Posts Tagged ‘rural life’

on biking.

6 September 2009

I’ve been thinking of bike riding recently. Well, more than thinking, really. Obsessively reading about biking. Frantic googling of bicycle commuting. Much as I did before I started headcovering. I wound up justifying that through faith and setting a specific date and just doing it.

I have no faith justifications here [though one could say that being good stewards of God’s creation might lead one to bike commuting, I’m not going that far, especially as Little Blue Death Bucket gets 40+ mpg’s (no kidding)] The incessant fear that LBDB might AT ANY MOMENT just stop going, never to be revived is really the biking stimulus.

I’m really interested in any form of transportation where I can look at it when there’s a problem and say “Hm… maybe that thing that used to be here is now over here.” I’m all about self-sufficency. I might not be the type of person who always took apart things to see how they worked, but I always kinda wanted too. I was always just a little afraid I’d never get them back together.  Seriously.

I recently replaced the rear tube on the bike (which needs a rockin’ name, BTW.) Rode it a very little bit and it had some problems, and while I was trying to take the wheel off the bike later the tube totally exploded. I don’t like exploding things. In fact, I don’t like balloons because they might explode. So, I put a new tube in that same night, but I haven’t taken the bike out yet, partially because I’m lazy but also because I’m just a bit afraid it might explode.

Though none of that is really the point of this post. The point might be, I’m obsessively reading about bike commuting, so why don’t I just go somewhere by bike? Uber-lameness is the only answer I can think of.

I’m off Monday. I can do this.


a welcome reprieve.

3 September 2009

So mostly my weekends are spent at home: chilling, sleeping, doing housework or work-work. I had last weekend off and thought I was going to spend it in my usual fashion, lounging around the house. And then a couple in my church invited the twenty-somethings (all four of us) our to their lake house. And then my friend, who is a postulant to the priesthood invited me to go with her & her husband to church with them on Sunday because she was guest preaching at another church.

I hesitated, because my lounging around the house weekends are kinda nice. Plus, I’m not a giant fan of change. But I decided to go for it because it had been a really crappy week and I thought the diversion could be nice. Left alone, I’m much too vulnerable to wallowing. So I spent the weekend up to my neck in people and, aside from the fact that I’m incredibly self-conscious and way over analyze things I say, post occurrence, it was really nice.

We went out to the lake. I’ve been on float trips in the states and I went to Bahir Dar, which is on Lake Tana in Ethiopia, but I’ve never done a State-side lake trip. It was lovely, despite the way the invitations went out (sending emails to twenty-somethings’ parents? way to treat us like tweens!) and despite my allergies, which really weren’t that bad out there. Went out on the pontoon and the water sport thing. Harold made some comment about making sure my scarf wouldn’t fall off. I laughed and said I brought a spare. (Yeah, I can’t manage to bring clothes if I got wet in the lake, but I had a spare scarf. For the record, I almost always have a spare scarf) Had some nice conversations and a steak the size of my face, home grilled to perfection, along with amazing side dishes.

That night, I went to my friends because they were planning on leaving at 6 am to make it in time for the 8 am service. I never sleep well the first night I’m somewhere new. On top of that, they have five cats and the windows open, so my allergies were killing me. Zyrtec is great for the cats, but it doesn’t touch my ragweed allergies. So I got about four hours, on top of the five from the night before. (I’m an 8-10 hours of sleep per night type person. Sorry for all the parenthetical asides.) I am way sleep deprived. We ride up to the church and sit through Morning Prayer with Eucharist (which was a lovely service, btw) twice. Things were very different from my own parish, but it was a nice change and after the 10 am service, I got to talk with a stranger who graduated from my alma mater. It was nice. She seemed to be a people-person and kept the conversation going. We also knew a lot of the same people, professors, because (A. it’s a small campus but also because B.) we both went to the same (only) Episcopal church. Again, it was lovely.

I got home, took a 3 hour nap and still had no problems with my normal bed time. I could have used an alone weekend on top of that one, but if I had to choose, I’m happy with the decisions I made.

cars suck, yo.

19 July 2009

So, I have a car, its name is PANTS! (dumb story, which is the only endearing thing about the car) PANTS! has given me lots and lots of shit during the time that I’ve owned it, but in the past 18 months since I’ve been back in the states, it’s been real hell.  Towed thrice (in six months), to the mechanic (who happens to be my uncle, so glad I trust him!) five times. Most recently two simplish repairs. I got it back the week after the 4th, took it to Springfield and enrolled in my classes for the fall semster and got Zeke & I signed up for dog training at PetSmart in the next week. It worked like a charm. Then Sunday, I wanted to take it to church. I got about three miles from home when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to make it because the shifting & accellerating were just wrong.

Shit. I just got it back, and now another problem. So I decided, Fuck it. I am not fixing this car. I refuse.

