Thursday, January 29, 2009

Communication Breakdown

I got on my soapbox Wednesday. After nearly four hours of volunteering for Project Homeless Connect my concern for the state of our daily interactions with our fellow man kinda peaked.

I am a student of communication. I love learning how people interact - verbally and nonverbally (which can be even more fascinating) - and watching them in those interactions. Something that's been bothering me lately, however, is how technology has elbowed in to these daily interactions under the guise of making life "easier."

Facebook has exploded - I have nearly 200 "friends" - so that we can all become more connected to our friends and family. What I find is of those 200 friends, I only see or talk to 20 of them. I'm become a well-informed worse friend: I talk to you less than I normally would because I have no need to seek the information from you, I can just skim your page, see your new pictures and then go about my self-absorbed life knowing that you just adopted a kitten, are doing an internship in Brazil this summer, broke up with your long-term boyfriend, and had a rough day at work. All without ever having talked to you. Isn't that awesome?!

I have a similar situation with my cell phone. I have a lot of phone numbers in there. Know how many people I call on a weekly basis? Eight. (Sometimes it goes up to ten, but eight is the average.) It's not that I don't care about those other people in my precious address book, but they don't fit nicely into my schedule I've filled with all kinds of activities.

On Wednesday I sat with a stinky child and a man who had just received notice that the owner of the house he had rented for 20+ years had foreclosed and they had to be out next week. I could hear the pain and fear as he explained his disabilities and the knowledge that in a week they were going to be homeless - four of his six children (one of whom is three weeks old), his wife, and himself - if they didn't figure something out quick. There was nothing I could do for this man but listen and when I left I realized that this man was a complete stranger, but I probably had a more meaningful conversation with him than I'd had with anyone in quite awhile. On the way home an old school song played saying, "You never know what your neighbor is going through until you ask."

My question is, when do we say enough is enough, set our cell phones aside, turn off the computer, and start interacting with the people around us and really learn about each other?

Friday, January 23, 2009

He's Serious...

The whole wheat/grain bread was accosted sometime yesterday.

Suspect: Gus

Evidence: Gnaw marks on bag opening and and the back. It appears suspect was trying to get to the heel of the bread in hopes no one would mind his eating it.

Apparently all our healthy bread products must be kept out of reach of the cat. What the heck?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I hate homework. That about covers it.

Are You Serious?

Apparently the cats are on board with our trying to eat healthier. Unfortunately this was demonstrated by Gus eating my whole wheat pita bread. Pita bread!

He has a thing for plastic, so I was not surprised to find him gnawing on the plastic bag while we were unloading the groceries. I shooed him away and we put the pita bread up on the open shelf with the other bread.

The next morning Jason brought up the pita bread and said, "Look!" The bag had the gnaw marks from before, but the bag had been ripped into and the bread had been gnawed on. It was just a, "Oh man, how I love plastic bags" gnaw, it was a full blown, "I'm going to get into this bag and eat its contents." There were holes everywhere and chunks of the pita had been consumed. It's not like they didn't have food.

Gus cowered in a corner downstairs and I yelled, "Are you freaking kidding me? Pita bread?!"

Of course, his getting the pita bread broke a couple house rules: No cats on the counter and no getting into people food (not that that's ever been an issue before).

So, now we know to keep pita bread in the fridge. They don't seem to have the same inclinations for the bread.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Six Things In Six Minutes (I Hope!)

Shawna tagged me and I heart surveys, so here goes....

Six random things about me:

1. I tilt my head in pictures and don't realize I'm doing it. This is a fairly recent development (like, within the last three or four years) and I don't know what caused it.

2. I can pick things up with my toes.

3. I think clothes are overrated and shoes are unnecessary. If only our society agreed with me life would be much better.

4. I can curl my tongue into a taco, a cauliflower, and twist it upside down (either direction) but I can not roll my Rs (which made Spanish rather difficult) or tie a cherry stem in a knot.

5. On long car rides I "weave" spots on the window in between the median breaks.

6. When I'm concentrating I hold my finger on the tip of my nose. Jason pointed that out to me (by mimicking me) when we first started dating. I have no idea how long I had been doing that, but when Jason went to tell my family about it we learned my Dad does the same thing so the story was moot.

Six random things I like:

1. Sunshine
2. Sandy, uncrowded beaches
3. Hummus
4. Hair accessories, even though I don't use them
5. Cookbooks
6. Nail polish, though I paint my nails *maybe* once a year.

