In Which I Confess

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Gentle Reader,

So I’m housesitting for some good friends of ours this week.  Since I believe in giving the home back to the homeowner in much the same way I found it (that is to say, un-burgled) I won’t even tell you initials.  (But, I know they are reading this, and please note that none of this is meant in any way to be critical or anything!)  (Really.  We love y’all.)

Anyway, so I was getting oriented to their house yesterday (I’ve been over there tons, but it’s different being a dinner guest and then the house sitter.  So I needed to learn where the spoons and the dishwasher detergent were and whatnot.) and my friend showed me some snacks she had picked up for me.  (When you live out in the middle of nowhere, people bring each other interesting food finds from The Big City when they go into town.  Because otherwise, we’d live on Cheezits or Ho-Hos.  It’s TOTALLY NORMAL, people.)  And I happened to mention that I’d just leave them at her house so I’d have something to munch on in the evenings.

Side note:  Tell me other people have an insatiable need for something crunchy and salty before bedtime.

And she laughed and said, “You must have talked to [our other house sitter] because he maintains we don’t have [anything] to eat here!”  And I laughed and said that I had not.  But of course my curiosity was piqued.  I mean, I’ve shared lots of meals with these friends.  Trust me, they are fans of eating.  Good food, even.

So anyway after an evening consisting of a cat lovingly sharpening his claws on me and biting me from time to time (I think they know that I’m a dog person.  That’s the only explanation.) I got up this morning to get their breakfast together and let everybody outside to take care of morning business, I could stand it no longer and I had to peek.

I looked in their pantry, and had to laugh because I knew instantly what the other house sitter meant.  They have plenty of food, but they don’t have a wide array of snacks.  And then I started thinking.  (Which explains that large mushroom cloud you saw this morning in the southern direction.)  I started thinking about their pantry and what I could tell about them if I didn’t know them and saw their pantry.  The wife is a recovering vegan (inasmuch as a chicken fried steak is a part of a balanced vegan diet) and the husband likes to cook pizza.  Which bears out in their pantry because there aren’t a lot of “side dishes for meat” type ingredients (canned veggies, potatoes, noodle dishes, etc.) and there are a LOT of different varieties of canned tomatoes (several of which he canned himself!).  Plus, there seem to be more types of grains than I ever knew existed.  See?  It all makes sense, right?

And then I started to think about what some random house sitter would think about our pantry.  Observe:




I think we’ve identified where all the snack foods are.  And the pastas.  And the cereal.  And bread.

Anyway-I know that guests like to look through bathroom cabinets at parties and whatnot.  I’ve never done this (for real, I promise…never held any interest for me…) but I will say that I LOVE to see other people’s pantries.  I think it’s just as revealing, if not more so.

Think about it-we’re all pretty much the same, medically.  I mean, the list of weird stuff that most of us have vis a vis our bodies is kind of small and remarkably consistent amongst us (for the most part, I mean).  Not to say we all want to talk openly about our various lumps and ailments and whatnots.  So to look through and see what kind of medicine someone is taking?  Pssht.

Our food hangups?  THOSE are myriad and really interesting.  Not to mention more socially acceptable to talk about.  For instance, I am a proud member of the “foods cannot be touching one another” tribe.  Unless gravy is involved.  Gravy gives food a unifying factor, and therefore the touching is okay (thus making Thanksgiving survivable with just one plate instead of twelve, just for me…).

See?  Way more interesting and illuminating than hearing about the fact that I’m on a blood-pressure medicine to help with my screaming nightmares.  (Really-they figured it out on soldiers with PTSD.  So my pressure is nice and low and I don’t wake the house up all night anymore!)

Also-Mama is one of those people who take food out of its original (factory provided) box and puts it in ANOTHER BOX.  (WHY??????!!!?!)  It literally drives me so crazy I can’t even think about it too hard anymore otherwise I’d go insane.  (Too late.)  I think our pantry is a nice compromise of these two competing aesthetics.  She has pasta melangee, I have Saltines in their original packaging.

