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Day 730

This past weekend, Dave and I decorated our apartment and our plastic 3-foot Charlie Brown Christmas tree.





And two years ago today, I wore white, he wore a tux, and we said, "I do."
Happy anniversary, Dave.

The Problem of Evil

A few weeks ago, I sat up late with my landlady talking and drinking cheap moscato wine. Our two-hour conversation strayed all over, from stories about her Chilean upbringing to the story of how I met Dave. Halfway into our second glass, God and Evil wandered into the conversation.

She gestured with her wine glass toward the windowed walls, admitting that because of Nature's beauty she believes in God, but she has a problem with all the evil happenings in this world. She reached up with both hands and repositioned her glasses, and looking at me over the rims she told me story after story of the things she has seen: a single mother dying of cancer and living alone with her mentally handicapped son, friends' daughters raped, people shot. "How can I believe in a good God?" she asked, words slanted with her Chilean accent.

Every time this kind of question comes up in conversation I have the same answer. I swallowed a sweet mouthful and replied, "It's the cost of f…

Manna

I sometimes hate the linearity of life.

Some days I am irritated that I can only be in one place at a time, and how long it takes to get from one place to another. This usually happens when I'm hungry but the meatloaf still needs 40 minutes to cook, or I'm speeding down Henderson and running late to work. Do you know how much of my day is spent sleeping and eating and cleaning and traveling? When there is much to be done, having to stop for a sandwich or a nap is grumblesome.

The interstices of life are strange, though. They seem to be built for developing relationships. Road trips to vacation destinations are often crazy glue for relationships. Some of my best conversations with Dave happen on the drive to Home Depot...or Lowe's...or Harbor Freight...or Ace Hardware. We share meals with people when we have to stop and replenish. Most of us share our bedroom, our kitchen, and our home with at least one other person.

But sometimes the thought of all that time maintaining our b…
The past five months has had some, well, huge changes to say the least.

This is (roughly) my old schedule before June:

25 hours of work + 15 hours of school + 5 hours of homework + 10 hours of church meetings + 8 hours of weekly hangouts + 3 hours of Arts Group

= 66 hours of scheduled activity

On June 13th, Dave and I graduated from college. He returned to OSU for graduate school in the fall; I, however, maintain the part time job at the lawyers' office.

And 2 weeks ago, after many months of deliberation, Dave and I made the decision to leave the church I've called home since July of 2005. Dave has been here even longer - since 2003. He was the one who first brought me when we started dating in June of 2005, and I had been coming ever since.

My new schedule:

25 hours of work + 3 hours of Arts Group + 2 hours of (a) weekly hangout

= 30 hours of activity

Day 584

Dave drove me to work a few mornings ago.I was ready to go ten minutes before we had to leave, so Dave asked me to run downstairs and retrieve the load in the dryer. I came up with an armful of an outfit he had washed in a rush after he spilled black oil down his left pantleg. I relocked the basement door and came upstairs; he only wanted the jeans.Dave works in a machine shop that uses machines like this lathe.
Working with metal in this capacity has the same perils of wood-working - sawdust and wood chips - except that the chips are metal instead of wood.

So as Dave shoved on his pants, he grumbled, "I hate wearing shorts to work. I always get metal chips in my shoes."

"Well, that's no good," I replied.

"Yesterday one fell down the back of my pants."

I began to laugh. "That's terrible!" I exclaimed.

"Yes, yes it is," he said as he tightened his belt.

Adaptation

This is Claire and her soon-to-be-husband Alan. Claire is one of my best friends and was my maid of honor. Her wedding is four days from today.
And for the last several months I've been convinced that her wedding day will mark the end of our friendship.
No, really. My paranoia is totally reasonable. Let me explain.
The year before Dave and I got married, two of my best friends got engaged. One was my roommate, one was a friend from high school. I was convinced I'd be a bridesmaid in both of their weddings. And the following June, I sat in the audience for both of those weddings. Since they've been married, I had some tea with my roommate, I had lunch with my high school friend, and I haven't spent time with either of them since.
That June was a difficult month for me. I phoned Claire bawling, asking between sobs, "Am I a bad friend? It *hic* must be something wrong *hic* with meeee!" She tenderly assured me that I am a good friend.
2 years later, Claire is, as of…

Post-graduation

Dave and I graduated from college 8 days ago. In this picture, my scarlet journalism tassel is resting against my cheek; Dave's bright-orange engineering tassel is half-hidden under his left wrist, still attached to his quickly-doffed square cap.

