February 1999 Archives

The wrong thing

"No matter what I do, I always say the wrong thing," I said.

She lauged bitterly.

I just looked at her and said, "See?"


And this afternoon my brother told me a story of his heart and the earth sighing in unison and my heart sighed with his and with the earth's and suddenly I, like them, was aware of what it is that has been holding me down.

It has been holding me from a hundred different directions, from every possible angle, with more than strength--with a rigidity beyond explanation--so that struggling has been nothing more than a waste of my energy (though I will continue to struggle).

Now my brother has come across the room and he sees me typing this and he shakes his head with frustration, as if to say, "you are wasting time and I have things for you to do."

And though I have sighed with him and with the earth, I am also reminded that in our present form, we never really escape.

Our hearts are turned toward the light and they are illuminated clearly. I bow my head and cover my face to protect it from the sudden brightness. And I am thankful that I live a life immersed in Hope.

Because one thing is revealed that we cannot deny.

We are broken.

The jury's out

"You'd never make jury duty, anyway," he said to me, a twinkle in his eye.

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, three reasons. First, you're college educated. Second, you're obviously just very nice. And third, you're a professed Christian."

I laughed.

"Really?" I said. "I mean, I guess that makes sense. But it seems rather silly."

"Well, it's just true. No defense attorney in their right mind would allow you to sit on a jury."

"I guess I'll just have to find three people even more 'undesirable' than I am," I said.

"Yup," he replied, "that'd work."


k i n d n e s s

I have been practicing kindness.

It is a thing that takes a great deal of practice. Needless to say, it has been difficult at times.

Kindness is difficult to spare 1) when I'm driving, 2) when people yell obscenities at me, 3) when I haven't slept more than five hours, and 4) when I'm anywhere near anyone I love.

But today, there have been numerous times when it has helped to be kind.

In every part of life, kindness looses none of its power: it always has a tendency to calm fears and soothe hurts, it restores friendships, it encourages people to listen.

Not that you don't know this. If you're like me, you know it well. You just have to work at it.

Or you forget.


I just want to point you all to the funniest thing I've read in weeks.

Thanks, Don!


The world feels different on three hours of sleep.

I'm not sure I like it.

Some bits of this and that

It's the middle of the day on Tuesday, and like all Tuesdays I feel the weight of the week ahead of me and the sleepiness from the long weekend behind me.

I am really impartial about days most of the time. I don't complain on Mondays about them being Mondays. I always liked the sound of the day, anyway.


It has a nice round sound to it. Speaking it feels round.


But Tuesdays are different, and I feel for some reason that it is okay to call them tired.


Something you don't know about me is that my fingers sweat a lot.


This is the in between season. Its redemption comes from the way it encourages anticipation.

A full weekend

Amy and I began Valentine's Day in a room full of twinkletoed Cubans.

After watching the Portland Winterhawks brawl their way to a simple victory, we wandered to Amy's apartment, satisfied that our Saturday could have ended at that exact point. A good enough day.

But Amy is tutoring a beautiful young woman from Chile, and this beautiful young woman was throwing a party up the street.

So I flipped a coin.

I slapped it onto the back of my hand and declared. "tails, we stay home" moments before Amy stretched on the couch, yawned, and said, "we really should go."

I was expecting as much.

Veronica lives with roommates on the entire upper floor of a turn-of-the century house-turned-apartment-building.

In one room, a crowd of people mixed drinks with their metaphors, laughed in several languages, and kissed the necks of strangers.

The hallway coming straight from this room was filled with people seeking moderate silence.

The hallway led to a room filled with the aforementioned Cubans and their dates, everyone sidestepping to this or that Latin rhythm.

As Amy and I are taking a Salsa class (where we are also taught to favor one foot for the Cumbia, and where we walk happily to Meringue), we spent the good part of the evening practicing in this room.

And half an hour into Valentine's Day, we decided to head home.

After dancing one more.

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

It is the day before Valentine's Day, and I haven't made reservations anywhere.

Which is okay, because I am already planning on making a pair of fancy pot pies from scratch, crust and all.

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday, and as I doubt I'll be anywhere near a computer tomorrow, let me encourage you again to wish her well.

I made this for a friend and his wife.

Okay, the sun is shining brilliantly and there is an amazing girl waiting for me.

Happy Valentine's Day, all!


A philosopher sees the earth as a large planet traveling through the heavens, covered with fools.
-Bernard de Fontenelle

Bernard may be right. Especially if he's talking about the young trendy couple in front of me last night in the "cash only" line at the supermarket.

When it was finaly their turn to pay, the husband was standing by the flower display, basically in the entrance.

His young and well made up wife was the one responsible for paying. After all of her items were scanned, she handed the cashier a credit card.

"Is this a debit card?" the cashier asked.

"We use it as a credit card," the young woman said. Her carefully styled hair shook as she spoke.

The cashier stared at her for about five seconds.

"Let me remind you this is a cash only line," she said.

The young woman just looked at her.

The gentleman behind me muttered, "Lame. Can't they read? It's cash only."

At this supermarket, credit cards take an incomprehensible amount of time to process. Partly because the cashiers have to write the receipt by hand.

We waited.

And to ensure we had an accurate idea of this couple, just as the young woman's transaction was finished, her husband pulled out a wad of CASH and proceded to ask the cashier for change.

"A ten, a five, and five ones will do," he said.

Morning blues

This morning I dropped Doug at the airport before coming to work.

He's on his way to visit my little sister, who is turning 21 on Valentine's Day.

(Happiest of happies, Sis!)

Portland has been right in the middle of one storm or another for the last month. Once in a while, someone points out a splash of blue sky, but those are few and far between.

This morning, though, on the way to the airport, I looked up with half open eyes and found myself staring straight at Mt. Hood.

White from the wide base to the sharp peak, the mountain was showing herself from behind her usual winter blanket of clouds.

And the sky all around was blue.


Oh, by the way, I've been learning Perl recently, and I just began recording my journal entries in a database. So this is a dynamically created thing.

And though I expect everything is okay, there's always a chance that this won't work. So bear with me.


Last night, as usual, I went to the gym.

For whatever reason (and there are plenty) I was feeling especially good.

I climbed several "problems" that have been difficult in the past, and though they made me ache and sweat, I didn't fall off of them.

Well, I fell a lot. But I got up each problem at least once.

I can't wait until spring break, when I'm volunteering on a week long trip to Smith Rock State Park.

A week of climibing, camping, and sleeping under the stars. Oh, spring is on the way.

It most certainly is.

A stout bit of encouragement

In an effort to comfort me in my terrible state (sick as can be, for those of you who wonder), the Guinness truck turned the corner and stopped ten feet from my window.

The truck was a MAC of considerable size and shape. The truck's trailer was the part that caught my eye.

Each side was painted sky blue, clouds floating liberally throughout.

And rising from the sky, a monstrous tap, labelled Guinness. Beside the tap sat the darkest glass of stout you've ever seen, with a blonde head to boot.

Now, I'm not plagued by methomania (an irresistible desire for intoxicating substances, again for those of you who wonder), but a pint of Guinness makes my day.

Any day.

I certainly enjoyed it when I sat quietly in the Brazen Head (the oldest pub in Dublin, some say), which was itself not at all quiet. The place was humming with jigs, reels, and the like.

And I enjoyed it on the edge of the world, hanging from the cliffs of Inish More.

And now that I think about it, Guinness simply reminds me of the place where it was born.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 1999 listed from newest to oldest.

January 1999 is the previous archive.

March 1999 is the next archive.

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