Monday, December 12, 2011


   "Do you want to commit a sin?" he asked.


   "Do you want to commit a sin?" he repeated.


   "How far are you on the homework?"

   I shook my head, "I'll help you if you want, but I'm not going to give you my answers."

   He laughed and made light of it and moved on.

  "Did he really just say that?" the Optimist inside my head asked, "That was such a stark attempt to cheat on this class."

   "Yep. And you knew it was coming," said the Pessimist, "What more can you expect in an immoral world?"

 ...Well, I have to admit that I have the tendency to expect a good deal from it.

  To my mind, cheating isn't an option and morality is something that I imagine is a commonly known part of life. While I have always known that we live in a twisted world, it still sometimes catches me off guard. I mean really, what kind of world do we live in?

  Since when is it acceptable to cheat and slack off? Since when is it right to flirt with everything that happens to be the opposite sex? Since when is getting drunk the best way a person can think of to spend their long-awaited week-ends? Since when should a girl be made fun of for sticking to her beliefs...for being "straight-laced" as some put it (though I think that that phrase is a little weird, considering that the opposite would be what, "shabby-laced")? This seriously happened to me (same guy, too).

   He kept hanging around and talking and I was alright with being friends. I made it clear throughout our conversations that I am a Christian. He made it clear that he wasn't. But he kept sticking around, so I figured that maybe he didn't really get my point. He started to ask about getting together in the future. He asked for my number.

 "You just want to be friends, right?" I asked. Hey, don't judge. It's an awkward question, so I saw no reason to make it more awkward by dancing around the issue.

 He, however, did just that. He danced a full tap routine around it and then said something like, "I don't meet the requirements."

 In that conversation, I told him quite pointedly that I won't date anyone who is not a Christian. Jesus Christ is the reason for my life, and the man that I marry simply has to share my love of God with me. Without God, life is a humorless joke, and a marriage without God would be the same.

 The next time I saw him, he gave me a hard time for being "naive" and started to teach me about how dating works.

 "If a guy asks for your number, he isn't your boyfriend," he said, in his most patronizing voice.

 "I know," I said, getting pretty peeved.

 ... sigh.

 I know I'm naive, but hey, at least I make sure I know where I stand with people. I'd rather come off as naive than to lead a guy on who might think that difference of religion is the same as difference of book or movie preference.

 And anyways, the good thing is this: even if I am awkward and blunt about things and "straight-laced"... that probably means that whoever I marry will be "straight-laced", honest, and able to accept me in all of my weird naivety.

 So, to all of my fellow young, Christian women out there who are trying to live their lives the way God wants (despite the many pitfalls and ridiculous short-comings we are all plagued with), keep it up!

 Be naive... be Pure.

 Wait for the right guy, and who cares what the wrong guys think? After all, as Amy said in Little Women, "You don't need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he's the right one."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Ultimate Crime

   So, maybe it's just because I've seen too many cop shows and sci-fi movies, but my brain works in what might be considered abnormal ways. My imagination can run a bit rampant when it is fueled by too many strange books, stories, or movies... or even just ideas planted here and there along the way. In my defence, my friend has agreed with my about the theory I will now share with you.

   My theory is this: Nighttime in a corn maze is one of the best settings imaginable for a grisly, blood-chilling, headline-making, horror movie-esque crime.

   You may be wondering what caused this realization. That's understandable... I mean, it isn't really the sort of thing that just pops into one's mind for no reason at all. But don't worry. I had a reason.

   Tonight, I went to the corn maze with my friend and a group of her friends. Queue rabbit trail: Is it weird that most of the parties I go to are comprised of people I don't know? Not that it's a problem, I actually enjoy it. Meeting new people can be a fantastic and fun time. Or it can be incredibly awkward and embarrassing (I'm okay. I don't want to talk about it. My therapist has it under control). But really, despite the odd disaster here and there, I like it. And people say I'm not adventurous. Anywho, where was I? Ah, yes, the corn maze.

   Let me set the mood for you....

   The night was dark and the chill air stretched still and silent over the land. Small tufts of clouds drifted over the thin, yellow sliver of a moon which hung timid and low in the sky. The corn field lay covered in a coating of eerie white fog. Not a sound was to be heard from within, not so much as a rustling of leaves in the wind or  a drop of rain splattering on the ground. Hired hands moved quickly about their work, a heavy silence lingering as they moved in and out of the shadows.

