Motherhood Obsession

I’ve discovered that, for work, Twitter is a billion times better for getting my info/gossip fix than anything else and that I act like a total techie jerk when my boss sends me a message like, “This is something so and so should know about ASAP.” Meanwhile I’m thinking, “Yesterday’s news.”

And so if you’ve been following my personal Twitter feed you know that lately I’m all about my great parenting and how God commands my kids to acknowledge my great parenting. This swim suit spied at My Parents Were Awesome would enhance my great parenting, don’t you think? You can tell it’s the perfect swimwear for moms by how it accentuates the firmly-held hand of a young ‘un being dragged to the water. Seriously, I hope someone on Project Runway makes this suit this season. It’s freaking awesome! This is where you say, “Your obsessions are yesterday’s news.” Fortunately, I obsess a lot.

It’s hard not to. Moms get the blame for everything and when they aren’t the target for blame, then they are self-questioning or loathing. Choices, so many choices, with their pros and cons leave us looking over the fence where indeed the grass is greener (bending light, yo). Should I continue to pursue systems think, inquiry-based, performing/visual arts focused education for my kid in a happily diverse school? Or am I, like Hitler’s mother, creating spoiled darlings by encouraging their artistic ambitions though they have no talent? (Yeah, she totally got the blame for that! Fortunately, my spoiled darlings do have talent.) Screw it. If I’m going to mess up my ankle biting rugrats no matter what, then I’m going to have fun and I’m going to do it in that swimsuit.

Bocal Sandwich

Last night I went to a school meeting and made comments that I wasn’t ready to make. I drew blank and felt caught with my pants down. Instead of terror, some folks read passion in my voice. I guess that’s better? In any event, I woke up with “I should have said this instead” thoughts. At the school this morning, a few pals said they appreciated my emotional honesty, which totally grossed me out because, as Anneliese pointed out in a meme, this is the Midwesterner’s nightmare.

Later, I went to pottery and busted out the bottom of a casserole dish that otherwise would have been awesome. I’d worked on the dish for, oh, a month of classes. On the bright side, I still have an intact casserole dish lid. Now, what am I going to do with that?

The day wasn’t a total loss. Anna and I went to the Maderas Bassoon Quartet performance, which was the finale of St. Philip’s In the Hills Lenten Recital Series. Even if it wasn’t a Lenten recital, you could have guessed the host was an Episcopal church based on the music hall’s decor. Check it out.

The deep burgundy velvet draping, the gold gilded alter behind the piano, and hanging from the exposed industrial metal beams? Chandeliers. These are my peeps. No one questioned how enjoying this little concert helped us with our meditations in reflection of the sacrifice of our savior, Jesus Christ. Also, the quartet itself had just the tiniest hint of irreverent attitude. Take, for example, this excerpt from a bassoonist’s biography:

Cassandra Bendickson first became enthralled by the bassoon when a curious group of four bassoonists gave a concert … . She passed the time until her hands could finally fit the Great Bassoon by playing lesser instruments such as piano, viola, and clarinet. Finally, she could grasp the beast…. She is currently enslaved by the mantle of graduate studies in the great quest of Bassoon Mastery.

Can you believe that!?! She didn’t even mention me. All will be forgiven in time and just to show my own good will towards her, I’m providing a little lesson on the difference between a bassoon and an oboe, which is apparently a sticking point.

  1. You can hit a baseball further with a bassoon.
  2. A bassoon is better at a camp site because it burns longer.
  3. A burning oboe is useful when setting bassoons on fire.
  4. Bassoonists form very tight social bonds with other bassoonists because they are far too exclusive to mingle with other instruments.

I kid, of course. And I’m a hack. These must be the only bassoon/oboe jokes out there and I’m sure bassoonists are weary of them. I do realize this is a sensitive topic. I think the main difference is the bassoon is totally twisted. Seriously. See?*

Did I mention my jeans were too tight all day long? Oddly, they only got tighter as the day extended to night. I ended the day so overstuffed with melted cheese that no amount of metabolism in the world can take care of the bloat. If today were a sandwich the bread would have been livestock fodder, but the meat would have been hearty and uplifting.

* These images were totally stolen from here and here.

Jesus Can Suck It

With Ash Wednesday almost over I’ve made no Lenten promises. Just as well. In no way, large or small, have I been the sort of reflective, repentant, renunciationitive* Christian my parents and community of worship has taught me to be during this finite time each year.

