Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tourette's Tics Me Off

Last week, Seth and I watched a TV movie called Front of the Class, about a man with a pretty harsh case of Tourette's who became an elementary school teacher after much heartache.
The movie was only okay- it was a Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was inspiring. You know. But I cried a LOT because it was so hard to watch the progression of this guy with some really bad tics all the way from elementary school through finally getting a teaching job. People were mean to him, he was told he was doing it on purpose, he embarrassed his dad, annoyed people. It was awful.

My husband's case of Tourette's is nowhere near the level of this guy's, but I still am embarrassed by him sometimes. If he's making noise in church, I want him to stop because I don't want him to bother the people around him. I also don't want people to think poorly of him; that he's just a loud guy being weird or inappropriate. I do act sometimes like he can control it. He can, to a certain extent, but it's hard, it stresses him out, and it just makes it worse after a while.

I hated seeing that poor little boy get yelled at or shunned by his own dad because of his tics. I hate the thought that I make my husband feel crummy with a look or gesture when I wish he wasn't ticking. I don't want to be that person. I've tried for a while to cultivate in myself the quality of not caring what people think. To abandon obsession with appearance, making sure everyone likes me and my husband, always appearing smart and put-together. He doesn't care what people think, and he knows that the people that matter know what's going on. Some people never even notice until they're told. Usually at my prompting, because I think that he's being conspicuous and I don't want people to judge him (by which, of course, I mean me).

I guess this is a confession. I don't want to be like this. I know that I don't have to be. Only the Holy Spirit can remind me and nudge me and make the change in my heart.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Big Dog is Funny

I'm not entirely used to him yet regarding his letting me know he has to go outside. He just comes near and stares at you. Often with his usual full-body tail wag. But he'll stare quite persistently, which isn't completely out of the ordinary, because he's quite a needy and forceful guy. Thankfully, he won't just go on the floor, at least night right away.

What is funny about us as dog owners is that even though he always looks the same, I'm sure, we are quite certain that he makes faces and has "looks". We think this about the little dog, too, but Underwood uses his eyebrows to much greater effect.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Part of the problem

Part of the problem with my sleep troubles is that due to allergies & a deviated septum, I am a mouth breather. Mouth breathing leads to thirst, which leads to lots of drinks at night, which leads to more peeing. So, I try to go to bed, but then I have to pee. I'm thirsty, too, so I drink water while peeing. Then I toddle back to bed. Wait an hour or so (or less!) and repeat. Do it again later.

Spinning along

"Rock Lobster" is a really great song for the stationary bike. Probably good for real biking, too. Keep with the beat, go crazy at the crazy parts, slow down when it does. A most excellent 7 minutes.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hot, tranny mess

Maybe this should go under the posting of "things I learned," but it doesn't quite fit. I mean, I know that there is a difference between transgendered and drag. Perhaps since I have never had to make that distinction on the ground, it didn't click in my head. A few weeks ago I ate at this restuarant, where I was told there would be drag queens. I was pretty excited to go, I tell you. I was going with the Kiwis and Paula (woman originally from Dearborn, now living in SF!), none of whom had ever been there. I even went to the website to check out prices before I went, and it still didn't click that these weren't going to be drag queens.
They were trannies. Bad lip-synchers. Many seemed depressed. Dressed like Mariah Carey on her most hoochie-mama, too-much lipstick kinda day. I'm sure it's insensitive of me, and maybe it's just because they're new to me, but many struck me as sad, confused boys. And they made me confused and sad.
I guess I've never been fully able to wrap my head around people who want to be the opposite gender; to deny who they are. I know that lots will say that to live any other way would be to deny who they are, but I cannot believe that that phenomenon-truly feeling trapped in the wrong body- is as common as it would seem looking around.
I must admit that I have half a mind to take this post down. Like I shouldn't offer my thoughts on the matter and be labeled a self-righteous hater or something. But a) it's my blog. b) I don't expect everyone to agree with me or understand all that I do, so others shouldn't expect the same from me.

