Dec 19, 2008

update V: good news!

Today has been another wonderfully calm and quiet day with steady progress. Isaac continues to breathe with the tube, but the respiratory therapist said that he is doing most of the work on his own. He is waking more, although today he is sleeping very well in between rousing. We can all only imagine how tired he must be from willing his body to make it through the events of the last two weeks. Today they took him off of the sedatives, so he is down to nutrients, antibiotics and pain medicine. His body is performing all other functions on its own. Now he is able to get some much needed rest as his body heals.

Tomorrow they plan to wean him off the IV pain medicine, and try to focus on his breathing so that he can be off the tube and breathing on his own. His swelling is down dramatically and he looks like Isaac again. Even his coloring looks healthy.

Thank you all so much for your prayers. Lizzy's told me several times how deeply they've felt them. It is so good to come together and lift each other up to the Lord, in the good times as well as the bad.

Thank you friends. Love you so.

Dec 16, 2008

update IV

Isaac is going to have surgery today to finish some repairs that needed to be done which could not be done when he was unstable. Today his Blood pressure is stable and his heart rate is still a little irregular but mostly stable. He is only on one medication to maintain his blood pressure normal. His blood count is up but his platelets (used for clotting blood) are slightly down. He is still on the respirator.

He opened his eyes today when Bebe [Isaac's niece, I think] was singing to him. Praise the Lord.

God has done so many miracles over the past week! Thank you all so much for your continued prayer!

Dec 15, 2008

update III

The following was posted by Drea Canales, Lizzy's sister-in-law, on a website they've created for Isaac:

_______________________________
Good Morning!
Praise Report:
1. Papa made it through day 1 after 2nd surgery
2. His kidney's have started working quicker than expected.
3. His blood pressure is staying normal with less medicines.
4. Heart rate lower and body temperature is normal without heating blanket.
5. When the nurse tilted him to the side some fluids were released that were building up.
6. His blood count is stable/ bleeding stopped.
7. Papa is responding to stimulation although heavily sedated.
8. Papa wanted to get his appendectomy incision hernia repaired next summer. During his surgery, his doctor saw the need to repair most of that hernia. Unexpected bonus!

Prayer Request:
1. That papa continues to fight and improve.
2. Kidneys keep getting stronger.
3. Blood pressure to be normal without medication.
4. Heart rate and temperature to be stable.
5. Blood clotting to return to normal.
6. Pray for continued normal responses.
7. Pray for his nurses and doctors as they care for him.

Thank you all SO MUCH for all of your prayers!

Dec 14, 2008

update II

This morning at 3:30 I received a text from Lizzy saying that Isaac was hemorrhaging. Then at 6:30 I received another text saying that he was out of surgery. They took more of his color and his spleen. Isaac is back in the ICU. He is stable but on life support. After talking with Lizzy yesterday I am even more convinced that, while there are physical issues going on, this is a spiritual battle and it is God's battle to fight.

Please continue to lift the family up in your prayers.
Please continue to pray for God's victory over the evil one.
Please pray that God's peace that surpasses all understanding would fill the body and spirit of Isaac, as well as his family.

Thank you for all of your prayers.

Dec 13, 2008

from the front porch

I stand outside on the front porch and watch the snow mixed with rain fall sideways to the ground. The frigid wind whips through the trees and through my sweater and thin cotton pants. I tuck my fists into my armpits attempting to warm my fingers, as I gaze over the rooftops and grin and marvel at just how beautiful this scene is.

The temperature is below 40, there is snow and rain, it is windy, and I could not be happier with the weather.

Dec 12, 2008

update

Please continue to pray for Isaac Canales, Lizzy's father-in-law. He had emergency surgery to try and stabilize his kidneys [which have been failing] and his blood pressure [which has been dropping]. He is an incredible man of God who loves his family and his Father so much. Everyone, myself included, who knows him has an overwhelming sense that this is not his time to go. It feels very much like a spiritual battle that is manifesting itself in physical form. I know that can sound "woo-woo", please know I don't take the concept of spiritual warfare lightly.

Pray for physical and spiritual healing in Isaac Canales.
Pray that his body would start functioning like it is supposed to.
Pray that his blood pressure would stabilize.
Pray that his kidneys start to function, cleaning out the toxins that have built up inside of him.
Pray for his tired body that is working so hard.
Pray for his family who are emotionally as well as physically exhausted.
Pray that hope and peace would replace fear and doubt.
Pray that Isaac would feel only peace and hope.
Pray that Isaac would be able to rest.
Pray for Isaac's wife Ritha who is tired and does not want to lose her husband.
Pray for miracles that come only from God.
Please pray.

Dec 11, 2008

pray

The following is from a blog my cousin Lizzy posted this morning. Her father-in-law has been in the hospital with diverticulitis and kidney issues. Please pray for him and his family.
_________________
The bible says pray without ceasing.

Pray for Isaac who is in the hospital and not doing well.
Pray for his kidneys to improve.
Pray for the infection to subside.
Pray for all of my friends that are pregnant.
Pray for a job.
Pray for the future.
Pray for my cheerleaders who need so much more than a coach.
Pray for my mother in law who works without ceasing.
Pray for Dave's family who is afraid.
Pray for Miracles.
Pray for Judah James to keep gaining weight and get stronger.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (New Living Translation)
12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Praise for my home.
Praise for my husband.
Praise for opportunity.
Praise for a good pathology report for my dad.
Praise for new life in our family.
Praise for healthy babies and healthy moms.
Praise for the season.
Praise for the child that took the weight of the world on his shoulders and made everything somehow eventually ok.

Dec 9, 2008

relief

Slight GRE mishap MANAGED!

Here's the gist of what happened, after taking the GREs you enter the different school codes for the institutions to which you'd like ETS to send your scores. I [thought I] entered Portland State and the University of Oregon. Apparently [though I am NOT thoroughly convinced of this] I entered Portland State University and Oregon State University [yes, there is a difference]. I didn't realize this mistake until early Monday morning when I was making copies of my GRE scores to include with my applications. I said a few choice words [not pretty ones like "love" or "kittens" or "rainbows"] and then continued assembling my application packets.

Tuesday morning, at 6:05AM according to my cell phone, I called ETS intending to have a new set of official GRE scores sent to U of O as quickly as possible, and I was prepared to pay whatever I needed to. Because if my scores don't arrive at U of O by December 15, then they don't look at my application. They just throw it away--well, probably recycle it since it's Eugene.

My phone conversation with the very delightful [I know sarcasm is hard to read, but very delightful is DRIPPING with it] agent from ETS was frustrating, unhelpful and tear-inducing. I was told that ALL test scores, no matter what, take five to ten business days to arrive at the schools. Well, except of course for electronic GRE scores, but U of O doesn't accept those. [Oh gee, thanks for getting my hopes up.] So after my conversation with the terse agent, tears and a, "No thankyouverymuch I would NOT like to take a customer service survey!" I ordered a second set of scores and tried to calm down.

I called U of O [at 6:10AM] and asked the person from their psychology department who handles applications to please call me back as soon as possible. By noon she hadn't called back, so I called again. And again at 1:30PM. And again at 3:45PM. Then I emailed her.

And at around 4:00PM I got a wonderful email saying that because I included a photocopy of my results in my application they would be more than happy to accept my GRE scores after December 15, and would be glad to review my application to their program.

BIG, HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.

I actually received the email just after I received two text messages from Lizzy:
"Oh Lord you know me. You formed me in the secret place. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely. You know my going out and my coming in."
"You know the plans I have for you..."

So, I might still get to be a Duck after all.

Dec 8, 2008

lists [part deux]


TO DO:
Mail envelopes
Fix minor GRE score mishap

DONE:
Final versions of personal statements
Final versions of cover letters
Printed cover letters
Printed personal statements
Printed resumes
Application form for PSU
Application form for U of O
Stuffed, addressed, sealed, and ready to be mailed application packets

NUMBER OF TIMES I REPRINTED MY:
PSU cover letter [2]
My O of O cover letter [1]
PSU personal statement [2]
Resume [1]
Second page of PSU application [1]

THANKFUL FOR:
Heather's fantastic editing skills and answers to all questions grad school and application related, and our three hour v.c.o.c. on Saturday
Lizzy's amazing editing skills and the steady stream of texts that get me through my banal work days, and for WOD.FAM.CHOC.SOD
Erica's constant encouragement and inspiration
The encouragement of friends and family who remind me that I am smart even when I can't form coherent sentences
Stephenie Meyer for the mental, intellectual, and emotional escape

video

Dec 6, 2008

lists

TO DO:
Make final edits on personal statements
Complete cover letters
Fill out applications
Stuff envelopes
Seal envelopes
Mail envelopes

I AM:
Unmotivated
Hungry
Cold
Thirsty
Housesitting
Glad I bought this green sweatshirt



I WANT:
A soynog latte
Hot chocolate
Warm hands
Finished grad school applications

THIS POST WAS INSPIRED BY:
Sarah Swanson-Dexel [I always love her lists]
Cold hands
The prospect of completion

Nov 30, 2008

mush

My brain is mush.

nerves

Nervous.