Graduation brings the question of "What next?" During the preceding weeks and the following days, the question I've been asked most is, "What are you going to do now?" I tell the Asker that I have a good part-time job in a law office which pays the bills and provides health insurance, so I'll be there for the forseeable future and attempt freelancing in the mornings. The Asker gives a typically bland response, such as, "Well, that sounds good!" and the topic is laid to rest. Meanwhile, I'm fumbling in my purse for an antacid because this scripted conversation always gives me heartburn.

Three weeks ago, I got coffee on a Saturday morning with my dancer friend, Katie. On the whim of caffeination, we …

Pre-graduation

Friday afternoon I left the law office on my bike with a graduation card in my purse. I was accompanied by a heavy summer thunderstorm. Biking along the river and under bridges gushing runoffs from the streets felt like being on an amusement park water ride. But I had to go no matter what - I had my university graduation rehearsal to attend.
All ten thousand of the 2010 graduates were emailed and instructed to gather at French Field House (across the street from the stadium) at 1 p.m. Around 12:30 I locked up my bike and waddled wetly into the open garage door of the indoor track field. I wrung rain water from my french braid as it dripped from the cuffs of my jean capris. A few hundred people had begun to gather by the frail 8-foot-tall markers denoting fields of study.
After some confusion with where my fellow journalism majors were (College of Behavioral and Social Sciences) and what color my tassel needed to be (maroon), I spent the next hour swathed in hangover-breath while eavesdr…

Lady

This is my younger sister, Natalie.
This year she is a junior in high school. And a couple weeks ago she went to her first prom with her brand-new boyfriend.
Do you know what prom means? For the male readers who don't, it means shopping. In packs. Gaggles of girls flitting through frothy racks in department stores, fingering the sharp edges and bright sparkles of jewelry specially selected to match the perfect dress. And oh, the opinions. That's what the pack is there for - the opinions. Too big, too shiny, doesn't fit, I'll get a bigger size, puke green is definitely not a flattering color, you're right you're usually a size 4 but I'll go get the size 16 just in case.
My mother and I had the privilege of being that gaggle and going shopping with my sister. My soccer-playing softball-shortstop sister. Picture that surly face churning upfield and wearing muddied shin guards; now put her in the "prom" department at Nordstrom's. Let's just say, …

Why Haven't I Been Writing?

Several reasons.

First:

I've become an obsessive drafter. I have many ideas at various levels of conception in my blog cache, and I've only satisfactorily completed and published a fraction of them.

Second:

Graduating from college has snuck up on me, and it has included things like exit counseling for loans and repayment plans and figuring out how to take care of health insurance. It's a bunch of strangely adult and dead-dry boring tasks.

Third:

The past three weeks in particular have been devoted to a new writing project, something I'm hoping to put up here in chunks as it matures.

When my grandmother began dying May 10th, I immediately began to take careful notes. She passed away the following Sunday, and I continued to take notes until long after my family privately wept over her urn that Friday.

The project will be book-sized, and it will be an attempt to photograph my Dad's side of the family in that two week period.

There are three motivations to this project:

1) To be…

On The Bus

I have ridden the bus almost every weekday for the past four years.

I first moved out the fall of 2006 into a house 7 blocks from High Street. I would get up early, pack my bookbag for the average 15-hour absence, and plod downhill on Arcadia, past the football field and the high school, and the park area at the corner where the homeless people and drug users would sit on slatted benches and catcall at me. My cheerful rebuffs, and the nearby busy street, were always defense enough.

Rain, snow, and high humidity I would cross the street when the sign flashed into a little white man. Sometimes I'd jaywalk, bag thumping from my sprint, if the bus came rolling up too soon. I've always lived on the east side of High Street, and the northbound bus for my morning commute has, obviously, always been on the west side. There've been days I've watched my bus pass by less than 20 feet away just because I was on the wrong side of the street. Infuriating.


In 2006, I would drop six quar…

Perspicacity

I'm generally comfortable in my own skin and satisfied to be myself.


But if there's one thing I don't have, and am morose to be without, it's discernment. Dictionary.com describes it as "acuteness of judgment and understanding". Some of its synonyms are "shrewd" and "astute". My favorite synonym is "perspicacity".


Solomon asked for discernment when God came to him in a dream and offered him anything he wanted. Proverbs can't stop yapping about those who are discerning (here, here, here and then some). A man of discernment is considered knowledgable and wise.

I have some friends that are perspicacious. I want to be a perspicacious person. And I am not. I wish that weren't the case, but that's just the fact of the matter.