What I've Learned Lately

1) I'm happier being outside than being inside. I was going to say, "I like being outside better," but that's not completely true. The lazy flesh wants to stay inside, vegetate, be fat and unhappy. Without fail, though, as soon as I step outside, I'm happier and feel better. I've known for a while that I need the sun, but I'm pleased to see that it's just the outdoors in general.
It hit me more clearly a couple weeks ago when I got up, was exhausted and foggy, and I needed a Coke, but there was none in the house. I got in the car to drive to Jack in the Box for a Coke, but I really didn't need it by the time I got there. Once I left my house, I was feeling more awake and chipper.
I've always wanted to be Outdoor Girl, and I believe that I finally am her!

2) Perception is NOT reality. I've said the opposite in the past, and I think that the opposite is true as far as our actions and psychology go, but we really need to get back to focusing on the actual reality of the situations. Where did I have this revelation? At the Exploratorium.
We were going through all the visual experiments, and I learned about the nerves on the backs of our eyes. They are ALWAYS in our field of vision, but our brains block them out. Now, I've heard things like this before, and I know that our brains fill in our blind spots with what they're pretty sure is there. I also know concretely from Carson and other places that we have messed up perceptions of our bodies. It's just that it finally hit me in a real way as a scientific fact, not just psychological mumbo jumbo. The way I think of and see my body isn't necessarily real. It's not what's actually there.
That can go either way in my case, because I often think I'm totally adorable, and then I see a picture and change my mind. So which is real? The cute or the hateful captured in the picture? And other days I feel super ugly in person, or I can get a picture that I love.
But I had to sit there and gather myself and try to not cry in the children's museum because it finally hit me that our eyes and minds lie to us. I kind of think it's great.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lactic Acid!

We went to Yosemite with a group from church last Thursday-Sunday. Camping, frolicking in rivers, etc, etc. It was good. One of the most beautiful places on the planet, I'm sure.
So...Half Dome
Saturday morning, we got up (I won't say "woke" because I didn't sleep) at 4:30 so we could potty, grab our lunches and breakfasts we made the night before, try not to wake up the non-Half Domers, and get out of there. The point in starting so FREAKING early was to be out as little as possible in the 100 degree weather. Believe me, I was out there anyway.

Anyway. Nervous, wishing that more bathroom-ing had been done, I hit the trail with my group around 6:30am. We were the slowest of our 3 groups heading up, but we were really the average speed. Nevertheless, we had to put up with radio shenanigans and trash-talking from the fastest (read: psychotic) group at various points throughout the day.

Even within the first mile or so, it was the hardest thing I'd done. Here's the trail: The first/last part of trail. To Vernal Falls. Frikkin steep. I can tell you that it sucked.
After this steepness, there are stone stairs of various heights going up to the first waterfall. ..That sucked, too. Do you sense a theme? In case you don't, I'll spell it out: The Theme Is- Suck, Pain, Fear, Beauty, and Triumph. (I jumped a head a little bit.)

Anywhoodle, two waterfalls, lots of stairs/rocks/rubble. Fear of neck-breakage. About 6200' up, there is Little Yosemite Valley, which was great. It doesn't appear that anyone took any pictures, probably because when you get to it, you're so thrilled to have flat ground, that your head is filled with delusions of speed and making good time.

After a while of traipsing across flat (yeah!) stretches of sandy (yuck!) trail, it starts heading up again through the trees. It's all very lovely- the trees looked like cartoons, they were so bright copper on their bark. Big trees, rocks, sloping hills. It's quite lovely. We knew we were stopping to rest at a spring so that we could get some more water, and we were expecting a lovely, burbling pond, something we could maybe put our feet in. Nope. It was a puddle. Barely noticeable. But a spring it was, and we were able to pump out some cold water to refill our bags and bottles. Most of us had already drank about 2.5 liters.

Around mile 5.5 or 6, you can see the dome and the cables that you have to use to go up them. This? is not heartening. It feels so far away, and also reminds you of the insane task you are undertaking.
At the bottome of the dome part, there are the stairs called Quarter Dome. Here's a picture I swiped from May's facebook: The steps up to Half Dome, often called Quarter Dome. Taken by May, stolen by me. . The picture makes it look a bit tamer than it was. You may be able to tell that it is a series of switchbacks made of stone, often on the edge and making me feel like I'm going to fall to my death!

