Mairsy Dotes

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

2AM Musings March 30, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 2:00 am

How is it 2am? And how is it that I’m awake…not still, but again?

  • Linnea hasn’t been sleeping well since our trip out west. I think it was the time change, and the stress of the situation, and she was sick while we were back there–all of it contributed to her getting way overtired in a very big way. She’s been waking up with night terrors (which she tends to get when she’s overtired) for about the last week. The last few nights seem to have been better–she doesn’t wake up screaming, so that’s always good. But it’s as though her little body is just in the groove of waking her up at about midnight. Last night M stayed with her. Tonight, I was going to go all “Solving Your Child’s Sleep Problems” on her azz and just let her cry it out. Didn’t work out that way. She cried off and on for about 3o minutes, so I went in to her to make sure she had her Nuk and her blankie and BabySister Monkey. She was scared. She didn’t want to close her eyes. She wanted me to hold her. So I crouched by the bed and we prayed; we sang “Old MacDonald”; I tried to fake her out. Finally I just thought, “If you are the only thing between her and her fear, and if your presence is the only thing that will allow those sweet blue eyes to close and rest: you need to be here for her. So what if Dr. Richard Ferber doesn’t agree with your decision? You’re the Mommy.” So I crawled into bed with her, hauled her up against me, kissed her forehead, her eyes, her cheeks, her “mouf”, and then just breathed into her hair until I felt her relax.
  • Now Linnea is asleep. M is asleep. And I? I am awake. Wide awake. At 2AM.
  • Interesting discovery? M apparently ONLY snores when I’m in bed with him.
  • I HATED jack-in-the-boxes when I was a little kid. Hated them. They scared the shit out of me, because I never ever knew when they were going to pop out of the box. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I realized the freaking SONG tells you when the thing is going to pop. For me, it just always seemed so random and frightening. Linnea has a “Rugrats” video, and Chuckie (yay, Chuckie!) calls it a “jerk-in-the-box”. That about sums it up right there, doesn’t it Chuckie my boy?
  • I’m just dreading doing our taxes. I’ve hated this time of year ever since becoming an ordained minister and not having any withholding taken from our checkes. It’s always such a freaking huge check to have to write. I’m hoping that several months of unemployment coupled with a job that DOES have taxes withheld makes the bite a little less severe. I’m hoping.
  • I’m contemplating a career move. Same company, different position, different store. It would mean health insurance for Nea and I. It would mean I could get pregnant again. It would also mean leaving the boss I love and adding a commute to my workday…but all things considered, I think it would be a good move for us.
  • I spent all day today cleaning our apartment. It had gotten pretty yucky. It’s never ever a good sign when you play “What’s the Smell?” everytime you walk in the front door. But now the house is clean and sparkling and tidy and smells good. The answers to today’s episode of “What’s the Smell?” are: WhiteBarn Candle Co. Clover candle and Clean Linen CarpetFresh. A distinct improvement over yesterday’s dirty litterbox and styrofoam meat trays in the garbage.
  • Incidentally, up until just recently, I was a firmfirmFIRM “Yankee Candle” girl. Wouldn’t buy anything else. I loved their scent selection, the way the candles burned, etc. But something is wrong with YankeeCandle. I’m not sure why, but their candles don’t scent like they used to. Plus, they’re getting rid of my favorite scents and keeping things like BUTTercream and rASSberry Sorbet (Like that juvenile humor? It took me a little while to come up with it. I must be getting tired.). So I discovered WhiteBarn Candle Co. I’d tried them before–their candles that smell like Bath and Body Works scents, but hadn’t been impressed. I’m still not impressed by those, but their main candle line is dee-vine. Good smells, good scent penetration, burns evenly and melts quickly. I’ve been converted.
  • Also good in the candle department? Soy Candles By Sharon. I highly recommend “Twigs and Berries” and something like “Oatmeal and Milk”. I’m not too excited by the music that plays on the website, but that’s why God invented volume knobs.
  • We’ve spent a lot of time lately reading “Once Upon a Potty”. For some reason, the opening line (“Hello! I am Prudence’s mother.”) gives Linnea the chortling giggles. For that reason, we’re willing to read it as often as she asks.

