Thursday, May 31, 2007

House Of

Kulp houses are houses of waiting. Whenever things get miserable and seemingly impossible, I want more than anything to go to a Kulp house, lie down, and wait for things to get better. When I am there, I wait for things to happen, wait for things to not happen, wait for things to get better, wait for things to get worse, wait for the earth to turn: all in perfect peace. Kulp houses are full of odd, strange shapes, exotic colors, and happiness. Sarah says its because it is laid back. No one asks anything of you in a Kulp house. I can be. And I can rest and sit and listen to people talk and enjoy each other.

Last night, I was at Andy and Emily's house. Sarah took me. She said it was going to be college students and it was except for the fact that they were all graduate students or older. Sarah was the closest one to my age. The heat made me sleepy and I laid down on the futon in the dining room. Ben asked if I was miserable and I wanted to go home. I wasn't. I was just waiting.

I felt very young last night. This past year, this senior year, has made me feel old in a way that reminded me of sixth grade. I watched the seventh graders and I watched them run around in between the tallness beings of the seniors. And I stood in wonder at the fact that I am a senior. That I am eighteen. And I went on forgetting what it was like to be fifteen and younger and unable to drive and dependent on others and fearful of parentage.

But I was young last night. It was so quiet. I remember watching Sarah and all of them be quiet, or what felt like quiet to me, as a junior highschool student. I was even younger last night than I was then. They talked of things I've never done, and did not rush but and ate and drank and enjoyed. And that made me happy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


"To hope in such forgetfullness..."

I hate the word "sometime." I hate it when people say "Sometime, we should..." and then never do. It is a cop out word. It sounds like a promise that is really a "maybe." No one ever really does their "somtime." It reminds one of memories not made, of get togethers not had, of friendships not deepened. You hear the word and you fantasize. And nothing comes of it. It should be added in the song "Famous Last Words."

"I'm not ready yet/ I won't be gone a minute/ .... we-should-sometime"


Graduation happened to me yesterday. We walked in attired in fancy gowns (or suits and flip flops in Tim's case), gave our speeches, heard our charges, received our blank and borrowed diplomas, and marched out to Five Iron Frenzy. And I didn't cry for which I was grateful. Tears come easily to me but only when alone. I don't like crying in front of people. It makes me afraid. But I was happy to be there, happy to be among friends, and happy that my table was in place and the speech delivered. I laughed when I put everything on my table. A good bit of the items were gifts from Mim and Rachel, or at least things we shared together, like Pride and Prejudice, my midsummers eve poster, my fan, Gaudy Night, Til We Have Faces.

It wiped me out like quizzing districts used to do.

But family had to be entertained. I hung out with cousins, talked constantly about college and travels with Brittany and Kristen, laughed at Emma, and tried, oh so hard, to stay awake. Forgive me if that indicates I was bored or weary with the proceedings. I wasn't. I was just extremely tired and still am even after near eleven hours of sleep.

And I suppose more than anything that what bothered me the most was that Mrs. Bell wasn't there.


Ever played sock-assassin in the sanctuary? Good times.


Why does God choose to make me happy? The first answer that comes to mind is that He loves me. But He loves other people who are so unhappy and you can see that He's in them and that He reveals Himself to them. And their lives are unhappy. If we want to get into distinctions, those people have "joy" and that is more important than happiness which depends on circumstances. But that doesn't change the question. Why does God choose to make me happy? Circumstances have been calm and pleasant my whole life. I remember occassions of mourning and sorrow and solemness. I remember occassions of struggle and fear. But those were occassions and not even seasons or times. They were moments. The rest has been happy. I have spent months in happiness. Pressure and some stress but not unhappy. There are always moments in ever day that I can look to and say "Yes, I was happy here and here and here and these are the reasons why."

