Archive for December, 2007

kill the pink elephants

Posted in etcetera, friends, Life, me, mirror mirror on the wall, The Single Life, you have to be a chick to understand on December 19, 2007 by drbolte

Have you ever wanted to say something so much that the words that you tried to say instead came out rather strangled and unrecognizable? Like they were not at all what you had intended to say, and yet it was the best that you could do at the time. Like you know you can’t say all you want to say–just can’t, for reasons that matter little to that moment in time but weigh you down nonetheless–but it’s there, anyways, always hanging about like so many pink elephants.

I am tired of speaking through a room full of pink elephants, with their what ifs and their questions of definition.

I think, honestly, I am just tired.

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a present! i got a present!

Posted in blogging, memelicious, shameless blog thievery on December 17, 2007 by drbolte

 I got hit by a lovely Christmas surprise…an award!  HOORAY!

merryxmasaward.jpg

The price of said gift?  The meme that attends it…which I am happy to fill out since I am just sitting here, rotting on the couch and enjoying the wonders of wireless at home…where it is very cold.  Cold + me not feeling so superhot = interneting!  🙂

Wrapping paper or gift bags? I find myself unaccountably proud of my wrapping skills.  So, unless I simply CAN’T wrap a gift, for some reason, I use wrapping paper. I think gift bags are…lazy. I use them, but…yeah.

Real tree or artificial? I prefer live trees, but with pets and a limited budget, it just doesn’t happen that often.  My dreams for my future family’s Christmas involves live trees…even if it’s a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  That smell…it’s intoxicating.

When do you put up the tree? My roommates and I put it up the week before Thanksgiving this year because we knew that we would be leaving our little apartment early in December.  But normally, just because of the nuttiness of the holiday season, it doesn’t happen until the second week of December.

When do you take the tree down? Mom doesn’t like it up very long after Christmas, and I agree with her–it’s a little bit sad after Christmas. Latest? Shortly after New Years.

Do you like eggnog? I want to, I really do. But I just can’t take more than a few sips.  It’s just so…thick.  Blech.

Favorite gift received? Oh gosh. I have no idea.  I really get such good gifts.

Do you have a nativity scene? No, actually. I would like to have one made out of Willow Tree figurines.

Hardest person to buy for? My roommates, this year. I have no idea what to get them and the pressure…oh the pressure.  🙂

Easiest person to buy for? My cousin, J. She and I share the same taste.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Gosh, I have no idea.  Is that wrong?

Mail or email Christmas cards? Don’t do Christmas cards.  If I did, they’d be email ones unless someone else subsidized them.

Favorite Christmas movie? This is too hard, so I have to divide it into subcategories.  Old: a tie between Christmas in Connecticut and It’s a Wonderful Life.  Honorable Mention goes to The Bishop’s Wife.  New-ish: The new version of Miracle on 34th Street.  Unconventional: Home Alone.  Animated: How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  It’s not really Christmas until I see all of my favorites.

When do you start shopping for Christmas? Start?  December…10th?  Or whenever classes end.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?  I don’t believe so. I wouldn’t do it with gifts from someone who is very close to me, but someone who’s not?  It’s possible.  Why shouldn’t you share the love?

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Hmm…the cookies I make? the fudge I make? nope…the sticky buns.  Good grief, the entire month is usually a food orgy.

Clear lights or colored on the tree? Hmm.  I’m of two minds on this one.  I like colored, but white lights…they’re just so beautiful.

Favorite Christmas song? Hymn?  I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.  Choir Number? No Golden Carriage, No Bright Toy.  Sassy?  Santa Baby.

Travel at Christmas or stay home? I travel home.  Best of both worlds.  🙂

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Of course.  I have been properly indoctrinated into American culture.

Angel on the tree top or a star? I prefer an angel, actually. My grandma’s angel. But this year in our apartment we have a snowflake/star-like thing, and I rather liked it.

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One on Christmas eve for kids.  The rest on Christmas morning with the whole family.

Most annoying thing about this time of year? Good grief, the traffic.

What I love most about Christmas? Being with my family, finding the perfect gifts for people, trying to be of service to them.

Tag…you’re it, Saf!  🙂  ❤

hello, 1996. i’m back.

