Sunday, December 02, 2007

A serving of seconds, and some recommendations

On Thanksgiving, I rode the motorcycle again, and it was much more successful. Cousin K and I went out for about 20 minutes, and she just led me all over- down rutted hills, over rocks and branches, up other bumpy hills. It was quite awesome. I did well with the shifting, and I was excited, but I was also ready for it to be over. It was strange how my brain was working- I think that some kids are like that with too much stimulation. "This is fun. I want to do it again soon, but let's be done now."

Most of the family went out to the desert to ride on Black Friday, and it sounds like it was a ton of fun, but I was not about to get up at the b.c.o.d. to head out there for a long day with the kids and grandpa. They went to Cabela's at 6am, then went riding. Another time. Although I was willing to embrace my tough-girl feelings and continue with a motorcycle-filled weekend, I opted for a girly-girl day of shopping, dinner, and movies with teenage cousins L & N. That was also lots of fun.

My second second is the the running! I'm a little confused- could be lack of oxygen to my brain while running (it was all diverted to the stitch in my side and my legs), but I may have run a mile tonight on the treadmill. Anyway, I ran for 10 minutes, which is a new record and longer BY FAR than I've ever run before, other than the aforementioned 9-minute, downhill mile. Now that I look at those numbers, I doubt that I ran a mile today, because my sweaty self figured out that I was running around an 11-minute mile while I was going at it. In short (too late)- I'm excited.

You must see: Enchanted
It is surprisingly good, funny, sweet, nice, catchy, etc, etc.
You must listen to: the soundtrack for Across the Universe. I realized how much I like Beatles music, especially as good covers. The lead actor, Jim Sturgess, has a lovely, clear voice extremely reminiscent of Ewan McGregor's. I love the soundtrack for itself (went straight to the store to buy it after giving it a listen online), but it also makes me want to listen to Moulin Rouge, which is my current all-time #1 favorite soundtrack(s) and maybe CD, period. Will it be moving to #2? We'll see.

In other news: both cars died this week. His is fixed, mine not yet. Got to kick-start my scooter, which also made me feel terribly tough. Looking forward to being in MI for Christmas- I think. I'll be very glad to see people and relax in my mom's house, but I don't relish the cold. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A weekend of firsts

This past weekend we went to visit the cousins and I ended up doing a couple things I had never done: I ran a mile, and I rode a motorcycle.
Both were exciting in their own ways, but I will say that was happier about the mile. It was mostly downhill, but not entirely, and it was still quite hard. Even when I started the run, I didn't quite think that I would make it, but as I knew I was getting closer to the end, I was able to push past the wanting to puke phase. I was quite delighted, let me tell you. Plus, I did it in only 9 minutes! Someday soon, I'll be running a mile on flat terrain. Yippee!
The motorcycle was successful, in that I didn't fall, but not smooth at all. Even though I know how to drive a manual car, I was unable to really put that knowledge together with my hands and feet on the bike. I'm used to my scooter, which is an automatic and like a bicycle in that both handles are brakes, so I couldn't put it all together and get it straight that I wanted to use one foot and one hand to brake, I forgot to let off the gas when I shifted- which resulted in a cool/scary wheelie thing once, and I kept wanting the clutch to be my rear brake. Argh. I'll practice more this weekend when I go out for the giving of thanks. And I'll wear a helmet, which will make me more comfortable. Don't worry, I wasn't on a road. I was on the hill/compound of the family, on a slow-moving dirtbike.

I ended up leaving Husband-o-mine there to visit for the week while I came home to go to work and school. It's been nice to have the house to myself a little bit, but nothing has felt that different. I'm still crazy busy and, hopefully, I'll manage my time better this long weekend so that I don't just bask in the time off and then feel screwed when I go to class Monday. That's what happened last weekend.

A note to the Slacker's Prince: I'll be seeing you on Christmas, my dear!
Coming up: political thoughts which I have avoided up until now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beautiful Fall (more drooling thoughts on California)

It's fall in California, much like it is everywhere else in the northern hemisphere, and it is so beautiful. I love all the red and orange leaves, especially contrasted with leaves that are still green, with a few redwoods standing watch, a lone palm tree once in a while looking at the rest in confusion.

Today I was watching leaves fall from some trees, and it was both cool and sad. It's so strange to see a tree still holding most of its leaves lose so many at one time- How does that happen? How do they know? Why do some give up before others? No, I don't want or need the scientific explanation; I pretty much know it. But watching it happen sort of makes rational explanation irrelevant- there's magic and sentience in the fluttering, gold descent, not just cell disintegration and trapped glucose. I think it would be both an awesome and sad thing to sit under trees and watching while the wind blew off all their leaves in one short time period.

The vineyards in fall are so beautiful. The leaves turn the same range of colors as the trees, and you can have deep crimson, almost purple, leaves right across the street from yellow and orange ones. The hills covered in vines take on a different look and texture, as if they'd changed clothes, and it's sometimes disorienting because I feel like I'm on the wrong road or something because so many different things are standing out than when it's all green.

