Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Microbes and You!

Started classes yesterday. Okay, one class. Microbiology. It's four-plus hours of nonstop microbial hijinks and mayhem! First we have lecture, which is presided over by a pasty, button-downed soft nerd-guy. He's really very likeable, but he has slender little wrists. He disguises his second chin with a well-trimmed beard, and wears plaid short-sleeved shirts and jeans. I'm fairly sure he can neither high-five nor catch a frisbee. But, as I said, he is likeable, in an authoritative way that borders on, but does not enter, smug-dom.

Then we move on to lab, also with Pasty Nerd-Guy, and we perform our elementary lab exercises and activities like the bunch of female nursing students that we mostly are, which is to say without the hardened scientific neutrality found in your more serious hard-core students. I am grossly generalizing here and use female only to accurately describe the scenario to the reader. If there is one. But we are indeed mostly female, mostly nursing students, mostly pretty earnest, and mostly not with lengthy backgrounds in the hard sciences, or aspirations thereto.

We got to muck around with petri dishes last night. I do not have strong feelings about petri dishes, they are just dishes with gelatinous media in them, but I find myself wanting to say Eeeeuw nonetheless. Maybe from all those movies with the tell-tale petri dish of Black Plague in the pivotal lab scene. At any rate, we got to culture room air, our fingers (unwashed and then washed), the lab tables (ditto), our lips, and our tongues (before and after swishing with an antiseptic mouthwash).

I turned to my lab partner, a droll woman probably a few years older than myself, saying that we could flip a coin to determine who had to lick the agar, but she volunteered to do it. "It'll be the most action I've seen in a while." I think she's my newest best friend. She really got into it, too, no feeble, virginal single-lick action. She attacked that dish like it was the last of the Thanksgiving gravy. I have a strong initial respect for her. I would've turned away and done it furtively, sparingly, and shame-facedly. I'm like that.

So now I'm a student. God help me.

In other news, today Delia did some new things.

First off she got all jazzed about putting on Swim Panties to go hit the pool, at about 8am. It's way too cold for that at 8am, plus we were going to the library, so I explained all that and she actually said, "Okay," and moved on to other pursuits without the screaming fit, distraction, or bribery that is normally required.

Then later I had to go to the doctor for this thing (more on that in a mo') and I explained to her that we were going to the doctor only for the doctor to look at Mama's foot, not to look at Delia. She consented to being taken along (not that she had any choice) and when we arrived there and she saw the exam room we were headed for, and started to get apprehensive, I explained it again and she settled down and was totally fine for the entire visit. She even took off her shirt and shoes, activities typically reserved for home or the library.

Then, as we waited to be seen, she drew random scribblings on the little kid-height chalkboard that they have in the exam room and accidentally drew an upside-down "V" shape. She very excitedly exclaimed that it was a mountain and drew another one! This is her first graphic representation of anything, albeit accidental in origin, though she has seen me draw many things for her. Then she made some lines on the board and declared that they were sticks. A very exciting day for Delia, overall.

Also yesterday morning when I asked her if she wanted some breakfast, she told me, "No. I'm riding a bicycle." I peeked around the corner and she was indeed sitting on her tricycle in the living room. And today we went to visit the ginormous macaw at the mall pet store, on our usual rounds after storytime, and she held various stuffed-animal dog toys up saying things like, "Wookit the hedgehog, Wocky."

She's so damn cute it's almost poisonous. I need supplemental insulin.

Oh, the foot thing. I have gotten this weird bump on top of my left foot, right where it's really bony toward the big toe side, a couple of times. Yesterday it was so painful it felt like I had dropped something heavy on it, but I hadn't. So I went in, and it turns out it's swelling around the tendon associated with moving your big toe up and down. I must have aggravated it in some way over the weekend or ??? Ice and generally being easy on it should take care of it. No big deal, but mystery solved.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Photogenic, after the screaming stops

Took the small one to the local kiddie photo place for some commemorative 2-year-old photos.

You would think we were trying to get her to eat bugs from the way she hollered and carried on, at first anyway. By the time we were done, you know, long after we had taken all the photos, she was playing and goofing off as if she did this kind of thing every day.