   Yeah, so it was kinda like that as we made our slippery way out to the maze tonight. As we walked past the flaming torches that lit the entrance to the maze, the title "Children of the Corn" flitted briefly through my mind. Wait, isn't that some terrible kind of horror movie that I've heard of somewhere? I chose to ignore that thought and for a little while, I felt like Harry Potter on his quest to find the Goblet of Fire. Except not. But you know, I'm a nerd and I have the ability to imagine that things are way more awesome than they really are.

   After trudging around for awhile enjoying the cool night air and the company of these friendly strangers, I decided that the maze wasn't too creepy. I mean, I wouldn't want to be alone in the maze, but I was having fun as things were. Then we decided to play a game. The first step in this game was for one person to run off by themselves into the maze and eventually the others would scatter out and find them. The person left alone at the end, of course, would lose.

   While this game sounded fun, I imagined that I might get a bit creeped out if people began to disappear from behind me and I ended up alone. To stave off that eventuality, I decided to volunteer to be the one who ran off alone in the beginning and ended up with a crowd of people by the end. This all sounded like a good plan in my mind.

   I wandered for awhile around the maze, slipping and sliding my way along (and entirely unsure of where I was) until I reached a clearing and waited as instructed. It was a bit eerie, being all alone. At first, I distracted myself by admiring the airplanes flying by on their way in or out of the nearby airport. I have to say, they were really quite impressive and pretty as they soared in and out of the ghostly clouds all lit up. Nerd moment: It was a little bit like being in Star Trek and watching the Enterprise take off. Except not as awesome. But it was pretty spiffy.

   After a little bit, my situation began to sink in. The corn maze is a perfect place for a horrible crime to be committed. It's dark, so the victim wouldn't see their danger until it were to late. It's a maze, so it's unlikely that they could find their way out in time. It's a Halloween type thing, so nobody would be disturbed to hear screaming. It's muddy, so running would be difficult. And it's a maze, so who knows when the evidence would be found. Creepy right?

   So there I stood, just waiting for the hunchbacked farmer in red plaid and overalls to squelch his way out of the many corn maze paths with an axe swinging at his side. That's when one of our group showed up and told me how eerie she thought this place was. I agreed. And I was happy that she was there and that she wasn't a plaid-wearing, mud-squelching, axe-murdering farmer.

   Anyways, so that's what I think about corn mazes. I hope you enjoy that thought next time you visit your local corn maze. Just kidding, enjoy yourself. I did; I had a great time. Corn mazes are fun! .... so long as no one with murderous intentions is around.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Day I Became a Black Belt

   Here's a brief overview of the more recent events in my life:

   My Mom was at work a few days ago, minding her own business, when she found a beautiful green and yellow parakeet outside of her office. She caught him and brought him home. My Dad came up with the most fantastic name for him.

   "Can I keep him?" I asked. 

   "Sure," was the answer, "You know he'll need to be taken care of and fed and bathed and talked to, right?" --that was the condensed version. Any kid who ever owned a pet knows that the above concept takes a bit longer to say. Anyways, I felt like a little kid asking to keep the wild animal she'd stumbled over in the yard. I'd never actually been in that position before, so it felt kind of cool. 

   "Yeah, I'll take care of him," I said.

   "Wait a minute," said the Pessimist, "You don't know the first thing about birds. You'll probably kill him."

   "Oh, I'm sure we'll figure it out," beamed the Optimist, her eyes never leaving the vibrant bird, "He's so pretty."

   "Well, he's nice looking but--hey, wait a second. How do we even know that it's a boy?" 

   "We don't. But he has to be a boy," said the Optimist with complete indifference to the subject.

   "What do you mean, 'He has to be a boy?'... what difference does it make?" asked the Pessimist.

   "If he's not a boy, then the name Dad came up with won't work. And it has to work; it's too good not to use."

   "It's been named already?" sighed the Pessimist, "Well, what's his name?"

   "Birdie Wooster," the Optimist grinned.

   The Pessimist glowered like Roderick Spode, "Leave it to you and Dad to name him something dorky. How many people are even going to appreciate that name?"

   "Any self-respecting nerd would get that," sniffed the Optimist, "At least, any of them who read."

   If anyone reading this blog didn't get that, you should be ashamed and go to the library immediately to brush up on your knowledge of Jeeves and Wooster.

   Anyways, long story short (well, more like short story long), I am now the proud owner of Birdie Wooster, the runaway parakeet. I'm doing my best not to kill him. After the bird adventure, you may well be wondering what the other events of my life are. 

