Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What Is Enough?

Between the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the stampede that took place in Baghdad killing over 800 people, the current events of the past few days seem almost unfathomable. The immense tragedy surrounding these two events alone is heart-wrenching.

The Sunday sermon this week was on reaching out to others. Not only reaching out, but doing so with an unquenchable passion for those who are less fortunate, for those who are suffering. The pastor went on to say that, if you have reached a comfort level in your giving to others, you simply are not doing enough.

Not doing enough... that theme has been a recurring one since I started college. There is just so much to be done... it can seem so daunting. There are children in America that don't have health insurance (which is completely inexcusable). People starve to death the world around every day, and we do nothing. There are political prisoners the world over. People are killed, maimed, tortured because they differ from the dominant population. And yet, I reside (sometimes rather obliviously) in suburban America . . . comfortable, well-fed, and (mostly) safe.

What is enough, though? I cannot single-handedly stop famine, murder, preventable illness ... and the further list of maladies that plagues this world. But I can break out of my comforable mold for my life and give a little more . . . because I have more time, more energy and more money than many people. What makes a difference is whether or not I am willing to share what I have. And whether or not my passion is truly unquenchable.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kik & Kellogg

Amy and I have been together for two years today.

**SAPPINESS ALERT** I think I love her more every day that we spend together. **END SAPPINESS ALERT**

Knowing and loving Amy is quite the experience. She can be a handful (and when she is, she knows it and looks at me and says, "Congratulations! You got me!"). She can also be incredibly kind, compassionate and loving. She is intelligent and insightful (although, this morning she did manage to call me Sweet Lard... ). She has given me so many beautiful experiences with her. She completely stole my heart and DANG IT!, I don't think she is giving it back.

I love you very much, Amy van Weasel.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Jesus Dork

I think that, by now, we all understand that my dorkiness is a key facet of my being. What you may NOT realize is that my dorkiness has now reached epic proportions. Keep reading... you'll see...

I switched churches recently, for several reasons. One of the main reasons, however, was that I wanted to be able to participate in Bible Study and/or Adult Sunday School classes. Churches gear up for a new year at the same time schools gear up for a new year. So, when enrollment time rolled around a few weeks ago, I eagerly signed up for Disciple Bible Study. (Note: Each time I try to type Bible, it seems to come out "bile". Heh.)

Disciple Bible Study is a thirty-four week study. Don't read it again... you read it right the first time... thirty-four weeks. Not only that, but you have to commit to about four hours of reading during the week and attend class once a week for two hours. Dork Factor #1: I am super-excited about this. I have talked Amy's ear off about it. I have even made her a list of suggested readings from my studies.

At our orientation meeting (yes, orientation), one of the facilitators suggested that we get a new Bible for the class. Apparently, if you read a Bible that you have marked up over the years, you are more likely to skim. THERE IS NO SKIMMING, FOLKS. Dork Factor #2: I was lusting after the idea of having a new Bible. (Do you think Jesus gets mad about lusting after Bibles?) I love new books. And I even knew which Bible I wanted, because it was a larger version of the one I bought for Amy. I was jealous, because her Bible had better historical and cultural notes. My Bible had notes like, "Only God knows what is best for you. Never question God's goodness." That even made ME want to puke. Condescending toned Bible. Hmpf.

And this brings me to the sweetest, dorkiest part of the whole post... Dork Factor #3: For our two year anniversary, Amy bought me a leather bound version of the EXACT BIBLE I WANTED. Since you know me, it is unnecessary to tell you that I cried. So excited, I am. I get to take it to my first Bible Class tomorrow night. I love it. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received.

Dork Factor #4: I am going to marry a woman that embraces my dorkiness. Life is good.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rubble

In the span of just a few hours yesterday, workers tore down the home that stood next to ours. It was there when I left in the morning. It was a pile of block, wood and plaster when I got home yesterday evening.

