Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy birthday to me


Today I turn 54. I'm having a wonderful time celebrating but I keep thinking, too, of the fact that I have now passed the length of time that my brother Dan was alive. It's hard to believe. And hard to imagine having only 53 years of life on earth. It makes me so very sad. My sadness is always mixed with gratitude, though, for the life Dan was able to live and the family and friends who were such a blessing to him, and to whom he was a blessing.

The image I included above is a painting by Chris Overvoorde, an art professor at Calvin whose art includes many paintings like the one above, where the sky is the main thing on the canvas. I do love the sky. I have thought about it often this weekend as we are visiting my daughter in San Diego. The sky has been so blue and bright, with classic white, puffy clouds shining in the clear air.

Randy and I took a trip to Albuquerque once just to sightsee, and the New Mexican skies were fascinating to me. Each afternoon big, cumulus clouds would pile up and there'd usually be a bit of rain. But throughout the day things in the sky were always changing. And at night the stars were incredible. We took long drives through desert, high desert, scrubland, from sun & heat all the way to peaks and snow. At one point while we were driving Randy asked me what I was thinking and I said, "I was thinking I haven't looked straight up yet."

That verse that says the Psalmist's help comes from the hills I think I would change...


I lift up my eyes to the [skies]—
       where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth



---Psalm 121:1,2

Monday, October 25, 2010

OK, so that didn't work

OK, so the idea of daily blogging didn't work. Whatever. I'll just try to do more.

I'm still at work right now, waiting for my hubby to pick me up and take me home. It's been a long day. Kind of felt down all day. The sun'll come up tomorrow, I'm telling myself. I'm damn precious, I'm telling myself. The people who count love me, I'm telling myself.

My sister wrote about shopping in Safeway (hey, maybe I can write a daily blog by using my sister's ideas every day!). She wrote about the clerks who stand by the registers and ask if you're ready to go and direct you to a free register. When they do that it always makes me think of the prostitutes we saw in the red district in Amsterdam. I guess because the clerks are standing in their little aisle and the prostitutes stood in their solitary windows.

I once wrote a letter to the editor of our newspaper (an email actually, but you know what I mean) about the canned speeches from grocery store clerks. A bunch of people were complaining about clerks who talk to their co-workers instead of talking to the customers. That can be annoying, but meaningless, pat conversation annoys me a lot more. It's so dumb that they have to read my name so they can say it to say thank you. And when some young kid says, "Did you find everything you needed?" I want to say, "Yes, because I've shopped here since before you were born." Once I got to know a clerk a little and would ask her how her schooling was going because she was going to nurse's school. The last time I did that she kind of ducked her head and said she couldn't talk because the manager was looking and they weren't supposed to chitchat with the customers. How ridiculous is that? Real, friendly conversation is not allowed, only the fake, memorized kind.

I also often think about the fact that, actually, we could do our entire transaction without one word. I slide my card, she knows my name, the numbers show up on the screen, the screen prompts me for my signature, we're done. Would it be better to have no speaking than fake speaking? Not sure about that. Maybe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Waving antennaes

My sister's decided to try to write in her blog every day. It's recommended. I'm not sure I can keep up but I'll see. Today she wrote about a rat - blech - near her workplace. That inspired me to write about an earwig - eew - in my kitchen window.

This morning I was doing some dishes the old fashioned way, in the sink, by hand. Although it can be a bother to do dishes in the morning, I don't mind it so much. I kind of enjoy the warm, sudsy water. As I was rather dreamily standing there doing the dishes, I happened to glance down at the kitchen window's sill and see some tiny brown antennaes waving from behind the lip of the window frame. Even thinking about it right now is giving me the heebie-jeebies. Bugs at any time are gross but this early in the morning it was really tough to handle.

Fortunately, I've got a hubby who takes care of these things. I went and got him, pointed him in the direction and then walked out of the kitchen. I didn't want to see any more.

