Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Contemplation of the New Year

I have devoted today entirely to being unproductive at work. I have sucessfully done no more than 5 minutes worth of real work. Does this make me feel guilty? Interesting question. No. There are icicles hanging from the roof, the sun sparkles on them, the cold preserves them. There is a foot of snow on the ground, and many lovely mountains of snow made by plows. There are noisy rambunctious youths playing on them. I don't think I feel guilty. Instead of working, I am watching the red color seep out of a Lemon Zinger tea bag, slowly diffusing into a mug of hot, microwaved water. Eventually it will be tea. After I stir it. For now all the color, representing flavor, is content to stay in one red circle at the bottom of the mug. Does this make me a bad person? No, I don't think so. In 10 years (actually, never mind 10 years, replace that with "right now", "never"), no one will care how many tertiary flakes were found at Site 25GD__, but I had a fair day today, which may matter to my future sanity. I think I made perhaps one or two other people's days brighter, in sending thoughtful or encouraging messages that were long overdue. Who can say how much that might matter in the long run? I learned new things today, about medieval lamps. I don't see how that makes me a bad person.
And I've spent time in contemplation today, something I certainly don't do enough of. I'd be a far worse person if I didn't. I am praying, today, for peace, love, and hope for the New Year. I always do, every year. Sometimes I think, at the end of the year, that it's been one more year without peace, love, and hope, and that there will only be one more year without peace, love, and hope. But that's not true at all. That's looking at the big picture, not the small picture. And the Small Picture is infinitely more important. Everyone knows that the Big Picture is made up of all the Small Pictures. And in the Small Picture, in my one, small life, from time to time, in some small moments, I knew Peace, Love, and Hope, and I knew it infinitely and eternally, and almost perfectly.

Next year will be better. Tomorrow will be better. Everything will be fine. We will live, we will create peace, we will love each other, and hope for more peace and love still to come. It's going to be all right.

There, I've stirred it and it's tea now. It tastes good.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

White Christmas

Who says dreams don't come true? We got almost 2 feet of snow over Christmas this year. We didn't leave my parent's house from Christmas Eve, till the afternoon of the 27th. Despite being snowed in, and not being able to make it to either of my grandparent's houses, it was one of the best Christmases I've had. It was nice, not having to rush off anywhere. I love my relatives, and I am still hoping to see them soon, but it was great having a calm, quiet Christmas. Ok, so it wasn't necessarily either of those two things. My family is pretty rambunctious, and all of us except my oldest sister and her family were stuck in the house for almost 5 days together. All 9 of us! We played games and made fun of each other, went sledding, ate too much good food, exchanged presents, watched movies. I got some quality sleeping and reading time in, which was great. I really just needed some time off that was actually relaxing. So I'm ok with this huge Christmas blizzard we had, even tho it's kinda wreaked some havoc in the midwest. People get mad at me for enjoying it so much; my defense is "If you can't do anything about it, you might as well enjoy it." But I can't say I would have wished it away anyway. :P

Friday, December 11, 2009


I love the cold of winter for many different reasons. Today's reason is because you can wear big, soft and bulky sweaters that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and out! Yes, folks, sweaters are soul food! (And today's sweater is even green, which makes it that much better!)

The fact that they make you feel warm and fuzzy inside as well as out, is verified by this blog post. I'm not usually that...well...fuzzy, am I?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday, Monday

Field season is officially done for us at the Augustana Archaeology Lab. The significant snowfalls in both of our project areas--NE South Dakota, and Fremont, NE--have very effectively put a stop to any unfinished surveys. While I'm going to get incredibly bored in the office this winter, I can't say I'm sad to be done with the field season. I'm getting less and less fond of hotels in my "old age" and it will be nice to be able to work on projects at home, and see people who aren't my co-workers! Not that they are terrible people, but a little variety in one's company is a good thing! And besides, it was getting downright cold outside!

Weekend was fun. Helped out with the annual lutefisk dinner at NESODAK on Lake Enemy Swim with Rachel. Came home smelling like nasty fish jello, but I had fun serving it while my clothing was absorbing the scent. Got to hang out with Rachel and see her new house afterwards. Yesterday, after I got back to Sioux Falls, I went to the Sudanese Mass at the Cathedral, then to Panera with Kaia, Del, Carrie, and Edwin, who was in town visiting. He had his camera, as always...I don't think I've ever seen any of his photos, but I'd like to! Afterwards everyone huddled in our living room, drinking tea; nerdily discussed Lord of the Rings, guitars, Anglo-Saxons, the Vices of Herbert Norris, and sang the good old songs. I can't help but wonder what our neighbors think of us, as this isn't the first time that random late night singing sessions have occurred!

Alone Together

I was driving home from Waubay yesterday, listening to Garrison Keillor on the radio. The Lake Woebegone Lutheran pastor had been called to the bar, because he'd been told one of the men there was asking for him. He walked in and sat next to the man, who had a glass of whisky in front of him, and listened as he told his troubles. His life had fallen apart. He'd lost his livelihood, his sanity, and had been left by his wife. He said "I've just never felt like I belong, and I'm all alone."

The pastor told him, "No one feels like they belong, and everyone feels alone, because no one does belong here. We belong with God, because no one can love us as completely and as perfectly as God does. We're all alone." He said "come with me now, I will help you, we'll talk."

But the man stayed behind. Why did he stay? Are we so wrapped up in our own loneliness that we can't embrace anyone else's? That we become afraid to step out of it, not knowing what is on the outside?

No matter how lonely it gets, it's strangely comforting knowing that everyone else is too. Because one day, we'll all Belong.