How to cope with paying $26 for a veggie burger

Hello, there. I’m still here, living without my cell phone. We’re on day eight in the wild world of phonelessness. My major problem with it is that I can’t take pictures. My sister was in town this weekend, so she took all the pictures. But then she left, and this morning I made muffins and couldn’t share them on Instagram.


Joking aside, I was hoping the repair people would work at superhuman speed so I could take my phone to Alabama with me when I leave tomorrow, but that won’t be happening at this point.

Maybe it’s time to go off the grid completely so that technology can’t disappoint me anymore.

Speaking of disappointments, though, you’re probably wondering about that veggie burger.

Brooke was in town for a wedding this weekend.

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Saturday morning in Chicago with my sister! @tswiftstwin

A post shared by Brooke Furry (@brookeellen328) on

We tried to eat as many meals out as we could, since Chicago is the city of good eats. Her last day in the city I took her to Andersonville in search of burgers.

It was sunny, we walked around until we found a place we wanted to be. It was a little more expensive than we would have normally liked, but it’s a sister weekend. You splurge a little.

I’m usually the one with a slightly complicated order. I don’t try to be, but being a vegetarian, I often have to substitute things. Also, I don’t like mayo or mushrooms. Or bleu cheese. So here I was, ordering my veggie burger without the mayo, debating on the feta, and choosing the bun.

When I got my burger, I realized I’d forgotten a pretty key part of ordering a veggie burger. The veggie patty.

Oh, yeah, that. Like the only part that really mattered. I can eat mayo. I can handle a cheese that isn’t my favorite. But meat? Ugh.

Waiter comes back to check in on us.

“How’s everything?”

“I’m so sorry, but I forgot to order a veggie burger. That’s not a veggie burger.”

“No, it’s not.”

Takes plate, seems gracious with a hint of well-hidden annoyance (but you can’t fool me. I know when people are annoyed). I tried to be as gracious as possible about it. It didn’t matter that it took extra time. It was my fault.

I wonder if he’ll charge me for both, I thought. But that seemed a little bit cruel. I wasn’t getting two burgers. Surely people make mistakes like that. Surely it wasn’t going to drive down their profit margins ridiculously. Surely the customer could be right… even when she wasn’t.

The customer wasn’t right. I got my bill and saw two lovely, hefty charges on it. He just dropped it off without a word about the thing. Deep sigh. Slight feeling of being wronged. He should have probably offered to let me take the burger I was paying for but didn’t eat.

But I didn’t feel like I should make a big deal out of it. It was my fault. I’m learning what it means to be okay with things being my fault or failure. It doesn’t include a guilt trip on myself, and it doesn’t include berating someone else (or passive aggressively asking them to remove the charge because I didn’t eat that).

It means taking out your credit card and smiling at the waiter when he comes back, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was for me instead of trying to deplete my bank account or raise his tip amount.

It means walking away without saying stupid, stupid, stupid to myself and swearing never to make a mistake ordering again. Let’s be honest. If I have as many years of life left as I anticipate having, I will do this again.

I made a costly mistake. I paid double for a veggie burger. (It was very good in case you’re wondering.) And I am moving on.

It’s not good to feel remorse over such a menial thing two days later. I have to learn to cope with these things, to show myself the grace that I should also offer to others. If I can’t tell myself graciously that everyone makes mistakes, and they aren’t always the cheapest (well, not on a college kid’s budget), then I won’t be able to pass that along.

I guess I’m just learning to spread the grace around.

Day two in the wild.

Woman walks the streets of Chicago, wandering in and out of classrooms and grocery stores and houses… without a cell phone. She’s been living like this for a couple days now, since her phone went haywire. Will she make it? We’re not sure. So far, she’s had a glazed over look in her eyes and has had more conversation with the live human beings around her, but we’re not sure if this is a fluke or a trend that will continue as we observe her. 

