Monday, January 28, 2013

impossible until it’s not

This was in my fortune cookie the other night.


The hard things keep coming, don’t they? Sometimes I stare at the calendar and think, There is no way I will make it to May. There is no way I will make it through next week. I am so quick to jump ahead to all the things in the universe I can’t imagine shouldering right now. If we got a bill for x amount of dollars, I could not pay it. If I had to turn in my dissertation prospectus tomorrow, I wouldn’t be ready. If a giant robot took over Columbus and forced all humans underground, I wouldn’t have enough bottled water to keep us alive.

I am learning to trust. It’s slow but I’m learning. I try to think back to the all the impossible things I’ve done. Passing my candidacy exam felt impossible. It felt huge, insurmountable. But I did it. Step by step. It’s not as if one minute I was a PhD student and the next I was a PhD candidate. It was night after day after night of reading. It was one exam day at a time, one sentence at a time, one question at a time, one book at a time. It was impossible…until the moment it wasn’t.

I am struggling not to leap ahead to the next impossible thing I can’t imagine overcoming. Some days, I feel scared out of my  mind by how much feels impossible. But that is not how we are supposed to live. That is not how I want to live. 

Things are only impossible…until they are not.

love, elizabeth

Monday, January 21, 2013

The girl in the picture

In case you haven’t heard, we’re moving (to the Nora Ephron apartment, by the way). I’ve been fighting the temptation to throw everything in the back of the car and call it packed and so I’ve been digging through drawers and emptying shelves in an effort to consolidate things. And I ran across this picture. I have no idea when it was taken, although my mom thinks I was about two years old. Every time I started to pack it away with the rest of the photo albums, I kept pulling it out and staring at it.


I kinda love this picture. Somehow, I guess I think that everything that is essentially me is in this picture. The girl in the picture is serious but maybe kind of hopeful, too. And I guess I feel that way a lot. Serious and hopeful. The girl in the picture has no idea what’s going to happen in the next 23 years. Or maybe she does. She kind of looks like she might. I find this photograph comforting. Like maybe if we’re essentially who we are when we were little, we’re not that far away from our real selves. I find it reassuring to recognize myself in her.

love, elizabeth

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

So remember that one time when I had a blog?

I cannot believe it’s been a whole week. It actually feels like longer. I have been packing boxes (31 so far!) and teaching classes and going to meetings and then a few days ago, my poor laptop got another virus so it’s being sent away to the computer hospital (aka my dad) to be nursed back to good hard drive health. All that to say, I go a little crazy when I don’t blog. I was feeling out of sorts today and trying to figure out what was bugging me. I think it was the lack of blog. Or sunshine. One of the two, definitely.

It’s been a productive week, though. I am happy to announce that Kyle and I officially have our new apartment! We’re moving in about four weeks so if I seem distracted, I totally am. Our home as turned into one giant maze of boxes and packing tape and random things that don’t go anywhere but can’t seem to find their way into the trash. My moving mantra so far has been: “If I don’t love it and want to own it, it is not going in a box.” I absolutely refuse to spend the rest of my life hauling around crap I don’t even like, especially since I already have plenty of crap I love.

But I am back now so you can breathe easy, Internet.

love, elizabeth

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Argument I Had With My Husband

So remember how in the last post I was whining about how we can’t find an apartment in which to reside anywhere in all of Columbus, Ohio? We found an apartment. Barring calamity, we will have shelter from the winter winds and also off-street parking.

And this is where the differences between me and my sweet, witty, and shockingly handsome husband become more apparent. (Speaking of which…Kyle, have I told you today that you are sweet and witty and shockingly handsome?)

Here’s how the conversation went:

Elizabeth: “I totally want to rent this apartment. I think it could be a whole new adventure!”

Kyle: “See, I feel like you have a really weird definition of ‘adventure.’ When I think ‘adventure,’ I think, ‘skydiving,’ ‘bunjee-jumping,’ ‘extreme sports…’ When you think of ‘adventure,’ you think of rundown old apartments in creepy neighborhoods

Elizabeth: It’s not creepy! It was built in the 1950’s! It looks like where the heroine in a Nora Ephron movie would live! It’s quirky and vintage!

Kyle: You mean, ‘old and decrepit.’

This is the point in the blog post where I say it. Men.

Sweet, Witty, and Shockingly Handsome redeemed himself by following that last comment up with: “I can live anywhere as long as I’m there with you. I just want you to be happy.” That’s the answer I was hoping for.

