I picked the wrong week to stop drinking

Imagine, if you will, a computer system that takes on all the characteristics of an unmedicated schizophrenic.  That’s what I got to deal with at work.  All week.   Everyday there was a new episode to deal with.  Sometimes it was up.  Sometimes it was down.  And there were even times when I compared it to a wounded animal: alive, but not moving (i.e. I can access information, but it refuses to talk to other components).  Our boss described it by saying our servers were conjoined twins.  One of the twins died, hence the living hell I’ve been in.  When your entire field revolves around a computer and you have to go back to pencil and paper, things get crazy, especially when it’s a 3 person job and it’s just you.  And the phone calls.  I love talking to upset people on the phone.  Especially when I can’t do anything. “Can’t you just look it up?” they plead.  “No, because when I attempt to log into my system it says I do not have any user functions.”  And they still yell at me.  Look, honey, I’d love to help you but I can’t see the orders you have listed.  In fact, I have about 2 hours worth of work looking at me that I have to do one by one and oh, there’s another unhappy camper on the other line waiting to yell at me after you do.  It’s really hard to get work done at all when you’re constantly on the phone defending yourself and the poor IT guy who’s furiously trying to figure out why the mainframe crashed for no apparent reason.  YES WE ARE WORKING ON THE PROBLEM.  It’s harder for me, I actually have to do all the work.  You just look at pretty spreadsheets.

Like I said, I picked the wrong week to stop drinking.

My lack of R-OH is two fold: the main reason is to fast from alcohol to hear from God about our next steps in life – I want to go one way, The General wants to head in the other.  And so we wait to hear from Him.  I’ve never fasted before and my Bible study leader spoke of how she fasted from certain things she enjoyed when she was preparing for mission trips or waiting to hear something.  Interesting concept.  The other, more shallow reason, is to keep my body in shape.  Alcohol is a lot of empty calories and they usually end up somewhere around my mid-section (never the boobs for some reason).  It’s not that I had a problem or anything, I am the quintessential cheap date; I don’t drink large quantities nor do I use it as an escape.  It’s up there with nutella.  I enjoy it.  A lot.  A glass of wine after a hard night at work is a way to unwind and take the edge off.  There is the rare occasion where Captain Morgan and I will go off dancing into the night…..but that’s another story all together.

I plan to break the month and a half fast by toasting my family on Thanksgiving, as my entire side of the family is coming to North Carolina to celebrate – Mom, Dad, my little sister, and her boyfriend.  If the Lord says to keep my fast, I will.

The fast had been a piece of cake until this week — stress at work, lots of great moments with friends — and I couldn’t have a drink.  I’ve been sipping green tea instead, which is awesome. It’s soothing, it has antioxidants, and I can have multiple cups of it without worrying about how I’ll feel the next morning.  I’m working Cucalorus this year — the big film fest in Wilmington — which usually involves a lot of social drinking for me.  Not this year.  I can’t decide if I’m going to ask for water neat or a Shirley Temple.

This inconvenience that I have placed on myself goes much beyond the situational.  If by giving this up – for however long – allows me to hear God more clearly it will be time well spent.  A part of me wonders what if this fast is all for naught?  What if nothing changes one way or the other?  What if we get an answer clear as day….?  One of us will have to fold.  And I guess that’s where He comes in.

From Streams in the Desert, author not credited:

Child of my love, lean hard
And let Me feel the pressure of your care
I know your burden, child
I shaped it.
I balanced it in Mine Own hand
Made no proportion in its weight to your unaided strength
For even as I laid it on, I said,
“I will be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden will be Mine, not hers.
So I will keep my child within the circling arms of my love.”
Here lay it down
Nor fear to impose it on a shoulder that upholds the government of the worlds
Yet closer come:
You are not near enough.
I would embrace your care
So I might feel My child reclining on My breast.
You love Me, I know.
So then do not doubt;
But loving Me, lean hard.

Oh, the adventures of Wal-Mart and beyond

I just realized I totally forgot to get light bulbs.  Oops.

I just had a quick trip to Wal-Mart to “pick up a few things.”  It ended up costing $45.  How does that happen?  I think my most expensive item was a bag of apples at $5.  I decided that today I would start cooking.

