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just sitting here.

I’ve really wanted to blog lately, but haven’t felt exactly pulled into any particular topic.  This might just have to be an end-of-the-year kind of tie up loose ends sort of post today.

The first thing that comes to mind is that for probably the first time since oh, first grade, I got straight A’s.  I honestly wasn’t sure how the semester was going to turn out.  I figured it would be the usual smattering of A’s and B’s, and honestly thought I could end up with all B’s, which is not ideal, but it was a tough semester, so I was mentally ready to accept it.  But last Saturday I had the thought to see if my grades were posted yet, and they were, and so off we were to the wine bar where I happily ordered a $12 glass of bordeaux and celebrated my superior intelligence.  Or luck.  Or thankfulness for online classes which have open-book, open-notes tests.  Or being glad I am done with my science courses. Let’s just be honest here, which is that I will find just about any excuse to reward myself with a glass of wine.

Which brings me to my next point is that I suppose I am finally joining the masses when I say that I do have some health and fitness goals for 2010.  I usually stay away from making any major resolutions for any given year, what with my record for not accomplishing goals.  However, a change has been looming for awhile, and it happens to coincide with the beginning of the year.  All I want is to lose ten pounds.  That’s it.  Just think of all the things in my wardrobe I could fit again!  Wedding dress included.  Also, I turn 30 this year, and by golly I want to look hot at 30.  

Next thought: So Christmas happened.  Mine was pretty boring.  I worked really hard right up until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and basically crashed out on Christmas Day, and the two days following.  We didn’t decorate or even give each other gifts.  I did cook a nice dinner though, which was the only sign that some kind of holiday was happening, but other than that, a pretty low-key Christmas here.  Next year I think I’d like to do things a little differently, like maybe actually traveling to see family, or at least putting a wreath over the fireplace or something.  Best thing about Christmas was breakfast, which was a spinach and cheese strata.  It was delicious. 

Other than that, I’m just spending some time decompressing from last semester and the craziness at work.  I’m taking some time off work next week if all goes according to plan, and am excited to spend a couple of days off with Doug, and also to get a few things done around the apartment if I can quit procrastinating already!  Kitchen cupboards, back bedroom, entry-way closet, etc.  

Well, that’s all I have.  Hope everyone has a great new year!

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Low on the traits.

I am in my third semester at community college and am currently taking an Intro to Psychology course.  We just finished the chapter on personality, and I was quite excited to be studying this particular subject.  I absolutely love studying personality, and will take just about any personality test you throw at me.  In this chapter, I discovered a few new personality tests, one of which I was able to take for free online.  Of course, I took it.  

It’s called the NEO-PI-R test.  A very boring name, a very long test.  

Now, the this test relates to “the five big factors” or, you can remember the acronym of OCEAN: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.  I took the test.  I answered the questions as honestly as I possibly could, and I quickly saw where the test was going.  I just knew that I would score “low” in just about everything.  I was “low on the traits” in 4 out of 5 of the factors.  Can you guess what area I scored high?

That’s right, folks: neuroticism!!  Let me share with you some of the goodies from the results.

“Low scorers on Friendliness are not necessarily cold and hostile, but they do not reach out to others and are perceived as distant and reserved. Your level of friendliness is low.”  Shocking!!

“Gregariousness. Gregarious people find the company of others pleasantly stimulating and rewarding. They enjoy the excitement of crowds. Low scorers tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. They do not necessarily dislike being with people sometimes, but their need for privacy and time to themselves is much greater than for individuals who score high on this scale. Your level of gregariousness is low.”  Amazing, really.

Those were two of the six domains of Extraversion.  Let’s move onto Agreeableness.

Morality. High scorers on this scale see no need for pretense or manipulation when dealing with others and are therefore candid, frank, and sincere. Low scorers believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary. People find it relatively easy to relate to the straightforward high-scorers on this scale. They generally find it more difficult to relate to the unstraightforward low-scorers on this scale. It should be made clear that low scorers are not unprincipled or immoral; they are simply more guarded and less willing to openly reveal the whole truth. Your level of morality is low.”  Yes!  I’m not imorral!  Or am I?

Sympathy. People who score high on this scale are tenderhearted and compassionate. They feel the pain of others vicariously and are easily moved to pity. Low scorers are not affected strongly by human suffering. They pride themselves on making objective judgments based on reason. They are more concerned with truth and impartial justice than with mercy. Your level of tender-mindedness is low.”  This must be why I don’t really miss my TV.  And why I’ve never donated blood again after that time I donated after Hurricane Katrina (because I fainted b/c I didn’t didn’t eat breakfast or you know, drink any water/liquids before donating).