Anyway-if you are still here reading this, well, I salute your fortitude.  Tonight we’re having a get together and I’m about to leave for my first water aerobics class, so between both of those, you should have better content to read next week.

In the meantime, what does your pantry look like?  Inquiring minds and all that.



Also, The Meatballs Were OUTSTANDING

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Gentle Reader,

So I’ve been in Denver/recovering from being in Denver for the last week.  Judging by the fact that I have gone to the grocery store and joined the local health club/caf-o-gym-o-torium (without staying to actually, you know, work out) and now am about to call my 4:00 appointment to see if I can come over early because I have big plans that involve dinner from the fridge (to be fair: salad)  (to be fairer: green salad, not pimento cheese) and the rest of last season’s “Downton Abbey” and don’t want to interrupt those in order to put on clothes and converse with intelligent folk, I’d say recovery is still in progress.

We arrived Wednesday early afternoon.  Since air travel now requires us to leave four hours before our flight, that meant that I had to get up at 5:30 in the morning.  I had a refreshing two hours of sleep prior to my wakeup call, so I think you can guess that the first thing we did when arriving in the mile-high city was take a nap.  It was glorious.

Then I met up with my law school people and we commenced our annual reunion.  To clarify-in my first year of school, our law school put us into small groups/social experiments that were required to meet periodically the first year of school.  It was to help make sure none of us went truly weird during our first year.  (Hint: we still did, anyway.)  Anyway, most people’s groups did the required meeting, and then went their own ways.  My group, being overachievers, kept meeting.  And we still keep meeting, annually now, for reunions!  We all sat together at graduation, etc. etc.

So Wednesday night, we met at this place.  It was amazing-beer and cheese…IN SOUP FORM. My life is now complete.  And I discovered a beer that I enjoy drinking without having to mentally prepare myself first.  Something called a “cream ale”.  Delicious.  Anyway, I got to snuggle my friend A’s daughter, S, who is approximately three minutes old and still tiny and floppy and smells new and I was in heaven.  I may or may not have called dibs on her for the rest of the weekend.

And then Thursday, I got up and went to Tattered Cover, which is one of my favorite bookstores.  (In fact, I went there twice during this trip, which makes this a hugely successful trip in my book.)  I found several great books, “Empty Mansions” (which I’m reading now), “Inventing Wine” (which I had never heard of before), some book on what happened to Detroit (I can’t remember the exact title, but something about Detroit and autopsy…) because that’s interesting to me, and then another book on Columbine because that also is puzzling and heartbreaking yet also interesting to me.

And I also read, get this, half an entire book on my Kindle.  So…proof that I actually read in addition to All.  The.  Television.

And then I drove up to Boulder intending on going to visit the Don Campbell collection at the music library there to hear some of his recordings with the organ greats of last century, and then meeting up with the law school folks for lunch and then more beer.  Except it was move-in day at CU.  It took me an hour to get from the highway to the street that leads to campus.  An hour and several, SEVERAL uttered words of which I am not proud.

I figured I had actually heard most of those before (because I am pretty sure I have) and so I jettisoned the plan for the music and just headed straight to brunch/lunch.  We ate lunch, I had a cucumber martini (which has the singular honor of being the only drink I have ever ordered that was truly awful…undrinkable awful…I think it had as its primary ingredient rocket fuel.) and visited.  After we got done, we made plans to meet back up in Fort Collins and tour some breweries and sample some better libations.

And then baby S decided to get sick.  Like the kind of sick that comes out of both ends.  So her family unit bailed so my friend S and I went on up to Fort Collins by ourselves and drank some beer.  And S tried to teach me about it.

And I now understand that it is possible to geek out about beer like I geek out about wine.  Unfortunately, besides the fact that hops are integral to THE WHOLE shootin’ match, I know nothing still about beer.  S tried valiantly, though, and you should definitely talk to him if you want to know more about beer.  He’s ALWAYS up for a lesson.  And a sampling!

And then we drove back down to Denver and gathered at Baby S’s (and her people’s) apartment in the city and ordered cheap Chinese takeout and played games and discussed Port wine and bottle-shock.