At any rate, the woman taking the pictures was worth her weight in gold. She got smiles outta my kid that we've never seen in the wild.

These images are in their raw form, so they haven't been cropped and centered and all that. You can see a stuffed toy on the far left of one of them, and the close-up was cropped to exclude her hand which looks almost like it has an extra finger and is all grippy and tense compared to her smiling little mug. You can see her little hair-fweeps above her ears, where she has grown these little foofy curly things that are much longer than the rest of her hair but we aren't ready to cut her hair yet so there they stay.

She's pretty cute, if I may say so myself.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Filthy Lucre

It was a free-for-all. Lordy. We had a gazillion people come from all over and buy our junk. It was very chaotic on Friday. Like, we made 380 bucks. And nothing we sold was priced for more than ten dollars, except our patio table which we had found be just too large for our patio and decided to off-load for twenty bucks. Most things were in the 50 cents to one dollar range. Saturday was quite mellow in comparison, we did maybe a hundred dollars total that day. I guess Friday is the big day now in garage sales.

Nephew Tommy set up a pop stand with icy cold sodas and juice drinks for 50 cents (or 30 cents for the juice ones) and made $21.00 on Friday alone. Most of it was sodas, so he sold around 42 of them. It was nuts. People would come, look around, buy some junk or not, and then invariably get a soda! The fact that it was around 90 degrees didn't hurt a bit.

The ugly part of the day (you knew there had to be one) came right at the end. We had closed up, stowed all the goodies in the garage, and eaten some take-and-bake pizza, which I must say hit the spot in a big way. Then I went out to load up the patio table to deliver to a very nice woman who wanted it but didn't have a vehicle big enough to haul it. All was going well until A Certain Someone stepped in to assist.

I had measured the table and the inside of our Family Truckster and figured that I stood a good chance of just lifting it up and tucking it neatly inside, without having to dislodge the baby's carseat which as we all know is a total pain in the ass to install. I failed, however, to clarify this with J. who felt that the table should be turned upside down so as to glide easily over the floor of the Truckster.

Did I then say, "Let's just try it this way, I did some measuring and I think it'll just fit right in, and I'd rather deal with it not sliding that easily than have to take out the baby's seat or tie the hatch down" ? Did I? No, I did not. I caved without a word. Then when it did not fit, I asked (asked!) if I should get some rope or something to tie the hatch shut. Nah, J. says, and grabs the third-row seatbelts, looping them around the table legs. Good enough! Drive on.

By now I am really getting mad and send J. inside. I am angry because there is no way I'm driving anywhere with a slippery glass-topped table unsecured and ready to shoot out onto the road at any moment.

Then I discover that the seatbelts have ratcheted down on the table legs and won't loosen, and the only way to remove them from the table legs is to dismantle the table.

Now I'm really pissed, because I only figured that out after going and furiously yanking the carseat out, which turned out to have no actual effect on the situation.

J. has complained by this point that it's not fair because J. does not get pissy at me if I (bleep) something up. I am not yet ready to concede at this point in the skirmish so I just get more surly.

I get tools, remove the legs, shove the whole mess into the Truckster and drive fiercely to the woman's house.

It's an elderly single-wide trailer in one of those parks where the trailers are crammed in like cordwood. She lives there with her husband and three kids.

I am such an asshole. I live in a nice 'burb house and drive an SUV. I speak fluent English and if people treat me badly, it's not because of my ethnic heritage.* My kid has a college fund and with luck won't be forced to work as a mall custodian or gas station attendant or landscaper.

So, I unloaded the table, re-attached the two legs, and drove home. As I drove, I called J.'s sister, who witnessed some of my fury, and apologized for losing my temper. Then when I got home I apologized to my wife who was only trying to help.

Why did I do that to myself? Why didn't I just speak up? Well, because when you're a 10-year-old girl and your stepfather Fathead ridicules you constantly and treats you like you don't know anything and can't do anything right because you're a 10-year-old girl, you learn not to speak up. Plus, if you speak up or object in any way but the exactly perfect way, you'll make him mad and then you'll get in trouble.

Years later I was in a therapy group and there was a guy there who looked exactly like my stepfather. I could hardly speak with him in the same room at first.