There was a large fox in front of a vineyard we drove by the other day. I believe it's only the 2nd fox I've ever seen not in a zoo. The first one was on the campus of UM-D, as I was coming out of the library at midnight (during finals) and there was brand-new snow everywhere. The fox ran by and I know this sounds SUPER corny, but it felt like a gift. I think that you know what I'm talking about- there's always something magical about fresh snow at night, especially if you're one of the only people around. That's not something I get to experience anymore, unless I should choose to go to snow in the winter, but the majestic hills and ocean are a fair trade.

Some thoughts I Found

I found a piece of paper in a book yesterday, and I thought it was a reaction to the book Finally Feminist by John Stackhouse, because I have that written at the top of the paper, but upon looking at the amazon page for that book, it looks like I didn't read it but I have it on my TBR list. I'm thinking then, that it is a reaction to either an article I was reading in Christianity Today or to the book A Generous Orthodoxy, which I've mentioned here before. Without editing for grammar or anything, here are my thoughts:
I am (maybe?) post-modern in that I defy category (including p.m.) & old, over-arching definitions or ways of thought, but I do not deny ultimate truth, nor am I relativistic. Sort of like anti-Big Government. I don't need your Big Church or Big Religion. No, we can't grasp Him completely, but that doesn't mean we throw out all discussion and striving for truth. He is infinite and omnipotent- He gave us His word and our minds.

I like finding things like this, because it's nice to see that I do have intelligent thought once in while (hardy har har) but these issues are an ongoing debate/investigation in my head, so finding things like this remind me of moments of clarity and also spur me on to further thought.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Listen Up

If you haven't yet listened to the podcasts at Nuclearity.org I highly suggest that you get on it. The mastermind is Hugh Duncan, a boy (well, man now) that I luuurved for at least 4 years when I was just a wee lass (Jr. & Sr. High) and God has just poured a big ol' bucket of talent out on him.

I suppose that it could most easily be described as a short, Christian, This American Life, but that's not completely fair. It is its own thing. I am consistently amazed by Hugh's insights, the interviews he gets (NT Wright!), and his skill in putting together an entertaining, thoughtful, musical program. His official target is Christian families, especially those who may grow weary of the shiny sameness of Christian radio, TV, etc, but basically, if you enjoy thinking or listening, you'll like at least some of the episodes.

An Answer to Prayer

A few weeks ago, in one of our small group Bible studies, we did an exercise where we went around the room and everyone said two things to describe one person at a time. When the group started describing me, I was trying to will my husband (or anyone, really) into saying "smart". Smart and funny are how I have always defined myself, and what I rely upon to make me valuable or to give me comfort. In the end, no one said that I was smart, but what they did say was amazing- pretty much every person described me as "loving", "welcoming", or something like that.

It took me a couple of hours, but I realized that God had placed right in my lap an answer to prayer. For about 6 years, I have been praying for God to reduce me to love. I want to see people how He does and just let His love come pouring out of me. I've prayed this desperately, not ever knowing if I was getting any closer. Am I completely loving? Hell, no. I'm still the cranky bitch that most of my old friends think of when they hear my name, but I'm way better. I'm acting out love more often, even when I don't feel it- the Holy Spirit is checking my mouth and motivations more often, and I'm not at all the same person I was even just last year.

And because God loves me so much, one of my friends from that group came up to me this past Saturday and told me that if we were to do the exercise again, she would definitely say that I'm smart. ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some Descriptive Words

I'm a born-again, tree-hugging, bilingual, semi-liberal, tv-watching, Bible-thumping, tongue-talking, feminist, dieting, obedient, loving, sarcastic, gay-friendly, poor, pro-family, non-violent, animal-loving, against capital punishment, anti-abortion, unity-seeking, rich, evangelical minded, married, sentimental, romance novel-reading, racing, volunteering, working, seminarian, conflicted, Irish/Finnish/German-American who isn't quite sure what "patriotism" means, at least to me, happy, anti-social, social butterfly, language geek.

What I've learned taking Biblical/Koine Greek

I really love Spanish.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chubby girl with caffeine, cereal, and index cards*

I often look at my purchases when they're laying on the conveyor belt at the grocery store and wonder what they say about me. I'm happy when I have mostly fruit and vegetables, not so thrilled when I have Coke, cheese x 4, meat x 2, and ice cream. I usually take the time to look at the patrons in front of and behind me, to see what their life looks like. Here's what I saw the other night:

Middle-aged man, gray hair, button shirt, banker type. 1 chunk Parmesan cheese, 1 US Weekly, 10 cans cat food. I don't even have to make up a story about him. It's all just right there.
Young-ish couple, probably on their first date. 2 bottles of wine. They? are clearly going back to his house to do it and continue their banal conversation about how fat Britney is, but she's his "gurl"-all in their stereotypical, California, Valley Girl accents. Please know that they were in no way young enough or ethnic enough to get away with any of their conversation. This was Ken and Barbie.

Do tell! What was your last grocery theme?

*liquid chai, powdered chai, diet coke, regular coke, index cards, store brand honey nut o's. The 1st three beverages were for husband of mine.

Sonoma County Smells Like Poop

Goooooooooo, harvest!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Augustana's "Boston"




I really like this song quite a lot. Part of it is the soothing quality it has and the fact that it talks about California, even if the heroine in the song is tired of California, but what I really appreciate is the quality of the lyrics and the picture they paint. I don't know about you, but I can totally see everything the song is talking about and I can extend the story they tell and actually visualize the girl and what she looks like, how she feels- as if the song is a movie itself. And I'm writing this without having watched the video yet, so I'll see if it fits my vision of the song.


