Tuesday, November 30, 2010

not being normal

somebody said i wasn't normal...

“Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.”
- Jodie Foster

who wants to be normal anyways, whatever that is?

I was watching some old videos of myself today and thought I would share a couple of them with all of my fans out there who live and die to read my blog.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dile a la mañana que se acerca mi sueño que lo que se espera con paciencia se logra.

i could listen to this man all day long

Sunday, November 28, 2010

comiendo la 's' [reflexiones]

Can't sleep.

Thinking about life and change and trying new things.

the view was worth it

I miss the Dominican Republic and being with Dominicans.  That's why I eat my s's.  Paul once said that he became like the people that surrounded him in order to win them over.  It helped the people he was with to feel more connected to him and understood by him (I think).  I kind of lived by this in the Dominican and this kind of living sort of came naturally to me.  I felt that if I talked like the people and lived (as much as a gringa could) like the people, I would be able to form more meaningful relationships with those that surrounded me.  Maybe I took it to the extreme when I lived in that little shack on the mountain with no bathroom and no kitchen (see photo).  After all most of the people I spent time with had bathrooms, showers and kitchens in their homes.  The rats were the worst.  I'd take peeing in my backyard with the cows and bucket showers over rats any day.  Sometimes I think about not eating my s's since most people around here don't.

While thinking about life and reflecting on the past three years I have discovered a deep sense of thankfulness.  I moved here three years ago (around this time of year) and the thought of being thankful one day for that move and all that came with it, was quite a foreign concept.  But I am.  I am thankful for losing, because with it I gained more than I ever would have otherwise.  I actually think I would have lost more had I not lost what I did.  I've been challenged in ways I never would have been.  I've gained new friendships.  I've been able to reinvest in old relationships.  I've gained new perspective, insight and understanding.  I've learned to think differently.  I get to hang out with my mama and talk to her everyday.  I gained a freedom to become someone I like and don't feel I have to become something I simply am not.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

father's day, birthdays & old cars... [recuerdo]

Today is Sunday.  Some people rest on Sundays.  I do too, sort of but I also often dedicate it to getting shit done that doesn't get done during the week.  Today, I went for a long long bike ride on my new road bike [thanks miguelito].  Well, it's not actually mine yet, I haven't paid him.  I averaged about 15mph if anyone cares.  I know on fb people like to impress people by talking about their workouts. . . or something so I figure it's important to include that in today's blogpost.  Anyways, that's all off topic.  So I was cleaning out my bedroom with hopes to dispose of unnecessary items just adding clutter to an already cramped space, when I found a church bulletin with the following words scribbled on it:

"Hey Bob, I wanna buy you some of these slippers."
"Why don't I buy some of this hose and beat you to death with it."
"Hey Dad you need to slap her some time, she's into some real weird shit."

 me and my dad with a Shelby Mustang

Before looking at my chicken scratch I wondered what the hell was so important about that stupid church bulletin that I tucked it away in the drawer of my desk.  After reading it I realized those were things said by my father and his friend Bob last year on a short trip we took to an old car show in Hastings on Father's Day, which usually falls within a couple of days of my dad's birthday.  In addition to cars there was also a "flea market," which consisted of a bunch of vendors selling anything from car parts to crocs (or slippers as my dad called them).  Now my dad and Bob are not as fond of foreign cars as I am so when I commented on how awesome some cool old Toyota truck was Bob thought I needed to be set straight.  Thus the comment about slapping me.  I found this whole experience quite entertaining so that's probably why I tucked away that little piece of paper, hoping to find it one day and laugh again as I recalled that hot father's day spent walking around a dusty field looking at cars with two men that had been friends for longer than I had been living.

Friday, November 19, 2010

office chatter... [oh, hell no]

Twice in the last week one of my six office mates, yes I share an office with six other people, has entered the office in the morning talking about his pussy ingrown hairs on his knees.

I nearly threw up all over the office.  Then I thought about this and I felt better.

Tips on Dating: The Panamerican Tour... Do's & Don'ts... [cont'd from previous post]

Ok, so let's be honest the soccer game is over.  This one anyways.  There could be more in the future.  Venezuela won, hands down.  That was obvious in the first post.  However, there is still much advice to be given to Latin men trying to date gringa women and vice versa.  Ladies, don't give your number out to the morons that do the do NOTs.  Trust me, you'll be sorry and googling how to block numbers from your cell phone before you know it.  Here is a do and don't list derived maybe from my imagination and possibly but not necessarily from personal experiences.
Do: Tell the girl that some day when you get married you will give the wife all of your earnings and only ask for a $200 stipend per month. 

