Did you really expect me to go cold turkey?

June 29, 2009 § 9 Comments

I know that the following truth makes me a walking stereotype, but few things are as unexpectedly delightful as not buying a sweater last year at Anthropologie for $136 dollars and finding it this year at Buffalo for $20. In the correct size, no less. That’s just happy. Damn the man, save the Empire.

I’ve decided to try an experiment in the name of recycling, living simply, and polar bears. I vow not to purchase any new clothing for the next 2 years. No Forever 21, no Target, no Anthropologie. According to the rules I’ve drafted for myself, I can purchase second hand, used, or vintage clothing, or items that are handmade by individuals (not companies) within the US. Exceptions are: one pair of jeans a year (I know, but you try being me and buying jeans. If I can find them long enough, I swear I’ll go second hand), underwear (for obvious reasons), and socks. I will also allow myself two pairs of practical new shoes each year, but only if a pair I own dies somehow and I can’t find a suitable second-hand replacement. Please keep in mind that practical does not mean ugly. So lay off.

I can make my own clothing, but only from mill end or thrifted fabric. If I receive a gift card, I may use it, but I may not ask for said gift card (so no crying to mommy). If asked, I will encourage people to gift me Etsy dollars or something instead.

And here’s the one that really hurts: Books. This rule also applies to books. Eek. That was even hard for me to type. Thank God for Powells.

The goals are to reduce the impact my purchasing has on the bleeding fingers of small children in third world sweat shops, to reduce the impact my impulses have on my wallet, to detox from the high I get buying stuff I don’t need, and to challenge myself to be creative and resourceful (and maybe use my sewing machine for once).

Yup. Challenge ends 7/1/11. Anyone in?

PS Though I feel it’s a bit jinxy, I have to add another exception: should I need a bridal gown, I’m gonna buy one. Not seeming too likely, but here’s to praying big and not limiting God and the plan and the future and all. Same story if I’m asked to be a bridesmaid again. 😉


A broken bottle top, and a-one man’s soul…

June 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’ve never been shy about my affection for Michael Jackson. In the face of countless rumors, mishaps, and accusations, I found him truly fascinating – a walking representation of the short-comings of this world, the damage we can do to our children, to each other, to our heroes. He was truly one of the most gifted entertainers we’ve been blessed with, and also one of the most tragic. How lonely it must have been to be MJ, and how difficult to be lonely with all of us watching. I hope he’s at peace. Maybe he and God had worked out something good in the midst of all the chaos… I hope so.

He will continue to be the soundtrack of my insecurity… any time I’m nervous about meeting new people, or going to a party, or playing entertainer myself, his songs will still be the ones I choose to play to psych myself up and dance it out. I’m thankful to him for that.

Also, those of you who have heard about the Man in the Mirror Project, it’s on… sort of has to be, don’t you think? I’m thinking about two years from now, probably on the anniversary of today… I’ll be needing about 200 of you. People get ready. 😉


Errt Errt… Woah oh woah oh woah oh…

June 20, 2009 § 2 Comments

Runaround Sue was the malapropos anthem of my childhood. I’m not sure why my father thought a song about a cheerful promiscuous woman would be the right thing to play for a two year old, but play it he did. All of his other song choices made perfect sense: The House at Pooh Corner, I’ve Got My Pajamas On, All of Me… all sweet, child friendly songs with positive messages. A quarter of a century later, however, and the one I remember best is the song about the girl who runs around with every single guy in town. My father would bring out his beat up guitar and I would dance, dance, dance.

From the very first hours, my father has wrapped my life in music. It began with theme songs: Airwolf, Greatest American Hero, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. There were songs he loved (Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, Carolina in My Mind) and the ones we made up as we went along (Goodnight to Freckles…you’ll always be my friend…). When he discovered the Vineyard church, it was Awesome God and The Victory Chant. Whenever there has been a campfire in my life, my father has been there to serenade it. Whenever I’ve had a song stuck in my head, he’s been around to play it out for me. If I want to sing, my father is there to back me up.

If the music had been the only thing my father gave me, it would have been enough. But he is not a man of few words or few talents, and he wanted me to have all my bases covered. He made sure I could identify superheros, pro-wrestlers, and the crew of the Starship Enterprise. He read me chapters of the Bible interspersed with chapters of Tarzan. He taught me to play Pooh Sticks, to ride a bike, to follow instead of lead when I dance… he coached soccer, softball, and whatever else was my hobby of the week. My early education was peppered with talk of quantum physics and computer science, and he helped me build a laser at age eight.

If the lessons were the only thing my father gave me, they would have been enough. But he is not a man to teach from a distance, and he jumped in. He donned a white top hat and tails to become Charlie the Cherub in our kids choir and an electric bow tie for my elementary recital. In middle school, he took the stage with me for my very first solo number – rocking a wicked Irish accent and watching patiently as I sang. He made sure he knew what I was doing in class, helped me finish my homework, and fixed everything I broke.

If participation in my activities was the only thing my father gave me, it would have been enough. But he is not a man to settle for activities – my father participates in me. He knows the names and habits of every friend I make, becomes their facebook buddy, and comments on their lives. He asks my opinion when he doesn’t need to and genuinely considers my viewpoint. He engages me in debate, challenging my ideas and pushing me to consider new angles. He defends me unconditionally, and believes that I’m somehow stronger and smarter and better than I am. He makes sure that I know it.

I am lucky. I am lucky because from the beginning, my father has taught me, participated with me, been my friend, and provided the soundtrack. I’m lucky because he played Runaround Sue over and over again, inappropriate lyrics and all, simply because I loved dancing to it. He’s exactly the sort of parent I hope to someday be.

If I’d been given the chance to choose, Daddy, you’d have been my pick. Thank you. Happy Father’s Day.


June 10, 2009 § 2 Comments

I love being Pollyanna. It’s a strange thing to be prideful about, sure, but I am. I love being able to identify myself as the most optimistic person you know, the one who can see the good, accentuate the positive, bring in da noise and da funk. I even somewhat enjoy the downsides, like the shameful smiling I did at the nice-smelling, well-dressed man on the corner of 20th and Burnside until Dan and Mel gently informed me that he was the neighborhood pimp. I’m used to my rosy-colored glasses, and they suit me fine.

The problem with becoming too proud (problems? with pride? never. 😉 ) of being Pollyanna is how difficult it is to ‘fess up to the bad days. When you are saddled with sunshine as your very identity, the idea of being sad for an hour or two can rock you to your core and make you doubt yourself. As for me, I’m terrible at not being “ok.” Better than ok, really: I’m terrible at not being awesome. I want to be awesome all of the time. I want to be the person doing, not needing, the cheering. I want to be the helper, not the helpee.

But sometimes I’m just tired. Sometimes I just want someone braver than me, and stronger than me, and smarter than me, and more hopeful and wiser and bigger than me to pick me up and remind me, assure me, that everything is going to be amazing. Sometimes grace feels heavy – forgiveness I can’t ever earn, a debt I can never repay. I wish I didn’t struggle with that. I wish I could take God at His word and look Him in the eye and say thank you instead of getting caught up in my own failure. How do you wish you were better at not wishing you were better? Sometimes I just want to sit up all night and talk to someone, anyone, who will speak to me like they’re sure about something.

I wish I wasn’t so aware that I have nothing worth complaining about in my life, just so I could complain and feel justified. Sometimes it sucks to be level-headed. There. That made me feel better. 🙂

I’m blessed. And I’m loved. And my God is mighty to save. And tonight I’m just tired… and joy will come in the morning.

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