Kitchen1_zpsce981f2e Kitchen3_zpsff702e5a Mailboxes_zps9c2da6ee

Anyway, we’re feeling hopeful about this place. I’ll let you know when we know for sure!

love, elizabeth

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wanted: apartment of dreams, not picky, will sign 15-month lease

If you haven’t been keeping up with my apartment-hunting woes, it probably means you are not related to me or best friends with me or stalking me so…I feel sorry for you. But seriously.

Apartment-hunting. Why does it suck so. much. ??? Is there some book of governance kept somewhere that requires potential landlords to be annoyed when you call them about the ad they themselves posted or that states all apartments in one’s preferred price-range must have wall-to-wall maroon carpeting or exist solely on city blocks where assault and battery per capita somehow rises dramatically or why people think that cats are better tenants than dogs? Also, what genius signed a lease that expired in February of all months? Oh, yeah. Me.

And from much personal experience, I can say that renters can’t be choosers. You get what you get. We’ve lived in awesome places and not so awesome places and stuff in between. Every place has had its charms and every place has been part of the way that God has provided for us. Sometimes, though, I just long for a place that has some of the things I imagine when I close my eyes and think of the word ‘home.’ At this point, if we can find a place with four walls and a door and it doesn’t cost too much or look like a crack den, we’ll probably rent it.

But what is a blog if not a place I can say, at least to all of you, what I really, really want in an apartment? So here goes. In my dream world…

Wanted: Apartment of dreams. One or two bedrooms with hardwood floors, a decorative fireplace, and built-in shelving. A stained glass window. A kitchen island. A bathtub with claw feet (even if Kyle says bathtubs with claw feet seem like a great place to be haunted by ghost children). A washer and a dryer of my very own. A tree. A patio or tiny little patch of grass we might generously call a lawn. Heck, I’d settle for a porch stoop. Dog-friendly.* Less than 10 minute drive to Kyle’s job. A library I can walk to. Two whole parking spaces.

*I really don’t need it to be dog-friendly, exactly. I just need it to be Madigan-friendly. Seriously, how can you say ‘no’ to this face?


I guess my prayer right now is that we’ll find the place we’re supposed to live. And not necessarily that it will be the apartment I’ve been dreaming about. I think I’m praying that I’ll start dreaming about the apartment we’re actually meant to have. God, take my dreams and give me yours instead. I have a feeling they’d be much more satisfying.

love, elizabeth

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to Go to the Bathroom in Public

Wow, okay. That title may be misleading. A better one: How to Use a Public Restroom Without Being a Jerk


Using public restrooms is something that most of us have to do at some point in our day. Since most of us have to do it, it seems like a skill set we’d have down cold. Apparently not, though. So here it is, Elizabeth’s Totally Obvious Guide to Using Public Restrooms:

1. Wash. Your. Hands.* ** ***

2. If you encounter a door that doesn’t swing, always knock. After you knock, listen for at least 5 seconds before proceeding to try the handle.

3. If you are currently having a private bathroom moment and you hear a knock at the door, please, for the love of Lysol, say something. “Someone’s in here!” is perfectly fine. Also acceptable: “Occupado!” or “Just a second!” or “Congress and I are passing a bill, hold on!”

4. If you are a parent and have brought your small, ambulatory toddler into the public restroom with you, please, please, please do not let them crawl under other people’s stalls to say ‘hello.’ This is a confounding situation that leads to awkward staring. I never know what to do when this happens. Should I have a conversation with your child? Should we shake hands? It seems rude not to.

5. Be neighborly. Say, for example, you enter a stall and, realizing there is no toilet paper, move to the next stall. A few moments later, another woman enters that stall. Kindly gather a goodly bunch of toilet paper from your own roll and extend it underneath the stall at least four inches above the floor.  For goodness’ sake, ladies, that could have been your mother, your sister, your best friend!

6. The Rule of Stool: If you wouldn’t leave it sitting, unflushed, unhindered, or sitting out in your own bathroom, you really shouldn’t leave it in a public restroom for perfect strangers to experience.

7. What happens in the powder room stays in the powder room. Like Las Vegas but with more fluorescent lighting. 

*With soap.

**For at least 20 seconds, according to the Center for Disease Control. (I checked.)

***You should also scrub underneath your nails and you should turn the faucet off with the paper towel you have used to dry your hands. If you want to be extra fancy, you can use your paper towel to open the restroom door before you throw it away.

Help me out. What public restroom tip do you wish you could pass on?

love, elizabeth

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nine New Things

Thought I’d share some of my new favorite things:

1. This Taylor Swift video. Super duper loving the direction her new album has taken her. I’ve  had this video on repeat on my laptop for weeks. This song reminded me so much of a relationship I had a long time ago. Taylor, how do you make heartbreak so catchy??