I didn’t go to church for ashing (sloth). My diet consisted of potato chips, ice scream sandwiches, chocolate, and soda pop (gluttony). I ruminated over hawt Mz. Molly freezing her ass in Rockefeller Center (envy). I overly enjoyed the visage of my sparkly daughter in her sparkly hippster hat (pride). I stole kisses from an unwilling 9 YO boy (greed). I pinched the hubster’s behiney while he did dishes (c’mon who wouldn’t lust over all those clean dishes!).

AND THEN – I dropped $3.04 and the F bomb at Sonic. Ignoring the fact that the fam is on a spending freeze and I shouldn’t even be enjoying Happy Hour, I wanted an iced tea. We nearly hit 90 degrees today! When it came, I asked if the car hop brought sugar. “You should have asked for that when you ordered.” What? I just tipped the bitchette a buck. She can’t give me some damn sugar with a smile? “I’d like a packet of sugar,” I insisted. Clearly unhappy, the carhop walks away in a manner I’m sure my parents recall from 1985 or so. Not that I would ever have rolled my eyes at a dorky adult who couldn’t order right. The car hop returns later with pink packets. Pink packets! Is she TRYING to give me Alzheimer’s? “No thanks,” I say. Then as I turn to back up I say “I just wanted some fucking sugar” to the slushy grins of my children. Rooster plucking mother trucker! (WRATH ALL OVER THE PLACE.)

You know, I haven’t eaten red meat today. That’s always a good Lenten promise. Okay. Phew! I feel all better now. I love you Jesus!

* Okay, I made that word up because I love alliteration. It just goes to show (internal rhyme) how much I suck at Lent as I ignore all the rules.

Begging Your Pardon

Daddy-o’s thought for the day for February 19th:

One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend. Proverbs 17:9

From childhood I was taught to seek Jesus in everyone. The result is that I’m easy pickings for spare change requests. Earlier this week I was accosted at the grocery by a guy who wouldn’t shut it on his beg. This guy wouldn’t let up. He stood there blah blahing while I loaded the groceries from my cart to my car. I finally said, “That’s enough. I have $2 you are welcome to all of it.” I also gave him a banana. He walked off without even returning my cart as people usually do when I give them cash. That’s was definitely NOT Jesus nor even a friend.

Later I received a real-time communication that read, “Shouldn’t you be out raising chickens or saving the world or something?” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist. The writer immediately slammed the virtual door upon making this quip, leaving me no chance to reply. Well, looky here. I haven’t blogged since Daisy died and it’s not because I’m in mourning (though that really SUCKED). I’ve been living my not so fabulous life.

The past week, this life has required two souls to execute it and so the Hubster has helped as my right handed man – Mr. Right in all the right ways. Today as I was buried under Girl Scout cookie boxes, the Hubster attended church services for me. He summarized the sermon for me in part:

[The sermonizer] preached about “sodomy” as “inhospitality” in sacred ancient texts, not ass sex. Jesus didn’t talk about sex, he talked about the poor and the sick.

Other than this being HI-larious, as are most things the Hubster says, I am reminded of the myriad ways I’ve been inhospitable this past week. On the other hand, a friend delivered the most thoughtful apology this weekend. An apology shouldn’t have been required had I been more heartfully hospitable. More indication that my friends are way more awesomer than I – except for Wampus. He’s a snark and I can’t wait for the chance to slam the virtual door after I cut him to the quick with my quick wit. If only I had one.

Presents with a Presence

This is a participatory post, so you lazy lurkers put on your big kid pants and help a girl out.

I’ve changed my mind about hand-made pledges at Christmas. I tried it last year, but the store has good stuff too. I think “presents with a presence pledge” would be more appropriate for me. To ease into the holiday spirit and to put giving in the proper perspective, I plan to spend the next few weeks reflecting on gifts that affected me in a fundamental way. That includes the Molly Pitcher sheet music, gold-cup strung necklace, and “¿Eso si, que es?/SOCKS” (This gift here, what does it mean?) I mentioned in my previous post. I want YOU to leave a comment or a link to your blog post on meaningful giving.

I’ll get us started. Yesterday I was looking for love notes from the Hubster. I didn’t find any, but that’s something to hash out over dinner when it’s time to make the children cry. Instead I found the leather bound blank book my 6 YO girl’s great aunt sent to her, in which she wrote funny stories of her brother/my daughter’s grandfather. I was taken aback at how affected my daughter was by her grandfather’s passing all things considered. The two of them were lovely together and she took his passing hard. The journal from her great-aunt wasn’t just a way to pass on family history, but rather it honored the connection between a grandfather and granddaughter.