Why on earth do I have happiness?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Senior Formal

There are times when things are quiet and composed and lovely. There are also those times when things are loud and uproarious. And then there are times when everything is whirling so fast and furious and beautifully that the consciousness of “fun” is lost and the delight of being alive takes over. Thursday, was one of those times. Thursday was a day filled with preparation and filled with friends and filled with laughter and, oddly, not so filled with stories. It was a song, not a story; and it was singing Cummings and Tennyson. “My heart is like a singing tree because my love has come to me.” Pictures can do part of what it felt like. Words will have to do the rest.

I shall not bore you with the trivialities that girls go through to get ready for formal events. It will suffice to say that I started in early afternoon and did not finish until just as people were schedualed to arrive for the pre-formal party. The people did not arrive. Emily showed up. Then Andy. And then we sat and looked awkward. The goal was to dance but we were sadly undermanned. Kyle came. Emily and I had a chat about laying down the law and kicking the dancing into motion, so Kyle was our first victim. The music came on and off we went. He made me laugh with his antics and squirming and attempts and excuses. Real dancing started however when Kent and CJ FINALLY arrived. They had had some difficulty “getting ready” though what could have been the hold up, I have no idea. Kyle refused to dance anymore until he had seen what Kent could do. Kent finally stepped up and danced with me a bit. Then Hannah jumped in with Kyle and I went to teach CJ how to do the basics, with Andy supervising us all. But time was getting on and we knew we would have to leave soon as the formal officially began at 6pm. Shortly before we were going to head out, Luke and Andrew showed up after having gotten lost by way of bad mapquest directions.

[An amusing comment following the taking of this picture. CJ: I pulled out my philosophical pose for that one. Andrew S.: There is a first time for everything.]

Note the picture. Six guys. Three girls. This meant that the guys were waiting around. Yes, ladies, the guys were waiting. They stood there, shuffling around, staring at the ground, watching the three of us. Waiting. I could have fallen over. And Luke was a mad dancer. He started and I could not believe how much better he had gotten from the year before. He was burning up that floor!I think it was at this point that I realized what an evening it was going to be. I had swing danced for the first time in ages. I was having an adrenaline rush. I was not going to let anything cause my spirits to fall as circumstances might normally have caused them to do.

We arrived at church where the hallways and parking lots were flooded with brightly colored dresses, girls prancing about, finger foods scattered around, fishes placed in bowls on tables, and camera flashes going incessantly. Walking through the hallway appeared to be what it might feel like on the red carpet: continuous flashes and calls to pose with different people. Of all of us however, I believe the mothers were enjoying themselves the most. I believe they were enjoying us parading around as much as we were. (on that note: Mrs. Davidson made my earrings, for which I owe her an enormous debt of gratitude. They were lovely!) Alanna came (hurrah!) and my small group found ourselves a table near the action and near the food tables.

Mr. Lane read us Dr. Suess, we sang to Pastor Chad, Joel showed his video, I answered a trivia question correctly but still didn’t get a prize, and other things. I table hopped a lot to see everyone that I wanted to say hello to. Emily and I had quite a good chat about life while I sat next to her. Amanda rescued a fish from committing suicide (it had escaped its bowl). My table though… we were having a rollicking time. Between Joel’s antics while eating, Cait’s humorous blushes, and Kelly’s mad screams, there was not a single chance to be “bored.” The speaker was excellent though I am afraid that Dr. Suess is what I will remember the longest. I must go buy that book he read… it was quite profound, actually.
Of course, afterwards was filled with more pictures and more pictures and more pic… well, you get the picture.

I also brought my fan along. I was not able to put it to good use as a cooling tool as the room was freezing, but it made for amusing pictures and as a weapon against innocent bystanders.

It neared 9:30 and people were still milling around in large groups. Mom had mentioned bringing some people back home after it was over for more dancing (since we had cleaned the garage, after all). A number of people said they would come though some others bowed out in favor of seeing Pirates at 12pm. I collected my passengers and headed home.

