Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who will sing me lullabies?

I'm sitting here in the (mostly) dark, guided only by the glow of the computer screen and the lightning through the window. It has been a good day. 

I'm not sure why. I'll take it anyway. I worked, went to Mr. Carter's Amazing Poetry and Lit. Theory Class, and tutored a football player. (Insert slight sigh about the last part. I can help someone organize their thoughts. I cannot think their thoughts for them). 

Excitement: I've discovered a way to feed my baking addiction without feeding my sugar addiction: taking food to work. I started today with chocolate zucchini muffins (moist and cinnamon: yes. In need of chocolate chips or nuts: emphatic yes). It made me happy. So did writing a poem about an argument. I like conflict resolution. Rather, I like the feeling that comes after conflict resolution (thank you, roomie). 

And when I got home, Mom and I went blueberry picking. We pick at the same place every year, and this year of our Lord two thousand and eight, the kind blueberry lady announced that we could pick for free. F.R.E.E. (I have inherited my mother's obsessive love of anything gratis.) So we went and picked berries in the calm of the summer evening and now I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm ready to go West, young woman, marry my rugged farmer husband and pick berries while I balance a rosy-cheeked baby on my hip. 

In other news, I was washing my face the other day when I *happened* to realize: repentance is not a grueling duty to perform. It is love, pure love on God's part, drawing us back from what destroys to give us life - Himself. Now if only I could make my heart understand. 

Song of the Day: "Canaan's Land" - Kate Rusby
Yorkshire singer + old English folk songs = perfection

To Canaan's land I'm on my way
Where the soul of man never dies
Where all my nights will turn to day
And the soul of man never dies

Monday, July 28, 2008

Poetry lieth this way - Flee while thou canst

Song of the Day: "Reasons Why" - Nickel Creek

Where am I today, I wish that I knew,
'cause looking around there's no sign of you
I don't remember one jump or one leap;
just quiet steps away from your lead. 

Last summer I thought it would be fun to write a poem after a scene in "It's a Wonderful Life." So in March I finally did. And it was fun. Truth told, I really just want to be Donna Reed and have lots of babies and be (not too) poor. 

“George Lassoes the Moon”

 George: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down . . .

Mary: I'll take it.

- It’s a Wonderful Life


Your mother called and said you might stop by.

And here we sit –

Me all crinoline and pearls

And fluttered hope,

You stiff against the horsehair couch

And heavy parlor air.


You want trunks and trains and travel,

One-way tickets, careless anonymity

of crowds and cities.


I want the honeysuckle picket fence,

Small hands and sticky hugs,

Kitchen table conversations

And your goodnight kiss.


You want slick and nameless streets,

And I the shabby sidewalks

Of familiar Bedford Falls.


O George – bring the laughter

And the three a.m. despair,

Lullabies and scraped-up knees,

Morning coffee and

The years of slow routine. 

Bring the bitter words and

Sweet embraces – (you know it’s a wonderful life).


I’ll take it.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Death to Dustbunnies

Mood of the day: anticipation. It is a Saturday. It is a Saturday and I get to clean. Some early training (brainwashing?) convinced me that a Saturday cannot be fully enjoyed unless you work so hard all morning that by the afternoon you can do nothing but rest and relax. 

And I love to put on music and clean my room and the rest of the house. As my favorite roommate can tell you, this mood rarely strikes me at school. Something, though, about home, brings out the housekeeper in me and I organize and dust happily for hours while Alison Krauss or ABBA plays in the background (yes, while most eleven year olds were listening to N'Sync, I was listening to my dad's old mixtape of a 1970s Swedish pop band. I still love them). 

Visit with Lindsay = soothing and fun and yummy recipes. I enjoyed being out of the house for a few days and chatting and scrapbooking with Lindsay. Lots of scrapbooking. I finished all of sophomore year and spent two hours last night organizing our photos in search of more projects. This is fun. And - addictive. 

On Thursday, one of the reference librarians and his wife brought by their five week old daughter to show off. I was looking at her longingly when he came over and advised me to wait a loooong time before I had "one of these." How did he know that Chris Thile and I are planning to elope next week and get started on our ten children right away? 
Anyway, she was awfully cute, with lots of dark hair and long toes, and when you held her she curled against you like a little monkey. I miss kids! I was telling my mother how I loved the pram-like strollers that were popular in Spain and she looked at me like I was crazy. 

