This Might Get Obnoxious

Well, kids. I don’t quite know how to say this.

But, I’m saying it: I don’t want to have to spell out that this is a character I’m playing, but I know some of you won’t get it otherwise. (No offense.) It’s another chance not to take myself too seriously.

It’s also in the blogroll. And on the Twitter feed. In case you enjoy bombardment.

This little old blog right here will remain active. Don’t worry.

Expectation Expectoration

So, maybe sometimes I have these hopes, but they’re not all that specific, and all I really want is to have fun. General, living-it-up fun. And maybe I’ve resolved that I’m past the point in my life to waste time on drama. Stop playing games; cut to the chase. The chase not actually being a game, but a pursuit. A quest. It starts with a nervous email and it gets a sincere response. That’s fun. Then it goes to texting, easy enough, which is also fun. Then to phone calls, which I don’t initiate. They’re nice when they come; reassuring, and in the moment, they too are fun. The voices are nice, the laughter; the next best thing to facetime. Nothing happens quickly or in a confusing way, not that I would hope for that. Not that I wouldn’t hope for that. But what about phonetime makes me want facetime, and will that make me want even more? When will it come? Will it come? All of a sudden it’s gotten specific, and disappointment has ambushed me, and my precautions are futile. If I’m having fun, if my hopes are coming true, then why isn’t that enough? What is the fun in the wanting?

In Which I Could Have Gotten Into All Sorts of Trouble

Was it only two months ago when I declared this?

I really have no excuse, other than my blasted cowardice.

The intent was to go skinny dipping. I’ve always wanted to go, and I already packed my swimsuit and sent it to Utah. It was 80 degrees in St. Augustine this afternoon. I dug around and found some black bottoms I could swim in, and I also put on a sports bra and a t-shirt and jeans.

The non-interstate way to the beach is so much more scenic. The first stretch of FL-16 heading east features cattle grazing pasture on the north side and banana trees along the fenceline on the south side. A1A toward the beach suggests a safe and lazy 30mph, which is slow enough to notice all the attractions and fast enough to escape the tourists’ pull.

Anastasia Beach is a state park. It’s clean, and on this December weekday afternoon, it was relatively quiet.

I planned on jumping in the ocean, getting neck-deep, and removing the sports bra and bottoms. I looked at the ocean. I took off my t-shirt and jeans. This is all you’ll get:

At the park entrance they posted high tide sometime around 6:40pm, so when I got to the beach I noticed  the waves:

I walked out to the water in what basically looked like a (relatively modest) bikini. The waves rolled in, and I felt their particularly strong outward pull. This was why I didn’t go out very far. As some of you may know, I’m not a strong swimmer, and while in theory I know how to get out of a rip current, I didn’t want to test it.

Also, the cold water made me shy. I stood knee-deep for 15 minutes, trying not to freeze.

Then, I just dove in.

Then, as usual, the water was bracing for only a few minutes, and it helped that the air above the water was still warm. Still, the waves were high and I stayed pretty close to the shoreline. No one else swam. A few strollers passed, but I ignored them and dismissed my self-consciousness of my near nakedness. Because I look great. According to me.

I splashed around a bit and body-surfed for another half-hour, then I decided to dry off and warm up. And, get dressed.

Don’t ask how I got dressed in the middle of a not-quite deserted beach during a Florida winter.

As I left the beach, I noticed the flags indicating beach conditions:

Needless to say, I would not have gone in the water had I seen the warning flags first.

So, to recap:
1. I could have been arrested for indecent exposure (though I was very, very, very careful).
2. I could have DIED, either by drowning in a vicious riptide or by a shark during snacktime.

My flimsy little excuse came in handy.

Kids, do NOT try this at home.

More photos at flickr.