I went up these stairs mostly on my hands and knees. I'm not sure how much of that was necessity versus fear. Again, they were all different sizes, some with gravel on them, some slippery, all steep and scary. The altitude mixed with fear also made my breathing pretty wonky. After a while I had to sit down every 10 feet or so, even though I tried to just power through and get the dang thing over with. When resting at one point, I just started crying. I was so scared, and I didn't want to keep going. I didn't want to go down, either, though, and that was a problem. The marvelous Sylvia encouraged me, though, and assured me that I could do it and I was just tired. I also knew that no helicopter was going to rescue me from my perch, so I forged on.

In my mind, I was waiting to see the cables up-close, look at the angle, and then I would decide if I was going to make it to the top. This is what I saw:No. Seriously. I did this.

And I decided not to do it. There is a wider part before the cables that you can't see here, and I sat on a rock near some friends who had already made it up and down again, and I was content to wait there for my group. When Korie came to ask me why I wasn't going, I just started crying again. I was more scared than I think I've ever been. I just couldn't do it. But the marvelous Thomas (you've heard of Thomas & Sylvia in my tales of Mexico) came up and asked me if I wanted to just try it. He said that he'd go with me, and I could just get out on the rock and go as far as I wanted, then turn around. I agreed that I wanted to try, and we set out. Thomas got all Zen Master on me and told me that I was not to look to the right or to the left, but only at my feet, the rock, and the next board. I would only hear his voice, and he would clip & unclip me from the line.

There are 2 cables coming 400' from the top of the rock down to the base, and you're mostly using your arms to pull yourself up. Every 8' or so, there are two poles with a wooden plank between them- these are where you can rest. Sort of mini-goals that seem to be 10 miles when you're out there. The incline is probably about a 45-degree angle at first, and then it gets steeper. Most people go between these two cables and slowly pull themselves up, but Thomas told us all that he would rather we only held one cable because it's not as slippery on the outside, and it's more stable just holding on to one. I think that all us fearful folk ignored him at first and started between the cables. I thought it would be better to be behind people, then I could just concentrate on the back in front of me, and not look up. The problem with that was that there was a bit of a traffic jam. I was going to wig out if we didn't move, so I went on the outside of the cables with Thomas. Then I was a woman on a mission. I was passing people like crazy, because I just wanted the thing to be over!! I would hurriedly pull myself to the next pole and hold on to it for dear life while Thomas calmly told me to take a drink of water and get my breathing under control. Like on the stairs before, I was almost hyperventilating. One of the poles was loose in its hole, and I almost had a heart attack, I tell you.

Like in races, everyone on the whole mountain is like one, big team. Everyone encourages one another, so I had plenty of people, including my friends on the way down, telling me how great I was doing, how close I was, etc. I finally had to tell one stranger who said, "You're almost there!" (without looking at him, of course. The pattern of that granite is etched on my brain.) that people kept telling me that I was almost there, yet I was most assuredly still on that rock. Finally, 7 hours after leaving the trailhead, I was on top of Half Dome.
If you squint, you can see me. Im sitting down, I think Im the 3rd from the edge.  Top of Half Dome.
It really is quite beautiful up there, and I have a huge sense of accomplishment, but I don't think I'm saying, "Oh, it was totally worth it!" It sucked. And the suckage wasn't even over yet.

After about 15 minutes up top, it was thundering, and we had to head back down. I was not thrilled with this, either. Thomas did his Zen mojo on the way down, and I slid/hopped down backwards, with only 1 or 2 near-death moments. My foot slid and kind of flew out at one point, some of those boards felt MUCH farther away than the others, oy. It was rough. Then we had the stairs again. The beautiful thing, though, is that pretty much nothing is scary after that. Hard and painful? Sure. But not as scary as on the way up. It's just that going down irregular, slippery steps is much harder, at least for the short girl with bad knees, than going up. Basically, Thomas walked in front of me, I had my hands on his backpack, and I baby-stepped each one. On the regular trails, I was great. I jogged, I was ahead of people, but those stairs kicked my butt. I would say that they added at least 45 minutes to my time. Knees on fire, being force-fed shot blocks every once in a while, I made it. About 4.5 hours to get down.

After the last of the stairs, I got to that steep, paved trail I pictured up above. Everything in me wanted to just run all the way to the bottom- I was FREE of those evil stairs! I wanted to get to dinner! I wanted to see my husband! Jogging downhill is so much easier on my knees than walking! But I felt like an ingrate running off and leaving Thomas & Sylvia, who had helped me so much. So I ran a bit, then I sat and waited for them.