Do NOT: Ask the girl for help figuring out how much of a tip to give to the server.  This indicates that you cannot do basic math and at 32 you still do not know how to tip.  Not impressive.

Do: Insist that your birthday be celebrated for an entire month.

Do NOT: Tag ALL text messages as URGENT with a bright red exclamation point! That's just annoying and stupid.

Do: Be patient, persistent, respectful and intentional.  This is very attractive.

Do NOT: Text and call repeatedly and continue to do so when the girl continues to NEVER respond.

Do: Put a picture given to you by the girl (after insisting that she gives you a birthday present every Monday and Friday for the entire month of your Birthday) on your desk at work, not caring about the ridicule you might receive from passing co-workers who never noticed anything on your desk before.

Do NOT: Keep texting her after she hasn't responded in weeks to any of your URGENT!!!! texts.  
Ok, I think this concludes today's edition of the Panamerican Dating Tour.  It might be the last, but you never know. 

hedgehogs are like little porcupines [sueños]

I had a very strange dream the other night.  The dream took place in my apartment and involved a dead rat that came back to life, a hedgehog, a man we'll call Mr. Porcupine and a frying pan.

The dead rat was disgusting and huge.  I was trying to kill it with the frying pan after it came back to life, with little to no help from Mr. Porcupine, who just stood there in quiet observation.

The hedgehog however was kind of cute and intriguing but I didn't feel it needed to be running around my apartment so I was trying to capture it, again with no help from Mr. Porcupine.  

The dream ended at some point and I never killed the rat, nor did I catch that damn hedgehog.  But when I woke up you bet I looked up hedgehog on google images because I had no idea what a hedgehog was.  Come to find out, they are like little porcupines.

My friend interpreted the dream for me.  My conclusion is this: 

I'm feeling a little hesitant and having my doubts about some things, particularly with prickly little rodents.  However, I'm strangely drawn to them and trying to sort out the doubts, while at the same time being open to what might become of all of this.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Seminary has a habit of requiring us to integrate Biblical truth in our research papers.  Without exception I unexpectedly find myself being re-grounded by the scripture I scurry to find to support my point or argue the validity of another person's theory.  Having it be assigned, is sadly, the only way God finds a way to speak to me.  Scripture is powerful.


"I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:13-14

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the new do...

I got my hairs cut today [see photo]. Usually with a trim or cut that's virtually the same as before just slightly shorter, I don't feel much different, just a little fresher. However, I have discovered over the last couple of years, that when I alter the style, I feel empowered and changed as if taking on the world will somehow look different with the altered look. What change will the bangs bring??!?! My friend, only time will tell.... I'm likin' it. I feel hip and ready to conquer the world.

Facebook Confessions... get your matches, nails and shards of glass cuzz we need a HUELGA

As of late I have become painfully aware of my addiction to facebook. I will shamefully admit that I have no idea how many times I check it daily, with hopes that someone, somewhere, regardless of whether I have talked to them face to face in the last ten years or even ever met them, posted something interesting or witty either on my wall or somewhere else in the space of facebook so that it lands in my newsfeed. I confess that I more than often find myself wracking my brain to find the most comment worthy status update. It cannot be normal that my brain has started to think in "status update" format.

During the three years I lived in the Dominican Republic I witnessed several huelgas (strikes). These huelgas were usually in response to some unfulfilled promise by some corrupt political figure. I don't pretend to understand politics so I won't even begin to try to explain why they were striking. Besides, I don't really remember. Anyways. Usually the entire country would go on huelga and no one would go to work. It was usually a great excuse to go to the pool. The school I worked at would probably still have held class if it weren't for the nature of these huelgas. Now, in the United States when people go on strike they make big colorful signs and shout on street corners and outside of buildings. I've noticed this is a very helpful way to bring about change. In the Dominican Republic however, they set things on fire in neighborhoods and throw sharp objects in the streets. No one can go anywhere, not necessarily because there is a huelga, but because their tires would go flat trying to get to their destination and they might run into the middle of a pile of tires that had been set ablaze by some drunkards "standing up" to injustice. This I found was also a very effective way to bring about change. You might note that I went to the pool on days like these. You're probably asking yourself how I got there. I live life on the edge ok people. I wasn't afraid of a potential flat tire. They only cost about 30 pesos to fix, which at the time was equivalent to less than 2USD.