Nervous.

Nervous.

Three things left to do:
1. Finish my personal statement.
2. Write a cover letter for each application.
3. Fill out the basic application for each school.

It seems so basic, and yet I'm scared shitless. I worry about writers block. I worry that I should have gone to get lunch before finding the perfect spot in a coffee shop that is the perfect blend of noise, people watching, and espresso. I worry about being worried. I worry that, even with verses reminding me NOT to worry tattooed on my body, I won't be able to stop.

Perhaps all I need is a deep breath of fresh air, my headphones, and the peace that comes with reminding myself to, "be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you."

Nov 28, 2008

this is a story about a girl named lucky*

I don't know how I got so lucky. I don't know how I ended up with so many amazing friends. Sometimes I feel like I'm being greedy, like I've taken all the legos so I can build the most amazing house and now none of the other kids have enough to build even a simple lego car.

I am, of course, too selfish to actually give any of them up. And can't imagine my life without a single one of them. And just when I think I've reached my quota, that I've maxed out my friend limit, another person finds their way into my heart over nothing more than a simple cup of coffee or a conversation about swim team and philosophy.

I really don't know how I got so lucky, but I do know that I am forever thankful for each of these amazing people. My life would not be the same without you. I would not be who I am without each and every one of you.

*Oh Britney...

Nov 25, 2008

beauty on the bridge

One of the things I love about Portland it its bridges. I love coming around the curve on I-5, just after I-405 splits off and takes you over the Fremont Bridge, and you can see all the bridges lined up, ready to take you from the east side of the Willamette to the west.

This morning on the bus, even before seeing the Fremont, Broadway, Steel, Burnside, Morrison, Hawthorne, Marquam, and Ross Island Bridges lined up like a welcoming committee, ready to wish me a lovely day in Portland, I happened to look up as we crossed the Columbia River via the Interstate Bridge from Washington to Oregon. Through the green I-beams I could see the silhouette of Mt. Hood back lit by this morning's sunrise. It left me speechless, not that I'm one to chat up folks on the bus, but you get the idea. I wanted to stop the bus. I wanted to ask every rider to put away their books, morning sudoku, daily crossword or paper and just LOOK. I wanted to remind them to take a deep breath and forget about what was ahead and simply enjoy the subtle changes in the pinks and oranges, to appreciate the contrast between the dark navy of the mountain and the clouds and the rich golds, pinks and blues.

As the bus rounded that favorite corner of my and proceeded along the east side of the Willamette to the Marquam Bridge I found myself searching for one last glimpse of the mountain, one last reminder that today was about more than my to-do list. But the sky was dark, and the clouds that had framed the mountain now shielded it, making me all the more grateful for the short time I was allowed to enjoy something so jaw-droppingly, mouth-shuttingly, totally-forget-your-morning-routiningly beautiful.

Nov 22, 2008

personal statement

I sit, winter sunlight streaming through the windows, at Ground, the closest place with wi-fi to Glenwood, Washington. I am here to write my personal statement. I arrived with the goal of a first draft, no more than 500 words, that sums up:
Me
My areas of research interest
The faculty with whom I am interested in working

I have all the necessary tools for a successful day of writing:
Headphones [currently playing my most recent purchase from iTunes]
A cup of coffee [with free refills]
Glasses [for tired eyes that squint in concentration]



Here goes nothing....

Nov 21, 2008

ome*

No intentional plot spoilers, especially if you've read the book. That said, read at your own risk.



Yes, of course the book was better than the movie.

That said, THE MOVIE WAS WONDERFUL! Everyone was standing outside in the freezing Northwest night air with books in hand. Some were wrapped up in blankets, others, like myself, appeared to have been so excited about getting to the theatre that they forgot their coats and gloves. [Oops.] Once they let us inside, at 9:45, I began to thaw as I passed the time by rereading New Moon, chatting occasionally with my neighbors about our opinions on who was best for Bella [EDWARD, duh], our favorite book from the saga, and, of course, the casting choices. I was able to get to my favorite chapter in New Moon [20: Volterra] just as the lights dimmed and the screen readjusted to the appropriate size for something other than multitudinous versions of the same message, "You're at a movie, don't use your phone!"

Let me break, briefly, from the Twilight love and say that the new trailer for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was delightful, but I still begrudge the decision to wait on the release of the movie simply for profit's sake.

And then...the production company's logo fills the screen, fades and the voice-over begins.... I thought Catherine Hardwicke did a wonderful job capturing the awkward way in which Bella and Edward's relationship evolves. While I think Edward and Bella, and the rest of the characters for that matter, look different for each person as they find themselves engrossed in the pages of Stephanie Meyer's novels, the casting was believable and...good. I was pleasantly surprised. I think my biggest disappointment in the casting department was the Cullen's house. It is described as, “painted a soft, faded white, three stories tall, rectangular and well proportioned,” with a, “deep porch that wrap[s] around the first story.” Bella guesses it is a hundred years old and characterizes it as, “timeless, graceful.” The house they chose was beautiful, but almost the antithesis of Bella's description in everything but the openness and exceptional number of windows.

It was a wonderful way to spend an evening turned very early morning. I loved the scenic shout-outs to places that I see on a semi-frequent basis [Haystack Rock, Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge to name a few]. I loved that the sweetly chaste relationship between Edward and Bella [mostly] survived Hollywood. I loved it, all of it, including the tired eyes that greeted me in the mirror this morning.



*Oh My Edward

Nov 20, 2008

obsessed

Okay. I admit it. I'm a little obsessed with The Twilight Saga. I know, I know, me and every other 14 year old, and of course all the Twilight Moms. I've read the books. I'm working my way through the saga for a second time having finally gotten the first book back from my Sister. You also may have noticed that I have a little counter on my blog. Yes, I do realize that it's set to EST. Whatever. I don't even care. I can add three hours even in the midst of my excitement.

And I'm going to the midnight showing tonight.

Nov 19, 2008

seagulls

Whenever it's stormy on the Oregon coast you can tell because the seagulls decide to make their home further inland. I used to get annoyed because they'd fly everywhere, dig through the trash cans and I was always worried they'd poop on my head [because my sister Clare had seagulls poop on her twice in one day years ago]. Now the sound of seagulls elicits a different response. I hear their squawking and it tugs at my heart just a little. I am reminded of walks down the the village with BFF, cups of coffee from Toot's warming our wind chilled hands. I think of early morning runs with Mat Karney in my ears and the sunrise along East Cliff to encourage me and keep me company. I'm not so worried that they'll poop on my head any more either, but I think that has to do more with familiarity and less to do with statistical probability.

Nov 2, 2008

come down to the water

Over a year ago a friend introduced me, through brief and thought provoking quotes posted on MySpace pages and as signature lines at the ends of emails, to the beautiful words of Annie Dillard. I will confess that I have yet to read an entire book or essay of hers. Regardless of that fact I still manage to catch snippets of her insightful observations of the world around us. This morning I picked up Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a Father's Day gift I gave my dad this year. The corner of page 10 was bent, and I turned to see what Annie had to say. Half way through page 11 I stumbled upon something that resonated with me and with the drive I made to and from White Salmon yesterday.

"At the time of Lewis and Clark, setting the prairies on fire was a well-know signal that meant, 'Come down to the water.' It was an extravagant gesture, but we can't do less. If the landscape reveals one certainty, it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever-fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes, but everywhere I go I see fire; that which isn't flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames."






Doesn't that just...leave you speechless?

Doesn't that just make you want to run outside and take everything in!?

Remember when you were little and you would examine everything? There's that picture of you from when you were three and you're squatting above the driveway with a rock inches from your nose. Or maybe your shoulder deep in grass with a leaf pinched between your chubby two year old fingers. Or you've got one of those cheap plastic magnifying glasses and you're examining a flower.

What happened? When did the extravagant intricacies of life become common place? When did I begin focusing on the center line and staying in my lane? Why did I stop pulling over to the side of the road so I could really stop and take in the beauty around me?

I have realized, after being back in the Pacific NW, how beautiful the leaves are as their changing colors marks the changing of the seasons. The leaves of the trees are these incredibly rich shades of gold, auburn, maroon, and orange. Some are all four and still manage to have a hint of green at the stem. How did I forget that leaves did this? It took removing myself from them for three years to reintroduce the response of profound amazement at their fantastical beauty.

And it's not just the leaves.

It.
Is.
Everywhere.


We just have to look, to notice the extravagances of creation, to notice that "the whole world is sparks and flames."

Oct 30, 2008

daydreams

I can still remember the first time I doodled my first name and someone else's last name. I was in my freshmen IB English class at Columbia River High School and my bird shaped / faced [ostrich / toucan] teacher was rambling on about...I don't know...english? Since that spring day in 1997 I've gone from being Mrs. Haley _______ to being Mrs. Haley Cloyd-_______ [or Mrs. Haley _______-Cloyd]. Two weeks ago I scrawled out the most exciting one of them all: Dr. Haley Cloyd. Not Dr. Haley ________ or Dr. Haley Cloyd-_______ [or Dr. Haley _______-Cloyd]. Simply Dr. Haley Cloyd. Me. Just as I am, at least in first and last name, and who I am aspiring to become, a doctor, a PhD.

