Friday, August 27, 2004

Five Good Things (and One Bad One) About Today

1. I distinctly heard my Personal Financial Planning Prof say the words "minimal homework"
2. There is a usage error on my English Prof's syllabus ("your" instead of "you're")
3. All of my profs have a sense of humor
4. Jeff and I got to listen to The Fire Theft really loud on the way home from my PE orientation, because the kids were at home with grandma and grandpa
5. BBQ for dinner from the Rib Cage. Yummmmm!

The one bad thing is that Over the Rhine has still not booked a Minneapolis date for this fall. Nuts. And I don't have their new live album yet. But I remain hopeful on both counts.

Have a great weekend, all. I'm off to get at least 9 hours of sleep. Jeff is out seeing Stavesacre at Club 3 Degrees.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

blogger ate my post

I really hate internal server errors.


I am officially a borderline narcoleptic. I can't carry on a coherent phone conversation, because of my constant yawning. I made it through my first class today- Spanish I- barely. Tomorrow I have Freshman Eng II, and an hour earlier at that. I'm going to die, honestly. There isn't coffee strong enough to keep me awake, and if there is, I'm not supposed to drink it anyway. I took an hour-long nap on the couch this afternoon- with two of my children awake. Luckily I when I woke up, the house was intact and so were their sweet little bodies (and they weren't covered in Vaseline or some other unknown substance either, which was an added blessing).

Jeff needs some algebra help, so I'm off to have some fun. I'm like my calc teacher in high school, who coached the math team (the Park Center Pi-Rats...get it?). I made so much fun of him, because he would almost start foaming at the mouth when he got really excited about a particular principle or problem. He was a great teacher, though. And right now, I am just very grateful that there are people in my life who are filled with passion, even if it is for something I detest (like calc). My passion right now is learning a bit of useable Spanish, and I guess searching for God's voice, which is currently stifled under a pile of busyness.

Anyone want to share their current passion?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

blah blah blah

I am freaking out that school is starting for us tomorrow. Part of it is that I didn't get my driver's license on the timeline we wanted, so Jeff's going to be dropping me off and picking me up for maybe as much as a month, which stinks (I'll take my test the 22nd of Sept). Then there's this big conflict with Allie's preschool schedule- Jeff's in class when she needs to be dropped off, and when she needs to be picked up. Time to call in a favor from the across-the-street neighbor, I guess. At least she doesn't start till the 13th, and it's only 2 days/wk. The joys of living in the frickin' sticks. I can't even get a bus out here- and for a girl started riding the 5 route downtown to meet her mom for lunch when she was about 11, that is crippling (16 years, kids).

My legs are feeling better, most of the time. I was hoping for that, because the thought that they were only going to get progressively worse for the next 7.5 months was excruciating. See, despite what Jeff claims, and how I handle labor pain would suggest, at heart I'm a pain wimp. I cry over stomachaches. I'd cry over my worse headaches, but it makes it worse, so I do my best not to. I really wish I had known about chiropractic when I was pregnant with Allie. That's when the sciatica started. Doctor gave me a scrip for about 10 Tylenol with codiene and told me to only take one when I felt really horrible- which luckily wasn't too often. After I had her, another doctor refused to give me a refill on the prescription, because I was nursing. Um, so it's ok when she's sharing my bloodstream, but after that all bets are off? Whatever. I didn't start seeing a chiro until Gabe and Eva were just out of the hospital. By then I was in pretty bad shape- I ended up immobile on the couch, crying every time I had to change position even slightly (which, with newborn twins, was pretty often). One of the reasons we had decided not to have more children was my back- I was afraid another pregnancy would cripple me. Hopefully, I can just keep things from getting any worse.

But as far as morning sickness and the rest goes, I have an easy time of it, so I can deal with my back. I just have to find a way to tell my chiro that I'm pregnant. She's going to have a coronary.

I still haven't called my midwife. Procrastination is just a way of life for me, I guess.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

surprise, surprise

Well, I've been thinking and thinking and trying to come up with a way to talk to people about this, but I'm just too...I don't know. Shy? Confrontation-phobic? Whatever.

