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We Missed History

Last night, Tuesday, November 04, 2008, a date that will be noted historically I believe, because momentous history was made… we got lost in the dark.

At 6pm while I was cooking dinner (Pork Chops with Carmelized Onions, oh yeah!), the house went dark. We all paused briefly, waiting for the lights to flicker back on. I stood in the kitchen for a couple of minutes before deciding it was time to light some candles. My husband continued battling on in his online multi-player game, unaware that he was no longer sending a signal to the server and therefore effectively dead in his game. My daughter came out of her room shortly after also, likely taking a couple of minutes to realize that she too was no longer connected in her online game. We lit candles, and waited. My husband took our dog for a walk around the block. He came back confirming our guess that it was our whole neighborhood and not just our cul-de-sac. A street light could be seen on a hill several blocks away, possibly many blocks. It’s hard to tell in the dark. We passed some time, my daughter reading a book, me playing Solitaire via the battery on my laptop, my husband watching The Shield on his Zune.

At 6:45pm we decided that we’d better hit the road for some dinner. Certainly my electric stove and oven weren’t going to deliver anything. (Another good reason for a gas stove!) Traffic was really heavy. The last vestiges of commuter traffic, plus we were guessing people rushing to turn in their ballots before 8pm at the library or city hall. When we got to the restaurant near our house, the parking lot was curiously empty. Daughter and husband thought it was probably normal for a Tuesday night. I didn’t think so. As we got out of our vehicle we could see one of the waiters unlocking the doors inside. It turns out their power went out at 6pm too. If it stayed off until 7:15 they were going to get to leave. At 7:10 the power came back on. I can imagine they weren’t very happy about that. We debated about going home… after all, our power went off at 6pm, so it was surely back on. But, we were hungry and decided it would take a long time to get back home and finish cooking dinner, so we stayed. On the TV in the bar we could see little red and blue states lighting up, but not clearly and we couldn’t hear anything.

At 7:50 we got back in the car to go home. We heard the news that Obama was going to give a speech in about 10 minutes.  We weren’t sure we’d heard correctly. Surely it was too early to call the race. After all, here in Oregon we hadn’t all finished putting our voting ballots in the ballot box. We had until 8pm. (We personally had done ours days earlier.)  They repeated it, Senator Obama was going to give a speech, something about being the President-Elect. We weren’t surprised with the result, but the speed with which it was determined was startling. Really? Could it be over that fast?

At 8pm we pulled into our neighborhood, fully expecting to turn on the TV to watch History being made. But it was not to be. The lights were still off everywhere we could see. At that moment I was more concerned with the food that was still on my stove (I had of course turned the stove off), the dog that had been left in the dark, the mess on the floor from said dog getting into the garbage in my daughter’s room, and the election receded in my mind. We spent the next couple of hours continuing our earlier pursuits of reading, puzzling, and watching old tv episodes via Zune. And of course, we decided it would be prudent to have some of the Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie that was in the freezer. After all, it would probably melt!

At 10:30 we decided it was time to call it a night. Just as we were getting into bed, at 10:38, BLING, all the lights came on. This was a relief since we had to get up in the morning and relying on my cell phone alarm seemed a bit risky.

This morning we realized more fully that we had missed history in the making. Most everyone else I know was probably watching the results on tv, was listening to Obama claim victory and McCain concede the race, and watching those little blue and red states light up, from 1 and 2 states to all 50.  My husband and I are both sad that we missed out on an event that will likely be a cultural benchmark in this country, the event of a lifetime! What a bummer!