2. The Lemon Early Grey Tea Latte at Caribou Coffee. Seriously, do you live within 50 miles of a Caribou? Get in your car right now. (And I am not just saying that because my husband works there. This is real.) The calorie count is unfair but it tastes like you’re having an entire tea party in your mouth every time you take a sip.

3. Design Sponge. This site makes me so happy. It’s full of all kinds of inspiring DIY projects and cool ideas for decorating and living and creating. PS: I love that one shot they took with the New Year’s resolution, “To aid in the flourishing of others.” I would like to be a part of that kind of a resolution, wouldn’t you?

4. This movie out in theaters soon. I know the author of the book this is based on hates the comparison but let’s call it a witty Twilight with zombies and a better script. Just in time for Valentine’s Day! I may even be able to trick Kyle into seeing this one…

5. Padmapper. A thousand thank-you’s to Sarah for showing me this handy-dandy web tool for apartment/house hunting. They also have a great app if you’re into that. If we’re not homeless next month when our lease is up, it will be because of Padmapper and the great mercy of God.

6. My brand-new how-to series I am about unveil. That’s right. It’s so awesome that I am actually going to unveil it. Tomorrow.

7. Snapwidget. Have you been wondering how you might display your Instagram feed on your blog? Wonder no longer.

8. This calendar I just ordered. I expect it to make me feel better about life. If it doesn’t, I will sue the company.


9. PostSecret. This website is actually not new, at all, but I have recently become re-enamored with found letters and anonymity. Fascinating place to browse.

I find pretty much everything cool because of Sarah. This post should probably just be called, 
“Things Sarah Showed Me on the Internet.”

What have you found lately?

love, elizabeth

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Bucket List



That’s Bethie and me on New Year’s Eve Eve. We celebrated early this year.

2013 started off inauspiciously. Kyle and I barely beat the snowstorm home yesterday afternoon on our drive back from Kentucky. We had been invited to spend New Year’s Eve with some good friends, and even though the roads weren’t great, I was hoping we might go and then the headache and sore throat appeared. So instead of champagne and cute sparkly clothes, I fell asleep shortly after midnight, cradling my laptop and muttering about The West Wing (which I am currently insta-watching on Netflix). Me and my cold feel like we’ve gotten the New Year off to a less than promising start but I choose to believe we can turn it around. Last year, I made a bucket list, 31 Things to Do Before ‘13, and I crossed a surprising amount of them off my list. Not all of them and there were a few that should been easier to make happen but new year, new beginning. I’ve been working on my new bucket list for a couple weeks and am finally ready to share it with you. I’m upping the game this year and trying to do 41 things before ‘14. I know. You’re totally jealous of that super original thing I just did where I reversed the numbers and made it a title. I’m just that cool. Anyway, here’s my list for the year!

1. Commit to regular monthly giving.

2. Read 10 books that have nothing to do with school.

3. Learn to crochet.

4. Blue Jackets game.

5. Write my dissertation prospectus.

6. The Pencil Sharpener Museum in Logan, Ohio.

7. Take a road trip somewhere awesome.

8. Write a grant proposal (and get the grant!)

9. Perform a solo work.

10. Move to cheaper apartment.

11. Take a hike.

12. Write 300 blog posts.

13. The Hot Dog Bun Museum in Toledo, Ohio.

14. Write a book with Emily.

15. Teach a class I’ve never taught before.

16. Thrill-seek.

17. Play on a new beach.

18. Go to a wine tasting.

19. Haunted house.

20. Really utilize the public library.

21. Try out 12 new recipes.

22. Direct something.

23. Volunteer for a new non-profit. 

24. Learn how to make a cocktail.

25. Learn to play a song on the ukulele.

26. Try a brand new kind of exercise.

27. Photograph strangers. (For obvious reasons, this will involve their knowledge and consent.)

28. Get a tattoo.

29. Floss every single day for a month.

30. Buy a new couch.

31. Treat seasonal depression homeopathically.

32. Take a research trip.

33. See Buckeye Chuck make his Groundhog’s Day predictions in Marion, Ohio.

34. Try Somali food.

35. Learn how to parallel park really, really well.

36. Learn more about blog/web design and html.

37. Write a fan letter.

38. Renew my Red Cross CPR and First Aid certification.

39. Bird-watching.

40. Memorize the states and capitols.

41. Never text and drive again.


What kinds of things are on your list this year?

love, elizabeth

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