Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just call the police.


I have called the police a few times in my life. It feels weird every time.

I came back from my dental work today, ate some soup, and transferred our phone lines back so I could continue on my work day. A normal Tuesday, right?

About 15 minutes later, one of the girls that works next door came rushing in, crying, shaking, freaking out. She claimed her boss had grabbed her, slapped her, slammed her into a door and she asked me to call the police. I did as she asked (what else was I going to do?) and tried to calm her down until the cops showed up. And I thought the difficult part of my day was going to be going to the dentist.

Other people tell me, "I wish interesting things happened to me."
I say, "No, you don't. But if you get what you wish for, just pray you don't panic under pressure. If you freeze up, all is lost."

Calm, quick reflexes. Hopefully that skill will come in handy if I'm ever a Mom.

Anyway, the officer (who was quite kind and helpful) privately interviewed me just a little. I was still numb from the temporary crown, so I felt like I was drooling and probably sounded like I had a major speech impediment the whole time I spoke with him. Nice, huh?

Now, as I'm regaining feeling in my mouth, I'm just hoping that this day doesn't get any weirder. I should have known that when Otis (who HATES to be in bed with us) had to sleep/seek comfort with us this morning at 4am when the thunder scared him that it was an omen for an odd day.

I should have known.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby Bunnies


Who doesn't LOVE a baby bunny? Our garage is a typical TN-add-on-to-your-house garage that doesn't really touch the ground. Meaning our garage can some times resemble a zoo exhibit. Lately, we have had a little bunny that has taken up residence in the evenings. It is about the cutest thing ever. I promise we tried to get it and free it from our garage, but it was a little too sneaky for us. I'm sure it'll find it's way out just as it found it's way in.

Speaking of misplaced creatures, moving has totally lost all reality for me, but it's okay, it'll be real when it needs to be real.

I've had two people ask me something about Christmas in the last week, and my first thought was, "I hope I am not homeless or unemployed by December." Yup, that was it. And then I had to ask again what the original question was.

People used to ask me the hardest thing about being a missionary. Missing home? Using your second language? Not drinking from the tap? Being able to go anywhere by yourself as a woman?

Really, in all honesty, the hardest part is coming back. I sort of feel that way about moving, too. I am greatly looking forward to moving, but coming back is always the hardest thing.

And that's why I don't want to be homeless by December. Not because I don't think we'll have a place to live. We have a (for sale) house there, it's not like we are truly going to end up homeless. But I want to feel... at home. At home in a way I have only felt a couple of times since returning from missions, which by definition is a displacement. As contradictory as it seems, being "displaced" in a foreign country makes it easy to feel at home. You expect to feel like a foreigner making a home in a new place. It is such a satisfying life. It's that simple (that conclusion probably made sense to no one besides Lori). On long, beautiful summer runs here in TN, I pine for those mission fields as my iPOD pumps out the lyrics "But I still haven't found what I'm looking for..." because I haven't. Because we can't. Because this isn't and will never be our home. We are incomplete and broken and our only completion is in Christ.

And thank goodness He is our home and our refuge, because being homeless is scary. No matter how much moving to Indiana may, from all outward appearances, seem like moving home, I know better. I know it's going back. I know I will only find glimpses of what I'm looking for.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting

I've been thinking about new and old things. I promised to write about them.

Life is a big combination of new and old things right now. We are here, but we are leaving. We have a house we own, a house we rent, and we are looking for a house to buy after ours sells. Old things, new things. Thinking about what you want in a house tells you a lot about yourself. Me? I'm... neurotic. Yes, that's right. I just want big closets and cabinets for my stuff and rooms/garages/basements for Robert's junk stuff.

I hated my last job, I love my current job, I will need a new job... see? Old and new. When our nurse recently made me draw her blood, she was like, "Chrissy, you are wasting your life and should totally be an RN." Okay, that's not really what she said. It was more like, "You'd be a great nurse. Why don't you get your RN?". I have all these reasons why. I never thought I was smart enough/I'd be good at it/I'd love it. People always told me I was good at... other things. Not that anyone ever said, "You would suck at being a nurse." In fact, it was more, "Thank you so much for cleaning up and bandaging my broken, bloody toe."