Jill: “Dana, you look like a mom when you drive this van.” (referring to the sienna)
Dana: “What are you talking about?! We’re getting hot and sexy when we’re in this van!”

I have no pictures of the next two hours. Not one, for which I am very disappointed. The reason is this is: no one was thinking about documenting. We were all just mad with being alive. Everyone was dancing and no one ever stopped. “The chairs are for looking at, not for using,” was what Mom said and they became the motto of the evening. I would finish one song and find myself swept away by another partner. I would stop to change the cd, find my partner taken, and someone completely different ready to take his place. There was no waiting. If we didn’t have a partner, we made up steps where we stood. As more people arrived, we moved into the garage, opened the doors for a breeze, and continued the madness. Even Gretchen was out there dancing with us. CJ, Kyle, Kent, Cameron, Candyce, Cait, Joel, Amy, Peter, Andrew, Kimberly, Jill, Me, Hannah, Gretchen, Corrie Hunter. Hannah and I broke it down a few times. We did a cross between swing and who knows what else but we did it in perfect unison. Amy and I did an interpretive dance to “I’m Still Waiting For” with waltzing and swinging and falling over. If we didn’t know what to do we just kicked up our heels and spun. Joel and Cait made a record of 21 spins. Kent and I tried twice to match it but failed miserably. “You were going too fast!”-kent. If I had slowed down I would have fallen over! Everyone began to be sweaty, thirsty, and a bit foot sore, but on we went. It was the best time dancing I’ve ever had, perhaps not in the “skill” behind it but definitely in the enthusiasm everyone kept going. Even Corrie (who really didn’t know how to swing) pulled out some fancy spinning moves. I tried to pull out my waltz cd but it was nowhere to be found and neither was my swing music. [side note: if you know where these are, please let me know! I can’t find them anywhere and they’ve been missing for a while]

As people began to go home, the dancing died down and we ran out into the field for a while to look at the stars and cool down. We laughed and teased and joked around about everything. It took us a while, but I believe we eventually found the little and the big dipper (displaying our vast knowledge of the starry hosts).

Cait and Joel were the last to leave. They hung around and chatted outside our now quiet and empty garage. “Wait… you feel like what right now? OH! I thought you said something else.” –Joel. It was well past 11 at this point, and the day began to catch up to me.

Sleep took me by midnight and I could not be waked until late the next morning.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Middle of the Week (Remembering)

I am in love with this book. I've been reading it everyday for a week, still haven't finished it, and am loving every moment and every word.

Last weekend was crazy. I am still tired from it but the pace has yet to slacken. Hannah says that is ridiculous since I can go to work everyday and avoid the madness of a mother on the rampage. No, my mom isn't angry. She's just single handedly (with the forced labor) cleaning out the entire house in preparation for graduation weekend that is staring us in the face. Family is coming in from Georgia and New York so things no one would ever think to clean out are being cleaned. Messes we have lived with for years are disappearing. And somewhere along the way my room has to have a make over. It is mostly my mess. I know that. But getting motivated in the evenings is nigh impossible.

Graduating. It is a surreal and numb feeling, being the first to go. I've seen my friends go through this and wept over their leaving. And now I'm the one going. I'm excited. Not really nervous (but perhaps I should be). And rather surprised I'm not more upset over it than I am. As I told Cait last night, I'm probably not going to realize what leaving means until I've been gone a month or more. Then it will hit me and down that first semester will go.

Crazy how life just accelerates... most of May was so restful. Now its flying past so I can hardly breath. Work fills my days. Outings by evenings. I haven't had an evening in over a week and won't until vacation comes in June. In a way, I like it. I love doing the things I'm doing and I love work (mostly) and I love all the hullabaloo and craziness that comes with graduating. But I'm tired and I need a rest. Ah well. "No rest for the wicked," eh?

