The Open Book Test: April (20 years ago), 1995

 

When:  April (20 years ago), 1995
Where:  Manheim, PA
What:  On the day of the Oklahoma City bombing.  In a few days I will leave for Costa Rica where I will find my life.  But I don’t know this.  I only know it’s too late to turn back.
Age:  24

I so desperately want to be old. Not now, but someday. I want to live to be old and gnarled, nearsighted and wrinkled as a sycamore. I hope that if I am fortunate enough to watch my hair turn gray, I remember this day. Today someone bombed a government building in Oklahoma City and countless people were killed. At 9 AM. I am so fearful of disease and disaster. I feel like each year I survive, I should be decorated with a medal for survival. Even though I am happy and hopeful, I am full of fear of death. I guess it is mostly my drive to live – the flip side of which is an anger at death. My most present terror is of a plane crash. Sometimes I wish I did suffer from the delusion that nothing terrible can happen to me. I am so frightened. Mostly, I am sickened. It makes me very suspicious of God. Either God is not omnipotent, or is not omniscient, or is not. It makes me suspect that there is a Satan.

In Lancaster, however, it was in the 80’s and gorgeous It was a perfect, beautiful day. It feels so strange to be eyeball to eyeball with the Great Unknown. Maybe this is something like dying.  Time is flying, now, unlike 6 or 8 months ago.

I wonder so much what it will be like and what will become of me. I plan to try life in Guaitil and if it flops, go to San Jose. It will probably be even harder in San Jose. I keep asking myself, what’s the default plan? If all else fails, what? I could go to Texas with Mark and Erika. There’s Madison. I would get over D. There’s New Mexico with Marvin and Lisa. Lancaster again is basically not an option for the immediate future.  The main thing is that if/when I come back, I will be flat broke. No money for a down payment. Probably no bus money. So I’ll have to fly into whatever city I want to live in. And mooch and borrow for a little while.

Ultimate best-case scenario: after I am through in Costa Rica, I fly back into Santa Fe, New Mexico and bum off of D for a while–who has moved there in the mean time. He falls desperately in love with me, I make some money, I go to grad school, we get married, I have a daughter just before I’m too old, and we live happily ever after. Or something like that. I know I’m a dreamer and a story-teller so I try not to take even my most serious ideas too seriously. Luckily I am usually happy, and love most things.

What To Drink With a Pyonder

Ever hear of The Drunken Menno Blog? Don’t miss it! It’s smart. It’s hilarious. It’s sometimes pissy and sometimes sweet, undeniably true and always historically correct. With an original Mennonite cocktail recipe to follow each post. Yes! Where has this kindred spirit been all my life? Um, somewhere in Canada.

I sent the author a copy of “When the Roll Is Called a Pyonder,” she read it and has come up with the perfect drink.  It’s called The “Green Stick.”  If the ironies are too much for you, my apologies. But you are over 21, aren’t you? Then you’re old enough to work it out.

http://imaginarynovelist.weebly.com/drunken-menno-blog/what-to-drink-with-a-pyonder

My favorite part is this:
“No one ever really thought about applying our public pacifism to the private realm until the middle of the twentieth century and even then it hasn’t been done consistently. Children posed something of a problem to early Anabaptists…”

I would not have referred to my childhood spankings as “beatings,” although The Drunken Menno does. And I guess if you’re getting smacked with a stick for the purpose of making you cry over something naughty you have done, what you call it is a matter of semantics.

Have a read.  Have a snicker.  Scratch your head…  Cheers!

The Green Stick, original Mennonite cocktail designed for you and me by The Drunken Menno.  Click the link for the recipe.

The Green Stick, original Mennonite cocktail designed for you and me by The Drunken Menno. Click the link for the recipe.

Pie (a poem for Uncle Roy)

Uncle Roy is the uncle
I don’t remember,
the one who called grandma
on the phone
after Christmas dinner
to say hello.
He was the exotic uncle,
the special one, the uncle
who went all the way west
to Oregon
and stayed.

