Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Because my old one is woefully out of date. Because my ability to pee in the woods is no longer quite so important in my life.

100 Things About Me

1. I live in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago, IL.
2. My church and my new best friend are only a few blocks away. My job is only 5 miles away and I can get there on the El.
3. I haven’t lived in this kind of geographic community since I was in college 8 years ago.
4. I’m 29 years old.
5. I have recently had lunch with a couple of daughters of men that I work with. It feels like not too very long ago that friends and colleagues of my father were having lunch with me as a favor to him.
6. I’m worried this means that I’m grown up now.
7. I’m worried that being grown up means that I need to know what I’m going to do with my life now. Is being a fireman still an option?
8. I’m going to grad school in the fall because I want to know more about urban community development and education. I’m going to the University of Chicago because I want to know really complex things that I can’t figure out just by reading books on my own.
9. I’ll have a Master’s Degree in Public Policy when I’m done after two years.
10. I get asked a lot, “What kind of job will you get with that degree?”
11. I don’t know.
12. I keep being drawn to the stories of people that live radical lives of simplicity and loving their neighbors. Their stories just resonate as right, like the sweet harmonies of the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack.
13. However, my skill sets don’t seem suited to living that life successfully. I’m afraid I won’t be very good at it and so my story would not ultimately sound like I want it to. I might end up dissonant.
14. This is why Shane Claiborne is my nemesis.
15. I’ve been reading a lot of Christian books lately. Blue Like Jazz. Plan B. Renewing the City. Walking With The Poor. Irresistible Revolution. Let Justice Roll Down. Velvet Elvis. Reconciliation Blues. Geez Magazine. Sex God.
16. This is unusual for me.
17. I think I’m starting to forgive other Christians for being such assholes.
18. I have read a book called The Spirituality of Imperfection and I won’t claim that it changed my life with a shaft of heavenly light and angel choruses. However, in combination with conversations with people who truly believe that they are broken and need help from God and other people, I’ve found a new peace with my broken self and my place in the world.
19. I have spent a lot of time with people in Alcoholics Anonymous since moving to Chicago. They're pretty cool. I think Christians should behave more like recovering alcoholics.
20. I moved to Chicago a year and a half ago from Orcas Island.
21. I had a tough time with the transition from a world of trees, mountains, ocean, dolphins, eagles, hippies, artists, and organic farmers to a world of dirty snow, garbage, traffic, skyscrapers, panhandlers, and catcallers.
22. I'm mostly OK with it now.
23. I moved back to Chicago because I didn't like only seeing my family twice a year. They would call me on Sunday afternoons and they'd all be at my parents' house having fun without me. Now that I think about it, once I moved back, they stopped getting together on Sunday afternoons.
24. If just one brother had moved to Seattle, I could have stayed on the island.
25. I have three brothers: Paul, David and Daniel.
26. I fit in between David and Daniel.
27. I'm the only girl.
28. That's right. I'm the princess.
29. I live with my brother Daniel.
30. We're partners against the world. We always have been. It makes it very easy to be roommates.
31. We watch a lot of wrestling at our apartment. Daniel pays the extra money to get the WWE 24/7 On Demand channel so he feels like he needs to get his money's worth.
32. My favorite wrestlers are C.M. Punk (His only addiction is competition) and Matt Striker, a former New York public school teacher who wears sweater vests and tiny little matching panties. Sometimes, he wears pleated khaki pants, just like every social studies teacher/coach you ever had. He's an excellent heel.
33. My mother thinks we're losing brain cells quickly over here.
34. In the rest of my spare time, I am a dilettante of crafts, a jill of all trades, as it were. I do a lot of different things to a very shallow degree. So, I knit, but only hats. I make jewelry, but nothing complicated. I quilt, but only using squares of fabric. I also have some other, more eclectic crafts that I make when the mood strikes me like little wire-wrapped dolls with handmade clothing and snow-globes. I've found that life is a little better if I'm making odd and whimsical things in my spare time.
35. On my best days, I consider myself a compilation artist.
36. But what I really like to do is read books.
37. I would prefer to read books rather than just about anything.
38. This includes cooking. I have four bachelor meals that I make on a regular basis: eggs on mayonnaise toast, frozen pizza, macaroni and cheese with peas please and tuna fish salad on toast. Everything else is either take-out or leftovers. That gives me time to read more books.
