30 December 2008

News At Long Last...

Free airport wireless saved my day.

No kidding.

I have been on some terrible flights:  flights with crying babies, flights with turbulence, flights with movie systems that don't work, flight with semi-oily Oriental Studies majors who insist on talking to me through the entire flight about learning to read Sanskrit and ask for my number upon landing.  Now, no flight will ever be worse than my red-eye to Bolivia in which we made an (emergency?) landing in Panama to refuel right about the time my NyQuil kicked in, but this one was close.  To make a long story short, I had a headache and an 8 year-old sitting next to me who couldn't possibly be amused by anything that wasn't electronic and making loud beeping noises for five hours.  I tried journaling--my handwriting was infuriatingly poor.  I watched a few videos on my new iPod--that part wasn't actually too terrible, but it was only mildly soothing. 

So when we finally taxied to the gate and I emerged, disheveled and needing some sort of vice (among the list running through my head was a cigarette--although I don't smoke--and a drink--although I could have done that on the plane with the coupons my parents slipped me) so I found the next best thing:  a Starbucks.  One grande 130-degree Espresso Truffle and a glass of water later, I was a bit happier.  
And then I took out my computer for kicks and giggles.  
And there was free wireless.  
Huzzah!  

So now I can blog my woes way and finally share that gossip that I meant to update on days ago but couldn't due to a severe lack of Internet access in the Great White North.

It all started the Friday of Finals Week.  The "Meh, Greek" mood didn't actually wear off for about five days, so by Friday night it was still in full force.  I trudged through down the arrivals ramp at BWI towards baggage claim, looking forward to sleeping through the ride home and forgetting papers, books, and professors' dirty looks when I saw my dad.  And my brother-in-law, Scott.  No Mom, no Becky.  

Odd.

In the first place, I had no idea that Scott and Becky were going to join my parents to welcome me home, and that only Dad and Scott were waiting at baggage claim was especially strange.  My brain was far too stretched by gamma nasals and third declension noun paradigms to think much of it, so I figured that Mom and Becky were waiting in the car.  As I walked past the security post, I yelled to Scott, "Hey the whole family's here!"  He smiled, which is rare for him (he's not a particularly emotional person) and yelled back, "We brought a sign for you!" and held up a green sign that he'd been carrying.

It read:  "Welcome Home, Aunt Cindy!"


I stopped. 
I read.
I took off my hat.
And then I did what any 21 year-old younger sister who'd just finished finals week, was dead tired, and had just found out she was going to become an aunt would do:  I burst out sobbing, right in the middle of the exit walkway, with disgruntled Washingtonians giving me strange looks as they made their way to pick up their homogenous black Samsonite roller bags at baggage claim.

I still didn't register that maybe Mom and Becky weren't actually in the car circling around the airport and, feeling embarassed at crying in front of two men without any older women around me to be gushy and emotional, I buried my face in my hat just as Mom whipped around the corner with the camera like a paparazzo and Becky emerged from behind a pillar, triumphant with her baby bump and maternity pants, screaming, "I TOLD you she'd cry!!!"  Oh yes, it was a true Lambert family moment.

So that's my news.  I'm going to be an Auntie!!!!  Now I have another flight to catch, hopefully with a great deal more sleep and far fewer annoying electronics.  Maybe I should get used to it if I'm going to be an Aunt.

17 December 2008

The Longer the Waiting the Sweeter the...Gossip?

Check back in seven days for news that I am not allowed to communicate until that time.  

...You can check back before then, too.