For Locals

I’ve just stepped off the curb with my “He Lives” sign and I’m all high on Jesus. I appreciate the welcome to ALL people (including Republicans) and, once a year, pets at my place of worship and want to give them a shout out for two of their upcoming events.

December 7th, Grace St. Paul’s is hosting an alternative craft fair. After the 8 and 10 a.m. services, tables will be set up offering you the opportunity to buy mosquito nets from the Episcopal Relief and Development to help prevent malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, a flock of chickens for a family in South America from Heifer Project International, or you can buy lovely handmade and unique crafts from African Team Ministries. Additionally, if you are crafty and would possibly like to have a table, it’s an open fair. But it’s THIS Sunday so call quickly, 327-6857.

December 14th, Grace St. Paul’s is having a Blue Christmas service for people who tend more toward depression than celebration this time of year.

Halloween Snapshot

Okay, I wanted to blog all this stuff about Halloween, but I neglected to attend to one of the more important tenants of publishing – deadlines. Of course for a blog, I don’t have to plan as far ahead as traditional publishing, but perhaps some of this would have been more interesting/useful BEFORE Halloween. It’s highly unlikely that my three readers would take a look at this today. In any event and without further ado, here are my Halloween snapshots.

First, we picked pumpkins. This was a time for funny faces and produce bigger than my baby. In AZ, we sell our pumpkins alongside dried chilies.

On to the massacre. The Weisers continue to invite us to Pumpkinpalooza in spite of the fact that we ALWAYS come. Robyn is a great pal who shows us a good time and feeds us well. Chili – YUM! I took a photo of my dinner. This year, I let the ankle biters carve their own designs with actual knives. No trips to the ER. Phew!

The 8 YO boy carved a bat in flight and the 6 YO girl carved a kitten cat. I scored a surplus pumpkin for free because someone dropped it. I carved snakes coming out of the resultant crack, which I had enlarged. We coated our pumpkins with Vaseline so that they would keep. We didn’t do such a great job this year and that, partnered with the heat, saw two of our pumpkins turn gross-out mushy.

I painted the girl’s fingernails orange, but it didn’t last. Then we roasted our pumpkin seeds. We washed the 3 or so cups of seeds, boiled them for 10 minutes in 14 cups of water and 14 tablespoons of salt, then coated them in olive oil and roasted them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. YUM! Better than I thought, though I’m not the sort who cares for the outer shell.

Finally, we are looking forward to Dia de los Muertos. The kids made sugar skulls at one of the school’s fundraisers. Cute huh? These were made sans glue, so they are entirely edible.

Anna and I have been talking about how fun and inspiring Dia de los Muertos is in comparison to the more somber Memorial Day. They each have their place. Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is celebrating the Feast of All Saints on November 1st and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) on November 2nd. I’m looking forward to bringing photos of my loved ones who’ve passed on to the services.

Check out posts from last year. Here, Here, Here, and Here.

A Bird Pooped on My Head

This is regurgitated from my old blog, which has privacy settings as I still like to be saucy and only care for my good buddies to know it. For this reason, the repost is somewhat edited – okay a lot edited. I hope it still makes sense. I wanted to post it because I ran across a blog that is freakishly familiar. Of course I could change my standard template, but that requires free brain cells. And anyway, what’s really similar is the random musings of mothers. Her recent post is about PTA power trips, but my immediate connection is about bird poo.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Although Jesse and I are both unemployed, we managed to swing a new Mac Book and a shiny red Jeep. After using my new Mac Book to finish a laborious proposal to fund the position I wish I had and then jumping in the shiny red Jeep with my recently heroed husband, a bird pooped on my head. And here I go again with my fantasy/reality struggle.

In the fantasy, a bird poops on your head and it’s good luck. The reality is that you have to wash your recently “done” do. What’s lucky about that? The fantasy of the shiny red Jeep with the top down is pretty much busted at that point too. The promise of employment and a flashy computer fade into oblivion once a bird poops on your head.

Not long ago, Jesse and I witnessed a maintenance wife in her shiny black Cadillac Escalade. On every level, a well-coiffed, well-appointed trophy wife is the ultimate fantasy for both men and women. The reality is that she was driving with Playtex gloves on to protect her manicure from the inky residue of the papers she was flinging out the window of that shiny black Cadillac Escalade.