I’m surprising The General with pumpkin cupcakes and homemade cream cheese frosting.  Oh, and this that I stumbled upon this morning.  It looked too good/easy to pass up.  And all I needed were apples.  Yeah, I’m that kind of wife.  I’m also going all out for moi as well – I have 40 hours of work to smash into the week before the weekend hits – and thought it would be a good day to make food to take to work.  Tonight’s menu is a family favorite of mine: my Mom’s curry chicken.  The General is not a fan, but it’s okay, there’s more for me.  I was going to halve the recipe because I make such a huge pot it takes 2 weeks for me to go through it and by then I’m sick of it.  Then the light bulbs I forgot clicked on and I thought to myself, “You could have frozen part of it for the coming weeks.”  I still might do that, but I’m an onion short.  Hmm.  Maybe The General has some onion power somewhere.  He has all the cool spices.  I’m also going to make homemade empanadas as soon as I can convince myself that yes, I will have enough energy left at the end of the day to make bread.  This may be something for Thursday.

I usually avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible, and if I have to go, I go at the wee hours of the morning.  Pallets are stationary, unlike small children and southern women, and so it’s easier to navigate.  Yelling, “Watch out, Yankee coming through!” is not appropriate I’m told.  Well, as soon as I walked through the door, a twentysomething stopped me to ask if I could return something for her (using my ID) for cash because she had already exceeded her returns with her ID.  I told her no, I was not able to do that.  And then added as a quick aside, “There’s a warrant out for me!” and ran into the produce department.  I hate it when people catch me completely off-guard.  The stupidest things will come out of my mouth.

All was well until I got to the dairy section.  A woman opened the refrigerator door for the milk and proceeded to have a conversation with a friend of her’s in the back. “Hey Susan, guess what I did this morning!”  OMG.  It was hilarious…and so random.  Who does that?

The randomness followed me to the confectionary aisle.  As I’m looking for the canned pumpkin, an older gentleman passes me and says my alma mater.  It wasn’t that random, my alma mater  was on my shirt.  “Yes,” I replied.  It turns out he was from a town near-by and so we talked a bit what brought us out this way, 1,500 miles from home.  He’s been out here longer than I’ve been alive — he had on an ECU shirt, but it was where his son went — turns out he worked for the same company my Dad did and ironically, my sister was born just up the interstate from his hometown.  Crazy.  I ran into him again at the poultry counter.  He was a very kind man who seemed tickled there was a fellow Illinoisian roaming around Wilmington as well.

By this time, I made it back to my car without further oddities.  Whew.  Wal-Mart is always an adventure, but this was too much.

….and it has come to my attention that it may be time to start heeding my own advice.  How does one make a completely life-altering decision?  I’m not at the point where I can blog about it because my own thoughts are still incomplete and empirical.  Extremely empirical.  Emphatically empirical.  A possible impasse that may echo for some time to come.  For the time being I’m going to fast from alcohol until Thanksgiving as a sacrifice in prayer to attempt to see what the Lord has to say about this and to commune with Him.  No worries, it’s nothing bad.  It’s just…..life.

What now?

I got my college degree.  I found a good paying job in this economy.  I have an amazing husband and we live in our dream house.

I have arrived.  Now what?

Society says kids.  I’m not so sure that’s what the Lord has in store for us.  Or is it?  Either way, it’s not up to me.  And I am lucky enough not to have a biological clock that ticks.

As my 30’s loom just around the bend, I wonder what this decade of life will bring.  The teens and twentys were time of massive change and figuring out the world.  While I still have some growing to do, I am basically, for all intensive purposes, a grown up.  I pay taxes.  I pay a mortgage.  I drink wine.  And I’m not sure what to expect in my 30’s.

It all slows down, is what my small group (women in their 50’s) and the General (my favorite quadragenarian) say, and just live.  Slows down?  Sure, I won’t be running off to party like I did; school is long over and done with; I have no plans of leaving my husband, he’s too freakin’ awesome.  I have my career set, and as long as I toe the line, I am have a job.  And as long as said job stays, I am able to keep my house.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I am not ready to “slow down.”  I’m ready for the next big adventure, whatever that is.  I don’t even have a set goal for life right now — which is weird for me and hard to comprehend.  I always have a plan.  I’m at the mercy of the waves, wherever the Lord takes me.  Freeing, in some ways; a little scary about the lack of plan in others.

I am going to begin my 30’s on a cruise to the Bahamas.  Woo hoo!!  It’s booked, we just have to show up.  Yay!  By the end of my 30’s, if my family is any predictor, I will go through full menopause.  That ought to be interesting.  I’m sure I’ll be more secure in who I am, both in myself and the Lord – but I wonder what events will shape that?