*eta- I just watched the video and it has no story. So just listen to the words or stare at the semi-handsome man playing the piano in the surf.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Celebrities are people, too.

I really do believe this. You may remember when I was saddened by the divorce of Reese & Ryan, and I felt maybe a little stupid about being so invested in them, but I'm here to defend myself! My theory: perhaps I'm a better person than you.

I kid. I just mean that while most people subconsciously tend to turn celebrities into commodities, I guess that I continue to hope that they'll behave like human beings with hearts, souls, and brains. So, when something happens to them, it does disappoint me. I don't want people to hurt- not that I'm saying you do- I'm just one of those heart on my sleeve sort of gals, something which has become more obvious to me of late, but I'll get to that another time.

Anyway, today's sadness is about Owen Wilson. Simply put, suicide breaks my heart and it makes me so sad that he tried to do it. As one who has attempted it, I know some of the thoughts and heart conditions that are probably there, and I don't want anyone to feel like that. I'm sad whenever I hear of anyone killing themselves, but I guess since we think that we know celebrities a little bit- at least a portion of their personalities, my mind tends to think, "No! But he seemed okay!" But what do I know?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stores that do not build my self-esteem

Sure, like most unskinny girls, I don't love shopping for clothes and looking at myself in the stores, but mall stores and such really aren't the ones that fill me with doubt or loathing. What does that are sporting goods stores and music (as in instruments) stores.

Husband and I have always loved sporting goods stores, even before we did anything remotely athletic. We embraced our poseur status in the past, but even now that we are quasi-athletes, I always feel like I should or could be doing MORE when I go into those stores. I see all the different sports represented or the cycling accoutrements* and I just think of time squandered over the years. I have a struggle every now and then with those feelings and I have to remind myself that it is not at all too late to do these things, and I'm already on the path to new adventures and I just need to be patient and appreciate where I am.

But talk about wasted time- sheesh. I feel basically like pond scum when I go into a music store like we did today. One one hand, you have the instruments that I would love to play- pianos, cellos, heck- I'd take pretty much anything and give it a whirl. But then those wants lead right over to the Other Hand- the instruments I already have and don't practice. I see prettier guitars than mine, song books I'd love to play, orchestral music for my clarinet- and I just feel like I'm wasting an awful lot of what I've been given.

Maybe I need to pack away the computer and TV for a few months. Put them on time locks so that I can only do my homework and check my e-mail once per day. Have an automatic ejector seat built into my recliner when I've sat for too long.

*please pronounce a la francaise, s'il vous plait. Even in your head.

The Bathroom at the Mall

For some reason, it's quite humid and I always seem to go in right after someone has pooped.
I hate that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Good times, great taste

Last night was Mojito Monday at the home of some guys from church, and it was great fun. As a cheap drunk, I was tipsy after the first delicious beverage, therefore making the participation in karaoke that much easier.
As Seth and I were leaving, I wanted to get a video of the house from the outside just to capture how much fun it is and the happy place I'm in. You could hear the music and everyone singing from across the street and a little way down, and the curtains and front door were open wide so that you could see the crowd of silly people dancing and singing in the living room. Just great.

In other fun news, last weekend after church we went to the home of some newlyweds and watched a movie in their backyard. There were about eight of us, so the boys moved the couch and all the chairs they could find out on the deck. We snuggled under sleeping bags and watched Nacho Libre on a projector screen under the stars. It's not that you couldn't do this in Texas or Michigan, but people just don't seem to do it much, and the weather makes it possible here for pretty much the entire year. After the movie, we sat and stared at the stars for a while- you can see a ton of stars out here. Lovely lovely.

This Saturday, we are learning to rock climb, which will be..great? Yes. Great and fun. I wanted to learn before we go to Yosemite and I have to try in front of a group. This way, I can either be an old pro or choose to not do it!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Random Hooha Thoughts

I haven't posted anything in a while, so I thought that I'd just have a post full of non-sequiturs, if that's alright with you.

*It's interesting how musical tastes change. As I mentioned some months ago, I found myself not settling, but happily leaving the radio on Journey while driving through SF. Well, my CD player was revolting against the heat in Sacramento last week, so I was going through the channels and for the first time EVER, I promise, I left on "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum. I never liked this song, but I guess that you really couldn't get away from it when it came out, because not only did I listen to it, but I knew EVERY WORD. Scary. I blame WUMD and the amount of time I spent sitting in the u-mall skipping classes.

*Heat. Holy cow, am I glad we don't live in the Sacramento area!! Seth has the opportunity to transfer over there, and we very briefly thought about it because we could live by our family, but we decided not to. Our decision was initially based on the fact that we have a great life over here- church, friends, my "jobs", etc. But now I'll add a hearty "No frikkin' way!" due to the heat. The first night I was sleeping there for class, I was so hot in one cousin's room, and so I thought that I'd open the sliding door to get some breeze. Nope. No breeze. No cooler outside than inside. The fact that it really doesn't cool down at night just boggles my brain. Also, it's always about 10 degrees hotter over there. So, I got to drive to class every evening with no a/c in my car in the 95-105 degree heat. Oh, I was sexy. We won't speak of the nearly 3 hour drive from class to home/church on the first Saturday.