The idea is terrifying and exhilarating. Walking through the campus of one of the schools to which I am applying today, I was struck by this thought: "Professor Cloyd, how long does our mid-term paper have to be?" My breath caught in my chest and I smiled remembering the response of a favorite college professor: "As long as it needs to be for you to make your point." The next thought almost made me trip: "Students will call me Dr. Cloyd."

I used to imagine altered daily routines that included another person,a husband--my husband. And while those daydreams still exist and still occur, these new dreams exist. Now I am playing out scenarios that involve office hours spent meeting with nervous undergrads and grading stacks of papers. I imagine observational studies and I find myself contemplating various areas of research interest. I make mental lists of academics I could partner with in my research. I imagine wearing [attractive, fashion forward] tweed jackets with trouser jeans and boots as I walk around the front of a lecture hall extolling the positives and negatives of behavioral psychology. I picture the shocked looks on the faces of my students as I regale them with tales of psychological experiments prior to the introduction of ethical standards and committees.

I am terrified because every day I am actively pursuing this dream.

I am exhilarated because every day I am actively pursuing this dream.

Oct 20, 2008

GREat

I just scheduled my GRE. My heart was beating so fast the entire time. I think I even got a little sweaty. I have decided to take it on a Friday, and I have decided to take that day off of work.

Did you know it costs $140 to take the GRE?! I know. Me either. I was a little shocked.

Is it worth it? Of course it is.

Here is an excerpt from an email I wrote to Rosemary a few weeks ago. It pretty accurately describes how this whole GRE / applying to grad school / pursuing my dreams experience feels for me:

"Studying for the GREs...sort of. I hate studying for tests that I don't want to take. I hate studying for tests that I don't want to take but know I HAVE to take even more. But the more I think about going back to school and the more I walk through the Portland State campus, which I do every day on my way to and from the bus to work, I get more and more excited about going back. Really what it all boils down to is being afraid. Yes. I am afraid of applying to grad school. Why? Because I want it so badly that I'm scared they will say no. Why would they say no? Because they get hundreds of applicants. Or at least more than their program can hold. So I am scared. And it feels a little like I'm at the edge of this amazing cliff looking down into the deepest most beautiful pool of water. All I want to do is jump in. It's hot up on the cliff and the water is so cool and inviting. But it's quite a distance from the cliff to the water, and I'm not sure I can jump. I go back and forth between being ready to jump, scared and screaming out of fear, excitement and exhilaration, and staying on the ledge, somewhat safe, but altogether annoyed with life on the ledge."

Oct 15, 2008

ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh

Just met with the head of the Applied Psychology Graduate Admissions Committee.

I was SO NERVOUS.

It went SO WELL. [So good?]

I'm all jittery and nervous, but in a much better way than I was before meeting with him.

Holy crap.

Oct 10, 2008

furious

There are plenty of things to get riled up about as the election draws near. I can't even begin to get into it because I will be here until November 4. At least. But here's what I know, this:



makes me furious.

And in case you want to know what other Alaskan women think about Sarah Barracuda, check out what another Alaskan I am so proud to call my dear friend has to say.

More rantin' later. You folks have a great weekend. Wink!

Oct 9, 2008

ravelry

I. AM. OBSESSED.

SERIOUSLY.


I recently discovered Ravelry, like a Facebook for knitters and crocheters. And now all I want to do is look up patterns and see what other people are making. I have too many other things to do right now to be looking up knitting patterns and starting [MORE] projects.

To Do Instead of Ravelry List:
Study for the GREs
Fill out grad school apps
Find an apartment

But Ravelry, and knitting, bring me so much JOY!

If only I could clone myself. Or be independently wealthy. I guess for now I will have to content myself with Raveling on my lunch breaks and during the weekend when I can't possibly click on another Craigslist link or complete another GRE practice test without going [even more] crazy.

Oct 4, 2008

dates


The very first movie I went to see by myself was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, or maybe it was The Two Towers. Regardless, I went by myself to the only movie theatre in St Andrews, and I remember being so aware every time I jumped or laughed. It was so different being at a movie by myself. I wouldn't consider myself a big talker at the movies, but I definitely like to confer with whoever is with me. Instead when I was scared or startled I would squeeze my own hand rather than my friend's.

Since then I've come to love going to movies by myself. There are movies that, after seeing the previews, I designate as movies to see by myself. Sometimes I see movies alone because I want to escape from what ever's going on around me:
The Devil Wears Prada
Miss Potter


Others I see because I know no one else wants to see them:
National Treasure: Book of Secrets [don't judge me]

And others I see because there's no one else I'd rather see it with. Because I know that I am in need of some quality Haley Time:
Mona Lisa Smile
Love Actually
Sex and the City
Burn After Reading


Two weekends ago I took my movie dates to a whole new level. I took myself out to dinner first.

It was amazing. I spent a good hour trying to decide what to wear. Hey, I wanted to look good for my date. I wore heels. I did my make up. I wore perfume. And I chose a nice restaurant. I got a bit of a thrill as I said, "Table for one," to the hostess.

I'm not saying I don't like going to movies or dinner or dinner and a movie with friends, or even with someone else in a situation that would qualify as a date. I do. There are just times when girl needs to get dressed up for no one but herself.

Sep 30, 2008

care package

I have this friend who has done--who IS DOING--this amazing thing. She is following her dreams, she is pursuing passions.

We had a conversation almost two months ago about the courage it takes to chase after that which inspires you. And after our conversation I decided she might need some tangible encouragement.

So I set about putting together a little care package (one could also call it an "I'm so proud of you package") for her. Among other things her care package contains these handwarmers:

She asked about my ability to make them several months before I moved away, and I told her I wasn't sure that I could, but I would try.

To be honest I didn't know if I could make them when I first picked up my needles and started casting on what would become the cuff of the first handwarmer. But the thing about Erica Stubblefield is that by going after her dreams she inspires me to chase after mine...knitting or otherwise.

PS. Sending the package tomorrow, so don't say anything if you see her.

Sep 18, 2008

ten more

BOSS: Instead of 30 hours a week, how about 40?
HKC: Definitely.

Sep 10, 2008

you are here

The passage of time is something that has always amazed me. A minute can pass so incredibly slowly, and yet it seems as though all I've done is blink and an entire year has gone by. How on earth did that happen?

I look at where my life was a year ago, what I thought I saw when I looked off into the distance, squinting my eyes to see the horizon.

Where I am is not what I thought I saw.

While 365 days ago my current location was not something I considered, I am so thankful for the journey that brought me from there to here.

It has been a process of putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes a sprint, straining to go as far as my legs would carry me as fast as they would carry me. At other times I've struggled on hands and knees, laboring to see the ground beneath me as tears blurred my tired vision. Now I walk, not too fast, but with purpose.

This difficult, beautiful, arduous journey has taught me to be where I am, to look at my surroundings. Because this place that I am, it may be the only time I get to be here. So I breathe deep, remember the smells, listen intently, and try to be content with being here.

It is not where I thought I would be, but I cannot pretend to be anywhere else but where I am, and so: I am here.

Sep 3, 2008

um...yes.

Conversation with boss yesterday:
HKC
I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to be looking for another part-time job. I would, of course, love to have all my hours be here, but I know you're not in a position to do that yet.
Boss Thank you for the heads up. We're just not at a place we can bring you on full-time. I think we will in the future though. Thank you for letting me know.

Conversation with cousin this morning:
HKC
Hey, if you think of it you could pray for me this afternoon. I'm heading into Powell's to see if they have any part-time jobs. Their website says they don't, but maybe that's just because they haven't met me yet.
EAC Of course! That'd be so great if you got to work there. Then you could walk to both of your jobs.
HKCI know!

Conversation with boss this morning:
Boss
Did you have a good night.
HKC I did, very relaxing. Thanks.
Boss[sits down] So...would you like more hours?
HKC Umm...yes!
Boss I talked with Other Boss yesterday and she said she really thinks she's going to need your help. How does 30 hours sound to you?
HKC Thirty sounds great! That would be wonderful!
Boss It might even turn into 40, but it will start at 30. Does next week work for you?
HKC Next week is perfect! Oh my goodness! Can I give you a hug?

Conversation with God this morning:
HKC:
thankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYou
thankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYouthankYou!!!!!

Dreams as a result of all the aforementioned conversations:
Cute little studio [NoPo, SE, The Pearl]
Decorating cute little studio [curtains, art, photos]
Bookshelves [most of my books have been locked up in boxes for far too long]
My bed [it's literally been years since I slept in it]
Having you over for dinner

Aug 15, 2008

enlightenment

Nothing like my cousin Lizzy, and the Pacific Ocean crashing at Windwhistle's feet to enlighten my thoughts and put my heart at ease...

Aug 1, 2008

awaiting the appointed time

I think the anticipation makes it worse.

I think I would just like to know and be done with it.

