December 31, 2011

things that go boom and things that go bust

New Year's Eve in Alaska brought 3 things:
1. Great food
2. Games with good friends
3. Going downtown at midnight to stand outside in the freezing cold to watch the fireworks!

Fireworks on New Year's Eve in Alaska?
Yes, because it doesn't get dark in Alaska in the summer, so pyrotechnics on July 4th just don't fly. Well, they may fly, but you can't see 'em!

Too bad the guy who built the NEVER-used Drive-In Theater in Anchorage didn't think about that important little fact before he invested thousands of dollars: Alaskan summers bring 24-hour daylight, so when it's warm enough to go to the drive-in, you can't see the screen, and when it's dark enough to see the screen, it's way too frigid to sit outside in your car.

Just a fun little reminder that, as you make resolutions and set goals for 2012, be sure you think through the ways you plan to accomplish your goals.

Happy New Year.

the end of 365

So my "365 Project" turned out to be way too easy. I got rid of over 500 items in 2011 - none of which I miss - except maybe Kevin. I plan to continue this project for another year...minimalism here I come!

187 articles of clothing
2 "mother of the bride" outfits
12 pairs of shoes
4 votives
36 votive candles
3 styrofoam balls
1 old briefcase
2 binders
1 decorative plate
1 bag of silk flowers
1 decorative lantern
1 wooden letter "R"
6 Rubbermaid containers
2 quilts
3 baby blankets
26 pairs of earrings
8 necklaces
12 placemats
1 vanity case
4 Spaghetti Factory glasses
26 Christmas ornaments
13 Christmas decorations
4 kitchen towels
2 aluminum pans
1 divided party platter
1 kitchen timer
1 small mixing bowl
1 funnel
5 candles
6 green glass bottles
1 decorative greenery
3 purses
1 scrapbooker's drink holder
2 leaf prints
1 box of stamping up items
7 stuffed animals
2 sets of twin sheets
1 set of queen sheets
1 treadmill
14 toys
10 videos
48 books (which I forgot to photograph)
8 mugs
1 zebra backpack
3 puzzles
17 cds
22 computer games
2 scarf/earmuff/glove sets
1 tv antenna
1 old camcorder
2 umbrellas
1 erector set
2 soap dispensers
9 decorative balls
3 bath towels
1 large vase
1 lap desk
3 baskets
...and numerous cardboard boxes :)

December 19, 2011

socks & bonds

My friend Debbie (who lives in Great Britain) says I should blog about: Chocolate, Love, Sex and Money. So here goes: Chocolate has never disappointed me. EV.ER. The End.

(Unless you count the time Mom burned a batch of chocolate pudding and it tasted like ashes and dirt, but that was really more Mom disappointing me than the chocolate). The End Again.

My friend Bernie (who lives in British Columbia, which is nowhere NEAR Great Britain, despite its name) says I should blog about: Toeless Socks. Now back in my marching band days, we woodwinds cut our gloves to make them fingerless to enable us to play, so why not toeless socks to enable my toes to play? If you know me at ALL, you know my claustrophobic feet HATE socks. So, as I'm sitting here contemplating the joy of free toes (not to be confused with Fritos, which are great with chili and onions), I googled "toeless socks". OH MY GOODNESS! They exist! Not only do they exist, but there is a myriad of manufacturers and a plethora of patterns! DID YOU KNOW THIS??? If you did, you are now on my "You OWE me one!" list for allowing my toes to sweat and suffer in silence all these years.

This blog is over. I have to go make a call now.

"Hello, Sockdreams? I NEED to place an order..."

December 11, 2011

church is not a place

The weird and the broken. That's what we jokingly call ourselves. The church of the weird and the broken. I could not love a group of people more than I love this group I call my "church family". For the last two years I have been one of the 'broken'. I have struggled deeply in my relationship with God. There, I said it out loud. Not struggled with believing IN Him, mind you, just BELIEVING Him. I have continued to pray every day, though I quit praying for myself, because I reached the point where I don't think He listens to me or cares. I know in my head this isn't true, but I can't convince my heart otherwise. Despite that, I'm not sure what I would do without these people in my life ... they make me better.

I grew up with a very legalistic view of church. "Going to church" was a requirement. "Being good". "Earning salvation" by being in a perfect church filled with fake people who pretended to be perfect as well. We sat in our pristine buildings, based our belief system on a handful of verses taken out of context, and patted ourselves on the back for being God's favorites. If only everyone else would open their eyes and see "the right way" as we saw it...

It took a while for that twisted view to morph into something much different, for me and for the church I call my family. We stopped seeing the Bible as an instruction manual, and started reading it as the story of God's presence in the lives of His people. We gave up pretending to be perfect, and are much more open with our flaws, our struggles, our humanity. We stopped sitting in a building up on a hill waiting for the world to come to us to find God, and have become a group of people who get outside our four walls and try to BE Jesus to the people around us.

