Friday, May 29, 2009

TBT's - Three Things That Bring Me Joy

haven’t done these in a while, TBT’s. Right now, here are ten things that are bringing me joy this week:

My best friend in the whole wide world, the one person who’s seen me at my worst stages of life, and loves me despite the ugliness, and encourages me, and is my biggest cheerleader, and who speaks truth into my life like no one else can, and who I actually listen to, Kari, is coming into town this weekend, and I have the great privilege of making her dinner at my place. Seriously, folks, to say that I don’t develop deep relationships easily (cough, cough, AT ALL) would be the biggest understatement of this blog. Kari is probably my longest, deepest friendship, and is living proof that I can do it - I can maintain a real, long-lasting friendship and not scare people away!

Could this weather be any nicer? I’m so working in my garden and getting those flowers planted tonight!! And I’m so going for a drive at lunch, for no other reason than to get outside! Speaking of my garden, I walked outside this morning to go to work, and a little bunny scampered away from my garden. So, I looked over, to my vegetable bed, to see what he had wrecked havoc on, and there, crouched all Thumper style, was his partner in crime, Other Bunny, sitting in my veggie patch, with, get this, sugar snap peas still hanging out of his mouth. Really Mr. Bunny? I was very upset. Even at the cute little fuzzy bunny. I told him so, too. Anyone listening would’ve thought I was nutso, but it came out like this “Mister Bunny! What are you doing in my garden?? You rotten little bunny, you’re eating my peas aren’t you? Oooh, Mister Bunny, you are in BIG trouble!” and then I shooed him off with the BCBG platform wedge that was dangling from my hand, because I hadn’t put on my shoes yet.

I got the chance to be at camp this weekend. Camp, which you’ll read in a forthcoming post, I promise, was amazing, and I didn’t want to leave, it was that wonderful of an experience. So, since I did have to leave, I made sure that I signed up to come back soon, and so, this brings me joy – I’ll be spending a week down at camp in June, working with the Senior High campers!! According to Debbie, the camp chef, I’ll be working with the kids to do an exercise very similar to Iron Chef, where they are given a secret ingredient (or ingredients) and then have to make something out of it. I’m so very excited – I get to go back to camp!

And, when I was down at this weekend, I had time to spend with two amazing people, E & S, my fabulous part time roommates. We had car lessons, and not just any car lessons, mind you, but I taught them how to drive stick. I got to teach them to drive stick!! Years from now, they’ll look back and say that they learned to drive stick from none other than me. I made a significant impact for good in their lives!! That was probably the highlight of my time down there. The four of us in the car (Ok, Josiah was in the backseat, machine-gun-giggling), laughing, screaming, praying for our lives, laughing some more. Me, trying the hardest I ever have, to display patience and grace and more patience, as I taught them and sadly recalling my own mother trying to teach me years ago, and scaring the bejeezus out of me with her mean, discouraging yelling, and then doing just the opposite for these two, even as S almost ran us up an embankment in front of Dave’s house.

Today, those are just three of the things that bring me joy. Enjoy!

Think Pink - Aka Thing I Saw Last Week

So here, finally, by popular demand, is a retelling of the incredible thing I saw last week.

So, I was on my way to work, Wednesday morning, and as usual I was running late. As I was approaching 62, off of Highway 100 heading South, I noticed that the traffic was going really slow on the right hand side. I figured there must be an accident or someone pulled over, and everyone was stopping to gawk, or rubberneck. As I approached closer, I found out that they were indeed stopping to gawk and rubberneck, but this was no accident. It was a definite train wreck.

There in the right hand lane, on Hwy 100, was this girl – this fat girl – on a pink scooter. Not just pink, but pink pink. And not just fat, but fat fat. And she wasn’t just on a pink scooter, she was mostly hanging off the sides of the pink scooter. It was like a big pink Hostess Sno-Ball on a pink flexi-straw. In a pink velour track suit. All pink. Cute little ghetto track suit, all in pink, just like her scooter. And here’s the best part, wait, wait for it, because it is le-gen-dary…. She had all this long blonde hair flapping all over the place, going crazy in the wind. I thought to myself, how can she even see to drive in that thing, with all that hair going everywhere? But as I pulled closer, which has hard, because everyone had slowed down to stare at her, it turns out , it wasn’t her hair at all. She had on a pink helmet, the same pink as everything else, and on the side, attached with two big pink bows, were fake blond pigtails. Flapping in the wind. It was so priceless that I only wished I had my camera with me at the time. Someone needs to get a picture of this girl, seriously.

Here’s the deal though – kudos to her for flying her freak flag high. I’m sure not that brave. I’d not be caught anywhere but on the sofa in a pink track suit. And yes, sadly, I do have one, though it’s not velour, and it’s from J.Crew, and it’s this distressed vintage kind of tee-shirt knit, and it’s got a hoodie and some yoga pants, and it’s more pink pink than pink. And now I’m thinking that it’s time to meet the garbage, because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wear it again in good conscience. Seriously though – girlfriend was not worried about the fact that she was only going about 35 or 40 on the highway, and she sure wasn’t worried about what people thought of her. She was just doing in her thing, bright and early in the morning, all matchy-matchy, and it was hilarious. All I can say, now, is good for her. I can only wish I had that kind of courage and confidence. You go girl!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Greatest Hits

Ok, so in light of the completely dramatic emo nature of the last few posts (stinking men!!).... here are a few of my favorite posts from years past. If you haven't read them already, I'd say give it a whirl. They're amusing, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and a good change from listening to me kvetch about some guy who doesn't deserve me.

Happy Trails, T

Marcus The Produce God
What This World Is Coming To
Oh By The Way
I Love Lucy - Just a note on this post .... I later realized, and we're talking much later, that the squirrel fighting I was referring to wasn't fighting at all. It took the wildlife wisdom of cousin D, to teach me that what I thought was fighting was actually mating. EWWW!!!!
The Problem With Polygamy - It's More Than Just The Clothes
A New Pest Problem
A Truly Sensitive Subject & A Very Serious Post
That Which Does Not Kill Me...
489 Reasons To Endorse Celibacy

Kinda Brainy
Lessons On Love, Submission & Elephants
Some Of My Favorite Things (Geek Alert)

Something Much Bigger Than Me

There you have it folks.... till next week, when I get back from camp, enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Change Of Perspective

Last night, after a really cathartic drive home, in which every window was down, I was scanning Hwy 100 for cops (already got one speeding ticket there), and where 93X was as loud as I dared to crank the limits on my poor little speakers (I do like me some Kings of Leon), I came home and collapsed on my favorite chair and cried my eyes out. I called up my friend M, who's more of a sister than a friend, and just cried, and bawled like a baby while she was at Target. In the midst of the sniveling, snotty tears, I got a tap on my shoulder and when I looked up, there peering around from behind the corner is my roommate's extended arm, beer at the end of it. I took it, thanked him & went back to crying.