Anyway, here's the deal. We're having a baby. Again. For various good reasons, this is a shock (to rather understate things). I've run the whole gamut of emotional responses this week- joy, guilt, anger, terror, and a sadness almost akin to grief. I am having a hard time believing it most of the time, although the constant pain in my legs is testimony to the truth of the situation. I want to be deliriously happy, but I know how much my back and legs hurt by 2nd trimester last time, and I only had one kid then. Money, too, is a constant worry. Especially since I won't be working next summer, as I was planning to.

I'm going ahead with school for now, at least the winter term. I don't think I'll make it for spring, unless the profs are generous and let me sling the babe to class the last few weeks- we'll have it sometime in the spring. Fat chance of that (the slinging part). The plan is to welcome this one at home. I just have to double-check everything with my midwife and make sure she's comfortable with my history and whatall. One of the bright spots is, although we weren't planning on more children (and yes, we were taking precuations), for the first time, we did this right and I'm not going to have to deal with PPD and SAD at the same time. Maybe I won't have PPD this time! One can only hope and pray.

A friend of mine, Abby, who lives in Maine, is going to a birth blessing ceremony this weekend for two women who are near to their time...I'm trying to work out if this is something I want to do. The guests are bringing beads with symbolic meanings (one example, someone is bringing a bead with a boat to symbolize a journey, and a clear one for clarity of mind), and a piece of poetry or a quote or blessing.

We have so few positive ceremonies and rituals surrounding pregnancy and birth in this culture- all I can think of is the baby shower. And those aren't really my thing- I had one with Allie, and I got a lot of stuff I really didn't want- a playpen, bottles, that kind of thing ("oh, you'll want to give her a bottle once in a while!" um, no, I really won't- it's more trouble than it's worth!). As far as I know, we in this culture don't have any rituals to mark the loss of a baby, whether early pregnancy, late, or in infancy. Funerals, yeah, if the loss isn't early in pregnancy- but, personally, it doesn't seem like enough, by any stretch. I have more than a few friends who have suffered this unimaginable kind of loss, and it just seems unthinkable- the things they are told, the way they are treated. "Oh, I had that happen once", a fellow patient in the OB/Gyn waiting room told my friend Kristin right after her second miscarriage, as though she was talking about buying the wrong brand of toothpaste or getting stuck in the rain.

Are we so absolutely incompetent when it comes to dealing with any sort of emotional or spiritual pain that when we are confronted with it in this distilled, crystal-hard form, the loss of a child, that we feel we must intentionally trivialize it- because facing it is too difficult? Is it so hard to offer hands and arms for comfort without the burden of our words, which will always fall short, and too often wound instead of heal? I know for me, the answer is yes. The temptation is to talk and talk and talk and talk, because the words provide a distance from the pain. We tell people, basically, to get over it, "oh, you weren't really that far along, were you? It's not like you lost a baby", to get on with things, because grief is a naked thing, and this culture dislikes nakedness (unless you're selling beer). We are so addicted to the quick fix, the fool-proof plan, and emotions are so messy. Grieving people don't play by the rules.

I don't know why I am in such a sarcastic and caustic mood tonight. I think I am just really hormonal and conflicted right now. I am feeling so strongly what Jenell said a few days ago- this is so obviously unfair. And I just don't know how to deal with that. I just don't know. I just know that I'm glad it is the weekend and most people at SP won't be reading this till Monday morning. I'm just not feeling very up to dealing with facing my mixed emotions right now. I'm sorry, everyone.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

things i love

I've decided I need to lighten up a little, for the time being at least. So here, in no particular order, are some things I love (family and friends are a given).

Tami's Soaps- especially Woodstock and Fresh Squeezed
Burt's Bees Bay Rum cologne , especially when I can get it wholesale
cats, especially now that we don't have one :(
browsing in a bookstore or library
sleeping late (we're talking 11 am, at least)
staying up late (2 or 3 am- thus the love for sleeping late)
math, especially algebra
playing Hi Ho Cherry-O with Allie
Conceptis Puzzles (mostly the Pic-A-Pix puzzles, which I am hopeless at, but enjoy anyway)
The Brick Testament
effortless activism

Hope all have a lovely Wednesday!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

in memoriam

This is Aidan. He turned four a few months ago, making him just a little older than my Allie. He lives in Dublin and is the only child of my friends Jerome and Johanna. Jerome died last September of Hodgkin's disease. He would have been 30 today. Say a quick prayer for Jo and Aidan today if you can.