15 December 2008

Blogging Woes

There's a Jimmy Dean sausage commercial out that I love: 


It may seem odd, but I've been thinking about this commercial for the past couple days.  No, I'm not inordinately hungry, I'm just not feeling like writing.  I'm "not feeling it".  The fact that the commercial includes anthropomorphic celestial spheres makes me giggle, and so makes the aforementioned lack of "feeling it" more bearable.  Somehow I've convinced myself that I have to write, though, so here I am, embedding a YouTube link and trying to find ways to make a witty story out of the System Update icon that keeps bouncing on my computer screen like a three-year-old who has to use the bathroom.  There's something romantic about writing one's thoughts in a journal, putting paper to pen, getting an ink stain on the side of your hand in the process.  No one has to read it; I could easily lock the journal away in a place where no one would look.  Or, I could trust that my life would be so uninteresting that no one would bother to burn the three calories to open the book and read.  

So why on earth did I make a blog?  Typing is far less romantic and leaves finger goo on my Mac's white keyboard keys, which is far less exciting than ink on the side of my hand and far more disgusting at the end of the day.  (Leave it to Apple to sell a white computer so you have to spend twenty more dollars on the cleaning solution to keep your keyboard from looking like it fell victim to Linus from Peanuts' dust cloud).  I sent a link to my family and friends, so not only am I inviting them to open my journal, I'm asking them to respond.  And not only am I inviting people to read it, I'm placing some unnecessary quota on myself.  "I must make __ entries per week in my blog or my friends/family/anonymous readers who I'd like to imagine exist will stop reading."  The answer was simple, at the beginning:  to let people keep up to date on my life of  globetrotting during the summer of '08.  But it's not the summer of '08 and I'm still writing.  

Why?  

"Be a writer" God says "It'll help you do My work".  So I write--about wedding plans and school and finals week and YouTube links that I thought were particularly witty, all in the hopes of showing the probably 8 people who followed the link in the email I sent them that it is possible to be a Christian and live a Christian life without constantly thinking about sin or church or something they should be doing that's more holy.  I don't want to say it's possible to live the Christian life and be normal, because that's not exactly what was promised, but it is possible to be in the world but not of it.  

So I write.  

And I work at becoming increasingly real...and maybe consistently witty.    

12 December 2008

Happy Finals Week, Part 6: The End.

I just finished my Greek final.  This is how I feel about life right now:

Meh.  Greek.


P.S.  I was on the phone with Kip, due mostly to the fact that we haven't had a non Cindy's-incredibly-stressed conversation in about two weeks and he deserves to be there at the end of it when I finally turn back into myself from the Finals Ogre.

11 December 2008

Happy Finals Week, Part 5: Graphite

In that fondest of finals traditions, I filled a blue book today.  And in that least fond of left-handed experiences, this happened:

No, that's not shadow, that's entirely graphite on my hand.  And that was still with using a paper between my hand and my writing.  

One more day and then the only ink I will have on my hand is from addressing Christmas presents.

10 December 2008

Happy Finals Week, Part 4: Yule

Okay, I love Christmas music.  No lie, November 1st finds me busting out the "Christmas" playlist on my iTunes and getting into the spirit of the holidays thanks to Alvin and the Chipmunks.  That being said, there are some places where playing Christmas music is completely inappropriate:

Funerals.  
Mosques.  
Gatherings of the KKK.  

I thought that list was pretty all-encompassing until this afternoon, when I found myself serenaded by the melodious tones of "Sleigh Ride" while trying to memorize the difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews on the stationary bike at the gym.  Apart from the complete irony that I was studying Judaism during the aforementioned Christmas music incident, this situation bothered me mostly because, well, I was at the gym.  

I'm all about yule and cheer and tidings of whatever one wishes to tide, but at the gym?  No, I don't want to go on a sleigh ride together with you, not while I'm all sweaty and definitely not in my "If you think it's tough to be a cop, try being a cop's girlfriend" t-shirt that has a pair of handcuffs cutely arranged into a heart at the bottom.  I'd rather stay here on the elliptical, ellipticalling as fast as possible just to see if I can get the calorie count from 196 to 200 in the last five seconds of my workout.  I hear no bells caroling, unless you count the guy next to me who keeps nonchalantly dropping his free weights after grunting every time he does a rep.  Seeing as North Park does not posses a hockey team, I'm pretty sure everyone here has their two front teeth, so we're all set, thanks.

