Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Takin Care of Bidness

Biggest Accomplishment today:
Taking back the bottles. All the empties. As you know, here in Michigan we STILL have the silly 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans. Which MIGHT cut down on litter, though I'm not sure about that, but it DOES cost the state tons and tons of money and it makes me go to the yukky bottle return room which I hate. I'd rather just recycle.

But I survived as usual, then sanitized my hands and proceeded to spend that money and more on groceries and pregnant cravings like tomato juice and red peppers and corn on the cob.

A good friend of mine called last night. We had a good catch up chat and reminisced over an event I think you'll find funny too:

Once, we were standing around after church talking when a woman approached my friend and I and said "HEY! I got LAID this week!"
We both blinked and grinned and looked at her feeling like "Um.... not really sure how to respond...we're happy for you?"
She quickly clarified and said "OFF! I got LAID OFF!"
She didn't appear to have a sense of humor about the getting laid mistake, so we were a little desperate trying not to laugh while she was so sad about getting laid OFF.

Have you ever noticed that it's not easy to act compassionate when one is about to pee one's pants laughing....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The REST of the Story

The Answer to last week's Mystery Photo:

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sayers of Doom (who probably mean well):

Where do you get so much joy in telling me what a living HELL my life is going to be now that I'm going to have a child?

You don't know me very well but I should tell you that for various reasons, I don't need you to tell me how bad it might get. I haven't been running around with quiet lullabies and vanilla scented baby poop fantasies in my head. I've heard you loud and clear all these years, and well, I've observed YOUR kids too, the little brats preciouses.

I realize I have a lot to learn. And I will. There are days I'm scared shitless, so I really don't need any help from you over there with the negativity. And you over there with the horror stories and you in the polka dots with your dire predictions for me.

If you've had it hard, and you need to be heard, that's one thing. Maybe I'm not your best sounding board right now. If you really mean to help, then please find some other way to "encourage" me.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Another Random Picture

Anyone out there recognize this picture?

If you've been in my house, here's a hint: It lives in the Living Room. If you haven't been in my house, you may know what it is anyway.

Yesterday I went around taking pictures up close of random things... I'll post them here and there.

Lessee... It's Saturday. No, wait. It's FRIDAY. heh. I have overdue books at the library and I forgot to pay the remainder of my tuition for the class at Marywood until this AM. What is UP with that? I don't even have a JOB and I can't remember to do things. gah!

I'm hungry. Gotta go eat. (now!)

Have a groovy weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

E. Ville and Vin Dictive

Allow myself to introduce.... Myselves.

The kid across the street has been absolutely DEMONIC today. Screamed his head off MOST OF THE DAY. He always screams every day. Screams a lot. But today, he screamed even more. -- While his mother completely ignored him. I saw her ignore him while he stood out on the lawn and SCREAMED a piercing scream for 20 minutes. She must think she's doing the right thing? I dont' know. It makes me not want to have kids, I tell you.

Far be it from me to claim any kind of expertise in the area of parenting, but all I could think today was "PLEASE, COULD YOU JUST SHUT THAT KID UP!!!" TURN it OFF!? Isn't there a switch somewhere for this sort of thing? No no, not the kind to beat him with! (I'm not that evil... at least not most of the time)

Finally they went in the back yard, where the 2 boys proceeded to scream at the top of their lungs at each other until one of them got hurt or something then screamed bloody murder for another 30 or 40 minutes until one of the parents took him in the house where he continued to scream double bloody murder for a good while longer.

From my computer desk I can see their front yard, and just now.... I happened to look out the window and the other neighbor's big old dog lumbered on over there and crapped in their bushes!


And I am sitting here laughing my head off with my E.Ville and Vin Dictive Selves.
Oh yes, I am.

Fall Picture

Look! I found a Cattail in my house!

Dream Journal Entry

Scented Candles - Aug 25, 2005

Was looking in a shop that had aisles and aisles of scented candles. I dont' remember actually being
able to SMELL anything. It was about the names of the scents mostly, and the colors.

Previously - or maybe simultaneously, I'm not sure - a bunch of us had organized a co-op for storage.
We'd chosen a basement to put everyone's stuff in and hauled it all down there. Our furniture consisted
of extremely valuable and beautiful antiques. We had a Great Dane guarding the stuff.