I spent a good part of the night last night crying. Today, I still can't say why. There was just this anger that built up in me volcanically, at the realization that I can't, in my own power, make anything happen that God doesn't want to happen. And that, I think, hit me like a stone pillar to the gut.

I don't really care about the UCE that much.... romantically that is. I mean, I know deep down in my heart that I would never in a million years want to marry him. Why would I want to be that miserable? If I was miserable and felt alone and ignored when we were just hanging out together, why would I want to tie myself into that situation? And though he never gave me the honor of defining what I was to him, other than telling me how wonderful, and great, and beautiful and talented he thought I was (empty words really), in my heart I guess I knew he never really wanted to be with me, and I didn't want to be with him either. So, why then, did finding out he's in a relationship hurt that much? I know, know, know full well that he doesn't care about me!! So why have I even bothered to care about him?

Or was it really just pride? Anger? A lot of things other than a broken heart, that got to me last night? I really think that's what it was. My pride was wounded that someone that I thought should be an easy catch had moved on. I was so very angry because the Lord was once again showing me that His plan is not my plan, or desires, and really showing me the leaky faultiness of my plans and schemes. Here was my fallback plan (he was truly kind of a back of the burner Plan B), going all up in smoke, and the Lord was saying "You should never have had this plan to begin with. Embrace my plan for your life, and know that I am good". It was a lesson I've not been wanting to learn for a while.

But last night, as I sat on the front porch stoop at a friend's house, enjoying community, just being with other women who I love, and who are awesome and special, I realized that I have all I need right here. As M and I walked home and talked and processed she reminded me to be thankful for the way this door has closed, and with such finality. I've been asking the UCE to close this door for sometime, and his lack of respecting my wishes had finally wore me down into thinking he always had to be there in my life, in the background, "just as friends". Well no. This was God saying "you don't need this friend... you're moving on kiddo!" The Lord had done something extraordinarily good, something I couldn't do in my own power, and the hurt I had truly felt was His extraction of something bad out of my life.

This morning I woke up, yeah, still with the flu, but grateful, joyful and thankful that I no longer have to carry around with me the "what could've beens?" of his friendship. I'm done. Finito. Finale. Arriverderci amigo, you're in my life no more! I'm so happy and relieved. And though God's plan is still one I'm asking Him to conform my will to, one less obstacle in the way is a great place to start. And for those of you who might say I'm taking a harsh view towards someone, a person that God still loves and has a plan for, yeah, you might be right. But I trust in God to work in His life, apart from me. I've prayed for the UCE countless nights..... let God make him grow.

Anyways, without the joy of friendship and community and being able to be authentic with the people in my life, whether it's a roommate just wanting to watch a movie or three great women sitting on a porch last night, I don't think I would've seen this for myself for a long time. There's something to be said about driving fast, music loud, but the true blessing in all of last night's emo girl drama came from God using the people around me to cheer me up, offer me a beer and just chat for a while amongst some cloves. It really gave me a renewed perspective. And that brings me joy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Moment Of Extreme Vulnerability

Ok, so I know this post is going to be all awful and vulnerable sounding, and maybe even a lot Emo. But I am me, and this is where I process, and if as a reader you can't handle it, then don't read my blog ok? Ok, sorry, that's just me being defensive, because, something happened tonight, and I'm hurting & I just want to cry. I always do that - my first instinct is "fight". Second is "hide". Lastly comes "run", and it's usually to some good Bruce Springsteen if I can find it. By the time this post is done I'm sure I'll be in hide mode, wishing I hadn't written it. Hopefully 3/4 of a tank of gas and a pack of cloves will get me running far enough to get my head straight before I have to go home.

So, my heart is seriously breaking right now, and maybe in a weird way all over again. I'm sitting here at the Prairie-Brary, and I'm fighting back tears. It could be the flu, it could be I'm just a girl and this is what we do, but I'm really, really hurt. But here's why:

That oaf, that turd, that jackass of a jerk-man, the UCE is seeing someone. I think it's his ex-girlfriend, the idiot that came before me (me, you know the other idiot). And it's Facebook official (y'all know how serious that is!) And it's not like I'm so crazy about him that I pine for him every day. And it's not like I think he's the one for me, or who God wants me to be with, or even that he's that great to begin with. But something in me just broke today when I opened up my facebook, and there it was. He's in a relationship. God almighty, how my heart just dropped into my stomach. WHY??

Maybe it's just my gut reaction to the fact that he doesn't really care for me. No matter how he smooth talked me, or charmed me, or how affectionate he was the last time we saw each other, I guess it's just the knowledge that it was all a game and a joke to him. He was the Elvis-haired King of Mixed Signals. One day he'd be charming and affectionate, and be doing everything to lead me on, and then he'd dissapear back up to the frozen northen tundra, and it'd be as nothing ever happened. He knew how bad it hurt me, because I was quite honest in telling him. But it never stopped him from just doing it over and over and over again. I told him so many times that if he really cared he'd leave me alone, like for good, and ask him not to toy with my feelings, and he'd say he was so sorry, and blahblahblah, but then the next time he was in the cities, it would happen all over again. And to think that just three months ago I fell for this same old 'schpeel all over again. How could I have been that stupid?

So maybe my moment of vulnerability isn't me telling the world how he broke my heart one final time today, as much as admitting what a fool in love I've been. A stupid, ignorant, blinded fool of a girl! I know better than that. I trash-talk girls like that. I have tried to never be that girl. And he made me break not all, but a lot of my rules.