*California drivers don't seem to know how to merge. It just isn't in their makeup. Perhaps they don't teach it in driver's ed? Don't get me wrong- things are much nicer here than in Detroit. People in Michigan are angry and aggressive and it's just stressful to drive there, but Californians seem to lack this basic skill, and it leads to giant traffic jams. Whenever there is a popular exit or freeways coming together, it gets really ugly for a while. The drivers just don't seem to be able to grasp two things: you SPEED UP to get on the freeway, and if I want to get over there, and you want to get over here, it SHOULD be a smooth operation!

*My first class in seminary was really awesome. I learned a lot about Israel and my eyes were just opened up to many things. I can read the Old Testament and when they mention cities and roads and kingdoms, I can think, "I know where that is!" Just by having the crudest mental map in my head, the stories themselves make more sense and are more real to me now. I also understand more of the constant turmoil of that land, including the fights still going on.

*Lordy, I love California! If you haven't been yet, wander over to Ringo and look at my recent pictures. There are pics of Donner Lake and Reno (which is Nevada, yes, but also wonderful), and also of our bonfire on the beach with church.

*I cut my hair all off, so I don't look like any of the pictures there. It actually came off in stages, and I was stupid and didn't get pictures of the stages. I was going for something punk-rock, but I think it was more white trash. Now it's girly and pixie-ish, but I have to wear makeup more often or I'll look like a boy. I need to work on the details a bit, because although I looked cute, I also kept reminding myself of Erin Moran. Ooh, scary. Looking at that picture, that's almost exactly what my hair looked like yesterday. Perhaps a tad shorter, more product for messiness, or cutting the curly ones at the neck off.

*Look at my training diary. (there's a link on the left). We ran in a race a couple weeks ago.

*I love Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

*I just ate a chocolate pudding jelly bean and it was pretty good.

Alright, it appears that I'm getting a bit thin on material, so I'll wrap it up. If you read my blog, for the love of Pete, leave a comment!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No, really. (More about Harry Potter)

I CANNOT get over how much the significance of Sirius's death was trampled. In reading the books, we know and love these characters more than you can by only watching the movies, so if you haven't read them, I don't think you can understand just how much we were all invested in Harry actually having Sirius as his godfather. A real family member who loves him. We were always just waiting for the day when Harry could go live with him and finally be happy.
This is why it was so mortifying when he died. I think that many of us yelled, "No!" when we read it and, like Harry, were really hoping that something could be done to change that fact.

I don't think that the movies built up this relationship enough, and this latest movie, especially, did little more than throw a few bones towards the concept. The one scene was touching when Harry finally saw Sirius and his face lit up and they hugged, with Sirius giving some throwaway line about them being a family after all this is over, but that was about it. They loved each other very much! They meant THE WORLD to one another and represented very heavy things- Sirius's vindication; the child of his beloved, betrayed friends; a family chosen for him where he is accepted and justified (for both of them); a real connection to his parents for Harry; and not least of all, a chance for a semi-normal life. So why is it that, as my husband says, Harry "handled that pretty well" when Sirius died? It was so quick and wimpy, and they discarded Harry's reaction from the book, so that we were left with the impression that it was a fast, painless death, and Harry quickly moved on from it.

I'll repeat my feelings from my last post: argh!!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Order of the Caca

We just got back from seeing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and I must say that I am sorely disappointed. I would say that with about an hour left in the movie, a sadness started settling into my heart about how they were botching the movie.

You see, OotP is probably my favorite of the books. Although it was very hard to deal with Harry's attitude the first time around, it all made sense. The book mattered and important things happened in it- things that were life-changing for Harry and all of his friends. The movie, on the other hand, was not important at all. It treated these events flippantly and the movie has none of the tone, tension, or import of the book.

I know that books are something special and that I shouldn't expect movies to live up to the books. I'm aware of this, but that doesn't stop me from getting my hopes up. I love these books so much, and when movies are being made from them, it is natural to be excited. All the things we've all imagined and enjoyed, the characters we love, are almost becoming real! That's why it's so disheartening when they get it wrong. It's as if someone told me they had a picture of my grandma that I never saw, and when I saw it finally, I had to hang my head and say, "That looks nothing like her! You've got it all wrong!"

I guess that I was too hopeful after the Goblet of Fire. I have come, in time, to like the Prisoner of Azkaban, but when I saw GoF in the theater, I was so excited. Even though they had to cut out a lot, I felt like they had finally gotten it right. OotP, on the other hand, just has too much important stuff to cut out. They just couldn't do it with cutting so much. I mean, if friggin' Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (electric jamboree?) can be almost 3 hours long, why can't this movie? They're not going to lose their fan base if the movie is a bit longer!