   Well, I had a job interview at a local clothing store. It was a group interview. I think it went well. I wore some killer boots that I stole from my Mom (loooove you, Mom). And yes, "killer" in this context has a double meaning. They looked awesome and destroyed my feet simultaneously. Oh well, they were worth it.

   And in other news, we learned how to choke people today in Judo. I feel really cool. I also feel really cool because for just one day I became a black belt. ... okay, so it's not as impressive as it sounds. I forgot my white belt at home and had to borrow the Sensei's black belt. Even though I knew it was just borrowed, I have to say, I felt a little bit like Jackie Chan. I had to suppress the urge to do one of my cool ninja throws. 

   What can I say? It's the little things in life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Asian Invasion

For the last few weeks, my life has become decidedly more Asian. My life has the tendency to randomly import other cultures as a central interest for certain periods of time, usually involving the languages of those cultures. Tragically, I'm not actually fluent in any other language, but I've picked up bits and pieces here and there.

My life's linguistic experiences began with a dead language: Latin. I still remember bits and pieces, but I think what I gained most was just a decent vocabulary that I would soon discover to be the root words for many of our English ones.

After Latin (and ignoring a very tiny attempt at Spanish) came my temporary infatuation with Russian. I was quite proud of myself for learning a decent chunk of the vocabulary, and some of the alphabet. My Russian faze also included reading Russian literature. I started with Crime and Punishment (which book gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling in my soul--as you can imagine). After all, who wouldn't enjoy a book about an ax murderer? Right? Okay, so it wasn't really the most chipper of books, but I enjoyed it for some reason or other. After Fathers and Sons and Anna Karenina, I decided I quite liked Russian literature, but that I couldn't really recommend that anyone else read it. (Could I really look my sweet, innocent friend in the eye and smile while I handed her such a depressing book?)

Anyways, after Russian came Italian. Italian is quite lovely. I like pasta too, so it worked out nicely.

And now, Japanese has invaded my life. Last week, there was one night that I couldn't sleep at all, so I just lay there with my Japanese vocabulary list circling round and round in my head. Despite what you may be thinking, this was not pleasant. Don't believe me? You try going to sleep with words like "hajimemashite" and "doozo yoroshiku" and "Oyasuminasai" going through your head. Trust me, it isn't quite as soothing as "The Song that Gets on Everybody's Nerves" or "The Song that Never Ends".

Anyways, the difference between my previous cultural/linguistic obsessions is that this is the first of them all to cause me physical pain (let alone contribute to my random night of insomnia).

As a part of what I deem "The Asian Invasion", my Judo class has been making me think of Asia. After all, it's a martial art. Tragically, I like to focus more on the "art" part of "martial art"... and forget the part that involves intense physical training and exercise. Charlie Brown the Sensee didn't forget, though.

"Down and back five times!" came the order.

Now, if you remember, we're speaking that mysterious language used by athletic people, so "five" doesn't mean "five"... it means "five times three". Yep, my favorite lie had returned in the form of wind-sprints to punish me for complaining.

"You knew it was coming," said the Pessimist in my head.

The Optimist tried to catch her breath and said, "But maybe since we're doing this, he won't make us do as many push-ups and other stuff."

"Wanna bet?"

Needless to say, the Pessimist was right and I soon found myself doing regular push-ups, diamond push-ups, wide push-ups, push-ups that are so weird and hard I'm not sure what to call them, pulling myself across the mat using my elbows and toes, flipping over across the mat, pushing/pulling myself across the mat using my legs, falling repeatedly on my way across the mat, doing the grapevine and running some more (though not wind-sprints).

Death. That was a pretty good description for my feelings about that. I thought I was going to die. For those of you who may not know me well... I'm not an athletic girl by nature. I'm most at home doing school or art or some kind of work that allows me to drink coffee while doing it.

"Oh, suck it up," the Pessimist rolled her eyes, "You signed up for this, so deal."

"But I don't like this," the Optimist moaned pathetically, "I signed up to be a ninja, not to put myself into the position of doing push-ups. I think push-ups were designed by sadists."

The Pessimist sighed and turned her attention back to the Sensee. He was explaining something in his low growl of a voice that is almost never loud enough to hear. Then he turned and pointed at me, a horrible gleam in his eye.

"Come here," he said.

I was going to be the example. The guinea pig. The one who had to figure out what the heck he meant by his instructions and follow them without knowing for sure the consequences. I stepped forward.

He grabbed my Gi in the usual way (one hand at the collar-ish thing, the other on the back of the sleeve). I followed suit.

"Now sweep my leg," he growled.