Friday morning dawned and we slept in (whew) and then S and her people left the reunion and the second shift, my friend B and his wife A, flew in.  We met up for beer (quelle surprise!) and then shifted over to a Polish bar.  Where I had yummy horseradish vodka and pickles (mmmmmmm) and then fried pierogies.   (Insert Homer Simpson-drooling sound here.)  It was delicious, and our group leader, K, her husband N, and their son, A, all had a lovely time, too.  A is at the age now where he is becoming his own little person and he is a HOOT.  N had a shot of black pepper vodka which looked SCARY, and he decided it would have been tasty in a bloody mary, but watching him shoot that thing was a highlight of my life, thus far.

And after that, I went over to the official wedding festivities.  Friday night was a reception at my cousin H’s house.  (H was the bride, T was the groom.)  All of my Gigantic Family was there, and my friend S was my date to the wedding, but he wisely made the choice not to go to the reception on Friday with me.  It basically consisted of “Oh HI!  How are you-oh HI I hadn’t seen you how have you be-HEY!  So good to see you!  Your dress looks amaz-wait oh my gosh she’s sooooo big!!!  Look at those teeth-HI!  That drink looks great-where did you find i-Hey there!  Stay right there I’ll be right….”  (You get the picture, yes?)  And then after I had made my way into the actual party instead of being at the door greeting everybody, they started playing a slideshow, and that’s when I had The Meltdown of the weekend.

Look, we knew that this is the year of firsts.  The first birthday without him, anniversary, etc.  I knew there would be some weird this weekend.  And there was.  But mostly, it was good.  It was VERY GOOD.  Because life is, isn’t it?  But that didn’t stop me from melting down after being in sensory overload and then also the slideshow.

Anyway, I also realized that my cousin Maya and I were wearing THE SAME DRESS (thankyouverymuch, Maya Ling…) to the party.  Maya is cute and tiny, and looked better in it, but we both looked adorable if I do say so.  It was just embarrassing.  We did not commemorate the occasion in photos, but I did promise her it would make the blog.  So there.  My memory runs deep, Cousin.

So after the reception, we went back to the hotel and crashed.  Saturday dawned early and we gathered in the lobby for breakfast and I helped Maya get her children situated so that she could actually eat breakfast, too.  Toddlers are not neat folk, dear reader.  And they are NOT low-maintenance, either.  I had already eaten, but now I know how Maya stays tiny after having three of these little creatures.  She simply hasn’t had the opportunity to eat since Miss S happened five years ago.  And her middle-toddler, C, has food allergies.  So throw that into the mix and eating becomes part KGB-operation because her littlest one, Baby L, has figured it out.  He spent a fair amount of time at breakfast trying to feed C some eggs (a verboten substance), leading to both Miss S and C sounding MAJOR ALERTS to both parental units about this offense.  I can’t quite figure out why C had to tell everybody at breakfast about this infraction rather than just simply…you know…NOT EATING THE EGG, but I’m betting distraction from the oatmeal she didn’t want to eat played a huge role in her logic.

Anyway, after my recovery nap (Seriously, Maya, did you forget???  Is this how come more of the toddlers happened?  I can set up some sort of reminder for you, if you need.) then we went shopping (Tattered Cover, again, FTW) and then went back to the room to get ready for H and T’s wedding!!!

I’m pleased to say that Maya and I did NOT wear the same dress to the wedding, and more importantly, nobody had the same dress on as the Bride, either.  Whew!  😉  Anyway, H looked great, T looked happy and like he couldn’t believe his good fortune, and all went well.  Vows were exchanged, photos taken.  Oh-and at one point during the ceremony, the preacher (pastor?) asked the family to stand up and make some kind of promise to the bride and groom.  And literally the entire congregation stood except my friend S, and maybe three other people.  And we all laughed because for once, my Gigantic Family was the smaller of the two families in attendance at this thing!  T’s family is HUGE.  We’re glad they’re part of us now!

