Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And Go Sit Down!

My family has always sat down as a whole to eat dinner at least five out of seven nights a week. Everyone had their spots at the table, and if you decided to plop your hungry bodied self into a seat not your own, you would surely be extracted in the most efficient way possible by its rightful owner. There were six seats, only five of which were filled: Mom at the end closest to the kitchen. I never thought about this until now, but this was not her accidental placement; my brother on the opposite end closest to the living room so as to keep a watchful eye on the latest sports updates if perchance that loud-box was still on; my sister to the left of my mother, which I had always thought should have been my place. Then again, she came three years earlier than me; my father across from my sister with a view of the Halldale fields through our picture window; and myself, adjacent to both my sister and brother where I would assist my sister in the obstruction of the outside view for our father.

Dinners were consumed at high rates of plate to mouth speed for my father and brother who would then commence to seconds and perhaps thirds, even. My sister would eat in such a way that would make anyone want to eat exactly what she was eating (and she still does to this day). Don't query as to how she does this, but everything she eats you want, too! She could be eating filet mignon, (which I have no memory of ever having at our dinner table), or a graying chicken nugget from McDonald's, (which I don't remember ever having at out dinner table, either, Mom). Mom would always finish eating last because she was the last to be able to pick up her fork. Always busy in the kitchen with the prepping, the cooking, the cleaning, and the up-and-down, back-and-forth to the kitchen "I need ketchup," "Are we gonna have anything to drink with this meal?" "No forks?" "We need a spoon for this" repeats. And, I, well I was another story. My palate has improved more than ten-fold in my journey from breast milk to present. Instead of every dinner meal ending either standing facing the corner or sent to the solitude of my shared bedroom because of turning up my nose in disgust to my mother's creations, I now take part in a variety of cuisines and even attempt to recreate my mother's dishes which I used to loathe.

My friend has told me that attending a dinner at the Couturier home was like being on the set of a television sitcom. There was yelling, crying, gnashing of teeth (not in the terms of our gatherings being similar to that of what one will experience in Hell, but the view of an open void full of whatever it was we were eating that particular evening), belly groans due to unnecessary over expansion, prayers, spilled milk, gaseous eruptions, begging dogs, passing the potatoes, laughing, debates, story time, and mess. Not everything you took part in or witnessed was what you would want to share, but, nevertheless, shared as a whole. It would have been interesting for me to be like my friend and view our family dinners as a fly on the wall, but I would much rather keep my place in history: sitting in my spot at the table stuck between my brother and sister.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

And go...be relational beings

I was listening to the radio a couple weeks ago, and, sorry I cannot rightfully give credit where credit is due, the announcer stated, "We are relational beings." I did not listen too closely to the rest of his blurb because I was stuck on that one statement of him claiming that you and I are relational beings. Perhaps he was being a bit too overzealous, because I have heard stories of hermits and agoraphobes who's main objective, or obsession/disorder, is usually to stay as far away from other beings as possible. However, there is still the majority that this D.J. is referring to: the other 99.2 % of humans who are relational beings, myself being one of them.

Let's not overload ourselves too much into a sociological perspective, but one thing I do carry with me from my minor in sociology is nothing too outstanding, but I find noteworthy nontheless. A professor had us once write down on a piece of paper the numbers 1-10. He then instructed us to list ten things of who we are. If we were willing, we were allowed to share the first three items on our list with the class, with number 1 being the most important. Students responded with a range of items: Mother, Sister, Brother, Marine, Baseball player, Musician, Volunteer, etc. The professor then asked us, "How many of you can be any one of those things without having some kind of relationship with another human being?" We did not look around to our peers in amazement because this was very blatant and easy to process. The things that we take part in and value in our lives can always relate somehow to another human being.

Listening to the earlier radio D.J. and looking in retrospect upon past conversations in college courses, I turned the outside to myself now: What kind of relationships have I been involved with in my past, and what kind of relationships am I involved with now? All relationships are different. Some we are forced to be a part of, some we fall into, some we force others to be a part of, and some, well, just happen.