Song of the Day: "Fallen from the Sky" - Glen Hansard
This is from the "Once" soundtrack, which I love. This is what I call The Happy Song (even though the lyrics are not) because it uses an electronic beat and makes me think of hot air balloons for some reason. 

You must've fallen from the sky
You must've shattered on the runway
You brought so many to the light
And now you're by yourself

Sunday, July 20, 2008

On a distant shore

 It's strange - when I was in high school, during what I thought was my angst period, I sought out solitude by the hour-load. I could lie for hours on the grass reading and journaling, or hole up in my room and just think. Now, going through some real angst-y stuff, I find that I seek out people. I'd rather sit in the companionable comfort of the kitchen while my parents watch Fox news than sit alone typing in the study. So here I am. 

Especially because today has been frustrating (steel yourself for word pictures. I think and feel and live in word pictures). The kind of day when I feel like a little girl learning to tie her shoes, who keeps tangling the knot tighter and tighter and sobs in angry frustration at her parents. The kind of day when I feel like I'm buried in a muddy corner of the Slough of Despond, and all I can do is pray for someone to come and pull me out.

Today, that person was my mom. And she gave me e-zackly what I needed, too, a sort of stand-up-and-look-at-the-sun-shining-above-you kind of talk. 

I also found this quote in a Katherine Paterson book (thanks, Mrs. Morgan!) and it is so perfect I can't say much more about it. 
 " . . . I am always carrying about within myself faith and unfaith, obedience and rebellion, trust and fear. When I write with the eyes of hope, it is not my own ability to believe that I am writing about but the biblical affirmation that God is faithful" - A Sense of Wonder

So mercies deserve to be catalogued no matter what the mood-of-the-day. And that, no matter what my feelings tell me, is not hypocritical. 

* The beach was seaweed-y but otherwise very nice. We stayed at the place we've been going since I was little; the first night, my mom and I were walking to the pool and we passed a line of fountains. I commented that I'd always yearned to play in them when I was small. A day or so later, I was returning from said pool, lost in my own thoughts, when I looked up and saw a little boy (4?) and his tiny sister (2?) splashing around in a fountain. I smiled out of delight before I could help myself, and the little boy looked up and grinned really wide and waved (arrow to my heart). I talked to them a few moments ("Our mama's gonna video us!") and watched them from the porch to make sure they didn't drown before their mom got back. I've smiled to myself several times since then, thinking about that pure, joyous, open grin. And vowed that I will let my children play in fountains. 

* Shout-out to my Community people! I *wasted* way too much time reading all your blogs, and enjoyed myself immensely. Yay for blogging connections!

* I get to stay with Lindsay! while her husband is away doing RUF intern stuff. She promises scrapbooking and cooking and that I can sit in their cool round nest chair. I'm super-excited. :)

Song of the Day: "Chicago" - Sufjan Stevens
Yes. Because I make a lot of mistakes in my mind, in my mind. 

You came to take us
To recreate us
We had our mindset
You had to find it

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Feed Manna to the Fiddling Birds

Today was . . . well, good. Very good. I've noticed that I tend to fear writing happy things. The doldrum voice is always tolling in the background that it's a momentary high and I'll live to laugh bitterly at my blind happiness. But who's giving in to chronic Eyore syndrome? Not I. I had a good day and I'm thankful for it. 

Mainly because of this: God confronted and comforted me with one of those very simple truths that makes a lot of difference. You see, I worry a lot about falling off the edge of the cliff - namely, leaving God. Yes, I'm committed, but I'm weak - what if it waxes and wanes? (It does.) And I realized you can forever-commit yourself to something or someone without having to have  allll the commit of a lifetime right then and there. God will give new grace each day. Sort of like the manna and the Israelites and . . . wait, didn't I learn this in Sunday School fifteen years ago? Sometimes my life seems like constant re-learning. 

In other news, I got another job. A tutoring job. A tutoring athletes job. I talked to a very nice man in the athletic department who ended up hiring me. He talked to me about making sure they take responsibility, etc., and to tell him if they try to slack on their work or flirt with me. Ha. 

Jim brought home Andrew Bird the Juno soundtrack yesterday and I was so excited I jumped around the kitchen like a little kid. And I went for a walk in the night and the wind stroked my hair and the moon was perfect and golden. 