[Be done with it? Really Haley? You want to be done with it?]

Okay. Maybe not done with it. But the next step.

[Plenty of next steps lately my dear. Job, GRE classes, friends, the list continues, should I?]

Okay.

Fine.

I'm whiney and impatient.

I wanna know when I wanna know.

[And the faith in that would be where?]

No. Where.

Did you ever see that movie, "Camp Nowhere"? Loved it. Christopher Lloyd...what a character.

[Back to the topic at hand perhaps?]

Perhaps.

Or I could just knock off the pouty child thing and trust You.

[You could do that. But it's okay if you don't.]

No. I think I'm good for tonight.

Thanks for giving me a choice.

[There is always a choice dear one.]

Jul 26, 2008

respite

The work on the cabin has slowed. I have time [and energy] on the weekends to go for a run [which I did this morning, and got chased by a dog...not fun], to stay up a little later and read, to knit. It is possible to linger over morning cups of coffee and the view of Mount Adams or the hummingbird feeder, depending on which porch I sit.

And yet there is now more work to be done. There is more work to be done Monday through Friday. There is work to be done at The Neighborhood Partnership Fund each day when I walk into their offices and into my very own office [no more sharing desk space, no more straining to hear the person on the other end of the phone, no more plugging my ears with music because now I can fill the whole room up with whatever I want to hear]. There is work to be done financially, bills to be paid, money for first and last months rent to be saved, apartments and houses to hunt for now that I, again, have an income. There is studying to be done. I have 300+ words to learn, test formats to become acustomed to, prefixes, roots and suffixes to familiarize myself with all in preparation for something I am trying to love and not dread: THE GRE.

But the programs at Portland State and The University of Oregon [which is not in Portland, but still on my list for its size and structure] both require it; therefore, I will overcome my awing [definition: an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc. produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful. This is one of my words to study/learn] fear of THE GRE and remember how good it feels to walk into a test knowing I am about to kick its ass. And then I will kick THE GRE's ass.

But I digress...the respite from work at the cabin is synchronized with the need for more effort/work elsewhere. Most likely this is no accident. It is so good to be known by One who knows what I need exactly when I need it. Ideally I think I should be relieved of the need to continue living in a 33 foot Airstream with my parents at the age of 26. But I trust the One who sees beyond my immediate frustrations [coffee being ground feet from my head, no place for clothing, an ever growing pile of books read and letters received and no place to lovingly store them, ants that never seem to realize they are unwanted, a door that occasionaly locks me inside said 33 foot Airstream, etc.]. I trust that, "though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."

And so now I will continue to enjoy my respite. I will leisurly shop for wild salmon for tonight's dinner. I will smile, sunglasses on, arm out the window so I can feel the breeze, singing at the top of my lungs as I enjoy the almost hour long drive back to the cabin.

Jul 16, 2008

employed

I have a job.

Goal one of three accomplished.

Jul 14, 2008

i feel comfortable with my heart exhilarated

As a result of moving so far away from friends I have begun writing them letters. One might wonder why on earth I would choose letters when email is so much faster. True it is faster, but it is so much less romantic. It is fingers on a keyboard, not pen to paper. And in turn friends have been writing letters to me. The purpose of the letters I've sent is not the receipt of letters from them, although I welcome and treasure their postmarked responses. Even longer letters with more purpose than a simple hello, while typed first so my written words keep up with my thoughts, are eventually written down on paper before they are sent off.

And the anticipation...Oh! The anticipation! The stack of mail on the table beckons me as much as it taunts me. "Look through the letters! See who has written you!" And again, "Look through the letters. Only bills for you!" When there are letters from friends the joy is...incredible. Sometimes I even sing the mail song from "Blue's Clues." Without looking at the name or the return address I know who the letter is from. And everytime I am elated. The handwriting conjures memories of notes--which would arrive unexpectedly on my desk or car and were their own source of joy--written when we lived closer.

And then of course there is the excitement I feel as I place the stamp in the upper right-hand corner of the envelope, I cannot wait to hear they have received it. Images of friends opening mailboxes or sifting through stacks of bills and unwanted catologues only to find a hand addressed envelope nestled in the midst of it all never fails to bring a smile to my face.

All of this for a mere $0.42. A bargain price for friendship that lives on across miles.

adjectives

Eloquent.
Passionate.
Unexpected.
Brilliant.
Honest.
Perspicacious.

Jul 8, 2008

buy a child

I was at the gym this morning going nowhere on one of the many elliptical machines. I had my headphones in, as I always do, and was enjoying the soundtrack from "Across the Universe." There are TVs all over the place, but most of them do not have subtitles which means that as I sweat, grit my teeth, try to go just a little harder, I generally do so without any regard to what is on each of these TVs.

This morning was different.

This morning I was in front of the TV showing reruns of ER. [I had completely forgotten that George Clooney used to be on that show!] Directly to the left of ER was Good Morning America [heretofore referred as GMA]. This TV was the only one I could see that had subtitles and the words "child slavery" happened to catch my eye as I was in the middle of mouthing the words to "She's So Heavy" and pondering the youthful good looks of George. Immediately all other thoughts were forgotten and I was glued to GMA.

They did a story on child slavery, and more specifically they looked at just how easy it is to BUY A CHILD.
Not adopt a child.
BUY a child.
Buy a CHILD.
The reporter started out for JFK at 7:10A and within 10 hours had made it to Haiti and back. During that time he met with two different people who were each willing to sell him a child of around 10 or 11. Although the first person he met with recommended a child of closer to age 15 because she would be "more developed." During the first meeting the reporter, undercover of course, and the man selling children bartered over the price of the child he hoped to purchase. The seller started out at the bargain price of $300. [THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A HUMAN LIFE.] But he was talked down to $150, including all the necessary forged paperwork. The second seller's price was a bit steeper, $10,000. Although he more than implied that in purchasing the child she became yours and would then have to do WHATEVER it was you required of her and was much more open about the sexual nature of the transaction they discussed.

And we all just kept on doing what we were doing. We kept running on our treadmills, going nowhere on our elliptical machines, climbing imaginary stairs. Maybe because we were too engrossed in whatever workout mix we'd chosen for that morning. Maybe because we were to enamored with George and his incredible medicinal skills. Maybe because learning something like that feels so overwhelming that all one can do is go into shock.

But what happens when the shock wears off? What then? Not knowing the answer to those questions I kept on sweating. I poured my anger and my broken heartedness into the rest of my work out. I listened to Delta Spirit's "Streetwalker" as I stretched out tired muscles. And then I crammed myself into one of the showers that, until this morning, seemed so spacious. And I cried. I cried big, hot, silent tears as I struggled to keep myself upright. I cried and I prayed for an end to injustice, or as much of one as we can hope to see here and now.

Let us not be silent. Let us not be content to simply sit and allow these things to happen. Let us not be more concerned about the rising cost of gas than we are about the bartered price of a human life. Let us respond in a way that honors the One who came before us, who came to seek and save the lost.

Jul 7, 2008

a change in the winds

I don't know the exact moment or the cause of it, but early Thursday afternoon things changed. I do not mean to say that all of a sudden the sky and the ground were inverted and everyone suddenly spoke Piglatin. What I do mean is that, as I was sitting at the table in the Airstream trailer enjoying a nice cold glass of water I looked up from the magazine I was reading and realized that things had changed. The change was not a result of profound insights gained from the July/August issue of Women's Health. It was not a result of being a little too full from the nachos I'd eaten for lunch, nor was it a result of imagining just how cute I would look in all the clothes in the most recent Anthropology catalogue. I cannot say what caused this shift. But I can say I am grateful for it. I have needed to feel it. I have needed to know that all this emotional tumult, this moving and uprooting myself was for more than just obedience's sake. [Though of course if I truly believe what I say I do then obedience's sake is enough.] And that realization that things are changing, though small and without apparent cause has lifted my spirits, has encouraged me to be more honest with myself and with those around me, has given me courage, has renewed my trust and the belief that, though difficult to see too far ahead, I am on my path.

Jul 2, 2008

santa cruz sightings

I am bombarded, in the best ways possible, by Santa Cruz. First there is the haze in the sky. It has been here since I got back from the cabin on Monday afternoon. It is the haze from all the fires in California. Now I know that Santa Cruz is not the only place that fires are ablaze, but in some weird way I am comforted that the smoke from the Santa Cruz mountains has followed me all this way.

Second there are all the people I see who look like people I know from Santa Cruz. There was a girl at the gym yesterday who looked just like Jenny Baker. I could've sworn I saw Jamie Moreno walking down the street the other day in Portland. And then there is this girl who works somewhere downtown, I forget where, and she could be sisters with the lovely lady who works at the FedEx/Kinko's where I shipped everything from when I moved. This guy just ordered a coffee and then said something about being totally stoked and I almost asked him if he was from Santa Cruz just for answering that way, not even because he looks like anyone I know there. And then this girl who looked exactly like Jody Mason showed up--oh wait that really was Jody!

