May 28, 2005

-image-the abc’s of me me me!

Got this from The Anchoress, but I changed a few of the “questions.” Because I can. (Can’t I?)

A is for Age – of my sister’s dog? Okay. 2.
B is for Booze – Are you kidding? I was raised Baptist, so I’m a booze wimp. I like Kahlua and creme, though. But mostly the creme.
C is for Cookie you crave – These lucious, melty, crumbly chocolate chip shortbread cookies from a bakery in My Beloved’s hometown. Heavenly.
D is for Dating tip you’d give your son or daughter – “Well, son, don’t leave that bloody-nose-stopping tissue in your nose for your date to see. Most girls won’t like that. I know I didn’t.”
E is for Essential items to bring to a party – Believable excuse for a hasty exit.
F is for Favorite song at the moment – Oh, I don’t know. I’ve been listening to Eva Cassidy, “Fields of Gold” a lot.
G is for Goof off thing to do – Jump on the big trampoline with the nephews and niece.
H is for Hometown – Well, there’s the town where I was born and grew up, and then there’s the town I consider my hometown — Seattle, WA.
I is for Instrument you play – Piano, voice, flute.
J is for Jam or Jelly you like – Blackberry Jam or Green Pepper Jelly.
K is for Kids – Yes, it is.
L is for Living arrangement – Well, sheesh! I’m married. Not livin’ in sin, you know.
M is for Mom’s name – She hates her name, so I won’t say. Trust me. It’s bad.
N is for Name of first crush – Grade school. He was a dreamboat named Bosco Wasco. Seriously. I just love that name.
O is for Overexposed celebrity? – Paris Hilton.
P is for Phobias – Claustrophobia, a bit. Pyrophobia, but I have a really good reason for that one.
Q is for Quote you like – “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid” Epictetus
R is for Relationship that lasted longest – My Beloved. And it’s the one I want to last the longest.
S is for Siblings – Two. A brother and a sister.
T is for Texas, ever been? – No! Everyone knows you don’t mess with Texas.
U is for Unique trait – I loathe name tags. It’s quite irrational.
V if for Vegetable you love – Love, love, love green beans and have them frequently for dinner. I just loves me da green beans.
W is for Worst trait – Because I couldn’t choose the worst of the worst, I called downstairs to My Beloved:

“What’s my worst trait!?”

There was a long pause. Then a very considered:

“I … don’t … kno-o-o-ow …”

Then:

“Well, your worst trait is setting your husband up for an all-day fight on a holiday weekend.”

So let’s go with that.

X – is for Xtra Credit, did you ever do it in school? – Hmm … I was geeky enough to do it, but also geeky enough not to need to do it. Sweet Moses.
Y is for Yummy food you make – Coconut Buttercream Cupcakes. I’d make them for you, but you would fall in love with me.
Z is for Zodiac sign – Leo.

All right. Who’s in? Let me know if you put this up at your place.

May 27, 2005

-image-the divine lottery

So a while back, I was riding in a car with a woman I’ll call Plumcake. At a stoplight, while deep in discussion with me about something else, Plumcake suddenly gasped and blurted, “Hey! Look at that car! It has ‘333’ on the license plate! Oh, thank you, Lord!”

Hm. I looked at the car. I looked at her. I looked back at the car. It was just a car.

Uh, I didn’t get it.

She continued.

“You see, the Lord has told me that whenever I see the number ‘333,’ it means He’s thinking about me and loving me.”

I’m sorry, what??

Was she joking? Temporarily off her nut? I wasn’t sure, so I decided a solid, but noncommittal response was a chuckle. I mean, what person, whether joker or nutter, could object to the chuckle, right? So I chuckled. Plumcake threw a withering glare at me. Oops. Okay. I guess she was serious. Duly chastised, I shut my mouth, too stunned to make a peep now. I sat in silence while she rhapsodized about ‘333.’

