Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Don't know much about... anything really.

Trying to push through my brain quagmire. Too much output, not enough of it going to the arts. Makes me feel dry and brittle in a sad inorganic kind of way.

From moment to moment I cannot quite remember what I just said or what I was about to do. I chalk that up to the too much output thing too. Trying to balance school, work, parenting, faith, art and homework is laughable. It cannot be done. Something has to give, or everything has to give at any given moment. So sadly, my book is neglected. Stagnating at 16,501 words and the last 500 of those (ok maybe 1000)  were written in such a fog of sleepiness that they are not any good.
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Two of my professors have Phd's. Neither of them (appear) to be married. Coincidence? But that is the last of their similarities. One is blessed with a radiant self-confidence while the other is so inexperienced that I wince when he attempts to organize anything. You can tell he is more accustomed to being a student than a professor and that has obvious advantages and drawbacks.
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There has been some scary rumors (rumors that happen to be true and not repeatable) at work. I have my bible study group on call for safety prayers. Feel free to chime in.
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Kids are full of words that are more likely than not to make you spit whatever beverage you are consuming at the time of hearing.

Marley: Mommy what are these hookers for?

She was talking about velcro.
Too bad I didn't realize that until after I explained it to her. Just kidding.

Friday, January 25, 2013



I don't know where Vivaldi spent his summers, but mine didn't sound anything like that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day in the life...

Today I hit my snooze button once when the very pretty melody of my alarm clock sounded at 6am. I was punished by having a very intense, disturbing nightmare for ten minutes until it went off again. Got up willingly and gladly the second time. Winter blankets, pajamas and heat wreak havoc on my psyche. Go to bed cold, wake up tangled in sweaty nightmare coffin.

Read 3 bible studies. Put on the outfit I picked out the night before, rethought it, changed.
Turned on the light in the darlings' room and Solomon popped up, only to re-collapse in my arms. Had to poke and prod Marley for five minutes to make any progress. Went downstairs for breakfast. Murphy-dog was acting like a psycho. Ran up the stairs despite my protestations, not normal for him to defy me. I chased after him to get him back down so he could be let out. He ended up jumping onto my bed, directly onto Bob's face. Chased the terrified dog back downstairs and out the door. Made double portions of raisin, date and walnut oatmeal (which has no dates or walnuts in it) for each darling with extra raisins, of course. Had a bowl of cereal, honey nut cheerios-ish and almond milk. Bob came down in a remarkably good mood (for him; for having had his face jumped on by a 65 lb. dog).

Got the kids dressed, put on my make-up, fished together all my school books and homework materials. Made sure all my technology was charged and that I had all the appropriate accouterments.

Ran outside to start car. VERY COLD.
Put socks, shoes, coats, hats, mittens on the darlings and myself. Last minute remembered to grab my lunch. Herded the kids out the door, to the van. Strapped them in. Prayed and listened to classical music on the way to school. Drove to the top floor of the Ludlow parking garage, unpacked kids from car, battled Solomon about parking lot safety, walked across the pedestrian bridge to the Health Services building.

Up, up, up to the third floor. Ran into the Dean of the Health and Public Safety Department. So overcome was she by the darlings' cuteness that she gave them college booklets about their programs, business cards and a contact number and email to get a private tour of the fire trucks, endorsed by her. Now speed-walking through the hallways, across to the Main building, through more hallways. Stop at the water fountains for drinks... twice. Up to the fourth floor. Scan ID, run other ID, check in kids, deliver Marley to her classroom after helping her dewinterize and a hug and kiss, deliver Solomon. Check his diaper, get his hands wash, kiss him goodbye. Mention the fire truck and dean to the center director, Miss Bev. Find out they already visit once a year.

Run down 3 flights up steps and down the hallway to the Veterans' Affairs office. Throw my pack and lunch and coat under my desk. Start scanning the paperwork from the day before that the other receptionist didn't do for some unknown reason. Rearrange and relabel the filing cabinets. Watch boss look at Porsches. Smile at people. Answer phone calls. Assure people I care about their money. I go to eat my lunch in the cafeteria, I eat with Ryan's mom, her financial position is worse than mine. I eat an orange, some meatloaf and have some water, I save the apple. I buy the kids a cookie for after school. I run into Lindsey on the way back to work.

More smiling. It slows down, I do my three homework assignments, asking for help when a math professor-who-also-happens-to-be-a-veteran comes in. The homework takes awhile but I get it done. A happy feeling permeates.

I find a strange veteran hanging out in an office he isn't REALLY supposed to be in, unattended. I listen to a handful of veterans discuss a panic phrase, to be used in situations when upset needs to be expressed discreetly. They are filling in the pretty volunteer on the phrase. Something to the effect of "The water is on fire" or something like that. The pretty volunteer must be used to this, she deals with their strangely sincere concern gracefully. The volunteer has been discussed by all the men in the office, they all agree she is "hot", "foxy", "You can't tell she's 60", "Ohhwwwhee."


