Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Six-Year Workaversary, and an Unexpected Gift

Six years ago today ("today" being December 30th), I was asking myself how on earth I had gotten myself into a position where I had no money, no job, no will to get dressed, and apparently no desire to bathe. I was depressed, living off my credit cards, and living on Doritos (and not in a good way).

Six years ago today, I swallowed my pride and accepted a job at $7 an hour, making sandwiches at a restaurant 3 blocks away from my home, where I stopped wearing my rings and started wearing t-shirts and tennis shoes with marinara stains on them (they didn't start that way).

Six years ago today, I began the process that kicked me out of my depression and began the slow (agonizingly slow) trek to fiscal solvency. Yes, I'm still only about halfway up the mountain, but I'm on my way.

Between six years ago and today, I got a promotion to a training position (still hourly, but I got to travel and I got per diem), I opened 19 stores, I developed Plantar Fasciitis, I got a job in the Payroll Department (despite my art degree) and I got a promotion within that department. Between six years ago and today I moved to a one-bedroom apartment from a studio, I still flirt with depression but it's no longer a love affair, and when I subsist on Doritos usually it's merely because I enjoy them.

And today, on the six-year anniversary of being once again employed, I got an unexpected gift... a free ticket to see The Addams Family in its pre-Broadway stay at the Oriental Theater in Chicago. I do not take joy in the fact that K's friend had to cancel her trip to visit him for the New Year at the last minute. But it was such a huge blessing to get an email saying "Do you want to go see The Addams Family tonight? I've got an extra ticket." Because K never makes me pay when we go out for lunch, and I knew he wouldn't make me pay for the ticket, and he certainly didn't make me pay for dinner.

I don't think you will ever understand how much I wish we could be attracted to each other.

But as someone who doesn't have the money (or the credit) to go to New York to see all the shows, I was awestruck to be breathing the same air as Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth.


I mean, they're like famous! Ok, I've been to the theatre before. I saw Joseph twice in High School back when Donny Osmond was just dancing for the Pharoah's wife and not all of America.


I saw Wicked two years ago.


And I finally saw Phantom of the Opera last Christmas.


I even saw Miss Saigon in London.


But that was forever ago. This was tonight. This was Nathan and Bebe. They've been in movies and on Frasier! (one of them anyway.) And besides, it was my workaversary present.

I started my day with trepidation, wondering if my boss would even remember or if I would have to remind her like I did last year (she remembered, eventually). And amidst my plans for NYE going down the crapper, I was given this opportunity to see a show that lauds the ideals of love, foreplay (boy, does it) and above all, being true to oneself.

If that wasn't a great way to wrap up my year, I don't know what is.

So happy workaversary to me, and stay tuned because Fictionary Friday will either take the week off or be secondary to my Last Year/This Year Letter.

See you next year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living."

~Amanda Bradley~

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Harder to Pull an All-Nighter When You're 30.

Ok, to be honest, I have pulled more all-nighters since college than I did while I was at college. Although I was quite the night-owl (my first semester I had my first class at 1:30pm three days a week so I generally went to bed around 4am) I was also a very strong supporter of sleep. So there were only a couple of times when I would stay up all night, walk bleary-eyed to a class to hand in a paper, and shuffle back to my bed.

But to actually stay up more than 30 hours... I think that's only ever happened after college. And besides an accidental trans-continental all-nighter (I was so excited for Europe I didn't sleep a wink) I think most of mine have, sadly, been work related. And of course that's why I've not been able to melt into bed a mere 25 hours after getting up last. Because you have to get through the whole next day--or at least until they have pity on you and let you go, usually around noon.

My first ever all-nighter was when I worked at an ad agency. I had been tasked with making multi-layered sheets to overlay on a map, and the sheets would highlight specific towns in Illinois. Great in theory, until I realized that in order to get the shapes of the towns, I would have to create separate shapes for each of them. Yes, I had to draw over each line. Twice. The ironic thing is I'd had a migraine earlier that day. Besides a quick run to the salad bar at the grocery store down the street, I'd spent the rest of the day curled up on my chair, wearing sunglasses against the glow of my computer screen, and keening softly (me, not the computer).

And then, suddently I got a second wind around 8pm, and pushed through to the next day. This was at a place where you had to write your name and the times you came in and out for the day, so it was super-fun trudging down in my yesterday clothes and writing "Still Here." I did manage to impress my boss though, which was lovely, and he let me go home as soon as the project was picked up at noon.

Lately I've had to pull work all-nighters about twice a year. I pull hours clocked in by associates in our stores, and fun as that sounds I won't tell you the details on how it all works. Suffice it to say, there are times when we have a shortened schedule (if you're getting paid this week on Thursday instead of Friday, you might want to thank your Payroll department 'cause they're probably on a shortened schedule too).  And during those times, we have 5 hours to do what normally takes us about 13. So we have to pull hours from the store as soon as possible so we can process the insanely-interesting algorithm that creates overtime pay.

Problem is, you can't pull hours from the store until everyone's done working for the night on Sunday. Because we're a restaurant. And we're open (some of them) on Sunday.

I hope I don't sound super bitter here though--I realized that we really only had two options if we were going to keep to our shortened schedule deadlines. Option #1: I could get to work at 4am, fully dressed yet full of sleep, eye crusties, and a desire to do anything but work methodically and with excellence. OR... Option #2: I could pull the hours at midnight, potentially doze for about 2 hours, then get in to the office at a more reasonable hour. Meanwhile, I can be wearing my pjs and watching movies while stuff processes.

Which one would you choose? (Yeah ok you morning people, you can just enjoy your crazy over there, ok? The rest of us will be wearing our pjs.)

The only wrinkle in the plan is when A) I bring home work to do while stuff processes, which can add time, and B) I don't actually get to have a nap beforehand because, even though I only got 5 hours of sleep Saturday night, I'm just not tired. Or C) I realize that I'm so very exhausted that if I even close my eyes for a minute I will end up sleeping through the night just like Julie did in Julie & Julia, and I will ruin my boeuf bourguinon. Or everyone's paychecks.