I refuse to believe my 30’s will just be one big decade of “meh, life.”  What will the Lord bring?  Whatever it is, hang onto your bra strap, it’s going to be crazy.  Simply because it’s me – and I’m probably drinking wine.

6 months time

6 months ago I blogged about where I would be in 6 months time, modeled after my friend Alice, who spent that time in the African jungle as a missionary.  While her life has changed fundamentally with that experience, I wondered if/how my life would change or be different in my little section of the globe.

I am here to report nothing has changed.

I feel I’m in the same space I was in the winter, except for maybe a slighty higher skill level in terms of surfing – which isn’t all that groundbreaking. I feel like I’m on the edge of something….but whether that’s wishful thinking or a premonition — I don’t know.

And so I wait.  On His watch.

Clique Clique Boom!

While I love serving as the bouncer in the nursery at church, I just took a leave of absence.

Why?  Mainly because of work and my schedule that gets thrown about at the last minute (like this weekend….again!).  So to save time and face, I figured it’d be easier if I wasn’t counted on being there.  Hopefully work will stabilize and I’ll get back to a regularly scheduled schedule.  Not to mention the trip I’m going to take back in time at the beginning of August would conflict, too.  More about that later.

That’s the surface reason I described to them.  There are some sub-plots that are playing into this as well.  One, is the reality of something I’ve found at this church: it’s a conglomeration of cliques (other people have noticed this too).  I don’t fit in.  I rarely find my nitch in social situations.  I’m a little out there – “out of phase” is how my husband puts it.  Granted, my co-workers in Christ have been nothing but kind to me.  They have never said or done anything that would raise red flags nor am I singled out because of something (my non-mom status, for instance).  I see how they all huddle together to chit chat about their week, what’s going on in their lives, something their kids did, or just a prolonged “good morning.”  I’m not part of the group.  It’s not their fault, it’s just calling a spade a spade.  I’ll ask people how their week went: “Fine.”  How was your vacation? “Great!”

I refuse to force friendships.  I had to do that in high school and college because of proximity to others: I had to be friends with someone because of school and how we “fit in” to certain social situations.  Now that I’m older, I’m not playing those games to appease people anymore.  I’m going to have friends based on who they are at the core and someone I can walk in step with, not trying to match what they’re doing just because our juxtaposition says we should be friends.

And then it hit me: do I want to be in a church where I’m just on the outside?  My small group is awesome, we have real conversations and we laugh a lot.  I’m one of the youngest ones there, everyone else has kids in college or  high school.  And while they are awesome ladies, it would be weird for me to call them some night and ask if they want to grab a martini.  The General is even more social isolated than I am.  This bothers me, but it doesn’t bother him.

Rewind to last Sunday, we checked out a new church that is basically a scaled down version of the church we currently attend.  It was pretty awesome, although the format and the pastor were a bit out of sequence.  I learned A TON of history that coincides with the Gospels and the sermon cut to the core of human nature: Are you covered in the dust of your rabbi?  i.e. Are you following Jesus so closely on the road of life that you are covered in His dust?  Whoa!

My current church has AMAZING sermons, which is part of why I like it so much.  But it’s huge.  Walking through the main vestibule on Sundays, I get “Anatevka” from Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head:

Anatevka, Anatevka
Intimate, obstinate Anatevka
Where I know everyone I met
Soon I’ll be a stranger in a strange new place
Searching for an old familiar face from Anatevka

It makes me smile because it’s a paradox.  I’m alone in a crowd.  All these faces and I have no idea who any of them are.  And they don’t know me.  I’m not the “run of the mill Christian wife.”  And I don’t think I’ll ever be.

I miss the communion of fellowship at the church of my youth – everyone knew everyone.  If we had 60 people on a Sunday and it wasn’t Christmas, that was HUGE!  Any new face that walked through the doors was greeted and people asked questions:  What do you do? Do you have kids?  What church have you been to?  Are you new to the area?  How can we help you fit in?  My church has a program for this….but it’s not the same.  They have 60 people show up for meetings.  It’s mostly a number thing; both are biblically sound churches.

Maybe it’s time for us to switch churches into a smaller setting?  Lots of prayer to follow.