One less bird in the nest

My 17 year old stepson moved out this weekend, back to his mother’s house. I haven’t blogged about it at all because I haven’t really figured out what I think. For me personally and selfishly it’s a good thing. Having him here has been stressful for me from the day he moved in. He’s not an awful kid by any means, but he’s not one that goes out of his way to do anything for anyone else in this family.  He has seemingly intentionally divorced himself from this family, and when he goes to his mom’s house, he interacts and is actually helpful and does nice things sometimes. Therefore, the decision was made that he would move back to his mom’s house before the school year started. The school district where we live is one of the best, if not the best, districts in the state. The school district where he is moving is one of the worst academically.  He didn’t want to move because he wanted to stay in our school system. Yet, when given the opportunity to do something to try to stay in it, he never engaged. It seems to me that he was more willing to move than to discuss what he could do differently and then follow through.  When he was packing up his stuff into his mom’s van, and my husband was sort of helping, they didn’t talk.  I think neither one of them knew what to say or how to say anything. The whole scenario made me cry. I could see my husband was mad, I could see my stepson seemed apathetic, but I wasn’t sure what he was feeling. I felt like saying to both of them “STOP!! Just get over the awkwardness and say something real. Say something that you really feel. Tell him you love him. Tell him you’re sorry. Tell him you want to rebuild your relationship. Don’t just let each other walk away.”  My husband did end up going outside just before they left and talking to him for a few minutes, saying some heartfelt words, promising to try to make things better in the future. I found myself sobbing about it. Not because he was moving out, but in the same way I would cry if I was watching a movie and seeing this scene play itself out: A quiet father and a quiet son don’t know how to talk, don’t know how to be friends, don’t necessarily like each other even, and they are letting each other go without really trying to fix it, and you know what the future will bring for them… nothing.

There are some silver linings however. I no longer have to worry about whether my door is closed when i’m changing clothes. I can walk into the laundry room (aka garage) in any state of dress or undress to get something from the dryer or the hanging rod there. I can get in the hot tub buck nekkid without wondering if I can be seen from inside the house. I can come home and find my kitchen counters still clean (hopefully). I won’t find a week’s worth of dishes suddenly in the sink after being piled up in a bedroom with food still in them, crusting on and molding. (UGH) We can buy enough food for 3 normal sized appetites instead of 5 because we don’t have one person eating enough for 2. We do have to pay child support, but hopefully no more than what we will save by not feeding him. Clearly due to my sudden economic downturn this is important.

So, my stress level went way down on Saturday, only to be lifted high on Tuesday with the news about my job. I stayed home today to rest. I feel much more relaxed now. And, knowing that my son won’t walk in the room ignoring me completely does kind of help.  Speaking of stress relief, it’s time to take my puppy for a walk. 🙂 If only kids stayed as affectionate as puppies. Oh well, at least they grow up and support themselves someday.


Live and Let Live: My Stand on Same-Sex Orientation

I wrote this as a comment on Steal The Crumb’s blog, but it became long enough that I felt it should probably just be its own entry. There are some basic assumptions in this that one has already read his take on what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. You may want to read it first.

I disagree with the “Christian” argument against homosexuality. I didn’t grow up Christian, therefore didn’t have the religious angle thrown into my view of it. I did however grow up Unitarian which embraces everyone’s worth as a human, and homosexuality as an aspect of many people’s humanity.

Growing up in Berkeley and San Francisco, I would have to say I have known a very large number of gays and lesbians (Berkeley being the supposed lesbian capital of the world with more lesbians per capita than anywhere else, at least back then, and the same with San Francisco and gays). Some of the lesbians I have known made a conscious choice to seek out other women (largely due to abuse at the hands of men), but none of the gays I knew had made a conscious choice to seek out other men instead of women. They simply found women completely non-sexually. A *few* in college had made the choice to “try it out”, hence their temporary labels as bisexual, but I never saw anyone continue that over the long term.  Most of the lesbians and all of the gays I have known saw their sexual selection as something that they did not choose and most as something they would not choose due to the harsh life that came with that selection. Simply choosing to go against their innate choice for same sex selection put them into states of misery, living lies and hiding secrets, but being allowed to live lives that were outwardly acceptable. Choosing to go with their innate choice of same sex selection allowed them to live lives of inner honesty and integrity, but put them into positions of living lives full of discrimination and rejection because they were outwardly unacceptable. Why would someone choose a life that resulted in rejection by their families and most of society unless they were unable to live authentic lives any other way?

My view today mixes these views together with my standing as a believer in God, and comes out thus: I believe people are born with one sexual orientation. They can choose to go with it or against it. Some people will be able to live authentic lives either way, some will not. I believe that God creates us and knows us and that we are exactly who we are meant to be. If God is infallible, and creates some of us with same-sex orientation, than that is who we are meant to be, there is no mistake, and going against that orientation is NOT what God intended. Those people who choose to go against their innate orientation are the only ones choosing to live lives differently than God’s intentions. And, frankly, if they are able to live those lives and not feel that they are living lies, than perhaps God’s intentions were for them to choose. I still believe in the innate worth of every human being, that we are all connected, and that what we do affects everyone around us, in a ripple effect.  Choosing to hate people based on their sexual orientation smacks of hypocrisy to me. Are we not to love everyone as ourselves? Choosing to hate the behavior of same-sex orientation also smacks of hypocrisy to me. Do we not want people to live the lives that God intended for them? Who are WE to make that judgment as to what God intended? We are no one, we have no authority, we have no ability to know God’s mind or his intentions, so we must live and let live.