Now I thought this was an isolated incident, but since then, I’ve seen her publicly gush over anything with the number 333: addresses, phone numbers, digital clocks. I was at her house one afternoon when the kitchen clock struck 3:33 and she started to dance a little jiggedy jig of joy: “It’s 3:33! God’s thinking of me. It’s 3:33! God’s thinking of ME!” Her two little kids ran in and joined the 333 jig.

I stood stock still and wide eyed at the celebration, the only one not dancing, which is a bummer because I like to dance, just not about numbers generally. Frankly, I thought the whole dealio seemed rather exclusionary, since apparently, God was thinking just of Plumcake and there were other people in the room. Once 3:33 clicked over to 3:34 and God wasn’t thinking about her anymore — I mean, I guess, if you follow the “logic” here — Plumcake calmed down and resumed her (semi)normal life. I, on the other hand, left Plumcake’s house shortly thereafter so I could begin my private spiritual freakout at the thought that God was now in the numbers game.

Because if God is in the numbers, I’m toast. Doomed. If this is the direction he’s headed, then at some point I will wet my pants about it, because Crackie ain’t so good with the numbers. Oh, no, she ain’t.

I generally don’t like to wet my pants, so to calm down and keep myself dry, I’ve given some thought to Plumcake’s spiritual epiphany and, it turns out, I’ve got a few niggling questions. First, why 333? I mean, why that number? Is “God in the number” because the three digits are identical? Is that the magic of it? And what would happen, Plumcake, if I just scribbled 333 on a piece of paper? Would that mean God’s thinking of you or would it mean that I just scribbled 333 on a freaking piece of paper?

But, wait. I need to think this through. Maybe God is speaking this way. Maybe God IS in the numbers. If so, what’s next? Story problems?? Oh, sweet baby Jesus in the manger. Just think of the ones ALMIGHTY GOD could come up with: “Two trains depart Toledo, one traveling the speed of a hummingbird’s wings, the other, the speed of an eyelash blink and if X is the total number of passengers and Y is the total number of sins amongst them, which locomotive arrives at the pearly gates first??” I mean, I’d be toast for sure. My utter incompetence with numbers would cement my spiritual doom forever and ever. I’m schvitzing just thinking about it.

Maybe it’s not story problems, though. Maybe it’s these numbers, as Plumcake says. So then does God speak exclusively through the identical three-digit number? And how do all believers get one of these? Because I don’t think there are enough of them to go ’round. I mean, let’s count:

000, 111, 222, 333 (Plumcake’s), 444, 555, 666 (uh, Satan’s), 777, 888, 999.

By my count, that leaves only 8 of these “God numbers” left over for the rest of us.

Wow. This is really rough. I’m sorry to tell you that God does not love you, nor is He thinking of you. Tough, tough break, peaches.

And if God is speaking through numbers, then I must be deaf.

What is going on here? Where are we Christians getting these fairy-tale notions? Where? Please understand. Plumcake isn’t stupid. (She’s emotion-based, yes, but I don’t question her native intelligence.) What I question is when superstition and fantasy creeps into believers’ hearts, weakening or totally replacing firm foundations. You may say, “Well, but I don’t buy into these notions.” To which I say, “Thank God,” but there are enough Christians who do that we should be concerned.

This concerns me too: I know a couple who dubbed their youngest child the “Resurrection Baby.” The husband had had an affair and in the midst of the traumatic fallout, they got pregnant. According to them, the baby was a “sign from God,” of the “resurrection” of their marriage.

(Wow. No pressure, baby. Mess that diaper. Spew those peas. Save that marriage.)

One day, the husband blithely said to me, “Well, I guess this means I get to stay married now.” (Maybe not something you say to a woman in the throes of infertility but whatevs.) And, really? Is that what the blessed baby “means”? Or does it perhaps mean a chance to avoid, to deny, the deep and abiding issues that brought your marriage to the brink? Or does it perhaps mean that you deftly manipulated your broken and betrayed wife into bed — at least once? Why is that a sign from God, I wonder? Given his comment, I questioned whether the baby was really a “resurrection” or a deflection.