Spoilers ahead! Specific Complaints (not artfully written):

*The house is sooooo important! And the things that go on there. What the heck?
*Harry's brattiness, while refreshing in it's absence, is still important. It matters for Harry as a character that he wouldn't practice his occulemency. He knew it was important, and his teenage doofus self wouldn't practice. And he paid for it. My husband, who hasn't read the books, actually just thought that all that was about occulemency being hard. Yes, it is, but that's not all it was.
*Why have Luna in the movie at all if you're not going to actually have her do anything?
*Always nice to see less of Malfoy. (not a complaint. I'm throwing a praise in.)
*THE BEST PART OF THE BOOK (okay, or maybe just my favorite) WAS THE SHEER VOLUME OF FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY!! Where was that in the movie? Argh.
*Um, swamp? Hello? Argh argh.
*Prophecy and Neville?
*They completely slaughtered the power of Sirius's death. Flushed it right down the tubes.

Mostly my complaint is with the tone of the movie versus the book. I think that they were trying too hard to make this a children's movie, and that killed the spirit. And yet, they tried to sprinkle the darkness in here and there. It didn't work.

/END RANT/

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Things I did today (which you may not have)

Used a port-a-potty
Rode on a boat
Ate expensive chocolate
Rode on a subway
Saw the sunset on water

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mixed Messages Much?

As I was walking through the mall last night, I noticed a group of teenagers standing in front of one of those rotating billboard things- you know, where the pictures are on a reel or something and roll up to the next one? So, the first image I see is a picture of a lovely little girl, book for a brain, with the well-known phrase "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste". Cool.

What is the next image? This movie ad.

Right away, it just put a sad, sick feeling in my stomach. The question that I wanted to shout to no one in particular was, "Which is it? Which image do you want?" It can't be both.

Media/Hollywood/the Machine/The Man/.... wants to encourage children to learn, to be pure, to be brave and believe they can do great things-especially girls- but then they basically get the message that once they're 15 or so, they are objects. They are possessions of men, things to look at, variables to be controlled.

I pray for the parents out there. I pray that they will find the right words and attitudes to impress upon their children- especially boys- that treating people like objects is not okay. That it dehumanizes us all and denies what God has made us to be. And here I'm not only speaking to the objectification of girls, but also to the whole concept of these gruesome new batch of movies. Why exactly is torture so hip right now? Don't give me some psychological schtick about the war and how the art is simply reflecting reality. Teenagers aren't watching the news; aren't responding to it like that.

These are symptoms. The movies, the enjoyment of grisly shit, the actual torture going on in the world. Symptoms. We are dehumanizing one another on a daily basis and it leaks out in these ugly and horrific ways.

I'd rather encourage the little girl with books on the brain, but I guess that's just me.
(Yes. abrupt ending. but i was in danger of going on a rant that I'm not prepared to finish right now.)
Read this book for the seeds of some of these thoughts.

Still to come: thoughts after finishing Six Feet Under, and my time with my girls.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Open mic night in my living room

close to my right ear
red bump almost makes my face
one gigantic zit


i love the puff's plus
my red nose needs the moisture
i'm tired of sickness

Monday, May 21, 2007

A complaint-free quarter?

I have had this bracelet for about five months.
The longest I have gone is twelve days, but since then, it's been two or three.
I removed it for a while because I was tired of it being on my body, but I've put it back on again. It doesn't seem to be making a big dent.

I'm definitely more aware now and certainly complain less about big things or things in my important relationships, but I'm not finding myself very aware of the bracelet/mission with everyday griping-type issues. I've been a smidge crabby in my head for the past few days, and it bugs me a bit.

What shall I do? First, I shall wait out my hormones- they're in high tide right now. Second, I shall pray for help, because this surely isn't an impossible task with the superduo of me & the Holy Spirit! WonderTwin powers, activate! Take the form of- Gratitude!!

Granny Panties

A list of things that are disheartening for a girl:

Feeling the need to buy underwear that is quite large.
Wearing said underwear in front of your husband before realizing that it's too big.
Guilt over the money spent on the underwear causing you to not throw it away.
Revulsion every time the underwear is seen.
Grabbing the underwear in desperation and finding that it no longer is all that large.
Not being entirely sure whether the underwear has shrunk or you have grown.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Peee-ew!

I had heard numerous references to the "Sonoma Aroma" through the past year and a half, but I never really figured it out or truly experienced it until this week. The aroma is twofold:

1) Cows. Manure. Horses. Yumm-o. I live in the city, so I haven't really experienced this too much in my daily travels. I mean, I deal with dog and nursing home smell, but not the overpowering, plug your nose while driving and speed up smell that is a mere two minutes down the road from my home. My dog's vet is in the midst of this smell, and I tell you that it was not nice. (The city is small. The fields are near.)

2) Body Odor. I just never made the connection before, even though I knew that there were more hippies and homeless people here than I've ever been exposed to, and I also knew that I avoided standing too near some people at church. But it was really brought home to me Thursday when I was sitting in a coffee shop with a friend, and more than coffee, I smelled the low-level but everywhere presence of b.o.

Ah, California. I love it, so I deal with the stink! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh, I have arrived

Folks may or may not remember an earlier post where I mentioned never running into people I grew up with now that I've moved across the country. But I've finally, after only a year and a half, crossed the threshold into the land of Knowing People and Being From Here. (I'm sure there's a catchier name for it, but it's really late and I should be in bed. I just want to post some stuff!)