Shall we continue? Let’s move on to Conscientiousness. (Congrats if you’re even still reading!)

Orderliness. Persons with high scores on orderliness are well-organized. They like to live according to routines and schedules. They keep lists and make plans. Low scorers tend to be disorganized and scattered. Your level of orderliness is low.”  Have you SEEN my desk?

“Self-Efficacy. Self-Efficacy describes confidence in one’s ability to accomplish things. High scorers believe they have the intelligence (common sense), drive, and self-control necessary for achieving success. Low scorers do not feel effective, and may have a sense that they are not in control of their lives. Your level of self-efficacy is low.”  I feel like it wouldn’t take much for me to be at least average in this area, but dangit if I’m not the laziest person I know!

Okay, let’s move on to Openness.

“Imagination. To imaginative individuals, the real world is often too plain and ordinary. High scorers on this scale use fantasy as a way of creating a richer, more interesting world. Low scorers are on this scale are more oriented to facts than fantasy. Your level of imagination is low.”  You may ask my husband about this particular trait.

“Artistic Interests. High scorers on this scale love beauty, both in art and in nature. They become easily involved and absorbed in artistic and natural events. They are not necessarily artistically trained nor talented, although many will be. The defining features of this scale are interest in, and appreciation of natural and artificial beauty. Low scorers lack aesthetic sensitivity and interest in the arts. Your level of artistic interests is average.”  Average!  You mean I at least have a *little* bit of artistic interest?  I say this explains why my apartment can be cute (when it’s not messy).

Now…to the area that i’m “high on the traits”: Neuroticism!

“Immoderation. Immoderate individuals feel strong cravings and urges that they have difficulty resisting. They tend to be oriented toward short-term pleasures and rewards rather than long- term consequences. Low scorers do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find themselves tempted to overindulge. Your level of immoderation is high.”  This explains my late night cookies and vodka habit.

Please read carefully the following and final contribution:

“Anger. Persons who score high in Anger feel enraged when things do not go their way. They are sensitive about being treated fairly and feel resentful and bitter when they feel they are being cheated. This scale measures the tendency to feel angry; whether or not the person expresses annoyance and hostility depends on the individual’s level on Agreeableness. Low scorers do not get angry often or easily. Your level of anger is high.” I would just like to say that I feel angry more often than I express it.  Or should I say, I feel angry more often than I express it to the face of the human being I am angry with.  So I’m angry, but I’m an angry wuss.  Is it possible to be as frustrated and upset as I am without actually losing my temper in public?  Apparently so, but for your sake, I hope you are not there when Liz finally loses it. 

So…basically I have a horrible personality.  Now…I realize this doesn’t tell the whole story.  In general I can get along with most people in most situations.  I can work well with people.  I can deal well with customers.  But overall, if I had to admit it, I don’t really care about most people.  I just want to hang out by myself most of the time.  I want to get my groceries without the small talk.  I want the cashier at T.J. Maxx to press the buttons already so my debit card will process and I can go.

Just being honest here.  I go against my own wishes and desires all the time.  Sometimes I’m talkative with the cashier even when I don’t feel like talking.  Sometimes I just chill the heck out in traffic.  But now that I know I have a bad personality…what next?  I know there are some areas I could make changes in fairly easily, and some areas that will be more…challenging.  

Anyway…I am not sure what my goal was in sharing this, other than my realization that I’m “low on the traits.”  Oh, except that I’m a neurotic.

Quiet

DSCN0721

Am I getting old?

I ask, because the more I think about it, the more the idea of living somewhere out in the country, somewhere away from everything, or at least most things, is starting to sound like a good idea.  You see, I am just so done never knowing when the apartment complex next to mine is going to send out their maintenance men with leaf-blowers.  I am tired of all the random construction taking place on my building, or one nearby.  I am sick of all the loud delivery trucks that bang up the street behind my apartment while I try to study for class.  And I am tired of having to shut my patio door because the guy at the apartment building across from mine insists on constantly playing (if that’s what you want to call it)  his guitar outside on his deck.

I’m starting to need some….peace and quiet.  There.  I said it.  I don’t want my thoughts to have to compete with so much noise anymore.

no nostalgia today, toots.

I’m going to stray from the theme a little bit here today.

