In My Home Town…

For those of you who don’t know my life story, I’m a recently displaced young professional (if you want to insert sarcastic quotation marks around the world professional, go ahead). I’m working in the lovely state of Wisconsin. Madison is debatably the friendliest city I’ve ever lived in, and the weather is an adventure from start to finish. But it’s different – so very different – than my home state.

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When I journeyed through France, I missed America, but I didn’t miss being American. I still was American. But now, as a permanent resident of Wisconsin, I don’t legally belong to Washington anymore. If I travel to Texas and some asks, “Where ya’ll from?” I would answer “Wisconsin, dontcha know.”

(Accent stereotypes are fun!)

So why do I feel the need to identify with my home state so strongly? Why do I come to work decked out in Seahawk gear – more than I ever wore at home – and why do I feel the need to brag about how I have coffee running through my veins instead of blood? I don’t think it’s empirically better to be from Washington than Wisconsin, and I don’t even necessarily plan on moving back.

You know what I think it is? I just really, really love my home state.



Winter Storm Warnings!

Oh boy, here it comes! My first real Wisconsin snow-storm. Travel is not advised and my workplace has sent out emails advising everyone to prepare to work from home tomorrow. So you know what that means?

That means I’m going to the grocery store tonight to stock up on hot chocolate and cookies! (Also water and granola bars for my car, in case I need to drive somewhere and get stuck).

Maybe I should also stop by the library and grab a book or two… hmm…

What would you stock up on before a snow day? Cookies? Hot cocoa? Non-perishables?

The Beauty of the Incomplete Story

“The whole world is moving, and I’m standing still.”

I have watched this video over a dozen times just today. I don’t remember the first time I saw it, but I remember the seconds slowing down. Even now, I can’t watch it without burning up inside. This is painful art.

There’s so much here – the obvious grief in the music, the simplicity of the art – but what gets me every time is the story. It frustrates me to no end, and here’s why: I don’t know what the artist is saying. I don’t know the literal story he was drawing. I don’t know the purpose. I don’t know the point. Just when I think I might know, it slips past me.

Can’t relate? Watch it again, this time approaching it from the girl’s point of view. It’s a completely different feeling. Watch it again, try to grab onto the story. It slips through your fingers.

It isn’t that there’s no way to interpret the meaning; it’s that there’s too many. There are too many reflections to pick just one. The artist has, in a very real way, disappeared from his own art.


Are You There, God? It’s – No, Wait, That’s My Cat

Note: Every image on a google search for ‘rapture’ is ridiculous.



It was dark – or as dark as it ever gets in the lofted bedroom of my apartment. There were no stars twinkling through the skylight above my bed, the sun had set hours before, and all my lights were off. I was slumbering ever-so-gently under the covers, happily dreaming of car chases which featured batman and (for some reason) my second-favorite cousin.

I twisted in my sleep, still very tired and mostly unconscious, unaware of the looming danger.

Then… light.

Light everywhere.

My eyelids opened and my eyes were instantly blinded by the shimmering room. I’m a good Christian girl; I go to church every Sunday (except when I sleep in), and I say my prayers. So my first thought was is this you, God? Is it… time?!

My second thought was wow Jesus. You’re really fluorescent.

Somewhere between my second and third thought, I realized I was still very much within my earthly coil, and the skylight above my head was still pitch-black. No angels, no choir, no gleaming Son of God.

Oh Jesus, if it isn’t you… someone’s in my apartment. And they turned on the light! Why would they do that, Jesus?

Then, in a stroke of divine inspiration, I thought of looking at the light switch. No shadowy figure stood over it, no hand rested on the wall. It was… just there.

No… wait…

There was a black dot. A tiny black dot. And it was moving.

What I witnessed next still haunts me to this day.

A bug scurried across the vast expanse of my light switch. It had purpose, determination. It crossed that switch like it was climbing Everest. Fearless. Purposeful.

Until a monster reached up from beneath. A claw, a grotesque hand covered in hair, a…. paw rose from the depths of my apartment floor. It grasped, caught the switch.

And the world went dark again.

When I crept over to the switch, hands trembling, and flicked it on again. The bug was gone.

At my feet, my cat looked up at me with eyes black as night and murmured a single sound.


Behold: The face of terror.

Next Week On Was That The Rapture Or Is My Cat Just Being Obnoxious, check in as Bethany nearly has a heart attack when, in the depths of night (again) a strange crashing sound echoes through her silent apartment. Was it the glass she left on the nightstand? The blender perched atop her refrigerator? The TV? Tune in next week to find out!


A Rough and Undoubtedly Pretentious Draft

On the corner of highway M and highway PD, there is a house of pale blue boards. It sits beside the daily commute in and out of the city with a quiet kind of curiosity, watching, as a child would watch, the bustle of the young and talented. It listens to the roar of engines turning from the tamed, 35 mph M to the roaring 55 mph PD and waits until the cars return in the evening, slowing down reluctantly as the sun falls behind the hills. With lace curtains drawn over its eyes, the house gazes at us, heavy-lidded, its mouth pursed into a seasonal garland on the door.

There must be an hour of the day when the highways stretch and yawn, when the asphalt glows warm with sunshine and the heat is carried away by the wind. Every once in a while a dentist appointment or a call from a sick child beckons a car to the corner, where the house watches. The light holds the car still for only a second, then it zips away.

It’s dark in the morning and it’s dark in the evening. The house doesn’t glow from within, but without. Its door is lit all hours of the night by headlights. Company is crossing the threshold at all hours, company of light that reaches in elongated shapes and lingers for as long as it takes a car to drive past at 35 mph. The house is always full of thoughts tossed carelessly out like cigarettes from the Toyotas that pass by. Thoughts that drop and bounce from the commuters, slowing down or revving up as they turn the corner.

Because it watches, the house knows when the silver sentra is late. It hears the strange click in the engine that wasn’t there on Friday. It gauges the temperature by how much frost is left over on the windshield. It understands time by measuring the steam rising from the half-gulped coffee cup. You’re three gulps late today, silver sentra.

There is a chimney at the roof of the house that never smokes. The doors are painted on. A net covers the insulated porch and only lets in the tiniest insects. The residents of the house are all particles: dust, flees, light. Maybe a ghost or two, but they’re quiet ghosts, and not much good for company.

When the day has been dull, and there are no phone calls or noisy thoughts, sometimes the silver sentra slows down as it passes. Sometimes it hesitates at the light, so long that maybe it stalled. Maybe it’s stuck there forever, just like the house. Together they could watch all the other cars drive by. One day, maybe, it will stop passing through like the lights on the floor and maybe it will park.

I can smell the trees when I hesitate at the streetlight. I can feel the splinters in my palm as I imagine walking up the steps to the painted-on door. When I don’t have a job to return to, when I don’t have a friend to meet or a chore to perform. When I’ve silenced the whole rest of the universe just so I can listen for footsteps outside the screened porch. When thick, cold raindrops fall on my head as I sit and wait for the ghosts to welcome me in.

We both wait, together, the house and I, for the day I’ll pull my silver sentra over to the side of highway M and let the engine cool. When I open the car door and examine the dark brown soil that creeps up to the asphalt. When I stand at the foot of the peeling staircase. When the painted on door cracks open.