Saturday, April 30, 2011

Drama Queens

A few months back my daughter was at the home of a friend with some other classmates. They were hanging out in the yard, being goofy as tween girls normally are. One said something jokingly to another, the other took it the wrong way and went inside to get her mother involved. The mother blasted out the front door, screamed at the girls, cursed at them and told them all the go home.

This is not normal. I don't care what was said, I don't care if someone had their feelings hurt. These were 11 year old girls having a misunderstanding. This is not normal adult behavior.  I told A at the time that I believed the mother was watching too much 'reality' tv and thought this was just how people behaved. (And by 'reality' tv I mean shows that are billed as 'Real' but are scripted & the players are encouraged to act out to get attention.

I was just reading this post about Kurt Vonnegut and his explanation of why people crave drama. It makes complete sense to me. So I won't say that reality tv is causing this kind of behavior, but that it certainly adds to it. And I think it contributes to the divorce rate as well, as people think that marriage is all about hearts and stars and flowers, when in reality it's a lot of day to day LIFE together, with bills and groceries and dog poo. If you get married (or have kids or start a career) and think that it's going to be like some fantastic movie scene every day, you are delusional. Adjust your expectations to real life, not 'reality' life.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Do

I'm pleased to report that I cut off my hair again. I have crazy thick disobedient hair and it had to learn its lesson. And yes that is an old fire alarm on the wall of my breakfast room.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bookshelf What?

So Kate suggested that I get a Kindle and do away with my cluttery piles of books. I love me some Kate, so I forgive her for not understanding my love with real books. I don't hate the virtual books, but it's just not the same. I'm not diametrically opposed to eReaders, I just really really heart a real book, with real pages. A shop full of antique books is like heaven.

I'm currently obsessed with Melody Godfred's blog and all her wit and wisdom about writing. She posted about a site devoted to books, and I seriously can't stop looking at it. Now don't be alarmed, good Christian lasses, but the title of it is Bookshelf Porn. It's exactly what it sounds like: page after page of pictures of gorgeous books for you to ogle. If you are not a bibliophile, this will be meaningless to you. But if you are, I need not explain it further. Go forth and enjoy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I was reading this post by Melody Godfred about needing to rid yourself of clutter. (Even if you don't want to read it, click through to see the picture. I got a good laugh out of it.) This is a good reminder for me, because I am easily distracted. I can blame a certain amount of it on the kids, but I also have my mother's gift of paper hoarding. And this includes paper in the form of books and magazines, of which I have many untidy piles. I keep saying that I need to make more time to read, but never get around to it. I have at least five books that I've started to read but only got as far as chapter two before leaving it to collect dust on the nightstand. I want to fit more time for writing into my life, and I have all these books waiting for me.
So I've decided to start reading, in order to clear my piles away. I know it seems convoluted to do this in order to make more time for writing, but it makes sense to me. (This is when my father shakes his head and calls me a Concrete Sequential, ha!)
And that's it, there is no other glamorous reason for this post. I just decided to drag you all along on my thought process. You're welcome.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I haven't given much thought to blogging lately, being busy with life and motherhood and figuring out how they hide their socks in the couch without me catching them. I've also been writing again, which brings joy I can't describe. God has been nudging me about it for a while. And by a while I mean my entire life. But He also used my sister-in-law to give me more of a shove as well, which I appreciate. She gave me an amazing gift: a journal made from a repurposed vintage book.

It arrived in the mail a few hours after we received the news of Debby's passing. As I was flooded with grief and the harsh reminder of the brevity of life, this package arrived. Such a sweet gift, and I knew God was whispering to me the things I didn't want to hear yet. That we must always move forward, and that we never know when our appointed time will be. I can't waste the time that I have.

Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday. I am awed to celebrate His gift to us.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I do enjoy anything lemony fresh

Challenging a Culture of Alcoholism

I don't want to dig too hard on this guy, because I get that not everyone on the outside looking in is going to understand. But I have to say that I actually snorted out loud at the part about lemon essential oil being a good cure for my alcoholism. Reality Check: Alcoholism is a disease of the mind, and no amount of Pine-Sol or massage therapy is going to change that. I have to change the way that my mind thinks, not the way I smell. He also references a book by Allen Carr titled, The Easy Way to Quit Drinking. I haven't read the book, so I can't give an opinion on it. I will say that anything that tells me that there is an 'easy' way to get sober, lose weight, earn money, etc, I tend to be suspicious of. But if someone has read it and found it helpful, that's great. Maybe it's geared more for people that are just heavy drinkers, rather than hard-core alcoholics.  I do disagree completely with these 'studies' that say that the success rate of AA is 90%. I'd like to know what the success rate of diet & exercise is, if we're going to put it in these terms. If you do what you are supposed to do in either of these, you will succeed. In spite of what Jenny Craig says in their ads, people DO fail and they are responsible for their own results. The 90% failure rate is on the person, not on the program.

The author makes some really excellent points about the current culture of America, and how drinking is the mode of entertainment, rather than something that simply accompanies our activities or entertainment. I went to a small Christian college, in a dry Amish town in rural Pennsylvania. All we did on the weekends was drink. There really wasn't much else to do, but I certainly wasn't looking for any other way to spend my time anyway. Binge drinking, via drinking games like Beer Bowling, Power Hours, Quarters, etc., was the norm. I would have been an alcoholic no matter what, but I can see how the culture affects young people who might otherwise not have a problem.

Monday, April 11, 2011


A: "Ouch, I hurt my butt-bone."
Me: "It's called your tailbone."
E: "Um, Mom? She doesn't have a tail."

Me: "Let's go to the car to get our snack and water, buddy."
TC: "I can wait for you by the water."
Me: "I can't do that buddy, it's not safe. You need to come with me."
TC: "Ok. Because if I was there by myself a shark could come up and eat me. That would be scary."
(Convo by the creek at a park.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Way too quiet here

I've been thinking the past few days that I'm invisible, because although I know I don't have a big following, I haven't gotten hardly any comments at all on my last few posts. Kate told me this morning that she had left several comments that haven't appeared. I checked and don't have any in my spam folder, so I have no clue where they went?

If you could, please comment on this post. I do have it on moderation, so I have to approve them, but if you don't see your comment appear within the day, please facebook me and let me know. Not sure if there is something up with Blogger or if the issue is just my account alone.  thanks!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Those judgmental Christians

I've been thinking lately about how Christians are perceived, and what my part is in that perception. Do I put my money where my mouth is?

I'll be honest and say that I tend to stay out of conversations involving politics & hot-button topics such as abortion or homosexuality. I know what the Bible says about these and I know what I believe, but I really hate debating people. I suck at debating, hence why I like to write. I can revise & edit before putting something out there, whereas my big mouth can get me into trouble.

I was talking to a brother in Christ recently, a man I like and respect but who has completely different political views than I do. Most of the time this doesn't bother me, because he's a Christian. To me that means my time is better spent trying to witness to someone bound for hell, rather than convince him that he's wrong about a specific political point. I know that there are those who are called by God to be involved in politics, but I'm just not one of them. My dad is super passionate about his political views, and I think that's great. It's just not my thing.

I was reading this article: The Key to Changing Judgmental Attitudes in the Church
It was very timely for me, since I was feeling this way already, but wondering if I was just chickening out. There's a verse in Romans that says we should do what we can to live at peace with others (Romans 12:18). I took this to heart a few years ago, and found that it fits nicely with living in recovery. I did what I could to make amends, but also left some people off my list that I knew would only cause me more pain. Step 9 asks us to make amends, but only when to do so would not injure that person or others. I'm part of the 'others'.

The article's closing line was this, "So, again I ask, what is better: to criticize wrong, or not to do the good that we ought to do? Let’s make our lives more characterized by what we stand for, not what are against."

