November 21, 2010

-image-nosy sleep survey

Oh, you know, it’s just me. Being nosy again.

(Remember to copy and paste the questions into the comments; otherwise, it’s harder to follow your answers, pippa. Thanks.)

So let’s talk about sleeping.

(Also, seems I forgot how to count. There is no #5. And I usually have no problems with 1-10. I ain’t fixing it. NF sweetly called my attention to it. I’m like, “Why isn’t he answering #5??”)

1. What is your optimal number of sleep hours per night?

2. How many hours do you typically get?

3. You are lying in a big bed. Are you — or would you want to be — on the “driver’s side” or “passenger’s side” of the bed?

4. Kids in the bed with you — yes or no?

6. Pets in the bed with you — yes or no?

7. Did you sleep with any stuffed animals when you were a kid? If so, what were they?

8. If you’re having a sleepless night, what do you do to help you sleep?

9. What size is your bed?

10. What is your favorite kind of sheet? (100% cotton, blend, satin, etc.)

11. On the bottom sheet — flat with hospital corners or a fitted sheet?

12. Do you have a memory foam mattress topper and, if so, will you give it to me?

13. Please describe your bed in lurid detail — colors, patterns, pillows, etc.

14. Just for bed adornment now — how many pillows is just right? How many is too many?

15. How many pillows do you like to sleep with?

16. Describe your ideal bedroom atmosphere for sleeping. For instance, do you like a cool room? Warm room? Really dark? Some peeking light? Etc.?

17. What or where is the best sleep you’ve ever had outside a bedroom?

18. How old were you when you graduated from a crib or bed with rails to a real bed?

19. If someone in the bed has a problem that keeps the other awake — snoring, jimmy legs, etc. — who should leave the bed? The person doing the bugging or the person being bugged?

20. TV in the bedroom — yes or no?

21. Do you wake to an alarm? If so, what is the sound?

22. Does your bedroom door have a lock on it?

23. Do you have summer bedding and winter bedding?

24. Women: Do you sleep in jammies, nightgown, underwear, or ….. you know ….

25. Men: Same question. (And, yes, please tell me if you wear a nightgown. Thank you.)

Okay. That’s all for now. I could ask endless questions on this topic, but I’ll save them for another time.

Thank you for participating in another Nosy Survey!

-image-snippet

Original Banshee, on her name, which is a kind of girlie name that ends in an “e” sound, much like her ol’ aunt Tee Tee’s name:

“I don’t like my name, Tee Tee. It’s a good kid name, but it’s not a good old lady name.”

I hear ya, precious. It cracks me up how she’s planning ahead. “How will this work for me when I’m 80?”

That one is a pistol, she is.

November 18, 2010

-image-“finishing the hat”

By Stephen Sondheim.

I spent a good chunk of my Saturday morning reading this in the bookstore. We didn’t go all the way or anything but I still feel bad, like I led it on, got what I wanted, and then walked away. There must have been skintight jeans involved. Subliminal skintight jeans that made me do things.

So I need to go make an honest book of it. I need to commit. I miss it. I need it in my life.

finishingthehat.jpg

I love the subtitle:

“With attendant comment, principles, heresies, grudges, whines, and anecdotes.”

Hahaha. And what I was able to read of those was fantastic. Funny. Insightful. Self-deprecating.

Ah, Stephen Sondheim. My Broadway boyfriend.

November 16, 2010

-image-the zombie trampoline

It is the Sunday before Halloween and we’re at my brother’s house to watch the Chargers commit seppuku yet again. The game hasn’t even started, but that’s what we say to each other: “Hi. How are you? Come in. Watch the Chargers kill themselves.” We are very positive in our negativity, which is nice, don’t you think? Positive people make the world a better place.

Within 2.79 seconds of our arrival, The Banshee Sisters — Original 6, Baby nearly 3 — insist I jump on the trampoline with them. No problem. I love the trampoline. I could jump on it for hours and hours but I worry that my boobs would bounce off my body or prematurely stretch themselves into irreparable “knee shooters” as MB respectfully calls old lady boobs. Of course, I share none of this with The Banshee Sisters because it’s not their problem now, is it? Although if they take after Tee Tee, it will be some day.

So we climb through the net onto the trampoline. It’s crisp and cloudy. The air is moody grey, my favorite kind of day. I start jumping, but by my second jump, Original Banshee is channeling her inner despot, barking her critiques.

“Tee Tee! You’re going too high! You’re too close to me! Don’t chase me! Or tickle me! Don’t be scary! No smoking on the trampoline! Recycle your bottles and cans! Bring your seat backs and tray tables to their upright positions!”

I mean, when one is a 3-and-a-half foot dictator, one must be very thorough, because that is all one has.

I smile down at her, keep jumping.