And now, I think I’m going to toddle off to bed. I hope I’m tired enough. I hope Linnea doesn’t wake up again. And I really hope that you’re not also up at 2AM, coming here and reading this. And if you are: we should really both get some sleep.


Long Strange Trip March 29, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 3:24 pm

So, I’m continuing just getting along–just like all the rest of you, right? That’s one of the funny things about grief…you sort of start to think that it’s only YOU going through life, but really: it’s all of us.

We got the fifth season of “Six Feet Under” yesterday, and this afternoon I totally cheated and watched the last episode. We’d been able to watch most of the season before we moved this summer, but missed the much-hyped final episode and I just. couldn’t. wait. And I bawled all the way through it. Well, that’s not entirely true. It was more a gentle weeping. No noise, no gasps, no sobs. Just tears on my face. And it was oddly really nice. Of course, now I have to totally redo my makeup before M comes home and either gets all worried about me or figures out I skipped ahead in our show. 🙂

Yesterday was also a big day in the life of our girl–it was her first trip to the beauty parlor. The first of many, I’m sure, but it was finally time. Her hair was just too long…it would get tangled and she’d get food in it and she’s recently developed a strong aversion to bathing so that wasn’t much fun. And the girl who can fall out of a swing when it’s at it apex, bounce as she hits the dirt and sit up and freaking smile starts screaming like you’re ripping her arms off if you hit the teeniest tinyest tangle in her hair. M just leaves them–so that means I got to be the meanie that worked the snarls out of her hair every morning. No more. She is now the proud model of a sleek, sweet bob. She woke up from her nap yesterday and she looked like a drawing by Eloise Wilkin–all rosie cheeked and big eyed. I wonder if parents ever get over that feeling when they see their children–that swift, sharp breathtaking moment when they see their child. I got it this morning when I went in to wake her up. She was so beautiful, curled there in her bed, BabySister Monkey clutched in her little hands, hair all bed-crazy and dandelion fuzzy, her breath so regular and even. And for a moment it felt as though someone had punched me in the gut–her perfection literally drove my breath from my body, and I just hovered over her and adored her.

But it’s difficult (if not impossible) to believe that my parents react this way to my 31-year-old self. I’ve seen me first thing in the morning, and believe me: if any breathtaking moments occur it’s because I need a shower and a toothbrush, not necessarily in that order. But at the same time, I can’t imagine ever not just glowing when I see Linnea. Not because she’s my daughter, although certainly that, but just because she’s in my life and she loves me and I love her. I guess I’ll tell you how it is in about 29 years. 😉

Spring is starting to creep into the northlands. Nearly all our snow is gone, and the air smells differently. There’s a definite spring tang to things. Still no green, but it won’t be too long now. I think I’m going to go and open our windows. Air out the stale winter air, and the stale winter funkyblahs, and just feel new life and rebirth and hope blow in on the fresh breeze.


Time Grabs You By the Wrist March 23, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:54 pm

So, we’re back. Our unexpected week-long vacation in the PNW was nice–all things considered–and I loved the opportunity to catch up with family members whom I haven’t seen in years.

The hardest part? Listening to all the people who came up to tell me what a wonderful man my grandfather was, and what a Good Christian. When they said the words “good Christian” I always saw them capitalized in my mind. Good Christian. And I wondered if they were at the wrong funeral, because my grandfather was a lot of things…but I wouldn’t have put “good” in front of any of them.

He was emotionally and physically abusive. He was manipulative. He was horribly cruel, and loved the sense of power cruelty gave him over those who were subordinate to him. He was selfish. He was judgmental. His most favored way of ending a discussion he didn’t agree with was with his fist. He never ever told me he loved me. He withheld favor because he liked to see people grovel and turn themselves inside out to get his approval.

My mother is convinced he hated her. I’m not entirely sure she’s wrong, though I’d rather die myself than tell her that.

