Mairsy Dotes

"No faith is as solid as a wounded faith."

A Major Splurge November 29, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 9:41 pm

Today I was in Target for a little retail therapy and to buy something for dinner. I found the three Charlie Brown holiday shows on DVD in a boxed set…The Great Pumpkin, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. Twenty-five bucks. I bought it. I couldn’t help myself.

I LOVE the Charlie Brown holiday specials. As soon as I got home, I sat down with Linnea and we watched Merry Christmas. But as I watched it with her, I found myself wondering if I’d done the right thing.

I can remember when I was a little kid, and Mom or Dad would announce that something special was on television that night–whether it was Charlie Brown, or Rudolph, or Frosty the Snowman–we’d always get so excited! I can still remember the poor sound quality of the Charlie Brown special, but how it just seemed like Christmas really WAS coming. The first time I ever heard the Nativity story was when I heard it from Linus…his voice saying, “Lights, please.” before going into the story gives me chills every time. Even now. And when I read the words myself from the pulpit on Christmas Eve, it’s with his voice in my ear.

The point being: it was an event. Not something that happened whenever we wanted it to. It came, like Christmas, once a year and you looked forward to it, and were excited about it when it came. Now that we own it on DVD we can watch it whenever we want. Today. Tomorrow. Hell, we could watching on a random day in June if we wanted to.

I just wonder if our culture of instant gratification is such a good thing. Getting what we want whenever we want it–especially if it’s new and improved (both the picture and sound quality on the Snoopy specials has been remastered). We’re taking away anticipation. We’re taking away surprise. In some way, I think we’re taking away gratitude, because we just take so much for granted. We’re certainly taking away specialness…nothing stands out anymore, because anything can be had at any time. Nothing is appreciated, because so much is disposable.

All that being said: I’m keeping my DVDs. But I do wonder if, in the long run, they’re going to cost me more than $25. And if that particular splurge will be worth it.

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Christmas Time is here… November 28, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 9:20 am

Well, after a spectacular Thanksgiving and a hella busy weekend at work, I think it’s safe to say that Christmas 2005 has arrived–whether that idea excites or depresses you doesn’t matter. It’s here. It will be here until December 26. Better get used to it.

I myself love and adore Christmas. I love seeing big, green Christmas trees tethered to the tops of tiny little cars, merrily speeding down the street–destined for home, love, and family. I love the way that Christmas Tree lots spring up like mushrooms on the day after Thanksgiving, and sometimes in the strangest places. (Conversely: one of the things that always makes me cry is a Christmas tree lot on December 26, and all the trees that didn’t get picked. I’ve always been this way–it’s just truly this deep, deep sadness on the part of all the Christmas trees that were deemed unworthy. I want to take them all home and love them–which is why the episode of Friends when they surprise Pheobe with all the dead trees from Joey’s Christmas Tree lot job is rather bittersweet to me ‘cuz I so get what Pheobe was getting all emotional about, even though the show made her seem a bit of a ditz for feeling it. Any shrink worth their inflated hourly rates could probably have field day with this particular idiosycracy of mine…but I won’t let them. ;))

Work was INsane. Shoppers were remarkably polite and well-mannered, though. Whether that’s a general comment on the shoppers this weekend or just a particular comment for the shoppers in our store: I don’t know. I was hardly allowed out from behind the cash register except from my state-mandated half-hour meal break. I only got hollered at once by a customer, and that was yesterday, and when I quietly explained what was happening she was immediately contrite and apologized. One of my co-workers got threatened with a lawsuit because she’d had the gall to ask a customer if they had the coupon to get the discount they wanted. Jerks. But really: two episodes out of a three-day shop-a-palooza isn’t too bad. I’m sure people working the big department stores have more and worse stories to share.

One of the few times I was allowed to work some where other than at the register, I encountered a woman who, when I asked if she was having a good day replied, “No. Absolutely not.” I said, “Is there anything I can do to help?” “No. I hate this store. People always say you’re so great, but everytime I come in here and buy something: it’s awful.” (In my head: And yet: you’re back. We can’t be that awful.) Out of my head, “What seems to be the problem? Is there anything I can do to fix it?” She then proceeded to complain about how we don’t have any petite sizes (we do); scoffed when I explained that if a particular item comes in the petite range it’s located at the front of the rack of said item (she said, “You SAY that: but it’s never that way.”); then she lambasted me about how long the sleeves were on our blouses/sweaters/tops this season. I can’t fault her on that one. They ARE long. Too long for many of our customers. But I really have no control over sleeve length. If I did, I promise they would be shorter. Really. So I made some polite noises of sympathy, reminded her of my name if she needed any more help, and made my escape. I don’t count her as a difficult customer because it was just so ludicrous that I had to laugh. Clearly: someone needed a nap. I’m the mother of a toddler. I know the signs.