Today was…well, I guess I’ll just tell the story.  I work with a person that, to choose a biblical theme, is a thorn in my side.  Or this person is just God’s test in my life to teach me how to love when I feel totally incapable of loving.  Patience when I have none.  Wisdom when I want to have the last word.  

Today I failed.  I have no patience, no love, no compassion.  Or, very little at least.  Most times I try to be amicable, to acknowledge this person’s presence and communicate normally, but generally at least a few times a day, I snap a little, make a comment here and there.  Today this person confronted me and asked what my problem was.  I told.  I told and it got tense and then we didn’t speak to each other for awhile.  As crappy as I felt thinking I was unable to deal with this person anymore, I felt worse afterward.  I wished I hadn’t said anything.  Even if what I said is true…the fact is that I so badly want to force this person to change.  I want to say, “hey you! Have a different personality please.  Thanks!”  It’s like, the more I realize it’s my decision to be the bigger person, to shrug things off and move on with my day, the more difficult it is for me to do so.  

During my lunch break, before today’s incident, I was reading in Kathleen Norris’s “Amazing Grace” the chapter on tolerance/forbearance. She talks about the two different kinds of zeal, one which is bitter and divisive and one which is acts of love.  She quotes St. Benedicts thoughts on this: “They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weakness of body or behavior.”  Um, ouch?  While I realize he was discussing the monastic life, I think it still applies.  Every day I have to work and interact with people.  People different from me.  People with different walks of life that got them to where they are that particular day.  Benedict says that “thorns of contention” spring up every day when trying to live with other people.  Norris writes, “Continually asking God to forgive us as we forgive others warns us away from the vice of self-righteousness and also lack of love.”  

So…keep in mind I had just read this before I responded with total lack love, without patience or respect to this person’s weakness of body or behavior.  I write all this because although I know there are many different paths to deal with this person and this situation as a whole…I honestly don’t know where to go from here.  If anything, what I have learned today is that it’s easy to love people who are lovable.  It’s very very difficult – seemingly impossible – to love the people who I deem unlovable.

food nostalgia

My mother is not a gourmet cook, but she did cook a meal nearly every night.  And not too much in the way of Hamburger Helper either (well, maybe once every six months or so).  She really did cook from “scratch” and only now am I realizing that my mom really knew how to stretch a dollar.  At one time, there were 8 of us living in the house, since my grandparents were also living with us.  Even if I don’t often cook the same foods as my mom, I still definitely get nostalgic for home cooking.

I think there were definitely some aspects of growing up in the 50’s and 60’s that affected my mom’s cooking.  She was a big fan of putting fruit in the Jell-o.  I was a big fan of picking it out.  And living in Nebraska, we definitely ate a lot of beef.  We also ate a lot of casseroles.  And leftovers.  My mom was very good at figuring out how to make new food out of old food.  Or sometimes she didn’t even try.  We’d just have “leftover night” where she would put random bowls of everything we’d eaten earlier in the week, and so it was kind of like a buffet.  To this day, I still have a hard time eating leftovers.

It also makes me realize that I’m still in the process of defining what being a home cook means to me.  As much as my mom cooked when I was a kid, I was never really that interested in learning how to cook myself, and wasn’t a very good helper in the kitchen.  I remember being terrified once when she wanted me to help her brown the ground beef. All I’d ever been good for was grating cheese and shucking corn.

I think the first time I really started to appreciate different food, was when I moved to Hartsville, South Carolina.  See, there is seafood in the south.  My dad hates fish, so my mom never cooked it.  Once a year, if we were lucky, she’d buy a box of breaded shrimp or fish sticks for us kids.  It was a big deal.  So when I had dinner at my friend Jessie’s parents, her mom made shrimp linguine.  It was this delicious pasta dish with shrimp and who knows what else…I’m sure just a mix of heavy cream and parsley and shallots or something, but either way, it was truly unlike anything I’d eaten as a kid, and I loved it.  Later on in the year, Jessie and I went to her grandmother’s house for Easter, and her grandmother lives in Charleston.  Her uncle had a shrimp boat, and had gone out that morning and caught enough shrimp to feed the whole family for many different kinds of shrimp dishes for Easter dinner.  I was in total heaven, and still don’t think I’ve had better shrimp to this day.

