7 Quick Takes about movies on the lawn, my life being a Mensa puzzle for the insane, and why I do NOT recommend peppermint oil for eyeball massages
For those of you who missed it, I posted the details of my NYC / CT schedule for this coming week. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you!
As I plan this, it occurs to me that, once again, my life has become a living Mensa puzzle. I spend hours each day staring at my computer with Google Maps open in one tab, the NYC subway schedule open in another, Gmail open in another, and I can almost hear a voice narrating a problem from a book with a title like Brain Teasers for People Who Hate Themselves:
A woman tells her friend that she can meet her for coffee on the Upper West Side at noon, and she has a live radio interview in Midtown at 2:00. If she spends an hour chatting with her friend, gets lost on the way to the subway because she’s reading tweets, gets on the wrong train — twice — and walks at a rate of approximately 2.8 miles per hour, is this enough time for her to make it to the radio interview?
Speaking of me and getting lost in epic ways:
I told Ignatius that I didn’t need a representative from the media company to come with me on the trip. “I’ve been to New York plenty of times,” I said fatefully. “I totally have this.” (Please imagine the words I totally have this replayed through a distortion machine that makes them echo slowly and deeply for maximum ominousness.)
I spent this afternoon inputting all the event addresses into my calendar, which I will access from my iPhone while I’m out each day. I won’t be back at my hotel at all, so the addresses in my calendar, which connect to Google Maps, are my lifeline.
One of the first events I put in was the talk and reception at the headquarters of First Things. I examined the itinerary closely and typed their address meticulously. I noticed that Google Maps placed it in Brooklyn, so I made notes about the best subway routes to get over there, making sure to factor in extra time for the commute from Manhattan.
A few hours later, thought popped into my mind, completely out of the blue. It was undoubtedly sent directly from the Holy Spirit, who is known for looking out for fools. The gist of it was: The First Things offices are in Brooklyn?
As soon as I got home I double-checked it. Sure enough, they are in Manhattan, and I’d clicked on an identical address in a different borough.
I am now devoting enormous amounts of time to triple-checking every single address, because it is straight out of the “Jen Moment” files that I would show up at some unsuspecting family’s door in Brooklyn and announce, “Hey, I’m here to give a speech!” while a bunch of people are waiting for me over in Manhattan.
I just got back from a Movies on the Lawn party, hosted by friends of ours. They bring in a massive screen, and after an hour or so of socializing and playing croquet, everyone spreads out on picnic blankets and watches a movie on their front lawn. We’ve been going to these events for years: In fact, I just came across this post I wrote about one of them in 2008!
Tonight they showed A Night at the Museum, and it was a great time, as always.
…Although we did have to leave halfway through the movie due to a certain one-year-old who decided he’d had enough of Movies on the Lawn around 9:00 PM.
In a great “small world” moment, I ran into Eric Bryant, a local pastor whom many of you remember from the Explore God video we did together a while back. It turns out that the Movies on the Lawn host is a mutual friend of ours.
It was great to talk to Eric, and it got me thinking about the value of throwing parties. I think it’s truly a type of ministry to get people together and let them connect with one another. When we used to host parties, there was something magical about watching mutual friends hit it off.
I’m exhausted today because of a headache I had last night. You probably take that to mean that the pain of the headache prevented me from sleeping, but, of course, the story is far more ridiculous than that.
Around midnight, I was halfway asleep but bothered by the pain in my head. I could have drifted off, but I decided to solve the problem instead! (You probably just thought: Uh-oh. You’re right.)
My friend Rachael sells these amazing essential oils, and I consider the peppermint one to be a miracle cure for headaches. On more than one occasion, I’ve rubbed some of that stuff onto my temples and had headaches disappear.
So I got out of bed, grabbed the peppermint oil, and decided to show this headache who’s boss. But rather than do the usual temple-rubbing method which is simple, fast, and proven to be effective, I decided to mix it up. Why just rub oil on my face when I can give myself a full aromatherapy experience? I thought.
I doused a washcloth in steaming hot water, dribbled peppermint oil on it (though I couldn’t see how much, since I didn’t turn on the overhead light — this will be relevant later), and took it back to bed with me. The plan was to place it over my face and let the steam and peppermint work their magic.
My first clue that this was not going to go according to plan was when I plopped the cold, clammy washcloth on my face. We blast our A/C at night to the extent that our home could probably be a training ground for people planning to summit Mt. Everest, and by the time I’d walked half way across the room the wash cloth had lost all its heat.
Trying to make the best of it, I began massaging the areas of my head and face that hurt. Unfortunately, my eyes were a particular source of discomfort. So I began rubbing them through the wash cloth. The wash cloth THAT WAS SOAKED WITH CONCENTRATED PEPPERMINT OIL.
The pain. I cannot even describe the pain.
It was beyond thinking that I might have been blinded; I was almost certain that I no longer had eyes. I stumbled over to the bathroom, unable to see, and frantically felt around for the faucet. I splashed water all over my face with my hands, and when that wasn’t enough I felt around for a plastic cup and poured the water directly onto my eyeballs. Then I grabbed a large towel — the only thing my fumbling hands could find — and soaked it, knocking over the half-full plastic cup in the process.
After ten more minutes of alternating pouring water in my eyes and rubbing them with a towel, I finally stumbled back to bed, where I would lie in agony for another hour or so. Joe had been woken from his slumber by the stomping, the banging, the muttered profanity, the splashing, and my bumbling in and out of the room. When he sat up to see what on earth was going on, there was no way to explain it all.
So I just said, “I had a headache.”
Hey, the Novena to the Holy Spirit starts today! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a nine-day series of prayers asking to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It’s always a powerful experience. I strongly recommend it.
Also, I just discovered this great email list called Pray More Novenas where they sent out daily prayers for various novenas. It’ll be handy to have each day’s prayers sent to my inbox this year!
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Have a great weekend, everyone! NYC and CT, see you in a few days!
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