Now, what does my facebook addiction and huelgas in the D.R. have to do with anything important? Nothing really, I was just thinking of them both at the same time. Now I am deciding to quit facebook for an undetermined amount of time. You should too. The other day my mother said to me, "Don't you think people will eventually stop using facebook?" Hopeful, I said, "I dunno, maybe." Maybe if I have a facebook huelga, then others will stop using it too, and eventually, like my mother predicted, people won't use it as much anymore and we'll start having more meaningful social interactions with people we actually know... face to face... take that book! Ok, that was dumb.

tips on dating: the panamerican tour... a top 10 list of sorts...

So over the last several weeks I have ate dinner (sushi, lebanese, mexican & other varieties), gone to Chicago, ate lunch, walked around, climbed the Sears Tower (in an elevator), danced some merengue and bachata, drank some wine and other adult beverages and some other things. After consulting with some close friends about these events they informed me that the majority of these activities were dates. I think they base their conclusions on the fact that I have spent little to no money doing any of these things and they usually involved someone of the opposite gender driving me around in their car. I would like to think they are simply activities done with generous men pursuing a fraternal friendship with a cool girl. However, I'm beginning to think that's a slightly unrealistic perspective.

Without going into too much detail and context I would like to share a little bit of what I've learned from these so-called dates and some other non-date encounters with men I refused to give my phone number to but was willing to dance with. I feel the lack of detail and context provide room for you to use your creative imagination. Now, if you are reading this, hoping to get some advice on dating, you should know that average (whatever that is), gringo men never express any interest in me so my experiences are limited mostly to men from Latin America and me, a gringa. I don't know how white men flirt with women, nor do I know exactly what Latina women like or find acceptable. I kind of think of this as a soccer tournament of sorts, thus the titles found below.
Honduras vs. Mexico - 0-0 - many attempts but no goals
10 Things that should not happen within 2 weeks of knowing a girl you might want to see again... including things that should never be translated into English...

10 - Text her once. Then, after she hasn't responded within 10 minutes, text again by saying "hellooooo?!?"
10 1/2 - Say, "que tienes?" whenever there are moments of silence that last more than 11 seconds... this is terribly annoying for introverts and people comfortable not talking
9 - Be over the age of 30 and talk incessantly about losing your temper, disrespecting your supervisor and almost getting into a physical fight.
8 - After buying her a couple of drinks and dancing a few songs with her say, "you be my girl now"
7 - Fart audibly and then, after she calls you a COCHINOOO!!!! (pig in Spanish) say, "it was the sushi just think about something else"
6 - Beg her to stay all night to keep you company after only knowing her for a week. This indicates that you are lonely and pathetic.
5 - Have a blanket on your bed that has a huge panther on it and show it to the girl proudly.
4 - Say you love your television.
3 - Never, ever say things like "you have delicious lips" in English. These types of one liners can only be said in Spanish, unless you are hoping to be laughed at.
2 - After hearing her speak in Spanish with a Dominican accent say (in English), "Where u from? You sound like Dominican lady. I always dream of being with Dominican lady. With you is like all of my dreams coming true." This might have been flattering in Spanish, but probably not.
(insert drum roll)
1 - Say, "I want you to have my children." This is only acceptable after love and long term commitment, such as marriage, has been determined between both parties.

Venezuela vs. the rest of Latinoamerica 2-010 acceptable things to do and say within a few weeks of knowing a girl...
10 - drive a foreign car
9 - invite and pay
8 - say in Spanish, what obviously should never be said in English
7 - offer to help her with home projects/chores such as lawn care
6 - be very interested in what she does for work/leisure
5 - have a really good sense of humor: combination of dry, sarcastic and really random
4 - have fun/creative ideas for activities
3 - be comfortable with silence
2 - tell the girl she is cute, in such a way that you also acknowledge the beauty in her friends
1 - talk about how brilliant and put together women are and how you cannot possibly understand why they are still not ruling the world, while making it very obvious that this is not a pick up line but truly something you have contemplated