I do understand that some people are not comfortable accepting gay and lesbian behavior, but being uncomfortable about someone’s same-sex orientation and behavior is the only true reaction that makes sense to me. That’s authentic, because it is based on one’s own feelings. But there is no need to spew that uncomfortableness about. Other people could care less about gay and lesbian behavior, it has no affect on them. That is also an authentic reaction. I guess that’s all I care about… that people live authentically.


Putting It To The Test aka Getting What You Ask For

Yesterday my boss pulled me and my supervisor aside and said “starting Sept. 1, we are going to have to cut each of your hours down, probably to 3 days a week. Whatever amount allows you to keep your benefits intact. You two can work it out between you how you want to do that, either working 3 days, or working a few hours each day. We hope this will only be for a month, but it could be 2. We don’t think it will be more than that, but we cannot promise anything.”

This came two days after I posted about doing hard things, doing things that don’t come easily. It also came within a week after I was actually talking to God about how much I would love a 4 day work week. Apparently I wasn’t specific enough…. I was hoping for 4 10-hour days, not 3 8-hour days.  I don’t want to talk salaries too much here, but this will be a significant monetary issue for us. A 40% pay cut isn’t gonna be good for anyone! I will be looking for part-time work if possible to tide us over. I will be looking for full-time work in the knowledge that this could very, very easily last longer than 1-2 months. In my heart of hearts I want my husband to say “It’s okay, we can make it on you working 3 days a week. This will give you 2 days a week to take care of things, cook meals to freeze (cutting down on lunches and dinners eaten out), and de-stress.” (Being highly-sensitive puts me in a near-constant state of overload and overwhelm, even with anti-anxiety / anti-depression medications, and the need to find ways to de-stress is constant.) But I know that he can’t say that! Not unless we want to lose our house. And, you know, stop eating. Little things like that.

So what is doing the hard thing? Is it battening down the hatches and holding tight to weather the storm? Is it looking for a new job (which I sincerely do not want to do!)? Is it giving it up to God and not worrying about it? That last one makes me laugh at the imagined sheer impossibility of me doing that! Forget HARD! So, that probably is doing the hard thing…. doing nothing for now. Not trying to be in control and not trying to fix the problem. Sometimes I am a control freak. I need to let things be a little loosey-goosey and give things time to work out. For me, that’s the hardest thing I can do.

Anyway…. be careful what you ask for!! You might get the opportunity to put your money where your mouth is sooner than you think!

I’d just ask everyone to be remembering us in their prayers, and count your blessings! I’m certainly giving thanks for you all.


A Radical Argument

The Rebelution makes what sounds like a radical argument. It’s not just saying that hard things happen and that you can benefit from them. It’s not even just saying that you have the ability to do hard things. It’s telling you that you should do hard things because it’s the best and only way to experience true growth in your life.

Can you think of any period of growth in your life (… student, athlete, musician, etc…) that didn’t involve effort and even some level of discomfort? The truth is that all growth involves discomfort. Think of growing pains.

These are not a new ideas. We don’t want to reinvent truth. But we do want our generation to rediscover what has always been true — and one thing that has always been true is that in order to grow we must do hard things. We must challenge and stretch ourselves, step outside our comfort zones and do something difficult. It’s how we’ve grown before, and it’s the only way we’ll grow for the rest of our lives.

(From Alex & Brett Harris blog and website: http://www.therebelution.com)

Yes, this is a piece of a blog from a Christian teen site, but I would argue that it could and should apply to almost anyone and everyone, regardless of age or religious affiliation. Just about everyone I know is addicted to fun. We have low expectations of ourselves. We don’t want to do anything that might require actual work or difficulty. We want it all to come easily, and allow us adequate time for fun and games. When does that prepare us to actually do something with our lives? Most of us didn’t go to college in order to prepare us for responsibility, we went to college to give us four more years to avoid responsibility.  Trust me, I’m the biggest offender of this trend. I’m not making any holier-than-thou judgments, I’m pointing a finger straight at myself, and somewhat pointedly at one or two other people I know. Let’s get off our butts and do something!!! And, for those of you to whom this argument does not apply, I applaud you! Now challenge the person to your left or your right to whom it does apply.


