Sunday, July 24, 2005

What makes a Christian marriage unique? How can we, as Christians, be expected to weather lives that those without Jesus are not expected to survive or even respond well to? Is there any difference? Can I really make a difference? Can I really love someone well and permanently? Is that even possible? What really happens when the googly-eyes are gone? What then? Choice? Courage? Do they really exist?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

100 Things About Moi (I of IV)

1. I really like baseball. This is defined by relishing the memory of the Athletics in the 80's and going to Ranger games with my family as a kid. My brother collected the baseball cards, and I organized them. We once counted over 10,000 cards. So, I guess, really, I like to organize, and baseball got in the middle.

2. I witnessed Nolan Ryan's 5000th strikeout from the first baseline at Arlington Stadium. My dad bought me a t-shirt, which I no longer own (dangit!). This may or may not have been the same game that I told God that if Ruben Sierra got a base hit, then that meant I was supposed to marry Rueben Foster (my second grade love). Ruben rounded to third base. All in all, it was a good day for everyone.

3. One of my pet peeves is radio commercials that have cars honking in them. I usually only listen to the radio in the car, and my heart skips a beat, I check my rearview mirror, and I completely lose my train of thought. This irritates me because . . .

4. Most of my brilliant ideas come while I am vacuuming, showering, or waiting in the drive thru at Taco Shop.

5. In second grade, I wanted to invent a typewriter that typed in cursive. Second grade was a big year . . .

6. My first job was as a ride operator at Six Flags over Texas on the Log Ride. I don't think that's the technical name of the ride, but I had called it that since I was a kid. It had always been my favorite.

7. The only time in my life that I have ever enjoyed black coffee was a nine-month stretch last year of opening Starbucks at 5:00 a.m. I was a regular opener, and my tastebuds weren't awake enough to protest. Or maybe there was a lot of lobbying . . . I plead the fifth.

8. I LOVE Roald Dahl. When my mom found out, she began to buy up his entire works at Half-Price Bookstores across the Dallas metroplex. My favorites to this day: The BFG, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, and The Twits. I checked out The Twits at our local library at least half a dozen times. (That was just a very wordy sentence for "I really liked it.")

9. As a kid, I owned about five goldfish, one at a time, and I named three of them Virginia.

10. I wasn't allowed to have pets as a child, except for the Virginias. So I collected porcelain cats. I had a space on top of my dresser reserved for their rompings, and I loved to arrange so they had optimal interaction with one another so they didn't get lonely. (See #11)

11. Jim Henson's "The Christmas Toy" changed my life. I had always been sure that my stuffed and porcelain animals came to life when I left the room, and now I had proof.

12. I love Diet Dr. Pepper, even though it is probably eating through the lining of my entire digestive system. Yum . . .

13. To me, ellipses denote sarcasm &/or humor . . .

14. I intend to quit drinking Diet Dr. Pepper and its cousins when I get to Germany--they're more expensive there, and harder to find--to borrow the immortal words of Tom Petty: "I'm taking the easy way out."

15. The very first non-Christian concert I went to was at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver to see The Allman Brothers. It's been a semi-illustrious five years.

16. After publishing my blog, I read my own post at least three times for editing purposes . . . and to chuckle at my own fine sense of humor.

17. I don't think I look good in yellow, but I love yellow so I wear it anyway.

18. I love mornings, even though I don't often get up to enjoy them when I can.

19. Spiders scare me, and I can't kill them--but only when I'm around someone who is not scared of them (or they're big-ass spiders). If the other person is the wienie, then something clicks and I can squish away.

20. I taught my dream-self how to wake up. I was sick of getting bullied by all the monsters, zombies, and my brother in my dreams and not being able to scream to wake myself up. So one night in my sleep, I just said, "Come on, Suzanne, swallow!" And after I swallowed, I could scream--which, I think really came out more of a mellow "Ungh . . . " but did the trick nonetheless.

21. My Barbies always suffered natural disasters when they were in my care--hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis. You think they would've picked up on their meteorological circumstances and worn more clothing.

