Friday, December 16, 2011

Do Hard Stuff

After discovering the Modesty Survey (fascinating!) through a random blog I found after reading Pam's review on "Praying for Your Future Husband," an internet jaunt landed me on this excellent blog post written by a 17-year-old in 2006 about success and failure as perceived through the eyes of a child, versus the eyes of a teen. Imagine your reaction if a four-year-old told you, "I'm just not a toilet person." Now imagine, or remember, your reaction when a teen or adult says "I'm just not a math person," or "I'm just not a people person."

How much are we letting our limitations define us?  I could go off on this, but I need to go cook dinner. Lunch was a turnip. And a very good turnip it was.
I need rest.
Go read "My First Shower Nearly Killed Me."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thanksgiving photos!

Mmm Grace and Amanda are fabulous cooks!Grace: "Not bad, if I do say so myself."Cole loves that dog.Amanda: "you shouldn'ta had that fourth helping, Cole"
Amanda: "I tried to sit up but the only thing that moved was my eyebrows."
Goofing off

Thanksgiving 2011 , a set on Flickr.
Yes, it is almost Christmas. But now I am out of school I can do fun things like make photo galleries. I am using Flickr's Blogger share feature. We'll see how it looks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why not make a night of it?

Ever been so exhausted you can't sleep? Such is the unfortunate state I find myself in, now at 5am, the day after I finished my final project for class. Bad news is, work at 9am. Good news is, NO MORE SCHOOL FOR A MONTH! Hooray!

I have utilized this bout of sleepnessness to make a few improvements to the blog. Notice the new pages at top. Also, I am trying to increase the readability of the text - darkened some colors. Let me know if it's still hard to read.

I wanted to show you my final project for graduate school. After 36 hours of labor on the presentation alone (the project itself totaled far more) I am justifiably proud. Enjoy!

All this work on the Converse website has made me realize how my blog is kind of stuck in the mid-00's and it was never very reader-centric. In an attempt to modernize, I will be incorporating more interactivity, like this Prezi, a music player, and Flickr slideshows. Who knows, now that I have a webcam I might start vlogging! I also want to add content which will hopefully be useful to you, starting with Scripture Songs and Teen Songwriters, which can be found above.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lunch break at Converse

Ten minutes to spare, munching on my Fresh Market sushi.

Matthew came this weekend. Matthew, that's his name. My gentleman. Charming, passionate, godly Matthew. Of the many indelible memories we made together, the peak was probably dancing on a rooftop in Greenville. It was sunset, he put on Frank Sinatra, donned a fedora and swept me off my feet. Top that, gentlemen. :-P

I had always sort of skipped the romance part of my considerations of a man. In my mind it was kind of like, God points out the one and then I say OK, now we have to work through X,Y, and Z and then we can get married and the real stuff starts. I take coupleness very seriously. Its goal is to fulfill God's purpose and also provide an image of what God wants His relationship with His church to be. I focused on the first part of that more, the team aspect, laboring together for the gospel and to bring the Lord back.

But honestly, the Bible is just as much about romance as it is about God's will. You can't split them because God's heart is utterly romantic. I knew that - have felt Jesus wooing me, romancing me all these years, but I guess I never thought about an earthly man's right - prerogative - to do the same thing. In his deep love, his satisfaction in me, his delight in my every happiness, Matthew is teaching me about Jesus. It takes a lot to allow yourself to be loved, at least for me it does. But as I see Matthew's joy in my simply receiving his affections, I see Jesus' delight when the heart turns to him, and a reflection of the glory as the veil is taken away (2 Cor. 3:16).

I know first love is not necessarily last love, and that there is no sureness until the day of unbreakable vows, but still, this is a beautiful thing that God has made, and I will thank Him and delight in it.

Matthew and I at Falls Park

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I finally caved and joined. The thing about twitter is that if you don't have anything to say, you don't have to tweet. You can just follow people. Some people actually have interesting things to say. So it's pretty much a professional tool for me to stay in touch with information fields. Maybe I will tweet interesting links. So here's me on twitter: @Lydia_Anthony

In other news, my dad and I got our old broken washer and dryer out of the house today. We're getting working ones this week. Now we just have to get a stove, microwave, oven, and central heating and we'll be like normal middle class Americans!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Love and Respect and...Courting...