We had been under the impression that the other groups had already moved on to the pizza place for dinner because they had led us to believe so via radio. The Irreverend Mark even thought he was a funny guy and radioed to say that Seth had broken his other ankle. Plus, you burn an ENORMOUS amount of fuel doing this. We were eating almost non-stop, and my stomach still growled on the way up and the way down. We figured that everyone else would be racing to dinner. But as I neared the bottom, I almost cried when I saw almost everyone at the end of the trail, jumping and yelling and holding a toilet paper finish line. I thought, "I have good friends!" and started running for themMe running for the finish line. I guess theres a video.
It was all high-fives, pictures, cheers, and hugs. Thomas at the line!
Everyone was quite impressed that Seth had been sitting in his chair at the trailhead, waiting for me for about 5 hours. He got to be everyone's welcome team, and they started the finish line about halfway through.

We stuck our feet in the painfully cold river, which was good and bad, and then walked the mile or so over to dinner. (It never ends!)

My feet hurt so bad that I couldn't fall asleep until Benadryl knocked me out, I now have a stress fracture, and every muscle in my body hurt for about 5 days, but I did it!

My official "I made it to the top!" t-shirt tells me the stats: 17 miles (gps says 20, though), 4800' elevation gain, 8842' above sea level. In 12 hours, which I'm told is a "nice" pace. Argh. I'm sure that many of you are braver, stronger, taller, in better shape, smarter, saner than I, but I will tell you that climbing this mountain was the hardest thing I've ever done- mentally or physically.
When buying my t-shirt the next day, the girl in the store looked at us, asked if we had done Half Dome the previous day, and then said with a strange look on her face, "You're doing alarmingly well." Rock!

Will I ever do it again? Doubtful. I sort of want to, but those stairs are the worst. There is a trail that may skip most of them. If that's true, I'll probably do it again. It definitely would have to be a group effort, though. Most of us would have turned back without a second thought if it hadn't been for our friends.
(Read Marks' blog for some deep thoughts on this.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

So many things to talk about!

I've been a slacker here, and I'm sorry for that. Too much going on; too brain dead at the end of most days to write here. I'm not going to write a lot now, even, but I wanted to post my intentions.

1) I will finish the tale of boot camp with the dog, and I hope to get up some pictures.
2) I will talk briefly about our vacation to Nevada & the family. Definitely pictures.
3) I will write a long, overly-descriptive entry on our trip to Yosemite and the fact that I summited Half Dome against strong odds. Pictures.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Woohoo!

Oh, this dog is good.
Today we went to the mall, and it appears that one of the magic ingredients in getting Underwood to listen is being in the real world! He does not care for our repetition at school where he knows darn well that he can do it and doesn't need to prove it to us, thank you very much.
I felt like it was a special place where anything could happen. He did things without me having to act insane, he did things that he had never done before- it was awesome. He is going to be an amazing service dog.
I also know that he's doing better because our bond is a little tighter. He has started wagging his tail a bit more around me, and he's making more eye contact as opposed to rolling his eyes.
I'm also learning patience and not to micro-manage. Being that we're never supposed to let them get away with not listening, I have to choose whether or not I really need to tell him to do something right now. If we're just standing there and he's fine, I don't need to have him sit. I think that this is something that will spread to my whole life, too. I want to fine-tune and control everything, which is one of the reasons I don't like being around kids.
I'm also happy because I wasn't forced to give back his service dog cape, so we can go out and I can take him to church tomorrow. They just really don't want the actual clients do go out yet, since they can't control their dogs if anything were to happen. I could run after him or tackle him if I needed to, but someone in a wheelchair who doesn't have much experience with their dog couldn't take care of as much yet.
Now, we're off the the park for a walk/run. It will be interesting to be out with a big dog!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Underwood

