Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Life Right Now

Reading: churched: one kid's journey toward God despite a holy mess, by Matthew Paul Turner. This is a gift from my daughter and son-in-law, who know I enjoy funny books about religion. So far, it's sarcastic--and depressing. The idea that some of us have to come to love God in spite of our church is just sad. But the writer's style is enough to keep me reading, even though I don't really want to see myself or my church in what he writes.

Enjoying: The Daily Audio Bible, read by Brian Hardin. This is strangely addicting. I've read the Bible over and over, but this is really the first time I've heard it. Free podcast, available on iTunes. Check it out.

Hearing: The Priests. They have a couple of albums out now, both of which I have. 3 guys, singing sacred music, most of it classical.

Drinking: Celestial Seasonings English Breakfast Tea, from Professor Perrey's Coffeepot of Consolation. This may be the only coffeepot with its own facebook group.

Planning: Meaningful assignments for the fall semester of Reading, English Comp. I, and College Study Skills.

Knitting: a shawl of variegated pink silk and gray sparkly mohair, and a baby blanket of blue acrylic that I wish I liked better than I do.

Forgetting: Lunch, again. Sigh.

Wishing: for vacation time. Maybe the end of July?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Winter of My Discontent

I’m not sure that 2010 has had much to recommend it so far. Bitter cold, rain, fog—the whole month seemed to be one long, dank ice cave. And then it got worse.

I tripped over my own feet coming out of church and fell down. A mighty boom it was, with an impressive owey. I fractured the head of the radius up near the elbow. For the 98% of us who don’t know what a radius is, let’s just say I broke my right elbow. Instantly, my life changed. Simple things like dressing and eating were now difficult. Fixing my hair was impossible—as was dressing without assistance. Turning the page of a book was agony.

Now, a week and a half later, with 3 physical therapy sessions, I am better. Not great, but improved. I can dress myself, and if the fork is long enough, eat. I can knit and read, but not without pain. Vicodin and I don’t get along well, so I don’t fear turning into the English professor version of Dr. House, but I understand how chronic pain can make sunny tempers turn thunderous.

So now, the great lessons (for what good is life experience if you can’t draw lessons from it?):

· Pain can, indeed, draw you to God. It’s much easier to find time to read the Bible when the only thing you can do is read (or listen).

· You’ll be surprised at who cares about you—and who does not. At the church I’ve served week in, week out for more than 20 years, only one senior staff member called (or facebooked or emailed or snail-mailed) to check up on me. Facebook friends have been free with their prayers, as have students. The church where I play the piano once a month, though, sent a card signed by nearly all the regular attenders.

· It’s OK to ask for the help you need.

· Your safe, secure life can be turned upside down in an instant.

I’m looking forward to spring, which the groundhog assures me is only 5 weeks and 6 days away. May it be sunny and warm, and may I learn to walk upright (without training wheels).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Angry Conservative Rant

I am an angry conservative. Maybe I’m a little less angry today than yesterday, but angry nonetheless. I am more than tired of being ignored, and when I can’t be ignored, belittled and treated as though I am too stupid to realize my ideas don’t matter. I think it is past time for politicians to wake up and remember that they are public servants.

Yes, I said servant. That means that my elected representatives are there to represent me and my neighbors—to serve our interests, not to determine them. When we can no longer call, email, or write our elected representatives and get any kind of response, favorable or not, the servant has forgotten his/her position. Our public servants are absolutely convinced that they have become our masters, and now want to tell us what we must or must not do. We must buy certain kinds of insurance (but not too much, lest we have more than our neighbors). We must not resell children’s toys, furniture or clothing (because manufacturing rules have changed, and we are not competent to determine what will be unsafe for younger children—who must be more fragile than the children who preceded them). We must allow them to spend ever more of our money for nonsensical things and not say a thing. Should we whimper about the injustice, we are condescendingly reminded that it is our duty to support those who have less, whether or not their poverty is the result of poor choices.

It is time to remember Joseph, the biblical example of the good servant. Though he was involuntarily a servant, the Bible tells us that he served so honorably that his bosses (Potiphar, the jailer, and finally, Pharoah) had no care because Joseph was in charge. He could be trusted to deal honestly, wisely, and to his master’s benefit with everything under his care. Our current public servants must be watched like unhousebroken puppies. When out of our sight, they will tear up the furniture, sleep on our pillows, and then pee on the rug. When discovered, they will put on the innocent face, hoping we will love them anyway.

Sorry, Congress. You’re not a lovable puppy; puppies can eventually be trained. You are the corrupt sociopath who has no conscience. You will do anything to maintain your own power and further your own agenda. So do not be surprised when your masters—us—find you revolting and throw you out.

And be glad you’re not a puppy. Untrainable, aggressive dogs get put to sleep.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Ask a Grown-Up

Yesterday I heard an ad for Dial-a-Psychic, giving a sample question. It occurred to me that what the caller needed was not a psychic; any competent adult could have given him decent advice after asking a few logical questions. A better service could be provided by eliminating the psychic component and renaming it Dial-an-Adult.

So many problems could be fixed with just a little Adult advice. Dating issues, child-rearing problems, and budget troubles could all be cured with a little input from someone with her head screwed on straight. Take these examples:

Caller: Joe isn’t the kind of guy I’d want to marry, but it’s OK to have a couple of dates, isn’t it?

Adult: And what is the purpose of dating if not to find a marriage partner? Don’t waste your time (and maybe your life).

Caller: I don’t understand why my kids won’t behave. I love them so much, and I just want to be their friend.

Adult: Kids don’t want parental friends; they want PARENTS! Get up and discipline them. Use time-outs, deprivation of favorite activities, and good, old-fashioned chores. If your children don’t behave, it’s probably because you were so concerned that they wouldn’t like you that you abdicated your role as the grown-up in your household. You must consistently, lovingly, and sometimes physically assert your dominance. They may tell you they hate you, but somewhere down the road they will thank you.

Caller: My credit cards are maxed out, and I just don’t know how I’m going to provide Christmas for my kids this year. Can you recommend an agency to help?

Adult: Sorry. Sometimes the best lessons your kids learn are hard ones. You messed up your credit? Too bad; your kids won’t have a Toys-r-Us Christmas. This year, you will have to do your Christmas shopping at the thrift store and garage sales or make items from what you have on hand. If your budget is underfunded, have a family meeting and let your kids know that sacrifices have to be made by everyone. Then cut up those cards and begin to pay your debts.

Adult advice could help many people. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to behave like adults because responsible living means self-denial, delayed gratification, and hard work. Dial-an-Adult is a great idea which will never work. It’s easier to call a psychic.