Sturm und drang. So throw me a donut.

Friday, September 21, 2012

TILT for September 20th

Today I am thankful for paychecks. We got PAID with money we earned and our bank account is in shock.

We have not received paychecks that have covered our bills since July 2010. It's now September 2012. I no longer have to use what little is left from our retirement accounts to pay the bills.

I love love love having a job and I never ever again want to go 26 months without enough money to pay the bills and eat without canibalizing our savings. It sucks.

However, I am super thankful for retirement accounts. Without them, we would not have been able to get to where we are today. I fully realize that we are fortunate to have had the resources to make career changes and move to a new state to start new careers.

We are truly the lucky few.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Would Jesus Do?

I heard on the news this morning that a small piece of papyrus from the second century has some intriguing words written on it:

"Jesus said to them, "My wife..."

(You can see an article here on

The article clearly states that there's no way of knowing who or what was being referred to - whether it means a woman or the church - but it does raise some interesting questions about how little is known of Jesus' life. There's a big chunk of time missing from the story that may never be revealed to us.

Until now.

Imagine if this small piece of papyrus really is the literal truth...

   And lo, Jesus said to them, "My Wife, she is good. Now I have someone to get me beer during the football games." 

   Behold! The house of Jesus did fill up with love. With the most excellent cooking from the Wife, the Apostles started hanging out with Jesus to nosh and watch Monday night football.

   "Dude!" James said to Jesus. "I know you are really proud of the loaves and fishes thing, but your Wife is a way better cook."

   Jesus nodded and passed a plate of deviled eggs to James and Matthew. Prisoners of hope, they watched the Jets struggle through a dismal first half. John leaned back in a bean bag chair and folded his arms over his chest as he watched the game on the big screen tv.

   "I'd rather be watching hockey. How come we never watch hockey?" Andrew asked. "Remember when we used to watch Satan play for New Jersey?"

   "No one cares, Andrew. Stop whining. We took a vote and even the Holy Spirit wanted to watch football this week," Bartholomew said from the rocking chair in the opposite corner.

   "I'm just sayin..."

   "Shhh!" Jesus said. "Your unhappiness is but a drop in the bucket compared to my delight at watching Tebow take a knee every time he manages to make a play. It's like he thinks I sprinkle fairy dust on him if he's a good boy!"

   The apostles quieted for a moment, some adjusting their robes and elbowing each other for more room on the couch or drifting quietly away to the bathroom to recycle the beer. The Wife brought in another tray of snacks, this time various cured meats and cheeses.
   "Dig in, boys. Man shall not live by bread alone," she said before disappearing back into the kitchen.

   "So how is the married life going, J?" John asked, grabbing a handful of cheese. "I heard some rumbling about how people can't be totally holy if they have a spouse."

   Jesus waved an empty bottle over his head for his Wife to bring more beer from the kitchen. "I tell you what, John, it's no big deal. As a matter of fact, I think marriage is the one of the few things that can make a man grow  up."

   "Grow up? What?" Philip piped up from his spot on the couch.

   "Verily I tell thee, being married is both a labor of love and a thorn in the flesh," Jesus said as his Wife reappeared with another twelve-pack of Hefeweizen.

   The men nodded and swilled some more beer in salute as the Wife left the room again, muttering to herself about the mess they were making on the new couch. "...can't even use coasters for the beer bottles on the coffee table..."

   "It is both a howling wilderness and a pearl of great price and..."

   "JESUS CHRIST!" the Wife hollered from the kitchen. "Are you going to take the garbage out or do I have to wait for you to turn it into something like that ridiculous wind chime you made last week?"

   "She's taking your name in vain," Simon snickered.

   "I told you, that was the Holy Ghost being a smartypants!" Jesus hollered back to her.

   The Apostles looked away from Jesus in embarassment.

   "Sounds like the howling wilderness needs the garbage taken out," Andrew said.

   Jesus stood up and sighed deeply before he left to take care of the trash. "Just one more cross to bear, guys."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Unconscious Mutterings Week 503

Uh oh. I watched Fareed Zakaria before I did this week's Mutterings...I think it shows. I am continually amazed at the lack of understanding and caring in the world. But then I remember, television has become this mainly warped reality show where the audience is wooed with increasingly ridiculous and vapid junk. Where's the in-depth reporting on our food supply? ABC News is being sued by the beef industry for the report on "pink slime," which is a beef product of meat trimmings and connective tissue that is pureed, gassed with ammonia to kill pathogens and then injected into ground beef. ABC didn't lie. But when people got this information, they decided they didn't want to eat ground beef with "pink slime" in it.

