f---ing birthday" post).

Also, just a heads up that if you use Blogger or something like it, following is a great way to stay posted on the blog. It comes right to you!

See you later, pals. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Giraffes are sneaky, and they will rob you blind."

I saw the movie 9 tonight.

I'm really tempted to just stop there.

For anybody who doesn't know, 9 follows a gang of mechanical rag-doll creations across a postapocalyptic landscape, where they fight off giant spidery machines and learn about friendship. Or something.

I really couldn't tell you for sure, because after sitting through the movie for the slowest 90 minutes of my life, I realized I had no idea what the point of the movie was.

Don't misunderstand me--I'm hardly one of those people who thinks that every single movie has to have some deep theme buried in its subtext. For example, the point of Anchorman is to make people laugh, and nothing else. And if you're me, it makes you laugh so hard you fall off the couch. It doesn't matter that Anchorman isn't about to be lauded for its revloutionary approach to the issue of apartheid or global climate change or how humans in general are lazy, stupid, greedy morons or whatever (Apologies for the mini-rant, but is it just me, or does it seem like easily half the movies out today are trying to tell us how we're ruining everything because we're stupid and insatiable?).

But my problem with this movie is that literally nothing happened. That's not entirely true. It could probably be better said that nothing I cared anything about happened. Here's what did happen. Some decidely weird and distinctly cute rag-dolls with spark plug-looking eyes ran around, ducked from some spidery, big, loud, kinda scary machines. Then the mechanical rag-dolls ran some more, talked a little bit (mostly things like, "Oh, no!" and "Run!"--I am pretty sure the entire cast recorded the whole movie in one day. No one seems to have more than 50 lines.), ran from some very big explosions, fell off of some stuff, talked some more, listened to Judy Garland (true story) and ran a bit more, just for the heck of it.

Snore. I will say that the animation is beautiful, but it's a beautiful snore. And Tim Burton is an executive producer, which is interesting, because I thought halfway through (when I was asking myself if it was over yet), "This movie is like what Tim Burton would do if he wanted to have no fun at all and be totally hopeless."

This is also not a movie for children. Not having a TV, I don't know if it's being marketed to them or not, but it is animated, so...

It is so bleak, and has so many frightening scenes (and not fun, pulling-a-head-out-of-a-box-Nightmare-Before-Christmas-frightening) that if I had seen it as a kid, I would have run screaming from the theater. As most kids are not as wimpy as I was, there's a good chance they'll just fall asleep.

It's a shame, because it does look lovely, if you can find good enough reason to keep your eyes open.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"'I'm too blessed to be stressed' and other lies."

The past couple of days have given me fantastic laughs, an abundance of things to think about, and little sleep. The best part is that I spent most of Tuesday in one place.

I met up with a handful of Emmaus girls at Anna Banana's in St. John's yesterday morning, and it was a great reminder to me of how much I love being a girl. And I love hanging out with other women and being silly and funny and giggly, and just getting to share life that way. It also gave me a chance to tell a couple of the girls what I have been telling everyone for months: that they need to see Twilight.

In the interest of being honest, let me make it clear that you should not see Twilight because it is particularly scary, particularly romantic or even particularly good. You need to see Twilight because it is easily the funniest movie made in the last few years. It's unrelentingly serious and overdramatic, and any movie about a vampire who a) refuses to eat people or suck their blood and b) does not die in the sunlight, but rather sparkles, as though his skin were covered in thousands of tiny diamonds (that are most likely not conflict-free) is a movie you should see.

The vampire also tells the girl-in-question that she's his "own personal brand of heroin", and he sneaks in her room and watches her sleep. And if that doesn't make you feel all romantic and fuzzy, then apparently nothing will. So, in closing, go see Twilight. Have a beer first.

When the party broke up, I stayed behind with my laptop, "determined" to get work done. And in the interest of my own determination, I immediately texted my friend Matt, who lived nearby, and invited him to come have a coffee, which he did. Every time I hang out with Matt, somewhere around ten minutes in, I regret being in whatever public setting we may find ourselves. This isn't because Matt is embarrassing to hang around or ugly or overly political; it's because he makes me laugh so much and so loudly that I feel I should apologize to everyone else that they cannot possibly be having as much fun as I am.

So we did this, the talking about whatever crossed our mind or our path (for example, upon seeing this blog, Matt informed me that Brian Williams has a crooked face, which he then proved by Googling "Brian Williams has a crooked face". Other people think so, so it must be true.) for a very, very long time. And then, without much warning, the conversation took a distinctly serious turn.