So, dear reader(s), I hope that you treat your kids as though they are human beings even during the trying pre-teen/teen years when you really just want to lock them in the basement until they are more palatable. Or else they might end up like me.

*Although I was teased mercilessly as a child for having red hair: who's crying now, kids? Half of my tormentors probably went on to dye their hair red later in life.

P.S., I should clarify that my mother divorced this man when I was about 18 and didn't remarry until about three years ago, to the most fabulous stepfather a person could have. I didn't want anyone confusing Fathead with my current stepfather, Mr. Wonderful.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Garage Sale

Tomorrow is the big sale. I am so hoping that people flock to us from all around, extolling the vast superiority of our wares in comparison to those charlatans and ne'er-do-wells having sales in our immediate vicinity. As long as I'm at it, I should hope also that they will shower us in currency while washing our cars and mowing our lawn. As it is, reality probably dictates that we will sell some of our crap and the rest will be unceremoniously dumped at the nearest non-profit charitable organization.

I am trying to fob off some elderly computer games: Dark Age of Camelot, Baldur's Gate, that sort of thing. Please, somebody, buy this crap so I can hold my head up high... Otherwise I have to donate them to charity and hope that some hopelessly out-of-date computer nerd happens upon them. Though it does give me a warm fuzzy feeling to think that my cast-off pc games might bring joy to some geeky recluse. I also have some sports games for the pc like Tiger Woods Golfing something-or-other and Madden (football? Like I would know) and Superbike racing. So perhaps a hopelessly out-of-date sports nerd will benefit as well.

My Mom is coming all the way from where she lives, one hour away, to peddle her junk also. Her husband (Mr. Wonderful, and I really do mean that) won't let her have a sale at their house because a) there is a scarcity of parking, and b) he's afraid someone might be casing the joint while shopping for bargains. He does have a point, but we can't help but take this opportunity to mock him for his extreme hoarding tendencies. He has much stuff. He also will have a full-on woodworking and metalworking and machine shop once he's put it all together. He's really putting it together, too, it's not just wishful thinking at Home Depot or anything like that; he has very fine equipment, not stuff for the mass consumer. So, we josh him but he's probably better off being cautious. Plus, if his tools get ripped off who will fix things at Chez Swamp?

Back to the salt mines... I will be dreaming about Sharpie markers and little fluorescent price dots tonight... if I ever sleep...

Update: it's 1am and I'm still up. I stopped pricing things at around 10pm but then got sucked in to a tv show and then decided to clean the kitchen. What's wrong with me?!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I should clarify that the rampant nudity in question involves the baby, to clear up her rash. Much as I might enjoy taking a few hits off the cough syrup bottle and frolicking through the back yard au naturel, alas, all they told me was to drink more liquids, get plenty of sleep, etc.

We let the little tyke go commando in the back yard this evening and she was quite cheeky about it, in every sense of the word. What's really funny is that to get her to put clothes on, which is normally a bit of a struggle, all you have to do is say, "Hey Delia, let's go put some paste on your rash." She then follows you to the couch repeating, "Paste on my wash!" (because her R's aren't fully on board yet) and Assumes The Position. "Let me try!" she says, while trying to stick her finger in the little bottle of Special Diaper Cream issued forth by our HMO.

Another new phrase is, "My turn! My turn!" Where does she get this? We rarely run around the house saying, "My turn, my turn."

In other news, spent the afternoon feeling pretty punky to the point that J. came come to find us on the couch taking in an episode of Spongebob. It was actually my favorite episode, in which SB and his pal Patrick take their neighbor Squidward out jellyfishing. I have seen maybe six episodes all told but this one I've seen three times and it just keeps getting funnier. Anyway am about to toddle off for my last dose of happy syrup for the day and hit the sheets.

We also got the first season of NCIS from Netflix (I cannot say enough good things about NF) and watched the first episode this evening after Little Miss Pasty Wash went to bed. I can't explain why I love this show as much as I do, but I just do. Mark Harmon: totally hunky. And I'm a lesbian. And he's old -- er -- old enough to be my much older brother. Can't explain it. Actually I think it's more to do with a fun ensemble cast than anything else. I just like Mark Harmon in general, but not so much in the biblical sense.

