Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My happy place

I love my apartment. It's not a big place. I am sitting on the couch in my living room and can see the entire apartment from this spot. Except behind me, because my head doesn't turn that far. I spend a lot of time in this apartment. I have spent the past day and a half here without leaving, since my throat is apparently rebelling against the "no pain" rule I have with my body.

My apartment is peppered with little things that brand it as mine. My pictures, my books and movies, my mail left scattered around. Right now it smells of squash bread. The air conditioner is chugging away, and even though I'm not really watching, Scrubs is playing in the background. In a little bit, I'll go to bed, and all will be quiet, except for the occasional beeping of the key pad at the door under my window, and the thumping of footsteps of people coming home. Night is my favorite time of day here. Coming home from work, knowing there are no obligations until's the best feeling in the world.

My apartment is my refuge. My apartment doesn't know what happened during the day. It is still here when I get home, comforting and solid. It has witnessed break downs and my crazy leaking all over the place. I am myself here, completely. I know the familiar sounds, the little quirks that every home has. I've only been here for two years, but it feels longer.

This is a really weird, cheesy entry. I apologize for my lack of funny lately. I'm feeling much more introspective than humorous. Life is changing, and so am I. I hope the funny comes back soon. Until then, hang in with me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Knock knock!

Today I had the privilege of spending some time with my nieces. Maddy started kindergarten this week, so I went over after work to go with to pick her up and have celebration ice cream. I had a great time playing with Allie before we left. She brushed my hair to "fix it," and chattered away about the weather just like at the salon. Then she fell on the floor giggling. Those girls keep me laughing almost all the time.

I stuck around to eat supper with the family, and during it the girls got into a round of knock knock jokes. This was Allie's favorite:
Knock knock!
Who's there?
Banana who?
Banana wiggle my hands!

The best part was that as she finished she would collapse into a fit of giggles. Nothing better than the laughter of a child! She told it over and over, and got to the point where she was giggling so hard she couldn't even finish the joke!

Maddy tried to do the banana joke as well. She is getting better at it. When she was Allie's age, it went something like this:
Knock knock!
Who's there?
Banana who?
Aren't you glad I didn't say banana?

Now Maddy's jokes border on bizarre, and follow along these lines:
Knock knock!
Who's there?
Curtains who?
Curtains going to eat you up and throw you in the dumpster!

A little disturbing maybe...but really funny when she's telling it. I don't think I could pull the same thing off without the nice men in white jackets paying me a visit. I'm a little jealous of what kids can get away with sometimes.

I love that my nieces are already honing their joke telling skills. I hope they end up having a sense of humor like their auntie...and learn that it's okay to be weird!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A living arrangement tangent of sorts

It’s an interesting thing to live alone. Most of the time I absolutely love it. It’s nice that things stay put (usually) where I leave them, and that the temperature is completely under my control. What? I don’t have control issues. Anyway. I enjoy being able to watch TV whenever, or sit all day with the TV off, reading or staring out the window. I get the bathroom when I want, and I have an entire apartment in which to store things. No sharing of space. I don’t do well with sharing. I failed kindergarten. (I didn’t really, but it sounds good. No, it actually doesn’t. What am I talking about?)

Anyways. When you live alone, you get very used to being alone. Duh, I know, but I think that living alone has helped me to learn to be alone other places as well. In college, I never liked going anywhere alone. It stressed me out if I had to go eat at the Commons alone. It’s still not my favorite thing to eat alone in public, but I have had to do it enough (partially because of my job), that it doesn’t really bother me. In college, if I had to go to the store, I would find a buddy. Now I prefer to shop alone. I feel like living by myself has forced me to become a more independent and self-sufficient person. Sometimes a little too self-sufficient.
Living alone can be very lonely. Today, after an absolutely terrible session, I just wanted to be able to come home and decompress with someone. Talk about what was going on, and then move on. Besides the practical side, like having someone to split rent and bills, I miss having a roommate. Someone to laugh with and chat with. Someone to share dinners with. Someone to know where I am.

I have had some of the best roommates in the world. My sister, of course, was my first “roommate.” We had some good years. We had tape down the middle of our room in Ackley, IA. Her side was always neat as a pin, while mine had very little floor visible. She used to enjoy forcing me to play school (she would let me go for "recess," complete my homework for me, purposely answering questions incorrectly, and then mark them wrong in a red pen) or kicking me out when she had friends over. I enjoyed putting her things out of place and annoying her by being sickeningly cute when she had friends over so they would want to play with me. We lived together until I was in fourth grade. Even back then, and despite her being a typical "older sister," I remember appreciating having someone else around. It was weird staying in a room by myself. Of course, I got used to it. In high school I had the whole basement to myself, but I could always hear my parents moving around upstairs.

Kaija was my freshman year roommate. We braved the new world of college together. We had our ups and downs, but we’re still good friends. Solberg 101 forever! (Wait…was that our room?) We always enjoyed having very unique names together. We bonded over it. That, and Honors Religion. And our matching gold chairs.