“Uh, Banshee, next time, do you think you could you post these rules on the trampoline net? Tee Tee can’t remember all 653 of them.”

“Tee Tee! I am serious!”

“So am I.”

Smile. Smile. Jump. Jump.

Finally, I jump too close to her on purpose, bouncing her in the air about 6 inches. You know, just to jar the tyrant out of her.

“Tee Teeeee!!”

Oh. Oops. If one can say oops for something one did on purpose.

But suddenly she’s up and jumping and laughing like a kid instead of barking like a despot, for a few minutes anyway. Until the unfortunate return of The Little Dictator. I love her to bits, but the kid is a Shirley Temple movie on steroids.

“Tee Tee, you need to be a zombie.”

“I do?”

“Yeah. Doesn’t she need to be a zombie, Baby?”

“Yesh,” breathes Baby Banshee.

Baby is sitting on the perimeter of the trampoline, little fingers smushed in her mouth, little legs folded under in that rubbery inhuman way that only a toddler can do. Her big moon eyes go up down up down as she watches me jump. These days, Baby Banshee is a shy and whispery girl, even around family. Outside of her parents and Baby Banshee, she will hug only Younger Nephew and me and we had to really work for it, had to earn the reluctant hug privilege.

Still, for such a reticent child, she has an opinion on the zombie thing.

“Yesh. Tee Tee needs to be a zombie.”

I shrug.

“Okay.”

I assume a zombie stance. Stare down at Original Banshee. Start to slowly make my moaning way towards her. Baby Banshee giggles.

Original Banshee does not.

“NO, Tee Tee! That’s not how you do it!”

I moan out my words.

“Suuure, it isssss.”

“NO. NO, Tee Tee! First, you need to suddenly look sick. Then you need to fall down and die but make it look good. Then you need to get up real slow and realize that you’re a zombie. Thennnn you need to make me a zombie so I can do all that stuff and make Baby a zombie. Oh, and you can’t chase me.”

“I can’t chase you?”

“No.”

“Have you met me?”

“What?”

“I’m Tee Tee. I chase you.”

“You can’t.”

You know, I can’t work this way. I mean, who does she think she is? Fritz Lang?

“Okay. GO, Tee Tee!”

But I don’t go. I question.

“So, Banshee, how will I make you a zombie if I don’t move towards you in some way?”

“Well,” replies little Fritz, “you can get me, you just can’t chase me.”

“But zombies are pretty slow. What if you’re faster and I have to speed up and it looks like I’m chasing you?”

“Well, I’ll go really slow.”

“Gee, thanks, Banshee.”

Her eyes glow with a mania beyond her years.

“Then I’ll be a zombie, Tee Tee! And I’ll make Baby Banshee a zombie! Okay, Baby?”

“Yesh,” nods Baby Banshee with a small smile.

Just then, Uncle Beloved crawls through the net onto the trampoline.

“So, what about your uncle?” I ask.

“No. He can’t be a zombie. He has to stay there. You can bite him if you want.”

I brighten. “I can?”

“Sure.”

MB interjects. “No, you can’t.”

“Hm. Too bad. Your niece said I could. I’m starting to like this game.”

“I’m not,” says MB, rolling his eyes.

But the dreaded Fritz will have none of our playful banter and cracks her whip again.

“Okay! Tee Tee! Do the zombie thing!”

I try to remember her directions. I do my best to “look suddenly sick.” I do my best to “die and make it look good.” Then I do my best to “realize” I’m a zombie — an astonishing act of self-awareness that you wouldn’t think zombies capable of — and begin to make my lumbering zombie way towards Original Banshee.

“NO, Tee Tee! NO! You didn’t die right! You fell too fast!”

“I fell too fast?”

“Yes!”

“Well, I don’t know how I can fall any slower, Banshee.”

“You can! You have to do it again!”

“I do?”

“Yes!”

“Can’t I just bite Uncle Beloved?”

“No!”

“Can’t I just bite you?”

“NO!”

I sigh, quietly. I don’t want Bossy von Blondenstein to hear me.

But at that moment, a blessed reprieve. The Banshees’ mother calls to us from the window.

“Pizza’s here!”

MB bolts from the trampoline, but even the promise of greasy cheesy sustenance can’t deter Little Fritz from her artistic vision.

“Okay, Tee Tee. When we’re done with pizza, we can come back out here and do the zombie thing again. Okay?”

Whatever, Fritz.

“Uh, sure, Banshee.”

“Good.”

“Uh-huh,” I say and basically sprint towards the salvation of pepperoni pizza, the Banshee ever on my heels, rattling off more scene notes to the back of my head.

You know, I really need to call my agent.

November 13, 2010

-image-cyber wooing

Glee’s boy choir version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

So.