That house must have held so many memories. The woman that lived there was elderly. And a bit cranky. She didn't want anyone to park on her lawn (which was more like a field, considering her property is now being sold as three separate lots). But she was protecting what she had. And it made me sad that all of the time and energy she put into that home is now just rubble. To be carted off. Discarded.

Somehow, when a new family moves into an existing house, it seems to perpetuate the legacy of the house. They become just one more thread woven into the history contained within those walls. The destruction of a home seems so final. As if all that has happened there is swept away, counted as useless now.

I hope that, in her mind, there is a picture of that house that stands so firm that nothing can destroy it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Crazy, I Was Crazy Once...

I am relatively computer saavy (and when I say relatively, I mean relatively). I definitely have wrangled with Word enough to know what I am doing. So, when something happens like just happened to me... it makes me feel ever so slightly crazy.

I took a Word document that was in paragraphs and made it into a table. No big deal. Everything looked good. Printed it out to proof it... What printed is not what I saw on my screen. When the document prints, it cuts off about half of the second page, while duplicating another large section from the first page onto the second page. BUT IT LOOKS FINE ON THE SCREEN.

So, I call Amy. No one in my building knows what to do with a Mac. I email her the document. She calls me back to tell me that, when she looks at the document, THERE IS NO SECOND PAGE. ACK!

So now I have a document that only I can see. Perfect.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I Am the Fastest Mouse in All of Mexico...

I went to the gym for the first time in over a month yesterday. Fortunately, my soreness is limited to a managable threshold of pain, and I have more energy than I have in a long time. Bouncy! Bouncy! Bouncy!

But the important point is that I found a new quest. I love a new quest. Apparently my gym is hosting a 5K in November. For years I have wavered between wanting to run a marathon (I wanted to do that before my thirtieth birthday when my thirtieth birthday seemed eons away--now I am just shooting for before I hit menopause), wanting to run a half marathon (attainable but lofty), and wanting to run 5Ks on a semi-annual basis. So, 5K it is. (I am idealistic, not crazy)

I am making up training schedules (in my head). Working on my diet (in my head). Quitting smoking (in my head).
Now, if I can get this stuff out of my head and into my reality, I might be on track. Get it?!? On TRACK. Because I'll be running... and the track ...

I know, I know... *groan*

Monday, August 22, 2005

Oh the Agony of It All...

It is now 4:56 p.m., and DOOCE HAS NOT POSTED ALL DAY.

Does she know what she is doing to me? I am sick with worry. What if Chuck ate another corndog on a stick? What if Leta had a critical poop situation? The agony is almost unbearable. I feel abandoned. How could she?

I think maybe I should get out more.

Small Miracles

I got to make my first real meal in my BRAND NEW OVEN (did I mention I got a new oven?!?) this weekend. Now, that in itself is not the miracle. I cook. It is a fact of life. I enjoy it. That is a perk of life. The miracle is this: AMY KELLOGG HELPED ME COOK.

Once you have picked yourself up off the floor and begun to process this information, you will realize how truly miraculous this is. She cut up the apples for the pork chops. She measured spices. She easily cut the prep time in half. And she seemed to ENJOY it. And I didn't mind sharing my kitchen with her. She is actually a pretty handy little cooking partner.

But wait... there's more. This weekend she also cleaned out the refrigerator. I was afraid of the refrigerator. Yuck. But now ... spic & span! Like new, it is.

You know, when Milo suddenly started acting better, it was because she heard us mention a FOSTER HOME for her. I promise, I never said the words FOSTER HOME to Amy. Promise.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Dinner Dilemma

Amy's favorite response to my inquiries regarding what she might like for dinner is, invaribly, something abusurd. Like Totino's. That was her answer today. I LOVE to cook. I am offering to cook her a nice dinner. And she asks for a FROZEN PIZZA that tastes more like cardboard than pizza. It wasn't enough that Totino's is the first thing I had to cook in my BRAND NEW OVEN. She actually requested it again.

