Days in the Kitchen

When I woke up this morning, sunlight was blazing in through my closed blinds and the doorbell was being rung incessantly by small grimy fingers. It was Caden from next door. I sort of played with him in the snow yesterday. But when he came round today it wasn’t hardly ten o’clock and I had no intention of gearing up and heading out into the fluff I shovled off the driveway yesterday. No, no, it simply wasn’t going to happen. I let the doorbell ring, heard the screen swing open and the small fist knock against the wood. But I rolled over and decided to catch at least a few more winks since last night I was startled from sleep by my own frightened and strangled yells. It was the first nightmare I’d had in months, but thankfully, I went back to sleep after Caden disappeared. I finally rolled out around ten, didn’t glance at my greasy complexion and headed straight for the basement for a four mile run that left my knees cranky.

And then, there was an adventure to be had in an afternoon of cooking. Chicken soup was first, water boiling and waiting for boullion. Brownies were a quick mix–cake style with an extra egg and some flour to make up for Colorado’s delightful problem with altitude. The soup came together quickly, plenty of scrubbing and dulling of knives on vegetables. My mum made up chicken nuggets, perfectly bite sized for kids. There was homemade bread, honey butter, carrot sticks and powder sugar sprinkled on the brownies cut into the shapes of ducks, flowers and hearts. We packaged it up, two paper bags, with the soup swallowed up by jars that once held spaghetti sauce.

We drove to a friend’s house. We crossed Santa Fe at Hampden headed west towards the mountains. West towards run down, humbler dwellings than the places where I nanny. The cars had rust, I’m sure half the pickups we passed had rebuilt engines–engineered by strong brown hands. My mother looked at me, “are you sure this is right? I feel like we’re back in LA.” I shrugged, this matched the directions from Joy, even if it was leaning a bit away from our normal surroundings. We caught the turn, whipped right, then left, then right again and up a muddy road with gruesome Halloween decorations. We pulled in at the drive next to a white pick up, in front of a plain white house. There was a trail down around the side to the basement apartment. The latch on the gate was stuck. I stood, hands full of bags while my mother leaned over the fence, fiddling with the lock. “I thought, well you know, that we left this all behind years ago,” she said softly, still struggling with the lock but noticing my muddy shoes and the sludge around the gate.

Joy had to run to get her son from the school bus stop. But we stayed with her daughter for a few minutes, taking off our shoes and stripping our coats. When Joy reappeared we went to the kitchen and sat down to tal kfor nearly fourty minutes. It was perfectly wonderful. I haven’t been with someone so real in a very long time. Joy told us how it was, long days without her husband while he’s at work (16 hour shifts!), and the kids being sick, and her being sick, and everything else. But she smiled through it all, said that God was working and was actually genuinely sincere. I mean really, she was honest but not in a complaining way. It was delightful. She was real and the house was lovingly humble and cozy. It makes me want to move that way, where the people are a little less concerned with money and frivolities.

On the way home we went to the post office, khols and ulta, gabbing all the way about our pefect afternoon with such a wonderful family. I mean, truly, I can’t say it enough, it was great to be at home with people who are honest and genuine and even in trusting God, aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.

_________________________________

My only question for the evening: Why the heck do panties have to cost so much? I’m threadbare on the ones I own, and yet, I can’t imagine paying what it costs to replace them. Not to mention I can’t find any that aren’t entirely whore-ish or screaming 68 year old grandmother! I mean really people. It’s a basic clothing item, and hardly takes any fabric to make. Can’t you make something classy in green? Or even pink? I’d take all pink at this point. But not at $10 a pop. Heck-a no.

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Snowy Day … Pensive Day

I am trying to listen to Nickel Creek, but it’s hard. Drags up lots of memories, you know? Kinda makes me miss Seattle. Well, okay. It makes me miss Vancouver. But sometimes they feel like the same thing.

“daddy better go back again, for it must be a mighty fine town-oh. Town-oh, town-oh.”

Also listening to David Crowder Band. Lots of convicting going on there. Full of  dirt? Yeah, me too Dave, lots of dirt.

In other news. Today, probably due to the snowfall that can’t seem to triumph over the warm pavement, I wish I was in Chicago. I wish I went to Moody Bible.

anyone want to finance Grad School?

Today:

My cousin Emily left a note on the receipt at Cheesecake Factory for the bus boy with my name and email address.

and

I am going to write.

and Happy Birthday to  both my parents! Love you!

Watching The Rockies = Freaking Out

And I don’t even care about baseball. I don’t even like baseball! But come ON man! Are you TRYING to walk him?

It’s been an up and down week. I’m getting turned down for jobs right and left it feels. On Thursday I drove to work in the snow, 25 minutes east where the weather gets worse at every major intersection sometimes. I couldn’t see much on the drive down Lincoln, through the open space between I25 and Stonegate TWP. The wind was blowing across the open space, the cows were hiding, the cars either hugging too close to one another or too far to see much except hazy outlines and brake lights. I drove behind a Ford pickup–a 350 to be exact. Burgundy. Chunky, like a child’s toy. In some ways, I thought driving behind a pickup would be awesome. Not only because I could lust over my dream car (not specifically a Ford 350, but a pickup). Also, I thought it would block some of the wind, keep the snow away and give me some more visibility.

Nope.

Did you know that driving behind a truck is akin to driving in a wind tunnel and thereby creating your own personal blizzard for a unique driving experience? Well, it was on Thursday.

I picked up Salem at a friend’s house down the street. We walked home in the softly falling snow. Or rather, I walked home carrying Salem because the snow was flying into her eyes and I couldn’t explain to a three year old how to keep your head down but still look up to see were you’re going. But it was fun, she played with my hair, giggling: “You have snow in your hair Sara! It’s all white! Can I eat it?”