Sometimes, things just hit me. Like Monday evening. There I was, talking about nothing very significant in the worship team meeting, and suddenly I was on the verge of tears. Something just triggered all the emotions I've been having. I don't know what. But a good cry at Brookside Park took care of the problem and I've been doing quite fine ever since.

Its strange how people respond to my going to Penn State. "Ah... (a sizing up look, a glance wondering "what is this girl made of?")," then a "I think you'll be alright" or "You'll do just fine" or "You be okay," which indicates they think I'll come out with faith somewhat in tact but not unscathed. Then "you'll grow a lot there" with the invariable follow up of "get involved as soon as you can!" and perhaps a few more words on recommended organizations or churches. Occassionally the words differ but never the purport. At the very least, Dad isn't worried about me. I think he's quite excited about it which differs strongly with Mom's constant roomate worries. I'm not bothered. But she is.

"something to hold onto/ and a reason to stay"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

As Chesterton Once Said...

I have just returned home after attending the second graduation class of Covenant Christian Academy. It was a long graduation lasting from 11-12:20... but it was well worth every minute of it.

Seeing faces that I haven't seen in ages... and had forgotten I loved so much. It was wonderful to see Emily and Josh and so wonderful that Corrie and Hannah would remember who I was and come up and say hello. Even Mrs. Hodges (sp?) who has only encountered me once in the Harbour Coffee House came up and asked how I was, what my plans were etc. And there was the entire Burlew family to see, and the Rainers, and even Hallie who I was able to speak to for quite a while. And of course, Nate was there graduating too. How could we forget him?

One face was particularly absent, noted briefly by Josh in the graduation itself. He gave a moving recognition of that "larger than life personality" that was misising: Seth. I appreciated this acknowledgement of him and found myself near weeping as Josh began to do so himself. To be honest, I've forgotten about him recently but will now remember for a while longer. And they didn't speak of him as dead or in a program but simply as a friend who went away to boarding school and they prayed that he would "grow where he is planted."

Mr. Perrin gave the charge and what a charge it was. A charge to remember, a charge to have imagination, a charge to humility, a charge to the great, a charge to the small, a charge to love. "At every wedding we should remarry our spouses. At every baptism we should enter into its death again. At every commencement we should begin our education all over again." He also referenced Chesterton (along with Billy Joel and other such names) in ample helpings, noted Nathan as an example of a CCA "superstudent", and laughed at the Senior's form of rebellion. His words were significant and impactful even for me who has had only limited contact with the workings of CCA.

It makes me wonder what it would have been like to have attended there rather than being homeschooled. I think this at every graduation but particularly this one as I did almost start going there in eighth or ninth grade. The times I have spent with the graduates convinces me that we would have been good friends. Unfortunately, I can but live one life with a miriad of wonderful lives to choose from, like the maze story Mrs. Bonfanti read to us with the phone book and the novel and the crossing of paths. It was her favorite story at the time... I wonder if it still is.

"The Road goes ever on and on
down from the door where it began"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Not Time's Fool

I turned 18 yesterday.

As opposed to the previous three birthdays, I did not let myself get morbidly depressed over watching another time mark sweep by. I treated it like a normal day and it made all the difference in making the day stand out.

I went to work in the morning. Four solid hours of measuring diameters, shredding papers, etc., before heading home and then to a picnic. I made sure I was expecting nothing from my presents and then found that I had received some of the most fabulously special gifts of all time: my own hardback of Lord of the Rings and a documentary of my life filmed by Gretchen, Jen, and Isaac. I took a nap in the afternoon while everyone did their everyday things of visiting orthodontists and such. Hannah and I watched Return of the King. Mim and Rachel treated me to a few hours at My Tea Spot, drinking a mixed berry smoothie that reminded me of Cait Spencer and of Inklings at the Harbour in the back room. Then to sports night as I do every week to pretend to be engaged in the attacking of a white flying disk and enjoy my friend's company and the frequent "happy birthdays" hullooed across the field. Mrs. Warren had cake and candles and singing cards for us all. Megan and I hatched a plan to stay out past eleven just because we could. Went to the Cocoa Grill, were NOT sung to by the other folks, and visited the inside of Sheetz for the first time.

