For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29


Monday, April 27, 2009

It's HOT outside, yet I've got the Shivers.

The Midnight Shivers, that is. Here's me standing in front of Samantha Crain at Shakori Hills - my all time favorite music festival. Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers offer up a folky, rootsy blend of music, and she/they took up the Meadow and Grove stages at Shakori the weekend before last. They'll be making their way back to the DC area this summer playing at the Kennedy Center and at the National Museum of American Indian. Sing it sister.

Another group we saw that was new to me, was Songs of Water. Loved them so much I bought the CD onsite. (Yes, I'm still buying CDs so I can listen to the music in my Jeep Cherokee circa 1999. Thus, no mp3 access.) Songs of Water is a larger, experimental band with 8+ muscians depending on which show you're watching. It feels like they are a 15 piece orchestra, as each member plays up to 5 different instruments, switching back and forth between and sometimes during the songs. During their set at the Cabaret Tent, band lead Stephen Roach mentioned that the next song did not yet have a title. As I was almost lifted up off my arse by the power of the music, I told the husband I thought the song should be titled "Ascension". However, the very next song name was "To Leave the Ground Behind". At lesat I was picking up what they were putting down.

Perhaps one can notice a theme of transcendency from their music? I highly encourage readers to give a listen to these two up and comers! They made my festival experince that much more awesome; well, them, the first blush of spring weather and the liquid elixir of champions.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Holy Crap, It's Easter!


I realize this post is a tad tardy, and that I'm apparently on a 'crap' entry streak. I couldn't resist sharing my amusement that this is the sole picture we took to memorialize Easter Sunday 2009. It's the view from inside the Honda Element post-Church service.

It's also an amazingly accurate snippet inside my head. I didn't take time to capture our Sunday-go-to-meeting attire, nor the awesome weather and crazy colorful blooms in the backyard, nor the beauty of our Vermillion brunch. I only bothered to snapshot the bird duke marring my view of traffic. For all things, give thanks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crappiest Jobs I've Held & How They Relate to Blogging

I've been working since I was fourteen. I was in high school, and my folks told me I had to get a job. But who besides the neighbor needing a babysitter hires fourteen year olds? Well back 1990, there was one other place in town not yet adhering the minimum age laws: Burger King. Yep, I'm a stereotypical fast food first timer. Freakin' BK Lounge.

I hated that place. I still do. I refuse to eat there. I ESPECIALLY refuse to eat at the location where I worked whenever I go home to visit my folks. (Maybe it's because that was the location where the cute older guy from church came in to ask me to the Depeche Mode concert; I was mortified that he saw me in my head to toe polyester, smelling of fry grease. I was even more mortified when the 'rents told me he was too old - 18- and I had to tell him later, still dressed in the polys, that I couldn't make it. Stoopid Burger King memories and grease burn scars.)

Since that illustrious first job, I've held down almost everything under sun before starting my career: bookstore (loved it), hardware store, office supply store, beer distributer (alas no free product), accounting temp, data entry and the list goes on. But the worst job was actually the one I never took.

I saw a tiny sign in the median (note to self...nothing prosperous can come from organizations who have to advertise in this manner) stating $10.00/hour for part time work. Again, going back the 1990's, this was way good pay. So I called the number and set up an interview (another note to self...when they won't share what they do over the phone, start questioning.). All gussied up my go to work finest, I arrive at an innocuous office complex. My door is marked only with the address number. No other signage.

Inside was a typical, albeit sparse office setup, and I'm eventually escorted to an inner office space. A 30-something gentleman wearing a business suit smiles at me and asks me about myself, my goals for the future and why I responded to their ad. Yawn. I go through the typical interview pleasantries for a solid 45 minutes before he finally gets to the nitty gritty. He prefaces that I'm personable and seem to be outgoing. These qualities will get me far in his business. He then takes out a small suitcase and draws out...a pair of scissors?

He asks me if I have a penny; which I do and I give it him. He then proceeds to cut the penny in half using said scissors. "ISN'T THAT INCREDIBLE?" "ISN'T THAT AMAZING?!" "These are the sharpest scissors I've ever seen! And we have matching knives just as sharp. An entire set of kitchen cutlery in this handy traveling suitcase!"

This guy was gaagaa over ginzu or whatever brand he was hawking. And he wanted me to go door-to-door demoing and selling these knives. OMG. I said this was the 90's not the 1890's. Who went door-to-door anymore? Certainly not me. He then says I can start my client base with my friends and family, because they'll be sure to listen to me and watch my schpeel. I can almost guarantee sales!!

I queried if I could start with anyone else, and he didn't understand my question. I explained that I didn't want to start with my friends and family, because I knew them and I knew they didn't need any knives no matter how many pennies they could cut through. I was also certain that I did not want to embarass myself in front of those closest to me. Then, I promptly declined the 'job' offer. THAT is the crux of this blog entry. I'm not sharing with my friends and family (yet) that I have a blog. I've taken only a few minor steps to promote this fire-seeking medium, and it's all been with strangers. Why? B/c I know my friends and family, and they don't need to know my random musings any more than they already do. Again, I'm also certain I don't want to embarass myself in front of those closest to me.