I don't believe that it's a black & white issue; that we can pick our battles when it comes to politics or theological debate. But I know that I have no peace when I'm involved in that stuff, and that I find I am much more effective for Christ if I am focused on being of service to others, and showing them the love of Jesus.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Better left unsaid?

So I'm a big Facebook junkie, and Kate and I have joked many times about both of our stances on it. She won't go on it at all, and I am on it too much. I think we're probably both overzealous about our views on it. Either way, since I think about my life in status updates, I thought I would share some thoughts about how I filter myself. Because I must filter myself. My daughter has taken to asking me when something funny or weird happens, "This is going on Facebook, isn't it?" The answer is nearly always yes.

My problem is that I always want to protect my witness. That's church-speak for, represent Jesus in a way that makes people want to ask me about Him, and so that I can talk about Him without anyone not listening because I'm a hypocrite. An example would be that if I'm on Facebook complaining daily about stuff, I'm not exactly showing the joy of the Lord. Some people use Facebook as free therapy, and I do understand that. I've been a stay-at-home-mom for a decade, so believe me I understand the need for an outlet. But as a housewife I need to use my few opportunities to witness wisely.

Here are some of my recent status updates:
The school decided to display the students' artwork online. For me to view it I have to create an account, give them my full name, my email address, create a password, create 2 unique security questions & agree to their Terms of Use. Seriously. Just send it home & I swear I will hang it on my fridge. (Hrm, maybe not a great example, but I did mean this more to be funny than complaining.)

A just found the cat's stuffy in a drawer and gave it back to him. He is now FREAKING OUT and carrying it everywhere like his long lost child. Weird kitty.

Taking turns with Tom going to church yet again, as TC's cough is worse. Glad we have 2 services! Bummed to miss class again though.

So grateful for my amazing life! God is good!

Here are some that I thought, but didn't post:
Dear Smart Car Driver, kudos to you on choosing a super-tree-hugger-vehicle. You'll find that it came equipped with turn signals. Try using them, or the next time you slam on your brakes with no notice, I will squash you like a bug in your teeny, tiny, stupid car.

I hate driving in this area! People are morons!

I am so fed up with this constant headache & pressure, and am regretting ever having sinus surgery. I swear it's given me TMJ. The doctor ran every test he could and said he could find nothing wrong. He sucks.

Am I being disingenuous? I do post snarky stuff from time to time, and it's not like I never utter a complaint there. But I want to represent Jesus in a positive way, being real, but also being grateful. I think it benefits me as well, as I recognize that I can complain, or I can give Him glory. I can focus on the good, or I can sulk about things that make me unhappy. It helps keep my own attitude in check. Just my random thoughts on this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Potluck Noodle Mush

I've seen (& eaten, *shudder*) some gnarly looking foods at church potlucks over the years. My friend Mary Beth hated them so much that when we were putting a church cookbook together she submitted a recipe for Potluck Noodle Mush. I wish I could find it, but I do remember some of it. It consisted of boiling a box of whatever noodle you want until it turns to goo, and then mixing it with a can of cream of something soup, any variety will do. And if you have cream of mushroom and cream of chicken, well just go ahead and throw both in because it really makes no difference. Top with whatever stale potato chip you have on hand and bake til crunchy. I don't remember the rest, but it was both hilarious & true.

I have to admit, I still miss those gatherings. Our church doesn't do potluck dinners, which I think is a shame. They get a little brave now & again, and do a dessert potluck, usually when we have a congregational meeting. I'd like to see them take a real chance, and maybe risk that someone could show up with a tray of Kraft mac & cheese with sliced hot dogs. I guess I can't harang them about this, since I honestly don't know why they don't do potluck dinners. They could have a good reason. I do get that my previous church was really focused on social events, and not so much with scripture teaching. That is why we left, after all. (Though they have a true community within their members, which I must give them credit for.) But I'd love a happy meeting of these two things. And I do promise not to bring any 'special' brownies.

Won't you be my neighbor?

