Saturday, May 28, 2011

In The Dark

The Equal Pay Act was past back in 1963, two years after I was born.  I'm sure I supported it back then, and I still do.  I think men and women should get the same pay for the same job.

I kind of want to follow that with a big DUH.

Having said that, I would like to propose that there is little equality in jobs around the average household.  My friend describes this phenomena as pink jobs and blue jobs, and I think her terminology is brilliant.  Of course definitions may vary from house to house, but the idea is spot on.

At my house, building fences is a blue job.  So is cutting the Thanksgiving turkey, putting new string in the weed whacker, putting lights on the Christmas tree, adding windshield washer fluid in the cars, barbecuing, and rolling up extension cords.  Typical pink jobs would include washing the dog, dusting, washing windows, cleaning out the refrigerator, all flower maintenance, mending, and generally making things look pretty.

Are you tracking here?

Unfortunately, I have a big problem.  My son got married and grew up on me; this is my first summer in many years without a blue person in the house.  So ALL jobs at my house are now a murky shade of lavender.

I can deal with the weed wacker and the windshield washer fluid, but there is one blue job that I absolutely hate with a tremendous passion.

I hate changing light bulbs.

The other morning the light bulb right above the upstairs shower made a loud popping noise and gave up the ghost.  The light in my entry way died about a week ago, and last night I turned on the light in my bedroom and it was dead.  I have three track lights out in the kitchen and one in the living room.  There is one light out in the downstairs bathroom, and the back porch light is out.

I think that's it.

It's a good thing it stays so light around here in the summer, or I'd be in trouble. And I have at least three months to save up enough money to fly my son up here so he can change my light bulbs before it gets dark.

Hey, he did it when he was home for Christmas.

If he can't come, I'll just use a lot of candles.

Lighting candles is a pink job.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Several years ago a good friend encouraged me to take a couple of classes at the college.  Well, encouraged would be an understatement.   Insisted is more like it.  She could see, as good friends often can, that I needed to step outside the circle of insecurity, fear and grief I found myself in and think some new thoughts.

She was right.  I thought new thoughts and realized something profound.

I am smart.

One of the classes I took was Human Development.  I found the class fascinating; I learned lots of fancy scientific names for things I had already experienced.  For example; did you know baby talk is called motherese?  It plays an important roll in the language development of infants.

Before I had my own kids, I thought baby talk was ridiculous and vowed to never use it.

Right.  Like that happened.

Each student in the class was required to do an oral report about one of the subjects in our text.  I decided to study grief, which was actually pretty depressing.  But as I waded knee-deep into all the stages of grief, something dawned on me.

I had never lost anyone close enough to me to experience deep-seated, gut wrenching grief.

And then I had another profound moment of realization.    

You don't need to lose someone to death to lose someone.  The death of trust and relationships can bring deep-seated, gut wrenching grief.

It can obsess your mind and take your breath away.

My text book didn't tell me how to overcome grief, to work through the difficult stages quickly and get to the acceptance and hope that inevitably come at the end.  Grief doesn't operate on our time table, we can't dictate when it comes and goes, and there are times when we think it will never go.  Never.

But it lessens.  And eventually it may even go.

God promises to walk us through dark places.  If you are there, please trust him.

And I know, without a shadow of a doubt,  that he is the author of one human's development.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Most Conceited Male I Know

His favorite way to pass the time is looking at himself in the mirror.

As far as relationships go?  He's his own best friend.

He rarely shuts up...his nagging can go on for hours.

He hates the mechanical beast I moved into the living room.  He yells at me every time it's doing its thing.  I suppose he's upset that I didn't ask his opinion...or invade our home with a monster version of my sewing machine.  I didn't think to ask, I honestly didn't think he would mind.

His selfishness makes me crazy.  I'm doing all the work, and he gets to enjoy the proceeds.  The least he could do is be supportive and stop complaining.

On top of all that, he's a player.  Sometimes he'll whisper sweet nothings in my ear and get ....affectionate.  He'll have me convinced I'm something special,  then he'll let something nasty drop behind my back.

I usually hear about it from somebody else.