Well, that concludes this edition of the Panamerican Dating Tour. Stay tuned, as much has been left out and much is yet to come and much has been eliminated and edited. Questions and comments may be left in the comment section of this post on this blog. Further detail, context and explanation of certain material is strictly limited to certain parties in order to protect the audacious, bold and shameless Latin men involved and their egos.

geraniums, UFO's and summer's end

I have a roommate. She and I moved into a little second floor apartment with a balcony on the west side about a year and a half ago. It was winter. She brought several dead plants wondering if I could revive them since I "know about plants." I told her several times that the prickly brown, dried up, unidentifiable tree looking thing was incurable. But there it sat in our kitchen for weeks. I'm not sure if she thought maybe it would come back to life in my presence or if for some reason it was just too hard for her to part with. So one day I finally threw it out the window, making sure it wouldn't strike anyone on it's way down from the second story. I now realize it would have made for a better story had it hit someone. The geraniums she gave me, were however a success. The secret... they still had some life in them. I wish I had taken a picture of the three pathetic seed geraniums still in their little plastic pint containers. I planted them in a pot, kept them in the house during two winters and now they are thriving in their third summer. Anya and I are amazed at the geraniums. Maybe I am more than she. I put them in an old pot that looks like it was for draining pasta. I like it even though I'm not too fond of geraniums. The colius you see next to the geraniums are enormous now. Gigantic and beautiful actually.

I've been thinking lately about my upcoming trip to Beaver Island. It's become Schofield tradition to take a vacation there every year and somehow I have been blessed with an ongoing invitation to join. Actually, I was invited once. I'm not sure who decided I would tag along every year. Anyways, this will be my third Labor Day with them.

At the island we pretty much do whatever we want all day every day. We take naps, eat cookies, read books, marvel at the loons, ride bikes, go running, sew, do crafts, sit in the sun, go to town, things like that. But no one is obligated to do any of those things at any particular time. It's quite marvelous. I am ready to leave behind Grand Rapids to revel in a few days with absolutely no obligations and no deadlines. The only thing that saddens me about Beaver Island is that somehow in my mind it always marks the end of summer. I will inevitably leave the island with mixed feelings. I suppose though if summer must come to an end, there is no better way to say farewell then by spending a relaxing long weekend with dear friends on a little island in Northern Michigan.

running, flowers & Isaiah 61...

Tonight I went running. While running I usually think about a lot of things. Tonight I was thinking about a lot of things, as usual. I tried thinking about what I could put on this blog and there were a lot of ideas. I think I might start with flowers.

Almost three years ago I returned to the U.S. from Nicaragua. I had lived there for a year and a half and prior to that in the Dominican Republic for 3. After a couple of months of being here I realized I wasn't returning any time soon so I needed a job. I was slightly overwhelmed by the idea of applying for a job so when my mom found out I could possibly work at the greenhouse I was relieved. I was going through kind of a difficult time to say the least, and people kept telling me that working with flowers might help. I rolled my eyes in response to what seemed a ridiculous concept. As if deadheading flowers and sticking cuttings into dirt all day was going to heal all of my wounds and make me happy. Looking back though I realize they were right. Watching things grow from nothing but a tiny seed or a little leaf into a big, colorful plant does incredible things for the soul. After working in the greenhouse for a couple of months I started working at the Home Depot garden center where the plants are sold. There I discovered that sometimes plants look dead, but with a little care they can be resurrected. So it has been my hobby to bring home a few almost dead plants now and then and bring them back to life. It's always amazing to me.

Before moving back here a friend of mine gave me this drawing. The idea has stuck with me ever since and the flowers remind me of it almost on a daily basis. If you ever come to my house in the spring or summer you'll find old buckets and other types of containers used as flower pots. I try to put only half dead plants in them so I can watch them grow and come back to life. I like the analogy my friend gave and I like reminding myself of the truth that God can make something lovely out of what might seem to be useless and unattractive. He has a way with bringing something beautiful and good out of unfortunate circumstances.

One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 61, which is a promise that God will give us beauty for ashes and joy instead of mourning. It also says that we'll be like oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. This passage comes to mind when I see the flowers in those old buckets, when I'm watering at Home Depot and when I see dried up and seemingly dead flowers come back to life. It's like what God does in each of us and in our lives. Thanks flowers for what you've taught me. Thanks Micandy for giving me this gift. Thanks Ili for the drawing. Thanks God for using nature to help me understand life and how you work. Thanks friends for sticking with me as I figure this all out.