Sophomore year was the year of craziness. I lived with my dear friend Nik. She and I share a brain, and we had things in our room such as the ceiling of hotties above our desk, and our “face door,” which we created way before Facebook. We painted our loft with chalkboard paint and made people sign it when they visited. We played many pranks together. It was a good year.

Apparently this has turned into a roommate rundown. Don’t worry, there are only a few left. My junior year I lived with Kristen. (She just had a baby, by the way. Beautiful baby. :)) We had crabs (the hermit kind). Their names were Skohotentot and Skolinkenlot. I might have named them. We also had special plants called “living stones,” but we called them butt plants, because they looked like little butts. I also lived across from Kristen senior year, when we both had single rooms. We would leave our doors open and it was almost like we were still living together :)

Between my senior year of college and my first year of grad school, I lived with Heidi. Heidi was crazy. She is my only former roommate with whom I have no contact anymore. That’s all I have to say about that.

Going into grad school, I thought I was going to have to live alone. I was at a wedding for a woman who worked in the office where I did work study for four years, and was talking with some of the other student workers. One had graduated a year ahead of me. She was pretty awesome. Her name was Jill. Well, her name still is Jill, actually. :) It just happened that Jill’s roommate was getting married and she was looking for a new place to live. Just like that, I had myself a roommate. That was totally amazing, because I really couldn’t afford to live alone. It was double amazing because Jill turned out to be an awesome roommate and is still a dear friend. We used to sing together and just had really good talks. Oh how I miss my Jilly.

My last roommate was Sarah. It was a similar situation as with Jill. I knew Sarah in college, but we were never super close. However, we both happened to be looking for roommates at the same time and randomly found each other. Living with Sarah was almost like living alone, because our schedules were so opposite. There was just enough of that camaraderie to keep things from being too lonely though.

Long story short…roommates are great. I love living alone, but I think in the right place I would enjoy having a roommate again. A bigger place than my current apartment for sure. In fact, if all my former roommates could live in a house together, life would be perfect. Wait…

Or. I could just get married.

Wow, I need sleep.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Will we ever learn?

The past several weeks I have spent a lot of free time watching DVDs of the show "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman." It's becoming a bit of a problem. You see, I'm a bit obsessed, and my apartment is not self-cleaning.

I love this show. I am so fascinated by history, not so much what happened, which is important, but how people lived in the past. We have so much technology and convenience now, I find it hard to imagine living without things like microwaves, cars, and hair straighteners. Where the fastest way to get a message to someone who lives across the country is by telegraph or pony express. And the news in the letter is weeks old by the time it reaches its destination. I can't imagine taking weeks/months long trips because it takes so long to get somewhere, or to say goodbye to someone knowing you may never see or hear from them again.

There is a place in Des Moines called Living History Farms, which is like a playground for someone like me. It takes you through decades of progress, how people lived in many different times. I love walking through the houses and hearing explanations of how people went about day to day living. Seeing how women were able to do the cooking and cleaning (yes, mostly just women, just a fact). Fascinating. Really. (Facebook friends, if you haven't seen my album from LHF, it is here.)

I also love the small town feel of Dr. Quinn. Everyone knows everyone else, and there isn't anything like TV or video games to distract, so they have to create their own entertainment. Dances and picnics are a regular occurrence. Now, I realize this is TV, but still. It's wonderful :)

We have come a long way from the world of Dr. Quinn. In some ways. In other ways, though, I feel as if we still have a long way to go. A constant frustration for me, and for Phyllis, who is borrowing the DVDs from me, is the ignorance. Again, I realize it's a TV show, but my guess is that things were actually much worse than they show. On the show, they want people to have compassion for their characters, so they give them some redeeming qualities and things usually turn out decently. Not so in real life. The way that Native Americans were treated is appalling. What gave anyone the right to come in and take the land? And then shuttle these people, who had lived on the land for hundreds of years, into small tracts of crap land and force them to live like white people. Really? They were called savages, but I think anyone with a brain can figure out where that title actually belongs. The show depicts cruelty and discrimination against Indians, blacks, hispanics, women...basically anyone who is different, or does things differently than expected.

And I don't feel like things have changed that much. How often do we make judgments about people before even talking to them? We see them and decide we know who they are before they have a chance to defend themselves. We think with our eyes, instead of using the wonderful blob in our heads. We assign them attributes based on cultural expectations and our own prejudices. We forget that people are people, no matter what they look like. That person you are avoiding because they're not good-looking enough may be the love of your life, while the person you're devoting your energy to may be the biggest jerk in the world. As much as we use our sight, we are blinded by it.

I don't really have anything else to say on that topic. Well, I have a lot, but I think that's enough. I started another more entertaining blog a few days ago. I'll finish that at some point soon. Right now, I have some more Dr. Quinn to watch. :)