And trust me, I'm not the only girl he tries to beguile.  He's especially attracted to those who really don't like his type, the women who play hard-to-get.  It's so awkward when he shamelessly flirts in front of me.

It's hard on my self esteem.

Why do I keep him around?  Good question.  Let's just say I'm a sucker for a good voice.

And life is much more interesting with a parakeet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waking Up

I was desperate to stay awake at work this afternoon and I decided to break down and drink a Diet Coke.

Please be shocked and aghast. It’s a really big deal.  I haven’t had one since September 2010. 

See, I used to be addicted to Diet Coke.  Like, two or three or maybe even four a day. My office is right next to the break room at work, and the break room houses the pop machine.  And the pop machine used to call my name from 8 am to 4:30 pm.  If you don’t believe me, ask my coworkers.  They heard it too. 

I usually had a Diet Coke in my hand by 9 am.

In September I saw a holistic doctor about some chronic health issues and she said the first thing that had to go was the Diet Coke.  My Diet Coke.  My elixir of choice.  My boon companion.  My happy drink.

It was a 12 Step Program type of addiction.

I gave up the dark stuff cold turkey…and it was HARD.  I wanted one in the morning and I wanted one at lunch and I wanted one every second of the day.  But I persevered and fought the monkey on my back.

Until today.

The first sip was WONDERFUL.  I thought I might be in trouble; maybe I was falling off the wagon and would never get back on.  Then something really strange happened.

My face twisted up into a heinous grimace.  And I realized I had just taken a drink of a concoction of motor oil, syrup, plastic and acid.



My coworkers told me I looked like a baby who just had her first of taste of something sour.

It was awful.  Worse than awful.  It was inhuman.  I couldn’t control my reaction…and apparently it was quite humorous. 

An hour later my friend asked me to take another drink so she could have another gut laugh.

I will never, ever touch that disgusting stuff again.

Now if the doctor could just convince me to give up chocolate...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Season Finale (Spoiler Alert!)

I don't watch a lot of TV.

I don't.

I listen to a lot of TV.

I'm not sure why I need to qualify that, but I do.  I'd hate for people to think I sit around all winter eating bon bons and watching crime shows.  It's just not like that; I get a lot accomplished.

I only turn the TV on for the noise.

I hate this time of year because it's season finale time.  All of my favorite characters, those who have kept me company all winter long, dump me during the summer months.  To make matters worse, they get themselves into some kind of terrible predicament and leave me hanging wondering if they're going to live or die.

Kate Beckett got shot on Castle.  It looks like she's dead, but I'm not going to mourn until it's confirmed on the first episode in the fall.  Castle finally told her he loves her, but she was probably too close to death to hear.  Nuts, I've been waiting to hear him say that for three years.  I bet he wishes he hadn't waited so long.

Steve McGarrett didn't really murder the governor on Hawai Five-O.  He was framed.  But logic tells me if he's convicted the show will be over and the first season of the remake will be it's last.  Steve will be back.  So will Dano.  He still needs to "book 'em".

Blue Bloods ended with a conclusion instead of a cliff hanger, and I'm grateful.  I'm glad Tom Selleck can relax and have the summer off without having to wonder who murdered his son.  I figured out the Blue Templars were responsible a long time ago, why didn't he?

Brother.  You'd think he'd be a better investigator after all those years as Magnum P.I.

I'm still waiting to see what happens on the last episodes of NCIS, NCIS LA (did Heddy really retire?), CSI and The Mentalist (will Jane catch Red John?).  I won't be home those nights, so it's a good thing I have my DVR set.  I'd really hate to miss the reasons I'll need to watch these shows again in the fall.

Oh, wait.  I don't watch TV at all.

I listen.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back To Junior High

I used to teach junior high at church. I like that age; they aren’t too cool to be honest about what they really think and feel. They love playing dorky games and doing dorky things.  And they have a lot to say, though in my experience they often said it when they were supposed to be quiet.

I used to think they could keep their mouths shut if they wanted to.  I kind of wonder if I would still think that.

