Thursday, December 29, 2005

Symmetry and matching-A must in my crazy world

I never considered myself obsessive compulsive nor incredibly neat. (My sister declares me a hopeless slob, which by the way isn't true). Balanced, well-rounded, an appreciation for order but not to the point of it interfering with daily life. Overall a very healthy socially comfortable approach.

Yet I have an obsession with symmetry and color coordination. If you look at the walls in my office or apartment you'll easily identify the center line and how the objects are balanced on on either side of it. While I do prefer matching items on either side, I can be content with simple balance. My mother used to be frustrated with me regarding the mantle on the fireplace. After dusting, I would frequently arrange objects to create the impression of symmetry. She did not appreciate my order. It also drives her crazy when I adjust the hymnals and the Bibles in the pews at church so that they are symmetrical. Hymns of Zion behind the Zion's Harp on each side with two Bibles in the middle.

I have the same issues with color coordination. I usually only wear one shade of a color and all aspects of my outfit must coordinate with each other. Pink and red should never be on the body at the same time. I have even found clashing shades of black...this drives me crazy. I have been known to change a part of my ensemble to rectify any mis-matching colors. I tend to wear a lot of black and other solid colors to reduce the likelihood of clashing colors.

A great debate within my head has ensued regarding the cause of this obsession. It may be a genetic thing or a sub conscious response to my psychological needs of control. Whatever it at least makes things appear very orderly in what can otherwise be a chaotic life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Age-A number that means nothing

Americans worship youth. It is the ultimate insult for your age to be guessed higher than it is. Only when you are 6 do you wish people think you are older than you are. An article on CNN "Quest for eternal youth starts earlier" illustrates even people in their early twenties are using products to try to look younger. It's as if younger is automatically better.

This understanding of the irrelevance of the number came up at Christmas. I made a comment about people who are 40 and my Grandma asked me if I was 40 yet. I laughed and said no...but she said it with such seriousness that I had to ask..."How old do you think I am?" Well she guessed 35. For those of you who don't know me...we're talking a decade off. I was at first insulted.
I decided that I shouldn't take it personal because
A. She is 80 and therefore everyone under 60 is a "young'n"
B. Last year my birthday card read "To my lovely niece" so I'm not confident Grandma is as sharp as she used to be.

I was bothered by my immediate reaction. Shouldn't I be pleased because she felt I acted with the grace and maturity of someone older? It wasn't because I thought my Grandma should know me better than that. I wouldn't have been insulted if she thought I lived in Iowa versus why is my age relevant? It's not that I wish to be younger than I am. In fact, I'm quite comfortable with being an adult. I like being financially independent, self-sufficient, and able to make my own decisions.

For any of you who wish to return to the junior high years...I'm confident you are psychologically suppressing your memories. Any brief glimpse back to that era sends shivers down my spine. For me it was an era of ultimate uncertainty of who I was, where I was going, and even what I was doing. I made a lot of poor decisions based on unbalanced emotions.

I don't want to be older...nor do I want to be younger. Rather my goal is to live my life in the present. Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34

The more I worry about my age and what I'm not doing. Do I frivolously waste the present moment? Age is irrelevant...only a number to determine when you can drive, smoke, drink, and receive social security benefits.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Family Members

In the old days, family members were only added to my mom's side of the family via birth. Most of my aunt's and uncles were married before I could really remember. I am the oldest grandchild with a host of younger ones to follow. Hence, new babies brought new family members. Now that my cousins and I are a bit older...we have begun adding family members through new ways. My cousin Stephanie brought her fiancée Mikel and my cousin Zach brought his girlfriend Carmen to Christmas.(If you want to hear about rhyming first and last names these two individuals bring the potential for it to the table)

I've decided that only those who are officially committed (i.e. engagement or marriage) should be subjected to my family. It is not that my family is mean, cruel, toxic, or even awful to be with. It's just that we are nuts. Our family is very close. We love just being together. We've been self-contained for so long that new people bring a lot of excitement. Also, this self-containment has diminished our capacity to act in socially appropriate ways when together. As individuals we get by (well most of us), but as a group insanity levels grow exponentially. New people who are not officially committed may become frightened and I wouldn't want my family to be the cause of any untimely break-ups.

New people who are brought experience the family as if they are a science project. They are subjected to endless questions and inside family jokes that they don't understand. We do not let them hide in the shadows to allow them time to process the chaos. Instead we make them stand center stage so that all members of the family have an opportunity to examine the new specimen. They have to repeat themselves numerous times because some family members don't hear so well and others just don't listen. Each new person are asked a series of questions that put them between the rock of looking like an idiot and the hard place of insulting the family. Being the kind individuals they are, they tend to bear the brunt of the joke. My family shows love and acceptance by laughing at you. If we have to be gracious and fake, it isn't a good sign.