Anyways, that's it. Today, I went on facebook, and I happened to see that he had a status update, and there it was, staring me right in the face. He's in a relationship. By the way, the first thing I did was to click on her name, to pull up her picture. I mean come on, I may try to be smart, I may try to be godly, but I am just a woman after all. And you know what? She's not even that cute! I mean, I know I'm not Cleopatra (or am I? haha) but she's got fake dyed hair, and a cat! Ew!

In the end I take this small consolation, and trust me, right now, it is microscopic - This was the last redhot bamboo splinter of pain that he gets to drive under the fingernails of my heart. I am done. Done, done, done. D-O-N-E, done. Wait, ok, not 100% done, I just have one more thing I need to get out, and since I'm at the Prairie-Brary, and this is the best I can do ........


Whew. Too bad that didn't feel that good. Right now, nothing is going to feel good. I just need to get in my car and drive and cry. That, that might feel good. Sorry for the emo vulnerability y'all... but that's all I have for now.

The Taming of the Shrew & Other Shakesperean References

Ok, so in all fairness, I wrote this on Friday, with every intention of posting it then. Then the flu happened this weekend, and here I am just posting it now. Just pretend with me ok?

Urgh... it's been quite a day. The day started out really good, it really did. I got up early to get some reading done, and felt good about that, especially considering I got two big chapters wiped out before 7 am. I am wearing my adorable Gap Bell Jeans (supposedly their biggest "bell" yet), and a very hip looking purple cardigan and my favorite tribal-looking accessories. It's a really good look today, I must admit. I did try a little harder this morning, as I am going to an authentic Mexican dinner & tequila tasting tonight. And not that there's anyone there I'm dying to impress (there's not, trust me), I'm just excited about the dinner in general. And, adorable S, one of my wonderful part-time roommates, entertained me this morning with her Boondy rap, on the way out the door. Boondy is a fictional character that we've sort of adopted at 4335. If our house had a house band, which we don't yet, but if we did, it would be strictly covers of Flight of the Conchords songs, by the band members, Boondy, Voldie, Mohinder and the Hiphopopotamus. That's our code names. I'm Mohinder. Don't ask. "There ain't no party like my Nana's tea party... heeey, hoooo".

Anyways, all this to say, it started out great. But by the time I got to work, it was rapidly descending downhill, like a California mudslide after fire season. Down, down, down we go.

The craptastic start downhill started at the Eden Prairie Starbucks, at the EPC Mall. Now I should really know better than to go there in the mornings, as the place is usually packed out with the kind of people that annoy me, but alas, I still haven't learned. This annoyance covers the majority of the soccer mom's in there, with their perfectly foiled highlights and their perfectly bleached teeth, and their perfect toned, tautness in their perfect Juicy Couture sweat suits and their perfect Coach bags,and oh barf! But sadly, it even extends to the women behind the counter, who are unparalleled butt kissers to most of their customers. I say most, because it doesn't include me. In their defense, I must hand it to these gals - they know everyone's names and drink orders. But the unctuous way in which they grovel to the customers they are on a first name basis with is nauseating. Do they really know or care about "Chris", in front of me in line enough to be grinning that foolishly as they brown-nose him, and recite his drink order, which they proudly know by heart? Or are they merely vying for a decent tip? Or are they really just so entranced with these cut-rate versions of bourgeois suburbanites, that they treat them like celebrities? Trust me, I worked in a coffee shop/bakery for about a year, and none of us cared that much about the customers that came in regularly that we would grovel and preen them like that. Maybe we were the "Waiting" version of coffee shop staff, but somehow I doubt it.

Anyways, by the time I left there with my Cinnamon Dolce Latte, I was already slightly peeved. But not enough to let it get to me, or ruin my day. Little did I know that all of that was about to change shortly. As I was driving along the perimeter of the mall (while still on the mall premises), this woman, this awful, typical Eden Prairie woman, in her awful, typical Eden Prairie SUV, pulls out of the TCF parking lot, and turns left into the lane next to me, to drive along the perimeter also. Except, that instead of turning left and staying in her own lane, the left one, she immediately, in the turn, continues into the right hand lane, which I'm in, and proceeds to run me off the road, and up the curb, and into the grass, and manages to clip my bumper in the process. All while I'm laying on my horn trying to get her attention so she stays in her own *CENSORED* lane. So, there I am, halfway up the curb (the front half, to be exact), yelling and cursing (yes, I admit), and she keeps on driving. She hit & ran me!!!

OMG was I pissed. Because as I was sitting there, I could see her looking at me in her rearview mirror, and in a brief flash of time, our eyes met. I am convinced that in that moment in time, she knew that I knew that she was going to just keep going, and drive on. And that's what she did. That's exactly what she did. So, what what did I do? Well, I gassed it, and I got off the curb, and I caught up with her of course. And when I got parallel with her, I rolled down my window and motioned her to pull over, and stop. Now, I know my face was probably beet red at this point. Unlike Lady Gaga, I have no Pokerface, none whatsoever. But, I was trying to keep calm, and maintain some composure, because I knew that if I didn't my temper would get the best of me and I'd say something I'd regret and most likely start an argument with this Barbie, and that would only lead to me punching her in the boobie, Ana Farris style (please tell me you've seen the House Bunny, folks!). And I am mad - I mean really mad (have I said that already?), but I was really trying to not let it show in my face. So by the time she finally pulled over and we both exited our cars, and she gave me this blank, vapid look like "What?", I had calmed down enough to tell her nicely "Umm, you hit my car". To which she replied... oh man, get this... "Really?"

Now come on, what is it with these women? These arrogant, entitlement driven women, who drive around the suburbs acting like they own everything, including the road. Honey, you may have paid for your boobs and paid for your nose (or maybe I should clarify, your daddy did), but you haven't paid for the road, and so I still think I deserve my fair space on it. I know this is going to sound bad, and I know just how bad this is going to sound, but I am really so sick and tired of these blondes. (Wait, that's not fair. I'm pretty sure those were bleach foils.) I know it's not fair for me to say that, because I'm classifying a behavior into a larger stereotype. And some of the women I love most or think are hilarious are blondes, like J or L or Ana Farris or Amy. But for the most part, yes, I am tired of them as a whole.