You know how certain people are so full of life and love and joy that you just can't imagine them dying? That's Jerome. I miss you, my friend.Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 12, 2004

My inner child

My inner child is ten years old today

My inner child is ten years old!

The adult world is pretty irrelevant to me. Whether
I'm off on my bicycle (or pony) exploring, lost
in a good book, or giggling with my best
friend, I live in a world apart, one full of
adventure and wonder and other stuff adults
don't understand.

How Old is Your Inner Child?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Bobbi at emerging sideways for the chance to muse about my terribly neglected small self.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In lieu of cards...

Happy birthday, Jeffy! Those wanting to wish Jeff a happy birthday (and congratulate him for putting up with my crazy ass!) should go here.

How is it possible that we're having October weather on your birthday, honey?? Doesn't seem right. I love you always and through everything. I'm for some reminded of the fact that I recovered from Gabe and Eva's birth in the same room at North Memorial in which your mom recovered from your birth- it still seems really weird.

To those brave compassionate souls who have been commenting on my blog: thank you, thank you, thank you. Every word is life to me.

final thoughts on kidd's book

Well, this afternoon I finished the book, and I find that I'm seeing it a little differently than yesterday. It's hard, because this is so outside of my very limited knowledge of the finer points of Christian tradition and orthodoxy. First off, I think the implied disdain of women who search for feminine expression inside the church is mostly a figment of my overactive imagination. And I think some of the reasons her story doesn't totally strike a chord for me is that I didn't grow up in the church (and more specifically, a Baptist church in the south during the 50's). Some of her struggle I just can't relate to, because I was born around 30 years later. I've never been a pastor's wife either, and I can certainly imagine the oppresion and narrowness of that for someone who feels dissatisfied within her religious tradition. The fact is, I might feel much the same if I was still going to the evangelical church I first "met" God in as a teenager. Maybe the drastic path she took felt like the only one available. Being outside of the evangelical church for so long has fostered forgetfulness about how confining it sometimes felt (I had stopped attending church pretty much completely for 3 or 4 years before starting to go to SP in 2002). The fact that she was willing to sacrifice her marriage to her spiritual quest still bothers me a bit, but I nearly trashed mine for a lesser reason, so.

I still can't decide whether my reaction to her speaking about Goddess is a leftover evangelical reflex or a true line being crossed. When she is talking about the Goddess (or Feminine Divine, etc), from my POV, it really seems consistent with things I would attribute to the God I know, not a separate deity. And her journey seems to have been "ordained" or "blessed" in some sense that I find hard to explain. Maybe it's just a semantic difference, and if she used a different word, I wouldn't have the hangup I do. I don't get the sense that she has returned to the church (or ever will), but she does explicitly forgive the wrongs that were done to her within the church, which is a point a lot of people who leave the church never get to. It still seems like she harps a little too much on the sins of patriarchy to me, but as I mentioned above, that could just be a difference between her context and mine.

I don't know what to think, really. It's an interesting book- not one I'd give to my mother-in-law (who goes to Open Door), but still interesting, and parts of it I really liked. Maybe I'll get ambitious one day when I don't have anything to write about and quote it for y'all.

Edited to add: I'm not suggesting that using God rather than Goddess is always a semantic difference. I'm just pondering that as a possibility in this specific case.

Monday, August 09, 2004

feminine divine?

For a few days now I've been reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. Now, I'm not recommending it, because to be honest, I'm having trouble getting into it. I should have read the subtitle more carefully, I guess (A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine). I guess I'll cover the problems I'm having with the book, and then try to explain why I was interested in it in the first place.