And then it was time to party!  In our Gigantic Family, several couples (Mama and Daddy included) are celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year.  It was a big year for weddings, 1974.  And they put them all at table number…get ready…40!  It was really quite special.  And I was getting a little bit teary, and then Uncle B got up to speak.  To welcome us all to the shindig.

And he captured perfectly why this weekend was weird, and wonderful, and he made it all better.  (Thanks, Uncle B.  I needed it.)  I had a few cabernets at cocktail hour, so I don’t remember the whole thing, but in essence, he said that part of what made this so special was that there would always be another chance to sit down together.  Another meal.  Another gathering.  (And fantastic I’m teary again, Uncle B.  Dangit.)  And in essence, he made the weird part okay.  Yes, it’s weird that Daddy isn’t there.  That the table of the Forties had an odd number of guests.  That the slideshow has a very bittersweet connotation to me now.  But you know what?  This family?  We continue.  There will always be another meal.  Another gathering.  Characters may change.  We grow.  But we continue.  Always.

And nothing else matters.

Thanks, Uncle B.  S-I hope you had fun–my family can be overwhelming, so thanks for going with me and making it less so!

And now this post is long enough, so I’ll close.




Ground Control to Major Tom

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Gentle Reader,

I’m writing this on my iPad because of the following tale of my usual random. I have no idea what this will look like or where it will wind up. But I’m hoping that you’ll find it because as I explained to Mama yesterday, most bloggers are raging narcissists who need to have people read them.

So anyway, I’ve been noticing that I have been having backaches and headaches lately. I blamed it on hormones at first because that’s usually quite the good guess and it’s my go-to excuse. But then I didn’t think it was because lately I’ve been noticing that I kind of hunch over and squint at my laptop while I work. And surprisingly, I use my laptop A LOT.

(Side note: I read “The Winter of Our Disconnect”. And I liked the book except it gave me the heebie jeebies to think about doing that in my own life. I’m pretty sure I’d fail epically.)

While I am not a trained medical professional, nor do I play one on television, I do happen to think that hunching over my laptop might cause a backache or eleven, and probably squinting with my eyes could make my head hurt. Since I believe that the eyes are located on or near the head.

So I began thinking about why I’m hunched over and squinting. The lighting in my office is fine, plenty of lamps and overhead light and then a huge bay window right behind me, so that wasn’t it. The desk is…flat? Pretty? Sometimes cleared of clutter? I don’t know what the desk is supposed to be. And the chair is easily adjustable. So I was kind of maybe a bit sure that it wasn’t an ergonomics issue.

And then it hit me. I am using my beloved laptop. My 11″ MacBook Air. I HEART this laptop. It’s so sleek! And pretty! And it fits in my purse! I originally bought this so I wouldn’t have to get an iPad. (And by “have”, I mean this in the First World sense of the word. Nobody HAS to get an iPad.) And it worked. I was the very last person on earth to get an iPad on December 27th, 2013. But the old girl was over 4 years old, and she had done a fantastic job of taking my daily abuse, but it was time to start thinking about an upgrade. I had begun mentally building my new 11″ MacBook Air a few months ago. But I had recently realized that perhaps an 11″ laptop, while TRES precious, isn’t great for your eyes.

I also noticed that I was having to do that middle-aged thing where you hold things at weird distances from your eyes and kind of swivel them around to get a better look. I blamed it on screen-glare, but I began to think that it had been two years since last a professional looked at my eyes and maaaaybe it was a sign that my vision had gotten just a tiny bit worse.

So yesterday, I went into Dallas to see the eye doctor and also to the Apple store. Because when one is going to hemorrhage money, one should go whole hog and get the suffering over with.

The doctor confirmed that I definitely needed new specs and also that I have a condition that only occurs in 10% of the population where the outer edges of my retinas have “bald spots” (?????) (I mean…HONESTLY, Wordie…only you.) so I should have them looked at annually over the next few decades so that I don’t have a detached retina and suddenly lose a lot more vision instantly.

I know I feel better.