Then there are the cars. I see cars that look like the cars of my friends everywhere. You would not believe how many beat up green Toyota Camrys there are out there. It has to be one of the most popular cars ever made. And the silver Pontiac Vibes. And the black Honda CRVs. And the faded purple minivans like Nancy Broxton drives. I know that there are tens of thousands of each of these cars in existence between here and Santa Cruz. But I keep hoping that one time, randomly, it will actually be Nancy or Jamie or Erica or whomever else I think I see.

And music. All the songs that remind me of people I miss so much. The coffee shop I'm in has been playing The Beatles all morning. Last week "Fergalicious" came on the radio and I almost had to pull over I was laughing so hard. Then there was the Jack Johnson song Erica loves so much that we listened to it over and over and over. And that song by One Republic. And the new Coldplay album. And Rush in Rolling Stone. And the list just goes on.

So my friends, my Santa Cruz family, I miss you. I miss you so much that I think I see you everywhere.

Jun 27, 2008

get outside

Tuesday was the day of gloom and doom. It was a day of doubt and discouragement. It was a day where it seemed all I heard was no. The voice that says loving, encouraging things to me was drowned out by the voice that kept reminding me, just a little too loudly, of my shortcomings, my downfalls, and my fears.

After dinner and some tears my mom said, "Let's walk to the end of the road." What I wanted to do was climb into bed fully clothed, something I can't stand doing unless it's really bad, pull the covers over my head and cry until I was exhausted and dehydrated. But I agreed to a walk simply because disagreeing would mean prolonging the inevitable trip outside the 33 foot Airstream I currently call home and I just wanted to get it over with so I could commence with the crying until exhausted/dehydrated plan.

We stepped outside and she said, "David Van Raden always says, 'When it gets to big get outside.'" David is my godfather and one of the men I am blessed to call a father figure. He is a wise man, someone who knows about things getting too big and about going outside. And that fresh air, the sunset filled sky, Mount Adams with it's rose tinted evening snow, and the wild roses lining the road were exactly what I needed.

Smart guy.

Good advice.

Try it sometime. Even if there are no mountains, no sunsets, no roses and the air isn't really that fresh.

Jun 24, 2008

ugly / bad / good

UGLY / BAD
I want to curl up into a ball and cry.
I am tired.
I am hot.
I am frustrated.
I love my parents and am overwhelmed by their generosity [a car whenever I need it, a bed, good food, french press every morning, help with bills, and the list goes on]. But I don't want to live in a 33ft trailer with them.
I am tired of the endless to do list.
I don't want to feel like I'm stalking the head of the Applied Psychology Graduate Committee. I just would love it if he'd return my phone call/email.
I don't want all of these things to take so long. I follow up, I follow through. I return emails and phone calls promptly. I am doing as much as I can as fast as I can and it's all going far too slow for my taste.
I just want to be in control. I want to have everything go according to MY plan, not His.

GOOD
I have had time to visit my friends and sisters because I have not yet found a job.
I have been up to the cabin almost every weekend since moving back to the Pacific NW and I cannot imagine a more beautiful place to work my ass off/work out my frustrations.
After four years of pretty solid work it is good to have a break. A real break. Not a vacation with a concrete end date but a break.
The difficulties this time presents are constant reminders that I am not in control and all I can do is present my requests to Him and do the things I'm asked...no matter how crazy they seem.
I think I have breathed more deeply in the past three going on four weeks than I have in quite a long time.

Jun 18, 2008

things i love about today by topic

TATTOOS
1. The way tattoos start conversations.
2. Some chick [with a rad full sleeve] from LA by way of Portland has heard of Verve.
3. Same chick has also heard of O'Reilley's and Dan and this makes the world seem just a little smaller.
4. Tanktop weather and tattoos are a delightful combination.

COFFEE / COFFEE SHOPS
1. French press is so easy to find in Portland.
2. Free wi-fi. I realize it's not so strange to find a good independent coffee shop with free wi-fi anymore, but I still enjoy it oh so much.
3. The sounds of espresso being ground.
4. Cheap refills of delicious, recently locally roasted coffee.

JOB OPPORTUNITY
1. Non-profit.
2. Part time.
3. Full benefits.
4. Yes please.

BLOGS
1. I love that my friends blog.
2. I love reading your blogs.
3. I miss you and reading these blogs helps to, today, shorten the distance between us.

FOOD
1. I brought my lunch today [cheese and tomato on gluten free bread].
2. I stopped by New Seasons Market on my way to Albina Press and got some vegetarian gummie bears and they are delightful.
3. I love cooking and planning meals with my mom.

EXERCISE
1. One of the first things I did when I moved here was buy a gym membership.
2. I've used it more in the past three weeks than I think I used the gym memebership I had in Santa Cruz for eight months.
3. I hate the Stairmaster, but it just hurts so good.
4. Each time they scan my card as I enter I think about climbing, summitting Mount Saint Helens on August 23.

Jun 9, 2008

toilet seat covers

I never used to use toilet seat covers. Maybe that's gross. Whatever. It was an attempt to be something other than a germ-o-phobe. But now that this coffee shop I'm loving doesn't have them in their bathroom I find myself a bit disconcereted. I mean I love Portland, I love the people here, but I would also like the opportunity to have a bit of separation from them when I use the loo.

Pictures of new life here coming soon...er...ish.

Jun 3, 2008

briefly

I can't believe home is in the Pacific NW.
There are so many changes.
I am tired and grouchy.
I love physical labor.
I want to find a home and nest.
I miss you.

May 31, 2008

unbelieveable

Sixteen boxes.
Three suitcases.
Two carry-ons.

May 29, 2008

packing

I should:
Be packing.

I am:
Taking just a moment to indulge my internet craving.
Listening to my "Pack Your Sh*t" mix.

I wonder:
How I acquired so much stuff.

I moved here with:
Clothes
Snowboard
Laptop
Favorite books
Pictures of loved ones
Down comforter
Pillow
Patrice [car]

I am leaving here with:
Clothes [have acquired more]
Snowboard [but it won't fit so BFF is watching her for me]
Laptop [now dead, but I'm hoping that I can get my written documents off somehow]
Favorite books [have become four+ boxes]
Pictures of loved ones [now include so many new faces]
Down comforter [no new bedding, thank goodness]
Three lamps
Multiple artpieces in process
The beginnings of a half sleeve

I leave behind:
One book shelf
Two [cheap] bedside tables
One refinished dresser
Patrice
Favorite places
Family

And now:
I will shove a power bar down my throat
Load the rest of my boxes in the car.
Go to FedEx.
Go to the Goodwill.
Give BFF her car back [THANK YOU!].
Pack my clothes.
Have dinner with friends.
Collapse in a pile of tears, kleenex, and exhaustion.

May 25, 2008

the heart muscle*

My heart aches. ACHES. Aches with longing and with loneliness.

Today was so many things I love:
Church with family, and for the first time in two years it was not part of any sort of job description. It was because I wanted to be there just to sit and listen to what He wanted me to hear. I got to sit next to family and was able to enjoy the entire service without worrying about slides, microphones, or attendance. It was such a gift.

And then more time with family over delicious food, good conversation, and cold beverages for all ages. I sat with these beautiful people with whom I have spent the past almost three years. I have opened my heart to them. We have shared food, coffee, tanks of gas, hugs, kisses, bottles of wine, tears and laughter. My heart is so full, and coming here I didn't think I had that much room for all these people to fit inside. But I did, and I am so thankful. Because they have made this place special. They have taught me. They have held me. They have loved me. They have called me family.

And because of all of this my heart aches. It aches as, so full, it strains at the invisible seams that bind arteries to muscle. Pumping faster as my pulse quickens and thoughts of leaving all of this flood my mind. After all of this, at a time when I feel so full, this is when I am to leave? It seems I just realized how wonderful all of this, all of them truly are. But perhaps it is only because I am leaving that those realizations exist.

*This was written as I was readying to leave Santa Cruz. It has remained unpublished until today, 28 November 2008, for reasons I can no loger remember.

May 16, 2008

time is ticking away

I should be in bed asleep. I should have been in bed a sleep over an hour ago. I am getting up at 4:00A so I can be ready to head out the door when my wonderful and amazing BFF picks me up at 5:00A. Instead I bought board shorts and sunscreen [SPF50 so I can keep my colors bright], saw "Prince Caspian" and then went to Book Shop Santa Cruz with friends and bought a[nother] book to read on my trip. And now I'm dawdling. Because leaving means coming back in a week. And coming back in a week means leaving for Portland a week after that. I don't know that I'm quite ready to say those final goodbyes.

To quote the aforementioned movie:
Caspian: I don't think I'm quite ready.
Aslan: And that is exactly why you are.

C.S. Lewis, you always come through with those great nuggets of wisdom.

May 13, 2008

the best

I have the best friends / family [framily?] in the whole wide world.

THE BEST.

As I prepare to leave I am continually overwhelmed by the ways they love me, want to celebrate me [ME! They want to celebrate me!], and simply want to enjoy our last few weeks together.

I don't know that I deserve all the love and celebration, but I think that's part of what makes being loved and celebrated so wonderful. We don't deserve it, but there are people who choose to love and celebrate us in spite of our brokenness, maybe even because of it.