My point is that I quite regularly see people I know when I'm out and about now. And it really only has been in the last couple months. It's quite grand. Today at the awkward fair, I saw...six people I knew. Yes, they were all from ADI, but they were in separate groups! And I knew them!

p.s. Sending overly generous brainwaves to the pres. of ADI because they need more students for the 6-week service dog training seminar this summer, and they offered me a deal that I still couldn't take while saving for other things. So! My brainwaves and subliminal chants are for B to have a wild hair and tell me I can go for free!! It could happen! ~~~Free~~~Free!! Let her go for free~~~~

Busy busy

I know that I'm not as busy as you. Or you. But I am quite the busy girl lately, and it's mostly good. Every once in a while I get a little whiny about having leave the house for a whopping 2 hours to do something I committed to doing, but I can pretty much snap out of that one pretty quickly.

I have also had another epiphany about my role as stay-at-home-sometimes wife. Yes, I claimed to be over feeling guilty about things already once, but now I really don't feel guilty. I realized that while I don't have a spotless house- I always have to do a headless-chicken cleaning dash before anyone comes over- pretty much everything that needs to be done here is done by me. And that's totally fine with me. Mr. Man brings home the bacon, and I may or may not fry it, and I'll probably wait a couple days to clean the pan, but eventually I'll do it and a bunch of other stuff that doesn't even enter his radar.

What was interesting about this train of thought is that it not only helped me to not feel guilty about not having a perfect house, but it also made me feel better about the things that I do and has helped me let go of wanting him to do pretty much anything. If he leaves his socks on the floor today, tomorrow, and the next day, it's no big whoop. I can pick up my husband's stinkin' socks. It takes about a second, and I love him, so why fight about it?

Back to busy bee: I went to 6 (SIX) stores the other day- four of those were for necessities and in pursuit of deals. Oy. I felt like M's boyfriend, L. "But with the coupon I have and the sale they're having, it's FREE!" Those six stores were in multiple trips to and from the house, and around BINGO, an online Bible study chat, and taking the dog to the vet to get her nails cut. And skipping an in-person Bible study at church that bores me a little bit. (See!! I'm terrible, Muriel.)

I suppose that if you were to get all analytical on me, you wouldn't have to go that deep to find that I'm doing some sort of justification ritual whereby I whine about how busy I am so that I will feel more valuable. Sodding Protestant work ethic. But I really don't mind the New Active Lifestyle (can I wear a track suit?) that I have- it feels good after being in an inward-focused phase for so long. I suppose that all of the learning and changing I was doing had to go somewhere outside of the house eventually!

AWKward!

So, I'm trying to put myself out there- helping with things at church, walking the talk, blah blah blah, getting used to busy life, but tonight wasn't great.

A group from my church has a booth at the weekly fair here in town, and they hand out water to people and pray with people. Fair enough. It seems to do a lot of good, and I knew they'd need help, so I signed up for a lot of weeks.

BUT (obviously, you knew this was coming) I'm really not cut out for it. I just really felt strange, like a cult member, trying to lure folks over with the water and then spring the prayer option on them in the approved wording to reach the New Age-y masses of Sonoma County.

It is not anything wrong in what we're doing, it's just me. We're not a cult, and we just want to give people the water and I guess that last summer many people wanted prayer and always felt good about it. I love talking to people about God and Jesus, it's just that the context basically makes it street witnessing, which you may know is NOT my bag. (Oh, I'll be more churchy and say, um, it's not a gift of mine. Calling. Strength. WHATEVER.)

Then, of course, I have the moment of doubt and guilt, "Oh, am I ashamed of my Lord before men!! (Wailing and gnashing of teeth goes on here. Internally.) I know that I comfortably worked the booth for Team in Training last summer, and I'll probably help with the Assistance Dog booth, so why not good ol' JC, who I think is more important than anything? Some of it is the manner and vocabulary that is the preferred method of delivery. A well-thought out delivery, and it works great for others, but it just felt so false for me. I prefer to have long conversations about life and have relationships with people wherein everything about me (oh, at least 50% of me) is a good witness to hope, instead of just jumping someone with, "Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior?" (Oh, should I have capitalized "savior"? Am I going to hell for that?)

I also wasn't completely comfy with the TNT booth when they wanted us to be assertive and try to get people's attention. "Um, I'll sit behind the table and smile to people, 'kay? Great."
And the ADI booth will have puppies and service dogs- it pretty much sells itself.

So, will I never tell a stranger the Good News? Ah. I don't know. Maybe it's something I'll grow into. I'll get past some point and learn how to do it with confidence. Maybe I won't- I'll keep watering seeds that others planted. I just don't want to be shuttering my mind and heart from things just because they're out of my comfort zone. Until then, I'll be the one wandering around, praying quietly for everyone I see.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

It has been a while

I've had lots of things going on- big and small- and thoughts will come to me now and then and I think, "Oh, I need to blog that!" Alas, I quickly forget them. I'm usually quite good at being a list maker- I guess that I need to start jotting down my blog ideas.
Anyway, enough babbling. I just wanted to post this:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Relevant

Psalm 32
1 Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Selah

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD "—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you
while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him.

7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Don't I know you from somewhere?