Today was day 5 of my mock-client training with a service dog. I. am. exhausted.
Lemme see if I can formulate coherent thoughts as to why this is so:
Every day, all day, I'm thinking, I'm being watched, I'm having mostly failures with some successes thrown in, I'm being encouraged or critiqued, and I'm having to lead.
I've been paired with a one year-old yellow lab named Underwood, and he is a VERY good boy- very sweet, well-mannered, and low-key. Part of the problem is his extreme low-key-ness mixed with the fact that he's young and has never had to work this much before. He's not one of those happy, waggy dogs who want to please you and await your every command. I have to fight to get his attention, repeat the commands a few times, and usually get extremely hyper and act insane in order to get him to really pay attention and do it. Or I need to offer him treats, which isn't all that great. Did I mention that I'm doing this in a wheelchair? I thought I did.
I know that there are worse problems to have-- he could be really hyper and hard to have around, but he is the complete opposite. I brought him home for the first time last night, and there was not one lick of misbehavior. He did wake me up for breakfast at 6am, but it was by very politely putting his chin on my leg, and we were able to go back to bed after.
We're attached to one another for the next week or so, and our bond should be forming very soon. I know that once he feels more connected to me, he'll be much more willing to pay attention to me and do what I say. It just makes for frustrating, tiring days right now.
He is a sweetie, though. We curled up on the couch last night for a while, he twice tried to jump up on the bed with me, he lives to "shake", and he is crashed out on the floor next to me as I type.
Tomorrow we have our first field trip--we're going to the mall for coffee, walking around in a civilized manner, and lunch in a restaurant. If we were a real service team, I wouldn't be allowed to leave the house other than that for the weekend. We're supposed to be bonding. Have I been told that I need to do that? Yes. Am I working on getting out of that? Yes. I want to take this boy to church! I'll let you know how the next week goes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Trepidation

I'm starting something a smidge intimidating tomorrow. I'm going to be in a wheelchair for most of two weeks, bonding and training with a service dog. There will also be some real clients there getting training with their new dogs, so that won't be awkward at all. "Hey this pretending to be handicapped during the day, except for when I have to go to the bathroom, this is hard!"
I'm looking forward to it, though. It's supposed to be very eye-opening, and I'm glad to finally get some training with the dogs, after 2.5 years of hanging around the joint! So, during the days this week, we'll have classwork- some lectures, lots of practice. Then, starting Saturday, the dreaded field trips. Going on a bus, to the movies, out to eat, to the mall, etc. There is a final exam in the mall, which I've been a spy/judge for before. No pressure.
Starting Wednesday, I'll be bringing a dog home with me, and I'm supposed to be the only one to feed, look at, touch the dog, etc. That's for creating that intense bond and starting life as a team. I'm not sure how much I'll be expected to do that. I'm supposed to be tied to the dog 24/7, minus showers. We'll see.
We'll see how Tootsie reacts to a big dog in her house, and how hard it will be for me to bond with a dog and then let it not actually be mine. But I can always see him/her at work. If I get paired with my favorite dog, though, there's going to be a showdown about giving her back, I tell you.
Why are non-handicapped people paired with dogs and going through this training? It's so that both our students and the dogs can get as much practice with this as possible. I'm probably going to have 2 of the seminar students (they're learning how to train the service dogs and start their own organization) as my teaching team during the two weeks. And it's a learning experience- to get a tiny taste of what life in a chair is like, how people see you. Joy(?).
Hopefully, I'll get some pictures to put up. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Middle Class Dream

I went into Costco on Tuesday and there was some sort of tasting jamboree going on. Two rows, back to back, of juices, meats, nachos, etc. I thought about resisting, but that didn't make any sense. So, I ate dinner for free, entertained the idea of buying a #10 can of nacho cheese, and got the lettuce I had gone in for.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sleepy Bible Verses

It seems that a number of people happen upon my blog when looking for a godly response to insomnia. These are verses that I found years ago, when I was barely sleeping. It was actually when I started this blog, and I'm surprised that I didn't post these back then.

Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.


Psalms 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalms 127:2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Proverbs 3:23 [If you preserve sound judgment & discernment] ...when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you.

2 Corinthians 6:4-6
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;

Romans 8:6 The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

I'm currently in a period of messed-up sleep, but I know that it's not the end of the world. Of course, I don't have kids or work to worry about. But pray these verses, and look up other ones about resting in God. It's going to be okay. Maybe some of the things we think are urgent and important aren't that high on God's priority list for us.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Let a person make a friggin' mistake already!

