Wednesday, April 28, 2010

thoughts on Johnny and his boat.

So, I found this article while checking my emails. It meshes my recent trip to Puerto Rico (an island in the Caribbean) along with my 23 year long love affair with Johnny Depp. (What could be better?)

His boat called Vajoliroja. The name is a combination of two or three letters of each name in his family, ending up with a name that sounds somewhat like "The Jolly Roger". Okay, so I guess Johnny went a little deep into the character of pirate, Jack Sparrow. They were good movies, and must have been fun to make (along with the fat paychecks) so I guess naming your boat that transports you around the Caribbean, to and from your private island, isn't that strange. It actually sounds amazing.

I think Johnny is actually a pretty normal person with a good sense of humor, but has to come off as quite an odd person to deal with being famous. Or maybe, because being famous is so odd in and of itself, being a normal person in that role always comes off as "odd."

I get nervous when I go out all "shlumpy SAHM-ish" in case this day is that ONE time I see someone important I know when I'm in ugly sweats and ratty hair. (Why don't I ever see anyone when I'm all dolled up and feeling fine?) I can't imagine the stress of going out and having a crowd of camera-wielding nuts trying to capture an unattractive shot, not to mention the fears celebrities must have around psycho fans (no, I am NOT a psycho fan - just, well, committed).

The weather is getting warmer here, and I'm happy to know that Johnny will be floating around the ocean in this "little" paradise in the sun. Now I'll have to think up a name for the thing that transports me around in my own paradise - my gold minivan. I can think of a few names for it that I don't really want my kids to repeat, so maybe this will take some more thought...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

always the questioner

Here's the back story on what I'm thinking about...

I have always been intrigued by logic. In college, I loved my Logics class and the use of the "If, then" statements in arguments. i.e. If my paycheck arrives, then I can buy food. The whole concept of logic just helps me to make better sense of the crazy world I live in. At least sort of.

I was raised Catholic. I come from a LONG line of Catholics, such that it was considered "racy" to marry someone NOT Catholic. I have always considered myself to be a Christian, though I question many facets of Christianity and uphold, even celebrate, the value and integrity of those who are not Christians. I attend Lutheran church services fairly regularly. I share Bible stories with my children and talk about my faith in God, along with my own questions. I pray so often it could be considered an almost constant conversation.

So at my latest mother's group meeting (which is held at my church, thank you very much) a mom shared her testimony about how God has touched her life. To shorten it a bit, she shared how her family of origin failed to give her love, support and hope for her future. She shared how people outside of her family reached out to her and shared their faith in God, and gave her the chance to find her own faith in God through Christianity. Her testimony was beautiful. But she made a few comments that have put my mind to work on this logic these last few days.

She read a passage out of the book of Romans that spoke to how reading the Bible and living by the Bible made you a Christian (along with taking Jesus as Lord and all that). She said that if you didn't study the bible, and just lived by your own interpretation of God, then you were worshiping idols or false gods. Hmmm...

Now I haven't read any large sections of the Bible in years. I have read the entire Bible a few times, so it's not like it's foreign to me. But I have never studied it and find that thought a bit abhorrent. My parents fought over many, many things before they divorced, and religion and the Bible were a common favorite. And I think parts of Catholicism go against putting all your "eggs" in the basket of studying the Bible. (There are all those cool religious traditions and high holy days and confession and venial and mortal sins and limbo and penance...that might get lost in the varying translations of the big book.) So I think I have a bit of a grudge against the book. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. There have been plenty of "books" not published in all the bibles that were there in the beginning collections and each "version" paints a different picture of how life was and now should be. So who am I to say that the book I currently have on my bookshelf is everything God wants me to know about life?

So I question, Am I really a Christian?

I do believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and for all humans. But I know that, if I were born into a family of another religion, I would live by that religion instead. I believe that Buddha also had a divine connection to bring understanding and enlightenment to the people on Earth. I pray to God each day, but don't believe that those who are not Christians will not be allowed into whatever wonderful afterlife there might be. I believe that Muhammad was a divine prophet and his message connects everyone on Earth to the goodness and hope that faith in God brings. I also hold valuable the concept of reincarnation - the chance to come back to Earth many times and work towards a better life. And I believe that humans are fallible. That even those who seek to bring joy, hope and love to others through the messages of a religion should be questioned and never taken as a divine messenger.

So does my open heart and mind mean that I am not a Christian?