Yesterday was a type C sort of day. I got up officially at 9am although I was awake earlier. But we'll call it 9am. We went to church, my sister and I went through a pile of old games and puzzles my mom is trying to sort out, we watched Harry Potter #6 and then we came into the city to drive me home and go to dinner as a family. And then they all stayed so we could finish watching The Big Bang Theory Season 1, which I had received for Christmas and then forced them to watch since no one in my family had ever seen it. Heretics.

Anywhoo, that got me to 11pm, at which point a friend of mine was online so we chatted till 12:30 when I realized I had to actually start working. And work I did, until 7am. Then I took a shower and went to work. And ok, when I say I did not take any naps on Monday, I do admit that I did quite a few long blinks--you know, the kind of blink that actually predicates a mini-dream until you jerk your head up, wipe off the drool, and pray to God that you hadn't been talking out loud or snoring.

My boss let me leave at 1pm, bless her. And of course the very moment I was off the clock I was wide awake and chatty, and we talked for a good 15 minutes before I realized that I should really leave. And then I talked to the receptionist for a good few minutes... and then I had lunch, and then, finally at 3pm I came home, and called my bff. And we talked until dinner time, and then I put on a movie and made an attempt at an adapted recipe of pumpkin mousse pie (I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but then at this point I'm pretty impressed that I'm still able to string words together). And now, suddenly, it's 8:40pm. Which means that, once I finish this post and leap lurch from my chair to get into bed, I will have been awake for a full 36 hours. Oh. My. Goodness.

The trick really is to stay up though. If I had fallen asleep when I got home from work, I'd have awakened at 8pm in a pitch-dark apartment, freaked out that it was actually Tuesday morning and have a heart attack before I realized what time and day it really was... and then I'd be wide awake until 3am and get to work exhausted the next day.

My preferred method, however, is to push through the day and go to bed at 9pm, or whatever time will give you a solid 9-10 hours of sleep. This really will help balance it out. Or at least I hope so, becuase I do not need another exhausted day at work.

That being said, it's just about my bedtime. If you've actually made it to the end of this post, please leave a comment--how do you get through that all-nighter, and did you do more of them in college, or do you suddenly find yourself doing them now?

See ya on the flip side... hopefully. (Good thing I've already pre-set my Wit & Wisdom Wednesday post) :D

My New Baby is Here!!!

And if you've been reading my blogs somewhat regularly, you already know that I'm either talking about something other than a human child, or something magical happened over Christmas. (There's a very important factor to producing babies, that I am not currently doing.)

But what I DID get is the present I asked for... a new Kensington Trackball Mouse with Scroll Ring. I bought a trackball in college when I got Tendonitis, and it was phenominal (the trackball, not the Tendonitis). Nine years later, after using it through college and 3 jobs, it broke, and I had to order a new one. It was silver and sleek and I love it. But when I developed Carpal Tunnel in November, I went looking to see if they had any updated versions for less than $60, and that's when I saw her:

Isn't she beautiful? I haven't officially named her yet but for some reason I'm thinking Sheila. The greatest thing about her though is that nobbly ring around the blue ball--that's the scroll ring. It takes the place of the scroll wheel that exists on most "normal" mice, and that I've been sorely missing for the last few years.

But there is something else that's pretty cool... an attachment I didn't even know I was gonna get!


You just slide on this little extra piece, and voila, even MORE wrist protection! It's like this thing was made just for me. Hooray for Shelia.

**Just to be clear, Kensington has no idea I'm writing this. I wouldn't turn down a gift from them because I love their products, but really I'm just telling you all about Shelia because I'm so happy to have my new trackball mouse, no other reason.**

Happy Monday, all, and here's to Shelia, and to good wrist health! :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fictionary Friday - Foreclosure

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Good. Here we go:
Dictionary Definition:
Foreclose v. to deprive (a mortgagor or pledgor) of the right to redeem his or her property, esp. on failure to make payment on a mortgage when due, ownership of property then passing to the mortgagee.

Fictionary Definition:
Foreclose v. to tell people in your bar or restaurant that the place is closing half an hour before it actually does, in order to start cleaning earlier.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"Try to maintain the holiday spirit and remember the ultimate purpose of the holiday isn't the food, it's being with family and friends."

~Anita F. Fernander~

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My, How Time Flies...

My sister, the Gymnast, graduated from college yesterday. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. I mean, I remember changing her diapers. Of course I was only 7 at the time, and we used cloth diapers and pins. Sorry about sticking you with the pins all the time, Kathy. We're cool though, right?

But yeah, look at her, she's a graduate now:



It's really just crazy. I can't believe it's been 4 years (well, 4.5) since she graduated from high school. I don't know how on earth I'm going to deal with this when it's my own kids!

But here's more pictures. I won't bore you with pictures of the ceremony. I don't know what it is about gymnasiums anyway, you just can't get a good shot without a $3000 camera. Stupid lighting.


Here's Kathy and the 'rents.



And here's Kathy and her boyfriend, Fiona. I mean Kelly. Good strong Irish name.



And here's me, the Gymnast, and the Drama Queen.

What a great day it was. I'm really insanely proud of my sister. But I have to say that the best--the absolute best part of the entire ceremony was when they sang the school's alma mater. My mom got all teary-eyed, because it's her college's tune... and I almost peed myself trying not to laugh because it's totally the song from Dirty Dancing. Like practically note-for-note. So while everyone was singing nice strong words about the college, this is all I could think of:


Absolutely hysterical.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are You Single??? Do You Know Anyone Who Is?


Hi. My name is Janet. I am 30 years old and single. I am ok with that (mostly). I love to blog. I love to read YOUR blogs. I do not craft very much but I do enjoy a good crafting post. I don't cook. I really wonder how I manage not to die of starvation, and then I remember--I pay other people to cook for me. I love babies, but I have none of my own. I love the idea of a husband but again, not currently present in my life.

What I do have is a need, a really huge need, I mean really honestly to the core of me NEED... for some single bloggers to follow, and who would hopefully follow me.

Why? Because as much as I will love looking back on your breastfeeding posts when I have rugrats, I don't have any need for them right now. I'm not trying to offend, just be honest with where I am. What I would love to read is some posts by women who work all day, then go home to their cat/dog/goldfish/hampster/bottle of Merlot and watch The Big Bang Theory. Ok, if you have a boyfriend that's fine, because God-willing I'll be posting about boyfriend issues again at some point. But you get what I'm trying to say, right?