First of all, awesome blog that my mom turned me on to. She and my dad went to this marriage seminar based on the book, Love and Respect, and they seemed to have really had a good time. Turns out the folks that do the seminar have a daughter who writes a blog for us young single's actually not only thoughtful, relevant and Biblically sound, but it has this unexpected streak of ridiculousness that keeps me laughing. The blog is called Love and Respect Now.

So yeah, relationships have been on my mind for the past...several months. Well, six weddings in one year, a girl's bound to at least give it a thought...;-)

Friday, October 7, 2011

A meditation on Psalm 6

Props to my best friend Pam, who is participating in a challenge to blog about a single topic for 31 days. She chose the Psalms, and is inviting her readers to link up with their own Psalm meditation. So here is mine.

Psalm 6 (NIV)

1 LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
   or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint;
   heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A fairytale wedding in pictures

My brother's wedding was so much more amazing than I could have imagined. He has a wonderful wife and awesome supportive friends that helped them pull off their dream wedding. Without further ado, a photographic narrative. (For a soundtrack to the story, I recommend Beats Antique.)
The lovely bride, Ivy. To think,
this veil was only for the bachelorette party!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

AiR Jam

Thursday, I went to Hub-Bub's AiR art talk/open studio. Got there a little late so I missed the beginning of writer-in-residence Eric's talk, but the last bit of it was good, as were the other talks. I really wanted to spend some time in the gallery getting acquainted with their work first, but the open studio was a rare opportunity to see their workspaces so I followed the crowd up the stairs. Eric, the writer, was my first stop. He apologized for not having much to show because he wasn't a visual artist but he did have his MFA thesis lying out for perusal so I read a few poems while community members and ex-AiRs stopped in to chat. Someone brought him some basil seeds for his mini herb garden - apparently he'd made a few remarks about it in his talk before I got there. He also had a guitar, base, and ukelele out that he welcomed his visitors to play.
The Writer in his Natural Habitat

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Settling in for the fall

I am starting back to work at Converse tomorrow! I am so excited. Beth, Converse's director of communications, emailed me shortly after she found out that Kathryn, Converse's web content manager, would be moving on to teach at a technical college in Greenwood. I'm glad for Kathryn because teaching is what she really wants to do, and I'm glad for me because I love working at Converse, especially that job. I'm going to be a part-time interim content manager while they conduct a search, but you never know what might happen... :)

So I will be juggling two jobs and two classes this fall. I expect I will have my hands full. I've really enjoyed my little breather after summer school and am ready to tackle new classes on Thursday. I am taking Practicum in Organizing and Managing Web Resources (which meshes perfectly with being a web content manager!) and Principles of Assessment for LIS Professionals. I have been excited about the first class since I took Intro in the beginning of the summer. The same professor will be teaching it and I feel like I learn a lot from her. I really deliberated on whether to take the second class or not. It is a special topics class, which means this will be the only time it's offered while I'm in school. It will definitely be useful in my chosen field, since colleges are always doing some kind of assessment. In fact, I'm a little afraid with this class under my belt, the college I end up working at will rope me into being a part of all their assessment committees. It was fun and exciting as an undergrad, but now it just strikes me as a lot of additional work. Well, assessment is a powerful tool for improving your professional practice and your institution so... I think it will be good for me. And I ended up not having a choice. I had to take two classes to get loans.

I feel like I am really starting to settle back into life in Spartanburg. I know, it's been almost a year, but pretty much the first half of it I spent missing where I had been, and trying to go back, or at least get out of here. There were times when I felt pretty sorry for myself, since I really felt like I had given up everything to pursue the Lord. A great job, a great life, school/career opportunities all lined up and ready to go...I ended up not only sacrificing that but losing my health as well, ending up, seemingly, right back where I started, only worse off. But that's not really what was happening. God was taking me through growing experiences. Showing me more of who I am, what the church is, what's going on with the saints in the recovery and how I fit with all that, and just how big of a world I live in. Some of what I learned I liked, and some I didn't, but I'm glad to have learned it. I no longer feel that longing for the Training that I felt for months. I wanted so badly to be back there this term, but now it's pre-training week, and even hearing all the chatter on facebook about who's going back, and who's starting out, I can honestly say that I'm just happy for my friends who will be there. God's made it pretty clear it's not where I'm supposed to be right now, and He's reminding me of the rich awesome wonderful life that he's given me here.

