Saturday, March 26, 2011

DAILY CHUCKLE

It's a Saturday morning without Wonderboy. He's with his dad today. My mom and I enjoy our breakfast over the morning paper. Usually bacon and eggs. 


The conversation leading up to the chuckle is interesting in itself, and subject for a separate post. Maybe. 


It led up to my mom saying, with a laugh ".....and my little mommy.....every dinner time she would lead grace and use the opportunity to try to change our opinions on things by listing them in the prayer and asking God to set us straight.." 


I got this picture in my mind of my Grandmother, a single mother, standing at the head of the table with her two daughters and one son seated, hands folded over their dinner plates, listening as their mom goes on and on and on and on......
"Dear Heavenly Father, I just know you'll show Charlie that smoking cigarettes is an invitation to the devil to fill his body with desecration....." (Charlie started smoking at 8 years old....)....."And I know you'll explain to Virginia Lee and Mary Ann that boys can wait until they've memorized the New Testament...." 


......and then they finally eat at 9:18 p.m., the dinner cold, immediately followed by dishes and bed time.


I can just picture my Grandma, an amazing little woman who re-defined the parameters of "steel magnolia", standing at that table, smiling with ebullient love and grace as she created the ultimate  "....just wait till your father gets home..." and my mom and her siblings sitting there, taking it in. Rebelliously ignoring it at first, but years and years later, actually expressing their attention by living up to her heavenly exhortations. 


Oh, if only I could show you my little granny. She was a hoot. A very canny hoot at that.

Friday, March 25, 2011

FRIDAY FIVE: SPIRITUAL PRACTICES



Mary Beth writes:

"Following the image above, I like to think of the spiritual disciplines as vessels that prepare us to ride the wave of God's amazing love and presence in a new way.

For today's Friday Five, please share with us five spiritual practices or disciplines from your experience. They can be ones that you have tried and kept up with, tried and NOT kept up with, ones that you flirt with at various times, or even practices that you have tried and found are definitely NOT your cup of tea. Let us know what's worked for you...and not."


1. Every night I end the day in prayer. Every morning I begin the day in prayer. I always begin my prayer with "I am so sorry to be such a disappointment to you." I say this because things in my life have been relentlessly difficult. Which is a huge disappointment to me, so I can only imagine how God feels about it. And then I feel ever so much better. And then I pray for friends who need help and healing and maybe some potatoes, or a nice pasta dinner. 


2. Whenever someone is thoughtlessly rude to my face (and these days it happens at least two or three times a day), I take a deep breath and an imaginary step back to regard them as having nothing to do with me aside from sharing a ridiculous human experience. Then I am able to inject humor and maybe even some compassion into the scenario. Though there is one situation where I am finding this enormously difficult.


3. I consider my Facebook alter ego a spiritual practice. If the girlfriend goes viral, as I'm told by some that she will, I will do my best to remember this.


4. Sunday School. I have tried in more than one place to get my son into a Sunday School program and then support him there. I cannot tell you how abysmal and idiotic they have been to date. We like our current church, but the Sunday school program has been run by an untrained mom as youth "pastor" (not ordained), and her kids bully the other kids, while they make crafts and learn how to do some songs in "sign language." So he sits in the sanctuary with his friend and her family and us and plays games on his Nintendo or iPod. Yes, I am one of those moms. At least he listens to the sermon.


5. Humor. I find humor a spiritual practice for me. If I can elicit an honest laugh, I have transformed a moment into something better. By "honest laugh",  there are rules: 1. not at anyone's expense; 2. not mean, no mean jokes; 3. it must lighten the mood in a positive way; 4. folks must walk away feeling better. 


I have been remiss on Bible studies. I am hoping to start a new class soon. But I am really really tired right now. So pardon me while I catch a nap. Which I find to be another really good spiritual practice.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

GIVE 'EM A BREAK!

Kids don't catch much of a break any more. They just don't.

You realize this likely means that when WE are old and decrepit, they are going to make us stay up until 10:30 p.m. filling out forms in order to fill one prescription. And then return it to us marked "Incomplete." and "try to be neater."

It's coming. Oh yeah.

Friday, March 11, 2011

OH BROTHER (and sister) WHERE ART THOU?

On September 11 of 1992 I was on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. It was the last day of a two week Hawaiian vacation that my now ex-husband and I had enjoyed. We were awakened at about 4 a.m that morning by a hotel staffer.

Hurricane Iniki, which had been charted to miss the island completely, had changed course during the night and was now headed straight for Kauai's south shore, where we now sat rubbing the sleep out of our eyes.

Such a giant storm for such a tiny island. See where it says "Lihue?" That's exactly where we went after leaving the hotel.