So then we went to the Apple store where I reluctantly gave up the dream of my purse-sized laptop and upgraded. To the big honkin’ 27″ desktop/Mission Control model. (Tiniest to hugest. All in one day.)

But I had JUST come from the eye doctor’s, where they dilated my eyes. I have never had such a strong reaction to those drops before, but let me clarify–the sun and store lights combined were PAINFUL for my eyes. And the Apple Store is BRIGHT. So I was sporting my glasses (they made me take out my contacts) and since I didn’t have my prescription sunglasses (which are completely sexy in their own right), I had to wear those really groovy plastic wraparound/cardboard disposable ones that they give you at the eye doctor’s. UNDER MY REGULAR GLASSES. INDOORS.

In case it ever comes up on final “Jeopardy!”, anytime, the answer is no. No, it is not possible to maintain any dignity or pride while purchasing the GIANT computer screen while wearing the alluring disposable eye-protectors.

I’m surprised that the Apple Dude didn’t fall all over himself swooning at me. 🙂 But he sold me the computer, so after they get done transferring the data from my beloved laptop, I’ll have a computer screen I can see, and then will use my iPad while I travel. Which explains why I have just plinked out this entire post on my iPad and so since I don’t trust it yet, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead and go ahead and publish.

Next time, I’ll be blogging at you from the improved Mission Control setup. Have a great weekend!



What The Last Two Days Have Taught Me

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Gentle Reader,

So in case you were wondering if we had all grown up a bit since March or April when I lost my Daddy, the last two days have proven that we, most certainly, have not.  We still just don’t know what the heck to do with death.  (Disclaimer:  You were AMAZING to me when Daddy died.  This is not directed at you on a personal level, AT ALL.  This is meta commentary.)  (I am beyond thankful for the prayers, visits, blessings, cards, donations, rides to and from airports, re-booking my plane tickets, booking a car for me, etc.  And we’ve discussed the food situation-AT LENGTH.  I love you.)

I’m just not sure when we decided that someone’s death was something about which we got to have an opinion.  Other than, “What a remarkable tragedy, I hate the fact that his loved ones are now hurting.”  Full stop.  No further explanation or qualification.

The fact that it was apparently a self-inflicted death?  Doesn’t change that.  I don’t get where we feel like we need to judge suicide.  Because Dante did it?  Is this our baseline theology now?  A dream-sequence guided by an ancient author??  My position on this, not that it is important for me to have one, is…it is not my place to judge.  It is my place to try to create a world in which there is grace and love and safety for people to seek help if they can, and to help with the hurt.  Full stop.

The fact that he seemed so happy and full of life?  I think this gets a bit closer to why we all keep flapping about it.  We wonder how it could have happened.  Were there any warning signs?  Is this going to happen to me?  Life is going to be uncertain, folks.  As far as warning signs, I don’t know in this particular case, because it’s none of my business.  OR YOURS, either.  This can and should spur discussion of suicide on a larger level, and that’s good and healthy and potentially life-saving, but it should NOT be in the context of one person.

And, ultimately, what I hope that we mean by all of the misguided attempts at analysis is, “I loved him.  Really, truly, loved him.  I felt like he was part of my world, and now he isn’t, and I didn’t get to anticipate this.  And because I’m human and have emotions, that scares me and makes me sad.”  Which is perfectly legitimate and healthy, and say that instead of trying to couch it differently.

And if Mr. Williams’ children are reading this (WHY???  I hope you are taking a media break right now.) that’s what I hope you will interpret most of this as being.  I am so, so sorry you are missing your Daddy. I would do anything I could to help someone else not feel the hurt that is the absence of someone so beloved.  I don’t know precisely what you are feeling, but I do know what it’s like to have a sick Daddy, and to see him go away.  I know how protective I was of my Daddy during this process, although ours was different than yours, and how conflicted I was about having to care what other people thought or felt about Daddy, and how I wanted to protect him, but wanted people to remember him.  That was so hard, and I imagine you are feeling that on a whole different level right now.  You don’t even get that choice to try to protect him, do you?  I am so very sorry for you on that.  Please know that whatever you are feeling right now?  Is OKAY.  But also please be gentle with yourselves first.  This process turned me into a bit of a tyrant with my Mama.  It was out of nothing but a sense of love and wanting to be strong and make things easy for her.  And there was probably a healthy splash of some anger in there, too.  And there was yelling.  I even swept things off the coffee table with my arm one time because the remote control wouldn’t work.  (We don’t do that in my family.  Ever.)  That may happen to you, and if it does, be gentle with yourselves.  You will all hurt in different ways.  And the grace and gentleness you are wishing the world would show your Daddy?  Remember to show that to yourselves, so that you can work through this with each other.  You are hurting and it’s okay.