One of my dear friends has been going through some difficulties in her life over the past few months. The problems are all knotted up and intertwined, the strands gummed together and fraying, almost imposs…

Tychicus

My hamster is dead.

Two days ago I skipped class to do some badly-needed cleaning around the house, starting with the turd-sprinkled hamster cage. Strangely, I'd come to enjoy the process of cleaning his cage, of improving the life of the creature I love. After removing the black mesh top and engaging in the perfunctory chase, beneath the water bottle and through the cardboard tunnel and behind the plastic green wheel, I scooped up my wriggling pet and stuffed him into his little plastic running ball. He kept running into my feet and legs as I removed the elements of his cage and scooped out his shavings with the leaf of a cardboard box. I giggled as he rammed into my calf again, and with my phone I videotaped him as he hurtled around the room. I was playing a Paul Simon cd that my stepfather bought me for Christmas and sang "Love Me Like A Rock" to him as he careened around the apartment.

He'd been warming up to his plastic ball more and more. At first he would get pi…

Due Date

My girlfriends like to bother me about when Dave and I will have a baby. Their eyes light up at the thought of having a small wriggling creature to play with...and the ability to give it back to me when that creature diarheeas down both chubby thighs.

So for anyone wondering when that blessed event will even begin to be a possibility, here's a checklist of things to look for:

1) 2 college degrees hanging in frames on the wall. Emphasis on framed, not just received. Just because the tassel's on the other side of the hat does not mean we are suddenly in a hurry.

2) A diminishment in my present glee every time I refill my Ocella prescription.

3) A time when our sink spends more time clean and empty than as a neon-moldy scientific experiment.

4) A clear floor, when we would no longer have to hike over the hills and dales of laundry baskets and bookbags. At this point, we'd have to stack the crib on top of the hamster cage.

5) A trip to the grocery store that isn't determined by …

Lessons From My First 4 Articles

The past 4 weeks of my life have been non-stop chaos since I started working for Ohio State's student newspaper, The Lantern. Not just because I work for The Lantern (a privilege I pay Ohio State for), but because I also work 17 hours a week, have two other classes plus homework, 3 church meetings a week, a home to care for (which is looking distinctly neglected), a husband to love, and this apparently insignificant thing called a social life. I have been crying, ranting, angry, and clawing to keep my head above water, but I think I'm finally catching the quick stride.

In all the madness, I've learned I LOVE the process of writing articles, every single thing about it. I love researching and drafting the questions to ask, having an excuse to talk to such interesting people, the delight of scribbling down very real and beautiful quotes, and the process of assembling it all into an article. It is the most wonderful combination of humanity and the art of writing.

Here are 8 thi…

lasting work

At the lawyer's office, sometimes my work, sometimes hours of work, comes back to me with the request that I recycle what I so painstakingly organized with tabs and numbers and papercuts.

I don't care about title commitments. But I am sad when my work just ends up being dumped into a trash bag in the end. It may not be important or interesting work, but I have a desire for my work to last, to matter.

Writing has that potential. But someday my work will really last. I will no longer be beating the air "shadowboxing" as Paul says it. I'll see what gets burned up and what remains/lasts.

Thanksgiving: Part Three - POSTPONED

Sorry about the delay, folks.

Due to technical difficulties, it might be a while until this third Thanksgiving entry is posted. I would like to do it justice, because it's a good story, but I don't want to sit on my hands until the kinks get worked out.

I will let you know when Part Three is perfected and posted. Until then, I'm going to plow ahead with other entries.

Thanks for your patience, all.

Cheers,
--Heath

Thanksgiving: Part Two

Dave and I padded down the seven cream-carpeted stairs and joined the rest of the grandchildren around the TV. My brother and cousin Jake had eyes riveted to the screen, elbows extended, thumbs a blur: the Boyer competition had already been aroused in a James Bond video game. My 17-year-old sister lay sleeping on the pale yellow-and-blue striped couch, long brown hair concealing her face and the shoulders of her wine-red cowl neck sweater. My youngest cousin, Libby, was abosrbed in the smaller screen of her pink and heavily-stickered PSP. This down here was our sanctuary before dinner, we 6 of the 9 grandchildren, when you count Dave. Unfortunately, I knew I couldn't hide for long in the basement. As the now-married oldest granddaughter, I had fallen in a gap where I was no longer a child but not quite an adult. But it still meant that I had to go upstairs.
It was a pleasant surprise to find the kitchen a well-oiled machine, my father videotaping as my uncle and father shuffled a s…