22. I'm a hoarder. Hmm. That sounds a little harsh--I'm very sentimental.

23 & 24. My first known super power was being able to see through walls. In first grade, I always raced to be the first one done with bathroom break so I could be at the front of the line. Now, I am naturally competitive and that deserves its own number, but this particular race was so that I could practice seeing through "the wall." The front of the line was a corner in the middle of a dog-leg hallway (there's some golf terminology for ya). And if I leaned out just so, the wall became half-way transparent. I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want to reveal myself just yet--I mean, you just don't know who you can trust, right?

25. My sixth grade science teacher revealed to me that I, in fact, did not have a super power when he had us hold toilet paper tubes next to our hand and un-focus our eyes. Evil villain. I crushed a homemade confetti egg on his head later that year--bet you didn't see that coming, did ya, evil science teacher? Ha.

Last Week of the Firsts

Well, it's finally here . . . my last week of teaching as I've known it. I've been looking forward to it, and now that it's here, I'm just not sure if I'm ready to leave. Today, one of my cute little students gave me this picture from our spring recital and some nice, travel-sized shampoos--because I'm going to be traveling . . . sooo cute.


Part of me wonders if I'm missing them enough. Acclamation to a new student has always seemed to give me butterflies. My very first official lesson with a student (that was not a photo-lab buddy) was in graduate school. The university gave me an assistantship--to this day I'm not sure why they picked me, and I nearly puked before that first lesson. Turns out, the student had perfect pitch and was majoring in violin--sure, no pressure.

It has gotten better since then, but I still get those same jitters during the first couple lessons with new students. I want to be able to give them my best and let's be honest . . . I want them to like me, too. Did you learn much from teachers you didn't like?

There were four semesters of private lessons and two semesters of teaching group lessons. It was nice sharing a studio (a.k.a. glorified practice room) with another teacher--both of whom are still good friends. Chris went on to get his doctorate at University of Oklahoma and Paula is currently working on hers at UMKC.

It was in the middle of a conversation with Chris that I first really experienced a decent spiritual/musical discussion. My faith could be a vital part of my academia--in fact, it was whether I chose to see it or not. And there have been many "moments" sitting next to the bench in which my mini-lecture on shaping a phrase or the discipline of practicing has alluded to more than just musical reality.

There have been little epiphanies of "my goodness, what a wonderful teacher I am!" and "my goodness, what a terrible teacher I am!" But I would say that overall, I think teaching is one of the gifts God has given me, and if I had not taken that assistantship and my current teaching position, I may not know it yet.

So I'm going to miss these guys. I have learned so much from them. It feels a little bit like moving away from a first crush or a first home. They were first. And they always will be.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Bloggers, Culottes, and Comp

I'm in Cincinnati this weekend visiting my friends Robert and Bobbie. If I were explaining that last sentence to you in person, it would probably come out, "I'm going to see Bobert and Robbie.. uh, I mean..." When he picked me up from the airport, Robert suggested that I reverse the order and say 'Bobbie and Robert.' You're right, Robert, it is easier to say--and type--but I might just have to revert to 'the Bobs.' Being friends with us single people is easy--only one name to remember and repeat. Couples become more complicated... more consonants to deal with. I think my couple friends owe it to me to shorten and/or combine their names. Wouldn't that be supported by Scriptural cleaving and such? So thanks, Bobs, for a so-far delightful stay in Cincinnati. I'll have to introduce you to my friends Dugh sometime... or maybe Driz.

Today is a very exciting day. Not only are Chactory and The H-ood Prince commercially available, but I got to meet my fellow blogger Rachel. I've probably been reading her blog since April or May. I'm really not sure--time seems to pass so quickly in cyberspace. On the way to the Starbucks we were meeting at, I think I was actually nervous. I've gotten to know old friends like Myl-vin even better through their blogs, but this was kind of the opposite--I was about to meet a person for the first time that I thought I felt close to already. Is this what internet dating feels like, Amy, er... Damy?

But there was no reason to be nervous--she's really cool. And she bought my latte. Our conversation came so easily, and my world got a little bit smaller. We went to rivaling TCA's in the Dallas area, and she laughed, "Oh, you were one of those cheerleaders [with the knee-length culottes at basketball games]." It turns out her husband Jared is an MK and went to an international school in Asia very similar to Black Forest Academy, where I will be investing the next two years of my life, and I think that's cool.