That’s what I wish we would spend our time telling Mr. Williams’ family, instead of hurling bewildered judgment at the world.



The Time I Had Two Hours To Think

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Gentle Reader,

Edited to add:  The Code is totally fine, and will be starting his diet of extra-calorie portions this week.  We just have a Labrador for whom eating isn’t a huge priority.  I know.  We’re baffled, too.

So this weekend, I went out to my friends Candace and Andy’s new house for lunch and quality time.  And they live in this little suburban oasis that is more than vaguely reminiscent of Stepford, and I was getting creeped out until I saw a house that had an obviously amateur garden planted IN THE FRONT YARD, and then another guy who hadn’t mowed his lawn in two weeks who seemed to still be alive.  So I decided it wasn’t totally scary–yet.

Plus, my favorite male-childs seem to love it, as do their parents, so I’m going to be a fan.  Except the fact that the place is in the middle of nowhere.  Like, two hours in the middle of nowhere.  Like, I live in a THRIVING METROPOLIS compared to this.  So I had two hours of drive time, both ways, (because there were lots of cops around and I didn’t feel like making a donation) to drive and think.  And I had two quasi-related Big Thoughts about Big Things.

First, I thought about something My Cousin the Minister said last week.  He made an excellent set of points on the FB about something, but the thing that struck me about his post was something totally unrelated to the larger point.  He talked about his churches as “the communities [he] serves”.  And he said it in an offhand kind of way, not a planned or rehearsed phrase at all.  And that whacked me.  He didn’t call them “churches”.  He called them “communities”.  Because that’s what they are, that’s WHERE they are.  And he didn’t say “leads”.  He said “serves”.  Sure, he leads, because that’s part of the job description.  But that’s not what he focuses on.  His focus is on serving.  And I won’t identify him because he’s private, and doesn’t have quite the…compulsion to share All the Things…that I do.  And he is incredibly humble so I would never want to embarrass him, but I have stories.  He serves.  Everybody.  All.  The.  Time.  And I just can’t help but be incredibly thankful that there are people in the world like him who care about the rest of us like he does.  Minister or no, indeed, religious or not, I wish we could all focus on just…SERVING…somebody else today.  Because maybe that might make My Cousin the Minister’s job a little easier.  (Or, on a more meta level, Everybody’s Cousin the Minister’s job.)  I think I’ll try to look for ways to serve others more immediately, more completely, in my life.

Though I do find it very weird to think about My Cousin being The Minister when I remember one summer in which we basically lived in a tent in my grandparents’ back yard, living in our swimsuits, eating dinner outside at our little table and chairs, playing in the sprinkler, and getting so dirty that we had to be HOSED OFF at the back door in a sort-of pre-bath before it was safe for us to come into the house to take an official bath.  (My one and only time that I have ever enjoyed being out in The Nature.)  (There were ice cream bars and my Gamma’s fried chicken.   Put those on a marathon course and I’M YOUR WOMAN.)

BTW, Cousin, I’m available to speak at your services in case your flock want to hear about the time you bit me on the nose.  XOXO

Anyway-then I saw a billboard here in town for a local church, and I finally had time to figure out what bugs me about the billboard.  I won’t identify my town or the church, but it reads “It’s about [name of church]…You wouldn’t understand.”  And then the slogan for the church is “You Belong at [name of church]”.