As I sat in the waiting area of the tire shop the other day, a guy sat down and I looked at him for a second to see if I knew him. My thought was along the lines of, "Do I know you from when we were young or something?" The thing is- that's not going to happen anymore. I hardly know anyone in California, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

It's not an unmoored feeling or anything. I just find it odd. It is highly improbable that I'm going to run into someone from elementary school, heck, even college is unlikely! It just so happens that someone from college lives 3 hours away, but I still doubt that we are going to accidentally run into each other. I am separated from my past- my life here is just over a year old.

We are finally getting to the place where it's likely we'll run into someone we know- someone from church, work, volunteering, etc, but there won't be any meetings filled with faces scrunched up in thought, followed by the revelatory, "Ah! That's it! You're so and so!"

In California, I know who I know, for the most part. The plus side of this is: if I do happen to run into someone from the past, it will be a REALLY big deal. Even if it's just the guy who used to come into the store where I worked. It'll be worth it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sight-seeing

My mom was just in town for a week and I really feel that there ought to be a post in there somewhere, but I just can't come up with anything. Here goes:
It was really cool to have her here and show here all of my favorite views, people, and places, but it was also tiring. You may know that I don't like having lots of plans, so having something to do every day for over a week was trying at times. Nothing major, but I did have a bout of Killer Fatigue (tm Miss Alli) about 5 days in, but that was also partly my own fault for driving a friend to the airport at the bcod.
My mom and I had a lot of fun- lots of eating out, a blur of people and dogs to introduce to her, lots of pictures taken out of the window of my moving car. "Do you want me to stop?" "No, no. I got it!" (Apparently she did always get it. She says that all of her pictures came out. Sweet!)
Her last night here, we went into the city and spent the night at Fisherman's Wharf. She got to eat crab, we bought toursity t-shirts, saw sea lions, and even got to take a cable car over to Union Square. It was cool to be out and about at night; walking around and seeing new things.
At home, my mom hardly leaves the house after dark, so I was glad that I was able to put her in new situations and that she loved them all. It's always great to hear that the people and places you love are just as great in someone else's eyes as they are in yours.

Classic Rock Gene

I've been wondering if there is something genetic about liking classic rock. Maybe a gene that gets turned on as you age, as your cells decay, the desire for smooth male harmonies and screechy guitars increases.

I have always categorically detested classic rock- Led Zeppelin was the only exception because they are their own category- but my resistance seems to be wearing thin and this annoys me. Yesterday, while in the car, the opening notes of "Wheel in the Sky" came on and I actually thought, "Hmm. Good I'll leave it." I left it, and I sang. And I was frightened.

Admittedly, I was desperate- San Francisco really doesn't have any good radio stations for a big city, but it's not the only time that I haven't immediately kept scanning when faced with something my parents would have loved for most of their young adulthoods.

There is a series of lines, though, that will alert me to my continued decline, should I require an intervention. First stage is ZZ Top. That stage is pretty far along, but my husband is aware and will know to be worried the day I let ZZ Top stay on the radio. Next comes Bob Seger, and the last stage- the one where you know that I will never be coming back- that stage is AC/DC. Let's pray that it doesn't get that far.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Late to the party

Now, it's not entirely my fault, because I had never actually heard her before, but I justnow discovered Nina Simone and now I get it! Wow. It's just something about her voice that immediately grabs me. Again- wow. I know- I've wasted all these years not listening to her. I'm a stupid human being that just became the tiniest little bit more Real Girl.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Celebrities and their mouths

Yes, yes, I ripped on Brangelina in an earlier post for what I feel is a self-important and slightly confused statement about marriage, but I'm here to defend the Celebrity Opinion. Who can you thank? The Dixie Chicks.
Our celebrity culture is brand-new, if you look at the big picture. A blip in world history. Not only is the degree of global communication we have brand-spanking new, but the concept of someone who is not a political or religious leader being famous is relatively novel, not to mention the in-depth exposure that celebrities get that is only about 40 years old. So I'm saying that we're still finding our way through this area.
I also think that people have the right to say pretty much whatever they want to say. I also have the right to ignore them. This is the beauty of the USA. And furthermore, I think that it is only fitting that someone with a great deal of public exposure and money stands up for what they believe in, even if I think they're loons for that belief.
Blech. This could be said better, but I'm tired, I'm multi-tasking, and this is my 4th post of the day. Accept it and get my point! You don't have to agree, but get it!

I'm not as think as you write I am. Oh, never mind, That doesn't work.

You, my friends, constantly tell me that I'm a good writer and that I should write more. You think that I have a novel sitting somewhere in the depths of my spleen, but I say, "Nay!"
You'll notice that, while prolific today, I have only posted 3 times this year. THREE! I just don't have that writer's POV in life. I read the blogs of others, even some people that I might say that I don't particularly like, and they either have great things to say or they are good at saying little things. Life strikes them from a certain angle and they are inspired to put fingertips to keyboard.
Perhaps I need to just practice more: sit at the computer and just frikkin' write something. But I don't want this to turn into my online diary where I have scads of boring posts surrounding the occasional gem. I'm not a funny writer, so I wait for depth to creep into my thoughts unawares, without also turning this into a Bible study or lecture.
What's a poseur in the blogosphere to do?