I mean seriously, are you out there? I've connected with a couple of you, I know. But the world is too big for there to not be more than 3 of us.

But you married peeps can do me a favor too... do you have any single blogger friends? Please send them my way! I know, it sounds like I'm asking for you to hook me up with your guy friends, doesn't it? (Well, that is partly why I put the photo up. Any hot single guys in their 30s, come to mama) But really, I'm just looking to expand my network of bloggy friends, and I'm realizing that single women are not a big enough percentage of them.

So please help a sista out, would ya? :)

Fictionary Friday - Devoted

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Good. Here we go:

Dictionary Definition:
Devoted adj. Set apart for or applied entirely to a specific purpose, use, or cause.

Fictionary Definition:
Devoted adj. Describing the people of a country after it changes from a democracy to a dictatorship.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Don't Decorate My House, I Decorate Julie's

So I love Christmas. I love Christmas decorations. I do not, however, put up Christmas decorations. Mostly it's because I'm single, I don't really have many people come over, my cat would get into everything, and I've been living at the office for the last month.

I do, however, belong to an organization that has a yearly Christmas gift exchange. It used to be just an ornament exchange until a few ladies pointed out that everyone now owns about 30 extra ornaments, and couldn't we just do Christmas "things?"

So the way the game works is that you buy a Christmas Thing for no more than $10, you wrap it and put it under the tree at the party, and everyone draws a number. You probably know how it works, but I'll say it anyway: The first person opens a present. Whoever has number two can either open a new present, or steal the present that #1 opened. If they steal, the first person opens a new present. Then person #3 goes, and they can either steal, or open a new one. And on and on it goes, until everyone is settled with a opened gift. Now, the way my ladies do it is each present can only be stolen so many times before it's out. Otherwise we'd be there until midnight. It used to be on the 3rd steal, but we reduced it down to the second steal a year or two ago. Seriously, there's like 40 ladies fighting over gifts!!

And I do mean fighting. It can get pretty nasty. I practically had my heart broken the first year when someone stole a beautiful angel ornament from me. So now I don't focus quite so much on ending up with a great present as I put time and energy into having a gift that everyone wants and fights over. This takes two tacks: First: A good present, and Second: Strategic wrapping.

I'm gonna start with the wrapping so you can get your hints now: if you have an oblong box (like a shoebox) don't wrap it the normal way, with the lid on the top. Instead, flip it on one end, wrap it, and put a bow on the "new" top. Nothing gets people's attention like a tall box. Or, do what I did this year and go for understatement: the only bag I had that fit the present was a brown-paper handle bag. Very dull. But instead of trying to decorate it, I just wrote on it with a Sharpie: Side 1 said "Pick Me. Don't let the pretty bags have all the fun." and side 2 said "I've heard the best presents come in unassuming packaging. Care to test that theory?"

Both of those ideas got my gift opened in the top 10. :)

And for the present, well I'm lucky because I work at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and they have a sample sale twice a year where you can get a whole lot of ornaments and decorations for great deals like "half-off of wholesale." Yessirreebob, it's fantastic. So I've ended up with $40 gifts that I paid at most $12 for. And some of them may have been worth even more.

But the really funny thing about this whole deal is the fact that in the last 5 years, 4 of my gifts have gone to the same person: Julie.

I kid you not. The first year I made a star ornament that she ended up with. I must say I'm quite happy that it's in such good shape--I really had no idea how long it would hold up.


Then the next year I brought in a wreath made of pinecones. This was the year I started buying stuff at the sample sale. There's a good chance it would have retailed for $50-60:



It was really just coincidence that Julie ended up with both of my gifts at this point. I believe the ornament was literally the last gift opened (the reason I started paying more attention to wrapping). I don't believe Julie knew I had brought the pine cones.

Then there was one year when I bought a tea mug and plate set. Julie did not win that. It was an off year.

But then, she ended up with the jingle-bell wreath. There is a good chance I pointed it out to her, just to see if she would start getting my gifts again... and she did. :)



But this year is the one that kills me. Because I got there before she did, I didn't sit close to her at all, I said nothing... and before I knew it, my lantern was in her hands on the final steal.



How funny is that? I mean, really. there are 40 women at each of these parties. And Julie got my present 4 out of 5 years. Of course, she does know that she's getting a good deal with my gifts, so perhaps she keeps her eyes open for something that looks like it costs more than $10.

Either way, I find it quite humorous that, while I don't decorate my house at all, I have had quite a hand in decorating Julie's.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"It is important that you recognize your progress and take pride in your accomplishments... The recognition and support of those around you is nurturing."

~Rosemarie Rossetti~

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fictionary Friday - Parodies

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Here we go:


Dictionary Definition:
Parodies n. humorous or satirical imitations of a serious piece of literature or writing, a person, or an event.
 
Fictionary Definition:
Parodies n. a reference to the bosom of a well-endowed woman. eg "Look at the parodies on that hottie!"

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."

~Maria Robinson~

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy SITSmas!

Happy SITSmas, everyone!!! If you're one of the few people who found me in other ways than The Secret is in The Sauce, click on that link <--- and you'll see what I'm talking about.

If you are a fellow SITSta, welcome!!! I decided I'd take this opportunity to introduce myself a little bit since we probably don't know each other very well.

This blog isn't full of cute Christmas crafts and you will probably never see photos of my apartment--unless I actually manage to clean it. I may--may--post a recipe or two but that will be an amazing day when I do, because I don't really cook. But what I DO love is finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. I believe that God created the earth and everything on it (including us) and that makes everything extraordinary. So you can find beauty in the darkness, joy in sorrow, and salvation in heartbreak. You really can.

So, here's some info on me:

This is me. Hi.

I work in the HR/Payroll department for Potbelly, a restaurant that's mainly in the Chicagoland area, but we're in about 13 other states as well, and we keep getting bigger! I love the company, it's full of wonderful people, it's a great concept, and I've really learned a lot. I very much hope that I can continue to advance my career in the company, because I do love it. I don't blog about work much though, because I like to keep my passion for writing separate from my "day job."

I also sell Mary Kay skin care and cosmetics. Love the stuff. If you've never tried it you really must. If Chicago isn't close enough to where you are, find a person in your area.