We will, in fact, NOT be having Totino's for dinner tonight. We will, however, be having Sherry Apple Pork Chops. And butternut squash on the side. And a spinach salad. No Totino's in sight. Maybe I will even make Amy drink her Miller Lite out of a glass while I am sipping my red wine.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jesus Doesn't Like Burger King...

I find it a little suspicious that every time I want a chicken sandwich combo from Burger King (which is literally RIGHT next door to my office on campus), Burger King is closed. This is the THIRD time this has happened. Jesus just does NOT want me to have that fried chicken sandwich. Sigh.

That's Right!

When most people get presents on a random Wednesday, it is usually a bouquet of flowers or something small. Not me! Nope. My random Wednesday present was a brand new oven. My first new appliance EVER! I have only been whining to Amy on a daily basis about how MUCH I want an oven. And, suddenly, there it was! It had a bow and everything. She was surprised I didn't notice it when I walked through the kitchen... But who looks at their stove every day? Let me tell you that now I will now be looking at my stove EVERY day. Because it is beautiful. And I love it!

Amy wanted to make a Totino's pizza in my brand new oven while I was at work today.... Uh, nuh nuh that's a baaaad Amy. She will be having mac & cheese instead.

Thanks Mom & Dad Kellogg!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My Name is Kendra. I Like Lattes A Latte.

Houston, we have an addiction here. It is easily 99 degrees outside (with humidity), and I STILL found it necessary to walk to Starbucks for a latte. Anyone else see a red flag here?

The First Encounter

Angie, being the trooper that she is, agreed to cook dinner for the Kelloggs last night. Her first meal plan was thwarted by the fact that WE DON'T HAVE AN OVEN. That's right, folks... NO OVEN. Then it was on to Plan B... Drunken Shrimp. Heh, that's a funny name. Say it with me... Drunken Shrimp.

We had to go three different places to get the Drunken Shrimp ingredients. Most of the necessary items were purchased at Publix (where shopping is a pleasure). Except for watercress. So then it was off to Fresh Market for watercress. Fresh Market was a fiasco. The produce man was curt to Angie (gasp). And, to add insult to injury, he LIED to her about the watercress. What he gave her wasn't watercress at all. It was arugula. The horror. So, after much deliberation and me almost getting mauled by the irate Fresh Market customers who were hungry and stuck in a checkout line with no cashier because the cashier was helping Angie examine the non-existant watercress, we left with spinach.

Dinner was fabulous. Angie and I had a blast cooking together. This goes down as the first time she has EVER let me help her in the kitchen. We were giggling so much that Amy's dad kept coming in to make sure we were actually cooking and that the giggling was not, in fact, slowing down production.

Angie and I had settled on two appetizers before dinner, because neither Amy nor her father are NEARLY as charming when they are hungry. There. I said it. NOT CHARMING. But the appetizers were a hit. Especially the scallops in beer, honey, cayenne pepper & cracked black pepper. Amy's dad was determined that everyone was going to know what was in the scallops before they scarfed it down without even appreciating it. See, charming when you feed him.

The Drunken Shrimp on spinach was worth the trip to three different stores (because Drunken Shrimp require a trip to the liquor store too). The Kelloggs were showering Angie with praise regarding her cooking skills (MAD cooking skills). Angie was basking in praise. What could be more perfect?

So, three bottles of wine later (cabernet, shiraz and merlot), Angie and the Kelloggs were sitting there charming each other. And laughing. And I was enjoying it more than anyone could possibly have realized.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

They just grow up so fast...

Today I said good-bye to my little friend, Xenia. I have worked with her for the past two years, and I can honestly say she is the ray of sunshine in the office. I can't imagine what it will be like to not listen to her crazy Creole-speak while I am working. And who will I dance for, just so they can tell me in no uncertain terms that I am NOT Ellen? And my yoga poses will now go largely unappreciated.