Can a Christian study or think about only the Bible passages that come up in church services or other discussions and not the whole book?

Can a Christian know in their heart that being a good and honest person; being one who works a lifetime of service toward others; being a person who shares ones gifts and talents; being a person who takes time each day to appreciate and protect the beauty that surrounds us in both nature and in other people, that these qualities are more important than reading and studying a book that has so many versions, and so many conflicts within its pages?

I walked away from Catholicism because of the falsehoods I found in the religion and the contrasting realities of life. I will always be a Catholic as a sort of birthright. I now practice Catholic-light, or Lutheran Christianity. Maybe I'm really just practicing, but even if I'm not really a Christian, I am a blessed child of God, in whatever form that it is.

And I know in my heart, that the woman who shared this path of thought was celebrating something good in her own life, and not condemning something in my own. But damn it, it sure felt like it.

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." ~Buddha

Ah, Buddha. He must have had a divine connection to God, Jehovah, Allah, the Creator, to share such wisdom. His words always give me peace. Not always direct answers, but peace none the less.

So Christian or not, I am always thankful for today. Thankful for the beauty that surrounds me. Thankful for my ability and opportunities to share love with others. Thankful that I have a strong connection with my Creator. And someday, to have a joyful connection to all the books written in God's name.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


someday sleeping through the night will be normal for me.
someday the stress of being finished with dinner, kids ready for bed and the house in a calm hush by 8pm will be a memory.
someday my daughter won't need me to gently hold her hand as she falls asleep.
someday my son won't ask for a snuggle, and a book, and a back rub, then tell me he really is not tired.
someday i'll clean the dinner dishes and be amazed by how much food i am not throwing away.
someday i'll be able to stop at more than two stores in a row on errand day.
someday i'll be able to send my kids out of the house to play and feel okay that i can't see them at all times.
someday i won't have to schedule my day around naps.
someday my son won't scream when i wash his hair in the bath.
someday my daughter won't freak out, thrashing and screaming, for what seems to me no real reason.
someday i'll be able to watch the news or a sitcom without jumping for the remote to change the channel while trying to figure out how to have a talk about what was just on the t.v.
someday i'll have a job i go to everyday where i have full conversations with adults.
someday i'll be able to call someone without having to run to lock myself in the bathroom or bedroom when a screaming fight erupts.
someday my daughter won't be obsessed with wanting everything her brother has, does and says.


but then,
someday my kids will be doing their own thing, leaving me to wonder and worry about what that actually means.
someday i'll have to try to balance working my own full-time job with family time.
someday i'll lose sleep over a child missing curfew.
someday i'll have to force my kids to schedule their day to include me.
someday my daughter will scream at me and i'll likely still not know what she's freaking out about.
someday the dinner dishes will only include my husband's and mine.
someday my son will turn down a PDA from his mom.
someday my daughter will feel too independent to hold my hand.
someday my kids will be living their own lives and will need special days to remember to catch up on each other's lives.

so for today, i'll breathe deep when my kids demand one more round of backrubs at bedtime, when i have so much more to do.
i'll make sure to plan times to stay connected with my friends so i don't feel completely out of touch with the adult world.
i'll accept the fact that i have limited time, energy and attention to spend on shopping, cleaning and other outward-appearance activities.
i'll give up a bit more of what i want to do today so that i can make sure my kids and my husband have what they need.
i'll make sure to stay connected with my husband so we can lean on each other when one feels ready to lose their mind, and so we can still lean on each other when our kids are on their own.
i'll remember that childhood is short and this crazy love i have for my kids and my husband will last for forever if i remember just how fast it's all going by.

and when i just want to curl up and cry about how tough this mom job is, i'll remember how funny, how interesting, how joy-filled and how humbling it is today.

how far i've come as a mom.

how blessed i am to have such wonderful kids.

how thankful i am to know so many fabulous moms.

how lucky i am to have a husband who loves being "mr. family man" even when we argue about what that name really means.

how fortunate i am to be able to stay home with my kids today.

and i'll be thankful that today is just today, and that someday is still pretty far away.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


So I've been staying up way too late as of late. I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that "late at night" is the only time I have any time alone, which I really need right now. I have no answers for what's going on, nothing life or death or too horrid. So I'll pass on sharing that.

But lastnight something weird happened.