So I'm connecting with friends old and new in the area, and remembering what it means to be a responsible family member. I'm cleaning, scything the lawn with my dad, and cooking with my mom. I talked my family into buying a half share at the local CSA. I'm enjoying community in Spartanburg. I went to Hub-Bub for the first time in...nearly two years, I guess. Enjoyed a delightful drum circle and met one of the Artists-in-Residence. I'll be back to take a closer look at his work, along with that of the other AiRs, on Thursday at the Art Walk. I will have to find yet another rhythm with a new job and a new school load, but I am confident that I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me, and, perhaps for the first time since I left, I'm looking forward to a future in Spartanburg that's bright with promise.

A snippet of the drum circle. Lots of fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Camping Scrapbook

Finished the scrapbook today, after working on it feverishly all week. I learned a lot in the process. Pam has provided an excellent record of our adventures here, here, and here. Let me know what you think of my first digital scrapbook!


CampingScrapbook-Swimming Hole

CampingScrapbook- Campsite

CampingScrapbook-Looking Glass Falls

CampingScrapbook-Sliding rock

CampingScrapbook- Picnic


Click on the pictures to zoom in on Flickr. I feel like there should be like a back cover or something. Oh well.

Thanks to Summertime Designs for the kit, and Tom Kolter for the font.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Camping and more weddings

So my best friend Pamela and I decided to plan a camping trip to celebrate finishing my first summer in graduate school. It ended up also being a celebration of her being healed from a medical condition, so it was doubly exciting. She's going to blog all about it in the next couple of days, so I won't say much except that it was awesome, we had plenty of unexpected adventures, and we made lots of good memories. I'm really getting into this digital scrapbooking thing, so I decided to memorialize the trip with a scrapbook. I'll post it here when I'm done. So far I've finished two pages. It's kind of addictive.

I've also been at two more weddings since I last blogged (bringing my total to five this year).One was an old friend from back in my homeschool days, Mikia. We haven't really kept in touch well so I was honored to be invited. It was a cute outdoor wedding with a beach theme. The second was a friend from freshman year of college, Shilo. She transferred sophomore year, but we were pretty close back in the day. She asked Pam and me to be bridesmaids, which I was really nervous about,  since it was the day we left our campsite, but it was a huge honor. So after two days of getting wet and dirty and mucking about, we woke up early, packed up our gear, showered and got all fancy to be bridesmaids. It was a whirlwind, getting there barely in the nick of time, being handed a bouquet and told to lead the way out the door to the alter. Then a bunch of pictures outside on a hot muggy day and the reception. It was really sweet when we did the Converse tradition of circling the bride and singing the Alma Mater.

I am so excited to be finished with two classes! I've got about two weeks before the fall semester starts, and I plan to enjoy every bit of it. Though I really do need to figure out what I'll be taking this fall.

Here's the bride and her bridesmaids:
Shilo, Lydia, and Pamela

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Blog Layout!

I am learning about html and web design in my graduate class and got inspired. :) I found this awesome digiscrapping blog (yay new word!) while working on one of my assignments and the Moments kit appealed to me. I found this cool font at and after several hours of labor, much tweaking and risky code manipulation, I am proud to present Long Purple Bike's new look. By the way, if you need free hi-res image hosting, Picture Push seems to be a pretty good choice.

Please tell me what you think of the new look!

Edit: Added "Why Long Purple Bike" page, went through and tagged all my posts from the beginning, and added a cute little tag cloud. Hopefully that will help you to discover and peruse more writings of interest. Remember, I LOVE comments! >.<

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Three weddings, a graduate course and 3200 miles later...

I am back from a surprise road trip to Texas. My cousin Martin passed away and my dad and I drove down to his funeral. We also got to catch up with my uncles Doc and Roy and my aunt Dede, and see my sister's baby Nova and my brother's new house. It was a long, grueling drive but the time with family was worth it.

The weddings were all great. They each had such a unique flavor that reflected the couples' personalities. The first was formal and elegant.

Bride and groom sit at a decorated table

The wedding cake, surrounded by confetti
The second was charmingly rustic.
Bride and groom cut the cake in a cabin. Nearby a groom's cake is shaped like a mountain.

A sunflower sits in a jar in front of a stone staircase.
 The third was funky and atmospheric.

At the outdoor alter, the groom is about to kiss the bride on the forehead. The pastor looks on.

Cupcakes, labeled with the couple's name, and by flavor.

Bride and groom zoom down the road on a scooter with streamers trailing.