Has the God of the universe transitioned into the business of saying what we want to hear, of saying things that are facile, expedient, and small? Or have we become so immersed in our spiritual ADD and laziness that we want — no, need — God to speak in ways that are facile, expedient, and small?

It seems the Word is no longer enough for us. Our souls become so hollowed out by the on-the-spot society swirling around us that we seek, not just instant gratification, but instant sanctification. The lifelong process is simply too wearisome, too burdensome. We need a God who speaks in newer, better, faster ways. We need a God who’s just more efficient, dammit. Please be easier to understand, God. Please speak to me right now, God. Please give me a “word” that makes things better for me, God.

What we want from God diminishes God. What we want from God diminishes our chances of becoming more like him. Still, we want it. And believe me, it’s astounding what “God” will say to a desperate, vulnerable mind. I’m adamant here because I’ve been there. And back, thank God. (A post for another time.)

God gave us the Word, his radical love letter to the world. He woos us to The Enduring Romance, but we settle for the quick cheap thrill of “333” on the back of a car. He gave us His precious Spirit, but we still crave a sign, any sign, as long as it’s the one we want. His Word gives us a foundation, but we long for flights of fancy, for the whimsical escape of other, newer words. We are desperate for His love, but numbed to the bloodied, beautiful proof of it on the cross.

Just give me another sign, God. Speak a new word to me, God. Thanks for 333, God.

Really? That’s what you want? We have The Cross. We have the Word. We have the Holy Spirit. You want 333?

Honestly, you can have it.

I think I’ll stick with the rest.

-image-the crying game

I hate to admit it, but this lyric got me thinking:

I want to be inside your heaven
Take me to the place you cry from

I listened to both American Idol finalists groan that ditty through my drippy, coughy stupor the other night. It was not a healing experience. But through that snuffly haze, a couple things struck me about that song:

First,

A sudden, but — I’m quite sure — abiding hate.

And, second, those lyrics about wanting to go to someone’s cry place? Pleeeease.

Now, looky here. Some poor guy in the throes of musical self-loathing and a flagging “adult contemporary music” career might sing that crap and droves of girls might still listen and swoon, “Oh, that is soooo sweet! He rilly cares about my feelings!” And he may really care about your feelings, sweetie, but that doesn’t mean he really wants to see you cry. He wants a little somethin’ else. But we girls are suckers for the notion, at least, that he loves us soooo much that he longs to share even our ghastly “cry place” with us.

Get real, chippies. Men love us in spite of our cry place.

But back to that song. Now Bo, the runner-up, the one who could have possibly sold it, doesn’t have to record those soul-sucking words.

But Carrie does.

And girls just shouldn’t sing that.

Ever.

Ev-aaahhh…..

I mean, what red-blooded, meat-eatin’, heterosexual guy wants to be swept away by a love song where the girl wails and implores him to “take me to the place you cry from”?!

Not that I’m opposed to men crying. It’s really not that.

I’m just sayin’.

I mean, men, doesn’t that make you feel rather …. icky? No matter if the singer is as fresh and lovely as the dawn, as Carrie is, don’t you feel …. a tad wussified if she sings that to you?

Do you want to take us to your cry place?

Because lemme tell you this: She’s a liar. She’s lying on behalf of all women, which I really don’t appreciate. So let’s come clean and talk a bit about the cultural crying game.

The truth — as I see it, of course:

We don’t want to see your cry place any more than you want to see ours.

And if the place a guy cries from is real close by and visited often? Well, he’s better off schlepping himself down to some dank neighborhood pub where he can sob into his Guinness alone, for all the lavish sympathy he’s likely to get from a woman. Most men, though, don’t have a “place” close by, a fact for which every woman on the planet should drop to her knees in eternal thanks.

I once dated a fellow in college who was a real crier. He used more tissue than I, routinely sniveling through my precious supply of Kleenex. He never offered to replace them either, which was equally bothersome, forcing me, in my private, elegant crying jags, to sog my pillow or my sleeves. I did not date the sniveller for long. There were other reasons for the breakup, but I can’t say that wasn’t a part of it, however small.

