Addicted to Ink

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Wicked Witch & Me

When Jeremy, Sarah, and I were very young, each year the movie "The Wizard of Oz" was broadcast on television. It was tradition to watch the movie together, though Sarah and I often cowardly left the room when we knew the Wicked Witch would be appearing.

In between the yearly broadcast, we, at times, would watch the movie at my Aunt-Cindy-in-South-Charleston,Ohio's house...on her pre-VCR-movie-playing-contraption (in the days before most middle-income families even knew what vcrs were!). The flying monkeys, soldiers, and of course the Wicked Witch terrified Sarah and I, fascinated my brother.

[Actually, though, while I was a little afraid, I more pretended to be afraid than I actually was to appear more girly like my sister and our two doors down neighbor. Once, because the other girls were afraid of worms, I smashed one inside my Dr. Seuss book, pretending to be afraid. In all honesty, I was fascinated with worms, and used to pull them apart to see how many small ones I could make. I was a hopeless, tree-climbing, worm-digging, mud-pie-making, leaf-jumping tomboy.]

The night before Allissa was born was the yearly broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. My two siblings and I stayed all night at Grandma & Grandpa Bakers, nervous, excited, knowing that our lives would be different with this new arrival. We watched the movie then, somewhat distracted, in anticipation of the fact that this was our last year of "just us" watching it. In the future we'd have a new little brother or sister (we were expecting a brother) to watch the movie for all of the years to come.

But this very week, nearly 20 years later, I read Gregory Maguire's Wicked and now everything I thought I knew about the Wicked Witch of the West (and Glinda the Good Witch) has been utterly changed. My perceptions of them are changed. I know more about their pasts. I know about ELPHIE's mom and dad and sister and brother and nanny and lover and classmates and fears and regrets and flaws and what she never got over.

I shouldn't be surprised. Many, many, many times in my life I've been confronted with a whole new way of looking at things. I've been confronted with both sides of the story, with the idea that things and ideas were not what I thought they were. I guess that's why it's so hard for me to have a "black and white" perspective on things when all I see is grey.

No, not grey---color.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

All over again

Tara & I interviewed three students today for the Ukraine trip in June.

I can't believe this is all happening again. I'm truly excited, and yet I'm looking ahead at all the work that's ahead of me: all the fundraising and letter-writing and team meetings and language lessons and working with travel agents and sending for passports for 20+ the thought of 40 hours between airports and in the air and about 38 hours on a train and even before all of that having to choose which students can go and having to tell others they can't--and I wonder where I'll get all the energy for all of that.

And then I think about:
  • this is the first plane ride some of the students will take
  • how this trip will change students' lives, as it changed mine
  • that this trip will deeply expand students' worlds in a big way: some of them have never even been out of Ohio. It'll also expand their views of God and worship and politics and globalization and economics and poverty and wealth and themselves.
  • that we will get to share love and lavish attention on attention-starved orphans who love us with reckless joy
  • who knows? I may meet my future child (adopted, of course)
  • bonding with 19 other people, many of who I already care about.
  • getting to hang out with Tonia and Sasha and Oleg again.

Yup. Service-learning trips are definitely worth it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

where do they live?

While waiting for my carry out order to be filled at the Chinese food place on Twelfth Street, I continued my reading of "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America." [I highly recommend the book -- it's great!]

It gave me pause as I read about Barbara Ehrenreich search for new jobs and housing... where do the people who work in this restaurant live? How do they get by, especially barely speaking English and the fact that the business is often slow. I wonder what they left behind. If their life now is better than it was.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Monday, Monday

Ahhh. Back to my mountain of work. That's okay, though. Feeling pretty refreshed -- thanks to Red Rock Canyon, I think.

Plus a couple of great reads I picked up at Border's yesterday. I'm usually cheap when it comes to buying books (I LOVE amazon & but hey, I had a 25% off discount. And I was shopping with a friend. Why is it that I always buy more when I'm with friends?

Anyway, my choices were:

Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. It's fascinating so far - very fascinating. (Anyone ever read Studs Terkel's Working? It's totally different, but kinda the same feel or something.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - which I haven't started yet, but it's been on my reading list for quite a while now.