I was very concerned for the dog for some reason - even to the point of crying, but I don't remember why.

I specifically remember looking for Patchouli flavored candles, and at one point I was wheeling myself
around the shop in a wheelchair. Occasionally, I would get frustrated and get up and push my chair
around tough obstacles, then get back in it and continue on my way. Apparently, I didn't really need it.
At some point I became aware of a couple of people noticing this, and I felt ashamed that they might
think I was only using the wheelchair to get attention. I tried to remember why I even had the
wheelchair but I couldn't, so then I thought maybe I really was just doing it for attention. I felt very
/end dream

I think I had this dream because last night I went to the new GINORMOUS Target out on 28th St. I also wore maternity clothes in public for the first time. I'm not really showing lots yet but I can't wear my normal clothes anymore either. I felt very weird about wearing them though I'm sure no one even cared or noticed.
I think this comes from me not wanting to overtly do attention getting stuff. Or at least not to look like I am. God forbid anyone should see any of my real live broken self sticking out!
It felt a little like High School when I would try out a different look. If I did my hair differently than usual I felt that the whole school was looking at me and that they were going to see how incompetent I was/felt about such things.
I learned eventually that most people are not noticing me in great detail. In addition, they might likely feel as stylishly inept as I do and/or are so into their own world that any weirdness about me is not noticable to them at all.
I know this, but I still feel weird about wearing maternity clothes quite yet. -- Not that it's going to stop me. I'm wondering why I didn't do this sooner. It's SO much more comfortable!


Monday, August 22, 2005

Random Opinion Spouting

No matter how cool it may occasionally be, (a dubious possibility) wallpaper should not be legal.
In any state.
Only because it's such a TREMENDOUS PAIN to REMOVE!!!!! And you gotta admit, MOST WALLPAPER chosen by other people is thoroughly OFFENSIVE, thereby inciting the need for the INSANITY INDUCING ACT OF CHEESY WALLPAPER REMOVAL!!

Wallpaper borders fall under this same category.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back to School

Soon I will begin this program: Spiritual Formation at the Dominican Center at Marywood. My goal is to become a spiritual companion or a spiritual director. I'm beginning to like the sound of "companion" better, but I guess I'm not sure yet exactly what the diff is. (I'll soon find out) Spiritual Direction is something rather new to me, but is familiar to most catholics I think. Many protestants are beginning to catch on to this really helpful part of the spiritual journey too. I first heard about it when I attended a 2 day Day Away retreat at Marywood. (I highly recommend it if you live in the area) They asked me if I'd like any spiritual direction while there, so I chose to speak with one, whom I later began to refer to as "The Oracle." She shared a lot of intuition, widsom and helpful insights with me about my life in that transitional phase. Having just gotten married and quit a job I'd had for 10 years, it was a weird time for me and it was helpful to talk with her during that time. I continued seeing her monthly for Spiritual Direction, and I'm sure it will continue to be helpful as time goes on.

Anyway, I started looking into the classes at Marywood, and felt pretty excited about the Spiritual Formation program. It evoked something in me similar to when I explored the possiblity of earning a Master of Spiritual Nurture at Mars Hill Graduate School - studying with Dan Allender. However, that program would have taken 2 years and cost tens of thousands. So I said ixnay on the Astersmay and continued down the path I was on. The idea of helping people grow spiritually is very exciting to me. It seems to fit my personality and makeup. So when I began to learn about the formation program at Marywood, which is practically just down the street, and much more affordable, I got pretty excited about it. That's not to say I think I'm more spiritually evolved than everyone else and have buckets of wisdom just waiting to dump out on everyone, just that at least learning more about it seems like a very exciting first step.

So, if you're like me, this quasi syllabus will make you drool:

with Phase I -
16 units:
1. Comtemplative Prayer
2. Biblical Spirituality
3. St. Anthony & Desert Spirituality
4. Rule of St. Benedict & St. Scholastica
5. Ignation Spirituality
6. Theology of Discernment
7. St. Francis of Assisi & St. Clare
8. Meister Eckhart, OP & Catherine of Siena, OP
9. The Beguines: Women's Movement of the Middle Ages.
10. continuation
11. Integrating the Journey
12. The Cloud of Unknowing
13. St. Teresa of Avila & St John of the Cross
14. John Calvin & Reformed Spirituality
15. John Wesley
16 Thomas Merton and Closing Session

Are you jealous yet?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Out of my Head

Just in case it slipped by you - Amazing Man has a blog too. Check it out: Out of my Head

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Walkin for Walken? - Afros and Such.

