Friday, June 30, 2006

when i have a house

i will paint words on the walls. like the artist T. C. Steele, whose residence Angie & I visited.

these words lift my spirit & convey an amazingly beautiful image of hope:

"The light shines in the darkness..."

from John 1.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

looking back

i've only got a few more days here. the picture b. posted is good advice. i want to live each day fully, with no regrets. i want to live in the present. here is another good post on the topic.

how did i spend my days? i hope well. i'm glad i took time to talk to mom, take pictures of her flowers, help her with housework. i'm glad i had some good chats with dad. i'm glad that when this bright blue mailbox caught my eye, i turned my car around and went back to take a picture. i have a feeling that in the grand scheme of things, the fact that i cleaned and cleaned and cleaned while here won't matter much. the hugs and conversations will be much more important. it's hard for me to believe and act on that. i'm so addicted to accomplishment.

for now, i'm off to put some ointment on my poison ivy. because i took time to pick up the kittens and pet them, and they frolic in the stuff.

Friday, June 23, 2006


i HATE feeling guilty. i feel guilty a lot. my battle against guilt has been long & hard. i've had some small victories.

yesterday someone asked me to do something for them. it was not a small request. it was a big one. and given who was asking, it was really hard for me to say "no." i had no idea whether they REALLY needed me to do them this favor, or if it was no big deal for me to decline. i REALLY didn't want to do what i was asked to do, and in the end this was the biggest factor i considered in making my decision. but the point is, i agonized quite a bit over whether or not to be selfless & help out.

after thinking about it for a while, i was sort of annoyed that this person had asked me to do the favor. don't they know how HARD it is for me to say no!?! why put me through this?!? but--not everyone has the same neuroses i do.

i finally called and said, "i don't think i'm up for it." the person was pretty cool with it. i was relieved. phew.

i know i have issues with thinking that i'm indispensible to the rest of the universe. is this the key to my feeling so bad about saying no? i just feel horrible if i think i've let someone down or disappointed them.

when i spend all of my time helping others and taking on their projects, i start to get resentful & grouchy. of course, being a pathological people pleaser doesn't really bother anyone except the person who is pathologically pleasing people. everyone else thinks you're the nicest person ever. they LOVE you, and it takes quite a while for you to realize that your tendency is really a pathology.

i'm learning. ever so slowly.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006


My mom has a nervous temperament; I've always been calm & sometimes collected. [Although the one who is truly collected in an emergency is dave--he is so rational and amazing in a crisis.]

It's funny--lately sometimes I've just been overcome with anxiety and felt as if I really can't handle much more. It's a new phenomenon for me. I can only take so much tension and stress and chaos and I need to take a mental break. Today was one of those days. I mean, a mental vacation day. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with strange dreams and worry. The pressure was too much. I went out on the porch in the early foggy morning and prayed and did my stretches (my own version of yoga). Then I took a bunch of pictures of mom's garden, including lots of insects. I'll post them here eventually.

I went back to bed after my photography spree & slept late. Spent a lot of time today reading The Shipping News, a novel by E. Annie Proulx, who I believe also wrote the book Brokeback Mountain. I am enjoying The Shipping News because it takes me to Newfoundland. I spent a summer there a while ago. Thanks, Sue, for giving me the book. I so deeply enjoy books about people living in isolated, primitive places. Living simpler, harder lives, where you survive by your wits and with the help of your neighbors. I relish the rocks, waves, and fog. The weather shapes your life.

Perhaps my desire to live in such a place is based on an over-simplified view of rustic living. My parents live here in the rural midwest. I like coming here but there are things that bother me. The small-mindedness of certain people. The fact that I'm an oddball for having lived overseas, or for a variety of other reasons. I never really did fit in.

I think I might like life here better if I could have my own little home in the middle of the cornfields and the trees. If I had a shed in the back with a potter's wheel and a kiln. Loads of books and a few gardens. Oh--the other part of my fantasy is a lovely old Ford F-150 pickup truck. Sighhhhhhh...they are so....primal.

I'm really enjoying the book. Perhaps it will inspire a roadtrip. Because for now, I have a home, and it is in the midst of urbanness, not in the country. Moving to the place of my fantasies does not seem to be imminent. I do not have the intention (or courage?) to make a radical move to either rural Illinois or distant Newfoundland, for now. Why don't I? Maybe someday I will.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

how to attain enlightenment--by angie & paula

  1. wear baggy multi-colored clothes--preferably made in a foreign country.
  2. get dreads.
  3. purchase a buddhist prayer flag & drape it somewhere in your environment
  4. chant words you don't understand repeatedly
  5. burn incense & eat tofu
  6. anything eastern is good. eschew & conceal your essential whiteness (or whatever ethnicity you're trying not to be).
  7. wear lots of accessories & big earrings made of wood, bone, or shell.
i find it funny that i have the urge to do a lot of the things i've listed here. i also have some very groovy sandals. i just need to stock up on the foreign-made jewelry & sweaters (here i come, peru) & i should be set.

Friday, June 09, 2006


If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
-C. S. Lewis
(via whiskey river)

I think we all have intense desires. I think we try to satisfy those deep needs with very shallow things sometimes. I'd like to see what the Creator's offer of a holiday at the sea might be like.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


being at home is good. not always easy or comfortable, but good. everywhere outdoors is lush, green, and quiet. the birds are chirping. i can hear dave pushing the lawnmower. the mechanism which propels the mower is broken, so it's quite a workout.

yesterday i went to the strawberry patch and visited my friends who run it. it's so good to see people i go way back with. it's good to see them married, with children.

later, i hulled and sliced strawberries to freeze. it's kind of nice to just do housework, and have mom express appreciation.

there are family struggles. some stuff is aggravating. i long to get rid of clutter that clogs this house, but fighting that battle may not be worth it. instead, step outside into mom's lovely garden and enjoy the cool breeze that stirs the leaves.

this weekend, angie & i are camping. i am looking forward to it. we'll checkout a bluegrass festival, lots of little artsy shops, and the local restaurants. we'll have a campfire and sit do they say it? shoot the breeze? chew the fat?

i gotta run. dad wants his internet back.