Okay, enough personal revelation. Off to sleep.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy syrup

Am not malingerer -- have been officially diagnosed with brochitis. Even got a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia so I wouldn't have to take antibiotics. Since I am allergic to all the good ones, they always give me the wussy kinds that you have to take four times a day for eternity, so a chance to avoid them is worth a few roentgens IMHO.

So, I am the proud new owner of a shiny albuterol inhaler and two lovely, marvelous bottles of cough syrup with codeine. With refills!

I should say that I can take a fair amount of codeine and still be amazingly functional. I am prone to sinus infections and more than once have been given this elixir of comfort and joy, and worked and went to class largely unaffected by it. I mean, it suppressed my cough and did not make me unfit for operation of heavy machinery etc. Of course I was working in a candy store, which, sadly, seldom involves use of forklifts, D-9 Cats, road graders, and the like, but still. I could make change and carry on conversations that were not too bizarre (from my end, anyway; the store was downtown and there are some weird folk there to be sure).

Once I was given Vicodin when I had pneumonia a few years back and took it with great trepidation, fearing it would make me all loose and vague and I might like it too much and become a crackhead or something. (Hey, I watch made-for-TV movies sometimes. Okay, I don't, but I did as an impressionable child.) I might as well have eaten a Tic-Tac. I'm a codeine girl, all the way.

Oh, and albuterol inhalers? Eeuw. I don't know how people can deal with it. Inhaling things that are not air is completely against my personal creed. Case in point: I don't smoke, never have. I took a puff off this inhaler and it grossed me out big time. Of course, some practice might help, as I think most of the medicine actually landed on my tongue. So I'll try again. But I don't like it.

Little Delia also went to the doctor with me. We all went. I wanted J. to meet the doctor since she needs one at our HMO. Poor Delia, she realized where we were and commenced to hollering and carrying on. She calmed down a bit and watched what happened to me with interest, in between pointing at things and speaking very seriously about them, in some other language as far as I could tell.

Then we parted company as I went off for my chest films and Delia had her own appointment to deal with that pesky rash. Oh, the humanity. We were in the same general area of the clinic and I had no trouble pinpointing their location when I was done. The piercing, wailing screams of despair led me right to her. She got some fancy paste for the affected area and all will be well after a day or two of rampant nudity and application of said paste.

I'm just down to the one lung

Made a doctor's appointment today, one for me and one for Delia actually. The one for me is because it's been a week and I'm still coughing up a lung and feel crappy. I plan to lie like mad when they ask if I've been resting and getting lots of clear liquids.

The appointment for Delia is for a funky little rash on her... uh... "parts." That's actually what she calls her personal regions: parts. Her bottom is called cheeks although if you ask her where her bottom is she points to the appropriate area.

In other news: house still somewhat torn up from the Great Colossally Mis-Timed Office Remodeling Project. Getting slowly better though. Which is good because this weekend is the garage sale and then the weekend after we are having a party to kick off my return to academia. So I have my list of stuff to do (a sampling: vacuum house, oil change in the Family Truckster, water indoor plants, hang outdoor plants -- could my life be more boring?) and what am I doing? Blogging, of course.

When the office is done I'll post a photo or two just for the benefit of closure, but you aren't required to look at it or make supportive comments unless the spirit moves you. I'm just happy to put an end to the dump-and-run era.

The Prodigal Daughter just brought me the dental floss which she calls sting and after being given a short length of it, playing with it, and abandoning it, has removed one sock and possibly her pajama pants and sprinted out of the office, presumably to harrass the cat and/or dog. I'm fairly certain this is good practice for some future endeavor but I'm not sure what. Exotic dancing? Animal husbandry?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Seals! We gotcher seals, right here!

Get 'em while they're hot!

We took the baby to the beach today. Last time she went was when she was just a few months old so naturally she doesn't remember much.

There's a little podunky aquarium with a bunch of seals in a tank at the local Spring Break Mecca beach town. They are rescued seals who can't be reintroduced to the wild for whatever reason so they live fat and happy doing self-taught tricks to get tourons like ourselves to fling them bits of chum. Actually we did not personally fling any chum as it was a buck a pop and enough other folk were doing it that we didn't need to. The seals are quite sleek, and very cheeky, so clearly they are getting sufficient amounts without us getting our hands all fishy and gross.