At 4:50 I leave Ray and Tom and go to get the kids. I take the elevator and feel guilty about it. I scan my ID, collect Solomon, bribe him to come with me by mentioning there is a treat in the car, collect Marley who tells me she was "just about to chill out." She is bright red because she cannot tolerate any temperature above 70 degrees. I carry my backpack and their coats and I forget to sign them out, which I will get in trouble for tomorrow. We take the elevator to the 1st floor. Solomon bolts, Marley doddles, I am a packhorse attempting to be vigilant.

Though we take this path every day, Solomon decided to veer off course. He runs in the exit of the Registrar office. There is one woman in the office that I can see and she greets him, he runs out and she coaxes him back. She asks me subtly if they can have a lolli. I say yes, knowing Marley won't eat it and that it will make Solomon more agreeable. She finds them both lollipops, she is very nice. And enamored with their darling little cherubic faces. I unwrap the lollipops with my teeth. We continue down the hallway. Solomon is showing his sucker to every.single.person.we.pass. They love it. He loves it. Marley is indifferent. Marley would just as soon never meet any strangers ever, she'd make do with whoever she knows now.

We put on coats, go out the doors, across the street, into the health services building,  down the big winding staircase (we call them the Cinderella stairs) and out the doors, across the pedestrian bridge, to our car. Fish for keys, unlock door, strap in babes, get in car, seat belt, ignition....

Car won't start. I make more attempts. Nothing.
Deep sigh. Unload kids, return across bridge, in health building, up Cinderella stairs, outside, walk to the Veterans' affairs office, encounter Tom. Tom agrees to rescue us with his know-how, jumper cables and car battery. We return to the car, strap in, wait for Tom, jump the car successfully. YAY TOM!

Head home. Kids eating a cookie (and sucker). Pray on the ride home. Realize that my back really hurts from yoga the night before. Assure Solomon that daddy will be home eventually. Play the rhyming game with Marley, where I say a word and she says a rhyming word (real or otherwise).
Me: What rhymes with Cat?
Marley: Bat.
Me: Banana?
Marley: Shmanana!
Me: Fire truck?
Marley: Shmire truck!
Solomon: Poop truck!

Home. Unload from car, get mail, greet dog. Drop mail, help kids dewinterize. Take dog to back door and let him out. Start clearing up stuff in the kitchen, open pressing mail documents (W-2's!?) Get kids coloring while still clearing stuff off counter and table. Bob walks in 30 minutes later (6pm) and I still have my backpack on.

Make chicken sandwiches. Eat mine and Solomon's, after he wanders away from it. Give kids more coloring pages. Speak briefly with Bob. Turn on Caillou for kids. Take a shower (note: this is not a regular part of my day). Study chapters 1-12 for quiz tomorrow. Kids come upstairs with Bob. Battle over teeth brushing. Compromises made. Pajamas. Reading Jack and the Beanstalk in Marley's bed with Marley while Solomon wanders around throwing stuffed animals and pooping. Change his diaper. Shut off lights. Pray. Sing Jesus loves Me. Put Solomon in his bed. Listen to Marley's closing remarks. Blow kisses, leave the room.

Battle kid shenanigans for the next hour while attempting to blog.
Bible study.
Bedtime.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Judging Kings

So there is this strong urge in me to label biblical characters as good or bad. David= Good, Solomon= Bad, Jezebel= Really Bad, Pharoah= Really bad too, Ruth= Good.

But really, they were all bad. God required something from each of them. He protected some of them, some of the time from the evil nature that stays within each of us since the moment of the Fall. He hardened Pharoah's heart, giving him no escape from his own nature to demonstrate his love and power for his people.

I was thinking about this as I was reading about Joab. David and Solomon's military man. He served David faithfully until the trials with Absalom and then continued to be a complicated character under Solomon's reign. He saved David's butt a few times but still you see bitterness drive him to evil. In the end David tells Solomon

 “Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace. 1 Kings 2:5-6

Then Solomon has Joab struck down, fulfilling his father's wish, though not necessarily God's. Because men of God do things outside of God's will ALL THE TIME. I find this a very important fact to remember whenever I read anything in the books of Samuel and Kings.

The truth is, we don't know if Joab went to Heaven or not. We know Solomon cursed him but not if God honored that curse. So judging Joab is fruitless and not my job. Not Joab or anybody else.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

HOW TO SAVE MONEY111111!

I read these lists of tips for "saving money" or for "lowering the cost of daily living" fairly often. I get rather infuriated when the methods include helpful tips like: installing geothermal heating/cooling; don't drink mocha lattes from Starbucks every day; limit eating out...

If you don't know those things save money, you're not really poor anyway. Definitely above 80% of the poverty level anyway. If you have money to install geothermal heating/cooling than great, you go do that. I would too.

Here is a list of some things I came up with that will really save you money. You're likely reading this from a library computer and have a 20-30 minute limit so I will use succinct language. I'll start with the tips for your home life and then tackle what to do while you're out of your nest.