Posted in blogging, etcetera, Life, me, memelicious, shameless blog thievery on December 16, 2007 by drbolte

so i caved to the most recent trend i’ve seen on the blogs…the letter to your past self. at first, it was a letter to your thirteen-year-old self, done beautifully by several of my favorite new bloggers. then, most recently, i saw the letter to your eighteen-year-old self.

that seemed to be the best fit for me. so here we go.

dear 18-year-old carrie,

hello! it’s me…from the future. i’m 30 now. take a moment and gasp. it’s not quite as bad as it might seem to you now. actually, you’re pretty rockin’, if i do say so myself.

it’s 1996. the presidential election–the first that you’ll ever vote in–is about to happen. your enthusiasm for politics is rather cute right now. keep it up. make that goal that you’ll vote in every election–it’s an important one. so far, we’ve done pretty good. the conviction that you have about how important civic participation is will confront a lot of apathy later. what you do now will make it a lot easier to know that they’re all idiots.

that’s a nice position to be in. in general, we like it when we’re right and we know it. try not to rub it in as much as you’d like to. that will be something that you’ll struggle with for a long time.

you’ve just moved to north carolina from california. to say that it’s a BIG adjustment is pretty much the biggest understatement of your life. take your time and don’t feel badly for needing it. you’ve just survived your first major hurricane and life right now seems like it doesn’t make much sense. mom and you are getting on each other’s nerves. take it from me–do more for her and less for yourself. get off your butt and clean the house. if you’re not going to be working–and you won’t be, for multiple reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense–take some of the load off of her. she’s more stressed than you know.

also, right now, could you read some more and watch less t.v.? it would be nice to knock out a few classics while you’re just sitting around. could you start with the russians? i’m still trying to get through them and i have much less inclination now. although, i will say–don’t miss this year’s season of 90210. it’s a good one. and if i remember it that clearly now, you better believe that it’s true.

you’ll spend a lot of your time helping people out right now. spend more of it with your grandparents. take the opportunity to help anyone that you can. it’s important.

you’ll see your first snow soon. live it and love the experience. it will happen when you least expect it and your reaction will bring laughter to others. get used to that as well.

you’re only taking one college class right now. at least study for it, will you please? and, for crying out loud, read all of Jesus The Christ for your report. you wish now that you’d read it earlier. it’s hard but you won’t regret it. in general, don’t shy away from what’s tough. you are stronger than you think.

being far away from your high school friends is weird, isn’t it? and now everything seems to be changing–ben and james are on their missions. nicole and kim are off at school. keep writing to them. it’s worth it. it’s not going to turn out the way you think it all will, especially with james, but i don’t want you to change one thing that you do. you learned that you were fiercely loyal from those relationships, and that is one of the qualities that you’re most proud of now. and it’s served you well. trust me on that.

oh, and nicole’s going to go on a mission. write her more when she does, okay?

you don’t know what you are going to do for school. NCSU scares you, but it makes the most fiscal sense. you’re waiting for residency–that’s why you’re not in school fulltime. NCSU is close to home, but it’s huge. it just doesn’t feel right to you. so one day, just on a whim, you’re going to walk onto the campus of a little tiny school called Peace College. immediately, you’ll feel like you’ve come home. you have. don’t talk yourself out of that feeling.

it’s where you’re supposed to be. stick with it. and when you get there, work as hard as you can. it costs a LOT of money to go there, so don’t screw around. you didn’t the first time, but i’m just saying. you’ll always be proud of how you handled yourself there. you are unstoppable when you have purpose.

you’re going to learn a lot of things in college. the most important thing you’ll learn is that you are smart. smarter than you thought you were. don’t doubt that. please, please, please don’t discourage yourself. dream big. dream bigger than you thought you could. because…let me tell you. from my position, i know that you have no earthly idea what potential you have. but the professors around you? the ones that will tell you that you can go on? that you can be a grad student?

they’re right.

not only are they right, but you rock at it.

so dream big.