Saw a very funny thing yesterday: Our neighbor has a very steep lawn and was mowing it yesterday, making that sound mowers make when they are pushed up an incline over and over and over ad nauseum. RRUUUMMMMMMM!!! RUUUUMMMMMM!!!!
So finally I looked over there and thought MAN he ought to be done by now. This guy, with a big FRO was mowing their lawn. The kids were sitting around laughing at him. The neighbors across the street were staring at him too. I thought WOAH! THAt's a BIG FRO! I said to Kevin that it looked like his Superfly wig he wore a couple of halloweens ago. I couldn't stop staring. I was trying to think how a white guy got such a big fro. I was wondering how he felt getting laughed at by those kids and stared at by the rest of us, but he seemed oblivious. I was thinking "OK so he's got really curly hair, and he died it jet black, then he just sort of let it go."
Turned out it WAS a wig... it was just my neighbor after all, mowing his lawn with that hilarious wig on to entertain his kids. They were all laughing and then I was laughing and then Kevin was laughing at me because he didn't know that I didn't know it was just a wig.
Guess I got sucked into that one.

Get a load of this: Walken 2008 - Official Website
I don't usually get all political or anything but woah. Like, Woah, man! I don't even know what to think. Makes me think of Team America.

Ok, yesterday I had an ENORMOUS amount of hits on my site. I know a lot of you have been congratulatory, I've had some links and mentions. Thank you all very much, by the way! But it doesn't account for all the hits.... I wondered if maybe it was because I reindexed my entire blog for the first time in about a year? Could that be it?
Does anyone know?

Or maybe my powerful personal magnetism somehow reached out over cyberspace and everyone logged on all in one day.
Ya, nope. I didn't think so either.

I mean, it's fun and all... except for the spamming. I just get curious about these things. I WANT AN EXPLANATION!

In other news, we stained our front porch yesterday, it looks like we have pillars of chocolate holding up the roof of our porch now. YUM. The gel stain we used on the ceiling (so it doesn't drip - genius) looked like chocolate fudge ice cream topping.
I didn't eat any of it though. Honestly.

Hey, I'm pregnant! I can't eat stuff like that!
No smoking, no drinking and no eating substances that look like Chocolate -- no matter how yummy they appear, unless one can determine for sure that it actually is chocolate.

So I made Kevin do it.
AAAH! just kidding.
Ok I need to stop now. I'm getting silly. I think it was the Walken for president - it sort of shorted my brain out for a moment. I'll recover.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

More Adventures of Captainwow

Captainwow has been on a short sabbatical. He recently received some shocking news and decided to lay low for a while.

He has had offers to travel again, possibly to Phoenix, Colorado, and England. Soon he'll be taking in the scenes in Phoenix with my mom. The Colorado and England opportunities happen to overlap so we had a decision to make. We talked it over and decided the Colorado option might be a little easier to revisit at a later date but England is less likely to come up again for a long long time. My mom enjoys his company, and she'll be crossing the ocean soon, so Captainwow is getting geared up for that.

Meanwhile, back to the news.... Our entire household is in an adjustment period right now. We knew this day would probably come, and we were somewhat prepared for it but not in any practical way since it seemed for whatever reason that it would be a long way off.

Late May, Early June I began having little inklings that something might be on the horizon. We were getting ready for a garage sale, I was incredibly fatigued, though highly motivated - so I wondered if maybe we were "clearing out" to make room for something new. Among other symptoms, it began to appear likely that our very first month off The Patch had brought about immediate results.

Sure enough, I picked up a home test - and Captainwow interpreted the results as positive.
We captured the moment on camera:

All of this to say that Amazing Man and I are expecting a little one somewhere toward the end of February. We're pretty geeked about it.

If you pay any attention to my imood indicator over there on the sidebar you may have noticed I've been feeling "surreal" for about 3 months.
Well, that would be why.