So, she's this Baptist pastor's wife, and grew up in the Baptist church. Over time, she experiences what she terms a "feminist awakening" that leads her first away from the Baptists, but everntually away from Christianity entirely. She starts investigating feminine deities of other traditions, and also mythology. I can't really relate to that- although I do like myth and symbol. She and a friend who shares the journey with her sort of invent rites and rituals to mark significant points in their search for Goddess (which I totally dig- except for the Goddess part). More than once she talks about how we have to shed all the trappings of our patriarchal programming (which honestly made me roll my eyes a little), and if we don't allow our search to take us outside of Christianity (which is a "male" religion), the implication is that we're clinging to the forces that oppress us or it's a knee-jerk reaction of our programming (more eyerolling here). I don't think that every woman needs to do that to find completeness- and therein lies the danger of generalizing our own path into THE path.

Now, I admire her courage to follow her heart, but I can't relate to her faith journey a whole lot. I was initially interested in the book for the title (which one of us girls hasn't been a dissident daughter at one point, if only inside?), and the fact that she had been a writer of Christian inspirational nonfiction. I figured she was someone who might be searching for some of the same things I'm searching for. A balance between male and female, not only within church authority, but also terminology. A way to express faith that is feminine and Christian. I don't want a new God, thanks, I like my current one just fine. I think it's kind of cruel to blame God for the lack of balance within the church, actually. To be fair, she doesn't demonize men (maybe that's why I felt like her blame was on God, by default). And there have been passages here and there that I have loved. Like when she's talking about exploring the feminine dimensions of the sacraments (communion in terms of breastfeeding, baptism in terms of amniotic fluid). Or exploring the role of Wisdom in Jewish tradition, and Sophia/Logos in the NT. But then she just veers off toward the Goddess again, and loses me. It's funny, after I got baptized, I was thinking of rebirth and Jesus' words that we must be born again- and how birth is an exclusively female domain. God as Mother! It helped me feel a little less nervous about the psalm I wrote.

Anyway, I got started on posting about this based on a post of Rachelle's (it's from July 26th, for some reason her whole sidebar of links/archives seems to be gone). Actually, it was a quote she posted from the book that made me want it in the first place, weeks ago. So. It's a lot to chew on, but not as helpful as I hoped. Since I'm being forced to consider a calling to the pastorate (the guy with the gun to my head? that would be my husband), I am kind of mulling over what we as women have to offer as leaders of the church, besides being female (which, in fairness, I think is a lot to begin with). What ways do we hear/see/talk to/imagine God that are uniquely ours? I love Christ's church, and I'd rather contribute to it than leave for any "Goddess".

So, am I just making a big deal out of nothing when it comes to the Goddess? Maybe it comes from having a lot of Wiccan friends. I just don't see Goddess-worship in that sort of form as compatable with the way of Jesus (although I admit to wishing more Christians had that kind of respect for the Earth!). Lay some feedback on me, peeps!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

letting go of my "specialness"

I've been zipping around the Enneagram book that we bought a few weeks ago for the past week or so. I'm reading more than I'm absorbing, but I have still found some useful insight, although it's not the most welcome kind. I'm a four (4w5, to be more specific), as I said in an earlier post, and in some ways, knowing that is encouraging, and in some ways it is really hard. I don't know if this will make any sense to someone who is *not a four, but I'm going to plug away anyhow.

I'm a near-textbook four. One of the ways fours tend to define themselves is by their individuality or "specialness". In healthy circumstances, this can be a good thing. It can take the form of personal expression that is creative and distinct, but universal. I wish I was more like that, more of the time. In my experience, its unhealthier forms take the shape of a feeling of inherent defectiveness, "no one understands", and feeling threatened by others' ideas and advice- part of me wants to go back and rewrite the second sentence of this paragraph, because it sounds too much like the book. I have an intense need to be self-contained and self-sufficient. I withdraw to get attention. It sounds like a bad idea, and it usually is. I remember the heartbreak of my adolescent relationship with my parents- as my brother acted out for attention, and I acted in. I hid, hoping that my mom or dad would notice that I was hiding and come "find" me. In reality, I think they were a bit relieved that I wasn't a big drain on their attention and time. My brother was difficult- unpredictable, physically and verbally abusive, and often out of control. They gave up after several years of hearing why his problems were all their fault (combined with my dad's unwillingness to participate in family counseling).

