Monday, July 31, 2006

Growing up...a failure?

I feel as though I have to make so many decisions in the coming month, and I don't like it. I've come to discover new things about myself--for example, that I am petrified of making bad decisions.

I bought a laptop yesterday. I apologize to all of you hard core computer-literate people out there who will be woefully disappointed in me: I bought a Dell. Yes, I wanted a Mac too, but they were too much money, and also, too much computer for me. I wouldn't now how to use the thing, and I would feel all the time like I should be doing more and cooler things with it, like I wasn't worthy of its potential, its audio-visual editing capacity and things like that...and I'll just be writing papers, come on. I can get a Mac later if I really want one, ok???

The reason I'm defending myself so vehemently is that I'm terrified of making bad decisions. For the first time in my life I think I had a panic attack last night. Over the decision to buy a Dell. I freaked out, hyperventilating in bed, because I thought about how maybe I should have bought a Mac, they're far superior, after all, as my brother-in-law always tells me, and what if I get a virus and what if I regret not getting the Mac and what if I wish I had the free iPod (that comes with a macbook) and what if what if what if????? If you've never had a panic attack, I don't recommend it. It was frightening to feel so irrational but not be able to talk myself out of the irrationality.

For this reason and many others, I'm glad I'll be living in my aunt and uncle's basement. They're rational. I could go up there and freak out with them and they'd just have to look at me and I'm sure I'd calm down. Or at least they could help me breathe.

Please don't be disappointed in me.

Perhaps it's not the fear of making a bad decision. Perhaps I'm more afraid of disappointing family and friends.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Coincidence?? I think not!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening in Toronto. Exploring. By myself. Which at first sounds depressing to some people, but I had a great time. I got used to the transit system, checked out the neighbourhoods around the ICS and around where I'll live, and had a number of interesting experiences.

Highlight of the day: #1
On the subway, two young Arab men noticed that my shirt had the phrase "Ana beheb Masr" (I Love Egypt) written on it in Arabic, and talked to me for a few minutes about my semester in the Middle East. They were so excited!

Highlight of the day: #2
As I wandered out of the U of T campus, I literally bumped into an intreguing sight: a protest march of hundreds of people carrying Lebanese and Palestinian flags, placards, and chanting "Shame, Shame, USA!" and "Israel out of Lebanon!" and other such slogans. As you will remember from highlight #1, I happened to be wearing a shirt with Arabic writing on it, so I fit right in! I hung back for a while, just to see what was going on. Then I ventured forward, becoming part of the crowd, listening to firey speeches and angry chanting claiming Israel is an apartheid state and Stephen Harper (Canadian Prime Minister) a war mongerer. I just happened to have my camera with me (I had debated whether or not to take it along, and I was so glad that I did), so I took a few pictures of the march and the protesters with their signs. A communist from the workers party of Canada also approached me and tried to convince me that the proletariat of Israel needs to rise up against the government. While many of the speakers were expressed more extreme views than I would support (like loyal support for H'zbollah and even Iran), the experience was fascinating and eye-opening.

Highlight of the day: #3
My aunt Mary, uncle Earl and cousin Myra hosted me for dinner and dessert at their new house in Toronto. My uncle is a contractor, and they designed and built the house with the environment in mind--it's extremely well insulated to conserve energy, they have radiant floor heating (efficient), it's made of styrofoam bricks (and concrete, don't worry) and there's even an elevator in their three story house! (Ok, so the elevator was not with the environment in mind, but my aunt Mary had polio as a child and has a bit of difficulty getting around as a result of loss of strength in her legs.) Everything is hard wood--floors, cabinets, stairs, ceilings, yumm...I love hard wood. We also sat out on the porch and talked all night, watching their friendly neighbour make a couple of drug deals in front of his house.

Highlight of the day: #4
I'm probably going to live in Mary and Earl's basement apartment this year! I feel so relieved to have that decided. I get along so well with their family, and I am very much looking forward to being so close to family. There's a beautiful bay window, above ground level, in the main kitchen/living area, and while it's quite small (as most basement apartments are), I tend to feel it is cozy. And they'll let me use their laundry machines. (Hooray for free laundry!)

Of course there were more highlights, but why bore you, oh dear friend who took the time to read all this?

Monday, July 24, 2006

home at last


to chicago and back twice in 8 days. i don't mind driving-- in fact, i usually enjoy it, especially when i am with my parents and we have the chance to talk about life. but 36 hours in the car in 8 days isn't all that energizing.

the funeral was a celebration of uncle jerry's life. i had mixed emotions the whole time, because he suffered a lot near the end, so his death was bittersweet, knowing he's perfected now.

i found out today that i got a saturday off of work that i really wanted off, so now i can hopefully go to a conference that day that i was looking forward to. hooray!

i'm boring. i'm sorry that i posted this just to bore you.

