For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cat-like Cravings

My beloved pet Parker is a true guru on many aspects of life. He has an inate ability to properly prioritize, and I've learned (or am trying) many a lesson through observing my cat. For example, he teaches me:
  • One can never get too much sleep. Naps rock!
  • Gaze upon people with love. You'll be quite happy with the results.
  • When life throws you a hairball, cough it up immediately, wherever you stand. It's easier to dump it now, than deal with it on the flip side after it's processed through all your systems.
  • We tend towards grouchy if left alone for too long.
  • If your privates need adjusting, it's best to do so after company has left.
  • With long hair, the bath drain will need regular attention.
  • A little spit/tongue action can put many a stray thing back into place.
  • Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

As to this last point, I offer a video recorded via blackberry. I would also now like to take my Indian food to bed with me and call it a day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dreams From Nightmares

July 6th was the seven year anniversary of my Papa's death. I remember vividly learning of his passing. It was the holiday weekend; I was sleeping in. My folks called fairly early in the morning for a day off, and I'm not one to answer an early a.m. ringing phone (or any number I don't recognize for that matter). But a series of calls is our family signal for PICK UP, so I did.

The news wasn't extraordinarily shocking. He'd been ill, and in and out of the hospital several times over his last years. It was the finality of it. The fact that the last time I'd seen him (Mother's Day, 2002) was the last time I would ever see him. I remember him telling my boyfriend of the time that I was his pride and joy, his bright blue eyes sparkling while he said this with earnest.

Growing up, I used to have nightmares about various family members dying. Unfortuantely graphic and violent haunts of shot-gun wounds or stabbings. Thankfully, none of these came to pass. It freaked me out though. I used to have an underlying concern that something awful would happen to the ones I love. Awful things have happened: my mother's near death car accident and painful recovery with halo, my cousin's physical/emotional trauma with alcohol. Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to keep both around and bring both back to health. Again thankfully at 33, I am in a rare and elite class of Gen Xers that still has three of her four grandparents living and fairly active.
All of my grandparents have enriched my life immensely. My paternal grandmother taught me to read music and play piano. My grandfather used to cook me burgers on the grill every time I'd visit them, because he knew these were my favorite. He was also my Sunday School teacher growing up, and would buy the whole class full sized candy bars each month to celebrate birthdays, even if no one in class had a birthday that month.

My maternal granny and late papa used to travel all the time, and ran a campground in Vermont during the summers. Some summers, I would get to visit them for a week, and Papa would let me ride his motorcycle (like a vespa) around the campsite on my own. I wasn't even a teenager at the time. Granny would let me collect coke cans left behind by campers, and turn them for the nickel deposit. I got to keep the money. These kinds of memories are so special. I know how blessed I am to have had these experiences, and be loved by these wonderful family members.

A few nights ago, I had a dream that my whole family was together celebrating someone's birthday. From behind a swarm of people gathered by food, I caught a glimpse of my Papa sitting on the couch. In my dream, my breathing stopped. He's been gone 7 years, yet there he was smiling at me with those piercing, blue eyes. As I ran to him to ask how he was here, I was stopped by a stranger who explained that the man was not Papa. It was his twin brother. (My Papa did not have a twin.) But I went up to this Papa look-alike, and sat at his knee and breathed in his scent, and just was. Content for the moment to be as close as possible to a man I miss so much. In the dream, it didn't feel the same, but it was close.

I woke up sad, knowing that I didn't really see Papa, and that I can not see him. Knowing that it's been seven years without his humor and exhuberance. Missing him hurts, but not remembering him would hurt more. I'm thankful that I still dream of him and think of him regularly. It's a testament to how important he is to me, and the depth of his influence.

I love you, Big Boss. I keep trying to be your pride and joy. Vermont is still my favorite state. The husband and I talk of getting a small cabin in Vermont to spend our retirement summers. I think you'd get a big charge out of that, and remind me of all the best places to get pancakes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Word Clouds

In trying to find tools to assist with linking up ideas: mind maps, word clouds, etc., I found a website that will generate a word cloud from the text of a blog. Taking out the monstrous number of times I used the words girl and guide in my last entry, this is the result of my blog's current word cloudage.

It's an interesting, angular insight into my head, even though that's what I thought this blog itself was providing. It's the bullet point version. Very millenium-esque processing. I may re-wordle myself (that sounds a tad risque!) in the future to see how the clouding changes. Fun tool, though.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Girl's Guide to zzzzzz......

I have the zygot of an idea for a book. Before this idea can morph into even fetus stages, the librarian in me must do some research. Using myself as the first sample for what grabs attention on the bookstore [non-fiction] shelf, I admittedly gravitate towards sassy, savvy titles. For example, I'm more apt to flip through the pages of Thanking The Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, versus The Welfare of Animals: The Silent Majority. This is due strictly to the fun, catchy title even though both books deal with animal welfare and rights, and both books were recently published in 2008.