Other than that, I write, I take Zumba, and I try to sleep. Emphasis on try. Being a night owl and having a day job is not easy.

Oh, and I forgot to introduce the man in my life:


This is Mau-be.

Mau-be is Vietnemese for Tiger. He's the man in my house until I meet someone human. But I love him to pieces.

So I know I'm supposed to tell you all about what my 2009 has been like, and what I want to do/be in 2010, but honestly... I'm gonna be late for work if I write any more. So I'm gonna post this as-is, and hopefully get back to it later today. But if not here's the thing... want to learn more about me and see how 2010 works itself out? Just give me a follow. Don't worry, I really do my best to write interesting posts. :)

So Merry Christmas everyone, and have an Extraordinary Day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

So... How Did it Go?

Alrighty, I'm sure you've been waiting eagerly to see how my song went... and thank you all for the supportive words and prayers, I really really appreciate it!

My communion song was O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I sang the first two verses in Latin, then did three verses in English. I did the three verses that are in the hymnal I own... there are many many verses. I'm quite proud of myself for being able to figure out (thanks to the internet) which Latin verse was which, and then be able to pronouce it somewhat well (of course it hasn't been a spoken language in so long it doesn't really matter how I pronounced it).

But I have to say: in the long run the whole event was a comedy of errors... but the great thing about a comedy is that's the one that ends well.

I prayed two things before I sang: God, despite whatever happens and however it sounds, please minister to people. And God, please let it be beautiful.

So the practice on Saturday was fine after I broke down in tears because someone hadn't realized I couldn't find my key while they were noodling around on the guitar. I didn't get anything recorded like I had asked because the sound guy didn't think I wanted a recording while we were practicing. But ok, whatever, I knew that Sunday would be great after the pianist, percussionist and I had finally worked it all out.

And then Sunday the percussionist called in sick. And my pianist was sick, although thank God she was there. And she'd added a trill to the piano part that is a more conventional sounding trill than I wanted, and all of a sudden I lost how I had sung it for the last 2 weeks when I practiced it, and we didn't have it recorded to listen to. And we had to have a new percussionist, so we only actually sang through the song once, and my pianist forgot to come in on the chorus.

And I haven't gotten more than 5 hours of sleep a night in a good week.

And halfway through worship I realized I was losing my voice. I stopped singing, and drank a lot of water, but I could feel my throat hurting. (Unfortunately I forgot my training or I would've drank some really hot water.)

So it's finally time for the song, and thank goodness the pastor spoke for a good 8 minutes before we started to sing, because it took that long for my heart to slow down. This was my church family, you'd think I wouldn't be so nervous! But I was. I kept drinking more water and my mouth was dry as a bone.

But then the song started. The percussionist came in on time. I hit the right key. The pianist came in on the choruses with perfect harmony, and my voice actually sounded richer and more full than it had any other time. And even though the trills weren't what I wanted, they weren't horrible.

And my right hand was shaking so much holding the mic (I'd practiced that way) that I had to hold it with both hands.

And then I felt it... the phlem. I lost about half a line. Thank God I had a pause built in at the end of each line, because I spent about 5 of those pauses coughing into my shoulder before I dislodged it!

But you know what? I got through it. I sang it start to finish. They even applauded, and someone said Amen. And a few people came up to me afterward and told me that it was lovely, that it was really great.

And both of the pastors told me it was beautiful. And one of the girls in my Bible study said that all she could think of when she saw me singing was that I was beautiful, that I looked like a cameo. And I think, I hope, that some people were touched. Because above all this song was a call and response: the People eagerly yearning for their Messiah to save them, and the Angels singing down to them "he is coming!"

So all in all, despite everything that happened, I'm pretty sure it ministered to people. And, as I've been told, it was beautiful.

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Singing at Church Sunday: Rather Nervous!!!






The Worship Ministry at my church includes all vocalists, musicians, sound and A/V team members. As such, I have been on the worship team for a few years.

But all of that has been at the back of the church in the sound booth, sitting behind a computer.

On Sunday, I'm going to be at the front of the church behind a microphone, with about 75 pairs of eyes on me. Yikes!!!

Technically, I'm only singing one song, the communion song.

Somehow that's not making me feel much better. Why? Because even though people will be filing down the aisles and gettig their communion and praying and stuff, still it's just going to be me and the backup vocalist up there! And yeah, she's the backup. Wow. I sooo can't believe I'm actually leading a song. I mean really, that's what I'm doing. I'm leading people in worship for this one song, the song during which people are communing with God before they take communion.

I am not making myself feel any less nervous.

Part of my nervousness is that I've not led a song before, haven't stood and said ok, this is how I want the keys and percussion to sound, this is the key I want to sing it in, etc. And of course, I don't really know. I mean, I can hear it in my head, but it comes out differently when I actually sing it. And since I don't play piano and can't tap out the rhythm I want to hear while I sing without messing myself up, I'm gonna be going into practice today feeling somewhat unprepared.

I know, I know, it'll be ok. But please send prayers and happy thoughts my way as you read this, would you?

Because here's the thing. I go to a church that does modern worship songs. And I love it. But a few people think that "Christmas Carols" are too worn out, too cliché to be used on Sunday morning.

I think these people should be wrapped in tissue paper until they submit are missing something very important, however, and this is very specifically why I have chosen O Come O Come, Emmanuel as my song. Not only because it's a hymnal song (written originally in Latin no less) but it's an Advent song, a song for the coming of Christ.

When these songs were written, they were modern worship songs! They were full of passion and joy and expectation, and celebration. This is the birth of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, our Savior, our Messiah, the One who died and went to HELL for 3 days so that we would never ever ever ever have to experience one second apart from God.

Hello!!! It came upon a midnight clear, on a silent night: angels we have heard on high, singing o come, o come Emmanuel, Gloria in Exelsius Deo!

Forget the fact that people all over the world sing these songs just because everyone sings them. Listen to the heart behind them, imagine the joy, the exultation, the triumphant celebration in Heaven when Jesus God came down onto the earth to restore humanity to Himself. And He came as one of us, to be the humanity we should aspire to become; to be sin replacing our sin, to be the sacrifce we should be forced to give.

And when you sing these words, sing them from your heart. Sing them to your Savior, and sing them to yourself, and this time really listen to what it is you're saying. Because after all, aren't we all waiting for our Salvation to be lived out? Don't we all ardently desire God to come among us, and don't we rejoice when He does?