It’s not clear whether this is a permanent or temporary state of existence, but we have seen her reach for an unknown object in her purse only to zip it back up, shaking her head a bit as if to clear it. No, no, there’s no telephonic device in there. 

It’s the second day of my cell phone-less existence. So far no buildings have blown up, no thwarted communication has made life difficult, no one has died for my lack of phone.

It seems my lot in life that every couple of years my phone will start seizing up after a software update and need to be sent in for repairs (possibly without any hope of being able to repair it).

I am free and disconnected, truly unreachable at times.

It feels wonderfully counter-cultural to be without my phone and wildly disconcerting.

Oh, my mom might know about that. I’ll call her. Oh, wait, I can’t.

Oh, my bank charged me for something stupid again. I’ll call them and threaten to change banks. Oh wait…

So I just keep Facebook and my email open on my computer and hope that the pattern of things going just fine continues.

It’s made me think about whether or not the smart phone life should be mine. Should I go back to my dumb phone with the slide out full keyboard? That thing would have lasted more than a couple years, especially if I didn’t drop it. Is it a coincidence that this has happened twice?

While I wait to find out the fate of my phone from the repair center in Texas (why don’t they have one closer to here? I don’t know), I’ll enjoy feeling more present and aware. I’ll see more of the leaves on the trees change. I won’t take pictures anywhere but my mind.

Woman seems resigned to her position without cellular device. She gets into bed with her Kindle and sets her small travel alarm clock so it will beep in the morning and keep her from wanting to press the ‘snooze’ button. 

More and more

We sang a true song at church yesterday. Most philosophers won’t accept this phrasing that “it just felt true” as legitimate reason to believe something. The particular one I’m reading right now definitely wouldn’t.

All we want and all we need
is found in Jesus.
All we ask is more of You.

I go to a church where we sing repetitive worship songs. We sing the verses and choruses over and over again. And if you don’t really want to worship, that can get old pretty quickly. Or if you’re bitter about repeats. I’ve had days like that. I think I need repeats though. Because the first time through I don’t always realize that the truth in the song is truth for my life.

Nothing else can satisfy our hearts’ desire.
All we want is more of You.

That didn’t feel like all I wanted yesterday. I wanted more time to do my homework because I’d chosen to make a music video with my housemates in costume instead of work on my paper the day before. I wanted more time in general.

All we want and all we need
is found in Jesus.
All we ask is more of You.

I want a secure future. I want to not feel anxious about my future (and about everything else). But a life of worship isn’t about what I want. Really, all I want isn’t found in Jesus.

Nothing else can satisfy our hearts’ desire.
All we want is more of You.

Or is it? I haven’t figured out human desires on a philosophical level yet. Do we actually want things that are bad for us or bad in general at the core of our being? My experience says, sometimes. And that really means the answer is yes. The Bible says, sometimes, always, or more often than we breathe, depending on how you read it.

For the Lord is good
And His love endures.
Yes, the Lord is good forever.

I haven’t figured out how to consistently line my wants up with Good. Or maybe the answer is the same as it is for everything else.

And I’ll shout it out
from the mountaintops.
Yes, the Lord is good forever.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” That’s been a recurring theme in learning to set my life straight in the past couple years. If the sometimes that I find that it’s true that I want God more than anything else are to be explained, that passage might say why.

We want you more and more.

It matters, what we look to. In a culture of fillers–filler words, time fillers, fillers in food, end tables just to fill the space–we can fill easily with the extras. Those things that are supposed to be side dishes become our main entrée. We want the peripheral when the Kingdom of God could be manifested in us.

We want you more and more.

I know I’m like this. I want the easily digestible. I don’t want Jesus to come challenge my way of life or my thinking or the way I treat people.

We want you more and more.

But I do. The more I sing that refrain or live it, the more I want God. So maybe it is the number of times I sing it, sing it and mean it. Or know what I’m singing. Maybe I will continue to want God more and more the more I live revolving around this.

More and more.