Anyway once she warmed up to the idea Delia was pretty excited by all the honking and flapping and splashing. We failed to get really good reaction photos but did get some pretty good shots of an actual baby seal nursing. Evidently rescued seals reproduce pretty handily since there were three little fuzzy young ones in there laying around looking adorable. I had to hold the camera up above the wire enclosure so compositionally it's not the best shot ever, but I am pretty pleased with it since it's not every day I can photograph seals nursing. The two seals on the right side of the picture are the nursing mother and pup.

We walked along the promenade with her a bit also, in search of the ubiquitous salt water taffy. She'd heard that John Cleese has had a hip replaced and can no longer perform Silly Walks, so she practiced a bit so as to be ready to take up the mantle when she is of age:

Sadly, we did not have the video camera along to capture the full effect, but suffice it to say that we have a worthy candidate here. You should see her run! It's a wonder she locomotors at all, with all the flapping and non-aerodynamic-ness going on. Obviously she gets this from my side. I think my family name translates from the original Swedish as "Those people who fall down a lot and throw like girls."

So, it's been a week and thanks to my dissolute lifestyle (staying up too late, failing to drink enough, or any, water, etc.) I am still sick. Better overall, but still coughing and congested. It's been such a long time since I had a chest cold that it's taken me quite by surprise. I haven't gone to the gym in a solid week, or more I think. I understand they frown on patrons coughing up actual lungs while using their fancy equipment, as the other patrons find this off-putting. Bunch of weenies. Coughing is a form of aerobic exercise, right?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Actual weekend accomplishment

I did get the office painted, completely, and even cleaned and put away all the painting supplies! For me this is a big deal as I am generally the world's biggest slacker when it comes to putting stuff away. But, I was delirious and half out of my mind with fever, so that probably accounts for the dreamy way the day passed. I would just pop in a dvd, something familiar and amusing, and two hours later the show would be over and I'd be done with another wall.

I painted two adjoining walls green and the other two walls blue. I'd go into excruciating detail as to which two walls are which color but lordy, do you really care? But this computer sits on a round table in a corner, and on one side of the monitor the wall is green, the other side blue, and it's all pretty groovy.

Maybe you're wondering about the fever. I thought I was having seasonal allergies but I'm happy to say it's just an especially slow-moving summer cold. I'd rather be sick for a few days than have allergies that drag on and on. I have very minor ones and they seem to be getting very slightly worse over the years, so the thought that I might be feeling that crappy for half the summer was really bringing me down.

So now the contents of the office, less the larger pieces of furniture (two tables, a cheap white laminate cabinet, and a cheap metal filing cabinet) which I worked around, are spread out all over the rest of the house. I will devote the next few days of my life to a) blowing my nose and coughing, b) keeping my child fed, clothed and out of mortal danger, and finally c) sifting through the piles and piles of junk everywhere and chucking as much of it as possible to the garage so that in two weeks we can put it out on tables in the driveway and hope that people will show up and pay us pennies on the dollar for what it cost us years ago when our judgment was evidently poorer. What remains will go back into the office, but I'm trying to keep it somewhat more minimal than previously. Which is to say, with fewer bits of crap stuffed into every nook and/or cranny.

I was so crafty. I got off work unexpectedly early Friday night and had time to drop by a store for some shelves to put on the wall, and brought them in stealthily and hid them so they could be a surprise. Sadly, I didn't have time to get them onto the wall before J. got home, plus I lack in confidence when it comes to driving screws into the studs. I tend to accidentally strip out the screw heads and get all mad. So, I fessed up and J. has agreed to assist me. I'm hoping we'll have time tomorrow.

I also removed the extremely ugly curtains that previously hung over the window. They kept the sun out, so they did their duty, but did they have to be so homely? The woman who owned this house before us spent a lot of time traveling for business and seemed to have come away from that with tastes distilled from 80's motel rooms. I wish I'd had the sense to take photos of the desecrations she installed on every window in the house -- all different, yet eerily similar, and desperately, desperately ugly. She is a nice woman but I'm really glad she's not an interior designer.