So, I have my mother’s Geo, I call it the Little Blue Death Bucket (or LBDB for short). Between it & PANTS! I’ve maintained vehicular transportation. But the LBDB is getting old. And I’ve been warned that its lifespan is coming to an end, sometime, and that long distances & highway driving will bring that end faster.

My uncle, the mechanic, has been telling me for a while that I need to get a new car. (new, new to me, whatever — something more reliable) but I can think of a million things I’d rather buy than a car.

So, I’m prepping for a carless time. I’ve borrowed a friend’s bike that I’ve ridden a couple of times. I’m planning out routes to get me to work, away from cars. I’m thinking of people in my church that I can get rides from if that day comes.

I’m planning on riding to work, at least a few times a week to get used to it and to attempt to preserve car life.

I know I’m crazy. I know I should probably just buy a car. But I just don’t want to. It’s not about the environment. It is, in part, due to money. Car, registration, oil changes, gas, insurance, and other things I’m forgetting. It’s also the dependancy on other people, mainly mechanics. I want to be able to fix whatever might be wrong. I want my machinery to be simple enough for me to at least be able to see what is wrong. I want to depend on myself for my own movement.

At least in theory. I might change my mind when it’s no longer theoretical. Which hopefully will remain in the future.

electricians rock.

2 June 2009

let there be light*
and there was light
and we saw that it was good
and it was evening
and it was morning
the first day.

*my kitchen is better lit than it has ever been.

disjointed, to say the least

15 May 2009

Historically, and by ‘historically’ I mean in my personal history, May 15th is a VERY important day and I’m not quite sure what to do with it, honestly.

Today was also important because I finished my finals for the semester, plus I asked a professor to write a letter of recommendation for nursing school. (oh, and she agreed!)

I had stayed up late writing papers and doing the extra credit assignment for my psychology final. The final itself was the same lenth as a normal test and thus took about twenty minutes to take. Which is good because that means I got out early and went to Springfield for some post-finals retail therapy.

Or something like that. I needed a watch for work. I had blown through several Wal*Mart watches. They break quickly for me, given my line of work. I have to wash my hands frequently. So, I thought since I’d go somewhere a little higher class than WalMart for a watch that might outlast a month, I’d go to the mall and just hit up all the places I’ve been wanting to go for a while. So I went to Joanne’s and bought some fabric for a pet project that I’ve been planning in my head for a while. I’m not quite sure if what I bought will fit in to the plan right now, but I’m sure if not, I’ll find something else for it. Besides, I’m all about getting that pet project fabric from the sale/clearance section.

Then to Target. For some reason I always forget that buying chocolate in the summer is not a good idea. By the time I got that stuff home it was all one big blob. But it’s still tasty like whoa. I also bought shampoo! That’s exciting for me because it means my 16 + month resolve to use up the soap pantry build up is slowly paying off. I am out of shampoo! I still have enough soap and conditioner to last until the Zombiepocalypse, but I’m on my way.

And then to the mall where I bought my beautiful watch. It’s a Relic from Sears. I really wanted a Fossil, but their designs kinda sucked. Plus, apparently Relic is made by Fossil, it’s small, water resistant, has dot for ALL the numbers and a second hand (all these are important for me because I use it for pulses and V/S at work and I don’t want to wait forever for the second hand to make it to the next quarter of a minute mark, you know?) and it was 25% off, so yay all the way around. I also ended up getting a completely unnessisary skirt, but it’s cute. Oh, and Flip Flops. My old ones were about to fall apart.

The last Springfield stop was the Catholic store. I had sent my “Immaculate Heart of Mary” prayer card to a friend who I thought might need her a little more than I did a while ago. I kept thinking that I would make it back and get another one and I had realized that I really missed her! So I got another one, Two, actually, for good measure and just in case. YAY IHM!

And if that weren’t enough as I was about to turn off to go home, I decided that no, I really should go put gas in the Little Blue Death Bucket, even though I was exhausted. So I went on into my small hometown. As I was filling up the tank, I swear to God, I heard this sound, and I thought to myself, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think that was the Call to Prayer from a mosque.” Seriously, long slow sounds of chanting. And so I listened. and I heard “ALLAHU AKBAR! Allahu Akbar!” coming from another car, I assumed. I tried looking around the car in front of me, to identify where exactly it was coming from, which I never did because I’m pretty sure it was some sort of intro to a song or something and all of a sudden it was gone, lost in some other song.

It was surreal, to say the least.


22 January 2009

I was driving to class this morning and listening to the radio. I was on this rural highway, doin the 60mph thing. All of a sudden to my right, in this field I see this pack of fiveish cows running right? and they’re headed toward me. I hit the breaks and slow down a little. Then I fully realize that THERE IS NO FENCE between me and those cows. on top of that THOSE COWS ARE NOT SLOWING DOWN. So, I slam on the breaks and swerve out into the middle of the road, stopping just short of hitting this cow straight on.

as Isaac said with a previous “OMG CAR!” experience, it’s a reminder of “who butters our bread.”

omg, hijabi?