 

Living life

I don’t like working out in a gym because it feels so artificial – I’d rather be busting my butt on pavement in the sun than on a treadmill and pulling small bushes out of the ground than lifting weights (although I do lift hand weights while watching TV….sometimes.)  I read Carolyn Hax, an advice columnist, because she gives great straight forward advice.  One of her readers wrote this about “bucket lists” — you know, the things you want to do before you die.  I couldn’t agree more:

I suggest you can make life your bucket list. Do something new every year and every year will be a gift of extraordinary value. So far, no one has told me that trying something new periodically is a lousy idea.

— Anonymous

This is how I want to live my life.  This year?  Gardening and a cruise.

Well, that worked

For every action, there is a reaction.

Those 2 people who were moments away from death from last post?  They both died yesterday from their conditions.  It made me sad.  Both were completely preventable deaths.

3 of my Facebook friends all had their babies yesterday.

Life is a revolving door.

The dishwasher’s conditions have deteriorated as well, it has gone from critical to deceased.  The lights don’t come on anymore and my fingers are all wrinkled from washing dishes in the sink.  Maybe it was the roaches.

A weekend of life….and death…..rinse, repeat.

It seems like everyone is dying. One of my dear, dear friends went comatose this morning out of the blue and no one’s sure what happened.

This dear friend is none other than my dishwasher.

Everything was fine until I went to run a full load this morning and it decided to go to the big kitchen in the sky.  The lights light up but nothing happens.  I threw the breaker like the nice people on the online forum said.  I alternately pushed “heated dry” and “normal wash” to “reset” the “computer.”  Nothing.  I left it alone all day, to return at night to see if it fixed itself (the machines at work have a habit of doing this).  Nope.

My sorry butt spent the better part of an hour trying to remember how to do dishes in the sink.  Luckily, The General was on the phone to help walk me through this process that I haven’t done since I was in college, circa 2004.

Where is The General?  In the Great White North with family, celebrating life.  Our nephew graduated high school this weekend and they threw a big party for him.  It was a last minute decision and I couldn’t go because of work and I wasn’t ready to spend a large amount of money on  airfare.

To make matters worse, The General had an hour’s drive back to his hometown from the airport and the jerk rented a car.  And not just any car, the most beautiful car to come out of Detroit: a 2011 Dodge Challenger.  I drool over them in the parking lot when a Camero isn’t in sight.  So beautiful!  The General wasn’t impressed with the interior, but I’m sure he looked bad ass driving it down the interstate.  I’m so jealous I’m actually a bit green under this dark tan.

They buried Bea on Saturday, my mom said the service was well done and I should probably try to make it up north sometime this summer to see Austin and relive some awesome moments of my childhood vacation destination.  I decided to write Austin a letter expressing my condolences.  I am much more of a writer than a talker.  I will send the letter as soon as I figure out what I want to say and get it on paper.

My weekend was surrounded by the dying, as health care goes to be sometimes.  Despite missing out on all the “life” my loved ones were experiencing up north – burying a wonderful godly woman and launching a young man, who surprisingly has a good head on his shoulders, into the real world – I got to experience my own bit of life here.  I know I helped save at least 2 lives this weekend.  For the sake of federal laws I can’t write about them in detail; but the 45 minutes I spent running in circles, I know I was part of the chain that kept someone’s loved ones from planning a funeral.  Heavy stuff, really.

I would have much rather been with my mom or husband saying good-bye to family or saying hello to family I’ve never met…..but I was needed here, teetering on the edge of life and death in my chosen career….for someone else’s family who doesn’t know I exist.  That’s the beauty of doing work behind the scenes: you’re essential to the process, you just don’t get the credit.  And I like it that way.

I’m not sure what to do with the dishwasher.  I’d like the guy from Sears to give it the last rites look at it and see if it’s worse fixing….or buy a new one.  My diagnosis is a bad board.  Who knows how much that will be.  We’re going to wait on it for the time being since we’ve spent money like it’s going out of style lately.  I could dip further into my savings for this, but I’m not going to.

The dishwasher is like the spleen: it’s nice to have, but if you don’t have one, the liver takes over it’s job of culling out the old cells.

And now I am the liver.  Chopped liver.  But you can’t live without a liver.

Mother trucker

Happy freakin’ mother’s day.  Sorry about that episiotomy, Mom.

I got a little jaded about this whole holiday and it really doesn’t mean that much to me (well, except for my Mom).  I sent her and my MIL a card – and we called them on Sunday.  That was all well and good.