I'm actually going to another wedding this month, and then my brother's wedding in September. 2011 is definitely my year of weddings. In other news, I finished my first course in graduate school. It was really intense. That's why you haven't heard from me in a month. My second course is slightly less intense but still time consuming. I forgot how much hard work it is to be in school. Here is my family, from my trip to Texas:

 My uncle Doc. It was his son that passed away.

My aunt DeDe.

My uncle Roy. 

 My nieces, Nova and Shakti.
Ed Anthony and Offspring.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I am attending three weddings this spring. The first is tomorrow, two young people whom I met at Providence. Then there are the Vangsnes boys, whom I have known for several years now through bible study, who found themselves lovely Christian girls in Athens, GA and will be marrying within a week of one another. I really do enjoy weddings, especially when the couples are as dedicated to grounding their marriage in their faith as these folks are. The "three-strand chord" of Christian marital love is just so beautiful. I'm looking forward to them all.

I suppose you are wondering about the anime convention. It was, all in all, underimpressive. A small gathering in the student center of UNC Charlotte. But the cosplay was fun. And roaming around Ikea for two hours in costume was just as fun. So was enjoying cinnamon buns and milk while watching Haruhi Suzumiya back at Heather's house. Quite a lovely day, really. And, in case you were curious, here is my "completed" costume:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chick-Fil-A and a Djembe

I got a job! Part-time at Chick-fil-A. Of all the fast food restaurants I feel like this is the best place to work. The people are so friendly and really care to do a good job and make the customers happy. Plus, at the one I work at, they are nearly all Christian so the atmosphere is really positive. It's a bit stressful at times but I enjoy the work. I've also got an interview for an assistant position at a college library this week, that would be awsome because it's right in line with my chosen career path. (wow that phrase still feels funny...I actually have a career path...) Oh, and something really cool happened on my way home from work. My car wouldn't start - kind of normal with my car now, I just have to give it a little time and try again later - so I decided to go to Marshall's. In the back of the store, I found a djembe. A hand-carved djembe from Ghana, with a real skin head and beautiful designs on it. It was on clearance for $25!!! That's like, 90% off! I snatched it immediately. I have been wanting a djembe for years. So yeah, that was like a little gift from God my Father, reminding me He loves me.

Today we did our Easter celebration at Providence. I was in the handbell choir and the regular choir. It was a lot of fun practicing and putting it on. We did the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

Next Saturday Heather and Bryant and I are going to an anime convention. I'm not like a hardcore anime fan, but I do appreciate a fair amount of anime and manga, and it's closeby and cheap. Plus Heather and I have been waiting for an excuse to dress up in costumes. It's kind of random, since they're steampunk costumes, but you can pretty much get away with anything at an anime convention. Here's a sneak preview of my costume:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Home and abroad, and home again

Since I last wrote, I've been to New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, and Georgia. I visited my good friend Sarah Bracey Johnson at her seminary in Yonkers, and experienced the places and people who populated the New Jersey landscape of my BFF Pam's childhood. I've applied to a handful of jobs, sold a few gallons of carrot juice and soymilk, and started planting camilia cuttings to sell. I applied to begin graduate classes in the summer. I walked the Cottonwood trail, bartered a haircut for fudge, and watched a baby feel spring air on his skin and grass under his feet for the first time.

And I wrestled with God. At first, the unexpected turn of my life over these last  few months was a new adventure, sovereignly prepared and sweetly paved. Like a young child, it seemed my every trifling obedience brought instant rewards. Or at least, for some inexplicable reason God was smiling on me. But lately, I've felt as if I'm only beginning to realize I got sent into a pit of waist-high mud and the whole time I thought I was running I only moved two feet and have since ceased to move entirely. Lazy, listless, spiritually drained, cranky. Escaping an ever-gloomier reality through the desperate consumption of books, movies, and music. My prayer life thinning to a tenuous thread, my Bible reading a sludgy trickle.

When I found out about the college-age conference in Athens, I was so hopeful, so eager. Most of us church kids look at these kinds of conferences as a spiritual "fix." It's not about some emotional high, it's about getting a concentrated dose of God. Hopefully jumpstarting our spiritual lives, reminding us how good He is and how to get Him. Turning a downward-facing life back towards the Prize to which God in Christ Jesus called us upward. I didn't really deserve to go to the college conference; I couldn't pay my own way. I'm not even a student, just vaguely college-aged. But I felt like I needed it so badly, was in such a pitiful condition, I didn't blink my eyes at accepting "charity" to get there. There was a kind of desperate hope, that something would change, I would see something more clearly. Mostly, I knew I would gain more of God and that always improves things.