So setting aside entirely the conflicting message about belonging somewhere you wouldn’t understand (because I can’t even begin to sift through that one), I’m going to choose to give the church the benefit of the doubt.  I see two ways this could be interpreted–one, that there are Mysteries of Faith that you, indeed none of us, cannot understand.  The nature of Grace, time, eternity, the afterlife, etc.  Maybe this church is doing a series of sermons and lessons exploring these heady and ethereal concepts, and is inviting the public to explore these questions with fellow seekers.  I hope this is so.

Because the other way I read it, throws back a few years to a popular tee shirt theme (before we had “memes”).  “It’s a cheerleading thing…you wouldn’t understand.”, “It’s a baseball thing…you wouldn’t understand” etc.  My favorite one was, “It’s a rugby thing…you wouldn’t understand.”  Which was true.  Because not even us ruggers understood it, we were too concussed drunk both.

This was meant to imply an air of exclusivity, of “you wish you were as awesome”.  We have something you don’t.

Which is pretty much contrary to EVERYTHING I believe to be true about Jesus.  His friends were quite the diverse lot, His ministry focused on those forgotten by the rest of the world.  He welcomed all.  And I don’t think He ever focused at all on being well-liked or popular or “awesome”.

And in a hurting world, in a world that tears us down every single time, a world that tells us we aren’t good enough and someone is always going to be richer, smarter, prettier, better, more popular than we are, the church should stand alone in saying, “YOU ARE ENOUGH.”  That you were so loved, so cherished, that Someone DIED for you, 2000 years ago.  Before you even happened.  That you are WELCOME HERE, that we want to be where you are.  That we want to see what you see, and having seen that, serve you in light of that.  That we are not at all perfect, and if you’d have us, we’d love to count you among us.  Because you might have a way of helping us, while we help you.

And then I saw a Dairy Queen and got distracted.  (The chips ahoy Blizzard is FANTASTIC.)

But look, if you are a member of this church, I’m not trying to harsh on you.  Heaven knows I know NOTHING.  We’re all on a journey.  But I don’t know that your message is being received in the way I’m sure you meant it.  Or, maybe your message was designed to get a sinner to think about things on a Saturday afternoon, and in which case, it worked.



Yet Another Labrador Exceptionalism Post

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Gentle Reader,

So yesterday, the ranch vet came out to the house to give the animals their regular checkups.  Scout the Ranch Cat/Trained Killer was corralled in her utility room earlier in the day (to make it easier to find her when the vet showed up) which, as you can imagine, she LOVED.  Girlfriend had food, water, treats, and a warm pile of fresh laundry upon which to park her lazy backside and she had NONE OF IT.  She sat at the door and sang us the song of her people until the vet came in and gave her a whole new reason to sing.  But the vet has this little hood thing he puts over her head, and it’s like magic.  She calms down instantly.  Lets us pet her, hold her, give her a checkup, etc.  We asked if he could sell us one for everyday use, and he mumbled something about “not really humane” and said “No.”.  Sigh.  (I kid.  I’m not brave enough to effectively try to PUT A HAT on the girl everyday.  We don’t have enough bandaids.)

And then Cody, who had previously been given a sedative before Scout’s checkup to give him some time to chill the heck out, had his checkup.  And the boy was clearly not feelin’ it.  He kept trying to walk, and in a throwback to his early puppyhood, kept forgetting he had four paws, and tripping over three of them.  I didn’t laugh hysterically AT ALL…  Anyway, after a few attempts at this, I got down on the floor and sat beside him so he wouldn’t feel like he needed to move around to be with the people.