Furthermore, I'm pretty sure that anyone there who was trying to work off that extra cup of egg nog really didn't appreciate the reminder of the extra weight that often comes with Christmas.  Thanks a bunch, guy who set the radio station at Helwig, not only am I depressed about my winter padding, but you have the gall to remind me that that's why I'm working out today.  Merry Christmas to you too!  

So now I sit on my bed, listening to Amanda play bad 80's music (like Linda Ronstadt bad 80's, not something respectable like Aerosmith) in the living room because she's "feeling nostalgic".  Now, if Linda Ronstadt were a Jew, it could work.  Maybe I'll go back to the gym.

08 December 2008

Update on the Coffee Thing

Decided at 9:01pm while trying to finish my World Religions paper at the neighborhood Starbucks:  Eggnogg latte, not so much.  I'll go back to my Espresso Truffle, thank you.

Happy Finals Week, Part 3: Progress

In addition to my Senior exegetical paper and a newfound affinity for the phrase "that was the beginning of the end" (see the two previous posts), something else has entered my life over the past twenty-four hours:  progress. 

Okay this might not look like progress, but the night is darkest before the dawn.

It got better, see?

Notice the empty coffee cup and open Chemistry textbook.  Clearly Taryn had made some progress before she fell asleep on the futon this morning.  

Okay, maybe it's a stretch, but little things are a big deal...it took Mari and me about an hour to find our floor again.  That's an hour that could have been spent studying.  Or surfing the Internet when we should have been studying, potato, poh-tah-toe.

07 December 2008

Happy Finals Week, Part 2: Coffee

I have been in this library for twelve and a half hours in the past two days.  


I have been in my apartment for...three.




Besides extreme fatigue, an improper intimacy with Brandel Library, and an ever-expanding list of odd realizations (including the one that when I'm extremely tired and not wearing my glasses, my ring looks extra sparkly), there has been another important development this weekend:  I became a coffee drinker.  

It all started with Amanda making a nighttime run to Starbucks, asking what I wanted on her way out.  Maybe it was the fatigue.  Maybe it was the lateness of the hour.  Maybe it was the list of exegetical terms running through my mind clouding my judgement, but I sent her off with the mission of getting me a coffee-type beverage that I, a non-coffee drinker, would like.  She came back with an Espresso Truffle.  It was a success.  
Next was the Peppermint Latte.  Even more tasty.
And soon, after falling asleep on Kasey's couch last night while working on my World Religions term paper, it hit optimal mass.  I woke up and walked back to my apartment to get ready for church, clutching the mug of coffee that Kasey had poured for me before I'd left.  It steamed against the winter chill, a smokestack of morning pep in the otherwise barren alley.  No, Mr. Finals Week, I will not let you dominate me.  I will get up and go about my day.  You will not ruin my life.  I have coffee now.  And the Holy Spirit.  I am invincible.

...and that's the beginning of the end.   I'm really hoping that I turn out to be an occasional coffee drinker, the type that will order a cappuccino instead of dessert and absentmindedly stir it while talking about Proust or Hemingway after dinner; the "I'm-really-grumpy-in-the-morning-until-I-get-my-coffee" type seem much less glamorous.  

For tonight though, I have an exegetical paper to write, a jury to prepare for, and a Greek review class in the morning.  Bring on the bean...the coffee bean that is.

A Theological Primer on "The Lion King"

While watching The Lion King after a full day of studying, Heather, Alethea, Kasey, and I realized that all systems are go on the Finals mindset.  It was all fun and games at the start--a little "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhSeboyaaaaaaaaaaaahMibedeeeeeMibedoooooooo" at the beginning, some African dancing a few minutes in, some jokes at how Rafiki reminds us of a certain North Park staffer...and then came the part where young Simba and Nala ended up in the elephant graveyard and I commented that it always reminded me of the chapter in Ezekiel that talks about the valley of bones coming back to life.  