39. For a long time, I read mostly science fiction and fantasy books.
40. I intend to name my first-born son Isaac in honor of my favorite author, Isaac Asimov.
41. I wrote my undergrad senior thesis on science fiction and post-modernism, using The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy as my main illustrative text.
42. I got an A- from Dr. O'Gorman, the toughest grader on campus. She told me science fiction wasn't real literature at the beginning of the semester.
43. I still enjoy a good near-future, post-apocalyptic speculative fiction novel, but my fervor seems to have tapered off in the last several years.
44. I read a lot more literature lately (I just read The Invisible Man for the first time), as well as the aforementioned Christian books.
45. I attend River City Community Church. It is the last place on Earth I expected to be going to church. It's full of The Beautiful People. Everyone is young and we sing Contemporary Christian Music a lot of the time. But God says I'm supposed to be there (it's a long story) and I'm actually pretty excited to be a part of something very different. The church is only three years old and still very small. It has three pillars that are important: worship, reconciliation and community development. The reconciliation part is really difficult but makes my life experience feel a little more authentic. The community development aspect is completely in line with my intellectual interests (see #8). Plus, the sermons are phenomenal. I've also met some people that aren't assholes.
46. What I want out of life is to be surrounded by people that are willing to look me in the eyes and trust me enough with their feelings to speak the truth to me, even if they think I'm not going to like it.
47. I'm starting to find some of those people here in Chicago in this season of my life.
48. I'm starting to worry about moving to Hyde Park in the fall because it will be a whole new season in my life and I'm only just beginning to like this one.
49. My best friend from college might move to Hyde Park with me. She lives in the Quad Cities now but once she has her teaching certificate, she might want to teach urban kids. She'll be good at that.
50. I used to teach urban kids.
51. I loved it but the school administration burned me out and I had to go teach suburban kids for a while. Their parents burned me out and so I went to go live on an island for a little while.
52. I can't shake the feeling that I'm supposed to teach urban kids again sometime. Luckily, once you free yourself from the idea that tenure is a good goal and that you'll live off a civil servant's pension in your old age, you can go back and teach whenever you want.
53. Currently, I work for one of the largest para-church organizations in the country.
54. I had to sign a statement saying that I believed that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior in order to work there. That made me a little itchy but since it's true, I sucked it up and signed.
55. I run a teacher resource center that gets companies to donate office supplies to me so that I can give them to Chicago schoolteachers for free.
56. I also run a program that helps churches, rehab centers, neighborhood organizations and after school programs with personal care products that have been donated.
57. I was hired to build capacity in both of these programs and although some days I don't feel very productive, overall I feel like I'm doing a good job. Sometimes, I feel like I do a great job.
58. That's a good thing because basically, I work for Jesus. He can see when I'm surfing the internet instead of writing proposals.
59. I'm usually surfing urban community development blogs, which could legitimately be considered research.
60. I've had this blog for about 2 and a half years.
61. I think I've got about 12 readers.
62. My dad is my biggest fan. Hi Dad!
63. My dad also works in urban community development. I get to talk to him almost every day and Jesus doesn't even mind because it's about business. I think that's pretty cool.
64. I believe that Jesus died to forgive everyone's sin. I don't believe that he died just to save the people that acknowledge what he did. I think everyone's sin is forgiven and that everyone is going to heaven eventually.
65. I think that the reason we should try to do what God tells us to do now shouldn't be because we fear hell but because heaven is something we can experience sooner if we align ourselves with God's idea of what a good life is.
66. I get a lot of flak for these beliefs.
67. I can take it.
68. The tricky part for me is loving everyone. I want to do it because Jesus is a pretty good role model. It's hard because I don't actually like most people. They're often boring or annoying. Usually, I think that's because they remind me of parts of myself that I don't like.
69. I'm working on it, though.
70. I wish I prayed more. I think loving people would be easier if I prayed more.
71. I don't beat myself up over it, though. I accept my broken nature for what it is and just keep putting one foot in front of the other whenever I can.
72. Usually, that's what I do. Sometimes, I beat myself up over it. But then, the cycle of self-forgiveness begins again. It's a weird touchy-feeling oubouros.
