Archive | January, 2013

A funny kind of day

29 Jan

This has been a strange kind of Tuesday. The kind where you wake up at 630am when the baby starts calling you and think, “I’ll go feed him and give him to David for the rest of the morning so I can sleep” and then you remember it’s Tuesday, not Saturday. The strange feeling of 70 degrees outside in late January when you don’t live on a tropical island, or even in south Florida.

And what about finding a wine cork in my vacuum when I was emptying it out this morning? I am sure I don’t know how it got in there. How did the vacuum even suck that thing up let alone do it quietly?

I did, however, remember to zip up my boots before going into the office so my (seriously) awesome coworker wouldn’t make fun of me. But she who wears sweatsuits to work aught not throw stones in glass houses!

Now baby and I are enjoying the weather while he squeals at the chirping birds. Are they confused too today, thinking it is spring?

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If you thought grocery shopping was boring, you were wrong

29 Jan

It was one of those days when you think you have everything under control, you’re accomplishing a lot, even when the baby didn’t let you sleep very much, until you get to the check out line at Kroger and the bag boy has helped you empty a week’s worth of groceries onto the conveyor belt and you’re almost done checking out and you realize you don’t have your wallet.

Yes, it is on your desk at home from when you bought the Living Social coupon for the BYOB painting adventure you’re going to do with some girlfriends on Friday night, a much needed girls’ night out.

But first you have to run to the car, put the baby in his car seat, drive home (Catbird carrier straps flapping out the driver’s side door as yes it is still attached to your waist), run up the stairs, thank God your wallet is actually still there and not stolen, drive back to the grocery store, get the disgruntled baby back in his carrier, hustle inside, grab your cart from its hidden location, almost knock over the Easter candy display by the registers, and then ask the nice people to do it all over again for you.

Luckily I like these kind of days. I would post a picture of the delicious meal we ate tonight but I didn’t have time to take one before Dave and I devoured it. Yes, mom, it was full of vegetables. Six different kinds, actually! I think that’s a personal record.

What a swell weekend looks like

28 Jan

This weekend has been a stellar weekend. For instance, I was able to take a shower Friday and Saturday! Right now my husband sits in front of our fire eating ice pops. Only slightly contradictory.

Friday night we finished season 1 of Homeland, which we got from Netflix. We’ve been obsessed this week, waiting for the mail each day so we could continue on Carrie’s quest. And when she got shock therapy at the end of the last episode, the idea that we had to wait 8 more months to find out if she’d remember about Brody and Isa was shocking. So of course today we ordered Showtime just so we can watch season 2 then cancel it!

Walt then slept 13 hours straight, for his first real full night’s sleep since birth. I woke up before him, checked on him to make sure he was OK, then couldn’t go back to bed. I must have new mother’s syndrome.

Saturday we enjoyed a lazy morning, then went to lunch at my in-laws where a family friend joined us. My mother-in-law got a crib for us a couple months ago so nap time at their house would be easier (so sweet!). It was nice to be able to spend some time there, dressing Walt in David’s old baby clothes. He looked like a baby straight out of the early 80’s.

We got home and my mother came over to babysit while we went to serve dinner at Clifton Sanctuary Ministries (I feel very lucky to have parents who want to babysit my little boy!). David and I are the Morningside shepherds for this great shelter, organizing dinners there once every other month. This month we had lots of helpers, which is frankly a welcome change, and then the new young adult minister and his wife joined us for dinner out at Taqueria del Sol after. We hadn’t been to Taqueria in a couple years and those enchiladas sure hit the spot.

We got home at 8:30pm, released my mother, and were asleep by 10:30. It was fantastic. Not like our party days in times past, but I don’t mind the change.

At church today we were only 20 minutes late, and Walt stayed awake and happy through the entire rest of the service. That means we got to hear the whole sermon! And I swear our son reads the hymnal as we’re singing the songs.

I’ve been tired this afternoon and my weekly chores start tomorrow, but I look forward every day to teaching my son about life and enjoying it with him. Knowing this boy has made me more blessed than I ever thought I deserved.

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And you thought you knew all that January had to offer!

24 Jan

The year is gathering speed and it is already nearing the end of January. The price of green bell peppers has increased by ten cents. The little boy rolls over frequently, but never when we’re looking. The peanut butter Hershey Kiss cookies I made for New Years Eve are long gone (boo). Christmas tree needles haunt the nooks and crannies of the house despite my daily scouting and weekly vacuuming. There are tissues in every single one of my pockets. The little boy has dimples in his cheeks, knees, elbows, and knuckles (all of which I’m proud of). Three of my friends have told me they’re pregnant, due very close to when Walter was due last year. The big yearly to-do list has some checkmarks already.