She is a brilliant, witty, beautiful (and incredibly innocent) girl. She provided me with constant reminders (in the form of instant messages) that no matter how HORRIBLE someone may be, that Jesus still loves them. It made me laugh every time.

I am going to miss my friend. I know she will be a superstar in graduate school. And I know that this office will never be the same now that she has gone.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Work I go....

Today is officially my last day as full-time caregiver for Ms. Amy. The time at home has been amazing. Quiet. Peaceful. A bit lonely at times. But overall, it was almost like vacation--minus the sand, palm trees and ocean breeze. Oh and plus the faint call of KIKER! from rooms beyond.

Being home for this long has given me quite the time to think. Ponder. Reflect. Pontificate. When there is no pressure to sort things out immediately, things just seem to fall into place. Too bad we can't often give ourselves the luxury of six peaceful days at home. We might all be more well-adjusted if we could.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Domestic Bliss

Kitchen officially CLEAN! Okay, that may be a stretch. But I have finally sorted through every cabinet, drawer, closet... One would think I would have done this when I moved in. I think a case of Miller Lite got in my way, and it has been downhill since then. But I now offically know where everything in my kitchen is. I can find tape measures, screwdrivers, any kitchen utensil one could need. Life is good.

Amy's dad has been on some sort of divine house upkeep mission since Amy's surgery. We are getting new air filters, new light bulbs, new smoke detectors, a new light fixture. There was mowing of the grass. Pressure-washing of the porch. And for his efforts, he got to experience my culinary genius at lunch today. He seemed impressed, but I think he may just have been hungry.

Aunt Esther brought me flowers today. Yellow. Beautiful. I would have cried, if it wouldn't have scared her half to death. It was nice amist the flurry of concern over Amy for someone to think of me. Taking care of someone who can't get out of bed all that well by herself is a 24 hour job. I had no idea how taxing -- or how rewarding-- it could be. I find myself exhausted enough to want to cry for no reason. But Amy is making huge strides toward recovery. For that I am grateful. For that I am incredibly proud of her.

Life is flowing right along... I am lucky to have committed my life to someone with such a beautiful, precious spirit. I am grateful for her family and their presence in our lives. I am blessed.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hello? Are you still there?

Amy and I have this running joke about losing our blog audience. Apparently, if you have a blog and you FAIL TO POST ONE DAY (horror!), you are in serious danger of losing your audience. Dear Lord, people are unforgiving.

So, to all four of my dear readers, I sincerely apologize for neglecting you yesterday. Although I am sure you hang on my every word (who wouldn't really?), I trust you made it through yesterday relatively unscathed.

More from the chronicles of the incredibly domesticated later today...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Second Time Around

Once again, my wonderful yet ever-so-clumsy girl has made it through ACL surgery. She was a champ. She even got back into the house with only one crutch (did I mention she is also VERY stubborn?). Right now she is stoned on the residual anastesia; the result of which has her saying "KIKER...." and trailing off rather often. She also found all of her extremities fascinating on the car ride home. (I think she may have been seeing trails)

The machine that continuously bends her knee for her is called a Legasus. I feel like it should have a picture of a My Little Pony on the side. A Legasus... I mean really.

The only strange request that I have gotten in the ONE hour that we have been home is to WD-40 all of the doors in the house. Apparently, they squeak. We can't have squeaking. UNACCEPTABLE. We will be a squeak-free home from now on.

Hopefully I can get her to eat something soon. Although the doctor did tell her she couldn't have dairy products today, and she looked horrified. As if a day without cheese might not be worth it... Yo quiero CHEEEESE.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Woes of the Financially Challenged

When I was growing up, I desperately wanted to be a writer. I envisioned myself living in a rustic sort of cabin (later in my life I evnisioned a yurt). I wouldn't need much... my most extravagant possession would be my laptop. And my wireless connection (which apparently I do believe will work anywhere, since I was planning on living in the woods). Life would be simple. Just me, my dog, my girl and my brilliant writing abilities. Sure, I would have very little money... but I would be an ARTIST. Starving is part of the persona.