O come, o come Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel.
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Has come to thee, o Israel.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fictionary Friday - Immutable

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Here we go:

Dictionary Version:
Immutable: adj. Not subject or susceptible to change

Fictionary Version:
Immutable: adj. Someone you can't get to shut up

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Should Give My Exhaustion a Name

I have been staying awake far, far, far too late for someone who has a day job. But the problem is, I love being up late. I'm a night owl. I read in O magazine somewhere that there truly is a difference between the people who are at their "peak" at 9am, and those who are at their peak at 9pm.

Guess which one I am.

So I think I'm going to give my exhaustion a name, since I seem to be living with him now. I think I'll call him Earl. Earl has me so insanely tired I want to take a nap allll the time. He makes my head all fuzzy and makes it hard to concentrate.

Of course, if my exhaustion gets a name, then I think my night-owl-ness should get one too. How about Claude? Claude would not let me get to bed last night. He just kept me up for hours and hours on end. I don't even know why, I could barely focus on anything.At some point I had to just give up and let him run the show.

Did that sound dirty enough for you yet? Because Claude and Earl both found it hysterical.

Well, goodnight, all. Goodnight Claude and Earl. I'll see you in the morning, as soon as I roll over and open my eyes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.
~

"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."

~Jimmy Dean~

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You're So Cute I Want to Hurt You



I have a friend who is a wonderful mother. I mean it. She's got a husband and five boys and still manages to sleep and take care of everyone who comes within 3 miles of her house. She just oozes maternal comfort and love.

And she wants to eat your children.

Have you ever seen a baby that's so cute you have to come up with words to describe how cute they are? And do you find yourself using food and eating-related words? What are we, cannibals? But how often have you said this: "You're so cute I want to eat you!" or "You're so cute I want to squish you!"

Wait a second! Now, I don't have any children, but wouldn't you as a mother kinda freak out if someone walked up to you at the park or--worse yet--church, and said "Your baby is so adorable I want to eat him up?" aaahhh!

So, yeah, we's weird people. Not that I'm any different. I say the same things. Especially when I see my friend Heather's baby (photo above). Except the only difference is I generally take it to the hyperbolic level. You should try it sometime. Next time you see a cute kid, go up to them and say "You're so adorable I want to commit bodily harm upon your person."

Just make sure the mother knows you're kidding. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Be My Guest!!



Well hey there! Welcome to my blog. Please make yourself at home, ladies and gentlemen. Have a look around, and be sure you pick out a bedroom. There's only 20 of you registered here, so the rest of you will have to head over to the check-in counter if you really want to get involved.

Because... I just made my very own Blog Award (see above)!! Hooray!! In honor of my 20th follower (and yes that doesn't seem like much but come on, a few months ago it was 2) I've decided that I want to delve into the wild and wooley world of guest blogging.

So... anyone up for it? I do plan to ask people individually, but I did just give out an award so frankly, I'd just like to see who's interested. If you would like to write a guest post for me, please consider the following:

1. This blog is all about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. So it's fairly general, but typically there's gotta be some sort of takeaway that makes my readers think "Wow, I'm glad I read that." (oh no, now I'm going to wonder if my readers are actually thinking that!)
2. I'm not the most technologically-blessed person so if you have tons of imbedded videos and stuff you have to be willing to help me post it. :)
3. You do have to follow my blog. Come on, you've gotta be at least nominally committed to the idea of reading me before and after I subject my readers to you.
4. Perhaps, just maybe, you would consider inviting me to be a guest blogger on your site?

Well, that's mainly it. If you're interested, please post a comment below and I'll email you. If you're one of those people who hasn't set up your email address in Blogger yet, please check out the tutorial at GoodNCrazy (This is where I learned). I tell ya, if you've ever wondered why no one responds back to you, this is the reason why.

Well ok, that's about it. I hope you like my Be My Guest Award, at least enough to want to earn it. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Six Word Saturday



Up at two, up till two.

Yessirreebob, I got up at 2pm on Friday. Clearly I do not get into Black Friday. But I'll tell ya, I do enjoy a day when I have absolutely no obligations, when I can be in bed for 12 hours (that's right, twelve) and then the only reason I put clothes on was to go pick up dinner (which I ordered, not cooked). :) And yes, I'm still awake at 2:45am. But have you ever tried going to bed after less than 12 hours of being awake? It's odd. Besides, I was busy watching, um, I believe it was my 4th movie of the day.

It was a good day.

But in case you're thinking "oh my goodness this girl is lucky insane trying too hard to rub it in my face clearly single," please understand that from Monday through Wednesday nights I only got a total of 10 hours of sleep. That's in 3 nights: 4, 4, and 2 hours. Yeah, I needed this. To the extent that I had a dizzy spell while at my bff's house on Thanksgiving.

But ok, enough with all that. I just have to say that I am so very Thankful for being at a time in my life when I can actually catch up on my sleep, and watch movies, and get a start on catching up on my emails. It was absolutely fantastic. At some point I will be depressed again that I'm still single, but not today. Today was an Extraordinary Day. And we are all called to enjoy where we are at. At some point in the future I'll look back at today with longing, I'm sure. Of course at some point in the future I look forward to spending 12 hours in bed with a hot man at my side. Because that'll be an Extraordinary Day, too. :)

What's making your day Extraordinary today?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fictionary Friday - Coruscate

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Here we go:

Dictionary Version:
Coruscate: v. to give forth flashes of light; sparkle and glitter

Fictionary Version:
Coruscate: v. the cast of Glee on ice skates

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share."

~W. Clement Stone~

Monday, November 23, 2009

You Make Me Want to Write

Thank you! Thank you all! Really honestly, thank you.

You don't even know why, do you?

Well, here's the deal. I've been a very very part-time blogger the last few weeks. When I realized that you could have comments emailed to you, and then respond to them through your email instead of bouncing around your blog, I was so excited and planned to anwer every one in a timely manner. Um... yeah. If you've commented in the past month, you're probably still waiting for a response, huh? But I really really am planning on it, because I think the Blogosphere just might be the place for me.

Why is that? Two reasons:

First: I have won my very very first award ever. Huzzah!!!