I’m not sure how to go about mouring a man who’s death stands to improve my life and the lives of my family so much. I think I’m not mourning the man who died so much as I’m mourning what should have been and wasn’t. Many of you made comments to that effect, and I think it was a wise perception–one I wasn’t really capable of processing at the time, but in the intervening days has come to make a lot of sense. The statements I make expressing my grief all seem to begin with, “I wish…” I wish he’d been more affectionate, I wish he’d been less rigid, I wish he’d been less of an asshole…all of it. I just wish for so much, and none of it will come true, and now I have to accept that.

But I got to watch my girlchild laugh and play with her cousins, uncles, and grandparents. I got to stay up REALLY late and talk with my mom and giggle like schoolgirls. I got to cry on my dad’s shirt. I got to eat crab and smoked salmon. I got to knit and listen to my brothers tell hilarious stories about scrapes they’ve gotten themselves into and out of. I got to be home in the PNW for a precious week, and gaze at the slopes of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood (clear days! In Portland! In March! Pinch me!). And at the end of it all, I got to walk into M’s arms and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my home is where ever he is, and that as long as the day ends with my head nestled on his shoulder: I’ve got all I need in this world.


Damn it. March 14, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 12:49 pm

My grandpa died.

This morning. I have no details. I’m choosing to believe that it was a nice, quiet, peaceful death. In his sleep, the sort of death where he’s sleeping he’s sleeping he’s sleeping and then suddenly he’s waking up beside my grandma who died almost six years ago.

But I don’t know. All I know is that Northwest still offers bereavement fares (God bless ’em!) but that you have to have a ridiculous amount of information (hospital, coroner, funeral home) in order to GET that fare. Information that I didn’t have. But they were so nice and waited until I could track it down.

I just wish I wasn’t so freaking SAD. This man who died? He was not your typical grandfather. He was cold. Distant. Didn’t really like to talk about loving you. And when he heard I was going to be a pastor, sent me a letter effectively disowning me. I never got the feeling that he liked me very much–even though in my babybook it says that the first time he saw me he said, “She can do no wrong.” Plus, I was a girl, and EVERYONE knows that boys are way better than girls, right?

So I’m going around feeling odd because I’m so upset over the death of a man to whom I didn’t seem to matter much when I was alive. M said, “It’s OK, Babe. He was your grandpa. It’s OK to be sad that he’s gone.” But he didn’t much ACT like my grandpa, and then I keep coming back to the whole disowning me thing. I don’t know.

I’m freaking Linnea out, because of my crying. She keeps following me around, “Mama? I worried. I love you.” and I freak her out further by grabbing her into my arms, holding her close, and bursting into fresh tears. It makes me sad that my grandfather will never get to know this amazing girlchild of mine, who has a heart bigger than any I’ve ever known.

And it makes me sad that my grandfather never got to know me. ‘Cuz I think I’m rather amazing, when I’m honest with myself. And he never once unbent enough to know that. He never once let go of his “you’d be worthwhile if you were a boy” attitude so that he could see that worthiness isn’t dependent upon whether a body contains indoor or outdoor plumbing. I’m saucy and brave and independent and opinionated and impudent and passionate–all those things he felt it was inappropriate to be.

But he did call me “Princess”. I’ll love him forever for that.


Lent, lent, lent, lent, lent March 3, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:03 pm

So, it’s here.


I have mixed feelings about Lent. Overall, I love it. I love the penetential nature of it, I love the reflection, I love the Passion of it.

But what the church has done with Lent sort of makes me bonkers. This whole “what are you going to give up for Lent?” thing. I’ve done it. I’ve done it for many, many years–given up something for Lent. The most memorable one was when I gave up secular music for Lent in college and ruined our Girls Only Spring Break Trip because no one could listen to anything but Christian music when I was around. Gee, that was fun.

I’ve given up everything–chocolate, fastfood, the snooze button, coffee. I’ve taken extras on–reading the Bible every day, praying for an hour everyday, telling my brothers I loved them everyday, working out everyday.