The problem I had was at church.  As I was walking (I arrived way early) to the class room, a child’s father saw me and said, “Happy mother’s day.”  My face went completely blank.  I’m not a mom.  How do I respond? “Thank you” to be polite?  “Nope, sorry, I am reproductively inept, I have a better chance of winning the lottery than having children and oh yeah — I’ve never bought a lottery ticket.  But I practice a lot!” no, that sounds way too….disenchanted.  So instead I said the 1st thing that popped into my head: “I have cats.”

I pride myself on thinking fast on my feet, but it just wasn’t happening that morning.  “Oh,” he replied.

I was willing to let that go.  Really, it rolled off my back and I kinda giggled about it.  I got to my classroom and the lady from the previous service was still there, so I just stood nearby.  She gave me the weirdest look, as I was off in outer space. “Well, are you going to pick up your child?” she finally asks.  I saw there were 3 stragglers left.  “Oh, no, I’m here for the door for the next service!” I said quickly.  “Oh,” she replied.

Really?

So I got through my volunteer gig without any more people thinking I was a mom.  Whew.

And then I left to attend the service and made the mistake of going through the door where the parents leave.  The gentleman at the door tried to give me a reminder note they give to all parents and almost started to say, “Happy mother’s day” when I said, “No thanks, I work here.”  “Oh.”

At this point I was a little bothered.  I’ve kinda sorta not really questioned myself lately on if not having children was a good decision.  Could we have children?  Probably, with the help of modern day science, some prayer, and some luck.  There’s the age thing (The General is…..old….in terms of fatherhood), the money thing, the I have the next 10 years of European travel planned out thing, the simple fact that every man I’ve been close to says I shouldn’t have children because I’m….well…..crazy.  Okay, so I can’t drive a car effectively, make something from a recipe card without it catching on fire or being otherwise inedible, navigate through a grocery store, or change a diaper – I more or less march to the beat of my own drum and find a hard time fitting in.  Not to mention, I have the maternal instinct of a sea turtle (take the kids to the beach!).

The life I am living now is more than I could have ever hoped for in my wildest dreams.  I never expected to live in paradise, marry such a wonderfully awesome man, or be as content as this in the moment.  It’s a catch 22.  Would I regret having kids when my husband seems miles away and I’m running to and fro trying to be frugal, caught up in the stress of family life?  Would I regret not having kids and traveling, and just being a wandering spirit?  I don’t have the answers to these questions and as far as I’m concerned, it’s up to the Lord.  His will for me is all I desire.  And if I meant to have children, HE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.

A fellow non-mom at work and I discussed the craziness of mother’s day on women.  She had the same problem at work: they were giving out flowers to moms.  No flower for us.  We likened it to being single on Valentine’s Day – it just sucks – you feel out of place and ostracized.  Although I suggested that I should get a flower because I made someone a Mom (my Mom – I’m the 1st born).  “You donated eggs?” she asked.  I cracked up.  Heavens no.

But today is a new day and it’s absolutely beautiful outside.  It’s too bad I have to spend it at work.

Lesson of the day: Much like V Day, please do not wish a random stranger a happy mother’s day unless they are >6 months pregnant or toting a child.  Thank you.

X marks the spot

I think it would be awesome if all of my ex-boyfriends got together and formed a band.  I would totally pay to go see them.

Half of my “ex’s” tho, are actually pseudo-boyfriends — er, friends with benefits I guess would be the closest thing to it; all the perks of a relationship without all that emotional commitment crap. ((The fact that I am very happily married is quite a feat in itself.))

I learned recently through a mutual friend that my ex, Lys, is engaged.  Lys was my 1st real love in college; he was my gateway drug into drinking and sex.  We lasted 3 years (with intermissions), complete with an encore presentation post college that ended with my shattered dreams and a young hot new girlfriend for him.  He was probably one of the smartest guys I knew; his logic far surpassed my own. Lys had a quick wit and was very interesting, always in some sort of adventure, like myself.  We instantly clicked.  He manipulated me emotionally and I let him – his online life via RPG was top priority over me, too.  I lost myself in him and before I knew it, my reality and identity were wrapped up in him.  When he left me (twice) for a beautiful blonde co-worker, my world came crashing down.  I lost 20 pounds, went into counseling, got alcohol poisoning one night, and basically started digging as fast as I could once I hit rock bottom.

It took several years, some medication, and a move 5 states away to really get my wits about me again.  The scars are healed, but some of the residual hurt still remains and continues to this day.  I grew accustomed to being insanely independent because he was one not to be counted on (unless it was convenient to him), and unfortunately, some of that spills into my marriage.  It’s a process, something I need to work on.