Thank you so much framily. I love you dearly.

May 8, 2008

one-way ticket

I just bought my plane ticket to Portland.
It made me cry.
I have never before purchased a one-way ticket.

May 6, 2008

another kleenex please

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I leave. Probably sink into a deep, tear-filled, chocolate and coffee saturated depression.

Sometimes I wonder if I've ever done anything this hard. Moving to California was so much easier than leaving California.

Do I trust that this is the right thing? Do I believe I am being called elsewhere? Yes. I do.

Does that make leaving any easier. No. If anything I think it makes it harder. It means I go on faith. And faith is a good thing to go on. But I sure wish it came with a detailed roadmap rather than this little lantern that only illuminates my feet.

Apr 25, 2008

unrealized

Unrealized plans
Unrealized dreams
Unrealized for a reason
a good reason
a true reason
But sadness exists as I remember these plans and dreams that go unrealized

Spoiling
Celebrating
Enjoying
They happen in different ways
With different people
It is not the same
It could never be the same
So today I shed these tears for those things that will go unrealized

Apr 22, 2008

a nose in need deserves puffs plus, indeed

I have officially cried my first tears about leaving Santa Cruz. At our staff meeting today we went around saying our prayer requests and at the mere mention of them I stood up to get a napkin [Starbucks napkins really are not the softest out there]. A big lump made its way up my throat and my vision was blurry from tears. I had everyone else go first just so I could get to a place where I could speak in something that more than dogs could hear because when I cry my voice shoots up about four octaves. I took a deep breath, and for a moment I thought I'd get through my prayer requests without crying.

Yeah right.

Leaving my family in the Pacific Northwest two and a half years ago was so much different. It was a little sad, but it was mostly exciting. Yay, Haley's leaving for a California adventure! It was the summer that Hawk Nelson's "Letters To the President" came out and their song "California" was on a constant rotation in my head and on my CD player. It was my celebratory anthem. Pack up and move to California? What a great idea, I'll see you guys there.

Leaving my family here is disparate. I have no frame of reference for leaving people I am not related to but still call family. I am not guaranteed Christmas or birthday celebrations with them once I leave this place. I, of course, intend to return, to visit, to keep in contact, but there are no assurances that these things will happen.

So I begin to mourn the loss of their constant presence. I begin to mourn the ability to call up friends for a spur of the moment cup of coffee, early morning run, late night cliffside chat, afternoon movie, meandering stroll, chaparral hike. Favorite coffee shops, restaurants, running routes, benches will be remembered rather than visited.

How do I say goodbye to my family?

How do I say goodbye to these places?

Apr 19, 2008

seed stitch [part deux]

I just sold my first hat. I just sold something I made. I always give BFF a hard time because she tries to sell the things she makes for dirt cheep. Now I love a good bargain as much as the next person and I'm not trying to encourage her to sell her stuff for any exorbitant price. I just don't want her to every undervalue her creativity. Then I was asked what I wanted for the seed stitch hat I made. Gulp. Putting a price on my own creativity, on the manifestation of an idea is much harder than I ever thought. But I did it.

I want to add that for the patter of the seed stitch hat 75 stitches is probably too many unless you have an unusually large noggin. I would think that 70 stitches is probably good. Or you could just use a smaller needle. That does take a bit of the fun away though. I love how quickly a project goes on my 11s. I also love how nubby it makes the seed stitch.

Quite the day...

seed stitch

I love the seed stitch pattern. I see it and I get all cozy inside. I've been wanting to make a hat with this stitch pattern for ages, but the challenge that I felt decreasing and closing the hat would present kept me from it for quite some time. I'm not sure what exactly made me realize I was up to the challenge, but a few weeks ago I bought some beautiful cream colored wool [can't remember the brand and have since tossed the tag], pulled out my size 11 needles and cast on 75 stitches.

This hat is one of my favorites, maybe just because I've been dreaming about it for so long. I thought I had the decrease figured out and had chosen to knit three stitches together so I could keep up the alternation of knits and purls that the seed stitch requires. I was not happy with the way it was looking, so I put it aside thinking I'd either give in and just keep on knitting three together or that I'd come up with some other creative solution.

I was on Highway 1 somewhere between the Morrisey and Highway 17 exits when it came to me. I remembered seeing, what I would consider, a decorative decrease [a decrease done a beautiful but obvious way so it becomes part of the charm of the piece] in a pattern I'd gotten from Sarah SD a few months ago. I thought, and maybe even exclaimed aloud, "Oh I could totally do that!" So I did. And here is the finished result.





So here's the pattern:
Cast on 75 stitches [men's hat] on size 11 circular needles.
Row One: K1* P1 K1 P1 [repeat from *]
Row Two: P1* K1 P1 K1 [repeat from *]

Alternate rows one and two until the piece measures about 5 inches from CO and then begin decreasing
Decreasing:
Row One: Continue in seed stitch pattern for 11 stitches then, depending on the row you're on, P2tog K2tog [or K2tog P2tog if that's what will continue the seed stitch pattern]. Continue decreasing this way for the rest of the row 11 stitches, then K2tog P2tog or vice-versa so you continue in the seed stitch until you get to the end of the row. You should have 65 stitches on your needles at this point.
Row Two: Complete row without decreasing.
Row Three: Continue in seed stitch pattern for 9 stitches. Then P2tog K2tog [or vice-versa so you maintain the seed stitch pattern]. Continue decreasing this way for the rest of the row, K2tog P2tog every 9 stitches until the end of the row. You should have 55 stitches on your needles at this point.
Row Four: Complete row in seed stitch without decreasing.
Row Five: Continue in seed stitch pattern for 7 stitches. Then P2tog K2tog [or vice-versa so you maintain the seed stitch pattern]. Continue decreasing this way for the rest of the row, K2tog P2tog every 7 stitches until the end of the row. You should have 45 stitches on your needles at this point.
Row Six: Complete row in seed stitch without decreasing.
Continue in seed stitch pattern for 5 stitches. Then P2tog K2tog [or vice-versa so you maintain the seed stitch pattern]. Continue decreasing this way for the rest of the row, K2tog P2tog every 5 stitches until the end of the row. You should have 35 stitches on your needles at this point.
Row Eight: Complete row in seed stitch without decreasing.
Row Nine: Continue in seed stitch pattern for 3 stitches. Then P2tog K2tog [or vice-versa so you maintain the seed stitch pattern]. Continue decreasing this way for the rest of the row, K2tog P2tog every 3 stitches until the end of the row. You should have 25 stitches on your needles at this point.
Row Ten: Complete row in seed stitch without decreasing.
Row Eleven: Maintaining your seed stitch K2tog P2tog K2tog P2tog, or vice-versa if necessary to maintain pattern, for entire row.
You should have 15 stitches on your needles. Now it's time to finish off the hat. Take a tapestry needle and thread the long end of the yarn through it. Then thread the yarn through the remaining stitches a few times. Pull the yarn through the top centre of the hat and weave in the loose ends.

Oh my goodness I have so much respect for people who write knitting patterns on a regular basis. If this doesn't work for you, if you have questions as you're attempting this please let me know. Oh, I know I said that 75 stitches fits a man's head, and it really does, I tried the hat on and it's too big for me. Good thing I wasn't making it for myself. I think somewhere between 70 and 72 stitches is good for a woman's head. This, of course, means that you'll end up with different numbers of stitches between decreases and at the end of each row you decrease. To figure out how to decrease just take the number of stitches you cast on originally and divide it by four or five [whichever it divides into evenly]. Take that number and subtract four and you'll know how often you have to knit and purl stitches together.
Example: 75 / 5 = 15 15-4 = 11; 65 / 5 = 13 13-4 = 9; 55 / 5 = 11 11-4 = 7; and so on and so forth.

Okay, I hope this makes sense. If not at least I realized my dream of making a seed stitch hat.

Apr 13, 2008

post-script

I should mention that I didn't come up with that whole "trust the captain, trust the crew" title on my own. I got it from watching Anne Lamott speak two weeks ago. And she got it from an episode of West Wing. And then she got it tattooed on her leg.

I should mention that going to this event was amazing.

Prior to hearing her and Elizabeth Gilbert [author of Eat, Pray, Love] speak/dialogue I got to enjoy a lovely drive with BFF from Santa Cruz to Bodega Bay. I have to say that we always have a great time in the car together. There's good music, good conversation, and I generally cry on our longer drives, and this drive being a longer one I did cry as we started to talk about dealing with the reality of me leaving.

I got to spend some time with Cousin [Lizzy] and Aunt [Margie] over good food and my new haircut. We enjoyed amazing tortilla chips and the beautiful early spring time weather that Petaluma had to offer us.

I also got to surprise Mamacita and her BFF with my new haircut over a delicious dinner at this amazing Italian restaurant.

The whole day was wonderful. I really should have written about it earlier because I feel like I had so many other things to say about the whole experience that are just no where to be found. They've been lost. It's like Anne Lamott said that night, "You should always have a pen with you because just because an idea is important doesn't mean you're going to remember it." So I've started carrying a pen with me everywhere I go. Just in case....