She's a full three inches taller than me, and I must say I am very jealous. She's 100% Dutch, and she doesn't like to agonize over big decisions. (I'm not sure those two things are related, though.) Her dad's rule of thumb--God's calling equals ability plus opportunity plus desire. We both think the desire part is very important but highly underestimated by many in the Christian community.

Rachel, it was very nice to meet you, too, on this rainy day in Ohio. Thanks for noticing my bat tattoo and knowing it was because of my Batman fetish. I'm very excited about your TA position--I really do think you're going to be a great teacher. And I would sign up for your English Comp class if it weren't for the fact that I'm leaving the country and you'd have to read my writing on a regular basis . . . um, wait . . .

I promise to resume the Barbie saga if you'll let me call you Jachel . . . or Rared? And now that we know we have the ability and the desire to be friends, I guess we'll just have to wait for the opportunity.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

You Did What? Part Two

Allright, so this second installment might be a little anticlimactic--that's okay. That's exactly what I'm going for.

Quick review--I had just attempted to embarrass my brother by standing on my chair and introducing him to the whole restaurant, and in the attempt successfully embarrassed myself and the rest of my family. (Serge has since added me to his 'friends list.' Maybe I should try to embarrass my friends and family more often.) So after our delightful lunch at a Chili's that will have to wait a nice even month before my return, Amy and my sister and I met up with my friend Bambi. Yes, this is the Jack that we all know and love. She's been one of my best friends since college. We grew up in almost the same neighborhood in Flower Mound, Texas, and it took going to a small baptist university in Arkansas to meet.

We stopped at the Grapevine Mills Outlet Mall and Blockbuster and headed home to watch Hitch and sleep soundly. Everyone was changing into their pjs before we started the movie--I had washed my face, and Bambi was sitting on the stairs talking on her cell phone.

Now, it was really hot last weekend in Texas. Really hot. When Myles came up from Waco this week to visit, he kept talking about how nice it was--it was still in the 90's here in Kansas, and it is still humid, but Texas is a freakin sauna right now.

So I'm really hot after washing my face, right? Right. My face is nice and cool, but the rest of me is ready for a slip and slide across the atrium's marble tile floor. "Hey, Bambi, are you hot?" I walked toward her on the stairs and then I remembered that she was on the phone. She nodded and pointed toward the keypad next to the door.

"Oh, okay," and I walked toward the keypad. "Hmm... here's the plus sign, where's the minus sign? Maybe if I hit the plus sign, it'll show a minus sign on the screen..."


is it hot in here, or is it just me?

The whole house was echoing BEEP, YOU STUPID IDIOT, BEEP, FREAKIN BEEP!! Bambi came over to the pad and started hitting buttons.


Wait a second... that's not the thermostat... that's the alarm system! And that's not the change temperature button... that's the medical alert button! Ah, crap, did we hit the fire department button, too?

"Don't you know the code?" I asked Bambi.

"No, Suzanne, I don't know the code." She was trying really hard not to punch me. Oh yeah, did I mention that we were staying at the house that she was housesitting... and they wouldn't be home for a week... and that she couldn't get ahold of them because they were at a lake house and their cell phone was out of their coverage area? Yeah.

After looking frantically for a code written anywhere in the house and getting hung up on by the Brinks people twice and having two firetrucks and one medical alert truck full of at least fifteen emergency workers show up lights flashing and sirens blaring in that quiet neighborhood at 11 p.m. ... it was quite humiliating.

um, it wasn't this guy

Fifty-five minutes later, while the BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! WHURRRRP! WHURRRRP! is still blaring and our nerves are smoking cigarettes, two police chiefs are still inside the doorway waiting for Brinks to call them back with a code. "So how exactly did the alarm get set then?" the second in command asked Bambi. "Um, she thought it was the air conditioner."

They just kinda stared at me with that grimace that seems to size you up and say, "Yeah, I can see that. I think I knew it was her when I walked through the door. There's no way she's got a masters degree in anything."

I wanted to shout, "I'm not an idiot! Ok, maybe I am, but I didn't want you to find out!" Instead, I asked, "You guys seen Ladder 49?"