And then there's the milk in the grocery stores. A few years ago, before milk and diary prices started going up, I made my own yogurt at home. All I need was some whole milk that had been pasteurized in the regular manner. After the prices started going up, I noticed that I could only find milk that had been ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized milk has been cooked (to put it plainly) until there is nothing left alive in the milk. If the milk is completely sterile, you can't make yogurt no matter how much starter you put in it...I tried. So, the milk is really clean and has a longer shelf life. So what? I just paid more for organic milk when I wanted to make yogurt and didn't think about it. But a few months ago, I ran across an article about the ultra-pasteurization being used because milk that had formerly been too old and full of junk to be used for human consumption is now being cooked and cleaned up and put back into our milk supply to keep prices down. I'll admit, I haven't done any more research on it to make sure this is true...but my gut tells me it probably is. Where's the in-depth reporting on what's going on with our food? Oh, wait, that's outlets get sued if they report on something and cause an industry to lose money.

That's what happens with I do this free association game...

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Social :: Responsibility
  2. Fairy tale :: Fiction
  3. 0 :: Understanding
  4. Football :: Overpaid
  5. Action :: Lacking
  6. Setting :: Understanding
  7. Boomers :: Liars
  8. Rough :: Roads
  9. Words :: Propaganda
  10. Account :: Swiss

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tilt for September 13th

Things I Love Thursday - AND I MISSED IT!

Thursday was a good day. I was tired-tired-tired, too. The new job is great but it makes me tired to pay attention to so many people all day long. But it will pass...

So, Saturday: Here's what I love about YOU for a change:

Sleeping in, which means sleeping until 7 a.m.
Stretching breakfast out to an hour, at least, as I sip coffee and read newspapers online.
Looking at a new site that is so cool and so positive and! Humans of New York
Not having to wash my cars because it rained so hard Thursday night that most of the dirt is gone.
Clouds. There are clouds covering the sky.
Using my new washing machine. Two years of public laundry rooms has made me grateful.
Reading books I want to read.
(((My new library card)))
Untethering myself from Facebook. It will be hard. But I must do it for my own sanity.

**And the reinforcement of the idea that what goes around comes around: Our new jobs coming to us after helping five other people get of which was the job my husband left.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Unconscious Mutterings Week 502

I think I missed a week...well, I may just have to go with every other week for a bit. This is free association. Whatever pops into your mind, that's what matches with each word. Don't worry...let it go...

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Middle :: Earth
  2. Runner :: Blisters
  3. Umbrella :: Winter
  4. She :: Me
  5. Album :: 45 rpm
  6. Speak :: Attention
  7. Completely :: Happy
  8. Underestimated :: Fear
  9. Self-esteem :: Middle
  10. Compartment :: Lost things

Hot Rubbery Water

I just read an article about Coca-Cola's plans to roll out a new drink additive: Flavored drops to add to a bottle of plain water. After seeing the success of other drink drops, this company is jumping on the speeding train of cash crops in the form of useless, flavored additives that give consumers the ability to customize water.

And why not? The consumer has been trained to believe that customizing is a reflection of his or her independence and uniqueness. In the meantime, we're dumping more chemicals down our gullets and spending more money on something that...that...oh, come on! Really? Buy a bottle of water for a buck at the grocery store - water is nearly free from the tap at home - and pay even more money for an additive to make the act of drinking water an experience. Everything is an experience these days; a flavor experience, a driving experience, a purchasing experience. Has life gotten so safe, predictable and boring that even the simple act of taking a drink of water has to be an experience?

But I'm not above making money. I'd like to develop a nostalgia line of water enhancers aimed at people who remember a childhood full of risk taking and blissful ignorance.

Here's my line of Nostalgia Drinks:

Hot Rubbery Water - Just three drops in a 16  oz. bottle water will recreate those hot summer days of drinking out of the garden hose rather than going in the house and risking mom noticing that it is time to come in and take a bath before dinner.

Tag After Dark - Just three drops in a 16 oz. bottle of water will recreate that delicious taste of hot sidewalks radiating heat long after the sun goes down, mosquitoes bites peppering one's arms and legs with red welts, and stubbed, bloody toes leaving half-moon trails on the cement as a bunch of ten-year-olds race in figure eights around the neighborhood trying to get back to home base before that one kid who is always "It" catches up.

Clothes Catalog Cathouse - Just three drops in a 16 oz. bottle of water is enough to take you back to the days when the Sears catalog underwear or lingerie section was hot hot hot!

Smoke in Your Hair - Without all the nasty chemical side effects, just three drops in a 16 oz. bottle of water will bring back the days of mom and dad smoking in the car - with the windows rolled up - on cross country trips to visit relatives that nobody liked in the first place. But they let your family sleep on old Army cots in the basement for free.

Ride Free and Die Young - As a bonus, when you buy Smoke in Your Hair you will also receive a sample of our newest water enhancer meant to invoke the long-gone days of driving on two lane highways without the encumberance of that annoying seatbelt cutting into your neck and shoulder. Those were the days when kids slept on the floor between the front and back seats or hopped over the back seat and slept in the back of the station wagon with the back window cranked all the way down for cool air on a hot day.

Heel Blisters - Remember when new shoes were stiff and hard to walk in during that first week of school? Just three drops in a 16 oz. bottle of water will bring back the scorching pain of new shoes rubbing blisters, and sometimes even actual holes, in your ankles as you hobble to and from the cafeteria, playground and bus stop. One extra drop of flavor enhancer will bring a pleasant Mercurochrome-like aftertaste that will linger on your tongue long after the water is finished.