28 December 2008

So, I have decided to keep on covering, since ‘it just feels right.’ And I did something today that might have been awesome. or it might have been ridiculously stupid. Either way, what’s done is done.

I wore hijab to work. I’ve been thinking about it. I hate hate hate the little triangle kerchiefy things I’ve been wearing. Man, are they ugly. I was thinking about getting a white square hijab online and wearing it tied behind my head, instead of pulled around front, hijab style, but today I decided to just do it. I basically wear hijab everywhere else outside of work. I have been surprised at the complete LACK of comments I get in hijab in public, so I decided that it would just be much simpler if I wore hijab to work.

I walk in and immediately am asked “Are you Islamic?” Okay, granted, that was expected. “Nope. I’m Christian.” One man told me a couple of times I looked like a nun and that his wife wore scarves after she washed her hair and then curled it. I got another “nun” comment from a lady as well. There were several people that questioned me about it.

“What does ‘this’ symbolize?” While pointing around her face.

“Are you dana? Why are you wearing that?”

“Who are you, with that scarf on your head?” Said by a favorite old lady with a smile on her face. My favorite response “The same person I was yesterday, just with a bigger scarf!”

I got a few questions from family members,  nurses and oriented residents who probably wanted to ask earlier with the smaller scarves, but didn’t and this pushed them over the edge.

I don’t think I was the most eloquent, and I think the part about “I think this is what God is asking me to do.” made a few people uncomfortable. (one resident in particular would ask a question, I would respond, rather awkwardly — give me a break, i’m socially awkward to beging with and I’m not used to these questions– and she would apologize.)

I’m not ashamed of  this. A little uncertain of how to talk about it, but given my history with religion, my being able to say “I think this is what God is asking me to do” to a mere acquaintance is UH-MAZIN’!

(nearly) Christmas

24 December 2008

So, about four months ago I started covering and at that time I said that I’d reevaluate at Christmas and see if this was something that I wanted to continue to do or if it was not really for me.

And… now it’s  (nearly) Christmas and I’m really torn.  I really can’t say whether or not it’s been helpful in any religious way. In the beginning I probably prayed more, but now that enthusiasm has gone. In the beginning, I noticed that certain things started standing out more than they would have before. (especially when married couples showed up on the daytime talk shows and how over-lording the women were compared to their subservient husbands) But now, the newness has gone. I may still notice things but I don’t notice that I’m noticing them. How dumb does that sound?

This headcovering thing  has become part of me. Even now, as I am seriously considering stopping covering, I’m looking for hijab underscarves. (I’ve been pining for a lacy one, instead of these uncomfortably tight headbands)

While headcovering has become part of me, I mostly just want to stop looking like a freak. This stems mostly from work, where I wear white triangle bandana things for the most part and look like I’m a KrAzEe protestant. Okay, so I might be some kind of crazy and I am  protestant, but the combination is generally not how I think of myself. I am not a Bible literalist. I don’t believe in a seven day creation and I’m not a giant fan of Paul. I find myself in direct opposition to most headcovering protestants. I’m not sure where that puts me.

I was talking about this to a friend, and he suggested that I move somewhere like San Francisco, where people just don’t care. I really don’t agree with that. Sometimes liberals are just as closeminded as conservatives. And anyway, I’ve been pretty surprised at how people here just ignore it. I can’t remember any comments from  strangers in my local small town areas, neither in my work kerchief  or my church shawl. and I’ve only had a couple comments when wearing either the church shawl or hijab in the ‘big city’ an hour away. People generally ignore it. His reaction was “So there! Nobody cares! Do as you please.” Sure, I can see that. No one comments, so what’s stopping me. Heck, I’m oblivious to strange stares for the most part.

The problem is that I want to be normal! Sure, I’m not getting comments or anything, but they know I’m different. I want to fit in! But yet, I know that even if I take this off, I won’t fit in. I will still be my strange bundle of contradictions that other people just don’t get. And I realize that because of that, I should keep doing what feels just damn right to me.

But I’m still torn.

yeah, i’m having the wanderlust.

18 November 2008

When I’m online at night, I can hear the cows (because i’m on the back porch) and sometimes, when they give off a particularly melodious and long moo, I think it’s the call to prayer…


7 October 2008

Every time I drive home from class, I pass this gun shop. Out in front it has one of those “church” signs that allows you to make your own messages with those plastic letters. For the past week or so it has simply said “NO BAMA” which is not really my political affiliations, but every day that I drove by it, it kinda made me happy. I really wanted to take a picture of it. Today, however, it was gone. There was no replacement message, just empty sign. It made me sad.