I went home and asked Robert, "What do you think about me going back to school to be a nurse?" He said, "I think you'd love it. Just don't work in hospitals where you'd have 12 hour shifts and I'd have to go 12 hours without seeing you." Adorable, right?

So I asked him when he thought we could afford for me to go back to school (never?). The answer: the same time we want to have kids. These things cannot happen at the same time (and keep our sanity), so after the kids are kind of in school. "LAME. LAME LAME LAME!" cried the Chrissy.

Impatience: an old, old battle of mine.
Waiting: a concept I am working very, very hard to be better at and find value in.

And don't read this and think Robert is killing my dreams or thinks I'm some kind of baby maker. He is right, and there are things we are both very committed to that means this waits. Being debt free, buying a house, not taking out student loans, not wanting to have kids right away or in my mid-to-late 30s... these are all things I would say take priority over going back to school.

Here's the thing: as unhappy (and pouty) I was about having to wait, I know there is a reason. I know there is a reason we will have been in TN for the last year. I know there is a reason I cannot go back to school right now. I know there is a reason for putting it off not just for a few years, but for perhaps 10. It's not like I am 100% about this anyway (but I am considering it much more than I have anything else)

So do I know those reason?
Nope.
Would I like to?
YES, PLEASE.
Will I?
Maybe in, like, 20 years.

Until then?
Psalm 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchman for the morning; Indeed, more than watchman for the morning.

The right things, the right way, are always worth the wait.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lately

Lately, I've been thinking about new things and old things. I always cook the same things. So I tried cooking them new ways this weekend.

I love chocolate chip cookies. Some days, like yesterday, I am a little busier than I am normally, and don't quite have the time to scoop and scoop cookies. So why not try a new cookie bar recipe for an old favorite? For this week's baking, we have...

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars!

I found the recipe on a mom-blog. I am very excited about this. Go here for the recipe... http://realmomkitchen.com/1396/thick-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-bars/

I really liked them, I just wished that I had baked them for a few more minutes. I only did 26, and they needed 28 in my oven. Robert disagrees and thinks they are gooey perfection. They are still pretty delicious.

But since a Robert or Chrissy can not live on cookies alone (though, believe me, we've tried), I made a good old-fashioned summer dinner, too. Crock pot BBQ chicken sandwiches and French Fries. I know, health food city.

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

1.5 lbs Chicken Breasts
1/2 Cup Salsa
1 packet Mexican Seasoning (I like Grill Mates by McCormick)
2 tsp white vinegar
1 cup BBQ sauce (we like Masterpiece)
1/2 can beer (I just use whatever we have that's old)*

Dump contents into crock pot and stir. Set on low for an over-night or all day cooking, high for a quicker meal. Let stew until chicken is cooked. Slice and shred chicken into small pieces. Serve on toasted buns with BBQ sauce and hot sauce (if desired).
*you can substitute this with chicken broth

Yesterday I didn't set up the crock pot in time (whoops). So after it all stewed for a couple of hours, I finished cooking the chicken on the stove top with a few spoonfuls of the sauce from the crock pot. It worked.

By the way, this is way too much stuff or 1.5lbs of chicken. I should probably double the chicken and just eat it later. But I'm still working on the proportions.

For our French Fries, I like Ore-Ida extra crispy fries. I spread them on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with garlic power, rosemary, sea salt and some cooking spray and bake as directed. They were incredible. Worth every calorie.

I'll post about new and old things in life later this week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

An apology to Dunkin' Donuts


The last time I tried to get a donut on Friday on my way to work, I got a speeding ticket for $300. You'd think I would have learned.

Today, I made it there with no tickets (though on the road I got pulled over on, I did get passed illegally by someone who LIVED on the road going well over 50mph).

I walked in and was the second person in line. I was fine and happily waiting for my turn to ask for a glazed goodness when another employee came around and asked me what she could get for me. I answered her simply.

However, she did not hear me answer because she turned to listen to her co-worker at the drive-threw saying some "funny" or "joking" thing to her. They carried on for a bit and then she turned back to me and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. What do you want?"

Big. Mistake.
I am not proud of what I did next.
In a voice a little louder than necessary, I repeated my order. The girl got my donut and I set down my money (which was a little more than enough to cover my order) and I left abruptly.