My profile lies

It lies, I tell you!! But I don't feel like changing it right now. What is false? That I have no friends in California. Now, don't get me wrong, I still don't have a BFF like M or R; heck, I still don't do anything social aside from walking with anyone besides Seth, but we're getting there.
This may come as a shock to you, as it did to me, but actually being social and putting myself in the line of other people has resulted in conversations and possible friendships. I know!! News to me, too. So, my advice to you is this: Go to church! And when you're there, talk to people! Sounds simple, but it sometimes isn't.

Ta-da! Grown-up Life!

I've realized within the past month or two that This is It. I'm in my life, I'm on my path- here we go! I guess that although I wouldn't have admitted it, I was looking around the corner and waiting for my life to show up. Waiting on something big, for school, for that Great Job, or for Significance to descend from on high.
What does this mean in a practical sense? One one hand it is a psychological/spritual revelation that gives me peace and joy. I don't have to feel useless or like I'm wasting time because I am living a life of service and learning, getting in on opportunities for both that God places in my path. On the other hand it is a spiritual/scheduling revolution because I need to put myself out there more, letting go of the vast quantity of Me Time I've learned to cherish and get used to being gone more, putting more hours in at my volunteer jobs, taking more classes at church, and realizing that all of this is good (and will only increase in the future). I am dying to myself a little more every day, and even when I hate it, I love it.
The other possibly big chunk of the picture is that I'm applying to seminary. I have finally gotten a car, and it didn't take long for me to realize that the door for school was now open. So I asked the proper people to write letters of recommendation, I visited the school, hammered out other various paperwork tasks, and all I really have left is to write my essays (religious autobiography and Why Fuller?), which I am currently avoiding by writing to you fine folks.
Obviously, I'll let you know how it all turns out. But please, PLEASE realize that I am not putting all my eggs in this basket. I don't expect to be rejected, and if I get in, I'm sure that the money will happen, but I also know that I don't have to go to seminary right now or at all in order to do what God has for me. That's why I keep plugging myself into various things at church and I keep learning. Something can grow from where you would never think.

Friday, January 19, 2007

My pedestrian life

No, I'm not talking about my walking- there is a lot of it, though. I'm talking about things that are stereotypical, run-of-the-mill, or just what everyone else does or expects. I'm talking about the fact that my husband is like my father.

For the most part, this isn't a bad thing. I love my dad; I love my husband. My dad is affectionate, hard-working, sacrificial, excellent at whatever he does, God-fearing, unconventionally smart, handsome, generally happy and easy to be around, and he will do anything for the people he loves- he'll even do quite a bit for people he only likes. My husband has all of these qualities to one degree or another. The more cloudy side? Moody, occasional lapses into irresponsibility, poor time-management, not too hot a history with finances, a bit much for people sometimes, and one thing I just realized yesterday- a joy for lecturing.

Now, believe me, if you know my dad, you know that no one has ANYTHING on his ability to lecture you on any number of topics about which he may or may not have some small amount of knowledge. You also probably know that my husband does not usually get this way, which I think is because he's not the type of guy who thinks that he knows more about something than you do, but I've noticed that once in a while, if he has more experience or knowledge about something that we are both interested in, he'll get into Teacher Mode. Yesterday it was about running and breathing, but I don't remember other specific topics.

The cool thing, though, is that I didn't mind. He rarely does it, and it wasn't condescending or anything, so I was happy to smile and listen. I actually gave him a little hug because I thought it was so cute. I didn't say anything to him, but I thought, "My daddy does that!"

Friday, January 12, 2007

"You don't know what you're missing out on!"

This is what all but 5 people on the planet have told me and my husband when they found out that we aren't going to have children. And they're right- I don't know. Because I'm not going to experience it. It's fairly cut and dried. You don't know what you're missing when you don't get your foot cut off, either.

I can make guesses or people can tell me things- I'll never look into the face of a baby that I made. I won't see what the combination of our genes would look like. Although I can snuggle with plenty of toddlers and have kids run and throw themselves into my arms when they see me, it will never be because I am the most important person in the world to them- their mom.

It is a choice that I made, and I'm fine with it. Parents crow about the meaning or purpose their life has been given, the scales that fell of their eyes, and other poetic images, but my life does have a purpose. I have meaning- kids would just give it a different meaning or add aspects to the purpose that aren't currently there. But so can other things. I'm the most important person in the world to my husband, which is pretty damn sweet.

So I'm 32. My biological clock surely runs on a different circuit than my brain and heart, and it's possible that my hormones are throwing up dreams and feelings as some last-ditch effort to preserve the species. I say to those hormones, "Calm down, dearies. There are 9 kids out their already with parts of your code in them (children of cousins and nephews). The line isn't dying out." Will I admit that pregnant dreams make me think and that, maybe, there is a hint of wistfulness in them? Yes, I will. There is a hint of wistfulness, but mostly there is a moment of confusion, followed by the firm thought of, "Nope. Still don't want kids." The only thing on earth that I'm more sure of than not wanting kids is my joy that I no longer watch ER.

The other likely possibility, one that I can't believe I didn't think of until a minute ago (so dense sometimes!), is that my pregnant dreams have to do with my life, my purpose, my dreams- I'm getting ready to give birth to something new. Now that is exciting!