My elderly neighbor fell this morning. I worry about Mrs. P. a lot, for many reasons. Her husband died last year, so she's alone. Tom cuts her grass and shovels her snow, for which she forces money on him. He has tried to decline it many times, but you really can't argue with this woman. Not because she's a sweet granny type, but because she will yell and curse at you and never let you near her again if you don't go along with her. I don't know what her diagnosis is, but suffice to say that she is just not quite right in the head. Many years back she 'went off her meds' according to neighborhood lore, and had to be tackled by the police and taken in. She seems pretty 'even' these days, so I'm guessing she is medicated.

Our next-door neighbor John made the mistake of using her driveway once to turn his truck around. She came flying out of the house screaming at him. Needless to say, there's no love loss there. The neighbors on one side of her, who are like family to us, are not allowed to interact with her. She has complained to the police because their plants grew onto her property and when Mr. Q had an RV parked in front of the house. They themselves are not much younger than Mrs. P. and the ambulance has come to their door many times in the years we've lived here. Tom also does grass/snow duty for them, and they spoil our kids at holidays. Mrs. Q especially has many health problems and I've lost count of her hospital stays. So I do a lot of minding my Ps and Qs (see what I did there?) and making sure that they're all okay.

Mrs. P. minds her own business, and I mind mine, so I have never really interacted with her. I watch her from a safe distance. I'm not afraid of angering her, but since Tom has a good relationship with her, and she trusts him, I don't want to risk that. Her children don't come around too often, so I want Tom to be able to check on her. We can go days or a week without seeing her at all. I can sometimes spot her in the early morning out in her yard, doing some gardening. And by gardening, I mean trimming the grass with scissors. So when I was driving A to school at 7:30 and saw her sitting on the grass with her shoes off, I didn't think all that much of it. I waved and she waved back. I did have it in my mind to check on my way back and be sure that she was okay, but based on all previous behavior, I wasn't worried.

So as I'm coming down the street I can see her still sitting in the grass, with several neighbors around her, trying to help her up. I debated going over after I parked my car, but there were already four people there, and I didn't want to tick her off by making it into a production. I watched for a while from my doorway, as they tried using a step ladder, and then a spackle bucket, to give her something to get onto. The men would hold her arms and try to help her with no success. Mr. Q was outside getting his newspaper when he saw what was going on. He had his phone and walked over to see if he could help. He had the phone up to his ear, and I could hear her yelling at him to stop trying to be nice to her and go get his own *bleep* ambulance. He's not that much less stubborn than she is, so he did call. I'm not sure if he did it to be nice or just to spite her, but they came either way. I said to myself, 'This will be good' as the EMTs got out. One was talking to her while the other was getting the stretcher out. More yelling, now about how he could put that right back because she was fine and didn't need to go anywhere. I could see frustrated hand gestures from the one guy, who was clearly trying to reason with her. About five minutes later the ambulance was gone. Shortly after that they finally got her up enough so that she could sit on the spackle bucket. I keep going back to the window to check, and last time I looked she was sitting on a chair by her front door.

I was wondering how I could wrap this up, preferably with something philosophical and profound. But I think that really, all I can say is that as nutty as we think this woman is, any one of us could be her. If you alienate enough people, and insist that you don't need anyone's help, you will eventually be alone and cursing at people in your yard. I personally HATE to ask for help, but I make myself do it sometimes. Half of that is pride and the other half is based on experiences where I simply couldn't count on people. I know I need to be better at that, because I don't want to be sitting in the wet grass fifty years from now, acting like I don't need anyone's help.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This & That

John Cheever's Daughter Recalls his Sober Last Act - "John Cheever was a great American writer—and an alcoholic. But the hard-won sobriety of his final years showed his daughter a side of her father she’d never seen—and a model for her own recovery."

So it's not news, but I am easily amused by juvenile humor. The history section on the LOL Cats site is my new favorite. (As always, if you are the Pope or my mother, do not click this link, as you will be offended at some point.)