I read a lot of fantasy or science fiction novels. A LOT of them. I was raised Catholic, in a family rich in superstitious traditions. I now practice at being Lutheran (sort of a lazy Catholic), but I still pinch spilled salt and toss it over my left shoulder. I do my best to avoid stepping on cracks on walkways. I pick up pennies on the street, and toss them away without watching where they go if the coin face is down (bad luck). I don't really like cats and my husband is severely allergic to them, but I do my best to be kind to them, especially black ones. I do all these quirky little things, not because I really believe that breaking a ritual will cause me harm, but because I have a thousand family voices whispering in my ear, "Just follow the steps, what harm can it do?"

So my imagination is filled with fairies & other magical creatures, vampires & werewolves, and all sorts of craziness. Our home is in a quiet neighborhood in an area at the edge of suburbia and farmland. It is almost shockingly quiet here at night. Last night, it had started gently raining and I was walking around the house shutting things off and closing up the house before I went to bed. The streetlight at the corner of our yard has been switching on and off intermittently for awhile (I keep forgetting to call for them to replace the bulb). When I looked out the front window, it was almost black dark. No biggie. But then I saw a huge, white, long-haired dog trotting across the driveway, passing through our yard.

What was that? A very large white, long haired dog, trotting around alone at 12:30 at night. I ran to another window to see if I was hallucinating or if it was truly running through our yard. I saw it go to the far edge of our yard and then turn around. Freak me OUT! Ahh! It came back to the driveway and stopped. Delilah the mallard duck was hiding out under the bushes, I'm sure not moving a bit. I wasn't sure what the heck this creature was doing in my yard, so I yelled out the window at it to go home. (I was afraid that it might try to attack Delilah, right before her eggs would hatch!) It was dark in the room I was standing in, with an open window facing a dark outdoors, so the dog faced my direction and just stared. It may have even done that funny dog look of tilting its head.

After a minute or two, it trotted off towards the park behind our house.

Then I started to feel bad. My sister is a serious animal person. She works at a vet clinic and has a herd of creatures at her house. I thought of what she might have done for this dog. It was likely lost, walking around in the cold rain, late at night.

But then, I worried about what this "vision" of a white, wolf-like dog really meant for my life. I said a little prayer that, if this was someone's dog, it would have safe travel back home to dry off and warm up. If it was a vision to tell me something of my future, then what the H-E-double hockey sticks did it mean?

Ahh. I'm hoping something positive. I'm hoping it was a guardian creature, protecting me from harm. But man, that freaked me out so bad. If you have a pet, keep it sheltered and safe, not just for the pet, but for anyone who might come upon it at a weird time of day, in a weird state of mind. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

just Ducky

We have a female mallard nesting in our front bushes this year. I'm not sure how long these ducks live, so I don't know if she is the same one who has nested in various places around our yard through the years, or if we've had the luck of different mothers each year. Either way, this one has chosen a bold and comfortable location for her nest.

Our house makes a sort of L shape, creating a little courtyard area tucked in the space at the front of the house. Our drier vent exhausts onto a small area of shrubs. If I was more fastidious a landscaper, this area would likely be free of old leaves and such, but I'm not, so there you go. Mama Duck seemed to appreciate my lack of effort, and made a fabulous little nest between two bushes where she'd also catch some warm air from the drier vent. Already, I know she's a brilliant duck mother!

I think mallards sit on their eggs for about three weeks before hatching, which means Mama Duck (or Delilah as I like to call her) will soon be sneaking off in the wee hours with her newly hatched brood. We've watched so many other nesting moms for weeks to wake up one morning and find everyone gone, this time it won't be a surprise. We'll be sad to see her gone one day, so to celebrate how thankful I am to have her here now, I'm taking pictures.

She looks like every other female mallard. There are loads of mallard couples around this neighborhood. Not sure why, but there are also a good dozen "spare" males hanging around too. One male & female mallard couple stops by fairly often, apparently to sit and chat with Delilah. I was thinking it was something like my grandparents did, when they went to visit with their neighbors and chat about life. My husband wondered if the male mallard just had a couple of "ladies" instead of being monogamous. I think we are both projecting our own little home life fantasies. (I think mine is a little less titillating, but we're still talking about ducks, so I won't digress too far.)

I'll be sad when Delilah has moved on, but I'll be able to plant flowers in the big planter behind her. I'll be able to move into Spring mode. But I am sad. I don't know what next year will bring in my life, so I am sad that this may be the last Spring nesting that I see of our little ducky friend. Happy. Sad. Anxious. All mixed together. happy spring.