And, apparently, the Amaryllis isn’t done. What next, will it be getting its Masters in Quantum Physics? It certainly could teach some other plants a thing or two about growing at the speed of light.

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Our classy neighbor is at it again, being the community do-gooder:

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Yes, that is a lovely pile of mirror shards strewn about on the sidewalk outside her door. Of course other people don’t exist that use this particular sidewalk. Side note: what is my shadow doing? Dancing with itself? Turning into two playful cats? Splitting heads?

As time gets faster and faster (because why would it slow down?) I have days where I notice more and days when I’m not so plugged in. But every night when I’m putting my son to sleep I think, “No, not yet, stay up with me a little bit longer! I want to get to know you a little bit more!” and also, thank goodness I’m about to get some me-time… Oh, to be consistent!

Why I’m not an atheist anymore but I would never tell you what to be

21 Jan

Yesterday I was ordained as a Deacon in my Presbyterian church. It was kind of ironic since a few years ago I considered myself an atheist. I’m sure most people go through periods of doubting, or maybe just never really believing one way or another, but I was pretty adamant about my non-beliefs. I used to tell David that there was no way we’d be getting married with the word “God” in our ceremony. Now I believe that the only way to commit to someone is through your spirituality and that the civil or governmental implications of such a contract should be thrown through the window. That is about my evolution from non-political (probably a Democrat) to being a Libertarian, but that’s neither here nor there right now.

I read up on Richard Dawkins and actively scorned the people in Jesus Camp (one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen). I tried various churches, including Catholic, Baptist, non-denominational Christian, super Christian, Buddhist, Yoga… you name it, I was interested in going. I still am, actually. At the same time that I believed organized religion was a crock of honey, I have always been fascinated by the history and practice of world religions. You could never say they haven’t been meaningful in the growth of mankind and society. Blamed for both good and bad things that happen to people. The reason behind an infinite number of human decisions.

But I have since found a home in this Presbyterian church. Ours is a PCUSA type of Presbyterian and very socially progressive. We welcome everyone. Including a woman on the verge of herself, sitting on the fence watching others act and be and wondering what will happen to her.

The ceremony of becoming a Deacon involves answering a few questions and then the ritual of Laying on of Hands. I have seen this done before and thought it would be an amazing thing to do at our wedding, but I never dared to ask if that was even possible. So all the new Deacons and Elders who are being ordained for the first time kneel down, and then we are surrounded by all the previously ordained (for once ordained always ordained) Elders, who lay both their hands on someone’s shoulder. Thus everyone is connected to each other. It was very similar to the scene in Avatar when the Na’vi sit together praying to Eywa. Except we didn’t literally light up, which was kind of a bummer. But I’ve never felt such good energy from a group of people before. Sure, I’ve gone to plenty of concerts, where everyone is super excited to be there and pumped about the music, but there is something different about a sober, beautifully sunny Sunday morning energy.

In the process of becoming Deacon you have to share your faith journey during a meeting of the joint Session. This is a formality, as I’m sure no one would be rejected unless you started spouting how much you love Satan, but it’s a practice that everyone loves. You sit around with these people that you know and are growing close to and you hear some very intimate stories that brought them to where they are. And everyone is so different, so it’s very interesting.

Most everyone grew up in at least a somewhat religious family, as did I, but it didn’t seem as hard for them as it was for me to be a believer. Ever since I was a little kid, forced to go to Catholic mass (boring and stuffy) and CCD (Sunday school), I looked around at all those other chumps reciting their prayers and thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if I believed like they did. But I couldn’t. My mind just wouldn’t go there.

And then I was forced to attend a Catholic high school in the suburbs of Atlanta. Forced to take Catholic classes and confess to the school priests when I really wanted to be attending the Protestant classes that seemed so much more interesting. Although I did like my senior year Synthesis of World Religions class that the professor and I would sit there and argue about the daily readings while the rest of the kids fell asleep, eyelids heavy with senioritis. I remember during a junior year class being the only student that felt that there was the possibility of a just war. That was fun arguing me versus the rest of them. The professor spoke to me after class, continuing to try to convince me that I was wrong, but I think in the end we agreed to part in disagreement.

I then had a brief stint in a Baptist church that was mainly centered around a cute boy I dated there (although I did meet some great people who greatly influenced me during a difficult period in my life).