Six random things I don't like:

1. Mean and/or judgmental people
2. Onions
3. People who don't back up their words with their actions
4. That my feet and hands are always cold
5. Wearing fleece cause it attracts cat hair (and other hair) like crazy
6. The Willamette Valley

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Little Kindness

"Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

(Credited to Sir Matthew James Barrie)

The above quote popped into my head Thursday evening as I was waiting for the Number 8 to take me to school. It was not a Thursday unlike most, I worked four hours in the morning, putted around for a few hours catching up on homework and cleaning the house, then boarded MAX by 4:00 in order to get to class by 5:30 and not feel too rushed. Other than MAX being crazy full, it was a pretty standard trip in. Until roughly 4:36.

It is not uncommon for the homeless, frauds, and street kids to roam about the Pioneer Square and Pioneer Place during the evening rush hours between 4:00 and 6:00. Shortly after moving to Portland I stopped carrying cash because I was giving it all away and am not a good judge of who actually needs the money and who makes the daily rounds. I have had very few occasions where these people made me uncomfortable and a simple, "No, sorry" generally suffices as an answer to, "Do you have any spare change," etc. Apparently that was too simple for a middle-aged woman waiting a few feet from me.

A boy, probably not much older than me, if he wasn't a couple years younger than me, walked up the street asking the waiting passengers for spare change. The woman said something to the effect of "You're on the wrong side of town to be hustling," and he replied, "I wasn't here yesterday," and kept walking, but she hurled insult after insult after him until he turned to the side and gave her some choice words as he continued walking, which she hurled back even louder. The woman then turned to the gentleman closest to her to tell him how she really feels. I held back tears as the kid continued down the street, horrified at what had just transpired less than three feet from me. And felt guilty for not saying something and completely at a loss as to what I could have said.

What I saw was someone already down and out be stripped of what little pride he had left by unnecessary maliciousness. What that woman said was completely uncalled for, but I can't help but wonder if my silence causes just as much hurt in a world so badly in need of a little compassion.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Imagine My Surprise...

Today has been full of surprises. First off, I went to class and was visiting with a gal who I had two classes with last term (PSU is the largest university in Oregon with 27,000+ students, it's kind of a big deal to have multiple classes with someone of a different major - especially Senior Capstone, which only runs about 10 people). So we're talking before class and she mentions she just submitted her degree/commencement application for Spring Term. My response, "Wha-AT?!" She says, "Um, yeah, it's due the 9th if you want to graduate in Spring." And I do.

It turns out you must submit that application two terms before you graduate. Who knew? Apparently not very many people as my classmate had only found out the day before from someone who had just mentioned she'd submitted her form. I read all the e-mails PSU sends (which are few and far between) and check the webmail notices, how did I not know this?

All is well that ends well, as I had to go to Neuberger anyway to change my name. So, I changed my name and submitted my degree application. Now I just need to register for Spring Commencement. Yahoo!

In other news, I was also surprised to log on to my blog and find not one, not two, but three posts of the post I had been trying to post that I kept getting errors for. That's kinda amusing.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm a Survey Sucker

I stole this from Pink Spandex who stole it from Fat Bridesmaid. I need to blog and I have too many things floating around in my head. So I will hereby expel 2008 onto this html page and, with any luck, be able to focus on the future that is 2009.

So here goes:

Was 2008 good for you?
2008 was mostly good, but there were some serious rough patches. I learned a lot about myself and what I want for the future, so that rocked.

What was your favorite moment of the year? Going to the Unit Homecoming with my brother who had just returned from Iraq. I missed him like crazy!

What was your worst moment of the year? Goodness, everything I can think of actually happened in 2007... the anniversary of the Flying Colours missing sucked, as did learning Bobby would be re-deploying.

Where were you when 2008 began? Watching "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which I'd never seen and kinda stressed me out.

Who were you with? Random people from Central Naz

Where were you when 2008 ended? In a fancy bar with two of my favorite girls and one of my favorite guy friends.

Did you keep your new years resolution of 2008? I don't know that I made one. So let's say, "Sure!"

Do you have a new years resolution for 2009? To keep in better contact with friends and family. Also, to not worry so much.

Did you fall in love in 2008? I stayed in love, does that count?

Did you make any new friends in 2008? I made some wonderful new friends in 2008. They're pretty rocking.

What was your favorite month of 2008? I'm a fan of summer months. May-September were awesome.

Why this month? May was awesome because Bobby came home and I got to see him twice. Then I saw the entire family in June and spent a week in Florida. Oh, and Leslie took me to see Kenny Chesney for my birthday in June as well. September marked my one year marriage anniversary and we spent a lovely weekend in Sun River (and ate gigantic cupcakes and hung out with Lel).

Did you travel outside of the US in 2008? Someday I'll make it to Canada...

How many different places did you travel to in 2008? Baker, Metolious, Bend, Prineville, Salem, Seattle, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, St. Louis, San Diego, and Jacksonville... I think that's it. So... twelve.

Did you miss anybody in the past year? My friends that are too far away, a friend that disappeared, my brother, and an assortment of family members.