And I never ever really got why I was doing any of it. “To teach us about sacrifice and how much Christ gave up for us!” was always the answer. But whether I gave something up or took something on, Lent immediately became about me. And what I was doing, or not doing. And how hard it was for me. And how holy I was because I was sticking to it, or how much I sucked because I wasn’t. And on about day two, I’d be counting down the days to when I could go get a latte or listen to something other than Jars of Clay or sleep for another ten, twenty, thirty minutes.

A few years ago, I decided that this really wasn’t what I wanted my Lenten observation to be about. I spend enough time thinking about myself. To do the sacrifice or the taking on totally distracted me from the true meaning of Lent: penance. Recognition of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf. And really–is my going without chocolate for 40 days really supposed to compare in any way, shape or form to Christ’s suffering on the cross? Am I going to be brought to some deeper understanding of the love of God in Christ Jesus if I make it through 40 days without coffee? It just makes no sense to me at all.

Today, we were having breakfast at our favorite bagel shop. A woman came in and announced that she’d contemplated giving up bagels for Lent, but thought that would be too hard so she gave up something else instead. And I thought, “There it is.” If you ARE going to give something up, shouldn’t it be something that’s difficult for you to give up? Like the hardest thing of all? Because if you aren’t willing to give up the hardest thing of all, then why bother giving up anything? If the whole purpose of giving up something for Lent is to teach us in some small way how much Christ suffered for us on the Cross, and we say, “Well, OK, but I can’t bear to give up THAT” what’s the point of doing it at all? We’re just a bunch of hypocrites at that point. Well, at all points, actually. We’re just usually better at hiding it.

And if you’re going to give up the hardest thing of all, isn’t it something that is a blessing to you? And don’t blessings (even bagels) come from God? What purpose are you serving in rejecting or sacrificing something God has given you? Is it even practical to give up the hardest thing of all? I’m not sure Linnea or M would be real impressed if I came and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m giving you up for Lent.” Because, oddly enough, they are the ONLY things I can think of that would come close to the level of suffering Christ experienced–they are, indeed, my life. To live without them for even a day or two leaves me feeling a bit torn asunder, and as though I’m limping through my days missing the most important parts of me.

So, I don’t know. I know that the giving stuff up is a hallowed part of Lenten recognition for millions of Christians the world over. I know that it’s so important to some denominations that it’s required, while others just offer it as something “fun and different to try”. Perhaps it works for some people. I haven’t really SEEN it work for anyone, and I was pastor to three congregations that were really big on this sort of sacrificial theology. If people wanted to do it: I didn’t stop them. I never recommended it, and I spoke out against it. But it’s ultimately up to the person to make the decision.

Me? I’ll be observing Lent in my new way. Enjoying the blessings God has given me, whether that’s chocolate or coffee or the snooze bar or secular music or shaking my booty with Linnea or curling up under a blanket with M. Thanking God that He loves me enough to shower these blessings down on my head, and offering heartfelt thanks that it’s through the blood of Christ that I can come before the Creator of the Universe. Come before him not in fear or dread, but as a beloved daughter. I can crawl in his lap and rest my head on his shoulder and know that forever and always: my Lent is purely ornamental. I have been found and I have been claimed and I am loved from the top of my head to the tips of my painted toenails. And to that, I say thanks be to God.


“Mama? My booty’s stuck.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 7:36 pm

Thus spake my wee small girl from the backseat of our car.

In a stroke of parental brilliance, I taught her to sing, “Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booty. Shake yer boo-tay!”* when she dances. Today, as we were driving through Minneapolis she was singing “Shake shake shake…shake shake shake…shake shake shake…” grunt. Then, “I can’t. It’s stuck. Mama? My booty’s stuck.”

This comment led to much parental hilarity from the frontseat. Gads, I love being a mom.

So, a quick update. Our my birthday roadtrip was very nearly cancelled when Nea started vomiting on Thursday night. She kept saying she was hungry, so we kept feeding her. Later, we realized this was a huge mistake, as over the course of three hours she proceeded to vomit up everything she’d eaten for at least the last month and a half. She’s never thrown up before–even as a baby, she hardly ever spit up. Needless to say: it scared her to death. It didn’t help that everytime she felt the need to hurl she tried to crawl into my arms and I kept shoving a bucket in her face.

