28 February 2012


 This is mostly for my own entertainment. Mocking myself is one of my specialties. If you dislike self-centered commentary, I have to ask, why are you even reading my blog?

To say that Problematic has a hard time running would be an understatement. I have always sympathized with Gimli, but in this area especially. There are less than fond memories residing in the dark recesses of my mind of the time my youth soccer coaches tried to move me from the right forward position to a center midfielder. I generally lasted for three laps up and down the field before getting horrible cramps and pondering Seppuku on the ball.

Now, despite those ill-fated interactions with midfield defense, my inability to run has never really bothered me all that much. I was an antisocial little tweenling, and once I discovered speech and debate, it seemed to me like I would never have to run again.

Well, I'm pretty sure you all know how this turns out. You see, Ultimate Frisbee and Capture the Flag were, and are, rather closely-held rituals among the forensors of my region. Got twenty five minutes before the next round? Pull out the ol' discus and let's get cracking.

I tend to avoid such events. I mean, no use embarrassing myself by curling up in the middle of the pitch in the fetal position, gasping for breath like an asphyxiating fish, right? Then my speech club started planning Capture the Flag, Ultimate Frisbee, Freeze Tag, and Water Fight events in the middle of summer, and since I was starting to outgrow most of my antisocialness, I would attend. And get soaked. One particular summer, I can clearly recall this:

I'm jogging along in the park, watching the toddlers trip past me, feeling pretty good about this fight. I've got a styrofoam cup and a water bottle, all ready to defend myself against any would-be attackers. The Professor and Cassandra and Mrs. Incredible and Calvin and all the other heavy-hitters at these things are busy playing catch-me-if-you-can over on the other side of the wide grassy space. Maybe I'll escape this time with minimum wetness. The world is good. I've been jogging for over five minutes, and I think my stamina might really be improving. 

That's when I hear the rumbling of the distant water fight grow louder. I turn, and see the Professor barreling towards me with a two gallon jug (which used to contain ice tea) brandished aloft. I can see the now-depleted tea bags sloshing inside with the water. There is no mistaking the Prof's intent. I break into a sprint. I sustain it for a minute. And then, my legs give notice. They refuse to run any more. As I slow back into my snail-racing jog, I turn to meet my fate. Time seems to go into slow motion as the Professor slowly upturns the two gallons over my head. To add insult to injury, he's smiling maniacally the entire time. 

Granted, I got my revenge after the fight by pouring styrofoam cups full of water on top of his head and giggling as his hair gel dripped out, but that was small comfort in light of the streams of water falling from the hem of my shorts.

Before continuing this scintillating conversation about physical limits, I should probably explain precisely why I cannot run. There is a reason, and it's not because I'm too lazy to try. When I was younger (see 7-12) I attended a ballet studio. This was not your little community ballet school that's all about inspiring little girls and letting big girls get out their itch to dance. It was run by a former Principal Ballerina from the Kirov, and it's purpose was to prepare young dancers for a career in classical ballet. I loved it - at my peak, I was attending classes every night of the week, usually for four or more hours. By the end, I had gone en pointe, was performing in ballets and basically living my dream.

About six months after I first went en pointe, my teacher had me come to her office. She told my mother and I that the pain I was experiencing from this new style was not normal, and if I was to continue attending her studio, I would be required to visit a podiatrist to ensure that I didn't give myself permanent injury.

To make a long story short, I was out of the program within nine months of discovering that, in addition to the additional bones and bonespurs within my ankles and the balls of my feet, I had five different acute inflammations. Surgery was too expensive to correct my feet, and the podiatrist gave me a list of prohibited activities. I cannot tap dance, do jazz and modern, or any activity that involves repetitive pressure stress to feet. And in case you didn't catch it, running is repetitive stress to my feet.

I have found over the years that most of my friends subscribe to the "granola" theory of exercise: If you can't do it without machines, you shouldn't do it for exercise. Need to get that blood pumping? Go for an invigorating run in the early hours and be green.

Being myself, I have invariably felt pressured to go with on one of those nice, easy, "it's just two miles" cross-country jogs in the wee hours with my friends. Why lounge around their house for thirty minutes, feeling like a lazy slob when I could spend the next thirty minutes in exquisite agony, making up more and more ridiculous excuses for why I'm falling behind?

Well, suffice it to say, I have recently come to grips with the fact that I will probably never be able to run. I'll just have to comfort myself with Gimli and maybe enjoy a nice cold ginger ale.

13 February 2012


I drove down to an NCFCA tournament on Saturday to see some of my old friends. It was so lovely! Besides catching up with many of my friends, the entire atmosphere was very uplifting.

It feels like Saturday was, in some ways, a little gift from God. It was such a blessing to hear people praying, not cursing with God' name. To talk with my guy friends and have them ask what I was up to, not what my name and number was. To discuss the theological implications of secular songs, not what I'm doing on Friday night.

It really, really blessed me. Words cannot describe the joy that is still filling my heart, even as I sit in the computer lab of my college. I'm afraid I took that environment for granted while I was in the thick of it. I took it for granted that young men would be gentlemen, that they'd open doors for me and respect my feminity as a sister in Christ. I took it for granted that I would be expected to act with grace and love.

And it felt so good to be back.

For all my friends in Southern Oregon and Idaho: it was wonderful seeing you again. I've missed your company, and I pray God would continue to manifest Himself in your lives. I love you all.


09 February 2012

Mercies Anew

Hi guys. It's me, you know, Problematic? I used to post here a lot. I'm sorry for having abandoned this little corner of the interwebs for so long. There have been a lot of projects and assignments coming due recently, which has limited my recreational internet use to the extreme.  For those who have emailed me in the past three weeks (including but not limited to Calvin, Tragedy101, and Mirriam,) I plan on responding sometime next week or there abouts.

As for posts here, I actually have a couple of long posts that I've been desperately scrambling to finish and yet haven't quite succeeded. In the meantime, I'd like to share just a little piece of God's provision that just happened in my life.

My family is all fairly tech-savvy, with the exception of my mom. The direct implication of this is that while Thursday, dad, and I, all have mp3 players and headphones, Mom generally has to borrow someone's earbuds to listen to a movie or sermon on her laptop. There's no problem with that.

On Monday, Mom borrowed my ear buds to listen to a sermon while I was at symphony rehearsal. She didn't end up using them, but recalled having them for most of the time I was gone. However, when I got home and she went to return them, the ear buds were nowhere to be found.

Now, I commute two hours every day, and to drown out the more unsavory conversations I may overhear on the bus, I listen to my iPod while doing something else. In light of this fact, I probably should have been getting upset over the missing head phones the night before my long commute. I distinctly remember thinking at the time that I should be more upset, but I only felt a deep-set apathy. Dad found me a pair of junky ear buds, and I went to school the next day.

But this is where things get interesting. While Dad was at work, he met with a local representative of a national audio-equipment manufacturer. This rep gave my dad a very nice set of ear buds, the day after I had lost my own. When I saw Dad that night, he gave me a fancy little box with these new ear buds in them, and I was totally shocked.

I had been planning on spending a fair amount of money to replace my missing head phones, but instead, God provided in an area I never even expected!

So yeah, that's my uplifting anecdote. :) Happy Thursday!