Let's think about the one category of relationships that we choose to be a part of. How did you get into this relationship? Why are you now in this relationship? Are your efforts in this relationship being reciprocated? Where will this relationship go? How would your life be different if it weren't for this relationship in it or never even occurring in the first place? Of course we don't know the answers to these questions exactly, but I think that we should constantly be evaluating ourselves and our existence among others in the world. I am not telling you that we should measure ourselves against others through rationalizing, but rather that we should constantly be measuring how our choices in this life affect others.

"Love others as you love yourself." How do you love yourself and how much do you love yourself? Do others really want to be loved as you love yourself at this point in time? Evaluate yourself and where you stand in view of yourself before you become a relational being with the wrong beings in the wrong relations.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

And go...where?

My week-long hiatus is quickly coming to an end. For those of you who do not know, I took a sudden trip home to New England this week for a little R&R, face time with the family, and clean, non-pluff-mud air. My fears of being put on house arrest have ceased, and I am actually taking the time to sit and write, read, and veg. I apologize for not letting peeps know that I was returning to the area. Please do not be offended, but this trip was purely made with selfish intentions and I needed some strict isolation and physical space. Don't worry, I will be returning again in December, and I am making this a public announcement.

Upon returning home after being away for several months has given me great insight into living independently yet still feeling so dependent on what I still have more than 1,000 miles away from my new quarters. I have left the farm for the city, the cold for the warmth, (yet the humidity won't ever leave me), the parka for the bikini, the beef stew for the fish tacos, the blood relations for the self-created friendships. I don't like to say that I have left anything behind, but that I have gained new parts in my life by living in a completely different part of the country.

Let's break this down. Since I have been a "damn yankee" working among southerners who are still upset about "The War of Northern Aggression," I have had great time to recognize the things that I miss most from home. Some may be petty, but these minute things are often of the most importance to me. I am not going to waste mine, or your, time in writing and reading all of these things. My list is probably quite similar to others, so you can imagine.

Many things in my life are trying to fit in one way or another. I am waiting on decisions made by others, waiting on myself to finalize decisions, waiting on airplanes, waiting in lines, waiting on the narrator in my book to get over herself, waiting, waiting, waiting. This is all part of life, and, to be perfectly honest, I am incredibly impatient. I need to stop looking at each section of my life as a "means to an end" and simply take full grasp of all that I am involved in. This requires me to stop being scared of everything, as my father said..."Carrie, you can't be scared of everything that comes into your life." Instead of lamenting about my to-do list, I should just do it. I am excellent at several things in life including: hyping things up to no end, worrying so much it can make both you and me physically sick, buying too many things for myself, braiding my hair, and criticizing grammatical errors (this last one is probably one of my most favorite things that I am excellent at).

Lately I have been doing some reading on what a small being I am in this earth. I am but a muscle spasm in the largest imaginable or unimaginable thing. Have you ever driven down the road and actually seen the faces of others driving by? You have no idea who they are, where they are going, or even what their hair color is. We all have issues, but these will be of no great significance in a very short amount of time. I am speaking very generally, but rest assured. We are so focused on our own selves that we cannot even begin to relate to others. We need to let go a little bit, let God if you'd like or allow, and breathe a little easier.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back to reality