Good golly, I'm tired of the media. The endless coverage and scrutiny of every, single thing that barely matters has gotten completely stupid. What I'm specifically tired of is everyone having to apologize for every mistake they make, every time they put their foot in their mouth, every time they fart in their kitchen.

What kind of people are David Hasselhoff's daughters that they would put a video of their dad stumbling around drunk on the internet? Why are Hulk Hogan's private conversations with his incarcerated son being taped and leaked? Why do all the candidates have to apologize for having any opinions that some might disagree with? (I'm even defending Hillary here.) Why is firing a staffer the only way to make up for a dumb comment?

I feel like my eyes are going to roll all the way back into my head and I won't be able to dislodge them. I'm especially susceptible because I'm actually into the campaigns...why do I lie? I'm into Obama's campaign. But I'm checking the news more often, reading stories about the election, and checking out headlines in general. Therefore, I'm seeing more of the silliness.

Can all journalists and politicians PLEASE just get their panties out of a knot and let people be themselves? I know, it's not going to happen. Not with multiple round-the-clock news stations and Nancy Pelosi on the case.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Here! Have a cryptic post.

I'm being a little bit obsessive and insane, and I'd love for it to stop.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Kai Ryssdal sounds hot

So, I realized the other day that I've thought this for a while. Have you listened to Marketplace on NPR? Try it. Anyway, I'm posting this after figuring out how the heck to spell his name, but before looking for a picture.

I'm going to look for a picture now to confirm or refute my thoughts on his hotness. Here goes:

He's alright. Probably cuter in person than in the slanty photos favored on the website. Fairly handsome man. (Bah. Look for yourself, I don't want to search again for the link.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Go, Obama, go!

That's all I have for now on that topic.

Our BFF, China

I know I'm a little behind on this post, but I couldn't wrangle up the energy to do it last week.
My question is this: Why is anyone surprised that things aren't going smoothly for the Olympics in China?
They're still communists; they still aren't free; they still have horrible human rights abuses; they still kill their daughters; etc, etc. It's just that our ├╝ber-capitalist governments here in the West have decided that since they now have money to spend, the kids must be alright. "Oh, you want our imports now? Sure thing, friend!"
Do I think that boycotting the Olympics would accomplish anything? Actually, I do. If it was backed up by our government asking China some hard questions and expecting some action. Is this going to happen? Nah. So my love for the Olympics overrides this and figures that the athletes who have worked so hard for this should be able to go ahead and accomplish their dreams. Maybe the media will actually draw attention to the crap going on there.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Consistent Ethic of Life

One of the things that I learned a bit more about this past quarter was having a "consistent ethic of life". This is something that the Catholic church is good at adhering to- caring about people from womb to grave and all the points in between. So this would pan out as being against abortion, euthanasia, war, and capital punishment. It would also be reflected in supporting people at all stages of life, helping deliver from oppression and poverty, and generally valuing the soul of every, single person as a reflection of God's image, no matter how distorted it may be.

On the surface, I can whole-heartedly say, "Yes! Count me in! This describes me!" But every once in a while something comes up where I can tell that it isn't all the way in me. Today I read a news story about a man who put his baby girl in the microwave. THE MICROWAVE. And this is after punching her and putting her in the hotel safe and fridge. My gut reaction is wanting this man to be dispatched to his eternal reward immediately. But is that right? God wants this sicko's soul just as much as he wants and cherishes mine. At the same time, God has historically known and acted when someone is a lost cause. I've been against the death penalty since I first investigated it in high school, but these thoughts I have make me question my loyalty to that. Gimme a break, I was even sad when Sadaam Hussein was executed because that was a human being created in God's image who was killed. I have no idea why I had more sympathy for him than this guy in Texas.

In any discussion of pacifism, there is always the elephant in the room: Hitler. If I believe that war is always wrong, then do I think that we should have just let Hitler go on his merry way, praying that the Christians in Europe would get their heads out of their asses and rise up? (Non-violently, of course). No. I think.

This is where labels fall apart and we realize that as much as we would like to be consistent and never veer towards hypocrisy, we're humans who live in a screwed-up and complicated world. I could just make life easier and say that I'm in the Just-Peacemaking camp (see Kingdom Ethics), which I mostly think is an awesome philosophy. It just seems that the Bible is pretty clear about the whole peace thing and that all of our efforts are to justify our human tendencies towards war and violence. Then again, we are humans, and we cannot possibly live up to all that God wants of us.