(at this point, i would tell you not to apply to nine ivy league graduate schools first, but that leads to one of the biggest lessons of your life and two of the most productive years. so…go for it. dream big. try your wings on for size and fly a little.)

sometime soon, you’re going to see a flier hanging up in a hallway for a program called Wake Summerbridge. it, like the moment that you came to Peace for the first time, will strike you. the application will be a beast. you’ll wonder if it’s worth it and you’ll be scared when you mail it in. but taking that risk will be one of the first times that you put yourself out there to do something scary and that you’re not sure that you’ll succeed at.

you’ll get the job.

you’ll not only get that job, but you will be promoted over and over again. and it will singlehandedly pay down your student loan debt. it will be the best summer job decision you’ve ever made. don’t talk yourself out of it.

let’s get to what you really want to know. at this point in your life, you desperately want to get married and have kids. you love being around kids and they love you. you know with your whole soul that you’d be good at it. it is, at this point, all that you think that you can do.

it definitely doesn’t happen the way that you think that it should. actually, this is important–very little in life turns out the way you think it should. that’s not to say that it’s not good and bright and beautiful and full of magic, because it is. it’s just not magic you ever imagined in your 18-year-old brain. it’s bigger and grander and more expansive than you could ever dream possible. so don’t begrudge the thinking outside of the box that the Lord does when He’s leading you. He knows what He’s doing, even when you don’t see it.

and i don’t want to disappoint you, but you’re not married yet at 30.

you know what you are, though?

you’re a whole lot more confident. you don’t hide when you walk into the room anymore. you don’t collapse into yourself when a new situation faces you.

you are SO funny. somehow, between 18 and 30, you developed a fierce wit and a quick sense of humor. people love it. at first, you’ll use it for that reason. but soon you’ll find that it’s just who you are and how you see the world.

you are more accomplished than you thought you’d ever be. you, when you put your mind to things, are successful at whatever you do. it sounds cocky, but it’s true in anything professional that you’ve tried.

you’re also thinner than you thought you’d ever be. you know that size, the one that you just wanted to achieve before you got married? you’re there. and you’ve got more to do. and you’ve been told recently that you’re beautiful–by multiple people you never thought would ever say it–and you believe it. it wasn’t as hard as you thought it would be. it’s another indication that you, girl, are a force to be reckoned with when you set your mind to something. it wouldn’t suck if you set that mind a little bit earlier.

so, no, you’re not married. but you’re awesome. and, yes, you will date. you will date more than you thought you would. you’ll have relationships. you’ll actually end up being really wise about what you want and need and who you are. but can i give you some advice? please don’t just jump at the first guy who shows you attention. and if you don’t listen to one single thing that i tell you, will you please listen to this? the internet is NOTFORDATING. the stories are ridiculous and you wouldn’t believe me if i told you. just stay away from it.

trust your gut about the people that you meet. you have an outstanding capacity to judge well. and the people that you think will be important in your life? they almost always are…especially the guys. there are a few in particular that all of your logic will tell you don’t make any sense, but the quiet voice of your heart will tell you otherwise. listen to that small voice. it’s right. i would tell you who and when, but…i have a feeling that you not knowing who and when is much more important.

some final words of wisdom:

  • credit cards are the devil. you don’t need if it if you can’t afford it.
  • the truck? bad move. i know you have to get it out of your system, but you’ll regret it. the civic? don’t give it up. or, at least, get another one. gas mileage is going to be really important soon.
  • get mimi to write down her recipes. spend more time with her. learn from her, because you’re much more like her than you think.
  • eat more vegetables. find a sport that you like. get enough sleep. learn to love water.
  • keep writing. you’re better than you think. and, one day, your writing will be on the internet for strangers to read. i know. it sounds like crazy talk now.
  • two words: jane austen.

whatever comes your way, you can face it. there will be hard times. there will times that all you have is you and Heavenly Father…times when answers are slow and peace comes only through a great deal of effort. but no matter what comes your way, you come through it for the better. please believe in yourself–in your capacity to make wise decisions, in your ability to endure well, in your heart and your courage and how much people love you. discouragement will be your greatest enemy. be smart and recognize it–and don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can do or not do.

and remember, please, that the Lord’s promises are sure. in those days when you don’t understand, keep telling yourself that. it is true.

enjoy the journey. it’s been one heck of a ride so far…i can’t wait to see where we end up.

love!

carrie in 2007

bliss in turtle pajamas

Posted in ghetto life, i hate vegetables, Life, me, TV and me are pals, you have to be a chick to understand on December 15, 2007 by drbolte

I’ve spent all day in my pajamas. Even when I went to the post office to mail a package and to the grocery store and the Chinese takeout, I still wore my pajama shirt.