I worked hard at coming up with new ways to get biblical truths across to the kids, and I'm not gonna lie. One night was epic. 

I set a table with a white lace tablecloth, china dishes, crystal glassware and my best silverware.  I had a candle on the table and a rose in a vase…it was lovely, and unexpected. 

So was the meal.  I scrounged around in a couple of refrigerators (locations and owners shall remain anonymous) and came up with the nastiest, rottenest. smelliest food I could find.  Then I served it on the lovely dishes.

The room was full of groans, and squeals and grimaces and threats of barfing.  If I remember right, the man helping in class that night couldn’t handle it.  He had to leave.

Admit it, it’s a great analogy for hypocrisy.

I moved up to teaching high school shortly after that triumphant night.  I figured I had reached my junior high peak and there was no place to go but down.

My daughter and son–in-law work with the junior highers at their church and last week I got to attend youth group and meet a few of  "their" kids.  The interaction was a hoot, and I had a blast watching as the group sat in a circle and passed a roll of toilet paper behind their backs, waiting for the person in the center to guess who had it and smack them with a broken pool noodle.    

It was a dorky game, but they loved it.

I came away thinking that junior highers haven’t changed much, but I have. I was very content to watch from the sidelines as my kids played the toilet paper game and got smacked.  It was wonderful to see them step into that place of ministry wholeheartedly. 

And maybe one day I'll hear lots of groans, squeals and disgust coming from the Portland area.  

Then I'll know the torch has truly been passed.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

A constant barrage of questions...they simply never end.

"Do you have a lint roller?"

"Where's the scotch tape?"

"Do you have any soda?"

"Have you seen her glasses?"

"Where are we going next?"

"What's the plan for tomorrow?"  

"Does my hair look alright?"

She answers with patience, meeting every need with poise and grace.  She's considerate of feelings and makes everyone as comfortable as possible. 

Sound like a wonderful mother?

She will be someday.

She's my wonderful daughter. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I'm not home.

Don't worry, there are two very large, powerful men staying in my house protecting my life.  Besides, I really only own three valuable things. One...I'm using it to type on here at the airport.  Two...she's probably sleeping on the back of the couch right now, dreaming of chasing the neighbor's cat.  Three...I'd like to see somebody try to steal my quilt machine.  How would a criminal explain that injury on their insurance form?  Work related?  Ha!

I'm off on a vacation and it's a good thing...I'm exhausted from getting ready for it.  It's so much work vacating your life, even if it's only for a short time.  If you're planning on taking a trip soon, here's a list to help you remember things to do before you leave home....

1.  Dot all your "i's" at work.  That means open every box, place every order and dump as much work as possible on your coworkers.  They will hate you but it feels really good.

2.  Make sure you have plenty of dog food AND bird food.  The bird may be able to eat the dog food, but the dog certainly can't eat the bird food.  Wouldn't it be weird if I came home and my bird was barking and my dog was chirping?

That was random...and disturbing.

3.  Change all sheets on all beds.  This is in case my house sitters decide to play Goldilocks.

4.  Clean out refrigerator.  I always do that so my house sitters won't spread vicious rumors about me around the community.  And I may want them to play this gig again.

5.  Erase all unnecessary recordings on the DVR.  Heaven forbid my recorder be too full to catch American Idol.  I plan to watch it at my daughter's house, but if the wrong person gets sent home I don't want to cry where people can see me.  I'll stuff my grief until I get home.

6.  Take trash to the dump.  Duh.

7.  Put gas in the car.  My return flight comes in at dark thirty so friends will drop my car at the airport.  It would be sad to run out of gas when I know I will be completely out of gas.  My bed will be calling my name.

8.  Explain to cute doggie that you will return.  I usually lie and tell her I"ll bring her something.  It helps us both.

9.  Buy snacks and magazines before you get to the airport.  I hate paying 1.99 for a small bag of Fritos...which I just did.  But, in-flight pretzels are not gluten free.  And seeing it's after midnight, I'm pretty impressed that I thought of that at all.

10.  Yikes!  My flight is boarding.  But I saved the best for last...I'll hurry.

Whatever it is, I forgot.