After that I was at Georgia Tech, a school well known for its scientists, Hindus and Muslims. Not much Christianity going on there. I did think I was friends with the only two Christians at the school, but it didn’t really matter because I was headed down the atheist road and I didn’t mind. I guess when you’ve been raised Catholic and then witnessed super televangelist Southern Baptist it’s a bit freeing to separate yourself for a minute. I called myself a “spiritual atheist” because, well, even if you don’t want to believe in God (or in my book religion was the biggest culprit of hypocrisy) it’s hard to completely deny the presence of the unknown and miraculous that infiltrates between our very atoms.

It wasn’t until I met David, who slowly introduced God and Jesus back into my life, that I began to loosen up. It’s hard to let in such a massive idea, even if you’ve not been opposed to that idea. When we were engaged we started looking for a church in which to get married. I had taught preschool at our current church several years back and thought the open-mindedness and small-community-ness of the place was appealing. Turns out their sermons and the people there were a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t help enjoying it when the main things they talked about were light, love, joy, happiness and beauty. Besides, it was like free therapy and I never pass that up.

So I’ve chosen to let Jesus and his teachings be my main path to God. I think most people believe in God, and to each their own path, and for those who don’t believe it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve either been there or I haven’t, and I have no right or interest in judging. I think that’s the libertarian in me. The smallest minority is a minority of one, and there are billions of these minorities. I wouldn’t want to discount anyone’s experiences or thoughts.

I also wouldn’t want anyone to criticize me for where I am in life. To some I’m young and to some I’m old but either way I am where I am and I know I’ll change one way or another. I’ve been discriminated against as a Christian, and it is surprising to me that there can be such a backlash. It is as if people want to be so open and unique that the idea of being a Christian (no matter how benevolent a particular church is) is just unacceptable.

I only hope that in all aspects of life — whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, height, etc. — we remember that we are all welcome here on this earth. And if you don’t remember that, then, well, what can I say. God’ll come get you.

Just kidding.

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Best day of my life — until the day my son was born.

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Simple beauty.

The Evolution of the Amaryllis

14 Jan

The beginning of the story is here.

This is the end of the story.

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And then the cat knocked it off the table. They must have had a battle royale. That or I forgot to water it and it became too top heavy to stand up. We’ll never know since it conveniently happened while Dave and I were fast asleep.

What’s Christmas got to do with it?

13 Jan

It’s almost the middle of January and there are two of our neighbors who haven’t taken down their Christmas lights. In high school I used to leave the lights up in my room for so long that in October I figured it would be a waste to take them down just to have to put them back up again. So I understand the sentiment. However, the neighbors across the street have one strand of garland lights over their door that would probably take all of five minutes to get down. Maybe less.

Then there’s the crazy lights house. They get into holiday decorating even more than Dave and I do. For Halloween their whole yard becomes a scary vision of witches in trees and graveyards and such. Yet strangely enough when I walked around with my nephew trick-or-treating this year they didn’t answer the door! At least they weren’t as bad as their next door neighbor who put up a blockade with a sign that said “No Treats Here” as if the sign would be easily read in the dark by people who mistook the meaning of the blockade.

It takes the owners of the crazy lights house days to hang lights all over their yard — and on some weird arch thing they put up just for more lights — and then they sync it to a personal radio station that plays Christmas music. You can tune in to listen as you pass by — or god forbid stop to enjoy — but I don’t like to encourage them (not that it would change anything). The lights look like they are having an epileptic seizure from 6pm to midnight the entire month of December. And apparently well into January this year too! I can’t believe their neighbors don’t complain of headaches. I complain of micro migraines any time I see that house but unfortunately for him only Dave has to endure it. I wonder when they think Christmas ends this year? Even the 12 days are up. No more drummers drumming!

I actually prefer the house on the corner of BP and Zesto’s who apparently bought every light-up lawn ornament in the state just in case someone might miss the fact that they like Christmas. Where do they store all that stuff for the other eleven months of the year???

It’s like our neighborhood throws a tacky Christmas sweater party and we weren’t invited. And I’m OK with that.

What do we really know?

12 Jan

It is funny to me when people talk about the role of women in society. There is so much complexity when you think about something like that, but to break it down to its utter simplicity, women are made to make children. This is an incredible, unbelievable ability. With the smallest of ingredients, most of us are able to make, birth, and then nurture a child until it can walk and eat adult food. I’m not saying we can’t do other things, but biologically we are here on this earth to help create more of the human race — and I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing either. I’ve compared humans on earth to germs infesting an organism before. But we’re here, whether by God or by chance, and nothing but self-destruction or a random universal event will change that.

