So I would really like to spend the $20 to get the wireless converter for our Qwest router. It would be soooo nice to sit on a cozy couch and do this, rather than in the folding wooden chair in the cold kitchen.
It's so hard to know what to spend $20 on.
We're getting an Aldi up on the corner (it's probably 1.5 miles away, but still... a corner!) and I am REALLY excited. Joel says the sign was up today, and the facade definitely is starting to look like an Aldi! I went to the Aldi over at University and Lexington today and MAN you can get a lot of groceries for under $20 there. It's good action.
My Neighborhood Leadership Program thing at the Wilder Center is almost over -- we graduate on April 20. I'm sad about leaving this amazing group of St. Paulites -- in our group of 27 there are people from... well, at least 27 different walks of life. Men, women, moms, dads, childless, gay, straight, black, white, people from East Africa and Palestine and Burma and Mexico and even San Francisco. Married couples, homeless people, divorcees, disabled. All with hopes and dreams to make Saint Paul a better place to be. It's incredible, the things we find in common... and the differences. So many of them have such concrete, ready-to-go notions of how they're going about their community work -- I feel like a flailing poser compared to them. I'm so blessed to have been able to walk through this program with these folks. I feel much less ignorant than six short months ago -- yet I also realize how very little I actually do know.
Joel and I also watched an incredible movie last night -- Synecdoche, New York. It's completely insane and totally blew my mind. I've read on the internets that lots of people hated it (which is quite a feat, considering pretty much nobody's even seen it), so I'm reluctant to recommend it, but I REALLY enjoyed it and want to try to watch it again before Netflixxing it back.
Also I'm really feeling like I'm at a crossroads in life, again... I'm feeling a pull to ditch a lot of my extra stuff, and really focus on the kids. Lucy will be starting some kind of pre-K in the fall (waiting to find out for sure what), and she'll be gone either every afternoon during the week, or three full days a week. Next year it'll be Ed's turn, with Lu in full-day Kindergarten (because that's how they roll in St. Paul). I've got to enjoy my time with these little miracles while I still can... and I have to believe that there will be work for me, outside-the-home work, still available in a couple years.
My mom and dad are going to cringe at this part, but it's an important part of me and so I share: I have been praying a lot about this, and I feel like God is really gently shoving me toward being with the kiddos for now. So in my leadership training today, they encouraged us to commit to our "next steps" for whatever our personal goals are for our neighborhood/community (however we define that -- for some it's their workplace, for some it's where they live). All I felt really good about committing to was working on raising my kids -- and assuming I'll be raising them in St. Paul for the foreseeable future, I think that counts as a "next step" for my community.
But something else tugs at me too -- I really wish there was a place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in our neighborhood. There is a Caribou Coffee 1.5 miles away (next door to my new Aldi, actually) but it's inside a Byerly's and offers NO place to sit and sip and chat. Otherwise, you have to drive 4-5 miles north or 3 miles east to find a cafe. It's a CRIME!
Let me be clear: I do not think I have what it takes to run a coffee shop. For one, I don't care to get up at 4AM. I obviously have no capital, either... and still... today a guy mentioned a group for women entrepreneurs that finds loans at, like, 2%. Which is purrrty close to free money. And, like... maybe I could sleep in the afternoons? I don't know. I find great comfort in knowing I can give this stuff over to God and see where it heads. I don't need to have an answer anytime soon... but since it keeps coming up... why not me? Why couldn't I do something that would make an incredibly positive impact on my neighborhood? Well, I can think of several reasons why not.
So anyway, in other neighborhood news, we are getting Alley Joel and Cara back in our alley! That's right, they are moving back in. That's the wonderful news -- the crummy news is that our immediate neighbors to the west have their house on the market. Aaand the nice young family 5 or 6 doors down is also selling. Aaaaaand Evelyn the supercute 2-year-old who lives across from the park... they're moving too. It's depressing seeing all the young families vacating the neighborhood. I mean, I get it -- the houses are small and old and close together. And there's NO COFFEE SHOP -- did I mention that? There's certainly no neighborhood identity or character -- I had to stumble on Google maps to find out that our immediate area could be identified as "Eastview" rather than "well, kinda east of Dayton's Bluff -- but west of SunRay/Conway -- north of 94 -- south of Minnehaha." It's frustrating, because I see this as a perfectly valid place to live and remain -- is it because I just have crazy-low standards? Because I don't think we're "good enough" for a higher-class area? Because I feel sorry for our neighborhood and don't want to abandon it?
Anyway this got way long and rambly and I'm praying for guidance and some clarity. Thanks for sticking with me!