Christmas has reaffirmed my long-time original plan. Being A.C. increases the probability this plan will work out. It isn't till we have wedding invitations does my fiancee get to meet the family. I might be willing to share him with a few individuals...but no family functions until things are pretty firm. I would wait until after the wedding but I don't want to offend my family. Nor do I want my husband to feel liked I tricked him into anything. I have come to firmly believe you don't marry a marry a family.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Maintenance Projects-Holiday Traditions in the Vercler Family

Merry Christmas! Spending time with your family this year? Baking cookies, singing songs? To celebrate this holiday season my family engages in large-scale maintenance projects. As I write, my Dad is working dillegently below cleaning out our water system. Due to living in the middle of nowhere, we have a massive water extraction and purification system. The portion based in the house consists of the pump, water softener, de-gasser, and purifier. The water still comes through the facuets an interesting shade of brownish-orange on a regular basis...but a little rust never hurt anyone. I don't help very often here after I dropped the 100 gallon tank partially filled with water. It wasn't a massive disaster...only a minor one.

Traditionally every Christmas, my father engages in this task. It at first it makes perfect sense because he has a bit of extra time off and working in the field this time of year would be decidely counter-productive. The problem is it requires a complete shutdown of water in the house. Thankfully, I arose early this morning at took my shower. My sisters...not so fortunate.

For Thanksgiving this year we pulled out three large bush-type things from the landscaping and removed all the leaves/other fall debris. Pulling out the bushes required roping them with a chain, hooking it to the tractor, and dragging them out. I was not lucky enough to to drive the tractor. They gave me a rake. I did steal the leaf blower for a little bit...which is far more fun. My dad's version of cleaning the landscaping is to cut everything up and handing me a rake. We hauled away at least 4 small trailer loads of debris.

My mother tells me that the annual move the recycling was 4th fo July weekend at my grandmother's. Whatever the holiday, it is expected some major maintenance task with be accomplished. I just hope he turns the water back on. I don't think my sister want the entire family to come over...until post-shower.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Sky is falling...the sky is falling

Ok...not really the sky but the ceiling in my office. This is of course completely my fault. At the office we had a little "Secret Santa" exchange. My co-worker purchased 22 star ornaments for me. Well... I don't really have a place for these at home, so I decided to hang them from the ceiling in my office. (We have a very casual office. Movie posters from our favorite movies are in the hallway, a very large bow on my co-workers door, and so on).

After about killing myself by attempting to hang the stars standing on my desk and swivel chair w/wheels, I was bothered by the one ceiling tile that had a unseemly water stain. The office next to mine has recently been being the efficient person I am, I thought I could just switch them out. I removed the ugly tile from my office, took the pretty tile out of the other office, installed the ugly tile in the other office...all was going well the first 75% of the job.

While installing the pretty tile in my office, I slipped a bit on my desk and thankfully caught myself. The tile was not that fortunate. I dropped it. It broke into 3 pieces over my desk chair. I now had tile debris all over my office, several pieces of a tile, and a rather large hole in my ceiling.

I had to fess up to the maintenance guy what I did. He came and put in a new tile within a matter of hours. The cleaning people even vacuumed out my office (something I don't think they have done since I moved up here six months ago). All and all it turned out pretty well. I put back the stars that fell this morning. Very inspiring. I have not fallen from my desk yet, which if you know me is a shear miracle.

I feel much better about the non-water stained tile but I think I may get a crick in my neck from starring at the ceiling so much.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fighting the Cold

Space heater-check
Second sweater-check
Hot tea-check

Ok now I can work in my office. Upon the arrival of this recent cold front, we discovered the heat to our section of the building...Isn't so much working. To combat the problem, we invested in space heaters to survive until they fixed it. (The maintenance guy wants to wait till my coworker who has the equipment in her ceiling takes a few days off, we promised to "take care" of her and he could come anytime he liked).

The heating system is apparently annoyed at us and now has proceeded to blow out cold air from the vents. We've taped most of them shut but need to leave a bit open for circulation. Needless to say it is really cold in here.

My finger nails are a lovely shade of blue. Combine those with my red hands and otherwise ghostly pale skin...I'm a true American girl.

All suggestions for keeping warm are graciously accepted.

I'm thankful we've only blown the circuit breaker about 5 times, so they aren't banning our space heaters yet. Also...I'm thankful for space heaters otherwise I'd be getting a cold from my office...Which incidentally happened last July due to the chilly office. Oh well...I'd rather work in the cold then in a sweaty locker room.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Greatest Fear of All-Teenagers

I'll admit it, I'm a child addict. Given the choice of spending hours of my Saturday afternoon with children or adults, I'd probably choose the kids. Now people may say this is just a factor my age. My "biological" clock is ticking. This is my physical way of satisfying my emotional desire to contribute to population growth.