Anyway, he’s engaged to some girl I never met and have only seen in pictures on Facebook.  She’s absolutely beautiful with a gorgeous smile.  “They make a great couple,” says my source.  The last time Lys and I spoke it was at a bar, in Summer of 2005 when I finally had closure and the loose ends tied up.  It was great because I got to spend an evening with the Lys I knew once upon a time.  I knew the vile and decaying parts of him were just below the surface, but it was a good visit and we ended on good terms.  I haven’t had any contact of any sort with him since that night and I aim to keep it that way.

I know I’m not the same person I was all those years ago and I hope to God that he is not either.  My source commented that he’s grown up since, with a few minor issues.  I hope they’re right.  I wonder if his marriage will work out in the long run.  I wonder if it will turn out like me and the few other girls who got caught in his web: things are great until they become everyday mundane; and then he’s out of there in search of the next best thing. Tool said it best: “I will find a center in you, I will chew it up and leave.”

I know I can’t compare him to what he once was with me, but as my mother says, a leopard doesn’t change his spots.  I wish him nothing but the best; I would want him to say the same about me.

I asked my source one question: “Does he treat her better than he treated me?”
They replied, “Yes.”

And that is already a great start.

Life, Death, and what follows

It’s the circle of life and you can’t illustrate it better than the model of a hospital.  One out, another in.

When one does something to one’s self that could result in a slow painful death, yelling the F word is completely appropriate, even in a professional setting.  At least that’s how I rationalize it.  I accidently stuck myself with a dirty needle because I am an uber-klutz (my PMS is not moodiness, it’s clumsiness — and it’s really, really annoying).  I was very lucky: the person’s blood was clean (after much testing) and they were in a demographic that didn’t fall into a high risk category for all the fun blood borne pathogens.  Whew.  Dodged that bullet.  I was almost in tears afterwards and it wasn’t from jamming a blunt needle (i.e. not sharp) into my thumb: it was because I did something so stupid that could have ever-lasting consequences.  I got lucky.  Very lucky.

Several people close to me have experienced death quite a bit.

The neighbor kid who used to live behind us died via suicide.  He was only 17 and battling depression.  I remember when he was born and the last time I saw him he must have been a little kid.  My sister was close with his sister and the family was beyond devastated.  I just happened to call my sister the night she was driving back from the benefit event for him.  It upset her more because she too struggled with depression, a failed suicide attempt (thank God), and she knew him.  It was all so sad and tragic.

Another friend lost a family member due to old age and aplastic anemia.  They knew the end was coming, but it still hurts like hell when you hear the news.

I was removed from all these people, they were far away and I never knew them.  Then it hit home.  My good friend Samantha lost her puppy this week, a 3 month old cute little thing.  She was hit by a car while they were out walking.  She jerked away on the leash and ran into traffic.  There was blood everywhere and the puppy died in Samantha’s arms.  She was beyond inconsolable.  This puppy had been her world for the past month and their bond had grown so strong.  It really upset me to see her in such a state; having not dealt with death a lot in my own life, I felt out of place trying to comfort her.  What do you say?  I wish I could have taken her pain for a little while, or at least help her shoulder it – and I couldn’t.

The next morning I was going to take her to Cracker Barrel (good comfort food) to get her out of the house and talk.  She was crying too much to be in public, so I met her and her sister at her house and decided to make breakfast.  I would have made my French-Canadian grandmother I never met (again, to death) proud with the last 2 crepes I made.  (Nutella crepes go down easy and they’re light.)  I had the stove too hot and used the wrong type of pan, so I burnt 4 of them.  I mean really burnt them, like open-a-window-it’s-a-like-a-dream-sequence-in-here type burn.  It made for some comic relief and the only casualties were 4 crepes, my finger from hitting the hot pan (1st degree burn), a dish towel, and my pride.  Luckily, I did made enough for each of us to have 2 large ones.  With strawberries.  Nom.  Towards the end, Samantha was beginning to be more like herself.  She’s a strong woman and she will get through this, it will just take some time.

The other death was a murder victim here in the Port City — and I know one of the relatives.  No one’s sure about what happened or why — typical shooting deaths here usually are drug deals gone bad — but to have that kind of pain – wow – I can’t even imagine.  Lots of prayers for peace and healing are all around me.

As with all things, there’s a flip side.