Song of the Day: Ides of Swing - Andrew Bird
Proclamation: Newest musical obsession has hit. Violins, witty lyrics, songs that sound like they should be played over a gramophone - I'm in official love. I also love Ambivalence Waltz because it sounds like he just took Ashokan Farewell and played around with it. And in Minor Stab he talks about milking goats - that sealed the musical affair for me. 

When your head starts craning back 
And your breath comes short and fast 
The music of the spheres start to bounce and sing 
That's when you know you're swinging

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Our hearts are restless 'til . . ."

So, of note today: I saw the moon all crimson and framed in masses of clouds tonight. I made other Anna's famed marinated black bean dish. I woke up still talking to God. And am finishing the day still talking to Him. Some days, that is the best that can be said, and hey - it's worth a whole lot.

Library work continues happily. I took banana bread to my bosses that my mom threw at me as I was running out the door (yes, we lead a manic life here in the Bedsole household). Yesterday the cute boy at circulation helped me with the book cart and smiled at me. Today we made small talk. Oooh, progress.

The other student worker in the ILL and I have been chatting some when we're there at the same time, and I have done my expert interviewer grandmother proud and found out vital life history facts: siblings, family, girlfriend, interests in comic books, etc. Today, though, he asked me what I liked about the Presbyterian church. I mumbled something about the strong theology which is basically just the Bible. We ended up talking about trusting the Bible and how hard just trusting is. And I shared how since the winter I've gone through a time of basically doubting everything I believe. And he pops out, "That was my last year. I feel like I'm only now beginning to establish the emotional reconnection." And, well, it was encouraging. As in, being reminded (once again) that I am not the first person to think the bottom has fallen out of their world. And gradually I'll come to find it's still there.

Song of the Day: "Starlight" - the Wailin' Jennys
I only picked this song because the artists are wailin' instead of wailing.

"I have toured the endless starlight
take me home
I have shattered under midnight
take me home
There are no vultures in this clearing
Except the ones who brought me here
And I'll no longer feed them
take me home"

Monday, July 14, 2008

All the rumors are true

(Yes. This is one of those much-dreaded "honest"/"raw"/"I'm going to whine a lot" posts.)

Ok. Today has been, how-you-say, a struggle. To hold onto the basic little things (getting out of bed and driving to work) and the basic big things (God is real). In short, reality. And I'm tired and a little bit frustrated. Really, Anna? Didn't you already question the meaning of life? Let's not go through this again. And try not to become one of those bitter cynics you dissed, oh, last week. 

And so, when my commitment feels weak and flabby and just plain wore out, I keep reminding myself: Jesus died for me. No, it doesn't always make me feel better. But it's true. 

And since this IS a catalogue of mercies, I'm faithfully setting 'em down.
* My boss complimented me today. Yay! I like nice bosses. I also like free Panera bagels in the break room.
*Jim brought home Andrew Bird music!!! 
* I talked with my favorite roomie and she gave me happy news (ha!)
*I finished organizing our library. Admire my efficiency. 

Song of the Day: "Decide This Doubt for Me" - Red Mountain Church
Mmm, happy sigh. I love Red Mtn. Amazing music, and the lyrics pretty much say what I feel when I haven't got the heart or words to express it.

"I sometimes think myself inclined,
To love thee O, if I could;
But often find another mind,
Averse to all, all that is good.
. . . But when I cry, 'My strength renew,'
Seems weaker than before.
Seems weaker than before."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Moccasins and Mango Ketchup

Song of the Day: "Say Goodnight and Go" - Imogen Heap
"One of these days you'll miss your train and
come stay with me"

So, it's late and I'm back. Last night Kait and I painted the town red at - most appropriately  - Ketchup, Ashton Kucher's restaurant, where we tried five different varieties of the namesake, and watched Get Smart at Huntsville's fancy (read: no arcade games) new theatre. We woke up to blueberry streusel muffins and something between sunshine and rain. We were both incredibly sleepy for the rest of that relaxing day, and fell asleep in a mutual naptime that afternoon. And then she gave me some reeaally good coffee. And made me buy comfy moccasins. I said I felt like something from the Song of Hiawatha, and we agreed it was a strange poem that we will never read. 