My roommate "R" (for roommate) and I have had this discussion many times, and he's convinced I just don't like any women that aren't brunettes. I told him he's wrong though, I do have a healthy respect for redheads. I think though, that he might be somewhat right. He & I have had the whole Angelina vs.. Jen debate, and I do stick to my guns here, and say that I believe Angelina can do no wrong. I have no valid answer for why Jennifer Anniston just annoys me, but she does. She just does. Yet, intelligent, classy brunettes like Jennifer Connelly or Eva Mendes are ranked as some of my favorite actresses. Looking at my favorite actresses, I can't say that two blonde makes it to the list, though one redhead does. Lucille Ball. But come on, who doesn't love Lucille Ball?

Anyways, all this to say I'm highly prejudicial, but prejudices and stereotypes, in my opinion, need at least some basis for becoming so, and in my case, it's women such as the one who hit me today who feed that fire.

Speaking of fire, and my temper, and brunettes - so this week, before work at the Dunn Bros, one morning, I took, on Facebook, the quiz "Which Shakespearean Character Are You?" and the result was hilarious indeed! Apparently, I'm Cleopatra, temptress off men Roman. Sexpot of the Shakespearean scenes. Yep, me. Hahah! Ok come on, I may be of the superior hair color, but to take it so far as to say "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety; other women cloy the appetites they feed, but she makes hungry where she most satisfies....", that might be going a bit far.

Yet, upon further pondering, I would have to say that there are some base elements of her character, whether fictional, or historical, that I can relate to. She had a Mediterranean look, so I'll give you that. And supposedly she was very intelligent, and a good reader of human nature, and used that to her advantage. Okay.... She was reported to be manipulative, but that's one characteristic I try to stay away from, as it does strong disservice to my faith and who I want to be as a woman. She was in love with two very rich, powerful men, and held sway over them with great prowess. Ok, maybe not that part so much. But she is called the most complex female role in all of Shakespeare, and not that I'm bragging or anything but I would say I have certain levels of complexity. Kinda. She is frequently vain and histrionic. Ok.. Yes, that I admit to sometimes. And according to the quote "I saw her once, Hop forty paces through the public street, And having lost her breath, she spoke and panted, That she did make defect perfection, And breathless, pour forth breath." she was quite the drama queen with a talent for performance. Have you ever seen me tell a good story, particularly about one of my many first date blunders??

Ok, so all this Cleopatra comparison aside, I guess today I need to take a great big look at who I want to be as a woman. Do I want to emulate women of this world, whether long dead and gone by asp, or still here with us, Stepford examples of rudeness and vanity and inconsideration? Or do I want to pave my own way, be an intelligent and godly influence and sister to S & E, those adorable young women I live with, or Beef, across the street? That takes a lot of hard work and forethought. It means controlling my temper, modeling patience and mercy to people around me, and keeping a joyful heart even amidst querulous attitudes about clipped bumpers and blondes. I may not be rich, or beautiful, and I may not have plays written about me, a legend among women, but who I am, and who I want to be is more than Gap Bell jeans and a Starbucks. I am rich and beautiful in the growth of Christ like character, and the price He paid for my soul. And all the silver SUV's and Shakespearean lines in the world cannot rob me of that. I'm so happy to be proud of who my Christ is making me. It's not blonde, and it's not royal, but I think it's rather good.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Pressure Is On!

So, I've had three people tell me this weekend/week to post already. Geez!! I have all these great posts floating around in my head, but sometimes they're appropriate and sometimes they're not (too vulnerable, too indicting of someone else, too silly & random). Sometimes they're short and I can whip them out, and sometimes, well not so much.

So this one is going to be about what's new in my life. Briefly. Hahah, or so you think.

First of all, I had a huge prayer answered this morning, and my lease is being renewed for another YEAR!!!! I'm just so excited, so thrilled, and so blessed beyond words. I love the house I live in, and I want nothing more than to live there for as long as I can. I'm definitely putting in those blueberry bushes now, because by this time next year I could be seeing something come up. And, that means I will be able to decorate for Christmas this year too, and I know the house is going to look so adorable all Christmased out!! And my roommate, R, (for roommate of course) will in all likelihood be staying too, which is an answer to prayer. Really after living with so chill a roommate, the thought of finding anyone else that tolerates my randomness, my introvert-driven quiet spells and my ridiculous collection of high heels in every corner of the house, is both daunting and slightly disappointing. I guess he does try on the heels every once in a while though, so maybe that was incentive enough for him to stay. But to hear that I won't have to make that search for some time now, well that's great news. Really, really great news.

In other news this morning, I got told off by some weirdo hippie old guy at the Dunn Bros in Eden Prairie. Sometimes, if I wake up and roll out of bed early, and I can decide what to wear right away, I actually have time to go online at the coffee shop before work. Not often, but sometimes. The whole deciding what to wear to work thing is more brain-challenging than most people would imagine. I used to try laying out my clothes the night beforehand, but inevitably I wake up and my mood is different than the night before and I want to wear something else.

Anyways, so this morning I woke up, and wanted to be comfortable, and not wear anything too fancy, so here I sit in my black Gap work pants and a white cardigan with a white tank top underneath and some black gladiator sandals and tribal looking jewelry. Pretty darn simple. So, needless to say it didn't take me long this morning to get ready. Which meant I could head over to Dunn Bros and grab a coffee and get on Facebook for a few minutes before work. Except when I got there, there was this weird, old hippie guy on the computer. No worries, I thought - I'll just grab my coffee, and sit down and read till he gets off. I mean, there is a sign clearly posted that the time limit is 15 minutes. So I did, I took a seat at a table, and I waited, and waited, and waited. And when about 17 minutes had passed, I started tapping my toes rather loudly, and clearing my throat. You know, in that kind of Minnesota passive-aggressive way. He gave me a look once, but never indicated that he would be getting off the computer. So, then, when about 20 minutes had passed, I walked over, and very politely said "Excuse me, umm, sir, I'd like to get on the computer, and you've been on it clearly over the 15 minute time limit. I wonder, would you mind just letting me have a turn?". At which point he stood up, with his bushy grey beard, and his ratty camouflage hoodie, and his overgrown grey poofy hair, and his Birkenstocks (come on!!, really??) and he moved away, but not before he uttered, under his breath "Bitch". Whoah gross-gramps, way to be a jerk!