I'm back from my recent camping rendevous.  I can't say that it was the best weekend of my life.  Dustin and I had a 3 1/2 hour drive to Spartanburg, SC, where we visited with his mother and stayed one evening.  The next morning we were on our way to Camp Pinnacle in North Carolina.  The highlight of my trip?  Seeing a black bear cross the road at 11:30am on our roadtrip there.  That was pretty cool.  Upon reaching the camp, Dustin and I were greeted by 5 or 7 frat boys graciously revealing the happenings of the evening prior to our arrival.  (For those of you who are not familiar with the associations dustin has with his school at the moment, he holds office in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the College of Charleston).  So, with such warm and exciting greetings, we were both very eager to begin our one-night stay at Camp Pinnacle.  Let me cut our stay down to a few phrases in chronological order: 
1. Enjoyed a tasty brunch of hotdogs and burgers, 
2. Drank a beer, 
3. Watched 17-year-old girls and 20-something-year-old boys dance around in a horse arena with handles of Admiral Nelson and Captain Morgan, 
4. Took a nice nature walk along the camp's lake, 
5. Drank a beer, 
6. Sat in an amphitheater with my beau discussing our recent sites,
7. Checked my facebook to see what my friends were doing at the time,
8. Went to dinner and tried to eat but all of the drunkies had already eaten the rest of the food,
9. Had some good conversations with newfound friends,
10. Told Dustin it was my bedtime at 8:30pm,
11. Ended the night sleeping in the cab of dustin's truck,
12...Wait, the night did not end there,
13. Awoke at 3:00am to boys performing donuts in the horse arena 
14. Awoke at 4:00am to fireworks being set off
15. Awoke at 8:50am so very thankful that I did not feel like 99% of the folks still passed out in their bunks.

I cannot say that the entire trip was a sorrowful bust, but let's just say that I will not be returning for any more mountain weekends ;)  I am yet to be a fully developed snob, but I feel that my life has greatly surpassed the handle-holding, bow-in-hair, bikini-in-october, dancing-on-a-table, holding-hands-with-a-girl days.  For those of you who are still in those days, I hope that your life is stocked with plenty of extra strength tylenols, gatorade, good running sneaks, a few friends who will always drag you out of the unexpected and turn your face the other way, some go-to bible verses, a dad who will both love and make you feel ashamed for the paths you have chosen, a sister who will always tell you how stupid and fat you are, and a mom who will share some of her secrets with you, too.  Oh, and salt and vinegar chips should also be a staple in your diet--no matter what stage of life you are in.

My title, "Back to reality" simply means that I'm back from my weekend hiatus and went back to work today.  What does my work consist of?  Well, I will not release my exact locale, but I work in a restaurant with some awesome peeps.  My restaurant family is definitely a family away from my home dawgs in the northeast.  I never dread going to work.  Moreover, I am thankful to be spending time with real people who share the same humor, work ethic, and similar outlook in life as I do.  Also, I make decent money for goofing off about 3/4 of the time I am at work.  

Tonight D-poo and I are celebrating 3 years together (don't worry, I do not really call him that in real life...just blog life).  That is crazy juice.  We are happy, healthy, and still not engaged.  I constantly threaten him with the act of me proposing to him.  He immediately gets sick and tells me that he will propose at some point--definitely before I propose to him.  Our anniversary thus far has been spent at one of our favorite sushi joints and will end with a trip to the movies.  He is a blonde, handsome, smaht, and silly guy.  He's great.

Let's end with a favorite verse: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In the beginning...

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In this beginning, however, I am creating my first blog. I've written blogs before but only because it was a requirement in a class. Unlike forced writing, the blogs written here are strictly out of my want to write more. This will not be viewed as a diary where I relentlessly pour out all of my warmest, romantic thoughts, (and for those of you who actually know me, you know that I do not have those); this will not be a place where I purposely gossip and bitch about those I spend time with; this will be a place where I can write about anything I feel like writing about at any given time.

You may query as to the title of my blog: "And Go." Please don't bother yourself with thinking about it too much because I think I spent a whole of 22 seconds coming up with it. My title is nothing that came as an epiphany, and is simply just taking up the space where this site told me to "insert header."

Enough prefacing for the rest of our lives...it is 9:48am and I am up and dressed on a Saturday morning. What? Ridiculous, right? At this time any other morning you could find me doing any number of things. These could include myself either still zonked out till the proverbial cows come home, laying in bed wondering why on earth I have to go to work on a Saturday when everyone else gets to do nothing all day, or perhaps popping a few extra strength tylenols to alleviate a massive headache. This day, however, I am prepping for an overnight camping trip to Camp Pinnacle in North Carolina. I will not go on about my ensuing trip, but I will post my experience upon my return from the unknowing wilderness.