Screech back into my real life... I am a middle class suburbanite. I have a mortgage. A car payment. All the trappings of middleclassness that I swore I would never be THIS bogged down in. Now add one more factor into the equation--I SUCK with money. I always think I have more than I do. It just never seems to work out quite right. And, for some reason completely unknown to me, the harder I try to manage my finances, the more chaos that ensues.

Fortunately, Amy and I have found new resolve to figure out a way to struggle through our financial woes. We have now convinced ourselves that financial struggles create CHARACTER (which I DEFINITELY need more of!).

Perhaps my approximation of the starving artist feel will inspire my writing. Stay tuned for brilliance, folks.

Monday, August 08, 2005

SHOUT!

I have a secret. I think I am ready to come clean. Here goes: I like Mondays. Okay, okay... wait! It isn't what you are thinking. It is not that I like returning to the daily grind. It is, rather, a new opportunity to CHANGE the daily grind that I like. Think about it... it is the beginning of a week. The opportunities are endless. New beginnings kind of make me want to do a jig--or shout to Jesus. SHOUT!

Besides, Mondays are another excuse to buy a latte (grande, 2%) from Starbucks. Gee, its Monday. I made it to work by 9:30. I DESERVE that latte.

Or maybe I didn't need that latte, because the combination of my meds (and taking them on a daily basis) and all this caffine are making me want to stand on the ceiling. I have too much energy & not enough to do in my work world. It makes my coworkers laugh because, eventually, I will be doing standing yoga poses in the middle of the office. At least I am finding a zen outlet for my seemingly boundless energy.

SHOUT!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Taking Pause

I was in my car after work when I heard on NPR that a plane had crashed in Toronto. My first thought was MY GOD, where is my world-traveller of a best friend. My next thought was SHIT, she was going to Toronto. It took an interminable amount of time to dial her phone number... for the phone to ring... once... twice... and again...

I have never been so happy to hear KIKAROO! in my entire life. Just to hear her voice seemed, at that moment, a small miracle. And all I could think of to say was, "So you aren't in a ditch in Toronto?" (Ah, my command of the English language...)

I spent so much time as a child being afraid that someone I loved would be taken away from me. Being a sage amost 30, I now realize that they all will -- eventually. And if I live my life in fear of those moments, I am going to miss out on the precious, seemingly mundane things like rejoicing over hearing Betsy's voice again. And that is something I would be incredibly remiss to take for granted.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Making a House a Home

For a year and a couple of days now, I have resided with one Amy Kellogg. And a dog named Jezebel. And a new dog named Milo. Anyway, since we have all lived together the dogs have definitely not been pulling their weight around the house. They leave their toys and chews strewn about. They have both tee-teed on self in the house. And they refuse to help with the laundry.

Ames and I have decided it is time to take action. No longer are we going to reside in a house. We will reside in a home. That we are going to create. Together. With lots of love (and some discussions on how many Fischer Price little people one girl really needs).

Our journey into true home ownership has begun with a lot of planning this week. Landscaping, a new stove/oven, and some paint on the living room walls all made the list. And, as all good home projects do, our renovation of our sacred space will begin with some good old-fashioned spring cleaning (or pre-Fall cleaning). I swear, I am going to scrub every inch of the 2,000 square feet that we inhabit. And the first dog to track mud in may become a pair of slippers.

So, that is the plan for the next few weeks... Amy will have surgery. She will begin the recovery process. I will bring her ice, diet coke, ice, meds, ice, food, ice, blankets & pillows... and did I mention ice? And I will clean. And give some things away (preferably while Ms. Amy is knocked out). And we will continue plotting and planning. And we will begin on a lifetime of creating a home full of love, compassion and laughter.

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