Now, here's the thing - I had very little respect for this man to begin with. From where I was sitting I could see over his shoulder at what he was surfing. And let's just say that creepy old men like that should not be looking at pictures of Miss California, Carrie "I-Love-Jesus-AND-Showing-My-Boobies" Prejean in just her skivvies. (More better on her below). Not only was he checking out Miss California's nudie pics, but he was also surfing some dating website, looking at profiles of women that were young enough to be his granddaughter. Eww! Pervy old fart. After he called me a bitch, I completely lost any and all respect for him as a fellow citizen, and the gloves were off. Seriously.

I'll be honest, guys like him creep & gross me out. Maybe he's a good guy, maybe he's someone's dad, etc. But for him to be surfing those sites, in a public place, at 7:45 in the morning is just a little weird. And really, I don't think a respectable, upstanding older gentleman would be hiding his face behind all that gross, bushy grey chin pubes. It's just not a clean look. I will admit though, that I was surprised this morning to find myself so clearly influenced by someone's appearance, and not to have recognized it till after the fact. This man was just creepy looking, I think he may have even had crazy eyes. But a big part of it was the bushy grey beard. How can anyone think that's attractive? Even still, I do recognize that he is a human being, and Jesus died for his sins the same as mine. God has a plan for his life, though from looking at him, all I could think was that I hoped it included a razor.

Now, here's where I'm going to go off on a bit of a rant. Can I just say that I have no problem with Miss California, Carrie Prejean, when it comes to the issue of her answer at the Miss USA Pageant, or her media comments on same vs. opposite sex marriage thereafter. I support her stance, and admire her courage to speak out when asked what she believes. What I do have a problem with is that she is wearing her Christianity like an advertisement splashed tautly across her perk fake breasts. In a debate with media ho' Ken Olbermann, one viewer described her like this "Carrie Prejean may be a beautiful woman, with the problem that she reflects the "Barbie" or cardboard cut-out of Anglo-Saxon beauty. There is nothing about her that makes her special: she is everywoman's magazine model. All of them rolled into one soft porn image. And not only this but the brains of an infant. Yaaaaawn." This is how the world is seeing her, as a physical retooled tool. A beautiful (albeit cookie cutter) yet inconsequential woman. Sadly though, she is also known as a follower of Christ, and this is a fact they will not let slide either, and rightly so. My question is this - Don't we have a greater responsibility than to shine as a dim, dumb, light? Yes! We have are called to represent, to a skeptical and raving world, a picture of intelligent, responsible Christianity.

What's more... this is the image of Christian faith that young women growing up in the church are expected to look up to? She is lauded by the more conservative movements, for her outspokenness regarding opposite marriage, which automatically places her in the role of a role model. But can you be a Christian role model and an underwear model at the same time?

I think of certain young women I know, who claim faith in the Lord, and are quick to remind people how much they love Jesus... just after they post their latest, greatest party pics on Facebook. "Yep, here's me, showing off my booty, posing in my undies, mock-kissing my girlfriends, beer in hand, cigarette dangling, etc, except, oops, I forgot, here's my Bible too.... I have to rest my drink on something!" My heart is flooded with pity and pain for these young women and their choices. They have no idea what they are truly doing, or how they are searing their souls - they are unaware of the hurt they are causing themselves, in what I believe is an act of trying to mask or hide pain to begin with.

The fact is, there are just too many young women facing this issue already, for us to need any more in the public spotlight, trying to be role models. While Miss Prejeans actions, of knowingly exposing her breasts for some pretty damn racy lingerie photos, are clearly in the past, and none of us can know her feelings regarding her decision, her influence as a Christian woman, is relevant now, especially as conservative groups rally behind her. And if they're standing behind her, you can bet so are their 17 year old daughters. What more license does a girl on the brink of such decisions need? And while her fearlessness to speak out regarding her faith is admirable, the glossed over endorsements from this current action will only serve to anesthetize young Christian women to the gravity of her previous behavior. Urgh.... as if these fake Barbie types didn't annoy me enough? Carrie Prejean has either GOT to get a clue, or stop setting herself up as a spokesperson for Christians!!

Wheww...... I think I can take a breath now.

Ok, so now that I've gotten off my soapbox, as well as clearly admitted what a prejudiced little brat I really am, maybe I should talk about something nicer? Wow.... way to deflect from my own shortcomings, right? Let's talk about something that brings me joy, and doesn't get my blood boiling. I found a website that I fell in love with... and it's all about cupcakes. Whoever this Cupcake Goddess is, I want to learn from her. I want to sit at her feet and just be her disciple and learn. The cupcakes that she creates are amazing little pieces of art. I went through her blog to try and find a favorite one to post here, but every post is better than the next. And, get this, she makes shoe references all throughout her blog. In one post, she actually says "I think that frosting is a personal thing, just like shoes. Some prefer simple while others prefer something more extravagant. I would venture out to say that my buttercream is like a Louboutin or maybe a Manolo stiletto." Wow!! My hero! All I can say is that if you're a fan of cupcakes, or just want to see some amazing, blatantly feminine, edible art, you have to check out her blog. You just have to! It's completely inspiring.

Well, that's all I've got today kiddos. Sorry it's not more exciting, but I had all the excitement zapped out of me just in trying to write that piece about Miss California. Not to mention the energy it took last night, to try and keep up with the Bender/neighbor kids for a few rounds of In A Pickle (apparently, Risk isn't the best choice when A. I'm tired & B. they've got a 9 o'clock curfew). Even though I was completely wiped, even before they came over, it was a fun evening, and I'm just happy that I have neighbors I can be in community with. It's just one of the many blessings of living where I do, and since I get to be there for another year, I better appreciate it. I do, I really do.

Monday, May 04, 2009

This is bad! Crushes & Autism & Jesus, Oh my!

I have a crush. I do. I am trying soooo hard not to though. So hard, really. But when I get like this, all girly and dreamy-eyed, I'm just a complete dork who can't string two words together into a coherent sentence. And I look like a goofy faced koala bear all hopped up on eucalyptus leaves and daydreams with a big, silly grin on my face.