Things I Liked About This Evening

-singing Christmas songs
-singing Christmas songs in a nursing home
-singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” all the way through for the very first time, then twice more
-seeing those kind folks in the nursing home smile, which made me smile, and often almost made me cry
-the roving keyboard which accompanied our caroling
-that 10 of us showed up, and we sounded pretty good
-singing for at least an hour
-seeing the entire range of generations, from within the choir, as well as in each of the rooms we stopped by
-hearing stories of how music reached these people in unexplainable, beyond-comprehension ways
-getting to see Mr. Coleman again, the man who inspired this post
-talking to Mr. Coleman about the good ol’ days, when he sent Laura and me to the bathroom to practice for All-State auditions
-talking to Mr. Coleman about the good ol’ days, the sorry excuse for a bandroom, the clarinet solo, Mr. Buddy Ball
-talking to Mr. Coleman about life plans
-talking to Mr. Coleman about New York City; and Utah
-listening to Mr. Coleman talk about his family
-talking to Mr. Coleman about the difference between Middleburg Mormons and Mormons in other areas outside of Jacksonville
-feeling my heart swell when Mr. Coleman said he used the examples he saw in Middleburg Mormons for some of his sermons
-listening to Mr. Coleman, a legend in his own right, talk about still finding moments of being mentored by people he gets to work with
-meeting Mrs. Coleman and thanking her for loaning her husband to Wilkinson Jr. High some 20 years ago to change young lives for ultimate good
-seeing how undeniably in love Mr. and Mrs. Coleman are
-trying not to be uncomfortable when Mr. Coleman listed qualities about me and expressed his hopes for me and my life
-trying also not to cry in the middle of (the original) Bono’s Barbecue (on the Southside) as he did this with pure sincerity and looked upon me fondly
-hugs
-driving home with my heart having grown three sizes and feeling all warm and fuzzy

It was so wonderful seeing you again. I hope we can continue to keep in touch.

Per Your Request

By the time you read this, I’ll be somewhere in midcoast Florida. I might be at church; I might be on my way back up toward Jacksonville. Point being I rather this pop up on your readers when I’m nowhere near a computer. I’m actually feeling extremely insecure right now. Meh.

Not too much to report.

So I went to that winter ball, and it was fun. I danced the fast songs I liked; I talked to a few people, but mostly I observed the strong friendships and interesting dynamics. My disdain for line dances deepened. I’ll still do the electric slide and attempt the boot, scoot, and boogie, but that’s where I draw the line.

FYI, the girl/guy ratio seemed pretty close to even.

Here are a couple of shots before I headed over to the church building.

I’m glad I arrived late.

I hope you’re having a great Sunday.

This Weekend

I am sitting in my room right now, waiting on a load of laundry.¬† iTunes is streaming Christmas music – some of it free – and I’ve spent the morning packing more boxes to ship to Utah. I shipped nine boxes to Provo this past Monday, and it felt good to get that little bit of the process out of the way.

Three Christmas cards for me have come in the mail.  Three Christmas cards and two wedding announcements.

Tonight, I’m babysitting for a few hours, and then I’m heading to a church young singles’ winter ball. Yeah, I’m dressing up. Trying to curl my hair and everything. And it will be fun. I’ll take pictures. Maybe that will quadruple blog traffic again.

The ball should have good music and energetic, young people who don’t care that I shouldn’t really be there. This doesn’t change my thinking that some (most) guys are pure idiots. I’m fighting spewing cusswords right now.

I wonder if people get bored with me. They exercise patience, get beneath all the layers, and find only flatness, two dimensions. Pretty disappointing.

I’m heading downstate this weekend to visit some friends. I’m really looking forward to that.

I cannot tell you how much I am dreading finding a good home for the rabbits. I haven’t known the past five years without them.

I’m not talking much lately. I’ll still look you in the eye and smile, though.

Busy time of year, indeed.

Interestingly

It’s really interesting, finding yourself in a place that’s a lot healthier emotionally than two and a half years ago, having guarded yourself from further hurt, only to let time bring down those walls, so that when old friends approach you, it’s more of a pleasant surprise and a relief instead of a source of anxiety, and so that when new friends approach you, it’s easier and faster letting them in.

Some of the hardest, most painful experiences of my life have also been the biggest, most beautiful blessings of my life.

Such is … life.