Tuesday, August 29, 2006

a sad day for my le sport sac

i got this super cute bag from fran (not to be confused with franNY, and don't ever call fran "franny." you've been warned. i am not liable for the travesties that may befall you from this point on.) anyway, fran and i had a wonderful time frolicking throughout europe, but we did however, spend a lot of time in airports being that our main method of getting from here to there was ryan air (stop the limerick jokes, now.) anyway, we would occasionally pick up a fashion or gissip mag and one apparently had a large spread devoted to le sport sac bags. i commented on how i wanted one really bad and we then flew off to bratislava or dublin or somewhere.

for christmas, craig's family really gets into the gift giving thing and good lord almighty if you don't have an explicit list of everything you could possibly want in all price ranges. this goes for both his dad and step mom (from whom i have received dvd players, computer scanners, big buck gift certificates, etc. this, however, is NOTHING compared to what my sister receives from her in laws. i am pretty sure new cars and trips to europe come into the picture now and then.) anyway, craig's mom is no exception to the gift giving glee. for my list to her, i remember putting an $80 le sport sac on my list. but when she went to buy it, all of them had been given good homes because of their sheer cuteness. she felt bad that she missed the small window of opportunity and i ended up getting a lot of cash from her instead.

after fran and i returned to the states, i had the feeling that fran might not want to see me ever again (at the end of two weeks together, we were a little on edge and something sent us over said edge. it had to do with a ride back from o' hare, a few english £'s, some chips, and a monster truck driver named george with a mohawk to rival travis barker's, any day.) she was not mad for too long though, just busy being that between thanksgiving and christmas eddie bauer on michigan ave tends to get a little swamped. anyway, we were not able to see each other at christmas but one of our friends from chicago came to visit craig. he brought with him "uh, something fran sent, maybe a christmas present or something." it was a shopping bag from nordstrom's that he handed over. THERE IT WAS. MY LE SPORT SAC. i called her immediately and gushed gratitude. "oh yeah," she said. "don't you remember in that gossip mag? the one with the tell all about posh and becks? well, yeah, there was an ad in there and you said you wanted one."

now i remember why you are my best friend, fran.

so here is where the story gets sad. i have been having issues with my le sport sac for a while now. some of the seams are ripping out and i have been avoiding sending it in because i love using it so much and i literally get one or two comments about how cute it is.. EVERYTIME I TAKE IT OUT. it is kind of like that commercial where the lady comments about "how cute they are" (referring to this other lady's twins) and she is like "oh yeah, i have them in lime green, too" (referring to her shoes.) but it happens to me in reverse.

check-out girl at target: whoa. soo cute!

me: i know, it is weird how much she looks like her dad...

check-out girl at target: no i mean the bag? where'd you get it!?!?!!

and i swear that this purse has caused about 5 other people to run immediately to the store to purchase one. my other best friend, ingrid, keeps asking me if i don't mind that she and her twin "copied" me. my friend, lindsay "just found one" laying around. never has one fashionable item caused such a wave in among my circle of friends. (the debate over gaucho pants, however, did cause a considerable stir.)

anyway, i have to send it in for repairs and i am not sure what i am going to do without it. so, here's to you, le sporty, i will miss you while you are gone. i guess i'll just stuff everything in a target bag till you get back.

Monday, August 21, 2006

from corn rows to rows of corn...

today i went to walmart. (yeah, i know. and can i say that walmart must feel no remorse for a lack concern for the environment or humanity itself?) anyway, i went to walmart and i saw a group of amish women.


the first few months here in se mn were really, really hard. it was cold, über cold in the middle of that january. we suddenly went from a cozy one bedroom apartment to a big, drafty house. i had a newborn who screamed every time she moved more than .5 mm away from my boob and a husband who fled everytime he perceived this scenario would take place. i felt really alone. my sister was thousands of miles away in sweden and my best friend fran was in chicago. all normalities were gone. i kept rreferring to the "iga" as "jewel" or "dominicks" and i was having 24 hour walgreen's withdrawal. what the heck do people do when they need hemorrhoid cream at 3am?!? if my car wouldn't start, how would i get somewhere without the 'el'? at least i could walk to the "jewel" on a sidewalk. but i was a long way from chicago.
i remember grocery shopping once in the first few alienating months in this little town and seeing an amish couple at country market (iga.) i was so shocked, i mean you see a lot of crazy stuff in chicago, but nothing like this! the dude had a straw hat! the chic was wearing a bonnet! if anyone remembers this story from the first christmas letter i sent out chronicling our first year here i related said event. i exclaimed something like, "i have gone from thugs to bugs, corn rows to rows of corn, and pop! pop! to whoa, nelly!"