After a moment's hesitation (as I tried to figure out just how he expected me to do this) I kicked his ankle.

"I can do this job," squealed the Optimist.

"Just wait," the Pessimist said, her tone like that of one condemned.

"Then, so that she can't do that, I can do this," he said, and demonstrated his move again, except this time he actually used his example student. My leg went right out from under me and down I went: BOOM.

Some people laughed. I laughed. I went to stand up and instead found myself lifted (with what I think was only one hand, but maybe two) swiftly, easily to my feet.

"Wow," said the Optimist, a bit subdued, "He's terrifying and strong enough to back it up. Scary."

"I knew it," said the Pessimist, "I always know when something's disturbing."

"Oh come on," said the Optimist, "You thought this class was a bad idea and you were wrong. This class has increased not only the physical health of the students, their flexibility, and their ability to do awesome ninja moves, but has also been very fun."

The Pessimist paused, "You know? You're right," she said with a little half-smile.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Ninja Education

When I was a little tiny girl, I took ballet lessons. I wore my pink tutu, donned my pink slippers, and learned to dance under the careful instruction of Mrs. Waddle. No joke. I don't remember her very well...but I remember my two years of ballet lessons.

Fast-forward a few short years to when I played indoor soccer with the rest of the little girls. I was terrible at it. I remember one time when I had a chance to make a goal... it was so close. I stood there for a second (though it seemed longer in my childish mind) wondering what to do. I had the ball (me! It was nothing short of a miracle that I had the soccer ball). I could see my talented teammate (in reality, she may have been awful. I just remember her being "cool"). I could hear Mom and Dad's excited voices telling me to go for it. Kick the ball into the goal! Score a point! Go! Fight! Win! ... and call me when you get back darling, I enjoy our visits... Oh, right, Edna hadn't been created in all of her animated glory at that point. I tell ya, the 90's were some sad times.

Suffice it to say that it was all a bit to much for my brain at that point in my life and so I just passed the ball to the "cool" girl and never made a goal. At the end of the season, my coaches gave me the award for "Cheering On My Teammates".

I don't want to talk about it.

Move forward in time to Jr. High Sports Camp. I didn't like basketball or soccer that much. Archery... frisbee.... meh. I liked volleyball. I still like volleyball. But just because I liked it didn't mean I had skill. And I didn't have skill. I also got the "Encouragement Award" for volleyball.

Now, in my second year at college, I did the unthinkable. In spite of my history with athletics and how I have never taken sports seriously... I signed up for a Judo class.

"I'll be a ninja!" the little Optimist inside of my head laughed.

"You'll get your butt kicked," said the Pessimist.

"But in the end, I'll be a ninja. Like Jackie Chan. Like in the movies Karate Kid and Kung Fu Panda. Just you wait," smiled the Optimist.

"You're terrible at athletics. Can you even do ten push-ups in a row?" sneered the Pessimist.

The Optimist was lost in a daydream about my future ninja skills.

Now, at this point you are probably thinking, "Is it really like that in your head?"

I plead the fifth.

On with my fascinating narrative:

As if only to continue my ridiculous career in athletics, Charlie Brown showed up to teach Judo on the first day of school.

Not even joking.

His personality is a bit more gruff than that sweet lovable kid we all know in his striped shirt and his one curly hair. However, in keeping with the spirit of the comic strip, the "Sensei" likes to watch us fall over a lot. I know how to fall over forwards, sideways, and backwards.

I also know how to pin someone down, how to off-balance someone on their knees and how to "sweep the leg"... for all of you Psych fans out there, "Sweep the leg, Gus! Why do you never sweep the leg?"

Unfortunately, the Sensei being as he is an athletic sort of man has decided that we need to be fit as well. A few of his favorite ways to achieve that end are push-ups (no, I can't do ten in a row), sit-ups, and of course, that sacred tool of all athletic sadists: Wind-sprints.

"Five each!" he said.

"Okay," said the Optimist, "That's not too bad."

"Yes it is," groaned the Pessimist.

The Optimist started to reply, but just then, the Pessimist was proved right. "Five" doesn't mean "Five" in gym language apparently. I always thought that five meant, well, five. You know: one, two, three, four, five. It makes sense in Japanese too: ichi, ni, san, yon, go. After all, math is the universal language, right? Wrong. Not in the gym. Not according to the Sensei. According to him, five means fifteen.




I'm not going to lie. I really like Judo. For the first time in the past.... Decade??? I like a sport.

But I hate push-ups and wind-sprints.

With a fury.