I realize that wasn't really necessary, nor did it really help the employees know what they did wrong. So, I'm sorry DD. I know I have an unusually high customer service standard. I know that it's not really the people at DD's fault that this happens ALL THE TIME in Nashville and is my new pet peeve. It's perfectly acceptable (apparently) to make customers wait while you have cute little personal conversations with other employees. It's just the culture here. But as someone who is paying for something that she doesn't really need and could get somewhere else, and has some place to be, it really does not make me happy. I remember letting non-employee customers at Nordstrom's E-Bar skip ahead of me, just because I knew I'd be more chatty with other employees than they would and I didn't think that was fair.

Yes, people here are more friendly and generally more kind. They are very polite and very hospitable. But I will honestly say, customer service down here sucks. And that, along with bad driving, isn't something I will miss.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Post About Death

What a great topic, right? But appropriate. We have dealt with death this past week and marked death's anniversary.

Experiencing death is a very interesting rite of passage in life. Those who do not have great exposure to death often times have a sense of innocence not yet lost, a beauty that is sweet and lovely. Those of us who have been through the passage -- truly mourned, truly lost, truly felt a death that seemed a part of our very beings with the death of a loved one -- cannot go back. Few become bitter or completely afraid of death. Few who go well into adulthood without facing death may become cavalier, immature about the subject.

Life is full of death, and death full of Life. Our lives are often lived with how it will effect our death and thereafter. The deaths we experience greatly impact our lives.

Some times, it feels as though certain people should not be gone. Contacts that will never again pop-up on my cell phone with a call. Invites will sit, unaddressed, for people that cannot receive them. Life events will go on, unshared, and feel like an old injury that comes back with the rain. A slow, subtle, but not debilitating discomfort and pain.

Do you know what quite possibly is my favorite poem? Robert Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay. It is a simple, quiet explanation of Death and an unassuming acceptance of the inevitable. It's words ring in my head with every loss, every memory of loss, and every attempt to live life both in light of the death's of others and in preparation for my own death.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


~In Loving Memory~

Monday, June 13, 2011

Everything?

To start off with, we took the boat out for the first time this year over the weekend. It was really nice. It was ridiculously hot, sunny, and the lake was huge and beautiful (see, TN? Some times I don't make fun of you!). Robert taught me how to water ski, and it was so fun! I felt like such a hot-shot when I got up (after not too many tries) and skied around.

As a result of my new found love of water skiing, I can't move today. Well, that's not accurate. My arms, shoulders, upper back and neck are really, really sore. I feel about a million years old (or like Robert probably feels on a daily basis... love you, honey). Good thing I got in a work-out (and the house cleaned) yesterday before all this kicked-in, because I doubt it's gonna happen today.

Oh yeah, and if didn't read Robert's Facebook post... we destroyed half of the boat and ran out of gas in the one outing. Isn't that how you know you had fun / are a Brack?

Thanks to Sparkpeople.com and my determination to show my office manager that my way of losing weight is way better than her fad diets, I have successfully lost 6 pounds in about a month. We are going to see if we can make it an even 10 by the end of June. I don't want y'all thinking I just sat around TN and got fat ;)... though I kind of did. Kind of, but not really.

In other news, I probably will quit my job this week. I keep trying to think of how to do it. What to say. What it means. The main reason I don't want to quit is because I don't want to admit that all this change is on the horizon... or look for another job. The head-in-the-sand tactic seems very appealing. However, it's really time. I'm thinking some cupcakes are in order to soften the blow (though it will be at risk of getting them thrown at me). And then beings the slowly piecing together my resume and looking for a new job. Slowly being the key word. At least I have more time than last time.

Now, what type of cupcakes are both very yummy and will not stain my clothes...?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Good, I was bored.


Yup. My life just wasn't exciting enough recently, so I decided to go to the dentist today. I've been having jaw-shattering pain when biting on my left side, so I thought maybe I should have this looked at. I convinced myself the filling just needed to be replaced. I mean, it's not like I have anything else going on, so why would something else difficult happen, right?

They poke. They prod. I bite. I bite in other places. We find the source of the pain (ouch).
"Yup, that's it." The dentist said, "Number 19."
"Got it." The assistant said. "Want to start pre-authorizing?"
"Sure, it's just a crown. We can start today, or..."
"HOLD UP."I interrupt like a crazy person. "Are you for real? I need a crown?"