I really hope this doesn't last too long. I need to snap out of this pink swirly clouded fog and come back to the reality that I really don't think he is that into me. Of course, I did balance all this self-doubt with a good chat with my best guy friend this morning, in which I related all the details every conversation we've ever had, and every look he's ever given me, and everything he's ever done, etc. I made him listen to every little nuanced detail, and at the end he came quite close to bopping me upside the head and saying "Are you kidding me? He likes you. You can't see that?" No, honestly I can't. I mean, there's no way on earth I could ever get that lucky, cuz this guy is Qual-i-ty! I still don't believe, and would like to move on past this as soon as possible, please. Preferably into a big glass of Cabernet and a good book.

Anyways, 'nuff said. What I really got excited about today was the fact that posted an article today stating that researchers are finding links to autism even as early as infancy. This is huge!

For most parents, the first age of concern over a potentially autistic child's behavior is around 18 months, but the typical age for diagnosis isn't till about 3. That's a pretty big gap to be left wondering, as a parent, if your child is ok. And while researchers are finding that there are "clues" that infants and young toddlers are giving that are signs of autism related disorders, they're also saying that 18 months is too early for a concrete diagnosis. Understandably, all babies develop differently, and show interest in varied objects or actions. And the signs that characterize autism, such as delayed speech or repetitive motion or fixation on a specific object or toy, are skills that babies as young as 18 months have not fully developed yet. The article states that instead of using what is there to identify autism at such an early age, doctors are using what isn't present in a babies behavior to diagnose it. I guess that makes sense.

Yet, as I read this article, I was struck by the sheer injustice of this sentence "Among the telltale signs of trouble at 12 months: ....lack of joyful expression". Of course, an absence of babbling, lack of eye contact, and staring at inanimate objects for too long are also signs, but really? Lack of a joyful expression? I may be over reacting (I really don't think I am), but that kind of injustice is indicative of the fall of man to me. If there is any creature alive under heaven or earth that should have a joyful expression it's babys!! To me, the saddest thing in the whole world is a sad baby. Or one that lacks a joyful expression. Nothing makes me more passionately vehement!

Yet, amongst this sad news, comes acknowledgement by a trusted media source that early intervention can prevent or reduce the development of Autism symptoms. While it's true that researchers strongly suggest early intervention as a key to improving the outcome for at-risk infants and toddlers, it's so reassuring to hear state it in the face of so many skeptics who deny that fact. The Austism community has long held the view that at-risk children can be prevented from becoming fully autistic through early assistance and strong intervention, such as GF/CF diet or parental interaction exercises. To see it in print in a mainstream magazine is not a little victory.

Now, speaking of autism, as you can often find me doing, has anyone else seen this post, of Jason McElwain, the autistic high schooler from New York, who scored 20 points in four minutes during is one and only stint in his team's high school basketball game? What an awesome kid. You have to watch this! I cried. Yeah, I do that a lot though.

Ok, so on to wrapping things up. Before I go, I am lifting up a challenge to myself, at the prompting of the Lord through the words of others and the conviction in my own heart. To start writing again.

I've been hearing a lot lately, and from varied sources, that I need to start writing, and I don't just mean here, on my blog. I know they're only recycling what my Jesus in my heart tells me all the time, yet it's a message I can't seem to ignore lately.

Even the UCE, an accomplished writer himself, said something along those lines recently, when he wrote me on Facebook and said:

"On a semi-related note, why didn't i know you had a blog?"

Ummmm, maybe because I never told you, so I could write about you on it.

"I hope you don't feel like I was peeking into your head or anything,",

Yeah, I kind of did.

"But I have a couple things to say: 1. For what its worth, I'm sorry about being the UCE. It was never my intention to make you feel unappreciated or ignored. You deserved better than I gave you - and I'm not just saying that because (censored for privacy's sake) - I'm saying it to my friend Trinette, who I wronged. I am sorry. 2. You're a hell of a writer. You should write more. You have a tremendous talent for making me smile, and making me feel what you feel when you write. (I should know, I spent the last hour reading this stuff) You are self depreciating without being self-pitying, tremendously entertaining, and incredibly brave in your honesty, and thats incredibly cool. You have great tastes, and keep me interested enough to read the next posts - even when I know they're about shoes . . . Well done. Seriously."

Ok, so I didn't have to post the first thing he wrote. I know that. But after spending about two years of my life caring deeply about this guy, holding out for him to change his mind about what was going on with us, then being led on and crushed more than a few times, as well as the 100% confirmed, official, world's worst Valentines Day e-card, I kind of am thinking he deserved it just a tad. He's a solid guy, really, and a fantastic writer, and I used to be just crazy about him. But he's right, I deserve better. And well maybe so does he.

Anyways, he is a guy who's opinion I value very much, and who's taste I find darn near awesome! Culturally, he's everything I wish I could be, and so to have him critique my writing so favorably was a huge compliment for me. One ladled with meaning and one I don't take lightly. J - for that, thank you.

Then, in the last week, two other wonderful women of God have reiterated the same thought - you should be writing. I went to bed all hopped up on Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi last night, and didn't get a wink of sleep thinking about all the things I want to write about, and all I have to share. And yes, my new crush. But seriously, this writing thing - I can't get it out of my head!

I made the confession to one of my friends yesterday that the reason I don't write seriously is because I feel I don't know how, and am too lazy or scared to do anything about it. No sooner did I post that on my facebook status this morning than the husband of an old friend emailed me to say he's teaching Creative Writing classes this month in Stillwater? What??? Really God? Awesome!

This is a huge challenge for me, and one that I'm willing to take. After spending the last few months asking God to show me my gifts (I've got to be able to do more than just cook), and to show me how someone as craptastic as me could possibly glorify Him, I'm starting to see that when we ask, He answers. And I can't deny His voice.

So I want to do this. I want to learn, and to be heard. I have a story to tell, and I'm not sure what it is. If it's about me, then whoah, I can't do this in my own strength and without being broken and humbled. I really don't want to. But, if it's to just tell young women, whom I have such a strong heart for, how wonderful they are in God's eyes, how He dances over them with joy, how He cherishes their attention, then I embrace it wholeheartedly. I just ask the Lord to please tell me the story, and let me listen hard enough, eyes squinting closed, to hear it and tell it right.