Mom took advantage of my late night driving skills and headed to Harrisburg with the truck. It needed to be dropped off for inspection and what not. I didn't get in bed until 12:30, well into my second day as an eighteen year old.

"An no one from that moment on, can truthfully say to have seen Reepicheep the mouse."

If there is one book, aside from verses, that run the undercurrent of my life, it is the Chronicles of Narnia.

"Love's not Time's Fool
Though weeks and months within It's bending scyles compass come"

or something like that.

Monday, May 14, 2007

spring is a little hand

Enough Fiddler reminicing. Enough of plays. Enough of theatre.

Highschool feels over now.

Finals are done. I'm done. Highschool is done. Of which I am very glad.

Dad came home and got sick. Jen was over getting sick. And now I have this nasty chest cold that calls for increasing dependence on foul tasting cough drops and sitting very still so as not to breath very deeply. If all else fails, we could blame it on Emily Dincher since she got the nasty cold first. At least I'm not suffering flu symptoms like Dad... ack. I wouldn't be at work writing this then. Its the after lunch lull with Charity and Damion out and about and me just shredding papers and waiting to set up a new spread sheet. Yes, this is tedious work but there would be on reason to pay me if it wasn't. There was a huge mound in my official "to-do-stack-for-dana" part of the desk counter, which made me feel rather pleased that they couldn't find time to do it in the month I've been away. Who knew I was needed...

I finished reading Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart, knocked out in a day. Unfortunately, it was a little too out there... too much detail where I didn't want it and not nearly enough comprehensive development of the lover problems. I think she needs to stick to England and other such European countries. My three favorites were set in England (in two) and in France as opposed to places like Crete, Beirut, Lebanon, etc. I think she is facinated with such exotic countries but she gets too caught up in the setting rather than the characters which should be of first importance.

And thats the end. I am called away to higher work of measuring diameters. You are all envious, don't try to act like you aren't.

(this picture makes me laugh to no end)

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

We're done. Who knew that it would ever come to an end...

I hardly know where to begin in talking about this whole experience of being part of Fiddler on the Roof, produced by Encore, directed by Mrs. Panyard. It was such a long process, stretching from the beginning of February through this week, marked by ice and snow storms and back roads through Middletown and trips to Harrisburg and being late for everything and a crazy final week and a half culminating in four gruelingly long shows. And we made it all in one piece. Sort of.

To be honest, I questioned my decision to be involved in the musical the whole way through until the last two weeks. Practices were long, disjointed, sometimes pointless, most of the time far away and oil consuming. I would rush out of my last class to get to places in Harrisburg, or Grace Chapel, or even EFCH on one occasion. Everything was blocked out of order, I never really looked at the script and sort of winged my parts at practice, fudged my way through the songs, and never thought about it outside of rehersals. I was having a difficult time getting to talk to folks other than those I already knew well such as Abby E. and Jen Harris. For a while, I was ready to take everything I had and chuck it at someone's head for forcing me through this.

But things got better. They would have had to or I wouldnt' have used so much past tense in that last paragraph.

This past month the heat was turned on and the race to the finish line began. I refound me delight in the workings of theatre and the accomplishment and exhaustion that come from an evening of working like crazy to do my part in making the machine run. This past week or so has been grand, it really has. Everything from rushing around changing eighty million times to the lulls inbetween scenes and watching the monitor of everyone on stage, or laughing at the folks fussing with their hair and having serious conversations for us all to see back stage. There were little things everynight that made it worth it, little things that showed me things about the individuals I had been working with for months that I had never seen before: like Laura's sweetness, and Emily K's knack for mimicking things with me, and the necessity for Claire's presence before the musical could truely begin. The times waiting to go on, perched on top of the sewing machine table, dancing around and "kissing walls" before my first scene, drunken battle of the wills with Sasha (aka Alex), talking "man things" with Abby, all sorts of things made it worth it. Every performance, Abby Hall and the daughters would gather to pray in the dressing room and I would join them. Everyone was so earnest in their prayers for eachothers success. When I told everyone that Emily's voice was going and that she needed prayer, Abby took me at my words, took my hands and began to pray. I suppose I had in mind folks just silently praying for her. Nope. Literally is how I ought to have taken my words and Abby took me to task.