I bundled her up better and we went out on the back porch. I stood on the deck, because I made a bad decision concerning shoes and didn’t feel like falling my way to the grass  below an extra long flight of slippery stairs. Denali came out with us, the goofy dog practically sprinted to the grass that was covered in snow like a thin layer of powder sugar. She rolled around, barked and circled Salem who didn’t even notice. I stood on the deck, feeling silly for the shoes I wore and talked to Salem as she wandered aimlessly through the snowy yard. The world was quiet, the way it always is when Colorado gets snow. The back road behind the house was nearly empty, a lone SUV made the trek homewards through the neighborhood, rushing towards warmth at its destination.

I couldn’t help thinking that I feel as slow as the world was on Thursday. No job, hardly any social life, not much purpose. Just me, and Jesus, and the oddly comforting snow. But as I watched Salem on the ground below me, eating snow from the grass with her floppy mittens, licking it from the edge of the fire pit, kicking it in the dirt, scooping it up off the picnic table with me to throw at Denali–it didn’t seem to matter. All the nothing-ness melted away. She giggled a lot, her pink little nose wrinkled every time it touched the snow as she tried to shove more of it in her mouth. I picked her up and spun her around, let her feed me some of her freshly picked snowflakes, danced. We listened to the snow as it fell and flakes landed on our hair as quiet as whispers on Christmas Eve. And finally, with my fingers stiff and frozen, I convinced Salem to go inside.

But I was almost as sorry to go as her. Because in the quiet stillness of Thursday evening in the snowy air, I felt oddly at peace. Salem loves me, not becuase I wear great clothes, drive a an awesome car, have a high salary or some other ridiculous thing. She loves me because I eat snow with her and curl up with her to read books by the fire; because I’m someone to hug and be loved by. It’s kind of like God. I don’t really have to do much to be loved–I don’t actually have to do anything. Just be.

So: here’s to three year olds teaching me sunday school lessons I should have learned a long time ago. :]

A Most Sincere Letter

My Dear Hair:

Have I told you recently how much I love you? I don’t know if I’ve told you how I adore your creativity. I so appreciate the way that you choose to have a mind of your own. If only some of that intelligence could be absorbed back into the roots, past my skull and into my brain. Instead of matching clothes and remembering simple, logical grammar rules, I would be entirely like you. Flippant, boyouant yet flat, oily yesterday, full of dried out static tomorrow. I would wear mismatched clothes to go naturally with your “half curling in, half flipping out.”

My dear brown locks, I admire your confidence, your defiance of the hair bush, blow dryer, straightener and redken. How you keep up your energy to keep up the fight–I really don’t know! If I could persevere in my job search, the way you do in your insistence to go against my hands, I’d have been hired before graduation. Will you ever be submissive? Will the bangs ever keep together? Will you always have an uncomfortably bright streak of blonde amidst the brown?

Oh hair.

How I love you.

But somedays, I wish I had the tools, the wits, the patience and the energy to wrestle you into following orders.

Yours,

Sara

Glowing Aspens, Snow Flurries and Hopes

Today I drove to Grand Lake in the mountains. Outside of Idaho Springs is a single sign for Hwy 40. Below the stretching droplets of a rainbow dripping into the valley was not a lepherchaun with his pot of gold. Instead we found a 15 passenger van with a tiny trailer attached. The trailer had a flat tire and waved from side to side wildly. We kept our distance, then sped up as the trailer, dragged by the massive, run down van, swerved into the slow lane. I squealed, my sensible mother honked and we rushed past the edges of Idaho Springs, underneath the rainbow, and past the exit for Hwy 40.

So, after a long climb in the poor little white car, and after soaring through the tunnel dedicated to good ol’ Ike, we descended into Dillon. Dillon has another road running through it. Hwy 9, known in town as Blue River Parkway, runs North and intersects with the highway we were meant to take. It winds through beautiful country along the river. Aspens grow in clumps among the sea foam green scrub that covers the hillsides. This year, despite the wet spring, they were yellow, gold and orange. They practically glowed in the sunlight over the frosted mountains.

In Frasier, many of the hillsides were empty or littered with fallen trunks. The forests that were still standing had streaks of grey and brown. Ed says it’s because we didn’t let the forest fires burn all those years ago when the sky turned orange and ash fell like snow. But he says there’s debate about that. If the trees had been thinned, the older ones burned and fallen, perhaps the pine beetle’s damage would have been less and he’d have moved on sooner. He’s headed for the Grand Tetons now, Ed said.

We talked about a beetle like it was a human being, thinking and rational.

But the wind picked up on the aspens on the side of the house. We walked down the steps to the long driveway that we can’t drive up in the snow without a 4wheel. The clouds were growing darker and the blue skies disappearing. We went to the side of the house, opened the trunk of the car, and began loading wood. There was more down in the brush beside the sign near the road. Ed and Sue threw logs onto the road that we stacked, first filling the trunk, then the back seat. After a time, we hugged our friends from another life and headed towards the pass.

There was snow at Berthoud, just flurries that danced in the gusting wind. I drove the switchbacks with an SUV and a semi behind me. We passed the exit for Hwy 40 in Idaho Springs, and flew out from among the mountains onto the C470 near Red Rocks and Morrison. I was here with Caitlin and Daniel just a few weeks ago. But Colorado looks different already. It’s browner, the trees are changing thanks to the cold snap last week, and blue skies were darkening with the clouds of oncoming winter.

Tonight I was in nursery again, with crying children and not much to look forward to tomorrow. But that’s okay. Because it was beautiful in the mountains today. I’m going back with Joy. I have church on Sunday. I have more work tomorrow and my bills are manageable. I have applications in the mail and I have great hope becuase He’s always providing. Joy got a job, why not me?