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Very fun. I'm on chapter 3, but read the first chapter aloud last night as a bedtime story (practice for someday, right?). Maybe someday yet I'll get Mr. Hardcore News to listen to/read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, even if I have to read it to him!

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Top Five (Mentionable) Highlights of the Vegas Trip
(okay, if this sounds too much like the notorious this-is-what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation report, feel free to ignore it! But people have been asking, so rather than tell it a million times, here goes: )

1. Blue Man Group. Phenomenal. My husband is in love...with three blue creatures. He has vowed that we will see them in every city they call home. Yay - Megs, we're coming to Chicago! And I've been wanting to go to New York City with him forEVER because we've each been there numerous times, but never together. However, in NYC we have to see Wicked before we see Blue Man Group.

2. Red Rock Canyon. We had checked out tours to the Grand Canyon & Hoover Dam & etc., then realized it would be more affordable -- and more fun -- if we just rented a car and went there ourselves. Our Avis rep was great and suggested a whole list of things for us to try, including Red Rock Canyon, which was about an hour from the Strip. Great hiking, photo opps, etc. It was the first moment I truly felt calm and on vacation! The Hoover Dam was pretty fascinating as well, 'specially if you're into history & wierd little facts such as there's enough concrete in the dam to go around the earth at least twice, and you do the cheesey touristy things, like getting your picture taken in two states at once.

3. The View. And the weather. We had an amazing view from our floor-to-ceiling windows at our internet-special hotel room at the Rio. I'd recommend to hotel - it was far enough away from the Strip to not feel claustrophobic, but you can catch a shuttle to Harrah's, which is smack dab in the middle of the Strip every 15 minutes. Oh, and the weather was amazing. 83 degrees the whole week (a little cooler at night), no humidity, no rain: perfection. It's enough to make an Ohioan want to move to Arizona. Of course, I am saying this in October, when the weather is in the 80s, not the 120s.

4. Accomplishing all of our goals. Alright, Andrew, we copied your goals: to see a Vegas wedding, to meet Elvis, and to eat at a buffet. I was surprised at how long it took us to see an Elvis, though, and we only saw the guy three times. Vegas is changing, baby. Oh, we didn't see actual weddings, just three sets (at different times) of brand-newlyweds in very formal wedding duds. Again, surprising - how very fancy & formal these people were. And at one time when Michael was engrossed in a game of computer poker (he lost) I wandered to the third floor of the casino, where the wedding chapels were. They were actually very classy. The only Elvises we saw were young, slim & trim Elvises - Elvis in his glory days. Our first meal there was a buffet that was okay... I'm really not a big fan of buffets. It was at Gold Coast. The second was very nice, but way overpriced - the Carnaval at Rio - for breakfast. Our best "meal deal" was at Binion's in downtown Vegas: $8.95 for a prime rib dinner. Oh, unless you count the free ice cream cone (BOGO) coupon we found for Ben & Jerry's.

5. The IMAX film at the Luxor. I do feel like a fourth-grader saying this, but it was really cool! The film acually had an interesting story, too.