Now that reality has set in more solidly (partly because I can't sleep on my stomach anymore) I'm feeling a little more expectant.

The cats have no idea what they're in for.... Well, we probably don't either.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"The Church"

I have a problem with how some people use the phrase "The Church." I mean that not just in the sense that the church is not a building. I think that idea has mostly sunk in for most people. When I talk about "The Church", I mean this group of people that call themselves followers of Jesus. Not any one denomination. I don't mean the "authorities" in the church. I mean the people that make up the Body of Christ. Most Christians know this but I still read and hear the phrase "The Church" getting abused on a regular basis and it really sits crooked with me. Like a big crooked, rickety rockety Crookedy Thing.

I've avoided blogging about this for a long time because I don't usually care to get all controversial and stuff on here. I started in on this topic one time on someone's blog comments in response to something they had written and their immediate response was very indignant. It was clear she misunderstood me until we went back and forth a few times... So before I go further, I would like to attempt to head off those same misunderstandings with a disclaimer:

I am not absolving churches or christians who abuse their power or positions. I am not making light of many people's horrible experiences in churches.

Religious abuse is real, and there are instances of it in all religions and mystical traditions. This is a fact, and it has damaged people's spirits in unspeakable ways.

Organizations are capable of abuse on many different levels: Microsoft, Kraft, The United States, GM, Burger King, Enron - all bad? All Good? Before we go heaping judgement it is usually a good thing to take a few steps back and remember that as a human race, we are all part of this. We cannot escape ourselves.

Most seasoned, spiritually evolved folks will tell you that It is hardly possible to return completely unscathed from attempting to be vulnerable in any kind of community. Hardly anyone can have gone to "church" and come away with no scars. It doesn't seem like it should be so, but it is true. I've even heard of people going to AA and getting hurt. People who group together in community hurt each other and entangle ourselves in dysfunctional relationships often without even recognizing it. We should know better, but we can't help it. However, that doesn't necessarily make "The Church" bad, or AA bad, or any other group inherently evil. It just means these groups of people consist of, well, people.

Groups of people - christian or not - can also heal, and help, and love, and play a role in the redemptive process.
This is also true.
And very important to remember.

But I digress... I mean mostly to talk about Christians here.
Using the phrase "The Church".
In a floppy manner.

The problem I have is when people say "The Church" did this and "The Church" does that. In conversation people sometimes say "The Church" isn't saying this or talking about thus and so. "The Church" never preaches about certain issues.....

"The Church" is not just some nebulous entity floating around out there in the ionosphere. Contrary to what we see on TV, "The Church" is made up of a tattered, motley bunch of people either trying or claiming to try to follow Jesus. Just like any other group of people, there are smart ones and, um, not-so-smart ones, and good ones and bad ones, and short ones and tall ones and sex addicts and alchoholics and nail biters and theologans and drug users and social workers and social climbers and tree huggers and kind people and mean people..... the list goes on and on. Give yourself a label, stick it in there, and you'll get my point very quickly. Who are you? Whom have you stepped on, ignored, offended, or otherwise damaged while participating in a church? It's humbling when we think of it that way.

Not all fellowships abuse. Not all groups of christians ignore women's issues. Not all churches neglect environmental issues. Women are respected, hold positions of authority, and people are shown Jesus' love (as well as is possible for humans) in thousands of churches around the world. Many churches corporately defend the helpless, do their best to feed the hungry and be a voice for those who have no voice. Many of them are doing a really good job. Many of them even evangelize in spiritually creative, natural, culturally relavent ways. They're out there... and most of them probably never even heard the word "emergent", by the way.

It might be a little like trying to imagine a totally loving, fully functional family. For some this is easy, for others it is hard. Some families get it about as right as humanly possible. Many don't. Some groups of christians get it "right" about as much as humanly possible. Many miss the mark by a long shot. "But," people say to me, "I've never experienced that kind of church." Logically, aren't there about a gazillion groups of christians meeting together in the world? Have you been to all of their meetings? Have you been to even 1/10th of them? Probably not. Even if a person were to think of themselves as an expert, it's very likely their experience is still limited simply because no one can get a lasso around this incredibly diverse organism called "The Church". Therefore, there may be a good deal of wisdom in keeping in mind how notably limited our individual experience truly is when it comes to this topic, and in using this phrase "The Church" in a more responsible manner.

emerging sideways...: a mirror to our souls

For a nitty gritty reminder: emerging sideways...: a mirror to our souls.