Most might appreciate this endeavor, chuckle here and there, wish me well on a time-sucking outlet that's at least more productive than tivo reruns. But I'm not sure I want all my facebook homies knowing I obsess about the same 10 pounds gained and lost over low these many months. Or my neurotic fears of houses collasping in on me because the furniture weighs too much. So who else is going to read these earth-shattering entries? Well, you dear reader. I'm guessing for now, it's you, and I'm very cool with that! :)

Holler back in the comments with details of your crap first job. Misery loves company.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quaht?!

Do you ever start to say a certain word and then halfway through the utterance change your mind and substitute a synonym for the word you'd already started to say? (Do you ever find yourself typing a blog entry whilst very tired and beginning said entry with overly longish sentences?) This weekend, which I will be blogging about more in depth after a good night's rest on a mattress I did not blow up myself, I had a word mash that I think is hilarious.

Brief background: I took French classes in high school and a few years in college. I remember about 1/200th of what I studied; basic bare bones French. This does not stop me from inserting select French words or phrases into my daily vernacular. Choice items such as "A quelle heure est-il?" (What time is it?) I'll ask the husband nonchalantly as I point to my wrist so he knows what I'm saying despite his 20 year memory of Spanish classes, not French. "Je suis fatigue" I'll say aloud when I'm tired (b/c translated it means I'm tired.) One can see the genious of my bilingualism.

One French tidbit I through around frequently is "Quoi?", which simply means What? It sounds much more classy and less Huh? when said with a French accent. Quoi is pronounced qwah. This weekend, I was starting to say Quoi? and halfway through the word, decided to use the English What? instead. So I ended up saying Quaht? and the husband called me out on it.

"Did you just say QUAHT?!" By now, he's used to me saying the French word, and found my mash-up mistake amusing. And for the remainder of our vacation weekend, quaht was the question to ask if you missed something. (A frequent occurance during a 4 day music festival where it is loud most hours of the day and night.) I have a feeling this addition to our bantering vocab is going to be around longer than the vacation.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jesus, Eddie Izzard and Moi

I adore Eddie Izzard's comedy. Full of religious and political references, he's witty and snarky. Two qualities that mesh well together. In this HBO special Dressed to Kill, he discusses the irony of our forefather's musical dedications. From the pain and despair of the slave fields erupts a joyous, melodic sound we now call Gospel. Conversely, the white, anglo-saxons who had all the money, power and comfort sing dearthy hymns. The lyrics - uplifting, but the tune...well, where's the scyth with which I can end it all quickly? The tune is out of context and often depressing. Eddie is so right!

I grew up in a non-denominational Prostestant church, and each Sunday we sung hymns that often supported this ironic theme. Today, I much prefer the contempory Christian music that many churches are hosting during Sunday service. Sometimes a tad pop for my tastes, there are many beautiful songs that sound of the hope we have, and the love God gives. Meanwhile, there are two times each year my preferences revert back to the classic hymns: Easter and Christmas. It's not Christmas for me without singing "Oh, Holy Night". Nor, is it a fully celebrated Easter without singing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today".

The latter could be a stereotypical dolldrum hymn in tune. It oftens starts out that way. Yet, something about this particular song seems to resonate with everyone singing it. WASPs and other human insects alike all seem to get that this song summarizes the reason for our existence, our hope! And everyone in the church seems to elevate in their shoes. I can't wait to sing it this Sunday! I truly get goosebumps.

My personal favorite is the line "Where oh death is now thy sting?" Think about it! We can have nothing to fear in this world, because Christ has already won! The outcome has been determined. That is amazing and mindblowing, and quite worthy of stepping up the ho-humness of a hymn.
So, in honor of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, here are the lyrics:

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
Happy Easter!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sneak Peak Runway Release

Ever ahead of the fashion curve, I'm sharing my latest look. Tired of limping around in a medical boot and unable to complete a work-out wearing same, I took matters into my own...feet. This picture is my latest invention: workout wear for the toenail-less.

Using a box cutter, I carved out the big toe portion of an old pair of shoes and proceeded to complete a Firm workout video without much issue. The toe is bandaged underneath, of course; and the only hard part of the workout were lunges going back with my left leg. Obviously, those put pressure on my toe so I was ginger in peforming them. Pushups? Once in position, not a problem. Basically, I can go to the gym wearing these 'upgraded' New Balance and do any cardio machine, most group classes and my at home videos. Problem solved.

I'm thinking about applying for patent. Who among the foot-injured wouldn't want a pair of these fine looking kicks? If Nike and Sarah Jessica can seriously sport shoes resembling calf hooves, I should be able to generate demand for a medically relevant (if not equally ugly) variation on a theme. Now, off for a power walk/outdoor runway release!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tax ASSessments

It’s Spring! I’m back in the DC area after a great visit with my folks in Florida. A BEAUTIFUL Sunday afternoon, worthy of t-shirts and sandals also deserves an alfresco mimosa brunch. I happen to be spending it in the H&R Block trying to take advantage of their free tax return review.