Orange Baby Aspirin - There's nothing like that fake orange flavor mixed in with the astringent taste of chewable baby aspirin! Just three drops in a 16 oz. bottle of water and you, too, can relive the days of handing out baby aspirin to children whenever they had a cold or fever. But without the danger of developing irreversable brain or liver damage associated with Reye's Syndrome!

Raw Milk Barnyard - Just three drops in a 16 oz. bottle of water will transform your drinking experience into a trip to the local dairy where mom bought glass bottles of raw, whole milk for drinking and for skimming cream to put into her coffee. Nothing beats that combination of creamy milk and dairy cow manure enhanced with the early spring feedings of silage.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TILT for September 6th

Things I Love Thursday...
Otherwise known as I really do have good things happening in my life!

Today, I love that my oldest son was officially offered a job at the local grocery store. He really wanted this job! I think he'll enjoy it and do well with this company. I also love that he will be driving himself around in my car. No, really! I am carpooling to work with my husband, which is very cool, because we don't spend all that much time together.

I love that the classroom I work in has fabulous air conditioning! I brought a light sweater to wear over my blouse so I wouldn't feel so chilly. Once I start working in different classrooms, I'm sure I'll be back to sweating like a pig, but the last few days have been really nice. I LOVE being cold.

I love having time to read my own books in my spare time. I read a lot of good books over the last few years in college, but there's always the pressure of remembering the details when I read a book for class. Now, I'm reading books at my own speed.

I love having a smallish apartment to clean. We have enough room, but we had to get rid of a lot of stuff to fit all four of us in here. And that means less junk to clean and dust and wash and take care of...which suits me just fine. I think I might get rid of some more stuff over the winter, when it's a balmy 60 degrees outside and I won't die from the heat while I sort boxes in the garage.

I love the tiny lizards that occasionally climb up to my deck looking for bugs. I bet if I put out some potted plants, I'd have more lizards.

And, I love my truck. When I drive my truck around town, people get out of my way. When I drive my car, jerks cut me off and refuse to let me change lanes or merge. I guess it's all about perception.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Don't know much about math

If I had to go to high school today, I'd flunk out. I'd be that kid in the back of the room flipping sharp pencils at the ceiling tiles until they stuck...all in a frantic bid to GET KICKED OUT OF CLASS. I can write papers, write stories, read history books, even do pretty well in geology and zoology. But if you introduce lots of numbers and complex equations, I am lost. I cannot see numbers in my head. I have to write equations down over and over again, and it's only after doing every variation of an equation for, like, a million years that I might - MIGHT - retain it long enough to take a test.

When my kids need help HELP HELP! with math, I cringe and google whatever they don't get and pray that I can find the answer online. The hot web page for tonight is: Chemistry math stuff for Dummies like YOU

Thank you Al Gor....Uh, no...Thank you Vinton Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee for the interwebs!  See, I know something useful. I googled it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

It was a little anticlimatic

My son's reply was: "I feel like such an asshole for believing they knew about it and for putting you guys through all this."

Sometimes, the light bulb moment is super bright and mind altering like we all wish it could be.

My son, who formerly wanted to move over 2,000 miles to return to our former abode, is now ready to face his future here with us; in Texas instead of Washington State. And it took less than five minutes to change his mind. We accomplished this by having an honest conversation with the family who apparently had told him he could move in with them (their son being hysterically best friends with our son). That family had been on vacation on the east coast for the past few weeks, so when our son dropped the bomb we had no way to confirm or deny the details of the plan hatched by our two boys. All we had were two teenage boys telling each other that this was going to work.

Yesterday, my husband and I had a private phone conversation with them. While we talked, I felt that thousand-pound weight lift from my chest and I took a deep breath for the first time in weeks. "We thought they were talking about your son visiting for the summer...and on holidays...that's why we mentioned looking at our home owner's insurance, you know, in case your son fell down the stairs or something...we had no idea it had gone that far..."

Their oldest son spent the summer getting ready for college on the east coast. Mom and Dad were all wrapped up in taking him to his new school and settling him in for his freshman year on the other side of the continent. Yeah, I'd be pretty distracted, too. So, we had a really good conversation about visits back and forth over the summer, keeping the kids connected with Skype and texting, and how to help them continue to deal with the pain of not physically being there for each other.

And my  son doesn't want to go to high school here. That much hasn't changed. He's over high school the same way I was over high school by the time I was a junior. I read up on GEDs and...and...I'll have to change my mental image of GED = maladjusted and unsocialized and undereducated. That was MY misconception of the week. My son wants to finish school. He wants a job. He wants to study psychology, maybe, someday. And he's totally receptive to getting an AA at community college after his GED. And I realized all over again how much I love this crazy kid. He has such a big heart, wants to do so much, and loves so hard.

Life. It's what happens when you live. And the therapist, we'll see him one more time because it's money well spent.