I dreamed about being adopted, about my "real" family coming to rescue me (textbook four, once again). I started dating Jeff just before my 15th birthday, and he did his best to rescue me himself. I was living with my godparents at the time (my uncle and aunt). I have a few vivid memories of the first few months there- adjusting to people who had clear expectations of my behavior, but who were in many ways no more helpful than my parents. My dad at the exit interview for the home for runaways that I stayed at for a week before moving in with my godparents, responding emotionlessly to a gentle question from the counselor, "I'm not sure I consider her my daughter". I remember breaking up with the boyfriend that had landed me at their house (not Jeff), and sawing the skin on my ring finger open with a butter knife. I remember sitting in front of a full bottle of Tylenol one night trying to decide if it was worth living another day, and when I broke out of the trance long enough to sob to my aunt that I wanted to die, her reply was "don't be stupid, go to bed." And I did, but once again, I had been misunderstood and my pain invalidated.

I've since forgiven my dad; forgiven both my parents. Both of them tried, but life with my brother was like living with the constant threat of nuclear attack- you hunker down and cover your head and wait for the explosion. But I carried the victimhood and misunderstood-ness into adulthood. When no explosion is imminent, I create one. I create no-win situations for those closest to me and use their failure to perfectly validate me as an excuse to retreat into myself. One of Jeff's most frequent complaints is that I expect him to read my mind- and he's absolutely right. Some voice inside says, "if he really loved you, really loved you, he'd just know." Then that message turns to, "he doesn't understand you and he never will. You are different and will never find someone who understands." And that is a lie. It's the same lie I told myself when my parents took three years to notice my depression and get me treatment in junior high, and countless times since. The truth is, no one can understand me when I am concentrating all my effort into being misunderstood. When I refuse to let anyone in.

God's truth is that I am indeed different- and special. But that it doesn't take the form of being irreparably flawed and in need of rescue. My difference does not have to be defined in negative terms- that I'm not like anyone else, that I can't be (outgoing, strong, capable, etc). I don't know what shape my uniqueness and calling takes, yet- but I'm glad to be setting out anyhow. I'm tired enough of repeating the past that I'm ready to risk letting go. What was it Anais Nin said? Ah, yes..."And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. " Part of me instinctively recoils from such inspirational-poster sentiment, but there is truth in it nonetheless.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Yesterday was my birthday, and I feel very blessed. I can't remember a time that so many of my friends called or wrote to me to wish me happiness. My parents anniversary was also this week (Tuesday), and it is another blessing that I have parents who are still together and love each other after 31 years.

I'm still feeling ok, but I've been worried about school, because I'm exhausted all the time. Because of Jeff's class needs, I have to take morning courses. I'm not a morning person. To put it mildly. Especially once the days start getting shorter.

It is an intense struggle to write tonight. I thought I had broken out of being depressed, but I think I was fooling myself a little. I tend to think that one good day, or even a good few hours, means I'm back to good, when that is soooo not the case. Sometimes I think that depression is less an emotion and more of an emotional filter- it lets bad stuff sift through (like fighting with Jeff this morning), but keeps good stuff out of my heart (like the TRUTH that people do love me, and I do matter to them- for heaven's sake, they just called me yesterday!). God grant me eyes that see through that filter.

Monday, August 02, 2004


Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes. I feel like I am past the worst, and moving toward being "normal" again. Just in time for my slow autumn slide into SAD ;) But I have a light box to treat that, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

This has been way too busy a weekend (Jeff's weekends are Sunday/Monday, so those are the days I'm talking about). Barbecue and church on Sunday, and today we scrambled around and ended up going to IKEA for the afternoon, then to my parents' house after. They just opened one here, right across the street from the Mall of America. It would have been a lot of fun, except that Gabe and Eva were overstimulated about halfway through the store, so we spent the last half of the afternoon fighting meltdowns. Found three or four pieces of furniture I'd like, but can't afford. Yay.

I really, really feel like writing more tonight, but we signed up to do a day of Vecinos Summer Day Camp, and it's tomorrow. We have to be at church by the unholy hour of nine in the morning. Which means my wake up call is coming in about six hours. The theme of the day is Faithfulness, so we are going to be doing some fun relay races during the activity part of the time. Wish us luck!