We also happen to love each other. And pray for each other. And annoy each other. And laugh with each other. And cry with each other. And hurt each other's feelings. And forgive each other. And take care of each other. It's a perfect imperfect church.

As I work through my own junk and struggle to find hope again, I'm blessed to have this group of weird and broken people in my life every week.

December 07, 2011

good luck will rub off when i shakes 'ands wif you

She sat on the back row of the bleachers wearing a brown plaid A-line jumper and ribbed white turtleneck, swinging her feet back and forth and wondering why they were HERE on this show today instead of in Kindergarten melting leaves & crayon bits in-between pieces wax paper, or dancing around the room to "Chim Chim Cheree" like they'd done yesterday. "Who is Captain Spaceman anyway?" she wondered to herself, looking at all the rows of lights hanging from the high ceiling of the television studio. Oh, well, at least the man in the giant blue leotard says our time is almost up, he just needs to draw a name for the prize. Sure, a prize would be nice, but not if she had to walk down in front of everybody to get it. No thanks. Her little wallflower self would rather just sit here watching her feet swing than be made a spectacle of, thank you very much. What did he say? The giveaway is a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea game? Icky Yucky Ooky. She may only be five years old, but she's smart enough to know that Jules Verne, and for that matter, all Science Fiction stuff is for boys. And she did NOT want boy stuff. Surely they wouldn't call out a girl's name for a boy's toy. If they did, it would be like that awkward moment when the boy in front of you passes gas and then looks at you so everybody else will think it WAS you. No thank you very much. That would be mortifying. But she told herself there was nothing to worry about. Only a 1 in 30 chance even if they DID include the girls, "Which they wouldn't," she thought just as they announced ... HER name. WHAT? NOOOOO!

And that, boys and girls, was the beginning of my good fortune. I have gone on to win tickets and gift certificates to nice restaurants and books and videos and essay competitions and savings bonds and a vhs player and $200 in a photo contest and numerous cds and a weekend trip to Memphis, and if you have EVER been to a "sales party" with me, be it Pampered Chef or Creative Memories or Tupperware or whatever, you know my name is ALWAYS the one that gets drawn for the door prize. Always.

Some decades later, only a few petals remain from my wallflower days. I have since learned to love Jules Verne and the SyFy channel offerings, no thanks to that stupid boy board game. And since I just won a new flatscreen tv, I guess my lucky streak still holds.

*The little dude next to me was my first "boyfriend" despite the ugly plaid shirt and buzz cut. He gave me a bracelet. Gotta love a guy who gives you jewelry. And it's quite possible the girl next to me is Cindy Brady. Just sayin'.

December 03, 2011

biodegradable by december

No Sugar November has come and gone with only a nibble of Mom's Italian Cream Cake, one sweet roll ('cause I forgot), a cookie (because they were baked for me by some new friends when I took them dinner, and I couldn't be rude), and a peppermint mocha in the middle of a 38-hour labor experience. Not perfect, but really not bad, all things considering.

December kicks off my switch from mild recycler to Serious Green Freak. Or maybe I'm just returning to my Earth Mother roots from the late 80's when I ate all organic and gave birth at home and climbed a lot of stairs. (The stairs don't really have anything to do with being "earthy", we just happened to live in a 3-story condo in Alaska at the time.) But really, my only goal for December is to limit my "throw-away" garbage to one bag per week. I have recycle containers for plastics, glass, aluminum (which I would love to eliminate altogether), and of course, paper and cardboard. I even bought a shredder to make the process easier.

Today I spent the day being Squeegie Beckenheim and successfully unsubscribing from about two dozen catalogs that serve no purpose but to kill 10 minutes of my day every day as I sort through the mail and toss the junk.

It's not that I don't like the catalogs, it's just that I can shop online for all the same things. Besides, my arms aren't long enough to catalog shop anymore.

December 02, 2011

christmas movie quiz!

A little Christmas movie-quotes game! To make this more fun for everybody, PLEASE comment, BUT only answer ONE - doesn't matter which one! (So your comment would look something like this: #12 - White Christmas. No, there is no #12 and as you may have guessed, "White Christmas" is NOT one of the answers.) No googling (on your honor!).

Okay, here we go!

1. "Toys are hereby declared illegal, immoral, unlawful AND anyone found with a toy in his possession will be placed under arrest and thrown in the dungeon."

2. "Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my father was an Oldsmobile man."

3. "There are more important things than comfort: Self Respect!"

4. "You call this a happy family? Who do we have to have all these kids?"

5. "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..."

6. "If you're really Santa Claus, you can get it for me. And if you can't, you're only a nice man with a white beard like mother says."

7. "Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer? How is your wife? I've been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want. Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible."

8. "I love smiling. Smiling's my favorite!"

9. "He got stuck only once for a minute or two, then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue."

10. "Say, isn't it true that French babes don't shave their pits?"

Alrighty, choose your quote and then leave a comment with the name of the corresponding Christmas movie. And for bonus points, name my two personal favorite movies from this list!