Does that mean we give up? Not at all. I will try as much as I can to have a consistent ethic of life and honor the God of Justice and Mercy. Being that I am not personally responsible for executing anyone, I'll stick to what is in my sphere of influence: trying to alleviate suffering, praying, and voting in ways that will decrease poverty and oppression. It's truly is the Best thing I can do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I have returned.

Oh, the exciting posts I have in mind!!!
It's really too bad that's not true. I recall having a few deep thoughts over Lent, and I even thought about sending in some posts via e-mail, but those thoughts have fled.

What did I do with my fast? I didn't really clean any more or do all the wonderful things I thought about doing, but I think that I felt more rested. I didn't feel like even my free time was rushed. I noticed it especially when I started researching for my paper, which was a full-time job. I spent so much stinkin' time looking at denominational websites, reading position papers, resolutions, family experiences, scriptural analysis, and insane rants. I read and read and read, finally writing a 23-page paper. That was finished about 12 hours before I left for Mexico, after an all-nighter, followed by the drive to Mexico, building a house, thinking all week and feeling half-stupid/half-smart, driving back, cleaning stuff the next day, Easter the day after that, now day 2 of work post-vacation.

This year's Mexico trip was fan-frikkin-tastic, after a rocky start, that is. Rocky due to near-freezing temperatures the first night in camp, which none of us were prepared for. Knees throbbing and shivering all night, I seriously wanted to be home and never return. Thankfully, the awesome Howie provided an extra sleeping bag to me and two others, and we did not, in fact, freeze to death.

The family we worked with was wonderful, and we will definitely see them again. They were fun to be with and worked their tails off all week. I nicknamed the dad, "Enrique, the Construction Machine". I had a mostly great time with my Spanish, and was particularly pleased that many on our team spoke some Spanish and were able to interact with the family. I'll post some pictures later this week.

I also had a great time getting to know people from church, which I expected. I really like having time out of our normal context to chat with people and talk about things that would never come up at lunch after church or even in a movie evening at a friend's house. (Lots of bodily functions discussed, but that's not all that I mean.) When you're in this type of situation where you get to hang out with people 24 hours per day, sweating and working and cooking together, it almost skips a few steps in the normal friendship ladder so that you're more like family then you were before. I love it. I hope that I was fun to be with and someone people want to be close to.

That paper I wrote for class: it was on gay marriage, and it was very difficult. Reading all the different things that people post on the topic can be emotionally exhausting. In the end, I've decided that I am in favor of equal marriage for gay and straight couples. You can call it marriage, you can call it civil unions, as long as it's equal. Let the government give everyone the same rights, and churches can marry whom they want and refuse whom they want. All fair, nothing forced. Perhaps I'll try to boil my paper down to a blog-appropriate length so you can understand my reasoning. These two spots give you a good idea, though. I don't completely agree with everything said on both, but they really impacted me and made me weep:
Musings On and Justin from GayChristian.net.

After 2.5 days of being back on the internet, I'm not really sure how I feel. I kind of don't like it, so I may try to set some more restrictions on myself. I've tried before, but it may actually work this time, because I've seen the stark difference between my days with and without hours online.

I do hope to write more, though. It's good for me, and keeps the Slacker's Prince up on my mind's wanderings.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hasta la pascua

I'm giving up the internet for Lent.  I've tried variations on this in the past, and I've tried to limit my online time, but this time I'm really doing it.  I am going to check my e-mail once per day, and I will do my online Bible study every day, but that's it.  Unless something is necessary, there will be no blogging, no posting on chat pages, no checking the weather, myspace, reader, etc etc. 
Oh! And now that I thought of it, no logging into the bank account every day.  That will be good for us.  Let him do it. Let me chill out.

I believe this will be good for me.  I've felt like I've been drowning the past four months; like my life is falling apart around me.  In the face of this, I've been avoiding as many commitments as I can, I've not been taking care of my house, and I've been vegging a lot.  I would like to take more time to interact with my husband instead of us both doing separate things.  I would like to read more, do more dishes, go to a friend's house more often.  I just need to restructure my free time a little bit to still be free, but not so across-the-board useless.  I often go online first thing in the morning and, before I know it, it's time to leave the house and I haven't eaten, read my Bible, or really done anything.  No more!!  

