Thursday, July 24, 2008

choosing sides

I’ve been struggling lately with…less than Christ-like thoughts. I’m not sure what’s come over me, but all this anger and frustration and guilt can’t be good for me. Every day I question what I’m doing and why I make the choices I do, why I give in almost without a fight, and every day I resolve to be better the next day. Then the next day I just get disappointed again. Last night I was reading an old conference talk and the recommendation was given to replace thoughts you don’t want with a positive thought, song, or story. Apparently it’s not enough to just want to think, or say, or be something different—you actually have to replace the negative habit with a positive habit. Novel idea, I know. So I’ve been thinking off and on today about what I can do or sing or yell when I’m faced with a situation likely to bring out the worst in me.

My old stand-by song, the one I use to rid my mind of all other annoying songs when I’m trying to sleep, is “I know you; I walked with you once upon a dream.” I have no idea why that one works for me, but it works like a charm every time I want to banish another tune from repeating itself in my head. Somehow I don’t think that one is going to work for this situation. Nothing seems to fit, actually. And then I read through another church talk this afternoon and came across this scripture:

"Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts…This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:45–46).

The talk was about standing up for what is right and always being on the Lord’s side of the line, which, eh, yes, applies here. But for me it was like my own, personal battle cry. Some days I do feel like I’m being attacked with swords and spears and I find great comfort in this imagery that I am armed with the strength of the Lord of hosts. And that I can overcome. And that I can succeed. And that my resolve will be strengthened until those particular swords and spears are more like toothpicks and Q-tips. Today I will be a fighter.

Monday, July 21, 2008

a list

I copied this from Sherry—she of the “make your own game and make it sound so fun that others might search for it and purchase it off eBay and love it.” Thank you, Sherry. I’ve continued Sherry’s twist by italicizing the ones I think are completely unnecessary, that I don't even WANT to do, or that I hope that I never do. All the others I think would be fun or provide a memorable life experience. The ones in bold are the ones I have already done.

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby’s diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said “I love you” and meant it
11. Bungee jumped (I have a horrid fear of heights and falling)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a professional sports game
17. Been to the top of the Sears Tower (but I HAVE been to the top of Taipei 101)
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (the feeling was fleeting)
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving (see #11)
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don’t
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Sung on a CD
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check
68. Read and understood your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Seen the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than two days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office (do junior high or high school office count?)
98. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
99. Had to see someone you love in hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all fours
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway play on Broadway
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone
122. Ridden a train
123. Brought an old fad back into style (I am quite confident this will never happen)
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant
127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon
136. Learned to surf (and I thought snowboarding was tough…)
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sung a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane (this will never, ever, ever happen)
151. Run away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to sew
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a campfire
189. Kept a blog
190. Had chicken pox
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Received a professional massage

And because 80 and 162 are the same thing, I’m adding one more thing to do:
201. Lived in a foreign country long enough that it felt (almost) like home

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

everyone is doing it

I copy people. (Fine. Janssen. I copy Janssen. Who doesn't?) I was happy to see that Somebody ranked way up there in words I use a lot, but also delighted that horrible, ridiculous, whatever, and um made appearances.

You can get your own Word cloud from Wordle.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

day 14

The holiday weekend was wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for better weather for spending the day outside than we had. We cleaned the house and the yard from top to bottom, had some wonderful friends over for a BBQ, and then drove to my brother’s for a fireworks show. I missed having Somebody here, especially when his usual job of preparing and grilling the meat was passed along to me, but was thrilled with my first Cherry Day not in the NOG.

The hot, humid Kansas summer weather has apparently taken my skin back to high school, which was pretty much the last time I spent any kind of quality time here. The blemishes are coming back with a vengeance. It seems that Kansas can destroy in 11 months what Utah took 12 years to heal.

I’m watching Enchanted tonight. I watched it last night, too. I love this movie. My new favorite line: “We adore each filthy chore that we determine. So, friends even though you’re vermin we’re a happy working song.” Too funny. Or when Pip is acting out Nathaniel giving Giselle the poison apple and Edward is all, “oh, oh, I know this!” And when Giselle decides to go to the ball and says, “I don't know where to find a fairy godmother at this late hour." Seriously cracking me up.

I stopped at the library after work yesterday to pick up a few of the books that Janssen recommended. While browsing through the youngun’s section I happened to see an Encyclopedia Brown book sitting out and brought that one home with the others. I remember loving those books when I was younger. So far I’ve read through five mysteries and have successfully solved ONLY ONE. I rock.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

day nine

The natives are getting restless. A few nights ago when the Alpha Female was picking out clothing for her trip she asked me for some feedback and suggestions. What the? It only took her a few questions along the lines of, "which of these earrings do you prefer?" and "Should I wear these pants with the black shirt or the red shirt?" before she signed wearily and said, "When is Somebody coming home?" And the Alpha Male just forlornly looks around, obviously outnumbered, and putters lonesomely in his garden. I'm not sure they can take much more of this. I, on the other hand, have taken up refuge in front of my computer. While that is not entirely unusually, the length of time I spend here is more than I normally would. My strategy for survival is easy: blogs, more blogs, So You Think You Can Dance, sewing projects, blogs, and some books. I work hard to distract myself from the silence. And you know what is especially difficult? I am very used to being touched and miss the contact.