Thank you so much to Ally and Lela! Please check out Two Normal Moms. I absolutely love that they blog together and have been friends for 35+ years (which clearly means they're each not a day over 36, right? just like how my bff and I have been friends for 25 years--since we were in the womb, of course.)

The rule to this award is you have to pass it on to up to 15 blogs that you love. Please forgive me for only highlighting a few, but here they are, in no particular order:

1. Chicago: A Daily Photo Blog Beautiful city, beautiful photography. Brilliant black & whites.
2. Me, Myself & Pie Strangely enough, it's about cooking. But you won't find many sites with such witty stories and phenominal food photography!
3. At The Meadows What makes life great at the meadows? Lots of stuff--you'll always find something awesome there!
4. Nouns Make Verbs One of the first blogs I started following. And one of the most profound.
5. Strangers in a Normal Land Ok it's been a bit since she's written because her boy is sick and she's newly preggers. But she's one of the best out there and hopefully this will lure her back in!!! :)

And Second (Second? What? Oh right, this is the second reason why I'm thankful):

I'm so very thankful to you because you make me want to write. Really, you do. I was finally able to read a few blogs tonight and post a few comments, and those blogs and my comments gave me ideas for posts. And with how busy and crazy I've been over the last few weeks, it's been hard to see the extraordinary behind the film that daily life leaves on everything. Plus, the fact that you're still commenting on my posts even though I'm woefully behind... that makes me want to try harder. Because if you're up to reading, by golly I'll be up to writing.

So thank you, thank you all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fictionary Friday - Deluxe

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Here we go:

Dictionary Version:
Deluxe: adj. of special elegance, sumptuousness, or fineness; high or highest in quality, luxury, etc.

Fictionary Version:
Deluxe: v. the act of ridding yourself of extra luxuries; downsizing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Believe I Just Accomplished Nothing

Don't you hate those days when you have the best of intentions?

I emailed myself a few documents from work today that I planned on finishing up at home. I thought Hey this works, I'll put on a movie, open up the Word doc, compile it with the info from this other doc, and voila! I'll be done with the project before tomorrow.

And then I opened up the document--or rather, I tried to. Turns out the person who made the originals saved them in the new document format. You know, the format that Word 2007 saves in. The only problem is that the version of Word I have at home is not that new. And the Word that most of our stores have isn't the new one either, so I didn't even contemplate the possibility that other people were actually saving documents in the new format.

And now it's one in the morning, and I've got nothing accomplished other than a lack of sleep. Ah, those best-laid plans. They never seem to turn out the way you think they will. Perhaps I'll try flying by the seat of my pants more often. It seems to be just as

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Cat Makes Me Feel Guilty For Having a Life



One of the things I love most about cats is their ability to take care of themselves for extended periods of time. I have left Mau-be home alone for 5 days before (ironically I left him alone because I was dog-sitting for a friend of mine) because all I had to do was leave him lots of food and water and clean litter. I'll admit when I got home the litter was a bit full, and he maybe made a bit of a mess playing with his toys in my laundry pile, but otherwise, he was just fine.

The thing is, no matter how much cats will have you believe otherwise, they are social creatures. My cat is for sure. He's not the kind to jump in my lap whenever I sit down and generally avoids cuddling with me while I watch movies (which is both very annoying and also makes it really special when he does). But he always sleeps next to my pillow, he always sits with me while I eat (ok, I admit he has ulterior motives there) and he always meets me at the door when I come home so I can pick him up and hold him while he purrs.

Sadly, I realized that lately about the only thing I do with him is sleep. So now he's like super-clingy. Always jumps up to the computer desk so he can curl up around my arm (which makes using the mouse very interesting) and is even more belligerant than I am when the alarm goes off enough times for me to actually get out of bed.

I know you moms out there have your own stories about the big googly-eyes you get from your kids when you leave them at the sitters/with your mom/in front of the TV with 8 hours of ho-hos and Veggie Tales. But what about your pets? I write about what I know, and I know my cat is lonely. Do you have lonely pets at home? How do you deal with it? It's not like I can buy him a DS to make up for how often I'm away.  :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

But What do YOU get out of it?

I've got a question for you. Most of you have probably been on the blogosphere for longer than I have--as active participants, anyway. And I'm just wondering--what do you get out of it?

I'm not asking in a critical way. I enjoy blogging because it gives me a venue for writing, a direction for my posts (how can I see life as out of the extraordinary if I'm whining about it all day?) and it allows me to connect to other people--all 17 of you, at least. :)

(by the way, I am terribly behind in all of my emails, including responding to your lovley comments. I will get caught up soon and thank you to the people who are still commenting anyway.)

But I want to hear from YOU today. Especially if you are just stopping by for because of the SITS Saturday Sharefest (and thank you for coming!) What do YOU get out of blogging?

Thanks for sharing!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fictionary Friday - Illiterate

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Here we go:

Dictionary Version:
Illiterate: adj. unable to read or write; uneducated

Fictionary Version:
Illiterate: adj. overly "knowledgeable" on every type of illness that has ever existed, and tends to discuss them over and over and over again with anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby

~

So, what's your version?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Cat Makes Me See From a Different Perspective



Sometimes when my cat does something annoying, I'll lift him in the air above my head. This keeps him out of the way of whatever he was getting into, and gives me a minute to look him in the eye while he can't get away.

Of course, sometimes I think he doesn't really get that he's in trouble, because he'll just start looking around the room like "Oh, so this is what it looks like from up here."

If you have a cat, do you notice them doing that? My cat is also the kind who will lie doen on a chair (or the top of my couch) and flip his head upside down, then stare at me. You know how freaky it is looking at upside down eyes, don't you? I always wondered why he did that, but I really do think my cat just likes seeing the world from different points of view.

This does make sense, however. I just watched Dead Poet's Society again for the first time in forever, and of course the best part is when that one shy kid gets up on his desk and cries out "Oh Captain, my captain!" He was showing that he will see the world differently, not just the way that he's being taught to do.

So let's all take a lesson from my cat today... or from Robin Williams, whichever is easier for you. Stand on a chair today. Walk down a different side of the street. Do something just a little bit different. And look at the world around you. You just might see it in a whole new way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"Failure doesn't mean you are a failure, it just means you haven't succeeded yet."