I won't divulge the details of the conversation, but suffice to say that the conversation hinged mostly on the ideas of identity and personal value, and how we find those things in this day-to-day life. It was a conversation that made me thankful that I was able to be in that coffeeshop on a Tuesday afternoon.

The rhythm and cadence of speech and conversation has always fascinated me, and I tend to be extremely sensitive to shifts in mood or tone. And while we were still having fun, and making a joke here or there, everything changed. The volume of both our voices dropped (his more than mine, I'm sure), there was a lot less eye contact, and a lot of sudden detached interest in the art on the walls, the positioning of my hands, whatever else.

But here's the amazing thing: Matt and I have disagreed strongly on some huge issues in the past, points where we've had to realize that there was going to be no meeting closer than partway to the middle. And so, as I got to talk about my life, I felt sure that there were going to be points where Matt told me that I was full of shit, delusional, confused, naive, or any number of other things. But I decided to just be honest, and to not try to fit my story into any mold I knew. I told him that while I was not particularly happy with life at the moment, but that in the face of the most uncertainty I have ever known, I had joy. I told him that I knew what my identity was, even as it changed and shifted continually, and I knew that my work status or position had no bearing on my value. I told him that in the face of that, I still wanted a good job, and I was running on hope more consistently than faith. And it was all true.

It's possible that Matt may have really wanted to tell me that I was full of shit, delusional, confused, naive, or any number of other things. But he didn't do it. What he did was help me see that our stories, disparate as they may have seemed, bore a lot of similarities. I don't know about anybody else, but I find the idea that everyone else is, to some degree, confused and constantly trying to know who they are incredibly encouraging. In the face of that, I have been given joy that I can freely share. And I have hope for the future, a hope that maintains even when my faith is weak.

I was at home this evening and one of my roommates had a photo album out on the table in the main room. She wasn't home, so I suppose I was snooping, but when I opened the photo album I found something incredibly beautiful inside. Every page had pictures of people who were important in her life before she moved to Portland, and on every page she had written a part of her story of the last ten years, and how God continually showed Himself faithful in her life in that time. I don't tend to have much of a weak spot for stories of miracles, but all throughout her book, she explained how God repeatedly asked her to trust (sometimes with things that seemed devastating), and when she did, He repeatedly was faithful to supply what she needed.

It made me wonder how much of that I am doing in my own life right now. I know that I have trusted God many times, and I know that He has always been faithful, but the conscious decision to trust has been a long time in coming. I don't know how to do this well; I want to rush to extremes. And yet, I know no one can live there. I cannot announce that I am trusting God for all my needs, lay down, and sleep until He makes my life ideal. Likewise, I cannot push myself and work myself to the end, exerting all my effort and never prayerfully considering rest, and claim that I am trusting God when really I am only trusting me. And trusting me is foolish, to say the least. I have seen who I can be on my own, and it was not a pretty picture.

I guess all of this is to say that I don't feel like I know how to trust in the way I need to (I hardly know where to start), but I am willing to try. Most of all, it's because I know that my identity will become clearer when I see more of who God is, and who He tells me that I am.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"I like the one with the flat hair. He's my favorite."

My lofty goal of posting once per day kind of fell off this weekend, and since I know you were all sitting on pins and needles, I apologize. I do hope you all had a lovely long weekend.

Laura came for a visit Saturday, and breakfast (at 11:30 am) with her at Utopia Cafe was lovely and wonderful. She was one of my best friends at the seminary, and when she graduated, I had no idea when I would see her again. What a blessing! Add to that the fact that I get to see fellow graduates Beth and Gabriele in the next two weeks, and you have yourself a seminary girl party. And trust me, it doesn't sound like it, but they are the best ones...

Sunday I got to see Laura one more time before she left, when I met up with her and (yet another) fellow grad Crystal at Cooper's. Crystal and the owners are buddies, and so we got a tour of the new bakery space in the basement. They were making individual quiches that looked delicious.

Sunday was also the first time Emmaus Church gathered for a service in a long time. Our official relaunch isn't until this Sunday (and the beginning of the series "Jesus Hates Religion and You Should, Too"), but it was really good to see everyone together again. I am honestly stoked for next Sunday.

Tomorrow, aside from meeting with some of the Emmaus girls in the morning, the plan is to re-attack the job market, hopefully with a renewed energy. My parents had a barbecue tonight with me and some family friends, and of course everyone had some advice... at this point I really am trying to explore every avenue, but it's frustrating when people are offering advice that you really don't think will work, but there's no way (and honestly no need) to tell them so.