My zygot has the female reader in mind as its probable main demographic, 20-40 somethings, but could expand past that if I did it right. So, I was at a bookstore looking through the Health and Ftness, Self-Improvement, Christian Inspiration and Language sections. There are a massive amount of publications with Girl's Guide, or some variation on the theme, in the title. I mean a truly incredible amount. At what point does the public find diminishing returns on the novelity or inspiration of a Girl's Guide? A key term search of "Girl's Guide" on Amazon suggests over 17,000 titles; that's books only.

You can find anything from:

And those are just an inkling of what's an out there. If you tire of plain jane girl's guides, you have your pick of specialty girl's guides:

This list could go on as well. There is a guide out there if I'm nice, Catholic, smart, single, geeky or countless other adjectives.

Here's two things that bother me about girl's guides. First, many of these books are geared for WOMEN. There is an entire girl's guide series published by American Girl Library (associated with the American Girl doll) to help our youngest ladies ease into a variety of situations. The recommend age ranges are appropriately 4-8 or 9-12. IMHO, these books are correctly titled. The rest of us might prefer a Woman's Guide or Ladies' Guide to the area of expertise proffered. Or, if those sound too matronly, then a MS. Guide to Giving Your Book A Proper Title.

Next, it's played out. After 10 minutes of browsing Amazon's Girl's Guide selection, I really wasn't interested in any of them any more. There seemed nothing new under the sun. These books did not feel savvy, sassy or sure to assist; just pithy. Until I saw this title:

For the less snarky version of likely helpful tween pub, please click here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Still stewing in my muses

From Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love are some quotes I find by themselves worth the book.

From Italy:
*The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated.

*I'm exhausted by the cumulative consequences of a lifetime of nasty choices and chaotic passions.

*And the question now for me is, What are my choices to be? What do I believe I deserve in this life? Where can I accept sacrifice, and where can I not?

*We are the mayors of this town's ass.

*Everthing sad leaked through me and left damp traces behind.

*In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible...To devote yourself to the creation and enjoyment of beauty, then, can be a serious business. (The pastor preached this past Sunday on Echoes: the Desire of the Lord put beauty on the earth and the desire for it in our hearts. When we see beauty and yearn to be with and a part of it, we are experiencing the echo of God's voice in us. I very much like that idea.)

*You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.

From India:
*Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul yourself away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future, so that you can seek instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise.

*Remember, everything you do, you do for God. And everything God does, He does for you.

*Nothing pisses off a control freak more than life not goin' her way.

*I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many ways, and all these acquisitions and accomplishments - they run you down in the end. Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death.

*Look for God...Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.

*Flexibility is just as essential for divinity as is discipline.

From Indonesia:
*[from a Sufi poem] God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.

*Fear - who cares?

Now, how to go about applying all this? Especially being the mayor of the ass part of town...deep ponderings required.

A month ago, we attended Sunday school with my parents. The leader commenced with a question "What is wisdom? Define it" I said wisdom is knowledge applied. Well then, what is knowledge? I believe that knowledge is information understood. It's a freakin' 3 step process to wisdom, and with the onslaught of information in today's tech age, we're spending so much time just WEEDING info, that we've got less time to carefully consider the important data, understand it and then work towards application. We may be the least wise age of all time, and supurphluous information could be a leading cause. Sometimes more is just more. But I think the above quotes are all worth consideration, understanding and application; the trifecta for wisdom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'll Be Your Freakazoid.

Have you ever had one of those days where the to-do list is a mile long, yet all seems to be conspiring against you completing anything of import? Today was one of those days. Between presentations, follow-up, finding parking in this congested city and dealing with seedy underbellies, I found time to call the piano tune-up guy.

Last week I'd scheduled for this gent to come to our home this Friday, as we both have off for the holiday. We'd planned for him to fix the piano from a break due to doofus movers two moves ago, as well as tune it and help us move it to a different room. In prep for his arrival, we were measuring furniture. Could we could actually fit our stuff in their envisioned locations? Hmmph. Stuff ain't fittin' right. Our new, smaller home is lovely and cozy. There's only room for select items strategically placed. Until we know how to perfectly orchestrate futons, lounges and pianos, no move can occur.

So, I called him today to postpone Friday's appointment. I was in full work mode at the time. I left details about who I was, why we were delaying, my call back details, and then I ended the message like this: "Best Regards, Wendy" and hung up.

I ended a call the same way I normally sign off of EMAILS! What am I coming to? When I finally do meet this piano dude, he's probably going to give me the curious once over thinking who is this formal hoo-haa, and why is she so robotic?