Yesterday, MB sent this song to my email while he was at work. A YouTube love letter of sorts. And from the very first sentence, I was doubled over with tears of laughter at the insane funny-sweet of the whole thing. The man knows how to get me, that’s for sure.

We’d watched this episode of Glee the other night and I’d commented how much I loved this version the guys did. Great arrangement. Lush harmonies. He’d obviously made a note of it. The lyrics are pretty darn girl-specific, so the image of giant manly MB saying these things to me ….. well, I was gone. Toast. My laptop almost crashed to the floor, I was shaking that hard with laughter. How can I resist a man who sends me — his wife of a jillion years — a teen anthem to declare his love??

And the messages we started to send each other, quoting the lyrics and commenting on them. I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

Here’s a smattering:

HE: You think I’m pretty without any makeup on

(The image of MB with his bearded face plastered in makeup — well, it’s just too much, I tell you)

ME: Yes, thank God you’re pretty.

HE: We drove to Cali and got drunk on the beach.

Remember?

ME: Um, when?? You got me drunk is what happened here, Casanova, and then drove me to “Cali.” I need to be drunk to be anywhere near “Cali.”

HE: Hm. That explains a lot.

ME: Yep.

HE: Let’s go all the way tonight.

ME: Hahahahahahahaha!! Well, let’s pray about it, ‘mkay?

HE: Yes, let’s. Oh. I’m getting a word from the Lord.

ME: Hahahahaha. I’ll bet you are. You know, I’m glad to hear you think “this is real.” I was gearing up to ask you where this relationship is headed.

HE: I think we both know.

ME: Cocky.

HE: I’m going to let that slide.

ME: Yes. I’m sure you will.

HE: Look, it says we can build a fort out of sheets.

ME: Ooooh, that sounds fun! Do I have to do laundry in order for this to happen?

HE: No. Laundry is anti-fort.

ME: But dance until we die? Can we stop dancing before that happens?

HE: Yeah. I don’t really have an interest in dancing until I die. We can skip that part.

ME: Phhew.

HE: I’mma get your heart racing in my skin-tight jeans, be your teenage dream tonight

ME: Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!! I can’t bear it. You’ve killed me. You win. And where are these skin-tight jeans, btw? I would pay real dollars to see this.

HE: Oh, you’ll see.

ME: Really?? Hahahahahahaha!! My heart is already ….. well, not exactly racing, but jogging. Or something.

HE: That’s a start.

ME: Also, I like how you’re going to “LET me put my hands on you.” Hahahaha. Yes. Mother, may I?

HE: You may.

ME: Try and stop me.

HE: Why??

ME: See you soon.

HE: I’m coming home now.

ME: Oh! I’ll prepare the fort.

Uhm, yeah. This is now my favorite song.

(An aside: Menfolk? I highly recommend this tactic. Very ….. effective.)

November 9, 2010

-image-“bleatings”? “bleatings”??

I realize I sound church weary on this blog lately. I am church weary, but church weariness does not equate with Jesus weariness. For me, anyway. I’m perfectly capable of separating Jesus from what his church has become. It’s not his fault. If anything, my disappointment with the screwed-up institutional church/corporation/cash cow/Amway meeting makes Jesus more essential to me, more real in contrast to the myriad ways we’ve managed to muck up the church that is meant to be his hands and ruined the reputation we bear when we carry the name “Christian.”

Jesus has staked his very reputation on us and — ta daaaa! — everyone hates us and Jesus, too.

So, honestly, he’s either God with a much huger agenda than we can possibly see or know, or yes, he’s patently insane. (Stealing from C.S.) Why put yourself through that unless there’s something much bigger at work? I mean, I hate it when people hate me. And I really hate it when people hate me (or judge me) based on a misrepresentation of who I am (phone call for “Outing” Person). Does Jesus feel any different?

Further contributing to my church weariness are things like the blog post below, an example of the musings of the senior pastor of Maybe Church. Like everyone we encountered at Maybe Church, Whitey (as MB and I called him) was — clearly — a “really fun guy.” He wore ill-fitting Hawaiian shirts and nothing proves you’re a “fun” Christian more than ill-fitting Hawaiian shirts. I mean, actual fun wouldn’t prove it. No. To FOCers, any actual fun is probably just good ol’ fashioned sin, Crackie, and you need to check your hearts and repent, mkay? Whitey was Ivy-league educated (unlike most FOC pastors), and I might have been impressed by this fact if his sermons weren’t always dumbed down to accommodate the 11 year olds forced to sit in the audience because there was no Sunday school for kids 6th grade and above. He sounded exactly like John Lithgow except for the never-making-me-laugh part. MB and I wrote notes during his sermons like 3rd graders with ADD because his sermons were about as intellectually challenging as the hidden pictures in Highlights Magazine. (Actually, I would have much preferred that.) He was dry, rather pedantic. Then again, I know that no one will live up to the intellect and passion of our longtime pastor, now retired. No one has.