I know about being the oldest,
about being restless and
how you can love your home
and still not be able
to stay there.

Uncle Roy was the unorthodox uncle
who did what he wanted,
not what he was told.
His mysterious sickness
confounded the doctors and the
analysts who shook their
heads at him as he
walked away.

On his deathbed he
willed us all to eat pie
in his honor—sugar,
in our family, being
the universal language of love.
Now he’s gone again—
off to somewhere we’ve all
heard of, but
none of us have been.

The Open Book Test: April (6 years ago), 2009

When: April (6 years ago), 2009
Where: Tamarindo, Costa Rica
What: A terrible month in a terrible year.   In three months, we will make the sad decision to leave Costa Rica and move to the States.  This is the only thing I can find that is fit to share.
Age:  38

I went looking for waves today and all I found was water. So I came home. Anticlimactic, yes, but I have a wine headache and I couldn’t think of anything better to do. P took me out for sushi last night. We had a wonderful time spending money we don’t have and drinking too much wine. We even went to Mike and Wendy’s bar which is how I got too much wine. Bleagh.

I am going to have one very busy weekend. I also think that if I do not soon paint this kitchen, I am going to go entirely insane. I cannot take it ANY MORE.

I invented a way to make a shirt out of a pillow case and it is so cute! Now I need Ruthann’s sewing machine.

What a horrid headache I have.

Open Book Test: March (23 years ago), 1992

When: March (23 years ago), 1992
Where: Goshen, Indiana
What: college junior
Age:  21

It’s Sunday now. The last two days were filled and frantic, although I did have a good time with my family. Yvonne and Michelle were so cute and funny. I took them to the dance with me on Friday night and it was pretty funny. Mom and dad brought LOTS of food plus money for shoes! I went to Walmart on Friday and got underwear, contact solution, pads…all kinds of important things.

I spent all day yesterday working in the Umble Center. Then when I came back to K’s room, he was sad and started crying. He was crying because he doesn’t want to be here—he wants to go other places. When he gets like that, it makes me scared, because he latches onto me like I’m his life breath. I sometimes wonder if he thinks we’ll be together all of our lives. I guess I wouldn’t mind, except that I’m not done yet. I still want to fall in love a few more times. I’m really looking forward to this summer for that reason. We must not be together this summer. He isn’t any fun when he gets so sad like that. Sometimes I think we’ll always be together, but then I remember how young I am and how many things I want to do yet, and I become skeptical.

The days are much longer, now, and the sun has woken me up before my alarm three times in the past week. That’s more days than we saw the sun all winter. I can come home for supper and get back for rehearsal before it gets dark. And sometimes you can hear birds. It’s weird. I missed this part of last year. I was so alive there in Guaitil (Costa Rica). It’s hard for me to feel joy. I feel sometimes better and sometimes worse, but as far as exploding with joy–I don’t, much. I’m always worried—about grades, about K, about the plays we’re producing, about money, about N (my roommate), about the plays I am trying to write, about my family finding out about me, about getting pregnant, about my bike breaking down, about getting sick, about my caffeine consumption, about my alcohol consumption, about not writing letters… I have so much stress.  And rehearsal is at 6:30 and I still have to prepare a cue script.

Flock / After the Mennonite Writing Conference

I graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School many moons ago, so I must have passed my Mennonite History class. Did they not explain the difference between “ethnic” Mennonites (think Canada and the western portion of the USA) and “religious” Mennonites (of the pious Pennsylvania variety)? Or did I not get the memo? Most likely, even the teacher didn’t get it. I get it now.

I thought I had no flock, but I do have a flock. Imagine my surprise.  And I am not even the strangest bird in it.

The best part of all, was seeing a picture of myself reflected back by those around me, that looks like my own image of me. The other 361 days of the year, I am a WIC certifier with a weird pastime: scribbling in notebooks. But this last weekend, for 4 consecutive days, I got to be a writer with a day-job.  This, of course, is what I’ve secretly believed all along.  I just didn’t know anyone else was convinced.

It’s almost enough to make a girl start humming 606.