~Robert H. Schuller~

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Cat Makes Me Speak Gibberish


"Hi baby, how are you? Who's a boo-boo? Who's my boo? Ews ma bu? Eweszebooboo? Ewdebodo? Ewdebodo!"

Um, yeah. How really really bad is it that talking to my cat becomes absolute gibberish after about three sentences? I blame it all on Ace Ventura, who forever ingrained the "who's a boo-boo?" line into my head. But really, it's a bit sad that I don't actually converse with my cat in normal language. It's not like he's going to talk back either way.

Please tell me I'm not the only one. What horribly cutesy thing do you say to your pet or (maybe worse) your baby? Go ahead, we're all in it together.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fictionary Friday! Fortitude

Ok everyone, we're trying out a new "Thing!" I do not like when blogs do a "something day" every single day, but I think two a week isn't that bad, especially because this will help both of us with our writing, and that's a good thing, right?

So here's the rules. I will post a word. It will be a real word. But then I will create a fictionary definition, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Here we go:

Dictionary Version:
Fortitude: n. mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.

Fictionary Version:
Fortitude: n. a superior attitude owing to having built a much better fort than anyone else.

So, what's your version?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Eggnog and Candy Canes

Do you know what I bought at the grocery store a week ago?

Eggnog.

EGGNOG!

A week ago it was still October. It was still pre-Halloween.

Eggnog doesn't last a long time so the grocery store stocked up on it, knowing that people would buy it, apparently to use as a chaser for all the candy.

What?

And the day after Halloween the drug store was full of candy canes.

CANDY CANES!

Now, don't get me wrong. If the church spent as much time gearing up for the celebration of the birth of Christ, maybe I wouldn't mind as much. And yes, someone has been working on planning the big Christmas Eve service. But we haven't started singing Silent Night yet. We're still looking forward to Thanksgiving. Oh right, you know that day when we sit around and eat all day, but with no presents. (As opposed to Christmas, where people give each other gifts and then sit around and eat all day.)

I guess what gets me is the over-commercialization of "the world," and the under-recognition of the church. Does anyone else see this?

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude."

~Ralph Marston~

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Season of Change



Red-gold beauties; a tree on fire.
God speaks as though to Moses: "See me, I am."
I stand in dumb silence;
Tears watering my cheeks I kick off my clogs,
For here is sacred ground.

"I will change you like this tree"
He whispers in my soul's ear.
"For as there is a season to grow,
So there is one to prune,
And reap, and harvest, and lie fallow."

"Now is the season to grow,"
Said the Spirit-Voice inside my head.
"Yet the old leaf must fall to make room for the new.
And some of your leaves, while beauties,
Do not have eternal value."

I cast doubting eyes to the ground;
Resting on a leaf of beauty,
Perfect in size and colour, yet left to rot.
"You would prefer it rot on the branch?" asks the Voice.
"No," I reply. "Make way for the new leaf."


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

... A Bowl Full of Cherries



Life really is like a bowl full of cherries. Or was that a box full of chocolates? Well, to me life is like a bowl full of cherries. Think about a cherry: It's meaty, substantative, firm yet yielding, has a hard center, and can be tart if it hasn't had time to ripen. It takes work to take off the stem and spit out the seed, but when you get a cherry that's perfectly ripe it's like heaven.

I think that's a little bit how I am, you know? I require effort, and I've got a hardness that has to be gotten around, but in general I am sweet and pliable to the person who allows me to reach my potential.

So yeah, cherries.

And if you're wondering about the strawberries, they're just in the picture. But I bet you could come up with something. Why don't you? I do love to get comments. :)

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.

~

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."

~Author Unknown~

Saturday, October 24, 2009

So Why Do You Believe (or not)?

I need your help! Please read below for a survey I'm doing for a class.


Full disclosure: I am a Christian. I love Jesus and he's absolutely gone on me, which is evidenced by the fact that he died to save me from an eternity of separation from God on account of my own sin. But because I accepted that, I'm guaranteed a spot in Heaven, no matter how well or poorly I finish out this life. (Of course, I hope to do well.)

More Full Disclosure: I am taking a 2-year post-graduate level leadership course through my church, and I'm supposed to be talking about Jesus to some people this quarter. Problem is, most of the people I've "met" lately are online.

So here's my plan. I'm going to put a few questions below, and I'd simply love it if you commented, honestly, with your answers. Christian, Buddist, Athiest, Whatever you call yourself, I would be honored if you would take a few minutes to answer this survey. I will answer all comments via email so please make sure you've got your email set up, especially if you have any interest in engaging me in discussion, asking your own questions, giving me feedback on this survey, whatever. If you would like to send your answers directly to me you may email me at janet_nowlin@hotmail.com.



Thank you in advance!
  1. Do you identify with a specific religious type (Christian, Hindu, etc) and if so, which?
  2. What is the very first thing you think when you see the word "Christian?"
  3. Please list both a positive and a negative effect that you believe Christianity has had on the world.
  4. What does it mean to "be a Christian?"
  5. If you are not a Christian, is there a reason why (grew up in another faith, had a bad experience, etc.)?
  6. If you are a Christian, why are you (it's just what you do, you had a personal experience of God, etc)?
  7. How do you know that someone is a Christian?
  8. Have you ever verbally, out loud, accepted Christ into your heart, admitting that you were a sinner, that He died to save you from the consequences of your sin, and embracing Him as your hope for a new life?
  9. If not, would you like to?


Thank you!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's the Same Old Thing... And It's New Every Time


When's the last time that you read the Bible? Do you have a favorite verse? Have you ever done the Bible-in-a-year reading program?

I'm taking VLI (Vineyard Leadership Institute) and since it's a church-based leadership program, we do a LOT of talking about the Bible. Like, a lot. I just finished reading Matthew, Mark and Luke (in one night, I'm pretty impressed with myself).


But what I find the most amazing is that no matter how many times you read something in the Bible, there's always something new. Really there is. Think about it this way--have you ever watched a movie at the theater and you love it so as soon as it's out on DVD you buy it and watch it over and over? And maybe the second time you realize that the kid really IS wearing red in all of the important scenes, and the third time you catch a line that didn't make sense the first two times and you just laughed because everyone else did, and the fourth time it suddenly dawns on you that yes, that is the girl from Braveheart.