I bring this up today because of the monster earthquake and tsunamis that hit Japan this morning.



I listened to the news most of the day. How countries as far away as ours had issued tsunami warnings. Santa Cruz, here on my own coast, actually had some damage from aftermath tsunamis. A friend this morning asked me if I was OK with it and, being a total goob (sorry, Mindy, I completely misunderstood because I am a goob), thought she was talking about my recent bad mood of the week past. Anyway, the other thread that caught my ear in the reporting today was how the Japanese people were not panicked and freaking out. They were prepared. They are helping each other. The government has stepped in and is actively supporting the efforts of the people.

And this struck a chord in my memory of Hurricane Iniki.

I was at the Kauai War Memorial during and after the hurricane. It turned out to be the best shelter on the island. The first night it was full of tourists, about 20 percent of them Japanese. The very next morning after the hurricane, which had ended at about 8:30 p.m. the night before, the Japanese people were herded together, lined up and bussed out of the shelter in school busses. They were taken to, I believe it was a military dock. Not sure. But the Japanese government had immediately dispatched two naval vessels to pick up their citizens and take them home. The rest of us cooled our heels for three more days, scrubbing toilets and eating powdered eggs, after the Taco Bell and other defrosting restaurants' food was eaten.

The only reason we were flown out first was because we were in the best shelter on the island and they needed it for the residents.

I have to say that after this and after hearing about the gentle spirit of the Japanese people in the aftermath of this current disaster, that Japan seems to take far better care of itself and its citizens than we do here in the States. (citing our own hurricanes and their aftermaths here).

This further led me to reflect on how, as a church global, we have failed in inspiring this same kind of outreach and care after disasters, in our fellow citizens. Much less our own government who goes only so far, then stands back behind the fence of bureaucracy.

We have pockets of kindness and certainly many groups who raise lots of money, and show up for the cameras and sound bites. But only a few who steadfastly hang in until the last bit is mopped up and the last boo boo is bandaided. And so often, it could be much more help than it is.

Maybe it's because there are so many more of us than of them and their number is easier to manage. I have no idea. I only know it made me wish for this kind of a society everywhere. A society and government that drops absolutely everything and rushes in to help and stays until the job is done.

These "every person for themselves" "Best just take care of yourself, no one else is gonna help you" and "The Lord helps those who help themselves" attitudes are plain mean, in my opinion. Cold and hard-assed.  I don't find it "tough" at all. I find it cowardly.

No, I don't want to move to Japan. Not a big fan of sushi, and those clog shoes kill my feet. But I sure admire their spirit in the wake (you should pardon the pun) of this disaster today. Oh that we could learn some of that over here.

Cause I do believe we're going to need it soon.

Monday, March 07, 2011

SLOGGING THROUGH OATMEAL

Lately I feel as if I am climbing out of a hole with sheer vertical walls, greased with Crisco and without handholds.

Up at 5 and on my feet till about 10:00 with maybe an hour to sit and chill with Wonderboy. I still can't find enough time to get work to pay for things, so by the time Wonderboy is out of high school I will have burned through all my savings. Yes, I know I should be grateful to have savings when so many do not. And I am. Quite grateful in my quivering anticipation of being broke at a specified date. The good news is that when that happens I will likely have decades of living ahead of me! 

Then there's the "little things" of Chinese torture -
~Having an interesting conversation with a teacher at son's school, who happens to be male. Another mom comes up, interrupts with "So how's your WIFE who you've been married to for what now, 25 YEARS"...(meaningful look over my head). Golly, so that's what that big honking gold band on his left hand meant! I was just about to ask if he'd won that in a Cracker Jacks box right after we finished talking string theory. 
~Talking to another parent at school, who happened to be a man as well. His hair was growing out and I told him it suited him. Yes, those were the "hey sailor", come hither words I used. "It suits you." Then he tells me that his wife told him if he ever gets a girlfriend, he can bring her home to "share the dream." Which related to our conversation much the way pickles relate to toe jam. (well, unless you like that kind of sandwich). 

Apparently I am now the school "femme fatale". Which is hysterically funny. An overweight, nearly 60, down on her luck grey haired woman is a "femme fatale." I must sweat me out some killer pheromones. I must remember not to shower too very often before picking Wonderboy up to prowl the men, and smile threateningly at the womens. 

Between taking care of my son and my almost 85 year old mom, plus poor job prospects and now a Harper Valley PTA reputation, goodness, it's a miracle I get anything done at all, what with my prancing about flirtatiously talking science and haircuts with unsuspecting, vulnerable menfolk. 

There are other reasons. But I shall keep them to myself. I've whined enough. Besides, you might think I'm hitting on you. 

Oy. People can be such asshats. Lord forgive them. They know not what they eschew.