A very transparent post, I'm not sure "enjoy" is the appropriate thing to say... this makes me uncomfortable because it reminds me of me.

But at the same time I'm sayin' "Bring it, Bobbie!"

Deep Thoughts Not by Jack Handy

For those of you wondering about the Monster Zit... it's fine now. It lost the battle. I won.
So there.

The porch is lookin' GOOOOOD!
We still plan to stain it to match the door.
Next year: Landscaping.

A guy showed up on our doorstep to tell us his dad built our house and he lived in it the first twelve years of his life. He wanted to look around and he had a lot to tell us about the house - where the milk door was, where the icebox was, that the breakfast nook was original to the house. The floors and trim are original, etc... it was really fun. He might come back with pictures... we sure hope he does.

I didn't used to appreciate old things. I lived in a brand new house once for a while. At the time I thought that was just about the coolest. And it was nice. There's a clean feeling about that that I liked. No old fancy trim to try to get the dust/grime out of. No gaps in anything, no crappy half assed wiring jobs to try to work around. There's something really nice about that.
Now, I lean more toward character - even with some of the headaches that come with old houses. I like the old trim and the cool touches people used to put in their houses - back when they thought their children and their children's children would live there too. The pride that people put into their houses was about heritage, not just function and budgets and quick building. I wonder, what if we did that now? What if instead of thinking of a 10 year fix - or one that will just outlast our ownership - if we thought about our kids living in the house too? What if we stayed in one place, built community, built homes, built lives that included our entire families and our neighbors and their families.... What would that look like?
Well I suppose there are some folks out there who would remember. And I'm sure it's not all roses, but there have to be some benefits. I wonder if our culture will ever move back toward that...

And what about us? What if we learned to appreciate more the character that comes with age. What if we thought of laugh lines as Decorative Scroll Work? What if we didn't disdain the aging process so much? What if we didn't fight so hard against growing older but embraced it in ourselves and learned to respect the wisdom that comes with age and gray hair in others? Well, often wisdom comes. Other times........... yikes.

I wonder if there's a fad involved here. Remember when everyone painted all the trim in their houses? The thing was to "brighten everything up!" And now people spend dollars galore and time and sweat and tears to strip trim and restore the beauty of the wood. The old, old wonderful wood.

Maybe that will happen with people too. Someday maybe it will be in fashion to let our real selves show. The gray hair, the wrinkles, the liver spots. Maybe someday Anti Wrinkle Cream makers will go broke. Maybe someday it will be in vogue to listen to old people when we need advice and take time for them and to respect them. Maybe it will be cool to not fight so hard against who we will inevitably become no matter how hard we try to kick and scream and dye and cream away our fears.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Campy Post

Saturday, on a whim, we threw everything in the car and camped for a night about an hour away. We found a really quiet campsite and enjoyed being out in the woodsy, cool, campfire air. Since we keep our camping gear fairly organized, it only took us about 40 minutes and a trip to the grocery store to get us on our way. In the morning we dragged our campy, smoke-smelly selves into Brandywine and had breakfast. It was a very nice retreat.

For bonus points, I grew an huge, triumphant ZIT on my chin! Probably one of the top five, ever! Oh ya, I'm feelin' real purdy.

We chased down a Phantom Campground, which was also exhilarating. We have a gazetteer map that has all the roads in the state and it shows where campgrounds and boat docks and things like that should be. We arrived at Deep Lake, looked around, and decided we'd keep one site in mind to come back to it if this other campground we wanted to check out wasn't better. Apparently, the map indications of campgrounds aren't always accurate. We drove half an hour into the boonies away from the camp we already were at, just to find that the campground we were looking for didn't exist. heh. So we drove all the way back and the site we originally had in mind was still open. On our wild goose chase, we did spot a probable Sand Hill Crane and a Do Not Excavate Buried Fabric sign. (huh??)

So, if you're ever looking for a campground at Head Lake in Mighigan - don't bother. It's not there.