Worst Five Things About Vegas
1. Vegas is so... slutty! Seriously. You can't go five seconds without seeing an in-your-face-nearly-naked-"girl" plastered everywhere. Of course, we stayed at the Rio, which is young, hip, and therefore offers equal-opportunity degradation: Chippendales. Posters everywhere. Billboards everywhere.
2. Speaking of... The illegal immigrants handing out stripper cards on the sidewalks. They were everywhere, and when you didn't look at them, they clicked their cards at you, making these annoying sounds. And often, next to them, were men wearing "God is love" polo shirts, also forcing people to take little cards.
3. And speaking of them...The Fairfield resort people who offered everything under the hot blazing sun to get you to try to get to one of their hotels for two hours to buy a timeshare package. They were just as aggressive as the stripper clickers.
4. Living in an ashtray and the slot machine dings that are still ringing in my ears. Vegas must be the last place in America that is smoker-friendly, and I feel like I smoked at least a dozen packs in the four days I was there without touching a single cigarette. I didn't really notice any clouds of smoke, but you smelled it, ate it, drank it everywhere you went. Except for the Venetian. I think they burn incense there, because I didn't smell any smoke, just a sweet incense-type-smell.
5. The flight home. Our flight was supposed to leave at 10:45 last night, and so at 10:15 the began loading the Airbus. Well, at 10:20, they stopped, announcing some kind of airplane malfunction. Turns out, the had to change the front tires on the wheel. So we didn't take off until almost midnite, then didn't get home til about 9 a.m. our time, which was when I was supposed to go work: the first Homecoming event of the day. I opted for a few hours sleep instead.
Oh, but also about the trip back: there were little kids everywhere, probably a dozen on our ride. I couldn't imagine taking a kid there.
Five Most Surprising Things About Vegas
1. The amount of foreign travelers. I guess I've always pictured Vegas as an almost embarassing little attraction of the United States, that draws gangster types, BINGO types, "hillbilly" types, and retirees. Not today's Vegas. Of every five people I saw, I'd say at least one was from Europe or Asia. Wasn't really expecting that. And there were a lot of Bingo types, retirees, etc. (even gangsters!) but there were also a LOT of young people.
2. Nobody seemed to be winning. Every once in a while, I'd hear some cheers as I walked by a blackjack table, but nobody we talked to was winning, and I didn't here anyone really win at the slots.
3. How much you could see from one side to the other. You can pretty much see the whole city at one glance, between all the surrounding (gorgeous) canyons.
4. How many kids were there. Again, just not a place for kids. For the sake of their lungs alone, never mind all of the smuck they will actually see. Yet: babies everywhere. Little kids everywhere.
5. Coming home to find out that Allissa's engaged... .

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I have never seen my sister look so beautiful. So happy. So... radiant.

Today, her wedding day, was perfect. Even the kids behaved like little angels. Now that's a miracle!

If I ever learn how to put pictures on this thing, I'll post some!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

movin' on

I've read that when you're fasting for an extended period of time, your truest issues - even those you thought you've already dealt with - come to the surface. Then that becomes part of your fast - dealing with those issues and moving on.

Though I haven't been fasting from food (at least most days), I feel as though I've worn myself out (fasting from rest?). That's hard for me to do - I have a very high tolerance, but I think I'm just about there. All of the things I'm working on and working towards and celebrating are (mostly) wonderful things that I deeply enjoy, I will just be glad again for rest... .

And why is it that issues that I thought I'd worked through are coming to light again? I feel myself constantly, insecurely questioning if my efforts are good enough: with work, with my sister, with my husband, with my friends, with my writing, with my... everything. That is not the person I want to be.

I want to be someone who is confident - because I have done my best. I have given everything I could - in some cases more than I could.

So... deal with the issues & move on, right?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Definitely NOT a Type D

Yesterday, I was reading about the personality type "D" in Newsweek, which is basically a personality that is anxious & shy (

That's definitely not me - I scored a 0 on their little test.

And I was reminded of how not-D that I am today while waiting an hour & 15 minutes in line in Hell (otherwise known as Verizon Wireless on Dressler Road - bye, bye lunch break!) when I started talking to the couple in front of me. During our conversation, I learned that he was 75, she is 67; he is retired, she works at St. Luke's (I'm not sure if it was the church, or the health care facility); they have an adult son and a daughter (their daughter lives on Woodlawn, their son lives in Jackson Township, they both have cell phones, and their daughter spends more than 1000 minutes per month on her cell phone); He's originally from Italy, and studied languages at a university in Rome; they spent a month in Italy this summer, but it wasn't nearly enough, and even the little kids have cell phones there; they also enjoy the Outer Banks of North Carolina; they're worried about the cost of heat this winter; he spends $200 per month in medicine.

But I forgot to ask them their names.

Monday, October 03, 2005

it's showtime, everyone

Today is Mike's 30th birthday.

He's a little annoyed with me. I had 30 people call him to wish him a happy birthday.

At least I didn't do what my kb instructor did to her husband: she had people call him every 30 minutes, from midnight to midnight. If I'd done that, he definitely wouldn't be speaking to me anymore. His personal cell phone finally died a few seconds ago. He's not complaining! I did give 15 people his work cell number, tho... .

And: four days til Sarah's wedding.

Then I'll officially have a little brother. Cool!