I'm not sure this is actually true. I have had my "little buddies" with children for a very long time. I love kids of all ages. 0-12 they are fabulous. I even love teenagers...But they frighten me. The thought of childbirth, weeks upon weeks of sleepless nights with a newborn, fear of my two-year-old tumbling down the stairs, or my 9 year-old deciding that a bebe sized hole through my large picture window would add to it's character, does not send the pains of fear of my body as the thought of being responsible for a teenager.

Teenagers are old enough to get into trouble but not old enough to get out without causing a lot of mayhem. I fear so much for the long-term consequences they may face due to poor decisions. Feeling invincible, desiring autonomy, and discovering the depth of personal belief all lend themselves to making poor decisions. I pray for all teenagers that they may just survive this turbulent time and enter adulthood unscathed.

I'm so thankful that the Lord protected me from my stupidity during that time. As young adults, I think we have a responsibility to help teenagers through this time. Simple acts of kindness and interest in any teenagers life is the greatest gift we can give. While we may be rebuffed, ignored, etc. It may hurt our pride to try and fail...but that's probably good for us anyway.

To all parents raising their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord: Your strength, courage, love, devotion, etc...radiates the grace of God like nothing else.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tights-Surviving Skirts in the Winter

As the beautiful snow falls, it is accompanied by wet and cold. I appreciate the beauty but as a primarily skirt wearer...this poses a slight issue for my legs. I own many wonderful skirts but in the winter they expose my legs to the elements. I'm usually cold as it is, so this does not help things. In the summer it is fabulous.

So I've invested in tights. I have even branched out into patterned and colorful tights. I'd take a picture of my legs to show you what I'm talking about, but I have a slight discomfort with posting that on the I'll refrain.

It is not that I'm opposed to wearing pants and at times I do. But I just plain like wearing skirts. I'm a woman. I like to be feminine. I don't have a desire to try to be "one of the guys." For those women who do, that's your perogitive. But for me, God made me a woman and that is a role I'm happy to fulfill. Submissive, quiet (ok so I have a ways to go on that one), meek, care-taker of the home, all of it works for me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Evils of wrapping paper

Marketing plans and product promotion of the wrapping paper and card industry should be lauded. While I've always been impressed by the marketing of 3M (i.e. scotch tape) or McDonald's as they were able to rise above the noise and identify themselves as the premier leader. Many off us refer to clear plastic tape as "Scotch Tape" or "Value Meals" as coined by McDonald's to refer to any drink, side, sandwich combination. Yet all of these things are filling basic needs.

Wrapping paper and cards are completely useless. I spent at least $15 on wrapping paper and another $30 on Christmas cards for this holiday season. One set of ribbon that was 3.00 only worked for 2 packages. The wrapping paper industry does very little external marketing yet most of us will purchase this product at the holiday season. I hate to think what the mark-up is on such a product but a 100 sq foot role of paper certainly does not cost more than 50 cents to produce yet is sold for an easy $4.00.

Cards same problem. To get a decent looking card for a birthday or holiday runs you an easy 3.00. We have fooled ourselves that this conveys that we care more. When in reality it reduces our expressions of love to commercialized messages. Our ability to express ourselves and share our feelings has been so diminished that we must buy this expression. Half the time we don't even read the inside of the card (Hence my grandma sending me a birthday card "To her lovely niece.")

My suggestion this year. Boycott wrapping paper and cards!!! You'll find yourself with a few extra dollars in your pocket. If you must send a card, pull out plain sheet of white paper from your printer and write down what you really feel.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Life isn't fair!!

Life isn't fair is it. Here I sit in a warm building, working at a comfortable job, making plenty of money to meet my daily needs and then some. All the while I have a family in Illinois who misses me and is looking forward to me coming home for the holidays.

It just isn't right that I've never been hungry due to lack of food, never been thirsty because there was no clean water to drink.

My faith has only been mocked in casual social circles and by political satirists. I have never be forced to choose between my life and my Jesus. I have never been denied work or money due to my belief in Christ.

My body has only been bruised due to my own clumsiness, not by anyone desiring to harm me. I have never doubted the love of my Jesus, my God, my parents, my friends, or my church.

The more I think about it...Life isn't fair is it?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My ISU roommate

Jamie and Me Posted by Picasa

This is my roommate from my time at ISU. (She is the one on the left and I'm on the right) She was fabulous and one of the world's greatest roommates.

Welcome to my world

I've never been much of a blogger. I enjoy reading them imensely but posting...haven't really ventured into that world. I figure this can be my public diary. I'll not necessarily be very entertaining but it is cheap therapy for me. View yourselves as my therapists who just listen. Except you don't get the $100 an hour.