So, the job hunt once again. Prayers, positive thoughts, a good word to your friendly neighborhood employer will all be deeply appreciated. I'll do my best to be here tomorrow night again.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"I don't know what my type is...liars, maybe."

I have started reading Franny and Zooey and am absolutely loving it (though I am finding the effort to hold the old book in Eric's spine-saving fashion ridiculously difficult. I like letting books flop open in front of me, like setting them down, open to my place,). Like everybody else, I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school, and loved it, and read Nine Stories in college (but for fun, over a summer, because that's how I roll) and loved that even as it depressed the hell out of me. It's been a long time since I've read any Salinger, and it's a little like meeting a high school friend at the ten year reunion, only to discover that you still think they're great, but in a completely different way.

(In an unrelated, overly nerdy grammar-whore moment, I think all these book titles are technically supposed to be underlined, but I'm not certain AND I don't like the way that looks. And this is MY blog, dangit.)

The job hunting hasn't been quite as fruitful or a focused as I would hope it to be this week, but I did get several more applications off. And we'll start again, maybe as soon as tomorrow, but not before I have a wonderful visitor! My dear friend Laura, who graduated from the seminary with me in May, is in Portland as of tonight, and we're having (late) breakfast in the morning. So, so excited to see her.

I keep having a dream that's not exactly recurring, but the theme and motif are the same: there's some kind of robbery going on, in a bank or a home, and I show up late. Sometimes I know the robbers, sometimes I don't. but every time, I sneak in the midst of the chaos, grab some stuff, and then leave without anyone saying anything (when it was a bank robbery, I had three full sacks with big dollar signs on them, like in the cartoons, that I just picked up off the floor). I leave, and about five minutes later, I am overwhelmed with guilt, looking at my spoils. I have stolen these, I think. I'm officially a theif.

I never repent or return what I have taken, though, because that's always when I wake up. I view dream analysis with a very untrusting eye, but I'd be interested to hear thoughts.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"There will be no babies getting pushed out of THIS [expletive] anytime soon."

The best part about the quote above is that it came to me just like that; the "[expletive]" was in place, no editing necessary.

Apologies for not posting til now... but I will say it's nice to know that many of you share my love of Mr. Williams.

I came home last night exhausted and headachey, and had to wake up at 5 am for a missional community training with Emmaus. I must love this church or something, because nothing gets me out of bed that early. And it didn't, technically; I hit snooze for 20 minutes, and then sat on the edge of my bed utterly motionless for another ten. That's my typical morning routine, but it's so much more painful when it's still dark out.

As sleepy as I was, and as much as I yawned, I enjoyed the time, as I always do. One of the things I love about it was evidenced at one point when two members of the group, one of whom is the pastor, had a disagreement. The details aren't reallly important, but here's what I loved about it. It was allowed. It was discussed and not ignored, it was promised that it would be discussed more soon between the two people who disagreed, and then it was put aside for the moment. No arguing, no disrespect, no deciding that the person who was not the pastor should just shut up and take the pastor's word as the only view. This is so rare in so many churches and faith communities, and it made my heart for Emmaus grow that much more.

The only other thing of note to happen since I was here last is I got to hang out with Eric for the first time in what felt like forever. When he got back from his vacation, I texted him and said, "I am inviting myself over to hang out Wednesday or Thursday, you pick."

As soon as I sent it, I regretted it. I have this complex that I have been fighting against for the last few years... I don't tend to be the inviter, organizer, etc. of any social events, be they parties or general coffee hellos, because my stupid brain tells me that people will come hang out more out of guilt and duty than real desire. So, says Heather's stupid brain, if you wait to be invited, they obviously really want to see you.

Stupid, right? But if inviting people out doesn't happen, you can imagine the impact inviting myself into somebody else's house, even a good friend's, would have on my neuroses. So then I got this text from Eric yesterday: "You should invite yourself over tonight around seven. We can have a little wine and order a pizza and watch Arrested Development."

And my whole life was better. Friends are great.

Before I left his house, I grabbed a couple of his books (Love in the Time of Cholera and Franny and Zooey, if you feel like keeping track), complained that he hadn't given me mine back, and got a lesson in How to Hold a Book when I flipped through Franny...