Apparently Misters. I, R & S feel that we owe them over $3000 for 2008 taxes! I have always done my own taxes, and while single, employed by only one job and relatively asset-less – this was a straightforward task. Since getting married in 2006, I’ve had 4 jobs, moved 4 times, purchased, sold and purchased again a home, and oh yeah…acquired a ‘joint filer’. The tax return process has become exponentially more challenging. I remember spending literally eight hours one Saturday in 2007 trying to determine the proper procedures for my last year’s taxes.

One would think this sole experience would prompt me to pony up the cash and pay a professional for their expertise. My pride and frugality have forbid me from doing so. This is the first year we’ve ever owed money, and I am chapped. Heaven forfend that Bernard Madoff pay back in full the monies he stole from thousands, or that AIG hotshots don’t receive this year’s hundred thousand dollar bonus. But the rest of us poor schlubs who are working honestly and hard, volunteering time in the community and funds to churches and charities, merely trying to enjoy life within their means, we are the ones stuck with the bill. *sigh*

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Seems like this year Caesar requires a few extra thousand than anticipated and also my pristine Sunday afternoon. Perhaps this is not the most upstanding attitude to have. But I will feel gladly erroneous and smugly validated if the H&R Block peeps can uncover a mistake in my return, and report the IRS will be sending me a check instead. Fingers remain crossed whilst in the waiting room.

(PS. I called before coming and the purported wait was zero. I’ve been sitting here 45 minutes so far. Detecting a trend this week for poor patience skills (see urgent care fiasco and now this), I’m going to end this entry, put away the laptop and do some yoga breathing. I’m not sure a lower blood pressure will affect the outcome of my padding Caesar’s pockets, but I might enjoy my upcoming mimosa more. Yes, I’m grabbing the husband after this and enjoying a mid-afternoon cocktail post-haste.)

(PPS. We owe the money. My silver lining is that I've managed to 'successfully' manipulate my way through the Internal Revenue Code maze. I'm sure I'd rather have the cash, but wasn't consulted on the matter.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Man Plans. God Laughs.

This weekend was not at all as I anticipated. I'm in Florida visiting my parents. The main purpose for this trip was to see my mom after she had her halo removed. We'd planned to have a weekend of beauty treatments: mani/pedis, massages, hair styling, shopping. We did go shopping today and had an amazing time together. The best part of my day (and this trumps even the getting 1/2 price off sale items!) was her telling me I was good for her health; that this was the best she's felt since the accident. It made me so full I could burst. If one was to look down at my left foot, they'd think I did burst... and my innards had all leaked out my big toe.

This past Sunday, I was trying to fold up one of our new, HEAVY tv trays. The thing didn't want to fold up, and in my attempts to shut it, it slipped out of my hands. This 15 lb.+ tray landed on my foot. To avoid completely disgusting graphics, let's just say it landed on my big toe and the nail decided to disengage from the rest of me. Hurt like a mother too.

Monday I called a podiatrist and they couldn't take me in, so I spent over four hours in an urgent care facility. My big toe got all doped up on novacaine, my nail was removed and stitches added. I've been gimping around in a very fashionable medical boot with gauze and surgical tape surrounding my toe. While it's looking better every day, I probably won't be able to put on a shoe for several weeks and God only knows how my vanity is going to handle a nubby toe for the next who-knows-how-long. Oh yeah, and by 'looking better' I only mean it's not oozing goo every second. It's still a nasty, raw, red mess. TMI.

Needless to say, this incident put the kai-bosh on our pedicure plans. I felt like such a heel (hah - feet puns!) after considering the big picture. Here my mother had just barely survived a car accident, spent three months with pins drilled into her skull, carrying around a 35 lb steel halo and vest that could not be removed, confined to her own space, line of sight limited, clautrophobic and in constant pain. I a missing a big toenail. Ummmmm...I need to put on a pair of big girl pants and suck it up sister.

Seeing Mom in person: happy, energetic, optimistic, full of life as compared the Mom of just a few months ago: lifeless, immobile, gaunt, has given me a much needed kick in the pants (soon to be big girl in size). I spend too much timing planning; I like it. My personality finds the planning and organizing process fun. But I spend far too little time DOING. And it's the doing that counts. It's almost all that matters.

So I'm going to be kicking my AblazeyDaisy Do list into full gear. I'm going to take my oldest pair of sneaks, cut off the top of the left shoe and keep exercising as my foot will let me. I'm going to wear that stoopid medical boot with pride, because I can move, walk, sing, hop on one foot, experience, love, play, live. I'm going to spend my last day in Florida tomorrow with both my parents soaking up the wonder that is my family, and in complete thanks for the blessing that saved my Mom, give over to the Lord what I've been holding back. Not so much analyzing, much more doing, being. And laughter, along with God I want to laugh.