But nothing about Fiddler can be said without mentioning the overall attitude of everyone. I was impressed with the commitment and the love that they all had for each other. My two lines were praised and encouraged, the smallest person was given affirmation, and I loved being in that atmosphere for such an ammount of time. It wears off. It makes you start noticing what makes the folks around you special in their own right and what you can say to them to encourage them. And seeing the courage of Emily when her voice went out and the grace she had of watching someone else sing her part. And seeing the courage of Claire to step into this role without having ever studied the part.

(Bekah and Gretchen, soul sisters seperated at birth.)

I will miss them all. The cast party and Emily P's documentary made me realize that. And then folks started crying and laughing and clapping at the songs and I could share in all of that. Blast you, Gretchen! She turns on a faucet in folks when she goes off and soon the whole "family" was crying with her and then I went off and it all went down hill from there. So to everyone in Fiddler, I'll miss seeing you even if I really won't miss such late, exhausting nights.

Here's to Abby E, Abby Hall, Bekah, Emily Dincher, Emily P, Tony, Jason, Peter, Andrew, Brittany, Emily S., Jen Harris, Hannah, Gretchen, Jen Ray, Bethany Graybill, Emily K., Laura, Angela, Sarah, Andrea, Claire, Lauren, Katie, Jack, Ashley, all the Russions whose real names I never learned, Sarah Cope, Mom, Mrs. Hall, Jess, Chris, and Mrs. Wenger.

(me in my beard with Angela, my dance partner)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Roof Times

I wasn't going to post again until after finals were all done and the year was over but I'm having such a good time these past few days that I wanted to tell you all about it rather than start studying for my tests next week.

First off, I'm dead. These late (and otherwise) practices really take it out of you in terms of energy. However, they have been far more fun than I had expected and I'm even looking forward to this evening's five hours of crazy times. Most impressive are the kids (er... people) working on this thing. Everyone is into it and focused and ready to be where they need to be and determined to have a good time while their at it. Everyone listens to Mrs. Panyard or even Sarah when Mrs P isn't there. Everyone has good attitudes and laughs and encourages and is willing to get waters for you from Wendys. Beyond a doubt, this is the most dedicated group of folks I've ever worked with in any drama. I am most thoroughly impressed and love it.

Of course, there are the times when we goof off like during Mrs P's "10min" (they turn into half hour) breaks. This is when we go play frisbee in full costume, order food from Wendys off the people who have cars, run around, hang out with Abby and rescue her from third floors, and just hang out. I can see a comradship growing in the whole 75 of us as we get better at working together on stage and off. Laughing together is what makes it work, things like Emily's story about the guy who got a bloody nose in a play and Peter talking about getting knocked over the head, Clair tearing her skirt, not being allowed in the Singles Club, Tevye drowning in smoke and meekly asking if they could start the scene over again, not being able to find my pants, being unorthodox jews with Brittany, running into a set with the beggar man, and a host of other little stories that sound ridiculous once retold in any form. All of those "you would have to be there" things. These are the things that make friendships: stories and laughter. And there are both in abundance on the set of Fiddler on the Roof.

You should come see it. Thursday-Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 3pm. I should go now and make my cookie for my "buddy" Emily H. and then write notes for our "Happy/Fun Bags." Farewell, as I REALLY shouldn't write again until after finals.