I did gain God. And something changed. And I saw something more clearly than I did before, though God had already been giving me a fuzzy image. It's been hard coming to terms with the possibility that God might want me to stick in Spartanburg for the long term. I want nothing more than to be back in the Training, pursuing Him with my whole being. But see that's the thing, what I really want isn't what God wants, it's a particular means of reaching God. I could be a fox determined to climb the fence to reach the chickens because that's the best way I can see, refusing to listen to the chickens themselves telling me there's another way in.

Even before this conference I was starting to get the sense that going back to the training without God's clear leading would be an act of spiritual cowardice, showing a lack of trust in God's provision. My father doesn't feel the time is right to go back and I take his authority as from the Lord.
But even as I was sharing this glimmer of light with a few sisters at the conference, I was getting a taste of the life I've been missing. Fellowship, prayer, truth. A simpler church life, an easier way to be absolute for God. Clear choices. How I wish God would allow me such a black and white existence! Go to the meeting, or hang out in the world. Spend time with the saints, or indulge my own individualistic desires. It's human to seek the tangible, the quantitative. To measure spiritual progress with a checklist - how many meetings attended, how many people visited, how much time spent in prayer, how many chapters of the Bible read. But my life in Spartanburg has never been that clear-cut. Maybe, I was thinking midway through the conference, the Lord would desire me to move for the sake of the churchlife. Friends of mine are migrating - uprooting and moving somewhere they've never even seen, with the sole purpose of establishing a healthy church there. That's their whole focus for living. What a sense of purpose. Even my parents, when they were my age, moved across state and country so they could live the church life. So admirable. What could be wrong with me taking the same action?

A friend even dropped the hint - have you thought at all about moving? So I did, I really thought about it. I considered the steps to take, I even came home and started looking for jobs outside of Spartanburg. But he also urged me to pray about it. So I finally did. I asked God if it was His will for me to move. I told him I'd be willing. I thought, maybe the only reason I'm still in Spartanburg is because of the security of it, the practical simplicity of life under my parents' roof, on my parents' nickel. It makes a lot of logical, secular sense, but was I following reason at the expense of trust in God? I gave that to the Lord. I also gave Him my desire to escape, to find a "normal" churchlife. My hunger for radical action. My dad said that some people confuse "absoluteness for God" with spiritual laziness - doing all the things people expect you to do if you're serious about God. Following a formula. It drives me crazy because I don't know who of my friends outside of Spartanburg could understand how this anti-formula, as it were, sticking in this crazy barren looking Spartanburg life, could actually be an act of obedience. I really don't see it myself. It's a lot easier for me to understand leaving friends and family behind as Abraham did, to journey to the unknown on God's bidding. But as I prayed it became more and more clear that it was just me begging for the greenlight to escape. I remembered brother Lee's words to my dad: "make sure you're clear with the Lord before making your move." and eventually just asked for God's peace, provision and guidance if it really is His will for me to stay right where I am. The fact of the matter is, He hasn't given me the green light to leave this place. In fact, the more it makes spiritual sense to leave the more He seems to be telling me to stay.

So there it is. A roller coaster taking me in one big circle. I'm glad my friend told me to pray about it. Exploring my options with an open heart before the Lord, allowing Him to solidify His choice. Maybe this suspension in the mud is really just God holding me in His hand, waiting for me to stop struggling and just believe Him. I still have my work cut out for me. His will is for me to give myself to Him each day, be willing to lavish time on Him, listen to Him. His will is also for to follow the small steps He's shown me: to clean the house, to write and sing in a balanced way, to contact the saints, to help my parents, to faithfully seek employment (maybe casting my net a little further from home this time, just in case). Not particularly spiritual or admirable. But that is obedience. He's giving me just enough strength to do what I see to do. Not more so I can accomplish some great work, make some bold move. But enough. He's promised me that much.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My mom at the beach

I'm blogging from my nook at JAVAJOE'S in Hilton Head, SC. Our week of vacation is almost up. I've come to realize it's been much more of a vacation for Mom than for Dad and I. For us, the main difference was a change of location.It's been fun, for sure. An excuse to be even lazier than normal, languid walks on the beach, a day exploring the history of Savannah on a Spanish moss-strewn trolley tour. But for Mom, it's so much more. It's meant a whole week of freedom. A chance to decide exactly what she wants to do and when, and then actually do it, guilt free. I didn't realize how special and rare it is for her until I actually saw her, smiling the kind of smile I haven't seen in a really long time, a huge grin that stretches all the way across her face. A really genuine smile, not the mona lisa smirk she puts on for pictures. In fact I only recall ever seeing this smile on my sister, Esther. So it really surprised me to see it on Mom. she's never this kind of happy.