Anyway, so the vet did his thing, and weighed him.  I had been concerned because I can feel the boy’s spine at night when he sleeps next to me.  I don’t think I EVER felt Cooper’s spine, mostly because he kept his so well hidden.  Delicate flower, he was.  So the vet decided he had lost a pound since last time he was weighed (which I think was in May).  We’re going to shift him to a regular-calorie diet (both boys switched to the lean cuisine formula as soon as it was safe because Cooper was a believer in volume-eating…) for a bit to see if that helps, but think a good thought if you don’t mind.  Labradors generally don’t have a reputation for losing weight.  So we have Labs who wouldn’t get into water, one who wouldn’t retrieve and had a favorite soap opera, one who loves catnip, and now one who prefers not to eat.  SIGH…

Anyway, the vet did do some bloodwork, and of course Cody slept through all of that (that was some really good sedative, I guess…).  I’m hoping it’s just summertime, “it’s too hot to eat”-itis and not anything more serious.  I just don’t know that I could handle that.

And since the vet was there anyway, it gave us a chance to get caught up on all the latest happenings with the ranch animals.  Duke, the deer who likes accessorizing his antlers, has been missing for awhile.  The animal lady isn’t really worried-it’s hot, and the Pere Davids like to hang out in the water, anyway, especially when it’s hot, and the rest of the herd isn’t really acting like anything is wrong, but he hasn’t been seen in a few weeks.  So we’re cautiously optimistic.  Think a good thought for Duke, too, if you don’t mind.  Otherwise nothing really exciting is happening here at the ranch.  Animal-related or otherwise.

What’s new in your animals’ lives?



Because Your Neighbor’s Already DONE With Her Shopping

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Gentle Reader,

So I’m back after the stomach bug.  (Actually, I was back on Thursday or so, but the paucity of interesting things about which to talk was staggering so I tried to be respectful of your time and also your will to live.)  And though there were many pitiful, completely unexaggerated cries of my suffering, I recognize just how lucky I am.  I am so very thankful that there are medical professionals willing to go to poor areas of the world stricken with shockingly fatal diseases, willing to risk their own safety and health, to help, treat, and comfort others.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about…

The other night on the news, the perky anchorperson chirped about how there were only 149 days left until Christmas.  Which made Mama and me groan.  We are not doing Christmas this year, but we’re not anti-Christmas.  In fact, I love it.  But this year is weird, and until we figure out new traditions, we’re just going to take a pass on it this year.  We’ll do the stuff for others, because that’s fun and safe.  But we’re going to be out of town on the actual day.  Because it is such a warm day for family and friends, we don’t want to be the two quiet ones in the corner harshing everybody else’s cocoa.

Back to the actual point, Wordie…

So I think we all know that one person–the one who has her Christmas shopping done in July, has her excel spreadsheet for Christmas cards set up by October so she can address cards at night, and has her decorations organized enough that she can whip out the tree and a few ornaments and lights in August so the picture can have an authentic Christmas feel.  (Because here in The Great Republic, nothing completes a Christmas Jammy outfit like beads of sweat and clammy cheeks from the heat stroke.  It’s a tender, Instagrammable moment.)

Well, today, I’m going to make your gift-shopping easier, so you can BE THAT PERSON.  Meet my friend Rae.


(Actually, since I’m all about privacy, meet one of her book th*ngs.)

(I have no problem with the name, but I just don’t want my blog to come up on somebody’s search for something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.)

She is fantastically creative, and has started up two etsy shops to showcase her wares.  One sells the book th*ngs, as seen above.


She makes all kinds of th*ngs–not just religious.  In fact, most of her stuff is very global.  And literary.  (Which, I suppose, makes obvious sense.)

And then she also makes botanical scrubs and bath salts, and her shop name is absolutely awesome for her.


The thing that I love about Rae is that she thinks of the details.  For instance when she sent me my book th*ng (full disclosure, she did provide me the book th*ng at no charge, but my opinions are my own) she sent it in a little white jewelry box as is typical.  But she put a piece of tape over the back of the box, like so:


So that the pretty part of the th*ng stays displayed in the box nicely when you open it, like so:


Which is genius because how many times do you open a box and the chain is all tangled or hiding under the cotton, etc?

And though I haven’t seen it in person, her bath stuff is equally thoughtfully packaged.  Plus, she is conscious of consumption, and will take your old containers back and refill them for you!

So go check her stuff out!  She has a purse habit that she’s trying to support here!  (Oh, and also a kid and a husband…)