In other news, I'll be headed out to the college tomorrow to purchase my books. Let's hope there are some decent used copies. I was going to try to cut costs by searching for them on the internet but those that I found were either just as expensive plus I'd have to pay shipping, or else the seller didn't list which edition they were, or other frustrating issues like that. Screw it, I'll just hike down and pony up. At least I'll know I'm getting the right books.

Lastly, I must describe some amusing baby things. No photos of this as yet but I swear they will be forthcoming.

Delia got a "Dora the Explorer" book-with-music-player-thingy for her birthday. It looks like a teensy cd-walkman and it plays these 4 different teensy plastic pretend-cd's. It plays instrumental (think midi file) songs, several on each teensy cd. Delia likes to put it on the floor, crouch down to put in a cd, which she can do without help already, and push the button to play a song. Then she jumps up and dances in little circles around the book and player. It's a total hoot. When the song is over, she goes over and pushes the button again to make the next song play, and returns to dancing (i.e. jumping and flapping her arms in a seemingly random fashion). How can I keep from laughing my head off at her utter cuteness? Well, I can't. So I try to disguise it as enthusiasm, smiling and saying, Good dancing! But really I'm just dying at how adorable she is.

The other thing is, I've discovered the secret that all parents of toddlers figure out at some point: you can ask your kid stupid questions to get them to say or do things that will crack you up so bad you'll have to leave the room or else pee on the couch. I was reading some book or another to her this evening, a library book with a dog in it and at some point the dog was wagging his tail. I asked Delia where her tail was and she indicated the seat of her pants. Then I asked if she could wag her tail like the doggy in the book, and she jumped down off the couch, patted herself on the butt a couple of times, and started waggling all over the place. I like to split a seam trying not to fall off the sofa.

Also tonight she gathered up an armful of stuffed animals (she calls them "critters") and handed them to me one at a time, gravely intoning the genus/species of each: "Bear, grumpy troll, nummer bear, nummer grumpy troll."

How can you not just want to eat her completely up? This so totally makes up for the months of constant screaming.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Weekend plans

Okay, so I was going to have to go to a memorial service for my Great-Great-Uncle tomorrow, but now there isn't going to be one -- well, there will be a small one, and not the big family get-together afterward that they were going to have -- because another relative had a heart attack while driving, went over an embankment, and died. His wife was injured but I don't know how badly. And yet another relative, who is somewhat advanced in age and in delicate health, was hospitalized with breathing difficulties, probably from the stress of this whole ordeal.

I don't know these relatives very well, if at all, and while I am saddened and horrified by the recent turn of events, and would cheerfully attend any number of memorials and family get-togethers (okay, not cheerfully, but you know what I mean) if it would reverse these events and restore life and health to those involved, I can't help but be a bit glad in my deepest of black little hearts that I have been graciously given tomorrow off from motherhood and will be permitted to stay home and bask in my aloneness and freedom from responsibility...

So what, you ask, will I be doing on this precious, wonderful day off? My, but I am glad you asked, dear reader(s).

Because I am so very, very stupid, I am going to clean out the office and paint it and attempt to return it to order, in maybe 12 hours. Wish me luck, and while you are at it maybe put in a good word with the brain fairy to bring me some common sense.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Took Delia to church today. J. didn't go, she often does not for various physical reasons that we shouldn't probably go into.

Since it's summerish there are fewer people attending currently. The last few times we've gone Delia has been the only little kid there, so I haven't taken her to the nursery because she does better when there are other kids to stare at than if it's just her and the babysitter. So she sits with me in a back pew and plays with crayons, coloring books, and books that they have in a basket in the foyer for just this purpose.

Today at some point during the sermon she plowed through all the books I'd gotten for her out of the basket and then ran to the doors and started tugging on them. I asked her, in a stage whisper, what she was doing, and she told me very clearly (and loudly), "I want more books!" Everyone tittered. She's like their mascot.

This is an improvement over the last time I took her when she dropped something on the floor, probably a crayon, and said very loudly, "Aw, maaaaaaaan," over and over again. It didn't help that the people sitting next to me found this very amusing and were unsuccessful in hiding their laughter behind their programs. Delia doesn't miss a thing and continued saying it so they would keep laughing. I told them how I'd said it one time when I dropped or broke something or some other thing like that and that she'd picked it up and had been saying it ever since. I guess I could have said something worse...