From then on, I kept discovering new things to eat, and it helped that I was earning my own money and buying my own groceries.  I still didn’t exactly “cook” though.  I would order fun stuff when I went out to eat, but still pretty much stuck to grilled cheese and canned soup at home.  I moved back to Nebraska in 2003 and discovered Wild Oats market.  I bought a lot of sandwiches and pizza and food from their deli.  Sometimes I even tried to cook.  Well, not really.  I’d buy a rotisserie chicken and boil some pasta and pour some jarred alfredo sauce on top, and call it dinner.  Not a very healthy or tasty one, but at least I was trying.  My roommate Jill could cook, though.  She could make rice!  And pork chops!  And grill a great steak!

Soon, I met the man who I would eventually marry.  We’d make some attempts at cooking in his kitchen.  I remember a breakfast of pita bread stuffed with scrambled eggs and cilantro.  We also made a lot of boxed falafel.  The good thing is that he worked at pretty much the only vegetarian restaurant in town, and while neither of us were vegetarians, it did force us to look at food differently.  Like, vegetables don’t always have to come out of a can!  There are salads without iceberg lettuce!  And the smoothies!  Anyhow, I started doing most of my shopping at Wild Oats from then on.  I had a lot of friends ask how I could afford it, but well, I’d never had a car payment, and I was single splitting rent, so I just didn’t care.

Right before I got married, I started working at Whole Foods, and I’d say this is where the real food evolution came.  I got married a month after I started working there, and knew that I didn’t really know how to cook.  I used to brag that “I don’t cook, I assemble.”  However, being engrossed in the new food culture I found myself in, it was only a matter of time before I started getting confident enough to try my hand at cooking.  I think the first thing I was proud of was cooking a chicken in the crock-pot with potatoes and carrots.  It tasted like home.  The second thing I remember feeling good about was making a barbeque chicken pizza.  I even made the dough!  Sure, it was a mix from a box, but it still involved yeast!  I made some buffalo wings once that almost set our kitchen on fire.  At least they were a hit at the Christmas party.  Oh, I should probably mention I had the smallest kitchen on earth during this time.  One of those tiny stoves, and pretty much zero counter space.  I remember rolling out some pie crust on the dining room table.

So then we moved here to NC.  I was still working at Whole Foods, and we now had a kitchen about 3 times as big as the one in Nebraska.  I started buying actual kitchen appliances and better knives.  I got a big dutch oven and a roasting pan.  A blender, a good food processor, and a Kitchenaid mixer.  A mezzaluna, a magnetic knife holder, microplane zesters and graters.  Magazine subscriptions, a growing collection of cookbooks, and some nice heavy bottomed hard anodized pans.  I even planted my own herbs.

We live in town with lots of great restaurants and farmers markets.  People here love to eat good food, and it’s definitely had an effect on me.  So while I’m not my mother and I don’t cook from scratch every day, when I do cook, I love it.  I’m much more adventurous now, and am no longer afraid to use yeast.  My favorite thing is when my husband really likes what I made.

But I have to say, my favorite things to make are the things that remind me of home.  My mom’s chicken and dumpling soup is one of the only things that I look forward to eating the leftovers.  And the caramel rolls she made on holidays, while time consuming, are still one of the best pastries I’ve ever made.  However, whenever my parents come visit, you can be sure I’m making them Jamaican Jerk Pork Burgers with Bacon, Smoked Cheddar, and Green Apple Slaw.  It will blow their minds.

It’s time to confess.  I might possibly be the most judgmental human being alive.  Well, okay…just in certain areas.  In all things traffic related, whether that be cars, or just how people decide to walk through a mall or get through the crowd at a concert.  I really wonder if I am meant to live in a small town or in the country so that I don’t have to deal with driving very often or at least not around the massive amounts of people that I do.  I don’t live in a big town, but it has a lot of traffic since it’s fairly dense.

I could go on and on about all the things I hate about traffic.  I could tell you how much I absolutely hate when people take forever to turn when they’re the first at a green arrow.  I could tell you about how it drives me insane when people drive under the speed limit for no reason at all, and then it makes me hit a red light.  I could tell you how much I hate the two roads that involve merging from two lanes down into one lane in order to get or stay on 15-501.

But more than just vehicle traffic, what really bothers me is the way people walk in public.  I have a theory: if I were one of the two last people on earth, and the other person and I were walking toward each other on a road a mile wide, that other person would probably walk so close to me as to bump my shoulder, or at least seriously invade my space bubble.  I say this because to a lesser degree, this happens all the time.  People with PLENTY of room in a walking space just love to walk as close to me as possible as to invade my space.  Also, people really just really do not like to get out of people’s way.  I have resorted to dirty looks.  I gave a girl at Trader Joe’s a dirty look today as she nearly ran into me b/c she was too busy texting.  Then her mother saw me give her the look and said, “ok, no more texting” to her.  HA!  TAKE THAT.