It’s long sleeved and completely decent, lest you think I’m walking the streets in some kind of Pretty Womanesque halter or something.  No, thank you.  It’s too cold for that crap.

The minute I hit the door, the turtle pajama pants went back on.

It’s freezing cold here. It’s raining, which is wonderful because it’s droughtland here.

I thought the day would be spent out in the world, going to movies and shopping and trying desperately to stay warm.   Instead, I’ve spent my day on the big overstuffed yellow couch, trying desperately to stay warm and eventually succeeding with two blankets covering me, watching the Hallmark channel.

I’m not even a little bit kidding.

I’ve watched basically every one of those “Love” movies…Love Comes Softly, Love’s Unending Legacy, Love’s Attempt to Completely Take Over the Schmaltzy Made-for-TV Movie Market, Love Equals Falling For A Hot and Of Course Single Sheriff With Incredible Blue Eyes, Love Means Having Abnormally Coiffed Hair for the 1890s, etc.

I ate a Toaster Streudel for the first time in YEARS.

(On a completely different topic, can someone explain to me why it is that I cannot buy a pastry-type product lately without it being a Cinnabon offshoot? All I wanted was brown sugar cinnamon toaster streudel–they used to have them, I promise–and all I could find was “Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll” ones.  Shocking how they tasted EXACTLY the same. I don’t want to know if Mom paid more for them. That would just send me into a rant of sizable capitalist proportions.)

I don’t think I could have asked for anything better today.

It’s exactly what I needed.

There’s a time and a season for everything, yes?

Well, this is my season for schmaltz and streudel.

truth and consequences

Posted in Church, Life, me, teaching, you have to be a chick to understand on December 15, 2007 by drbolte

i failed a student this semester.

and i didn’t wrestle with it much at all.

the student didn’t fulfill the expectations of the semester–2/3 of the work that was to be turned in never was submitted during the semester and in what i can only assume was some kind of hail mary pass to attempt a passing grade, one-third of that missing work was turned in literally as i was finishing grades.

so i didn’t accept it.

i felt a little bit badly about that but it seemed appropriate.  i mean, if you don’t do the work, why should you benefit as i you did? if you make a choice, whether intentional and well-considered or one of a refusal to act and deal, there are consequences for that choice.

we all face them.  in some ways, i think the greatest courage we can have is in the facing of those consequences with honesty. can i escape certain realities? that i prefer ice cream to brussel sprouts and that my bigger-than-i’d-like butt demonstrates this preference? that i am about six months behind where i’d like to be on my dissertation because i like my social life and my laziness more than i have motivation to move forward–or, more truthfully, that i hesitate because with the completion of this dissertation comes the smack in the face called real life and a real job?

we face the positive ones as well.  i certainly don’t mean to downplay those.  my entire life right now is a testimony to the good choices i’ve made–to be obedient, to be kind, to invest in the relationships that keep paying dividends that i don’t even understand yet.  that i have the people in my life that i do, to the degree that i do, means i must be doing something right.

sometimes, though, as i am learning, at times i am a main player in someone else’s drama of consequence.

sometimes, my actions are meant to demonstrate that there are consequences for actions, whether they be stupid, shortsighted, unkind, illogical, hurtful, fantastically kind, generous, or loving in the grandest way possible.

it’s a bit of a strange position to be in, though.  i’ll admit that.  it makes me feel both a bit…unconnected and of great use.

i’m beginning to wonder why me.

because sometimes you just wish you were a gorgeous indie rock star with the ability to make even the crappiest things seem beautiful and wonderful, don’t you, before you punch somebody in the face?

Posted in i love youtube--so sue me, Life, me, The Single Life, you have to be a chick to understand on December 13, 2007 by drbolte

if you haven’t heard this song, you’re crazy.

watch it and listen closely.

it’s the best song i’ve heard in a good long while. or, i should say, it’s the best song i remembered hearing months ago but only caught the end of on a random radio scan while driving up i-95 today for eight hours today.

this song describes me too perfectly.

and it annoys me. i’m done. i really am. most days, totally good. ready for what’s next. knowing that what’s next is not a romance but a love affair with some literature that has been far too neglected of late. and totally cool with that.

and yet, i’m still haunted. by a drive through a neighborhood where i have memories or a song or a word or anything that seems to bring memories flooding back of good times, which inevitably bring back bad memories because right now they’re all a muddled mess.