Why do bugs gross me out so much? Even when I was young, I'd turn the pages of the "National Geographic" from the topmost corner, just in case there was a photo of a bug on the other side. I didn't even want to touch a picture of a bug.

If I keep blogging more regularly, you may hear more about this lovely subject. Isn't that something to look forward to?

I've noticed my sister includes photos or images for visual interest. In this case, no.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

God in Infinity


Our worship leader showed this video a couple weeks ago as part of our "Beginnings, Betrayals, Blessings" series in our year of reading through the Bible in a year ("The Story We Find Ourselves In"). The video reminded me a of an experience I had while living at my brother's house for a summer during college.

I've told a few people about this experience and always felt like I can't do it justice. I can't convey the impact it had on me when I try to explain it. The video shows what I felt better than I can say it. But anyway, what happened is I was sitting on my brother's wood deck. It was a beautiful day and I was admiring the blue sky with a few pretty clouds, and the clear, fresh air. I looked down and saw an ant walking on the inside edge of one of the pieces of lumber of the deck. I was suddenly struck by the tininess of that ant, the huge distance to the sky, and all the points beyond and between, and how God was present in it all.

I kind of felt a feeling of zooming up and spreading out to the sky, then telescoping down and in to the edge of that piece of wood. I thought, too, of the immense distance beyond the sky I saw, the universe and on, plus the distance beyond the tininess of the ant, into the microscopic and invisible spaces and organisms of that infinitely small world, and even the colors and rays we can't see, the sound waves we don't hear, all of that "infiniti-ness" -- and God being there.

I am so grateful for God's greatness, his hugeness, his presence everywhere from beginning to end, and yet he cares for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

good bye to kiddos

I watched "The Kids Are All Right" tonight. In it the moms (it's a lesbian couple) are facing the leaving of their oldest child, a daughter, for college. It made me think of when Cori left for college. I was so happy for her and I knew she'd be really happy at Calvin but I was SO sad to have her leave. I'm really blessed that my daughter is my friend and I knew how much I would miss her. I would tear up just thinking about it before she left, and when she did go, I was so very sad. My sister moved away in a close time frame to my daughter leaving for college and I felt like I lost my two best girlfriends. It was a tough time for me.

The movie also made me think of other times when I say good bye to my kids. Like when I said good bye to Luke, Des and Delaney after they surprised me with a visit on Labor Day Weekend. I knew I would miss them so much when they left.

It's hard to say good bye to your kids. Even when they're not kids any more. I have to remind myself, though, how God has blessed me and Randy with such good kids, and I also remind myself that having a daughter in San Diego and a son & his family in Phoenix isn't THAT far away. I know a family whose kids all live in Germany and other countries. So, there, it could be worse. For half the year all of us are even in the same time zone. What more could I ask, really?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Make-believe

Today I am watching my sweet little granddaughter while her parents are at work (I'm visiting for the weekend). This morning I put a bunch of her baby dolls and stuffed animals under a blanket and told her they were going ni-night. She then spent quite a bit of time arranging them, herself and the blanket. Every so often she'd say, "Ni-night" or "Shhh" or "There you go."

It made me think of playing make-believe when I was little. The experts say pretending is very important to development. The earliest make-believe memory I have is a pretend playground. I think we were in our Seattle house, which would make me 4 or so. I'd imagine a playground around me, with swings and a slide and so on.

I "played house" sometimes with my friends, and did a little of that with dolls, although I don't remember playing a whole lot with dolls. Except Barbies. I spent hours and hours with friends playing with Barbies. I had a big tri-fold case that we'd stand on end to form a sort of house, we'd build things with shoeboxes, I had a Barbie car and a Barbie horse. One of my favorite Barbies was one with a plastic painted bun on her head and 3 wigs you could put on her. I also liked my Scooter and Skipper. Scooter had black hair in pigtails, and freckles. Skipper had beautiful stawberry blonde hair.

I don't remember it but my sister's told me I turned my Barbies over to her at some point, a sort of growing up milestone I guess.

What did you make-believe?