Now, I have two blissful days off. Today, I’m on my own. M is in class. Linnea is at daycare. I can just veg. I thought about giving myself a huge “To Do List” but really: I need the down time. Time to knit, time to watch a movie, time to nap. I’m getting over a bad cold…I need to be an invalid for a day.

The Virgin Suicides

A friend of mine cashed in her v-card this weekend. She’s about my age, and waited because she hadn’t met a man she really wanted to have that close to her. Now she’s met a great guy, and decided: it’s time. I’m really happy for her. As I said to her, “I like sex. It makes me happy that you’re going to have some. And I’m happy that you waited until you found the right one.” So kudos and lube to you, my friend. You know who you are. 😉

I myself didn’t cash in my v-card until my wedding night. People who know me (and know this about me) assume that it was done for religious reasons. And it wasn’t. Like my friend, I just hadn’t met anyone I wanted that physically close to me. It’s a pretty egregious invasion of personal space, you know? It’s odd to me, now that I’m no longer a virgin, how much value has been placed over time on that bit of skin that “protects” that part of a woman’s anatomy. Who made the rule that women are to only let one man in, or else she’s of questionable virtue? Is that really the defining mark of bad virtue? A woman who shares herself with others? Now, I’m not (lest anonymous fellow pastors reading this get all up in arms over this post) advocating a “free love” society or anything like that. Myself? I’m glad I waited. I don’t wonder what I missed out on. I don’t think, “Gosh, maybe if I’d just had sex with one other guy: then I’d know if he was good or not.” He’s the best I’ve ever had. Waiting was the right thing to do for me, just as it was the right thing to do for my friend. But maybe it’s not right for everyone.

I guess I just wish that women could be judged on their merits, not what is (or isn’t) between her legs; who has (or hasn’t) been there. I wish that women could just be free to say, “Yeah. I REALLY like sex. I like sex a LOT.” and not have people (even in this enlightened age) sort of stop and adjust their opinion of her. I wish women were as free to celebrate a one-night stand (should she be so inclined) as men are.

Heh. Listen to me rail against the centuries old double standard. I don’t know. I guess after all that “saving yourself for marriage” stuff that I got, the reality sex was sort of anticlimactic. It’s good. I like it. I like to have it with M. But it’s not what drives our relationship. We can be quite happily married (if a little cranky) when we aren’t having much sex. It’s not the be all end all that I was led to think it was when people were telling me, “Save yourself! Save yourself! It’s a gift you can only give once!”

People ask me what I will tell Linnea, when she gets to the horn-dog age and starts thinking about sex. I’ll be honest with her. Tell her I waited. And tell her why. And tell her why I’m glad I did. But ultimately, I want to have raised her so that 1) We can trust her to make good decisions for herself; 2) She doesn’t have a deep need for love, acceptance and approval that sex would seem to fill; 3) She values herself enough to have sex when SHE wants it–not when some pimply-faced football player (or her friends) tells her she should have it with him.

Sex is such a weird thing. Both unifying and devisive–often at the same time. It can be an expression of love and an expression of hatred; an expression of submission and an expression of domination. But should it really be the one thing that makes a woman “good” or “bad”? ‘Cuz really: who the hell’s business is it, anyway?

 

The countdown has begun… November 22, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:43 pm

…I’ve started cooking for the Thanksgiving feast.

We’re having an Orphan Thanksgiving Dinner, meaning anyone at the school who is too far from family for the holiday is welcome at our table. We were orphans once, and were always lucky enough that someone wanted to haul our miserable, lonely carcasses home with them for the holiday.

The best year, by far, was our senior year of Sem. Thanksgiving 2001. Our beloved friend J invited us to come to her home in Green Bay, WI for the holiday. When we got there, her mother (also J) ran out of the house and hugged us, pointed us to the beer fridge, and generally made us feel right at home. J comes from a great family…and the entire family made us feel so welcome right from the get-go. On Thanksgiving Day, we went and had dinner at the nursing home with J’s grandmother, and then watched the Packer game on her teeny tiny television set. The following day, the “wimmins” all piled into a car and drove up to Door County to kick off our Christmas shopping. We ate lunch at Al Johnson’s Restaurant (good food, and it’s got a sod roof and goats graze on it…not the day we ate there, however. I think they bring the goats indoors since a northern Wisconsin winter is probably not the best time of year to be a roof-grazing goat); browsed the little shops; sat and drank coffee in a steamy and crowded coffee shop and most of all: laughed our asses off.