I thrill at the prospect of a life filled with meaning. Maybe the crush does like me. Maybe one day I will be a real writer. Maybe one day I can change the life of just one child with autism, preferably my own nephew's. There's so much potential floating out there in the world, like specks of dust in a hazy summer light. I want to run and catch it all in my arms, and whatever I end up with is good enough for me, oh my.

Movies I'm Geeked About Seeing

I could totally state the obvious here, like Wolverine:Origin, or Star Trek, but anyone who knows me knows that I'm a card carrying member of Dorks United, a fan group run by 43 year old men still living in their mother's basement. Instead, I'd like to point out a few other movies that you might not have thought of, such as....

The Brothers Bloom - Mark Ruffallo is so handsome! Those big brown eyes and that scruffy/wavy hair! Is there anything he's been in (besides the brutal rape violence and infidelity of Blindness) that I haven't just enjoyed watching him in? Nope, not really - he's completely charming to watch. And Rachel Weisz's performance looks so free spirited and fun. She's such a phenomenal actress to begin with, and this seems like a refreshing performance after some of her more grave roles. Rumor has it that she learned how to play piano, violin, accordion, banjo, break-dance, juggle, do karate, play ping-pong, ride a unicycle and even skateboard for her role as Penelope. Whew!! I'm anxious to see both her and Adrian Brody step into something a little more comedic, if for no other reason than as a litmus test of their acting chops and timing. This movie seems to have a very lighthearted appeal, though, and that should make it a nice balance after delving into movies such as.....

Terminator Salvation - Ooooh, doesn't Christian Bale make such a good John Connor? Epic casting! This could really be the second best Terminator movie ever. Salvation seems to have the jumbo-sized special effects that one would expect from a Terminator movie while delving into the more human points of Connor's struggle with learning the truth about Skynet while fueling the resistance's efforts to bring them down. With narration by Linda Hamilton, and a cameo from the governor of California, this really should be something to see! But will it be as much fun as....

Land Of The Lost - Ok, honestly I don't know that this movie is going to be more than just a piece of cheapo fluff with mediocre comedy, like most of man-boy Will Farrell's movies lately. In the trailer, I find myself rooting for the clandestinely cut Matt Lauer to kick Will's droopy white butt. After all, this is one of those shows from the 70's that my brother and I would watch all hopped up on sugar cereals, bouncing our heads and singing along to the theme song. And though the show had dinosaurs, and kids, and creepy looking Slestaks, really to us, as to many kids of our generation, it was all about Chaka. Good old furry monkey dude Chaka. There's a certain level of nostalgic loyalty inherent in all these memories. Sid and Marty Kroft, the original creators of the show are on board this 2009 remake, which from what I've read translates into some of the original campiness remaining in place, so that's reassuring. The scene where Marshall and his associates go through the gigantic underground waterfall to enter the Land of the Lost looks so much like those old scenes at the beginning of the show, that I hold out the highest hopes that this movie will not disappoint original fans. Speaking of beloved franchises ....

Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince - SPOILER ALERT!!! Oooooh, we've waited a long time for this movie, as it's original release date last year was postponed for what seemed no good reason. I can't wait to see this next installment in the HP series, wherein Harry learns more about the untold history of Tom Riddle, aka Voldie, Deatheaters start their fierce attacks on Muggles and Diagon Alley, Harry and Ginny finally kiss, the soon-to-be climatic element of Horcruxes is introduced, and in what sent shockwaves through legions of fans everywhere, Dumbledore buys the farm. Yep, as the series winds to a close, with only one more book left to be released in cinematic form, and dear little unibrowed Daniel Radcliffe starting to show his true age of somewhere in his twenties, I am becoming more and more anxious for these abbreviated forms of the classic novels to come out. July couldn't get here sooner.

Dead Snow - or Dod Sno as it's called in Norwegian. I just like saying Dod, you know. In the meantime, can I get a YES!! A Norwegian Nazi Zombie movie? How unreal! The premise goes something like: Snowmobiling vacationers are staying at a cabin in the mountains for Easter vacation. During WWII, the cabin had been used by a group of Nazi's, who had been raping and pillaging the local villagers. In retribution the villagers had chased the Nazi's up the mountain, where they froze to death. The vacationers, also medical students, find the treasure that the Nazi's had stolen and as a result, the Nazi's emerge from the frosty white ground and are coming to reclaim their gold and feast on the hapless vacationing victims. There are chainsaws, and machine guns, and subtitles. The fat Chris Farley looking dude, and the chick with the dreads are my first vote off the island, as from the trailer, they seem the most annoying. This looks like it could be a fresh retake on the typical Zombie flick. With a tagline like "Eins, Zwie, Die!" one can only hope. But really, if it's WWII inspired European violence you're after, then what about ...

Inglourious Basterds - Yep, it's the new Tarantino flick. The one that took him ten years to write. The one that holds out the motto, "There are no crimes behind enemy lines" and has a southern-drawled, Clark Gable mustachioed/lookin' Brad Pitt telling the Jewish-American soldiers under his command that each and every one of them owes him 100 Nazi scalps, and he wants his scalps. With two intersecting storylines, IB is touted as a Spaghetti Western with WWII iconography (the cinematic influence of past crushes aside, I do love me a Spaghetti Western). I'm sure this movie will have plenty of brutal violence, in the genre of Tarantino of course. But I would venture to bet that under the historical circumstances it seems less gratuitous than previous Tarantino flicks. I could be wrong, but only August will tell.

In the meantime, I do have a few Honorable Mentions:

Public Enemies - Now I've had a stake in this on HSX since I don't know when. It is Michael Mann, after all. And Johnny Depp. And Christian Bale. And Marion Cotillard. And after so many years without anything as wonderfully depictive of that area as the Untouchables was, I can't wait to see John Dillinger's story brought to life by the enormously gifted cast and crew.

Night At The Museum II. The first one was amusingly pleasant, if not a bit juvenile and predictable. This one has all the old cast returning, including Robin Williams as the most convincing Teddy Roosevelt. Even more exciting though, is one of my favorite actresses, Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart.

And there are even a few that you couldn't drag me to kicking and screaming

The Explosive RoboPorn of Transformers II
Tom Hanks and that awful hair in Angels & Demons
Jack Black and Michael Cera in Year One - so utterly predictable
Anything remotely associated with the genre "Romantic Comedy", aka The Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, The Ugly Truth, The Proposal .....