What a cruel joke. God gives us everything we ask for and then we ask for more. “Ask, and it shall be given you… For every one that asketh receiveth… Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:7ish if I must proof text). In His infinite wisdom, He embeds karmic contingencies for which we did not plan.

I get it. I’m a parent. I want to indulge my children. Even so, sometimes my kids insist they can go to school without a coat and I comply only for them to realize that the tank-top/sandal option isn’t all that comfortable when it’s cold outside. I allow them to find out for themselves that a moment of sunscreen in the eye is preferable to a blistering burn. Then comes their next ask; “Why didn’t you bring my jacket? Will you please go get it? Can you tell the teacher to let me stay inside at lunch?” But, come on. Humans are fallible. Everyone knows that. Why did Jesus command me to ask when he knew how tricky his dad is?

A reminder:
Jesse had just returned from a 14 month deployment in Iraq. That’s how he was my recently heroed husband. Also, don’t be scared by my God talk. I don’t think I do it all that much and I’m certainly not out to convert anyone. I’m Episcopalian, for the love of God!

And now an update:
Jesse and I are no longer sponging off savings and manage productive, tax-paying lives. In fact, we weren’t really unemployed then, but “under”employed. So, don’t start sending the checks. Though if you are so inclined, I still haven’t funded my position yet.

God Bless the Rain

Did the prayer vigil work? Georgia got rain, but nine people in Tennessee were injured by the storm’s winds, including children injured by flying glass. Oh, and the storm also damaged the roof of a Baptist church. Georgia’s Governor Perdue said he wasn’t gloating, which I think is secret code for “nanny nanny nanny!”

Consider Luke 18:
10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

First, if God sent a storm because we asked for rain, did he also damage the church and hurt the children in response to our prayer? Call me unpatriotic, but I don’t think God works like that.

And B, what if Perdue focused slightly more on the fact that PEOPLE could have answered/prevented the prayer through less wasteful, more sustainable behavior? What if he asked forgiveness for his abuse of the gift God gave us? It’s telling that not enough rain fell to ease the trouble for Georgia. Perhaps more humility is in order for all of us.

Dirty Undies and Holy Water

I adore the Tree Hugger website. I like to read about people who know how to properly administer a hug to a tree. Sadly, huggers leap and bound in sustainably green fields beyond my fence until today.

Can you believe this? Bjorn Borg’s dirty undies for peace!

This is almost enough for me to buy expensive Swedish underpants. The website is hot too. I wonder if I could do that with my website at work….

Here’s another head turner. Spiritual Water!

From their website:
About Our Product:
Spiritual Water: Crisp, fresh purified bottled drinking water that will change your life.

Spiritual Water was born as bottled water with spirituality, positive thinking, prayers, God, and beliefs. You choose which bottle fits your needs and your feelings, read the prayer, drink the water, believe in God – and in yourself – and the sky’s the limit.

Spiritual Water feature beautifully rendered artistic labels that depict full-color images of holy person or symbols, with prayers in English and Spanish and/or inspirational words and messages. The Spiritual Water comes in 10 different versions – each with its own uniquely paired message and image. Each time you drink you benefit from the soothing, appropriate prayers, for added uplifting inspiration.

Okay, it makes me laugh. How many Jesus water bottles can you fit in a landfill? Is God not in my CAP water? Why is God filling these water bottles and not Lake Lanier? That Trinity! Always more questions than answers.

And Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue will host a prayer service next week to ask for relief from the drought gripping the Southeast. “The only solution is rain, and the only place we get that is from a higher power,” Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said.

That’s fine and good, but supposing God is playing bunco with the retired Greek and Roman gods who have tons of time. The game is just so darn fun and God is thinking, “They can help themselves for a while.” Wouldn’t it be a fine idea if we came up with plans that go just a itty bit beyond prayer? I say we shed this idea that God has given us “dominion” over the earth and instead found some gratitude for the beautiful blue globe he gave us, full of so many more gifts. If I were to spend a week meticulously creating a gift especially for someone, I’d get pissed to find it abused and discarded among the garbage – not to mention the fact that the garbage included images of my baby boy.

I think perhaps I could wash my “unsexy” undies in Jesus water and send it to warmongers (hmmm, to whom should I address the first pair?) and that would double my chances at a peaceable planet.