When we got home, we found that J’s dad and M had put together an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings. We also found that they had imbibed healthy quantities of beer…so much so that M thought the best way to dry out a wet dishtowel was to pop it into the microwave for a minute or two. Naturally, it caught on fire. Luckily, everyone thought it was freaking hilarious. J’s mother kept it, and every year the burned dishtowel makes an appearance in the L Family Thanksgiving Photo, which is then emailed to us so we can laugh some more. And, needless to say: whenever we make a trip up to Green Bay, we bring J’s parents a new dishtowel. It’s become our inside joke.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. When I was growing up, it was always THE family holiday. My mother’s family would all come over and we’d have a 30-lb turkey and have to make tons of cranberries because my cousin Jeff loves them so much that he’d eat half of them by himself. When everyone was done eating, the boys would prod the men into going out and playing football. It eventually evolved into “The Turkey Bowl” and as the boys reached puberty and then youngmanhood it stopped being so much a game as a massacre, as their fathers–old and full of turkey–would crumple on the ground and beg for mercy. Once the older generation had been appropriately humbled by the younger, we’d all troop back into the house for pie.

As evening fell and people began to feel peckish, they’d drift into the kitchen and come back with little snacks. I’d sit and watch my grandmother knit or crochet, and listen to the voices of the women in my family drift over my head, talking about mysterious things like “broken water” and “yeast infections” and threading through all their conversations was the sound of their laughter. Sometimes my grandmother would mutter something in Swedish under her breath, and she’d smooth my hair from my forehead and ask if I thought I needed a haircut. Then she’d offer me one of those Pepto-Bismol pink chalky peppermints from her purse, “Here, Sweetie. It will make your tummy feel better.” I’d take it, and it tasted like love.

Games were played–Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, HuggerMugger. One year, our house nearly caught on fire three times. My mother (not yet a grandmother, but endlessly hopeful) had lit candles all over the house…not realizing, I suppose, that my cousin (the previously mentioned cranberry junkie) was bringing his 3-year-old daughter with him. This girl managed to start a fire with a candle and a decorative ear of mini corn; she managed to pull the table cloth off the table and tip over a lit taper; and she swung my mother’s swivel chair around and the quilt draped over the back of it fell into a candle and burst into flame. After that, Jeff decided it was time to go home.

Heh. It would appear that for me, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving unless something gets set on fire.

So where ever you may find yourself this Thanksgiving–whether that’s in the bosom of your family, savoring the sweet peppermint of their love; whether it’s far from family cast on the mercy of friends; whether it’s in a hospital room or a nursing home–my prayer for you all is that the magic of this holiday finds you and reminds you that we all have much to be thankful for.

 

You can call me “Tres LaTrash”

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 12:35 pm

 We finally seem to have my work schedule somewhat firmed up, and my boss has given me every Tuesday off so that I can stay home with Linnea while M goes to work. This was the first Tuesday it’s worked out the way it’s supposed to, and I was so looking forward to having Linnea to myself for a whole day!

We decided to go shopping. Linnea is a born shopper, and she loves it deeply. “Yet’s go shoppeen, Mama!” So this morning after breakfast I loaded her up in the car and off we went to Ikea. I wanted to see their Christmas decorations, and Linnea likes to look at all the cool stuff they have there. Plus, if we give into temptation and buy something it’s not going to send us to the Ultrapoor House. We can just stay in the Poor House where we already live. 🙂 Ikea was good. Their Christmas stuff was only so-so, so I bought a jar of Black Currant jam and called it good.

Linnea was a total rockstar the entire time I was browsing, and so I thought for a special treat we’d get McDonald’s drive-thru and have lunch at home before nap time.

One thing my daughter inherited from me (other than her Nordic good looks) was a deep and abiding love of being barefooted. She just does not like shoes. They’re OK if we’re going somewhere, but if we’re just sitting in the car, not doing anything? Off come the shoes and socks. The only way I’ve ever foiled this tendency is to put her in laced shoes and tights. And damn: when I do that she gets so PISSED. So, anyhow. Because I was feeling particularly indulgent, I let Linnea wear her favoritest shoes in the whole wide world: her black patent-leather MaryJanes. Needless to say: she can get those puppies off in a nanosecond. I’d patiently put them back on her everytime we stopped, but when she took them off while we were waiting at the drive-thru she put them somewhere. I don’t know where. I mean, it’s a car. A CR-V, but still not huge, so I’ll find them eventually…but I couldn’t find them when we got home.

So I hauled Linnea out of the car, shoeless in the 30 degree day, grabbed the bag of McDonald’s, and our drink holder of drinks and struggled down from the parking lot to our apartment. There’s a picture for the cover of “Minnesota Parent”: me, with my barefoot child in late November, carefully juggling my McDonald’s bags and my Coke (Linnea had milk, but they’d probably put the bar code over that part of the picture). The only thing that would have been better is if I’d had curlers in my hair or sweat pants and flipflops on.