And that was the beginning of the end.

You know that scene where Simba, after seeing Nala again, lumbers to a cliff in the oasis and plops down, sending a cloud of dandelion spores drifting into the wind?  They ride the breeze until Rafiki, hanging out in his giant Banyan tree, catches them, does some sort of voodoo, and declares "He's back!", valiantly drawing a mane on the lion-cub he drew at the beginning of the movie.  You look me in the face and tell me it's not The Lion King's version of "Already-not-yet" eschatology.  Further Biblical themes in the movie:

-Rafiki is clearly John the Baptist, least of all indicated in the fact that he baptizes Simba in the beginning of the movie and lifts him up in front of the entire kingdom and basically inaugurates his entire existence as King
-Sarabi = the Virgin Mary 
-Rafiki bothering Simba until he realizes that he's really meant to be King = John the Baptist (still)
-When Mufasa appears to Simba in the clouds saying "You are my son", that's Jesus' baptism
-Simba's return from the oasis could be the start of Jesus' public ministry after returning from the Wilderness
-When Rafiki gestures toward Pride Rock at the end and says to Simba, "It is time," it's a John the Baptist thing....again.  Plus, it sort of reeks of Jesus' "the hour is coming" statements in John.
-The entire kingdom is burned to the ground, then flourishes once Simba takes his rightful spot as King ("Tear down this Temple and I will rebuild it in three days")
-Could Disney be taking a stand pre-Dan Brown and making Nala similar to Mary Magdalene?


Yup, it's finals week.  And I'm a Bible major.  Geek extreme.

05 December 2008

Kasey's Contribution

There are many things that I love about my life and Kasey Conrad is definitely near the top of that list.  Take, for example, the following note she wrote on facebook on our current winter weather:

There are lots of reasons why I am proud to be a seasoned Chicagoan.  Deep-dish pizza, smooth jazz, Mighty Lake Michigan, and President Elect's new offices: it's all here making snapshots and composites of my definition of home. 

Summer is divine.  A city full of green lakefront that hosts some of the best outdoors music and food around.  Fall and the collegiate buzz of a new school year send me into inappropriate academic pursuits.  Spring is like cold press relief and there is an unspoken joy in bare legs after a long winter.  

The colder months, for sure, they have their pleasures.  The first snow is always an exciting event.  White fluffy precipitation covers the ground and for several hours the city falls into a quiet sort of hush.  But, as I embark on my 21st winter, I have to assert that on the whole...

Winter blows.



No literally.




I walked out of my apartment this morning and tears gathered in the corner of my eyes because of the wind.

Our little headless snowman stands in defiance to its maternal cold front.

I do not share in his adolescent behaviors.

As I walked through the cutting wind I composed a list of all the necessary things one needs to survive their first Chicago winter.

1. Chapstick (I have instituted a new chapstick program into my life this year.  I bought 12 sticks.  That's right.  12.  And I put one in every pocket of every bag and coat I own.  Somehow I still can't seem to find one when I need it and I have managed to put one blue tube through the wash already.  My life is a work in progress)
2. Intensive Care Body Lotion (Without being too glamorous...wind burn sucks)
3. Shaving Gel (see above comment)
4. Boot waterproof spray (The only thing worse than being cold is being wet and cold.  Ask Bear Grylls, he knows)
5. Lined Gloves (don't waste your time with cute dainty gloves.  I will laugh at your inability to cope with reality)
6. Travel Mug/Hot Drink (Be courteous.  Love your neighbor.  Had Jesus lived in Chicago he would have changed water into coffee.  Trust me.)
7. Activate and Vitamin C (I may look like a geriatric but I swear to you that I have never been severely sick post its introduction into my winter diet)
8. Below 10 degrees a face covering is usually good.  Possibly ideal.  It serves a dual purpose in Albany Park:  warmth and a heightened possibility of less catcalls.  Emphasis on the word "possibility".