  • Decide if you really have to flush the toilet every time. Teach your kids what requires flushing and what doesn't.
  • Toilet paper is way cheaper than kleenex (usually), so buy the cheap soft stuff during cold season. It is cheaper than paper towels too but in the long run, paper towels do their work better than TP can, so go ahead and splurge if you have the $5-$8 to spare.
  • Always pay your energy bill before your internet bill if you have one. Why? Modems and routers need electric to work anyway.
  • Don't be the jerk who uses all your EBT/SNAP/Food Stamps for one day's worth of meals.
  • Pasta with red sauce is the ultimate recipe for stretching your dollar/benefits. Buy some jars of the cheapest brand and then add cooked vegetables. Cook the pasta and mix it altogether. It will keep in the fridge for awhile and you can eat it for every meal and your kids will still not develop an iron deficiency or be snack-riddled sugar zombies.
  • Turn the lights off in rooms you're not in. I know, this one is on all the other lists but it is a good one. TURN 'EM OFF! And going back to the first bullet point, you probably don't need to turn the light on to successfully navigate using the toilet. Peeing in the dark and not flushing? It was like you were never even there!
  • If you use the oven in the winter, leave the door open after you finish cooking something. Make sure kids can't get near it and no cats or hamPsters jump in there. Better to shell out more for heat than argue with the hospital collections people.
  • Heat rises. If you can just get your body higher up, you'll be warmer.
  • You CAN freeze milk but you can't be a wimp about the texture that results.
  • Kids will survive, surprisingly enough, without Dora the Explorer beaming up at them from their bandaids/shoes/lunch box/rustic camping cook set/t-shirt.
  • Leaving your shoes on will maintain your core body temperature better than leaving a hat on. Leaving both on? EVEN BETTER! You will be sweating your way through January.
  • If you're hot, take off clothes. (We're talking body temperature here people).
  • If you're hot, find some ice water. Ice isn't free, neither is water, but it is cheaper than air conditioning.
  • Never look at Pinterest.
  • Sunshine coming in windows will heat a room. Uncover or cover windows appropriately to suit your temperature adjusting needs.
  • If you can find a hobby that is low cost that will distract you from more expensive pursuits, do it. (Warning: Smoking is not considered a low cost habit. Even if you roll your own, later in life oxygen tanks are mucho dinero hombre) (FYI: Walking is free but if you need to drop $4 on gym shoes at St. Vincent De Paul, do it).
  • Be healthy as possible (see some one else's list for tips on this).
  • If there is a mess to be cleaned up, decide if you really need to use a paper towel or if you can use a peice of laundry that is headed to the wash anyway. (See next tip)
  • Don't wash your clothes every time you where them. (Exceptions: Underpants, toddler clothing because those guys are gross, socks, and any clothes belonging to people in food service or people who are big sweaty sweatballs).

Now for some tips for when you leave the domicile
  • GO HOME. No where is cheaper than going no where.
  • St. Vincent De Paul is less expensive than Goodwill.
  • Don't visit stores if you don't *NEED* something.
  • You only ever *NEED* food, water, toilet plungers or hand soap. Everything else is pretty much frills.
  • In the event you find yourself driving a vehicle, try to coast as much as possible. I don't ACTUALLY know if that preserves fuel but in my head, it makes sense.

That is all I can currently think of (that wouldn't scandalize everyone). Good luck.

Note 1: This list isn't just for poor folks, rich people can try it too.

A big old meh.

"You are neglecting A Tale in Cincinnati,kids,husband, laundry,dog school, job, what?" -Mom

Ok.ok. Since my middle class got cancelled, here I am. Though it will likely be a disjointed amalgamation of brain debris rather than anything life-changing (you know, like everything else I write).

Spring semester started this week. I have /add /dropped for the first time in my life. Interpersonal communications, goodbye. Hello, Human diversity. So far it seems to a be a good switch. I've gone from dry professor in windowless room to already-taken-a-field-trip. We did an activity called "The Race" where you took 1-2 steps forward or backward depending on the dis/advantages in your life history. As I predicted all the white males were in the front. I would imagine this is en effect of both cultural practices and larger strides. What I had not expected was how far I was in the back. 23 people and I was third from the back. The only two people behind me was a lesbian and another girl around my age. Fifteen feet in front of me was first and second generation Americans, ESL speakers, baby boomers, etc. The only times I got to take steps forward was when I was asked questions regarding my pre-high school graduation life.

It didn't upset me. I do want to get a bit edgier haircut though since I am (apparently) a greaser. But I guess being the third most disadvantaged college student is still pretty stinking good.
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For those of you following my food obsessions (almond milk, honey crisp apples, waffle crisp), please add Cara cara oranges. Delicious.
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I've gone to yoga with Robyn a few times. What a good idea that was of mine! #credit
Nothing makes me feel more invigorated than exercise combined with listening earnestly for/to God's voice. Bidel's Bible College!
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I also began working for the first time in ... 6 years. I have considered mincing words but I won't. I hate it. Certainly not because of the people, they are all fine people. I just don't want to do this right now. But who does want to work really? I heard the sound of kids outside my office twice and started feeling the first waves of a panic attack.
I'm depressed about it. I don't really feel like ruminating about it here.
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Still slowly writing a book, still slowly working on "The Simulated Legacy" project.
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I would imagine something has to give. I don't know what it is. Or if it already has.
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God is good all the time.