Update to the Update: Good News!

Good news!! It’s not cancer! Bad news… we don’t know what it is, but it’s something. Good news… surgery should clarify things that the CAT scan didn’t. Bad news…. well, I guess I can’t think of anything else bad about it, just that it’s still some kind of weird lump or growth or something in my dad’s bladder or colon. The mind naturally wants to skitter away from thinking about either of those particular areas, so I’ll leave it at that.

Thank you for your prayers!


post-script

p.s. I didn’t say it was a GOOD poem, merely the current result of me thinking about poetry and about God.


Update

I just talked to my stepmother, a phone call I was frankly frightened to make.

She says the initial doctor said it was bladder cancer, but they just got back from seeing the urologist who says that even though there is a sizable growth on the X-Ray, it hasn’t been biopsied yet, we don’t know it’s cancer, and the first doctor should not have been saying such a thing. (Not the normal doctor he sees.) So, I’m feeling a bit like I have been on one of those amusement park rides that just shakes you up and down and spins you around and at the end you are nauseous and stumbling.

She will now be going to all my dad’s appointments, similar to how i go to all my mom’s… because the right information doesn’t get transferred or conveyed, to the doctor or to the patient’s family.

I’m pissed off at the first doctor, and relieved that my dad isn’t sounding as inclined to give up just yet, and yet I’m still worried.

And, my sister is still in the dark. My stepmom will wait til they know something further.

I just want to sleep for awhile.

 


If They Come In Threes, What Is Next?

Two days ago my dad called. He has bladder cancer. Prognosis unknown until further tests have been run. I’m one of those women who still call their fathers “Daddy”. I’m not really a Daddy’s Girl (I wish), but Dad never felt intimate enough. I forced myself to call my mother Mom instead of Mommy in my 20’s.  I can’t talk about it much yet, I’m a little in shock. He isn’t the most healthy guy by a long shot. I’m not sure he’ll make it, even if it wouldn’t be a killer otherwise. He needs to make it for my stepmom. My brother and I have our own families now, we can cope. My stepmother however has every single person in her family sick with cancer practically. She has two sisters and a mom and an ex-husband (my stepsister’s dad) and now a husband all with cancer. Two of them are “actively dying” (that’s a strange concept). She does not want to tell my stepsister about MY dad yet because HER dad is dying and my sister lives far from any family and gets overwhelmed easily. I feel like she’s going to be mad and resentful about not being told right away. But, what do I know?

Anyway, and last week the news about my mom….  So, what’s next?

Also, I just transitioned off some medication and I’m going through some icky withdrawal symptoms, mostly jittery and dizzy. I’m going to call my nurse practitioner about it tomorrow. There is no lower dose available and they aren’t tablets that you can take half of, they are capsules, but maybe I should go to every other day or something. The way I feel right now there is no way I am going to work on Monday (tomorrow), and I’ve already had the last 3 days off plus the weekend for vacation, so that’s not a great thing. Either I’ll get way behind, or someone else will try to do my work and mess it all up, meaning I’ll have to fix it all. Gah.

On that note, I think I need to go lie down.  Your prayers are welcomed.


No Way Out

Met with the social worker today that is keeping track of my mom’s progression into memory loss. She acknowledged to me that it is “most likely” Alzheimers due to the fact that it has progressively gotten worse over the last two years. However, my mom is highly functioning, very bright, and works her mind constantly (reading, x-word puzzles, etc.), so she’ll probably be mostly okay for years to come. That sounds great, but really I just want my mom back. All other options are undesirable to me. I want MY MOTHER, not this very nice but confused woman who asks the same questions and tells the same stories again and again. I can love that woman, but that’s not my mom.

She knows very clearly what is going on in business and politics right now, but she can’t accurately remember old events, conversations, plans for the future, and personal things anymore. It’s a pity I have almost zero interest in business, and we already agree politically on most topics. We both operate on the “if you don’t have something nice to say, it’s better not to say anything at all” system, so we don’t discuss faith, religion, her decline, etc. She minimizes and I bite my tongue or grit my teeth. I can tell by the set of my jaw and the tension in my legs and my stomach that I’m holding everything inside.  Hopefully the levee doesn’t break.

Soooo, I’m depressed today, and, for me, the only way out is through. Therefore, I’m going to be depressed today and tonight and hope that tomorrow is a cheerier day. Thank you for your well wishes, thank you very much.