It’s exceedingly unfair, I know. It’s not that we don’t care when men cry, but I do think it causes us anxiety. Perhaps its very nakedness and messiness ties into our primal notions of the feminine and the masculine, of who “can” cry and who “can’t,” of who should and who shouldn’t. In my life, the number of times I’ve seen my father cry can be counted on one hand. Actually, one finger. He either just didn’t do it or didn’t show it. I’ve never thought to ask him about it, which I suppose is telling, too. The same restraint could not be said of my mother, though, who was more, ah, forthcoming.

But that’s the way we expect it to be, right? That’s even the way we prefer it. Right? Perhaps it’s sexist, this crying game, but it seems quite deeply entrenched in our psyches. Maybe that’s why my reaction to those lyrics was so fierce, so negative. It’s just buried there, expectations and all.

Most men’s “cry place” seems quite far away, actually, visited only on occasion. They seem somehow less manipulative with their tears, saving them for that which is truly deep, monumental, or transforming. And because women don’t witness this that often, because men generally do “spare us,” I think the emotional muscles women need in order to respond rightly are a bit weak and flabby. No matter that we may seem calm and compassionate on the surface. Inside, we just may be freaking out, shaken, wondering how to make the world right again.

But our cry place? Ohhh, it’s much, much closer. We’ve all been there. Probably far too many times. The place is a mess, what with the scattered wads of sodden tissue and the empty, dripping containers of Haagen Dasz strewn about. Which we didn’t even share, I might add. Frankly, some of these places need serious renovation to repair the perpetual leakage.

And, men, we don’t just “take” you there, which sounds nearly inviting; we lie in wait to kidnap and drag you away from all you hold dear, which in that moment is pretty much anything and everything else. At least I do, ha! But, you lucky men, with all that overexposure to the horrid cry place, all that working out, your cry management muscles are more taut and supple and ready for the teary challenge, real or contrived, trauma or TV commercial.

I admire you, men.

Such stalwart forbearance in the face of our sometimes quixotic natures.

A (*gasp*) difference between men and women?

Or a societal expectation?

Both?

So I ask what I asked earlier — because I do want to know:

Do you want to take us to your cry place?

You’d better tell me.

I just might blub if you don’t.

May 26, 2005

-image-and the winner is …

… everyone but Carrie, the new American Idol, she of the sweetly vacant eyes, who must now hope for a hit with a truly wretched song that goes like this:

    I want to be inside your heaven
    Take me to the place you cry from

Uh, yer looking at it.

Bo. Baby. Trust me. You didn’t lose.

May 24, 2005

-image-under the weather

Will post when I’ve bounced back!

May 21, 2005

-image-don’t even try to kill me

Hey, ever worry about your ability to tell the difference between computer geeks and serial killers?

Well, fret no more!

(That is, if you score well on this helpful test.)

I scored 8/10. So don’t even try to kill me. At least 80% of the time.

Does this mean that 20% of the time, I will wrongly accuse computer geeks of murdering me?

Well, just don’t murder me, geeks.

So there.

Plus, I do own a gun.

So there.

Oh, and ruining my self-important buzz here, My “Beloved” insists on weighing in:

M”B”: Tell them I scored 9/10.

Me: Tell them yourself. God opposes the proud, you know.

M”B”: But I was 10% better than you. I can spot ’em 90% of the time.

Me: How nice for you. (eyes squinching) Guess who your missing 10% is?

May 18, 2005

-image-can I use this one?

Well, it seems my little niece Piper is devilishly clever.

A while back, she and my sister were in the park. Piper, being the 4-year-old she is, wanted to “chase monsters.” She scampered across the grass, turned round, and called out:

“C’mon, Mommy! Let’s go kick some butt!

Hearing that, my sister instantly stopped short, chiding her:

Piper! Where did you learn that from?!”

Piper paused. My sister could see her little brain thinking, thinking. Then solemnly, she blinked those blue eyes and whispered:

“From Jesus, Mommy. Jesus.”