73. Baking cookies is one of my top five skills.
74. Reading, interacting with teenagers, and analyzing communication for effectiveness are three of the others.
75. You'll have to know me a lot better before I tell you the last of my top five skills. Trust me, it's a good one.
76. I tend to like pop culture that gets cult followings without actually becoming part of that cult following. For instance, you won't find many people who appreciate Joss Whedon's TV work more than I do. However, you will find people that have memorized more dialogue and been to more conventions than I have. Other examples include the Star Wars universe, the movie Labyrinth, Neal Stephenson and the Muppets.
77. Pepe the King Prawn is my favorite Muppet. My favorite old-school Muppet is Rolf the Dog.
78. I'm not currently dating anyone.
79. I'm relationship-bored but I'm being very deliberate not to chase anyone down just because life has a little more verve when it's got a romance in it. I'm waiting until it's something worth my time and energy.
80. I'm not friends with any of my ex-boyfriends.
81. I'm really uncomfortable with that but it is out of my control. So, I try to accept the situation for what it is and just keep putting one foot in front of the other whenever I can.
82. The only piece of wisdom that I have actually earned for myself is that friendships are ephemeral. In different seasons of our lives, we have different friends. All of the other wisdom that I have has been learned from books. Universal truths! Woohoo!
83. I remember coming home from pre-school and saying to my mother, "Yesterday Carrie said she wanted to play with me but today she said she didn't want to be my friend anymore. Why?" I was three years old. I remember that my mother explained how some girls were just like that and I shouldn't take it personally.
84. I am still friends with Carrie. I'm having dinner with her, her husband and her toddler in a couple of weeks. She can claim most of the credit for our continuing relationship. How's that for irony?
85. Recently, I began spending time with my best friend from high school after living separate lives for the last 10 years or so. She lives in the city and we meet downtown to go to museums and free concerts in Millennium Park. She brings her toddler and we have a good time.
86. I have a best friend for this season, too. We met at a church party a year ago when I heard her say, "I have come to the decision that my personality does not mix well in large groups." It was just the kind of slightly awkward, totally wordy thing that I would say and when she began asking me a lot of slightly intrusive questions with an utterly charming sincerity later in the evening, I let down my defenses a little to talk to her. We communicate in some way every day.
87. That brings the total to four once you include my friend Erika, who cannot be linked to any particular season. I feel fairly flabbergasted to have four best friends in my life all at the same time. I used to believe that I would not ever have one. When I was in the 6th grade, I gave one of those charms that were hearts that you can break in half to say "be fri" and "st end" to a girl and she said she probably wouldn't wear.
88. I absolutely refuse to rank these friends in any sort of a hierarchical way. I simply enjoy them.
89. I like living in the city because of my ability to participate in all sorts of culture, like museums and free concerts in Millennium Park.
90. Sometimes, I usher at theaters so that I can see the shows for free. It's the best racket in town.
91. I also lucky enough to have a friend that works for the Lyric Opera, so sometimes I can get free tickets there, too. The last one I went to see was a stinker, though. If someone offers you tickets to the Dialogues of the Carmelites (except the title is in French), spend the evening washing your hair. You'll thank me later.
92. The most recent cultural event that I have discovered is fiction readings, which I like much better than poetry readings. It's basically just story-telling. Who doesn't like to be told a story? Plus, they are often in bars and bars have gin and tonics. What could be bad about that?
93. I wear a black hood that my brother David gave me almost every day of the week.
94. I try to acquire my clothing at thrift stores because the idea of sweatshops gives me the willies. It's not very loving to make people work 16 hour days in hellish conditions just so I can have cheap clothes.
95. I totally recognize that this is my personal issue and never want to push it on anyone else. God gave us all the gift of intelligence and it is disrespectful of me not to let other people go through their own discovery process regarding what is important to them because I had the freedom to go through my own discovery process.
96. I can hear both the El and the bus from my apartment windows. Both talk. They're not very good conversationalists, though.
97. Sometimes, I practice yoga. I prefer Iyengar. Lately, though, I haven't made any time for it.
98. I'm taking Calculus as a pre-req for my grad program and it takes up a lot of my time. It's also a lot like running alongside a horse with the intention of jumping on at some point. Right now, I'm just trying to keep a hand on the reins so that it doesn't get away from me.
99. I haven't sat in a math class in 12 years. The calculus isn't the problem; the algebra is.
100. I am glad that it is finally getting warmer. Now I don't have to walk around all day saying, "hatehatehate" in my head.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

funny! you are funny!