Yellow leaves, or none, or few

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
I think of this poem (Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73) at the start of every fall. I know it’s fall when the leaves start swirling in little eddies on the sidewalk. I’m pretty sure the leaves only do that here in Chicago. The wind is more shapely here.
I think of it because every fall there is something in me that is dying, some false sense of self or others, some faulty perspective, and other things going dormant.
Yellow leaves, or none, or few.
Maybe we’re all feeling a little thin right now, like the upcoming onslaught of winter (or whatever else is ahead) is too powerful. The leaves are yellow, not living, about to fall off. Or they might be all gone, leaving no protection, no sign of life. Or maybe we’ve still got a few, just hanging on and quivering as the wind gets colder.
In me, I’m seeing the twilight of a day, my years in college.
As the yellow leaves fall and swirl in the pavement, I think of what I’ll do when the twilight ends and night begins to signal a new day.
Shakespeare got it – it’s hard to love something well when you know you have to leave it soon. It’s why we check out during the last ten minutes of a long lecture, only to come back for the last line and the dismissal. It’s why when you only have 12 weeks left of school you’re hesitant to make new friends or invest in newer friendships.
It doesn’t seem worth it to pour in and leave.
It’s why I wonder if I should have taken a lighter course load, to go more gently.
But Shakespeare reminds me that loving well when someone’s about to leave can be meaningful. And perhaps the leaver can make it more so.
This is a struggle always. Always. How to stay where you are and love it well and love them well and stay.
I’ll let the leaves remind me to stay and hope Shakespeare would be proud.

Hurricanes or juggling

In my world right now [and a few others who are in the same boat of seniorness], it’s hurricane season. The wind is blowing faster and faster and the windows weren’t boarded up well enough, so they’re threatening to let the wind in. If you open the door to the crazy outside, your papers will all fly away and meet their end in the wet and blow.

Sometimes I feel like I’m out there, waving like one of those inflatable wacky waving tube men and trying to get stuff done. And sometimes I’ve gone deep down into my bunker with a flashlight, a snack, and a notebook and checked something off my to-do list.

Then I come back to the main level with the boarded up windows that are about to burst at the seams and realize that the candle I left burning is about to set the house on fire.

This is all metaphorical, I hope you know.

I would use the analogy of trying to juggle a bunch of balls so I could say I “dropped the ball” and mean it, but when you drop a ball, it bounces and you pick it back up again and are fine. Sure, you have to stop juggling for a minute, but all hell does not break loose.


That might be more accurate.

Because when I forgot that my bibliography was due last week and read the wrong chapter in my textbook and felt all the insane-crazy-exhausted-woman-irritation at the people who didn’t show up for writing appointments, the world didn’t fall apart. The wind didn’t sweep everything away. The boardwalk wasn’t buried under tidal waves; the house didn’t burn down.

The balls just fell on the floor.

To be fair to my overreactive self, it’s hard to stop juggling when you’ve started. Why stop? You’ll only have to get everything going again.

I didn’t do homework for two whole days this weekend. Two whole days. And I came back to school a new woman, feeling actually capable and relatively calm. What did I do in those two days?

Watched movies with friends.

Ate with friends.

Explored the downtown of a suburb with friends (read: small, manageable, not this monstrosity where I live)

Fulfilled a dream of about four years of getting my nose pierced.


Lounged with friends.

Played touch football with friends (which means that even though I’m mentally rested, some less often used muscles in my legs are hurting… but it’s a good kind of hurt) and scored a touchdown.

Went to a farmer’s market with a friend.

Laughed with friends.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

Friends are important. Also, stopping your labor for time with friends is important. No, I can’t spend everyday doing that. And I’ll definitely get back up to the level of crazy I was at Friday afternoon, but it’s so nice to come down from there for a little bit.

I’m going to remember that I’m a juggler and not a hurricane survivor. I’m going to take breaks. (watch me, I’m taking a break right now!) I’m going to work hard and stop working temporarily.

And I’m going to sing this song every couple days, because it’s hard to sing it and not feel good: 

You, too?