OK, so think about it like that, only Biblical.


Really honestly, you can read the same book, chapter, and even verse over and over and over again and get something new out of it each time. Of course you do have to want to.

But just last week I was starting Matthew for this VLI project, and I figured it would be a fast read, right? Yeah... until verse 5. Yeah, not book 5. Book one, verse 5. The geneology that everyone skips over. Where it says that Rahab is the mother of Boaz.

Wait, Rahab the prostitute?

So now suddenly I'm thumbing through the Old Testament, trying to find that one book where Rahab hangs a red scarf outside her window so her family will be saved because she was promised her life in thanks for hiding Joshua's men. And of course it doesn't say who she marries. But two books later is Ruth, the one about Ruth and Boaz (right, the son of this "Rahab" woman). Hmmmm...

So what on earth did I get out of this, you might ask. Well it came to me that God doesn't look at "who" we are, but rather He looks at our hearts and our willingness to do His will, no matter how hard or scary or unpopular it may be. And I realized that His rewards for doing His will are way cooler than the world's rewards. I mean, come on, Rahab is listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Savior of us all.

Dude.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.
~
"I'd rather change my mind and succeed than have my own way and fail."

~Felix Lugo~
"There Is No Rest for Success"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Picture Perfect

Where do you live? A city? On a mountain? In a suburb? Do you know that you live in God's good creation? That He designed the very earth on which you walk and created the seasons which sustain your life and the very air that you breathe?


I admit, it's harder to think about it that way when you live in a city and the only true green you see is the astroturf field in front of the grade school down the block.


But it's true. God, the maker of Heaven and Earth--He created earth for us, for you, to live on, to sustain your life, and on which to live out His will.


Maybe it's hard to believe that this planet was created by a Creator, that it didn't just "happen" to be in exactly the right spot around a sun exactly the right temperature, with exactly the right size moon giving us exactly the right tilt which created the exact right seasons... no, maybe you do believe it's all chance.


Well there's not a lot I can say to that. Which is why a picture is worth a thousand words, because when we are silent, even the very rocks will cry out His name.



And no matter where we live, we can remember that God, our Father, created it just for us.




Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Man I Come Home To

We've been living together for 8 years, and I still love him just as much as I did the first time I saw him. Our relationship can be rocky at times, but the end of the day he's the one who sleeps in my bed with me every night.

I'm talking, of course, about my cat, Mau-be.



I feel that it's time I fully introduce you to the love of my life. I am single, and I have a cat. I am not the cat lady. Despite the fact that I call him (and sometimes hold him like) my baby, he is not a substitute for a child. I will tell stories involving him when others are talking about their kids, but that's because I can only talk about what I know, and that would be life with him.

(Ok, I'm sure you're thinking "the lady doth protest too much," but I want to make it perfectly clear. This is not a "look at my kitty he's the best kitty in the world" post. This is an introduction to a character who will pop up from time to time in my posts. He's totally not my child-subsitute. I didn't even like it when they gave him my last name at the vet. Too weird.)



So, I got Mau-be from a friend at work who had taken in a pregnant cat. The interesting thing is I was supposed to get a different kitten, but his girlfriend offered it to a friend of hers the same day that he offered it to me. Mau-be, formerly "GT," was supposed to be the one kitten they kept, until he was informed by his landlord that he couldn't have more than one cat. So it turned out I was to get a kitten after all.

The funny thing is, I was allergic to cats at the time.

But I had hope, because while I was allergic to the furry devils guinea pigs my sisters kept taking home at the end of the year in grade school, I would only have about 3 days of itchy, sneezy agony before it suddenly clicked and I was ok. It was the weirdest thing.

I used to think I was allergic to cats because when I was young and I would go to the farm that our family friends' parents owned, I would run after all the kittens and squeeze the poor little things much too tightly (I was like 4, what did I know?) and the allergy was my payback. I think God decided to set that record straight, however, because after about a week of itchy, sneezy agony of having a cat, something just clicked and I was ok. Like, I can rub my face in his belly and not sneeze ok. Like, clearly no major allergies ok.




When I got Mau-be I was told I could rename him to anything I wanted, as long as it wasn't Shadow or Blackie or Midnight. I had just, coincidentally, finished reading a book about the Vietnam War, and it happened to include some Vietnemese words. "Mau," onomatopoetically enough, means "cat." "Mau-be," then, means "big cat," or tiger. I spent a few days trying it out but in the end those golden eyes got me and I knew he was my tiger.

He was also the most leggy cat the vet had ever seen. Do you see that in the picture up there? Pretty amazing. I think it's good though, 'cause he tries so very hard to get fat and the long legs help him look thinner. (Yes I like to give my cat issues. Deal with it. I also feed him people food.)

The day after I got Mau-be I had an evening Bible study, so I wasn't home for about 14 hours. The poor little guy had to fend for himself away from his mom, in a brand new place all alone. I felt wretched the whole time. And then when I got home he was sitting right in front of the door, ever so relieved that I had returned through the magic hole in the wall. So now that I've also given him separation anxiety, he meets me at the door every night. Well, sometimes he tends to saunter past it as though he just happened to be in the vicinity, but I know he's been waiting for me. But if I leave him alone for a weekend (I sooo love how you can do that) he gets especially clingy the day I come home.

One of the big downsides to my new life of never being at home, besides not ever doing the dishes, is that the poor guy really doesn't get a lot of attention any more. Since I have been coming home and sitting down at the computer, he's decided that his new favorite place is my desk. Conspicuously so. I call this one "Cat and Mouse."



And even when I'm actively using the computer:



It's just so cute I can't hardly kick him off. He also has mastered the fine art of sleeping balanced between my chest and the desk. I really don't know how or why he does it, but if it keeps him from sitting in the hallway and mewling piteously until I throw things at him, then have at it. (I would have shown you a picture, but do you know how hard it is to take a photo of yourself with a cat draped over your torso whilst sitting at the computer and you can only use your cell phone because you can't actually reach the camera because of the kitty? Yeah, that didn't really happen.)

Ironially now that I'm writing all about him, he's stretched out on the couch, ignoring me completely. Oh well, he wouldn't be a cat if he didn't. And I still love him. He is, after all, the only man who waits eagerly at my door for me to come home.