Apr 8, 2008

trust the captain, trust the crew

Sometimes it is difficult to know where I am headed. I have an idea of the ultimate destination, but I do not know what waits for me between here and there. I know where I am headed now. I know the port in which I am to land. But I do not know what lies in wait for me as I set sail from this sunny port full of friends and family waving and calling, "Bon voyage!" as my boat pulls away from the harbor.

It is possible that the weather will be beautiful. It is possible there will be sunny skies and a favorable wind to get us, my Captain, crew and I, safely to our next destination. Maybe we have enough fresh water and food to get us there without a touch of scurvy or the need to ration our provisions. Maybe we'll be able to rig up a couple of hammocks on deck and take turns napping and reading as we sail from port to port. It might even be the right time of year to see the Gray Whales migrate up north for the summer.

But what if we run into bad weather? What if we encounter Sirens at a moment when I am not well focused on the voyage at hand, but am dreaming of the port that awaits? What if I am drawn to their enchanting music and focus on them and not the dangerous rocks their song seeks to hide? What then becomes of my shipwrecked boat and crew? Is it salvageable? Will we be able to fashion some sort of raft or will we be forced to sit on top of floating luggage, flare gun in hand, until another ship passes by?

As I sit surrounded by my fears I remember that it is not I who captain this ship. The chance and the choice to sail ahead are mine, and on my own the maps, charts and stars confound. But I do not interpret or chart our course alone. I seek the guidance of my Captain and trust the crew He's hired for this journey. He has navigated rougher waters than these, though never before with me in the boat. And so it is with both trepidation and excitement that I ready myself for the journey ahead, thankful for that the Captain of this vessel is not me, but that I am on board and ready to set sail.

Apr 7, 2008

caffeine headache

It's official. I'm addicted. I had my first caffeine headache today. And I hope I never have one again. I suppose I could have remedied it much sooner than I chose to by simply making myself a cup of coffee at home. But then where would my perfect unplanned, all of a sudden day off be. It would mean I wouldn't need to go to Favorite Coffee Shop and sit with my laptop and my thoughts. It would mean I would have to get straight down to unplanned day business after going on a wonderful walk with my housemate in Niscene Marks. It would have meant that instead of watching several episodes of Sex And The City and knitting BFF's leg warmers [they're almost half way done!] I would have had to get directly in the shower and start my day... or worse: clean the disaster area that is masquerading as my room.

I decided that wouldn't do. And I also wanted to really experience this thing they call a caffeine headache for a few hours so I could see what my love of coffee has really gotten me in to. Oh sweet addiction... how much I adore you.

So now I am enjoying my second cup of coffee at Favorite Coffee Shop and am looking forward to the rest of the unplanned all of a sudden day off:
Jeans shopping
New round brush to help with the styling of new short haircut
Perhaps time with BFF
New skein of yarn or two
Movie by myself [one of my favorite guilty pleasures].

I mean really who doesn't love a day that is supposed to be spent at work under florescent light that suddenly turns into a day with no real agenda spent under beautiful April sunshine, with the added perks of good coffee, clothes, and good friends?

Apr 4, 2008

breast feeding

When I was somewhere between the ages of four and five my mom got kicked out of a bakery in Cannon Beach for breast feeding my sister. I have always considered this a great offense. When I think about it I am still appalled they were asked to leave for doing something so natural. It's not like it was overly public. My mom can be very discrete and sneaky when she wants to be, and while I've learned my lessons in modesty, or lack there of, from her I can say with confidence she chose to use discretion at that particular time.

I bring this up because this morning over coffee at my favorite coffee shop (seriously my love for this place and its coffee is bordering on obsession) I looked up to find a mother breast feeding her child. This elicited several emotions:
Shock. I think this is the first time inside a business I've seen this occur.
Embarrassment. Every time I looked up from my computer she was directly in my line of sight and while she's doing this in public it is still a very private thing.
Awe. The comfortability this requires with one's self is impressive.
Love. What a beautiful thing for a mother and child to share.

I am amazed every time I think about birth and children and the ways our bodies are designed to not only produce and grow, but to nourish them. How amazing! Then I start thinking about the fact that my children are already living inside of me, they already, even if very miniscule in size, exist. I can only think about it for a little while before my mind starts to go crazy. I start thinking of myself as a baby factory or something crazy like that. I was created to do more than just produce children, but what an honor to have that be one of the things innate to who I am.

What a gift. What a big decision. Do I, do we, want to consciously choose to bring a new life into this world? I am, of course, no where near being able to make this decision. I mean there are less traditional ways to have children, and it is not a choice to take lightly. But it's not the time. There are other things that need to be produced, nurtured and given time to grow, blossom and bloom before kids enter the picture, become part of my life. And for now those ideas, those dreams are what I hold close, care for, what I nurture and grow.

Apr 2, 2008

betwixt and between

I don't want to be in between anymore. I am tired of living between homes. I am tired of living between families. I am tired of living between one and the other.

I am tired of not being any one place completely. I am in Santa Cruz, but looking ahead to life in Portland. I am an administrative assistant but I am being "phased out" as the end of my employment draws near. I want to be a student but school is still [at least] six months away.

I am tired of looking back at memories and ahead to plans I've made. I wonder if I ever really spend time in the present. If all I have is today shouldn't I be spending at least some time here? But at the same time it is the memories made and the plans ahead that seem to make life so sweet.

I am neither here nor there. And I am annoyed.

Mar 31, 2008

stereotypes

There are all sorts of stereotypes out there, most of which I try to avoid like the plague. I like to be open-minded. I try to avoid pigeonholing anyone. Inevitably I do stereotype. Unavoidably I fall into stereotypes others have when I stumble into a dumb blonde moment or confess that my appreciation and ability in the areas of writing and reading far exceed my appreciation and abilities in the areas of math and science (excluding my beloved social sciences).

There's a stereotype I've been trying to avoid for a few months. I tried really hard. I convinced myself I didn't want that change. I wanted to let the changes remain internal. I wanted the indications of said life change to be subtle. I didn't want to broadcast it or make a big deal of it. So I held out as long as I could. I was stubborn and made excuses. But truth be told this change has been patiently waiting for five or six months. And maybe everything else was just a catalyst, was just what flipped the light switch into the ON position so I could see how much I really wanted it. Regardless of what made me say yes instead of no, I've done it.

BEFORE



DURING



AFTER


Mar 25, 2008

intimidation

I have this belief that the gifts I give indicate how much I love that person. The more money, time, thought, effort I spend on the gift the more they mean to me.

This year for Christmas my family drew names. One of the names I drew was my cousin, Lizzy. She is one of my very best friends and also happens to be incredible at giving me exactly what I want, even if I didn't know it until unwrapping it. I instantly felt pressure to give her the most amazing gift ever. Along with the gifts I give indicating how much someone means to me I also feel like I must one-up myself each time I give a gift. I was very happy with the last gift I'd given her [a one of a kind HKC original painting] which meant that I had to really deliver this time. So I called her sister and her husband for hints. I asked her for hints.

And then, due to an excessive fear of giving a terrible gift, gave her nothing at all.

Shortly after Christmas I called and explained all of this to her. And I am pleased to announce that after continuing to psych myself out for three consecutive months I have purchased her Christmas gift. No, I'm not going to post what it is because she reads this little blog of mine [Hi Liz!].

So come Saturday we'll have Christmas in March and all will be well again. Until May 29, her birthday.

PS. If all I've ever given you is a gift card please don't be offended. Rules are meant to be broken.

Mar 20, 2008

unexpected

There are people, places and things that normally encourage me. Not normally as in on a regular basis, but normally as in typically, usually, as in it doesn't surprise me to hear it from them/get it from them:

PEOPLE
my mom
my sisters
my cousins
Erica Sue
Doug [Yes, my therapist. I'm that girl.]

PLACES
East Cliff
the State Park exit ramp [there's an amazing view of the ocean]
Mount Hermon
Doug's office
Verve
Cannon Beach
that bench that overlooks Sea Cliff beach

THINGS
the Word
good books
coffee
music

Then there are the people and places I don't expect, the ones that catch me off guard, the ones for which I am unprepared. These experiences are such gifts, are so wonderful. I had one such experience today amidst the pre-Easter, pre-Isaiah Project frenzy and it turned a day that, if I were using previous days as predictor, I would have tended to be emotional and trying into one that has been full of joy and laughter.

Thank you dear friend.

Mar 17, 2008

brave faces and proper grammar

I put on a brave face.  I smile when I see familiar faces.  I smile when I see friends.  I smile when I see the people it's supposed to be okay to cry with.  The people I can just be with.  Because I should be okay.  Because it's not supposed to be hard for me.


Sometimes the way things are supposed to be and the way things are differ.  The way things are supposed to be and the way things are now differ.  I am dreaming different dreams.  Not new dreams, but dreams that have, until recently, seen less light, been given less attention.