I kid you not, those were my exact words. Nice, huh?

That's right. I thought I had the best teeth ever, because at 25, my mother had to have her first crown. Same with my sister. 25 came and went, and I thanked my teeth for holding out. Then I turned 26, and 3 months later...
BAM.

The best part? Because we live in TN, and R's company is based in Indiana, we have no dental providers contracted with our insurance in state. (Don't even get me started on the subject, because I get really, really angry) I'm not talking about our city, county, whatever. The whole state of Tennessee is apparently a black hole for our dental insurance. So anything they charge above the "allowed amount" is passed on to yours truly.

I begged the dentist to let me wait until August. He laughed at me. And advised against it.

So... I think it's time for a poll! Would you...
(a) chance it and wait until August, when I'll be in Indy and not have to pay as much out of pocket? And hope you don't end up needing a root canal?
(b) cough up the money and get it done locally?
(c) take off of work and drive to Indianapolis twice to get the stupid thing done at the "contracted price?"
(d) just do a *head to desk* and hope some Pinot Grigio magically appears?

Chrissy's answer: d


Short Post

I am never at a loss for words... but I will keep this brief.

Looking for a house will drive you crazy. I do not know how my mother has survived this so many times, and I am truly, truly impressed with the level of sanity she has retained. For all the times she was house hunting and I thought, "Oh Mom, come on, surely it's not that tough", all I can say is...

...little did I know. Little did I know. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Some times, I am really mean

The worst part is, some times I am really mean and I just don't care.

Ask my husband about this when I am trying to clean our house. There is no kindness there.

I have a soft side -- don't get me wrong. I have endless compassion. My husband will also tell you that I am a notorious bleeding heart and can have the patience of Job depending on the situation (like my niece crying because she wants her mom but I'm stuck holding her).

There's a lot going on in our lives right now. A lot I am not ready to talk about. A lot that is bringing out a very, very mean streak.

It is making me want to say what I am thinking. I would love to tell people what I think of them.
That I think my dog is smarter than my office manager (she may not argue).
That no one in this state knows how to drive.
That messing with my life and not thinking anything about trying to screw with me (or people I love) will not reign hell down you.
That the way you interpret that Bible passage is made-frickin'-up by your own self-serving purposes.
That not filling out the whole patient in-take form makes me just want to smack you -- because I told you explicitly to fill the whole thing out.
That when you try to convince me that taking a loan out for a new(er) car is a good idea, it makes me want to tell you to shut up.
That hurting my best friend's feelings makes me want to rip your hair out.

Then I take a deep breath. Or go for a run. Or cry. And I don't say what I think, because Lord knows it's not from a good place. Every once in a while, it comes out anyway.

And, as Robert is so good at reminding me, I am pint-sized and wanting to mess with things much, much bigger than me. Then he laughs at me, which oddly enough, diffuses the mafia-feeling. And helps me to remember that so many fights are not worth fighting.

"I have seen the others, and I have discovered that this fight is not worth fighting.
And I've seen their mothers, and I will no other to follow me where I am going...
You ain't got no time to lose, you are young men you must be living...
Go now, you are forgiven."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some Friends...

...Are the best.

Last night, I got to hang out with the lovely Nicole Dumas. We haven't seen each other since Bridget's wedding August. We live, like, super far apart. Our lives aren't really connected. But she can show up in Nashville for a conference, and we can hang out for hours like it's nothing.

I love friends like that. Friends you don't have to try with, people who just get you, people who you will always have something in common with because you just do. Take my friend, Jen. We both moved in the past year. We see each other, um, like 1/100 of the time we used to. But when I see her, I feel like nothing has changed. How lucky am I to have people like that?

Nicole and I talked about our past years, and the year or two to come. There will be (as she would say) so much life we are going to encounter.

We will share walking Jamie Dolan down the aisle when it's her special day (because you are totally going to let us do that, right, Pipes?).
We will move to new houses, think about having children and grow in our marriages.
Together we will fear getting super fat after having children.
We will watch Cruz Eliasen grow into a total heart-breaker (yes, Becca, we had a conversation about how cute your son is and how he will break more hearts that Justin Bieber).

We will both find God where we are at, and find the Grace he puts into each our lives is truly, truly amazing.

How lucky are we?