I take freedom for granted. It's been a fairly normal condition for most of my life. But even before she started working full-time, mom has considered her time to belong to her family, not to her. Every moment she gets to herself she feels like she's stolen, and is plagued with guilt about it. It's the same whenever she spends money - she feels like she has to justify every dollar. I can't imagine feeling like that all the time. No wonder she gets so frustrated with dad and me and the way we spend our days. But sometimes I feel like her sacrificial attitude is causing more suffering than necessary. She's so stressed all the time that seeing her relaxed is somewhat of a shock. She doesn't have to justify the way she spends her time any more than we do, but she always does. When I brought up the idea of her having her own private space in the house, like a little reading nook/study, she acted like it was impossible. "Moms don't get their own space," she said. Certainly not with that attitude. But as much as that frustrated me, I can't help but wonder if I'll feel the same way when I'm a mom. Is this just part of the deal that comes with motherhood? The older I get the more I notice all the thankless stuff moms do. Certainly makes you think twice before signing on. I can tell myself I'll be "smart" about it, not get into this guilt cycle, cut myself some slack, but odds are l'll be exactly the same.
Anyways, I'm going to enjoy Mom's big, guilt-free grins while they last. I hope she's having a really stellar vacation. She deserves it more than any of us.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011, the Idiot, and the Elusive Necessity of Yellow

So far, the New Year has proven a whirlwind of social activity. In fact, this week has kind of felt like a roller coaster ride between one visit and the next. Lots and lots of fun, but...  A friend of mine said it seemed like her best years often began with little to inspire confidence. So judging by the past seven days, here's hoping for a year of discipline, balance, and perspective. It's going to be exhausting just to recount the events of the week, but the mean streak in me wants to wear you out with it too. Starting with the Cheeks' house for New Year's Eve with Wii, movies, music and dancing - of course a very late night ending in a sleepover and completely wrecking the whole next day. (We were all pretty much lost causes on Saturday...but then that is sort of a normal condition for New Year's Day, isn't it?) Then Sunday evening at Grace's house for a conversation that ended up lasting past 1am, then on Monday to the movies (Secretariat!) with the Bennetts, followed by late-night stargazing on the Cowpens Battlefield, catching the Quadrantid meteor shower on a particularly beautiful, crystal clear night.

On Monday I found out about two great job opportunities but was also introduced to Prince Muishkin, one of the most captivating fictional men I have ever encountered. I met him in my NOOKcolor, in a set of 50 classics for two dollars, in the book entitled The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is after learning about him in that book I mentioned in the previous blog post, deciding immediately that he would be my introduction to the great Russian author.

For the last few months I have known that January would be the beginning of my re-entry into so-called "real life." I have been healing, pressure free, for a while now, and pursuing my passions with gusto, but I knew that at some point I would need to begin, in earnest, to look for work. The kind that gives you reliable money. (It seems the penniless invalid artist persona has an expiration date.) Fortunately, two bones were thrown my way, on the very first Monday of the year. If I had been a good girl, or perhaps hadn't recently been spending so much time having fun with friends, or hadn't just this week reduced my medicine dose by half, certainly if I had not encountered Prince Muishkin, I might have jumped on it and been able to get those applications in by the end of Monday, Tuesday at the latest. But I am not a particularly good or industrious girl, and I have been spoiled rotten of late, so I have managed to drag the applications out all week whilst running around having a jolly time. At least I got one done today. If I can wrap the other one up by the end of tomorrow I won't beat myself up too badly.