I am learning to love these different feelings and no longer neglected dreams.  I am learning to welcome solitude and find pleasure in time alone in ways I've not done before.  I am rediscovering the feeling of a paintbrush in my hand and the way my fingers grip the pen as I strain to write as fast as I think.


But these rediscoveries, these new feelings, these dreams all fill spaces that were filled with different discoveries, feelings and dreams.  The transformation from one discovery to the other, one way of feeling or dreaming to the other has been painful.  A pain I thought I knew, but from this side of things it feels different.  There is no one else to look to but the person I see in the mirror.


The tears are mine and I have caused them.


The heartache is mine and I am the heartbreaker.


So I put on this brave face and say, "I'm doing well."  Because it is correct both in situation and grammar.

Mar 4, 2008

i am quickly going crazy

I am slowly going crazy
1
2
3
4
5
6
Stop.
Crazy going slowly am I
6
5
4
3
2
1
Stop.
Seriously.
And maybe not so slowly.

Feb 24, 2008

all things new

I love the rain.  I LOVE it.  I love watching the rainwater running along the edge of the street, in ditches, tearing down streams and rivers swollen with the extra water.  It's all moving so quickly.  The old is being washed away.  And the way it smells: clean, fresh.  I love it.

I was walking from one building to another this morning as we set up for this morning's service and it just started pouring.  Everyone else outside was huddled under eves or making themselves as small as they could under their umbrellas.  But I walked through it, face up, eyes open with a big grin on my face.  I could just feel it making things new.  Clearing away the groggyness of not enough sleep, washing away the sadness, and bringing with it joy.

And the colors after the rain are so vibrant!  The soot, dirt, and exhaust have been washed away and everything is so verdant, so brilliant, so new.

As I write my mind immediately goes to baptism, to Jesus and the fact that we are made new in Him.  And I love that.  It makes the rain even more beautiful.

Feb 20, 2008

safe

In His arms I am safe
The worries of today
and tomorrow
and tomorrow
disappear
There is nothing but
love
joy
peace
clarity
safety
and love
did I mention love?

Feb 14, 2008

swollen lymph nodes and happy valentines day

I've been sick since Friday, taking it easy since Saturday, and doing absolutely nothing but wallowing in my sickness since Sunday afternoon.  It was miserable and a blessing in disguise.  I got to rest and not feel guilty about it.  I ate only soup for four days straight.  I set a personal record for number of trips to the bathroom and amount of liquid consumed in one day.  Too much information?  Oh well.  It's true.  I watched lots of movies, read my book, knitted my arm warmers, napped, and slept in.

I am now up and about.  I am at work [taking a break] again.  Looking forward to a weekend away.  Going home to visit my family and am taking wonderful boyfriend home with me to meet them all.

I've never taken anyone home to meet my family.  Ever.  The closest I've ever come is having my extended family present the evening of my junior prom so they could see my date pick me up.  I loved my dress [ivory, empire waist, spaghetti straps, a princess dress without too much poofiness]  and my hair looked like a sheep.

I digress.  I am going home–WE are going home.  We.  The two of us.  There will be trips down memory lane, lots of good food, french press coffee [for mom and me, he doesn't drink coffee, neither does dad], laughter, snow, rain, mountains, and love.  He will meet LOTS of family and close friends.  The people who have mattered most for so many years will get to meet this new person who matters so much to me.

I am nervous.  I have no previous experience with which to compare this.  I think back to my junior prom and how nervous I was to walk down the stairs, to see my boyfriend.  Small potatoes compared to this weekend.  A thousand scenarios run through my mind ending in anything from tears to fist fights, there's even one that ends in a mobster style shootout.  It's silly really.  He's fabulous.  My people are fabulous.  I'm even fabulous now and then, and intend to be on my most fabulous behavior for this weekend.  What could go wrong?  [This question is the kiss of mobster style shootout death.]

It will all be okay.  It will all turn out how it is supposed to turn out.  So now I take a deep breath, glance at the lily on my arm, and remind myself that each day has enough worries of its own, and I've been out of the office long enough to have plenty to worry about right here and now.

Mobster style shootout or not this weekend will be one to remember.

Jan 26, 2008

a weekend [mostly] alone

With friends and boyfriend away at Snow Camp it's been quiet. I have missed this quiet. And if I'm being perfectly honest I have missed being selfish with my time. I have done things I want to do. I have watched movies I wanted to watch. I have created things I want to create, first for others, and soon for myself.

I went to bed last night wishing I had more time like this. I thought about how nice it was to only ask myself what I felt like doing, how nice it was to only wonder what I was in the mood for for dinner that night, how nice to consider what movie I felt like watching. All this time alone seemed so rich...until Clint called today. And then I realized how much I missed him, how much I missed my friends, how much I missed spending Saturday afternoons with them.

It has been wonderful to create all on my own. To have time to spend all day knitting, run errands, come home and realize I want to spend all night knitting as well! I have loved having time to learn new knitting techniques and tricks [Intarsia and Fair Isle to start], to create things for friends and something for myself as soon as I post this.

I love this time to just do what I want. But life gets lonely when your friends are away. So come home soon. I miss you.

Jan 18, 2008

what happens next?

Words, emotions, dreams, memories flood my overtaxed mind.  This life I live is beautiful.  Is more, is better, is much different than the life I imagined living, is at a different part of the story than I expected.  I guess, in my haste to learn the ending, I must have skipped this part.  That was not my intention I assure you.  But, you see, this is my story.  I am eager to see what happens next.

Jan 17, 2008

waiting to be set free

All I want to do is knit.  That's all.  I don't want to come in to work.  I want to put on cozy socks and a warm hoodie, make myself a pot of french press, put on some music and knit for hours.  I want to finish my current knitting project (a pair of sleeves, the pattern is from a book on loan from dear Sarah SD).  I want to make fingerless gloves for my sister for her birthday.  I want to make more scarves for all the people whose lives inspire me to create patterns just for them.  I want to knit myself a hoodie.  I want to try new patterns and yarns and techniques.  I want to buy and borrow books with more and more elaborate patterns and projects.  I want to knit a bath mat for the bathroom that, one day, I won't have to share with two little girls (who I love dearly, just for the record).

I want to be creative.  I want to watch my creativity click and clack back and forth, row by row, in front of me the same way I watch these words appear on the screen as my thoughts transfer from neuron to neuron until they reach my fingertips.  I want to express myself in as many ways as possible.  Because I have thoughts and ideas and paintings and songs and stories and scarves inside my head just waiting to be set free!  

I just don't have the time.  Or rather I have not made the time.  So I will make time.  Because all these things waiting inside me are driving me crazy!  They beg, entreat, beseech and implore me to get up.  To do something about them–do something with them.  To stay up late or get up early and CREATE.  To acknowledge my Creator by creating, using the gifts He's given me.

And there are so many reasons not to.  There are so many excuses.  And they all are true-ish.  They are plausible arguments in favor of waiting to create.  Waiting until I have a place of my own where I can spread out and create spaces for each of my creative endeavors.  Waiting until the more pressing tasks and chores are completed.  Waiting until there is money to purchase books, yarn, patterns when I have so much left over yarn that it wouldn't be any sort of challenge to make something with what I have left over.

I am done waiting to be set free.  I am ready to create.  To give these ideas and projects places to live and room to breathe fresh, clean, ocean-infused air.

Jan 4, 2008

learning slowly


I'm in the office on a Friday morning.  A day I am not usually here.  Why?  Because I left the wire I need to reattach the tailpipe of my car on my desk when I left last night.  And to look up some phone numbers so I could cancel one and make another appointment.  Why?  Because my car doesn't feel like starting on a regular basis anymore.

On the upside I will get to sit inside and enjoy the amazing rainy weather today.  I will get to watch movies under a blanket and hopefully finish a knitting project that has been left unfinished for far too long.  I will also, at the end of the day, get to spend the evening devouring sushi with good friends, or rather my wonderful boyfriend and his good friends.

When things like cars, computers, cellphones and iPods refuse to start/crash/die/whatever my first reaction is alway annoyance.  My head is filled with screams of, "How dare this piece of technology be unable to serve me and make my life easier!" and, "Why today!?  Why today!?  Don't you understand how many things I have to do today!?" and of course at least a few choice cuss words cause I'm classy like that.  And then after the annoyance and fits of internal rage have calmed down I find myself taking a few deep breaths.  I mutter a prayer in a somewhat facetious tone which tends to progress into one that is scared but grateful.  I realize that if I don't make it to the west side to have coffee with my friend she will understand.  And in fact it worked out better for her this morning to not have coffee.  Imagine that.  Then I called my mechanics and rather than hearing that they were swamped with all their other customers they said they'd be able to get me in on Monday morning first thing, and get me the oil change I've needed for the past 1500 miles.  And then, just after canceling my counseling appointment, my aforementioned wonderful boyfriend called me, told me that canceling my appointment was silly, and he'd be here to pick me up and take me to breakfast and then to my appointment in 30 minutes.

Does my car work?  Not really.  Is everything going to be okay?  Yes.  You'd think I would remember that since I've got it tattooed on my arm.  I think sometimes I am a slow learner.