We're readers, and we're dorks. This is what we do. The conversation went like this:

H: (flip)
E: Aaaack.
H: What?
E: You're holding it wrong.
H: (pause) What?
E: You're bending it.
H: (looks at book, then the weirdo on the couch) It's a book.
E: Yeah, but you're gonna bend the spine.
H: It's a book. (My power in debate is unmatched, clearly.)
E: Yeah, but it's old. and the pages will fall out.
H: Eric, it's a book. (You're in awe, I know.)
E: Here, gimme it.
H: Yeah, please, show me what I am doing so horribly wrong. How else do you hold a book?
E: (holds the book open, like a 'v') Like this.
H: That is TOTALLY what I did.
E: Nuh-uh, you went like this: (he bends the book back dramatically, making it look like an 'm')
H: Fine, keep it then, if you're so sure I'm gonna ruin it. (Maturity is my best feature.)
E: You can read it--just don't kill it.
H: (rolls her eyes)

For the record, I have now gotten the book home, and have decided it is, in fact, very old, and the pages may, in fact, fall out. So I'm going to go read it very, very carefully. I promise.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"While we are thrilled you think our sauce is 'the shiznit'..."

I have a not-terribly-secret crush on Brian Williams. I don’t even really know why, other than the fact that he’s adorable in a very grown man-kind of way, and I find his voice soothing, regardless of whether he’s describing violence in East Timor or a nice lady in Iowa who knits tea cozies for orphans. But since I moved into this house, I have a TV I can’t seem to figure out and roommates who never watch TV, which means I never watch TV, apart from a couple Hulu addictions. And NBC Nightly News is not one of them

But then I saw this picture today, and my love was instantly renewed.

He’s just great, isn’t he? (Photo courtesy of our pal Al Roker, via www.twitter.com/alroker)

Now, I suppose it could be said that if he wants to be amazing, he should be out fighting the fires too, but there’s something about knowing and doing one’s job, and letting others do theirs, that is better, I think. Go on, Brian. Let the firefighters be the heroes.

I know that Anderson Cooper is supposedly the hot newscaster of the day, but he just doesn’t seem normal. If I were dating Anderson Cooper (an opportunity that, let’s face it, I probably wouldn’t pass up), I would guess that there would probably be multiple occasions where it was time to go, and I was saying, “Anderson, come on already…”, watching him groom excessively in the mirror. I bet he winks at himself in the mirror, too. Not fun.

But I feel like Brian Williams would totally be game to go away someplace for a while, pretend the news didn’t exist, grow a killer beard and build you a fire with wood he cut himself. And that’s awesome. Right?

Yep. That's a pretty good assessment of my brain tonight, I think.

"Write your epistle to the Portlanders, and then we'll talk."

First thing's first... I'm new to this blogging universe, and I'm definitely learning as I go. Last night taught me that I should not post when I'm really tired, and so I apologize to anyone who was reading those ramblings.

Today could easily have been labeled a failure, and I am actively fighting the urge to do so. Rather than apply for any jobs, I found myself utterly wasting time, and feeling sleepy, and putting my energy into things that were nowhere near as important. But as always, it made me available for some other things, mainly some important conversations I was happy to have.

My friend Eric just came back from a vacation (I feel like every post is introducing a new character in some novel that doesn't exist.), and I got to call him and hear all about it. Besides being one of my favorite people on the planet, Eric is also one of the best storytellers I have ever met in my life. The stories will always be grounded in reality, but will almost never be completely true, and this is what makes them so great. Eric can take the most mundane details of life and turn them into completely new animals, hilarious, beautiful, or both, as the situation of the storytelling necessitates. I'm glad he's back.

I've been thinking today about being in flux...is it possible for your state of being in flux, being in change, to be in flux itself? I am pretty sure I am using the word wrong, and before anybody corrects me, know that in this case, I don't care, because it is a fantastic word, and I'll say it again. Flux.

But I feel like I have been, and a lot of my friends have been, in such a state. Things haven't really changed yet, but you can tell they're about to. And so you're balancing in between, waiting to be dropped in one direction or another. I wonder if anyone else feels this way. It's what my entire summer has been.

On a lighter note, I have to share something that Courtney sent me. She discovered an ad (you're not allowed to ask where or why we find these things; we just do, so shut up about it already) where a man who claimed to be new to this sort of thing (as we all do) was looking for a woman to hang out, etc. with, with no strings attached. Unfortunately (being, of course, "new at this"), his earlier attempts had apparently sent him to porn-bots and several men. This was not what our friend (our hero? our brief protagonist?) was really looking for, so in this latest ad, after describing his misadventures, he kept it simple. Empty space on the page, and then:

I like vaginas.

Well, good for you, champ! Way to pick a team. I don't know this man, and I don't necessarily feel the need to, but I hope things work out for him. And apologies to Eric for being introduced in the vagina post, but hey... it's not me, it's just today.