One thing the Lord really put on my heart was to pray for those couples who are struggling to conceive.  I was astounded last year when 2 of the couples found out they were pregnant!  The power of prayer is real!  It does work!  In the past month, I learned 2 more couples on my list are now pregnant!!!  The one couple was told they had a 2% chance of conceiving naturally, so they decided to adopt after years of trying.  3 months into the process the Lord blessed them with TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I almost started crying when I read it.  I’m not suppose to know yet about the other couple, but I am so happy for them nonetheless!!

My prayer list is down to 2 couples left.  So far, I’m 4 for 4.  Well, it’s really the Lord who should get the glory!  It’s all His work.

I wonder who will be next….?

 

Wake Up Call

For the 1st time since we’ve moved here I’ve had a rather unusual wake up call at 0730.

 

A container ship foghorn.

Wilmington is a port city, so we have these huge container ships come into the port which is a few miles up the mighty Cape Fear River.  I love watching these behemoths travel – coming from a cornfield, this is still a novelty to me.

It’s been pea soup a couple of mornings here and these guys can only sail when it is high tide because they’d get stuck — even though the river is 100 feet deep.  So no matter the time of day, when it’s foggy….

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

((3 minutes pass))

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

At first it took me awhile to figure out what it was — it was so loud and foreign — and once I realized it was not the General in the garage, I quickly understood this was part of “coastal living” they never cover in those fancy magazines.

I complained to my friend Charlotte, who is in the Coast Guard, but she just shrugged and said it’s the rules of the road.  Bah.

A Spa Day

Back when I was in the 8th grade, our school (due to overcrowding) had split shifts — both my parents were at work, my 4th grade sister’s classes started at 0730 — and the bell didn’t ring for me until 1045.  This meant I had most mornings to myself – a Godsend in a very tumultuous stage of life – and household.  It was then I reveled in the silence: no yelling, screaming, blaring TV – just me.

To keep my balance, on Friday mornings, I would have a spa day.  I would go out for a run, about 2.5 miles, come home and draw a bubble bath complete with bath salts and candles.  The music playing was always the same: Seal’s debut CD and selections from The Beatles Anthology Volume II (I was 14, my internet was dial-up, Pandora wasn’t invented yet, and I had a cassette walkman) – it was the most relaxing music I had.  I would put on a facial mask, exfoliate with foot scrub, and use fun smelling body wash.  It was awesome just to soak and let my mind unwind and relax.

I haven’t done a “spa day” in several years – I was living among corn stalks the last time I had one.  It’s officially Friday morning in my corner of the world, so at 0200 I did a spa day.

I had the week from hell.  No, the stuff they scrape out of hell. That summed up my week.

The new computer system, once all the bugs are exterminated fixed, we use the system for what it was designed for instead of our “work around,” will be a wonderful tool.  Until then, it is utter chaos.  The entropy we are experiencing is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my field.  I could go into gory detail about what is going on, but it would bore anyone to tears who’s never been in a lab coat.  Imagine your neighborhood after a tornado…..damage and disarray everywhere……that’s about how it is.  And then not knowing how to fix it.  Or find anything.

Tonight I only stayed for 12 hours – mainly because I found a major problem and fixed it (I win!) and they stop selling alcohol at 0200 so I knew I had to get out before then to stop at the grocery store for some much needed/earned bottle of wine ($4/bottle — I’m a cheap drunk).  Day 1 I was there 17 hours – I left because my legs hurt so much – never run a 5k before a 17 hour day.  It’s just bad.  Day 2 I was scheduled off but offered 7 hours of my life that I will never get back; even then it was complete disorganization.  Today was Day 3, slightly better, but I finally stopped using customer service niceties and just told them how it was.  In a dead pan, I-stopped-caring-several-days-ago-would-you-like-to-speak-to-a-manager-this-is-my-name-so-you-can-write-me-up-I’m-sure-it’s-my-fault tone of voice.  I was too stressed to be jumping everytime the person on the other end of the line said “How high?”  Mainly it was because I didn’t know how to fix everything that was going wrong….I hate that feeling of helplessness.  And my co-workers were in the same boat.

Hence the spa day.

I feel much better now.  I did a whole yoga routine instead of running (running at night in Wilmington = bad idea), got a glass of wine in me (11% by volume baby, yeah!), did a facial mask and exfoliated my face and feet, all while relaxing to Delerium (I added to my Seal/Beatles playlist), with candles for the ultimate relaxation.  The General was working the graveyard shift tonight, so it was just me  – just like it was back in the day – except now there isn’t yelling and screaming – I just like my alone time.