You can call me LaTrash. Tres LaTrash.

 

Crazy things that make me feel good inside November 20, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 9:42 pm

*Ironing. I used to hate it. Loathe it. Despise it. It was one of the chores my mother also hated, loathed, and despised, so when I was a teenager living at home: it was my job. But now I love it. I love watching all those wrinkly bits smooth out, I love the warmth, and I love the scent of the sizing I use on my collars so they stay crisp throughout the day.

*Days when I don’t get out of my jammies. I bought the BEST jammies at work the other day. Flannel pants, with a matching v-neck t. So comfy. Linnea and I both just stayed in our jammies all day today.

*Eating chicken noodle soup when I don’t feel good. I’ve had a cold for a couple of weeks now, it seems to be wrapping up, but the wrapping up part has been worse than anything that’s gone before. So M made me “chicken noo-noo” soup for dinner. I ate it out of a mug, as befits a couch-bound, “King of the Hill” watching invalid.

*Football. I loves the football. I don’t understand much of it, but I love it all the same. Today I found out that Drew Bledsoe is QB for Dallas. I totally didn’t know that. Drew went to high school in Walla Walla, Washington. Walla Walla High played my high school in football, and I can STILL remember watching him play and thinking, “Dude. He is WAY too good for these guys.” His passes would routinely run the length of the field. Anyhow. Because I knew of him when, I’ve always been interested in what he’s doing. Now he’s in Dallas. And since I hate Dallas, I’m really not sure how I feel about that.

*Last night, I felt like crap, so I slept on the couch. At some point, M brought Linnea out to me. So she and I snuggled and dozed early in the morning. The first words out of her mouth when she opened her eyes and saw me were, “Big hug, Mama.” so I gave her a big hug and she “mmmmmmmm’d” with contentment, so I held her close for a little while and smooched her between her eyes and she pulled back just long enough to say, “Yuv you, Mama. Lotlot.” And I realized anew that I have done this child no favors by bringing her into the world, but she done a multitude for me.

*Yesterday my boss told me, “Every day when I drive into work, I try and remember if you are scheduled to work. And I’m always happy when you are, and sad when you’re not.” As I’ve mentioned before: after years of working for people who were more interested in tearing me down for “things I had done and things I had left undone”, working for someone so intent on building me up is a bit disconcerting. On the one hand, I can’t get enough of it. But on the other, I’m thinking, “Sure. You say that now…”

*Christmas is coming!!!! Thursday is the day when I can officially break out the Christmas music. I try and hold off until then. First weekend in December we’ll decorate our house for Christmas. SO excited!!! I love Christmas. Really really.

*Sharp pencils. They make me happy. They’re fun to write with. The best kind? American Naturals.

*Pistachios. They are the best snack ever.

*M is watching the movie ‘Luther’ starring Joseph Fiennes. There is a scene where Luther is wrestling with the devil, and ends up laying on the floor, praying over and over again, “I am Yours. Save me. I am Yours. Save me. I am Yours. Save me.” It is a scene that always makes tears come to my eyes, because I know what it is to be driven to a place where that is the only prayer you have. And it makes me happy because it’s good to know that I am not the only one who has been to this place.

*Typing. Typing makes me happy. I like the sound of the keys.

 

A group hug all around! November 18, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 6:34 pm


I am at a total loss to express my thanks for the words of support given to me in the last couple of days. Really. I wish I could just hug and kiss each one of you. Cap’sdeej–thanks for delurking and speaking those kind words. They mean a lot. Now just stay de-lurked so we can visit, OK? 😉

I don’t know. When people like that rear their heads from time to time (and this blog seems to attract them) I totally start to second guess myself and think, “Gee, maybe I SHOULD be holier.” but then I think, “But what fun is THAT?!” So thanks for affirming the fact that my God-given personality doesn’t reflect poorly on the ministry. I really appreciate it.

Now, for a little funny: today when M and Linnea dropped me off at work, I was nearly run over by the mall Santa Claus–the guy arrived at work in his costume. I guess I always just figured that there was a dressing room in which they could “put their game face on” so to speak. But apparently not, because Santa damn near creamed me this morning.

You know, what I remember from sitting on Santa’s lap as a kid? They all had HORRIBLE breath. You’d think with such a ready stash of candycanes, they’d have minty fresh breath…but mine never did.

 

A general sort of announcement November 16, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 10:16 pm

Due to some rather disturbing comments that have been made on this blog by commentors unwilling to identify themselves, I’ve removed all pictures of Linnea from my entries.

Sorry that one bad apple has spoiled it for those of you who come here to hear Linnea stories and see Linnea pictures, but I really can’t take any risks with her safety, you know? And this person (who has posted a couple of times) has got my alarms going.