My prayer is that God will show me what can and should be pruned.  That I'll get a clearer focus on what is important and when, after Easter, I let myself back on the webs, it will be in moderation and with a purpose being wasting time.


thirtysomething

I've been thinking about throwing thirtysomething on my  queue, but I'm sort of afraid.  
"Afraid?" you ask.  "Why would you be afraid?"
Well, when the show was on, I thought that the people on it looked terribly old and I couldn't really believe that they were only in their thirties.  And I still think of those actors as quite old.  The issue is this: I'm in my thirties.  What if, when I watch it, they don't still look old to me, but they look like babies or something?  Or what if I totally recognize myself in these people I thought were old?  

Every once in a while, someone thinks that I'm in my twenties.  I just want to freeze those moments and carry them around with me.  

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Discipline

I'm too tired to get deep right now, but I'm learning a lot and changing as a result of being an athlete. It started almost 2 years ago, when I started training for my 1/2 marathon, and it's only gotten stronger. More accurately, it has been jump-started by my training for a triathlon, which I'll be doing in May. Since I have specific goals which are fairly lofty goals, at least for me, I have to be disciplined with my time and training. I can't blow off going to the gym or to the park, because I have a goal in sight. It also helps that you sink a fair amount of money in registering for these races, because that keeps you going, too.
I just need to translate this sense of discipline into all the areas of my life. I need to voice or write down more clearly my educational, spiritual, household, and friendship goals. Not that all of those areas will have tangible endpoints- I'll get X amount more holy and make 3 more good friends and then I'm done!- but if I know what I want out of my life more than making it from day to day, I can maybe better correct my lazy tendencies or prune things that are getting in the way of those goals. If I clarify that I want to pay more attention to these 2 friends for a while or clean my kitchen every week (gotta start somewhere ;) ), I can make better choices that move toward those ends.

Check out my training blog if you haven't yet. There's a link over there--->
You'll hear about my second 1/2 marathon which is in 10 days, and also my successes on the way to my first triathlon!

TV and Movies and Heath Ledger- a disjointed post

Happiness: Saw Juno and loved loved loved it. Not as cutesy as I thought it would be, very well-acted and written, touching, funny, just great.
We watched the one and only season of Wonderfalls, and it was also great. Makes me mad at stupid Fox for never supporting their good shows, and for not making it clear at the time that it was totally different than Joan of Arcadia, to which this show is far superior (even though I did occasionally enjoy JoA.) Rent it, you'll like it. They did a pretty decent job of providing closure, so that I can enjoy the one season without feeling completely ripped off.

Ugh. Heath Ledger. It's just sad, and I've already talked about how messed up Hollywood is and that these are real people who are really broken. Pray for them, when you think of it. Pray for Britney and her children. I'm serious.

The weirdest spot in the gym

It's the hot tub. Of course, I haven't been in the steam room, and that may be stranger, but the hot tub is pretty weird. It's a spot where you should be totally relaxed and pleased, but it's really just a frothy pot full of strangers trying not to look at each other or their collected dirt floating on the foam. I don't think I'll go back.

Yay for crippled dogs!

I was overjoyed to see a woman running along the marina in SF with both a 3-legged dog and a dachshund on wheels. So cute!

No, thank you?

On a whim today, I got my eyebrows waxed. It's been quite a while, so I felt fine with a mini-splurge, and was thrilled to finally get it done. As the girl was finishing up, she asked if I wanted a lip wax. WHA???!!!
Like most women, I'm fairly self-critical and invent flaws where there are none, but I've NEVER entertained the notion that I've had hair on my lip, at least not enough that it would merit removing.
Should I have offered her some makeup remover, perhaps? Yes, that's all I got. The only rip I could offer. She was wearing a fair amount of makeup. While I was walking in the rain to the library looking like a slob in very little makeup. Perhaps the frizz of my hair was casting a shadow on my face.
Whatever.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I never claimed to be quick on the uptake.

I finally noticed that my car's antenna wasn't extended, so I pulled it out yesterday.
Voila! Radio stations! It's only been 11 months that I've had the car.


I will write more soon. I've had passing thoughts, but not the time nor energy to expand upon them.