However, the most upset I’ve been lately at someone who seems to reject public etiquette, was at a concert at Chapel Hill’s famous Cat’s Cradle.  There is a little platform area where people can sit.  This platform has about two stairs that go up to it.  There was a guy who was standing right in front of the stairs, and when I and others tried to get by him, did he move?  NO. NO HE DID NOT MOVE.  I gather he probably wasn’t even thinking about the fact that he was in front of the stairs, but after one person tried to get by, his line of thought should have been “hey, maybe I should move out of the way since I’m in front of the stairs and clearly people are trying to get by me.”  But no, he just stood there another hour or so and made it nearly impossible for me to enjoy the show b/c I was sending dirty looks into the back of his head.  I mean…in front of the stairs?  Who stands in front of stairs?  I don’t care if it was just two stairs or a whole flight, it’s the same thing as standing in front of a door-way or in the middle of a narrow walk-way, or walking too close to someone when there is plenty of room to keep your distance.  It’s just freaking rude.

I am completely and totally obsessed with rudeness, and I know this comes from 16 years of working in retail.  So, this relates to nostalgia how?  Well, today I was thinking about how some of my older customers are some of the rudest.  And I was thinking well, they’re old and probably don’t feel like putting up with anyone’s bullshit anymore, and so they just say what they’re thinking.  On the other hand, they’re also just rude.  And then I thought, oh no!  What if I end up some rude mean old lady?

All that to say, when people are being rude, I don’t think it’s intentional.  I might feel like it is in the moment, but really I know that it’s just the result of people not thinking.  People (including myself) are pretty much only thinking of themselves and their goals and the quickest route to wherever they are going, or they are being overly cautious (slow left-turn takers on green arrows), or they really just have no space bubble and assume nobody else does either.  Who knows why people do what they do.  It’s probably why Jesus asked that God forgive people b/c they don’t know what they’re doing.  He really did have some keen insight on humanity.

I’m sure I come off as rude to people already.  I’m not really very cheery and friendly toward cashiers or people in the service industry even though I am in that same industry.  I’m nice enough to my customers but I don’t chat people up in the grocery line and I don’t like getting to know the personal lives of the cashiers.  I just want to get my stuff and go home.  But I realize that I should probably take a little bit more time to recognize the humanity of the person I am interacting with so that they don’t think I’m just some rude lady who they’ll go blog about later.

Summer should be winding down, right?  Right?  Not in North Carolina.  I should know this by now.  This will be my 5th summer in the south over the span of about 9 years.  I know that it starts early and ends late.  I know that the middle of August means we’re only about 2/3 of the way through it.  But, having grown up in the midwest, I still feel like it should be cooling down by now.  Or that I could look forward to cooler temperatures in a least a few weeks.

Because I go back to school tomorrow for another semester, I started thinking about some of the summers in my past.  I might not be a detail oriented person, but I still have some vivid memories of summers past.  As a child, I remember my dad would often come home with a big paper bag full of corn on the cob, and my mom would send us kids out on the back porch to shuck it.  We also had an apple tree in our back yard that only grew really sour green apples.  There was a branch on that tree that was perfect for sitting on and reading, and since I was a pretty quiet child and didn’t mind keeping to myself, I spent a lot of time in that tree.  I was also responsible for picking up the rotten apples that fell on the ground so my brothers could mow the lawn without mowing over them.

I remember going next door to play at Michaela’s house, or up the street to play at Megan’s.  I remember when Megan’s dad got transferred to Germany b/c he was in the Air Force, and we got each other those “best friend” necklaces where each wears one half.  I was ten years old and it really devastated me for awhile.  I was probably 13 before I gained another best friend.  6th and 7th grades were pretty lonely and awkward, as I suppose they are for everyone.

But back to summer.  The summer between 8th and 9th grade was really a changing time for me.  It started off with what is still one of the best weekends of my life.  My best friend Jill invited me out to her dad’s cabin on the Platte River.  It’s in this little Czech community where there are houses and cabins around maybe a mile or so loop of gravel road.  It was memorial weekend, and friends of her family brought their four wheeler.  We loaded up the back with water balloons and super soakers and had an all day water fight with the boys up the road.  We were no match for their water balloon launcher, though.  As we zoomed by their house, I distinctly recall a balloon hitting me so hard on the side that I didn’t even know what happened, except all of a sudden my side was stinging and wet.  We also spent a large portion of the day wading and swimming in the river.  Most people unfamiliar with the Platte River will be surprised to know it’s bottom is made of sand, not dirt.  Also, unless it’s rained a lot, it never gets deeper than about 4 feet.  We filled up the cooler with soda, and we waded across the river with folding chairs and the cooler and set up camp on a sandbar.  I’ve probably never been more sunburned than that weekend.