Other random thoughts:
* I hate it when a song gets stuck in my head. Hate it. Especially because it is never the entire song--it's always just a few words playing over and over again. Like today, for example. A few lyrics from Bleeding Love go around and around: And I keep bleeding, keep keep bleeding love. You cut me open. Over. And over. And over. This happened with this same song just a couple of days ago and the repeat was so bad that I actually had difficultly shutting it off so that I could sleep. And when I woke up in the middle of the night it started again and kept me awake for a long while. Does this happen to anyone else? The last time a song stuck so well was The Wizard and I which, quite frankly, made my honeymoon a little less than dreamy. And before that it was These Words which I stupidly had set to be my ringtone. Wow. I learned that lesson fast. Anyway, I'm SO tired of bleeding love and I feel quite cut open.

* The punk teenage boys that live near us (their house backyard touches ours, but in the far corner) were out shooting off fireworks this afternoon. I at first thought it was just a gun, but after repeated loud noises got up to see what was going on. (Do you like that? How I'm less concerned about a gun than fireworks?) Anyway, the noise was kind of annoying and I really badly wanted to yell down from the porch for them to knock it off. But what am I, 87 years old? Seriously. I'm like an old, grouchy woman that stays in her pajamas and yells at the neighborhood kids to quiet the heck down. In case you were wondering, I did NOT tell them to stop and let them continue with their hoodlumism. If there is any damage later I will volunteer a description of the punks.

* I wonder how much of a pay cut I'm actually willing to take to get a job in a field that actually interests me.

* I was using some of my massive amounts of free time to go through some older pictures in my files. These two were ones I almost couldn't stop looking at. Look at those two crazy kids, so young and innocent.

* Have you ever had a friend fade out of your life and then unexpectedly reappear? Well, I did recently. Out of the blue he contacted me, but out of a really nice shade of blue. Almost celadon. Ever since then I've pretty much been blog-stalking his wife**. And can I just say that I find her clever and interesting and someone (although I know this is hard to tell just by reading someone's writing) that I would want to be friends with? Okay, I said it even without your permission. I have nothing but respect for him as a person and am beyond thrilled that his life seems to be going wonderful places and that he has such a lovely family to share it with.

**There is music on that blog. Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

the day we wasted cake

And not just any cake. A perfectly good red velvet cake. I had seen the blog. You know you've seen it too and were curious. I mean, how can something so stinking cute not also taste fantastic? She was on Martha Stewart, for goodness sakes. And on the blog there were so many great variations and I just couldn't help myself. I had to give it a shot. There is no one better to try experimental cake treats with than Scrumptious Cupcakes and Camera Addict. None.

We followed the directions. Bake cake. Let cool. Crumble. Add can of frosting. Check, check, check, and check. Roll into balls.
Make huge mess on your hands and feel sticky and somehow like it's all wrong, but smile for the camera. Wonder why Camera Addict has way better clothing than you do. Realize it's because she has way better taste than you do. Think about changing her name to Clothing Addict. Console yourself by sampling the cake/frosting mixture. Feel worse.
Place evenly on sheet to firm. Place in refrigerator to speed the process. Attend wedding and then skip wedding luncheon to shop at IKEA. Don't feel guilty.
Cover with melted chocolate. Drizzle some contrasting chocolate for dazzling effect. Sample. Spit sample into sink. Assume you got a rotten one. Notice everyone else is making frowny faces. Wonder what you did wrong. Console yourself with Cafe Rio.
Seriously. These were not tasty. I mean, that were okay. Barely. Not worth the effort AT ALL. All of us wished we had just eaten the cake on its own. If you've tried these, let me know what you thought and maybe where we might have gone wrong.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

somewhere out there

It is kind of strange to have so much time go by without talking to the person that I usually talk to the most. Every other trip he or I have taken has either been shorter or involved multiple phone calls. Multiple. My power to drag out a phone conversation is powerful and hard to resist. This time, though, all we have are email messages and today a short google chat. Was it just my luck that a few minutes after we realized we were both online at the same time (it was 8:50 in the morning for me, and 9:50 in the evening for him) I had to leave my computer and attend a long and boring meeting? Yes, it was just my luck. I almost shed a few tears because, well, even though I can sing about us both being underneath the same blue sky, there is just something special about knowing that at the exact moment I was thinking about him, he was thinking about me. And we were almost talking. And it was hard to walk away.