and then it makes me want to do stupid things like text message or facebook message or something otherwise masochistic and wrong. and i have to talk myself down like a freaking addict when all i want to do is just move on.

how is when you give someone even a piece of your heart, it takes so very long to get it back and put it right?

it’s now making more angry than anything else.

so, to follow up that one, i present this, which has become my new mantra.

i’ve gotten mad.

i’ve gotten a whole lot stronger.

i know what i’m made of. and it’s not this vacillating, tossed-with-every-wind-of-circumstance-and-memory crap.

here’s to jumping into the canyon with a heart full of faith and NOT ONE MORE REGRETFUL LOOK BACK.

heck to the yeah.

more me, part two

Posted in blogging, books are bliss, Church, dissertation, Life, me, someday I'll be a real middle class girl on December 12, 2007 by drbolte

I love…with my whole heart. daisies. the smell of vanilla. bundling up with covers on winter nights. holding hands, especially in public. the gospel of Jesus Christ. feeling of use. reading. the thrill of having a moment of academic brilliance. playing in playgrounds at night. my birthday (probably far more than i should). chocolate (again…probably far more than i should). facebook. the feeling of peace that comes from knowing that what you’ve done is right.  hope.

I ache…after i have been on my feet all day. for all the things i didn’t do. for people who hurt when i can’t help. for my dreams to come true.

I always…wear my seatbelt. cringe when i see grammatical errors in print. believe the worst of myself when given the opportunity.

I usually…see the glass half full. am about five minutes late for everything related to church. bounce back fairly quickly. can find the humor in any situation. will make others happy before myself. can speak intelligently about a general interest topic for at least five minutes.  drive over the speed limit.

I am not…your typical only child. as old at heart as i am in body. amused by people telling me what to do or who i am. as independent as i seem, nor as tough.  the ugly duckling anymore.

I danced…twice at my senior prom.  without abandon at the winter formal, especially when kanye came on.  too close to the fire of heartbreak…and got burned, but was nevertheless surprised.

I never…swear, as i think it’s unimaginative and inappropriate (but i am far too apt to say things that i shouldn’t lately). liked green beans until i started making them myself. thought that i would be friends with who i am friends with now…or have not spoken to who i have not spoken to.  imagined that i would be a PhD and yet i am a breath and 200 pages away. will be an outdoorsy girl who doesn’t want a shower after two days or who likes to pee in anything other than a toilet, but that doesn’t mean i’ll never camp.  want to look back at my life and wish i’d done more.

I rarely…exercise, which is something i’m hoping to change. say no to opportunities for social interaction. am not in the mood for ice cream.  miss the point of a joke.  dislike teaching, except when i’m grading.

I cry…when i read one particular blog, only because she manages to say what i want to say so much better than i can ever imagine doing it myself.  at hallmark commercials. when i am so frustrated i can’t speak. too much lately. at almost everything–any excessive emotion and out comes the waterworks.  not often when other people cry.

I am not always…kind enough. sassy. smart or confident. sure where i’m going or what i’m doing.

I lose…stuff on my desk routinely.  my motivation for working on my dissertation too often. sight of what i’m really here for amid the distractions of everyday life.  clothes in the black hole that is my closet. hope in men when some of them act the way that they do. my cynicism when i play with my cats or my roommate’s dog.  my fear on good days.

I’m confused…by contemporary ideas of celebrity. why i love TV so much. the crack-like nature of Publix donuts. why people like me so much. any math other than algebra. how everything is so expensive all of the time and how i am ever going to pay off my credit cards.

I miss…my best friend more than i can articulate. the carefree feeling of childhood.  christmas mornings with stockings stuffed.  being someone’s girl.

I need…at least seven hours of sleep in order to function.  copious amounts of water a day for the same purpose.  too much reassurance sometimes. to stop acting like i know what’s best for everyone all of the time and learn to be humble. to be a better budgeter.  to learn to love research.  to scourge the lazy out of me. to remember who i am more often. to see beauty when i look in the mirror more often than not.

I should…keep working on my list of things to do before i die. risk. take more bubble baths. never apologize for my wit and spunk. recognize my blessings. blog more and more honestly.  move confidently and assertively into the future.  stop wishing to know where i’m going and enjoy the journey.