But what comes across even more in Whitey’s writing than it did in person is his condescension. I didn’t necessarily get that vibe from him in person, but reading this post, I definitely do. It’s indicative of the superiority FOC pastors are groomed to believe they possess. I find it so offensive. He has a whole series of these on his blog from earlier this year, all with the title “Bleatings from the Sheep.”

I could pinpoint certain things, but I want to see if others zero in on the same things I did.

(I know it’s terrible blog etiquette to copy and paste a whole post with no link, but you know I have my reasons. Under normal circumstances, I would never do this, but this place is abusive, subtly so, which makes it more dangerous, and it’s just ruining thousands of people’s lives. Thank God MB and I were not sucked in.)

Here it is:

Bleatings from the Sheep: Respect for the People

It is one thing to be charged with leading the church in the stead of Christ, it is another to do it with humility. One of the temptations of being the primary voice of preaching is to begin to think of the people I serve as resistant. I become more focused on their sins than their graces. I begin to think I know a lot and they do not. Bonhoeffer says that pastors are not called to be in partnership with the devil, as accusers of the brothers. That hits home!

Here is another one of those simple comments that was packed with meaning.

We were in the middle of some major changes in the by-laws of the church. I had preached through the biblical reasons and had held some Q and A sessions with people. But I started to hear second hand reports that some were resistant.

I was tempted to harsh judgments on one hand, and to self-doubt on the other. I wondered why sheep were so stupid. I wondered if I was called to be a shepherd — maybe I should quit, or find another flock that would show greater respect for me.

A few wiser men in the church (and there is a lesson in itself — these were laymen, without my education and calling, but respected for godliness) suggested we slow down the process. They suggested that people need time to absorb change.

I yielded to them reluctantly. I wanted to see this as an authority and submission issue. After all, the case was clear from Scripture and I was called to bring Scripture to bear on people’s lives. They said people wanted to believe the Bible and follow it but they had heard other teaching over the years that was different than mine and they needed to weigh it out. I assured them that the other teaching was wrong. They agreed, but insisted we be patient.

We ended up with some more time for people to discuss these ideas. Some of these key leaders went out among the people and asked questions and listened and served folks. The process took longer than expected and I was growing impatient, discouraged, angry.

Then a couple I greatly loved came to see me. They told me they had concerns with this new direction. They told me they had weighed it out and agreed with what I taught but they still had reservations. They wanted to talk. We did, at length. I labored at listening, not defending. I sought to get into their heads and hearts. My counselors words shaped my responses.

What was interesting was at the end of the conversation, they said they would support this direction. They still had questions, but they would follow this plan. Then they parted with these words, “Thank you for respecting us.”

This couple was in their 70’s and had seen lots of pastoral leadership over the years. Those words were not throw away words. They meant it. It seemed that had experienced pastoral oversight that was disrespectful, impatient, overbearing, dismissive of the people. In that conversation, they sensed I wanted to hear their concerns and would not dismiss them. They were respected.

It became a good conversation with others in oversight — do people sense we respect them? love them? cherish them? or do they think I treat them like idiots? obstacles? resistant?

How easy it is to think of the people I serve as obstacles to what God wants to do — and to treat them with disrespect. They are not obstacles. They are God’s redeemed people, my brothers and sisters, as slow to change as I am. Does God drive his sheep — does God use a cattle prod? I wanted to serve them as my Savior served me — with respect for their persons. Thank God for another sheep bleating!

Oh, how I miss him.

November 7, 2010

-image-“pentecostal fashion”

Well, God bless this girl. She’s so cute but she’s so painful to watch. Don’t ask me how I stumbled across this because I don’t even know, but, nevertheless, I’ve now discovered this girl’s entire series of YouTube tutorials on “Pentecostal Fashion.”

It’s good to know, I suppose, that whenever I have a hankerin’ to dress in some 65-year-old-woman-goin’-to-holy-roller-church clothes, I can consult this girl.

And she’s what? 14? 15? 16 tops?

She has that kind of question mark cadence to her voice. My favorite bit:

“I always wear a cardigan …. because I’m Pentecostal?”

Are you unsure why you wear a cardigan or unsure if you’re a Pentecostal? I need clarity.

Also, hon, without a flashy hat, that ain’t no Pentecostal fashion.

November 3, 2010

-image-can’t wait

morning-glory-movie-poster.jpg

Harrison Ford? Love. Diane Keaton? Love. Rachel McAdams? Love. Patrick Wilson? Hello, pretty.

What’s not to love about this movie? I have very high hopes. Very high.

I’m sorry, it’s true. I seriously can’t wait.

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