All this to say that I am a salt stained survivor.  I love Chicago even when it is covered in brown slush and black ice.

Dance.Rejoice.Dream
If human summer heat saturates and expands your thoughts then the cold clear winter wind chill carries them far away.

K





It's totally true about the possibility about fewer catcalls with a face covering.  People around here are odd.

Happy Finals Week!

The possibly two cleanest people in this world are officially apathetic towards this mess.  That can only mean one thing--it's nearing finals week.

Mari's computer background pretty much sums up the entire apartment's existence.
  The caption says "School:  It sucks, even if it's magical"

In lieu of the mental acuity to write anything that doesn't have to do with Biblical scholarship right now, and to more accurately describe the general feeling of a North Park pre-finals experience, I resort to bullet points:
-Heather and I have decided that we all suffer from a clinical disease called PFS--Pre-Finals Syndrome.  Incredibly similar to PMS, its symptoms include crankiness, extreme fatigue, odd food cravings, and general malaise.  We're getting ready to WebMD it any day now.
-In an exciting turn of events, Josh Dean tried to explain his paper on Plato's Republic to Heather and I over a plate of hummus last night and not only did I understand it, but I refuted one of his points and he agreed with me.  Big day.
-My Greek professor is trying to lure us all to the optional review class with free donuts and coffee.  It's working.
-Speaking of coffee, I had my first coffee-type drink (yes, it's taken this long) the other night.  Judging by the fact that I went to bed and slept like a baby about thirty minutes after finishing it, I'm going to say that it wasn't very effective.
-Our orchestra director gave us permission to do homework while the choir was singing during our dress rehearsal yesterday.  When I looked up from my photocopied article on marital traditions in Orthodox Judaism, the entire string section had their respective heads buried in one thing or another.
-When I entered the library yesterday afternoon to look up said article on marital traditions in Orthodox Judaism, I saw a few people at the computers and tables.  When the librarian announced over the PA system that the annual library Christmas Party had started in the lobby, North Parkers by the dozens started creeping out of the stacks and corners that I didn't even know existed like the creature from the Blue Lagoon (or whatever color that lagoon was).  To be honest, it was sort of creepy.
-Alethea and I were studying in her living room last night, which is across the street from Burgh (home of the boys who like to throw things) and therefore Java Haus, when we were serenaded by the melodious tones of a death metal band from within Java's depths.  Apparently Student Association is trying to soothe our pre-finals woes with.....angst?  
-This was shortly before Kasey came home and, upon seeing that there were only four stockings hanging at the fireplace, whipped off one of her socks and tacked it to the mantle. 
-Tim was also there, in a bright red sweater with Santa on it. 
-In related Santa news, on our way to the Houses & Apartments CHRISTmas party (I still have yet to see what at that party had to do with Christ, but I digress), Josh gave us a short history of St. Nicholas (you know, the original Santa).  Apparently he went around putting coins in people's socks that were hanging out to dry.  There is also a legend that during a heated debate at the Council of Nicea, he leaned across the table and slapped a heretic across the face.  Matt Kemp is now on a one-man mission to repeat this ritual by slapping fake Santas.  For the sake of children everywhere, we're trying to make sure this doesn't happen.

I'll check back in later with the status of our room and my intellect.

01 December 2008

The Real Best Part of Thanksgiving

Um, I blatantly forgot what was clearly the best part of this Thanksgiving:  the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade got rick-rolled...



For those of you not in the know, rick-rolling is an internet phenomenon where someone posts a seemingly trustworthy link, but which really leads to the YouTube video of Rick Astley's 1987 hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up".  The Wikipedia definition is hilarious.  Those who have been publicly rick-rolled include the Church of Scientology, President-elect Barack Obama, anyone who's ever read the xkcd webcomic, all people who clicked on YouTube's featured videos on April Fools day, and now the entire United States of America.