.....Ok, except maybe if it's (500) Days of Summer, with Zoey Deschanel (who I want to be when I grow up), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Supposedly off-beat, this is about a quirky young woman who doesn't believe "true love" exists (sound like anyone you know?), and the young man who falls for her. Touted as a "summery, visually unique film about romance that avoids the overworked romantic comedy genre, while attempting to be a film about love, without being a love story", I really don't think it could sound more perfect. In one of the stills, Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt are having a picnic in the park, on a little blanket, with people playing in the background. He's sitting there with a stack of books, one open on his lap, and she's in tights and a cardigan, and I swear it's like a snapshot out of my girly daydreams about being in love.

So, there you have it - my choices for what to see this summer. There's a lot out there to choose from, and a whopping load of it coming out in May, so get to the theaters if you can, and if you happen to be seeing any of the above, make sure you give me a call too - I want to go!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Aporkalypse Now!

"This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with an oink." - TS Eliot

Smoke 'em if you got 'em folks, because the end is nigh my friends, the end is nigh! That's right, we've had the first confirmed U.S. death in what some media sources are calling SNOUTBREAK '09!!!! I like to call it Aporkalypse Now. That's right, the Swine Flu has hit the US, and we're well on our way to a prickly pandemic of porkly proportions. The Avian Flu? HPV?? Those are so last year!

With 149 deaths in Mexico, the Swine Flu now ranks last in the list of things that can kill you in Mexico. The first three being 1. Bullets, 2. Cornballer Burns and 3. Asking that big guy over there if he's related to Ricky Martin.

News authorities have been on high alert, flooding the American public with more information than our greasy little brains can process. Every media outlet, from CNN to the Onion ("America's finest news source", yeah, only now that the Weekly World News is out of print), have been reporting on what they're calling a "frightening pandemic" and a "potentially devastating killer" saying that "the swine flu could wipe out tens of millions of people". At the same time though, you've got Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and some guy in a sailor uniform that looks oddly like Gopher from the Love Boat telling people not to panic, and saying "we don't want to freak people out about this". Huh?? As Jon Stewart so aptly said to the newsmakers "Do you even watch your own networks? You're the very reason we are freaking out!"

What's even better is that "legitimate" public figures are out there claiming that this flu strain could have it's roots in everything from bioterrorism to bestiality. Michael Savage, talk radio host and alarmingly moronic author of the book Psychological Nudity, states "Illegal aliens are bringing in a deadly new flue strain. Make no mistake about it." He can't even spell flu right! Which makes me just ask, btw, why are all the wack-jobs on talk radio? He continues "make no mistake about it, radical Islamic countries planted the virus in Mexico knowing that humans make the perfect mules for bringing the strain into America."

Yeah, because as 9/11 proved, getting their own people into the country is sooooo hard. Oh, and because Mexico City is just sooo close to the US border, that it shouldn't be a problem for inhabitants of a third world country, infected with a potentially deadly illness to travel hundreds of miles just to risk the dangers of trying to cross a border illegally.

Another talk radio prodigy, Neal Boortz blathers "What better way to sneak a virus into this country than to give to Mexicans, and then spread a rumor that there are construction jobs here, and boom, there they come." He forgot to mention fast food jobs, you don't want to forget those.

Speaking of fast food, Savage also stated that he planned on protecting himself by having "no contact anywhere you'd find illegal aliens, and that starts with restaurants." He called people who dine out "morons who eat in restaurants with illegal's all over the kitchen." Yeah, well you know Michael, we can't all make a living by spouting racist, ignorant and nearsighted comments on the radio airwaves.

Closer to home, a friend's husband, at the breakfast table the other morning, made an offhand comment about how things like this wouldn't happen if people would just stop having sex with animals. If that's the case, and like other diseases in the past, the Swine Flu is really a sexually transmitted disease, then how do you explain the Bird Flu? I may be a bit naive here, but I've never heard of anyone schtumping it to their parakeet. Maybe that's why they're called Love Birds.... hmmmm.

Seriously though, it sounds to me like the only sickness these people are catching is a virulent strain of ignorance.

I guess amidst all this doubt and uncertainty, the one thing I really want to know is this - Could this be the epidemic that finally ushers in the Zed word.... 28 days later will we be facing the age of Zombies?? I can just see it now, their blank undead faces roaming the streets, moaning, looking for brains like a fat boy looking for a pulled pork sandwich. In what I think was the most intelligent, most concise response to this epidemic, the blog Newscientist posted this comment, by a 13 year old boy named Zak:

"I may be just a thirteen year old, but i do know that i cant trust my government because if the virus becomes an epidemic they might come to the option of killing the infected. I know it sort of sounds like a zombie virus but what if the swine flu could combine with other flu's causing growth of protein strands. The growth of the protein in the virus can become so strong that it could be able to bring back dead cells. That could be one theory. But what do i know im just a kid."

Zak, you unknowing little genius you. People three times your age on TV couldn't have said it better! Let the right-wing talk radio jerk-offs babble all they want, let the news channels continue to overplay this into an hysteria reaching epidemic of misinformation. I picture a movie in the making.... it's a Harold & Maude type friendship story, complete with full zombie action, and talking animals (the swine of course!!). Zak & Trin, fightin' zombies, eating corn dogs & playing Mario Kart while annihilating the undead.

So, go ahead and drink all the Orange Juice you want. The only preventative measures I'm taking is to break out my machete, my Louisville Slugger, some 80's records and I'm gonna hunt down anything that looks like it might have it's roots in Charlotte's Web or Babe the Talking Pig. I have it on good authority that Swine Flu Zombies are vulnerable to mustard and apple sauce as well, so I might be stopping by the Piggly-Wiggly on my way to pick up some ammo for my makeshift squeeze bottle shotgun. This daywalker is following all the proper steps for Zombie outbreak including stockpiling, fortifying, arming, and moving. If this is truly the Pig-Zed-End, then in the immortal words of Winston Churchill, all I have to say is this: "We shall go on to the end... we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender." Dagnab it, we shall take those Swine Flu Zombies down! And the right-wing conservatives with 'em!!

Th-th-th-that's all folks!