They didn't think it was funny.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

You Did What? Part One

Eh-hem, so yesterday, I mean Sunday, was one of the more beautifully embarrassing days of my life. Unlike Bobbie's and Natalie's stories, however, (which were bee-utiful!!) half of my embarrassing day was on purpose.

maybe not as embarrassing as being these guys...

Amy and I roadtripped to my parents' bed and breakfast for the fourth of July weekend. We were going to go to the Grand Canyon, but we decided we were both too broke for that--that may have been a cover-up, though, for not having made reservations for the most well-travelled weekend of the year. Are there two l's in travelled? or is it traveled? I'm too lazy to look it up. So we got some good time in with my family. Yea! A couple of free meals and a free cozy room! It was nice.

My brothers Dimitri and Serge were in rare form. Serge has officially given me permission now to spell his name "Serge" instead of "Surge" (his self-proclaimed & self-spelled nickname) like the caffeinated beverage, so I'm taking full advantage. His real name is Sergei, but that's just too Russian for him. He's also threatened to name his children Dew and Pepper.

Well, my dad took all seven of us out for lunch at Chili's on Sunday after the other guests at the inn had left. The restaurant was packed. My sister Tat, Amy, and I entertained ourselves by watching Dimitri and Serge check out the cute hostesses. Teenage boys are so funny--mostly because they take themselves so seriously.

The boys argued for a good part of the meal--mostly about what Serge was and was not capable of. "Man, I just don't get embarrassed," he said with his arms bent up from the elbows, his shoulders shrugged, and his head shaking slightly back and forth--one could have mistaken him for having a tic. "No one can embarrass me."

"Is that right?" I asked. "No one?"

"Nope. No one. Whatchu got?"

I stared at him. Silent.

"You think you can embarrass me? Uh-uh."

A grin slowly spread across my face.

"I know what you're going to do, you're going to tell that story about..."

My chair scooted back from the table, and my hands reached for my drink. Next thing I knew, my feet were in my chair, and I was rapping on my plastic mug with my fork.

"Attention, Chili's! Can I have your attention please!"

A young hipster in a booth opposite us glanced over in mid-conversation with his cute girlfriend. A waitress with a full tray of food on her shoulder and a tray jack in the other hand eyed me and slowed down on her way to the next table. Our blonde waiter was headed toward our table with refills on tea and stopped in his tracks. There was still some chatter on the other side of the partition, but it was definitely getting quieter.

"Yes, thank you! I have an announcement to make! This is my brother Serge, he's 17 and he just had his first date with a girl last night!" There were a few oohs and aahs. Ok, maybe that was just in my head. I didn't freakin make crowd cards or anything.

"And he also says he can't be embarrassed, so if you could all help me by giving him a nice, big round of applause!..." The hipster and waitress broke out into applause with the rest of the restaurant as Serge stood up to receive it with a bow. I sat back down, and my heart was pounding out of my chest. I looked around the table to find blank, blinking stares.

When Dimitri came back to his seat (he had apparently left the table as soon as he saw his sister climbing toward the tabletop), Serge started again, "That didn't embarrass me!"

"Excuse me!" A woman from the table behind us was leaning in toward Serge. "You mentioned he had just had his first date with a girl... how many dates has he had with boys?"

"Ha-ha-ha-ha!" my dad belly-laughed, and my mom said, "Oh, that was a good one!" Serge just sat shaking his head and fighting to keep his cheeks a nice tan color instead of the rosy one that was creeping in. "I'll get you back for this," he said, "but I'm not embarrassed!"

"That was a good one, though, wasn't it?" I asked.

"Yeah, that was pretty cool."

Monday, July 04, 2005

Yesterday was one of the more beautifully embarrassing days of my life.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The E-burfing Challenge!

Ok, so it's been a slow day...

Do you ever type in random words or phrases into Ebay's search engine when you're feeling bored or blue? Today I went through "super cool neat," "super cool great," and "oh my gosh." Look where "oh my gosh" got me, oh my gosh!

Let's see who can beat that one, shall we? I promise to subjectively choose a winner by July 8. The winner will be sent (yes, by snail mail) a hand-picked gem from my garage sale adventures.

Happy E-burfing!! (Ebay-surfing)

Free Cameron!!

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