Still, I am told that the congregation at large does not mind if she makes a little noise or wanders around the sanctuary while the service is taking place. I think that it had been a while since there had been an infant or toddler in the church regularly, and everyone seems to think she's cute. Well, I mean why would they not? So I'll let her wander free and speak her mind, up to a point. At least I'm not bringing my dog to church...

Okay, I'm going to be catty for a moment. There are two people at the church who bug me.

One of them is this "artistic" type who makes collages and banners and the like to hang in the church and then talks about them at length during the announcements or puts up an "artist's statement" as if it's a gallery.

First of all, and try not to hate me if you're a collage-lover, I think collage is kind of dippy. I think it's useful in a therapeutic way, or to keep people busy in art classes or whatever, but it's pretty lowbrow as far as actual art goes and, like so many things such as nose-picking or putting on pantyhose, is best done where no one can see you.

Secondly, this is not a gallery and it's not about you. So shut up.

Okay, the other one is this perpetually unemployed, overwhelmed single mother of a really annoying 11 year old girl. I feel for her, really I do, but do unemployed overwhelmed people really need to go out and obtain (through what means I do not know) a chihuahua puppy and a gazillion accessories such as collars, leashes, little outfits, and a handbag style carrier a la Paris Hilton? Furthermore, is it necessary to bring this poor little creature with you to church?

This differs from the woman who brought her Labrador occasionally in the past -- he was very much the beloved survivor, I mean, he was three-legged and super mellow and had beaten cancer once. Sadly he did not beat it the second time. But still, he had been a therapy dog and so forth, and everybody had gotten to know him at church camp and so on over the years. He wasn't just somebody's arm candy. Honestly, I'd feel stupid as hell carrying a little dog in a handbag around to the supermarket or the DMV or whatever.

Okay, your reward for listening to me bitch is a very recent (this morning) photo of Delia in this dress she got for her birthday. She is also sporting the little kerchief that came with it, which she will wear around the house when she is not wearing the dress but for some reason will not under any circumstances wear with the dress. It came off moments after this was taken and any attempt to put it back on her met with the toddler version of "Go to hell!"

She's also got a new sippy cup with a soft silicone straw that pops out and has a one-way valve in it so it does not leak. Friends, I am so glad to be living on this earth in the current age just because of this kind of thing. Better living through leakproof sippy cups... If they made one that didn't look like it was for a toddler I'd take it to the gym, it beats a sports bottle all to hell. (Maybe they do, I should look into this.)

Anyway, enjoy:

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I read a few blogs regularly, one being Foma, and all this talk of science fiction conventions has got me thinking on something I read a while back.

I am struggling to remember something I read in C.S. Lewis's Surprised by Joy, akin to the idea that our propensity to create beautiful, fantastical fictional worlds amounts to proof of God's existence, that it illuminates our desire to be united with perfection. He recounts some experiences he had as a very small child that were the start of his life-long inquiry and eventual conversion to Christianity, describing that the quality these experiences had in common was "an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction." He calls this desire Joy.

I have to re-read Surprised by Joy, I can't find exactly where the connection is made in just skimming it, but I remember reading it one night in bed and having the aha! moment, that I understood what he was talking about. It's like trying to see something that you know exists but is just outside your field of vision. The knowing that it exists, that's what the longing is about.

This was the first thing I read on the subject that actually I connected with. The Bible itself is very confusing, full of contradiction and subject to various edits through the years that make it in my view less than an authoritative work, and the fact that it is very conveniently interpreted however best suits the interpreter, to further the interpreter's personal viewpoint and quash all others ( or so it is hoped) makes most of it fairly irrelevant to my belief system. For instance, Leviticus says a man shall not lie with another man (though it makes no mention of women, interestingly) but also says we should not eat shellfish or wear cloth made of two fibers blended together. Yet the anti-gay sentiment is broadcast far and wide by shrimp-eating nylon-blend-wearing bigots daily. We pick and we choose... and obviously when we don't agree on which parts to pick and which to ignore, there is strife.

Interesting stuff.