what does everyone think of death cab for cutie? (see the July 17th post)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

ice cream delights, teaching, and goodbye

Tonight I went out to the Avondale Dairy bar and enjoyed a wonderful fresh raspberry sundae with Alan Lensink, Craig, Pam, and Johnny (friends from high school--Craig is Alan's cousin living here for the summer). I tried to teach Craig and Alan how to drive a standard. I had fun, but I hope I did a good job--it's really hard to learn at first, and we stalled a lot, but Craig caught on pretty quickly! (Alan just observed for now.) I was nervous, because we were driving the Lensink's nice Jetta, not my own old car, and I didn't want anything to happen to it! I made a fool of myself right off the bat when Martin (Lensink) trusted me to drive the Jetta, and I couldn't get it into reverse! There's this tricky thing in Jettas where you have to press the stick DOWN and THEN push it into the reverse position, and I had never driven a Jetta before, so we had to go back into the house and get Martin to show me. I felt rather foolish that I couldn't even get out of the driveway on my own, yet Martin was trusting me to teach his son and nephew how to drive!

I'll be leaving tomorrow morning at 6am for Chicago for the funeral of my uncle Jerry, who was married to my mom's sister, my aunt Becky. Please keep the family in your prayers as we mourn and as we do a lot of driving.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Our situation here is fast becoming dire. I can't write you long messgaes or send you any articles because the electric power is erratic and just now the Israelis have threatened to take out the entire electric grid. If that happens, it will be terrible for all of us, espcially those like me with small children. Evacuating with the Americans is not an option for people like us with limited cash and no house in the US. Besides, how long will we be away? Yes, Israel has overreacted. Until both sides accept the fact that neither can eliminate the other, Lebanon itself including all of us will have been eliminated. I don't know what more to tell you except to pray for us fervently and sincerely.

From a friend of MESP living in Lebanon--we visited with him and had good discussions with him during my time in the Middle East. As he says, please pray fervently and sincerely for a just peace in the region.

Monday, July 17, 2006

at last

Can you give me your opinion about which of the Death Cab for Cutie cds are the best? Yeah I know, they're probably all great, but if I was to buy one to start, which one would you recommend? Vote by commenting on this post.

I'm trying to update my cd collection--legally!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Running and bunnies, part deux

Well, I think I might have enjoyed running today.

No, scratch that. I just really didn't hate it. Much.

It was hot and humid, and I told myself to stop after 20 minutes, but I thought, no, just keep going and make it to that next tree. And that next street. And before I knew it I ran farther than usual, and I didn't feel like I was going to die. So that was an improvement, and it's exciting to see improvement!

Oh, and I saw three more bunnies. Well, I think it may have been two bunnies, because one might have been a repeat that I saw once going one way and once on my way back. But it was still neat.

I might not be around for a while. This weekend I'm going to Chicago for a wedding shower for my sister Joya. We're planning to be back on Monday, but my uncle Jerry (married to my mom's sister Becky) is very ill and near death. So we might end up staying longer for that funeral, but who knows. Sometimes God changes his mind. Or, we don't know what God's thinking in the first place, so it seems to us mortals that he's changing his mind. (More theologically correct, I think.)

I miss you all. If you're reading this, I miss you.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I hate running.

I love the feeling of having finished a run.

Does that make sense?

Since March when my dad was diagnosed with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (see May 13 post) I have been more motivated than ever to run even though I don't particularly enjoy it. I am a genetic carrier of the disease, and the more I develop my lungs while I'm young the more lung capacity I will begin with when the disease onsets. So that's pretty strong motivation. And hopefully the more I do it and the more in shape I become, the more I'll actually enjoy it. Or at least not hate it.

I do like walking on the way back from my run, though. I run/walk down a path that used to be a set of railroad tracks, so on either side of the tracks are bushes and grass and people's backyards and gardens. Today I saw a bunch of birds apparently warning a bunny of my presence. The birds were kind of dive-bombing the cute little bunny and sqwalking loudly, and the bunny would perk up its ears once in a while to listen for me. But the bunny just kept on eating clover as I inched closer, trying not to scare it away. He/she let me get really close, too! It made me think of "This is my Father's world." I must have stood there for over 5 minutes marvelling at the little creature.

"This is my Father's world" made me think of Brian, because we both loved that song. The bunny made me think of Kevin, because he grew up with bunnies and once saw his pet bunny mauled to death by an evil dog while his teacher forbade him from rescuing it. It was a little strange to think of both of them in the same instant.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I know that all of you are laughing at me right now...but it just took me 45 minutes to get a picture posted to my profile. I'm pretty excited about it.

I am really not a big fan of computers. Except when I understand how to use them.

I promise I won't go picture crazy.

How do I decrease the size of this file to below 50 kb so that blogger will accept it as my profile picture???

Ok, I'm only posting this so that I can get it to my profile. Cross your fingers...

Bradley is three and a half. He like to shave his dad, my brother Steven! 9He does a pretty good job, too)

Still experimenting

Oh...he's so little! This was just after Seth was born, in December 2004.

old picture (still practicing)

This was taken in the summer of 2003... Jocelyn was only 6 months old...

Jocelyn is 3 1/2 already!!

I feel old.

This is in my kitchen at home.


I finally sat down and figured out how to post a picture. Hooray!

This is me with my adorable niece Alyssa at Christmas time in DeMotte, Indiana.

Isn't she adorable?