The same summer, my older brother Josh introduced me to The Old Market in downtown Omaha.  This was the early 90’s, and there were such cool shops everywhere.  Vintage clothes stores, stores full of Dr. Martens, Manic Panic, bongs, and belts made out of seat-belt buckles and bottle caps, stores full of clothes from Asia, skateboarding stores, art shops, record stores, and restaurants.  It’s still somewhat this way today, but doesn’t have the grit it had back then.  This is the summer I decided that I would avoid being “preppy” at all costs and started dressing much more “alternative” and started listening to The Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, The Cranberries, and whatever else they played on 101.9 “The Edge.”  I’d beg my brother and his friends to take me and my friends downtown.  Eventually, our parents would drive us to the Old Market and drop us off for a couple of hours.  We’d get 50-cent soda from the Joe Vitale fruit stand, and go try to find some skateboarders to watch.  We wore our platform shoes and plaid skirts and thrift store t-shirts and mostly stayed out of trouble.

We got older and my friends started getting cars.  When we were sixteen, Jill, Jenni, and I went on our first all-by-ourselves-no-adults road trip to the fantastically exciting city of Hastings, Nebraska.  Hey, Kool-Aid was invented there, okay?  Anyway, we went because we were deep in youth-group culture and simply had to see some very popular Christian bands whose names I am keeping secret.  Either way, it was a great weekend, and we even got our own hotel room at the Comfort Inn.  Why our parents ever let three 16-year-old girls do this kind of thing, I don’t know, but I’m so glad they did.  To tell you the truth, I don’t even know if this weekend occurred in the summer or not, but to me it doesn’t matter.  There were many other excursions similar to this one that happened during our high school summers.

And what would summer be without all the trips our youth group took to exotic locations like, Zumbro Falls, Minnesota, The Black Hills in South Dakota (which really was rather beautiful), Excelsior Springs, Missouri, or Lexington, Nebraska.  The trip was always called The Weeklong.  Not a very original name, but still something we looked forward to the second it was over.  We spent all year just thinking about the next weeklong.  What was so great about them?  While these trips were meant to get all us unruly kids “on fire” for Christ, I have to say that what I remember most is all the humor and crazy antics that happened.  Too many things to remember, but nothing will beat the fake soap operas the Schneckloth sisters always put on, or when Jill announced to all 200 of us or so during our morning service that Toby had pooped in a Pringles can.  I still don’t think he’ll ever live that down.  But most of all, I think we’ll remember the guys we had crushes on.  Our first Weeklong in Minnesota, Jill and I would make “Top 10” lists of cutest guys there.  I think we were 14.  The biggest crush I got was at Weeklong 1996, where I fell hard for a boy named Josh from Sioux Falls.  He was just beautiful.  I wrote him a couple letters and he wrote back once, and that was it.

My next most vivid summer memory is of after high school.  Jill, Jenni, Kelly, and I would often drive in Kelly’s car to Lincoln, Nebraska just for the night.  We’d go eat at Lazlo’s and then to The Coffee House.  There were pretty much only two albums we’d listen to on the way up and back, and those were Weezer’s blue album, and Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs.  We all knew all the words and sang them loudly.

The summer of 2000, I was getting ready to move to Charlotte, and worked 55-hour weeks between two jobs.  I had a car with a radiator problem and non-functioning air conditioning.  I had to wear nylons to one of those jobs, and it was awful.  It was a lonely summer and I could only think of my future move to NC.  I wrote all the time.  I kept wondering what it would be like in the South.  I had never lived anywhere else other than Nebraska, and couldn’t really imagine living anywhere else.  Even though that summer was hard and depressing and hot, I also look back extra fondly on that time because it was filled with such wonder and excitement of things to come.

This is getting long, and maybe I will make it it a two-parter?  If not…I guess I just wanted to write this because I am still so thankful for the friends of my youth, and what I wouldn’t give to be on a road-trip with Jill, Jenni, and Kelly listening to music and talking about boys.

Maybe I’ll try to find some old pictures, and put some up to give some context.  I’ll try not to cringe when I look at the ones of myself.