But on to Tuesday. I had been staying up far later and spending more time out than I have since...before the Training, really. Plus I had just tapped into a novel more engrossing than any I have read since...again before the Training. Waking up befuddled, but with the earnest intention to spend a serious day's labor trying to procure employment, I was offered a proposition by my father: go with him to take Mom to work, and then take our Nooks to Barnes and Noble to sample their "select in-store offerings." I had a pretty strong suspicion that making that choice would put my job applications in the back seat, but I chose to, nonetheless. With guilty delight I read the Idiot all the way in the car. When we got to Barnes and Noble, I passively watched two or three hours slide away while devouring books, magazines, essays, and a free smoothie. I did run into an old college acquaintance and had a lovely chat and fellowship. He's on break from seminary. Never would have expected it of him. Weird wonderful world.

Having managed to fritter away the morning, I came home with a somewhat weakened resolve to continue work on the applications (I really despise filling out those things. In fact there is little in life that I find more unpleasant than job-hunting.) Perhaps half an hour into that, I get phone calls confirming an arrangement made to spend time with Pam, my best friend somewhat neglected of late. That led into an argument with my dad over transportation at the end of which I felt emotionally ruined, for the day. My last sprig of industriousness fled, I decided obstinately to curl up and escape it all with the book that had been haunting me, blessing me, wooing me for two days. I went up to my room, opened my Nook, and didn't come out for air all afternoon. After a brief dinner with my parents and pathetic token effort toward the job applications, I returned to Prince Muishkin and spent the evening with him, not seeing, hearing, or caring for anything in the world but to follow him and his Christlike love and sufferings all the way to his quiet, sad fate. Finishing the novel in the wee hours of the morning, I was exhausted, transported, and vaguely registering the fact that I'd managed to escape the job hunt for an entire day, and that consequently I would really need to "buckle down" in the morning.

Wednesday morning I did manage, somewhat, to "buckle down," but being rather sleep-deprived, overstimulated, and distracted (my dad's the worst help - constantly reminding me to "focus" while simultaneously accompanying me down every philosophical, theological, and fantastical tangent that pops into my head), the best I had in me to put toward the job applications was rather less than one could hope for. But dutifully I plugged at it until Pam's mother and sister came to whisk me away to their house for an afternoon and evening of Bollywood dance videos, Wii Fit, Kinect Dance Central, Rock Band, guitar lessons and improvisational adventures. Giddy and physically drained, I came home with the knowledge that if I didn't finish at least one of the applications the next day I was going to get kicked and would fully deserve it.

I am pleased to report that one application is in, complete with glowing cover letter and resume printed on Kinko's best. In addition to that mighty feat, today's activities have included picking up a score of library books, visiting the Hub City bookshop for the first time, catching up with Patrick Whitfill and Betsy Teter there, seeing my friend's boyfriend at the coffee shop next door and making the delightful discovery at the back of the shop that not only has Liz Blanchard realized her dream of a bake shop, but she and her husband Andrew have had their first child, a six-month-old girl named Simone.

Taking a most intriguing SC arts/music/culture magazine from the book shop to Venus Pie for lunch, I found out that Daniel Machado, with whom I had the pleasure of a brief conversation as fellow performers at Converse's Earth Day Concert back in '08, has, with his new band The Restoration, produced a noteworthy concept album called Constance. Its southern-gothic storytelling and history-laden accompanying compendium (resonance with the Decemberists here) appeal to me so greatly I am afraid I will be unable to resist, broke as I am. Going to give it a few days to see if I can really afford two week's worth of carrot juice earnings on a CD and book.

That's not even the end of it. I come home to find I missed Bryant dropping off some borrowed books by a mere 20 minutes. I make Suzanne's carrot juice, learn to make soy milk from Dad, and then Suzanne is over and we are watching a movie, eating marshmallows and a dinner of spinach and avocado smoothie. Not half an hour into the movie, we hear a knock on the door and find, to our utter surprise, Jidong Xiao and his six-year-old son Caleb, acquaintances from the church in Simpsonville. We have a lovely time with the Xiaos, playing and drawing with the son, talking Scriptures with the father, but don't finish our movie.

Now everyone's gone and I've just eaten into the early morning hours once again, this time on the computer. I figured I might as well make a full week of it. Maybe after I get that other application in, after Bible Study and after the Dixon's breakfast visit on Saturday, I will be able to calm down and begin to restore some measure of routine and balance into my life. I'm missing it sorely right now. The doctors since California have been beseeching me to engage in "structured activity." (It's the Yellow I crave. Too much Red, not enough Yellow - all play and no work makes Jane sore, tired, and poor.) Before the holidays, I was beginning, in my own odd way, to structure my life. It seems I am having to start all over again in 2011. Oh well. I guess that's what new years are for.
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