May 16, 2005

-image-oh, I forgot …

…. The Pronoun Challenge!!

Some of you must be chomping at the bit to use the nifty, new gender-neutral pronouns I listed below. And if not, well, frankly, I’m chomping at the bit to see you use them!

Oh, in a post, of course. Oh, and in context now, not as a raging non sequitur. (Oh, and they only apply to people, just to clarify. At least I zink so. So I couldn’t have said “zie” for “they” in that sentence that I just wrote with “they.” Zie what I mean?)

So I’d love to see some of you muddle the verbal mud, glop the grammatical goo, and use these babies in a post.

Consider this yer call to the challenge.

Think of the possibilities. Each blogger, doing zir part, could help revolutionize the language ’til ain’t nobody knows what anybody’s sayin’ to zim no more.

Now zat’s noble, peeps.

(Oh, by the way, if you take the challenge, let me know so I can read your post!)

-image-“zim”-a-dee-do-dah

Well, we got into a bit of a grammar discussion here after I posted that li’l English quiz awhile back. Some of you may remember the quiz wanted us to tell what was wrong with this sentence:

“Every person is entitled to their own opinion.”

Technically, what’s wrong with this sentence is the use of the plural pronoun “their” when the word “person” is singular. The traditional solutions to this problem have been either:

“Every person is entitled to his opinion.” (Using the masculine pronoun to cover everybody, but that’s not PC anymore.)

OR

“Every person is entitled to his or her own opinion.” (Using both pronouns so as not to offend the womens, but, admittedly, making a cumbersome construction.)

So because I’m oh-so-up on these things — and because I want to make all da peoples happy, I’m offering up those third-person singular gender-neutral pronouns favored by some. Let’s have a gander at them, shall we?

(And this is a genuine list. I did not make them up. These forms are being seriously considered for entree into our repressive, sexist language):

SubjectZie – (They)

ObjectZim – (Them)

Possessive PronounZir/Zirs – (Their/Theirs)

ReflexiveZimself – (Themselves)

So using these handy-dandy new thingies in that problematic sentence from our quiz, it would now read:

“Every person is entitled to zir own opinion.”

(I’m just curious. Would that rhyme with “her” or “here”?)

Or take a sentence like this:

“Ask the first clerk you find if he (or she) can tell you the price.”

(Remember, it’s incorrect to use “they” here, although many people would.)

And it now becomes:

“Ask the first clerk you find if zie can tell you the price.”

See? It’s just lovely. It’s all-inclusive. Compassionate, even. Forever sounding like wee silly asses is a small price to pay for sparing the feelings of the terribly sensitive among us, don’t you think? And now that I’ve shared, I feel gratified knowing that every reader of this blog can use these zimself.

And don’t panic. That buzzing sound in your head goes away eventually.

May 13, 2005

-image-teachers? a quick thought

I just read a post on a well-respected Christian blog that maintained that, as Christian bloggers with a public forum, we are “teachers” and, as such, are under the judgment mentioned in James 3:1:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Hm. So we’re “teachers” simply by being Christian bloggers? “Teachers” if we discuss issues of faith? I’m not sure that leap can be made. Granted, some Christian blogs out in the ‘sphere are trying to teach, have that as a stated purpose, but not this blog.

I’m just a blogger. I write here, but I don’t call myself a writer. I share thoughts, beliefs, and experiences here, but I don’t call myself a teacher. In this forum anyway. I choose to share, not instruct. If we’re not putting ourselves out there as “teachers,” not assuming that role for ourselves, is it necessarily thrust upon us by this scripture? I don’t think so. Rather, I think the burden upon us as Christians here, in the open forum of the blogosphere, is to be mindful of our words — admittedly, a weakness of mine.

A public forum, by definition, is a place for lively discussion and interaction. In a messy, noisy mingling of people and ideas, where does one draw the line between the “teacher” and the “student”? Hard to tell who’s who when we’re all a bit of each, isn’t it?

And I just come to this bustling, casual marketplace of the mind to do a little barterin’.

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