It is wrong to say that the traditional role of women excludes being in the “workforce.” Women have forever been working, if you consider working to be participating in providing resources, food and shelter for her and her family. In our nomadic, agricultural, industrial, and now technological societies, women have always been a great force behind what gets accomplished. Maybe only a few (few being not as many as men) have stood out in history, but that’s because history cannot be 100% accurate. It is remembrances, and those who have studied psychology know how flimsy the brain is in that regard. We have more connections in our brains than stars in the universe, and maybe that’s what makes it so hard to remember a particular event. To remember what we had for lunch yesterday let alone all of last year. The best we can do is write down immediately what we saw and felt. But when you think of how many versions of history there are, let alone how many days, years, centuries worth of information to know, it’s as intimidating as looking up at the stars and getting dizzy seeing all that space.

When I truly think about the universe, and imagine how small I really am, my mind is blown. I almost had a panic attack thinking about it the other day, so like most people I just continue to live in my little world thinking happy thoughts and imagining I’m living the best, most fulfilling life I can. But the universe is as scary a thought as death. So much unknown out there. We can’t see inside our bodies and we can’t see outside our line of vision. Living in this world as a human is incredibly limiting, but we think we’ve solved the problem with the internet – and the microscope and the telescope and all sorts of other playthings. We now have so much information at our fingertips that we think we are knowledgeable, but can you truly know something you haven’t experienced? You can certainly think you know. That’s the easy part. Memorizing information. Making observations and thinking interpretations are fact.

The good news is, I’ve figured out why people invented marriage. It’s so that when you get back into bed in the middle of the night in winter, you know there will be someone there to warm you up and cuddle with you.

You never know what you’ll get

11 Jan

It was a strange day in the neighborhood. Atlanta feels weird right now. Very cloudy, yet still bright. Warm. Humid. Not what you would think of mid-January. I happen to really like it because I still get to wear sweaters but it’s not freezing in the house in the mornings. I fully expect the weather to do a 180 shortly. It always does. I remember wearing shorts in December when I was a kid, the one warm day in the middle of all the cold.

Our neighborhood is pretty nice. Some rich, some modest, some poor. We got it all here. But we’re still all pretty nice and enjoy living next to each other.

I decided to take Walt for a walk in the afternoon even though he went to the zoo with his grandmother in the morning while I did some work from home. As I was leaving my driveway I see our neighbor parking. This is the neighbor that rents the basement apartment a few doors down from us. I haven’t really enjoyed the tenant’s presence because up until now s/he has consisted of the person who leaves lots of trash, including broken glass, on the sidewalk.

Well, the tenant is a she. And maybe a hooker. I haven’t seen someone dressed like that since Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. She was even sporting the long, curly red hair. Extremely short black shorts. Stockings that almost reached the bottom of her shorts. Thigh high black boots. It was truly a sight to behold. I don’t feel like a judgmental housewife, but come on now, woman. Why are you dressed like that?

I said hi as little boy and I walked by. Today was the first day he rode facing forward in his BOB! I wonder if he noticed the tacky lady too?

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Why

10 Jan

When I was in college (the first time) I got a tattoo of the word “why” in pretty script on my back. That word has never failed to be an appropriate question when presented with, well, anything. Especially if you look around in this world. At the very least it can lead to a better understanding of your original question.

For instance, why does our cat Petra think that the best time to meow with gusto and longevity is exactly when I am trying to put Walt down to sleep? I fear that due to Petra’s lack of verbal skills this might never be fully understood. Maybe this is why she tries so hard to talk to me.

And then, at our local Kroger today, I see this:
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Why on earth would someone make the effort to put the cart so close to the return cart bin but not actually push it the extra couple of feet to get the thing into the proper area? You have to try to be that apathetic towards all the other cars and employees, or maybe it’s just a statement about the world. Hey world! I don’t care about anyone but myself!

I guess I could go on and on and on about all the whys. We feel them personally and globally every day. Why do our friends get terrible diseases that cause them and their families pain? Why do seemingly awful people have trouble not having kids but others in loving relationships have difficulties? Why do people on the other side of the world go hungry yet really fat people down the street complain of being poor? Why are so many people oblivious to the obvious realities that I can see?

I rarely see my tattoo, so I actually don’t remember very often that I have it. People who see it usually comment about it, often surprising me. I was flying home from France once long ago in first class, where the lucky passengers get to lay down to sleep, and the flight attendant came up to me and said, “Why not?” I, of course, was confused until he pointed out my tattoo.

“Exactly,” I said.