You feel so helpless when your child is sick. Because on the one hand, you want to be there with them and hold their hair and wipe their face with a cool cloth and hum little wordless, comforting songs and turn their pillowcase (the third one of the night, perhaps) to the cool side. And you do do that. But on the other hand, you’re thinking, “Great. Now I’M going to get sick and her DAD is going to get sick and I think she got vomit in my hair and now I smell like puke and I’m really trying hard not to pull a sympathy hurl but it’s hard because it smells like puke everywhere in this house, and we’re running out of sheets and clean pajamas and all the washers are being used and we should be able to take cuts because of the puke…”

We didn’t get sick though. Why? Because I gave my daughter food poisoning. Bad pineapple. It didn’t look like bad pineapple. It also didn’t look like good pineapple. It was in that nebulous area…not exactly fresh, but it didn’t smell or taste bad…just looked a little tired. And she was begging for it. So in an effort to placate her so I could finish dinner, I gave her pineapple. “What harm could it do? It’s pineapple! Chock full of vitamins!” What harm could it do, indeed?

Friday she woke up demanding mac ‘n cheese and chicken nuddets (“nuggets” for those not fluent in Linneaese) so we figured she was on the mend. So off we went on our road trip. And it was good. It was very very good.

We spent the weekend with one of my best friends in the world–J. Well, actually, she’s one of OUR best friends in the world, which is nice because she likes us both and we both like her. It’s nice to have a friend of that caliber being dear to both of us so that we don’t have to do that married person bartering when one of the couple likes someone more than the other one does. We spent the weekend talking and shopping (ah, retail therapy!) and drinking these lovely little cocktails called “Walk in the Tropics” and eating hint of lime Tostidos with Mrs. Renfro’s peach salsa.

Sweet fancy Moses, how I love a quasi-girl weekend!

AND: I managed to find the last copy of RENT available in the greater Green Bay area. It was not terribly surprising that we couldn’t find it here, this hotbed of liberality. But I figured Green Bay was coservative enough that I’d be able to find it relatively easily. Not so. We went to Target. ShopKo. BestBuy. KMart. WalMart. It was out EVERYWHERE. We did find the full screen version at KMart, but I thought with all the singing and dancing and whatnot I’d really rather have the widescreen version. I can’t imagine watching “La Vie Boheme” in anything less than widescreen glory.

And then, finally, I found it. The last copy of widescreen, tucked away on a back row in Target’s entertainment section. It was as if heaven had opened and blessings rained down upon the Beege. It was a glorious sort of brightly lit “Circle of Life” sort of a moment. I’m pretty sure everything went into slo-mo as J and I jumped up and down and high-fived and did a little victory dance (one of the many reasons J so rocks as a friend–she took my RENT quest and made it her own, so her joy in the success was as great as mine was) there in the aisle.

Although, with all due respect to Chris Columbus, I’m not sure I can buy his, “I so loved the stage play and it so spoke to me that I had to make it into a movie” AFTER he chose to cut “Good-Bye Love” AND made it look like Roger knew April had AIDS. Roger didn’t know. According to the stage production, “His girlfriend April left a note saying ‘We’ve got AIDS’ before slitting her wrists in the bathroom.” and then it goes into “One Song Glory”. To me that’s a key part of why Roger is so resistant to Mimi. Not only did he find his girlfriend dead and floating in blood water, he found out that she had killed him–all in one fell swoop. Who in the hell will trust anybody after that?! And to cut “Good-Bye Love”? That’s just insanity. I’m sorry, Chris. But those were bonehead moves in an otherwise fairly well managed stage to screen adaptation. Next time? Come ask me what I think. 😉

*Now, some people might find the whole “2-year-old singing about booty shaking” thing a bit troubling. To them, I offer this: at least I didn’t teach her the Milkshake song.