In other news, the wedding of the 2nd cousin once removed (or whatever he is) was outside. It stopped raining, oh, maybe twenty minutes before the ceremony. And there was a harp player that I really liked until he started singing, and good chocolate, and a really adorable three year old third cousin (I think) that provided endless delight. We played peek-a-boo, and while I was waiting in the endless supper line he would run up and grab my hands and dance back and forth and laugh. I think that was why I liked him so much - he is the happiest little child I've met in a long time, and he had a Peter Pan laugh:

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies."

Yes. I'm in baby withdrawal now. 

Mom and I rode back together - I drove all the way because I was hyper after the nap and chocolate, and she was tired from talking to (at least) 3/4 of the people at the wedding. I put my iPod on shuffle (rules: no skipping unless it was Christmas or depressing Beatles), and the ride through the country was lovely in the mist and half moon light. 

Friday, July 11, 2008


Song of the day: "Tune Out" - the Format
Reason: I heard this song on a random CD that Jim burned for me and loved it before I knew who or what it was. I think that's the way I tend to fall in love with a band - I'll feel so-so about a new album, and all of the sudden a song will burst out and shoot its cupid arrow into my heart and I'm in love.
Besides, I'm going on a road trip to H'ville this afternoon. It's just appropriate.

So, the 4th here was really quiet and boring and it's lame how much I enjoyed it. I celebrated Americana by baking a pie. A strawberry-blackberry pie. A strawberry-blackberry pie with stars on top. Can you tell I am proud of my pie? My only grief is that I can't find my little camera computer cord thing so I can show the world just how beautiful that pie was. You'll have to trust me. Or pray I find the USB cord.

Other than that, my Uncle and Aunt who really aren't came for dinner (they took a picture of the pie too. They liked the pie). I scrapbooked all my fall break photos (finally). And that evening we saw the fireworks from some people at the bottom of the mountain.

So I was thinking (dangerous, I know) about cynical, bitter people (don't ask). Lots of people are. Usually because they've been hurt by something, and they decide that life is pain, princess. And my (not so) humble twenty year old wisdom considers this the easy way out. Yes, I know - a little bit - how it is. One is hurting like a wounded animal, and all happy people are idealistic idiots and just they wait until that piano comes crashing down on their heads (we laugh bitterly in our seasoned cynicism).
But the real issue is that after you've been hurt, it's dangerous to hope again. What about disappointment? What if you fall on your face again? What if - (insert catastrophe of choice). And burying oneself in disillusionment is only a means of self-protection against future pain.

All that to say: Bitterness requires compassion. And loving impatience. Towards myself and others. Because hope is not the giddy naivety of lucky innocents. I think it is a gritty choice to put one foot in front of the other, to reach outside of our private world of hurt and love others.
"And oh my love you're all I need
backed behind a frequency"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Maybe baby/ Everything's gonna turn out fine

So, Monday and Tuesday were like a dose of really good medicine (not that nasty cherry cough syrup your mom always made you choke down). Erin and Val and I surprised other Anna at the airport and we spent over 24 hours just talking and laughing and marveling at the sweetness of good friends.  Only now I'm nearly dying of missing them. And bitter that they wouldn't let me ride on the baggage claim train. 

When we were out west, I kept a list of recipes I wanted to master when I returned. So far, I've attempted walnut-date scones (the list header). Verdict: A Happy Success. Nutmeg + whole wheat flour = good baking. Remaining on the list: apple and cream cheese stuffed french toast (Jim's request); fried plaintains with black bean dip (most ambitious); and blackberry/strawberry pie (simple goodness). Progress reports to follow.

Other good things include the smell of the library when I walked into work today; reading on a swing in the Homewood park without getting motion sickness; and Kait! is coming Saturday!!!

And this evening I, ahem, "fellowshipped" (i.e. ate and hung out) at the Sterlings. We had monster burgers and good conversation. And Kate kept giving everyone gifts from Susie's herb garden and now my hands smell like rosemary. 

Song of the Day: "Please Read the Letter" - Alison Krauss and Robert Plant
Reason: I like this song because it's plaintive and simple and almost raw (and really irritating to family members when you get the chorus stuck in your head and sing "please read the letter that I wrote" fifty times in a row). All the usual - love lost, mourned and left to die, but at least you can sing a really good song about it.

Once I stood beside a well of many words
My house was full of rings and
Charms and pretty birds