In the words of Paul McCartney:
“I have to admit it’s getting better, it’s getting better all the time – it can’t get much worse.”

 

Adventitious

I ran over 40 miles this month.  That is going to be my new goal: instead of averaging 30 miles, I’m going to shoot for 40.  I’m pretty sure my knees could take it.

I need to start cross training.  I have an old bike here that I’m going to ride – mostly to the beach – about 16 miles round trip.  I’m afraid I’m going to mess myself up by not doing anything other than running.

My place of employment is morphing into a new computer system; literatly, we’re moving from a DOS interface (Abort, retry, fail?  Most definitely fail.) to a Windows based program!  The transition is going to be a disaster of epic proportions, and that’s if everything goes well, but once the kinks and programs are re-coded, it will be a wonderful tool that will make our jobs easier.

Due to the sense of impending doom, I am going on a wine/crepe/nutella bender tonight.  I deserve it.

I’ve decided not to use the Fahrenheit system anymore.  Everything I have that has a temperature on it is now in Celsius.  Instead of trying to translate what 45F is into Celsius, I’ve just started associating Celsius temperatures with how it is outside.  Like today it’s 9C.  Chilly, but warm enough to run.  The only problem is when I’m conversing with other people about the weather.  “Oh, it’s going to be 15 tomorrow, finally some warm weather!”  People look at me weird, like I just stepped off the plane from Chicago — well, in Chicago, sometimes 15F is considered “warming up” —  it’s been a fun experiment.  The General is starting to learn it too, but not by choice.  Heeheee.

Kim Kardashian and I are equally proportioned.   She’s 5’2 and I’m a daunting 5’7, but my measurements are 2″ bigger than hers all around.  Weird.  Gotta love the butt!

I need to go surfing.  I dreamt last night of the perfect waves.  The water temp is still too cold for my wetsuit.

By eating small portions of basically anything I want + using self-control in terms of chocolate, I am losing weight.  I’ve lost 3 pounds this month.

My new favorite desert?  OMG.  Banana + chocolate syrup + whipped cream.  It’s like a banana split without the ice cream and I am in love!  The past few nights at work have been long (14 hours) and I reward myself once I get home with this banana split.  Okay, 2 of them.  But it was 3 am, I was hungry, and it was better than drinking half a bottle of wine.  Or rum.  Bananas are about 100 calories, and the whipped cream and chocolate syrup are so low, it’s not worth counting.

My nieces are a bad influence on me.  Now when I’m home alone, I find myself watching the Disney channel.  Yoga + Disney shows are fun.

Making Nutella crepes tonight, so I have a rather large jar on my kitchen counter.  I had to do the “quality control” upon unpacking it from my bag — and now I’m a little sick.  I think I just took in a day’s worth of calories.  Whew, that stuff is rich, but it tastes so darn good.  I don’t keep it in the house because it will disappear.

So yeah….that’s about it.

 

 

 

Time being of the essence

I took yet another roadtrip (!) the other day, this time to Charlotte, to see off a dear college buddy of mine who will spend the next 6 months as a missionary in the African jungle working with school children.  Her name is Alice.

We went to our favorite traditional restaurant from our Illinoisan homeland: Steak n Shake.  I ate way more than I should have, but it was worth it.  We caught up with each other’s lives and the lives of mutual friends, and of course, talked about her upcoming trip of a lifetime.  Our conversation quickly drifted to the future.

Where would we be in 6 months?

This trip is going to change and challenge Alice in many ways I’m sure we can’t even fathom at this point in time.

Where will I be in 6 months?  How will I be changed and challenged?

One of my biggest issues is control and fear of the future.  I’m so much better if I know.  I don’t care if it’s good or bad, I just want to know what lies ahead.  I know it’s a God thing, it is totally up to Him and I have to let go and allow His plan to unfold.

I always worry the Lord will not give me what I want (in terms of abstract, not physical/monetary means), that He’ll give me a vase of fake flowers instead of one beautiful live rose – I certainly don’t deserve it.  As I look back at my life, His provision has always left me satisfied.

Our pastor says the Lord will give us everything we need to fulfill His plan for our lives.  And while I won’t be battling malaria or bugs as big as my head, I will have things here to enliven me.  What will they be?

After all, time is of the essence.