*flashback from the flashback?*

so here, almost five years later, i am at walmart looking at the "crabs" (lobster) with franny and gus and i see this pack of amish with their plum colored dresses held together with tiny stitches and straight pins, clad in black bonnets. they were carefully eyeing boxes of cereal and containers of soda, checking and rechecking their lists. i kinda of stood there, quiet for a minute (my kids were enthralled with the crabs, i had a second) and reminisced about the last 4.7 years here, how much i had grown and what i have been through, and most of all how much i miss that wonderful city. all those feelings of being in a strange place came back to me.

this story goes a little deeper though, because a few days ago, a friend of mine from our old church in chicago put one of his movies out for its debut on myspace. this friend will always hold a special place in my heart because he was one of the kids in the youth group we worked with and honestly, he was one of my favorites. i loved his heart and i knew he would do a lot with his life someday. when i saw his movie for the first time, i was floored because i felt like there was so much i had missed out on. he grew up. he wasn't a kid anymore, he had grown into a man. i was so proud of him.
the other thing that struck me was how i had almost forgotten about the culture of chicago. i still miss my friends and the rhythm of the city. i still get annoyed that our town is so "white bread." but for now, i guess i will have to prefer the sound of a freight train to that of the "el" rumbling by.

oh, and if you would like to see the movie i am referring to, cut and paste:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

what a week

you know, sometimes i just want to walk away. well, actually everyday i want to walk away at some point in time. or drive away. just get in my car and drive and keep going. this week was one of those weeks. i often wonder if i have chosen a life that is more stressful than other lives, or if i am just a big baby and i need to grow a pair. i flip flop between the two options, sometimes thinking that my life could be a lot easier if i would have married, oh say, a doctor or an computer genius like my high school crush. they make a lot of money for you and your biggest decision that day is whether to wear paper, denim & cloth jeans with the jimmy choos or skip the jeans altogether and wear the newest betsey johnson frock. (i know that not all doctors wives or geek wives act like this... i am just using these sometimes lucrative professions as an example, people!)
or do i just complain to much? i mean, lots of people's husbands have to leave their wive's birthday dinners early because of suicide calls. or well, tons of ladies walk into church every sunday with a new rumor swirling around about them. don't you stay up till 2 am with the latest college romance break-up casualty, too?
anyway, this week has been particularly stressful. you know it is going to be bad when your son who never ever pukes (i have seen this kid vomit a total of 2 times his whole life) walks into my room and starts whimpering and barfing on my carpet. i still can't figure out what the deal was; he was perfectly fine the rest of the day but he claimed he ate chicken that was sitting out since the night before. (it was impossible but pretty funny that he chose that as his alibi.) we finally made it down to breakfast and at 8am i hear a knock on the door. it happened to be the little neighbor waif (you all have one, i know) and she walked in my front door and stated that she did not have to be home until 9pm! she was here to babysit!
the day got progressively worse as she stole money from my 4 year old's piggy bank, shoplifted at the grocery store, told my kids to lie to me, said she had a twin sister who died 5 weeks ago from cancer, and the worst thing ever, ate those hostess snowball cupcake things IN FRANNY'S BED. i have never seen so many crumbs in my life, and remember, i live with craig and 2 preschoolers. i think i have vacuumed that carpet more times since that incident than i ever have since we moved in here 4.5 years ago. i fed this girl 2 meals and was complaining that she was not the best influence on my kids to craig. he kept telling me that she was just troubled and needed attention. stop complaining, jenah! here's your opportunity, you humanitarian! wasn't he that kid 20 years ago? when craig came home at lunch, however, and saw the "lying in action" he promptly kicked her out.
i bet this girl has asked to come into my house more than a dozen times since that morning (remember, it was only 2 days ago.)
here is my conundrum. what do i do with this kid? if i did not have 2 impressionable angel-lambs soaking up every word this sk8tr grl utters, i would take her in in an instant. she does need attention. she says she is in 7th grade but doesn't look a day older than 11. she's dirty. she wears shirts that say "bratty brunette" and "spoiled rotten" and i see her constantly wandering around with no supervision at all. i have seen this so many times living in inner city chicago. a little attention from me could help this girl out in ways i may never see but would always mean something to her. but what of my own kids? i don't trust her as far as i can throw her and the fact that she took a couple quarters out of a piggy bank doesn't speak much of her moral character.
so here i am, caught. caught between a little girl who needs someone, anyone, and my own kids who are watching my every move. what will it say to them if i let a shady little punk into my house? but will it speak more to them that i wouldn't give her the time of day? believe me, she is NOT babysitting my kids. not now or ever. but what if i let her come over once a week to bake cookies with me or something? i am constantly on the "people matter" bandwagon and i feel like it has come back to kick me in the face. what now, pastor's wife?
i decide to pray. i guess it sounds really cliché, but i love my kids too much to have them hurt by my own "good deeds." i want to help this girl, but i also want my home to be a place of love and safety for my children. i really never thought the ministry would make me choose between needy neighborhood kids and my own kids. so, malin and aiden, i hope that someday you read this blog and realize that your mom did not have it all together and i struggle to know what is best for you. sometimes i don't know how to relate to the world around me. so maybe my life is as stressful as other people's lives. i guess not only pastor's wives struggle in how to relate to the world around them.