What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2008? Well, I saw "Australia" and that was a-MAZ-ing. Oh! And Kung Fu Panda and Horton the Elephant!!!

What was your favorite song from 2008? I like music. And now that I've been asked that I can't name one song...

How many concerts or plays did you see in 2008? The aforementioned Kenny Chesney concert (with LeAnn Rimes, Cloverdale, and I think someone else) is the only one that comes to mind.

Did you have a favorite concert in 2008? Kenny Chesney, hello.

What was your favorite book in 2008? Mmmm... "Deadline" was pretty good, oh, and "A Thousand Splendid Suns."

Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year? Nothing comes to mind...

What was the biggest lie you told in 2008? I probably lied about my weight a few times.

Did you treat somebody badly in 2008? I'm pretty snappy with Jason sometimes and that isn't very nice.

Did somebody treat you badly in 2008? Probably, but I tend to ignore them.

What was your proudest moment of 2008? Registering for Fall term. I was so excited to go back to school!

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2008? I was slightly embarrassed when one of our friends found our book collection and then there was almost an awkward moment with Jason's parents (hooray for locking doors). I don't embarrass too easily, though.

If you could go back to any moment of 2008 and change something, what would it be? I would have saved more money. Oops.

Where did you work in 2008? PSU Foundation and then started at LifeWorks NW in October

Favorite TV shows(s) of 2008? The Office, “Bones,” and “House”

Favorite Band(s) of 2008? Little Big Town

Favorite Food in 2008? Sushi and ribs

Favorite Drink in 2008? Oregon Chai Tea

Favorite Place in 2008? Jacksonville

Favorite person(s) to be with in 2008? The Cool Kids, my husband, Leslie, the Wrights & Halls, and Aunt Deb

Favorite person(s) to talk to in 2008? Aunt Deb and Bobby

Favorite trip in 2008? The week in Jacksonville. I heart warm weather and beaches.

Favorite stores in 2008? I discovered Trader Joe's in 2008. It's amazing! JoAnn's is pretty rocking as well.

Hardest thing you had to go through in 2008? Bobby's deployment sucked. Brothers should not be allowed to be gone that long.

Most exciting moment(s) in 2008? Bobby coming home, trip to St. Louis, trips to San Diego, St. Louis, and Jacksonville, the first day of school (yes, I'm a nerd), and moving into our townhouse.

Funniest moment(s) in 2008? Well, Mr. Hall finding our book collection was pretty stinking hilarious. Oh, and drunk dialing Leslie after margaritas with Dad and Aunt Deb. Actually, the whole Road House Grill Margarita night thing was pretty hilarious from start to finish.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

So long 2008...

I'm 35 minutes from the end of the first day of the New Year. As I sit here, a little cold as my parents keep their house pretty cool and my hot cocoa has chilled, I can't help but look back on the last year. If I were to sum up this year, it would simply be, "The Lord will provide." Every time I have felt things slipping beyond my control this last year a "God wink" followed shortly after I'd reached the end of the proverbial rope. This is my tribute to those moments lest I forget them.

In May/June, Jason's temp job in Beaverton ended and I was making plans to go back to school full-time, which would mean working 3/4-time or less. I was stressing between the "I really need to do this" and the "We really can't afford for me to do this" and had no sooner typed out all my fears and frustrations to a friend than Jason called and said he'd been offered a 6-month temp job in downtown. It was so humbling and even now I tear up at the memory, because though 6-months is not a permanent job, it was enough to provide for us for one term. I registered for classes believing "The Lord will provide" and we'd plan our next step in November. (The job has gone longer than anticipated, which has been a blessing as well, though Jason is still seeking permanent employment. At this time, a temp job is better than no job.)

Also in May, we had a moving fiasco when the place we were moving into didn't accept cats (despite all the conversations we'd had about our two cats) and we had to be out of our apartment the next day. Our new friends invited us to live with them until we figure things out. Our friendship grew over that four month time and I continually thank God for bringing such selfless people into our lives.

August brought plans for Fall Quarter, but I had to look for a new job as my employer was not school-friendly. I applied for one job, attended two interviews a week apart, and was hired for a part-time position with benefits not too from where we were living, nor from where we planned to move. If only job-hunting was always that easy!

In October we moved into a wonderful townhouse that accepted our two crazy kitties. We looked at it a few times before submitting our application. The rent kept dropping until finally we said, "This is where we should be." The townhouse is conveniently located to a couple bus lines, a MAX park and ride, our church, and my office, but is relatively quiet and secluded. It's our first real "home" together and we're loving it.

2008 had it's ups and downs, but God provided and I learned to be more trusting. It is my prayer that 2009 teaches me to stay in that place of quiet expectation and know that my needs will not go unmet, I just need to have patience.