Archive for October, 2006

It’s War

I’ve always been possessive. It’s just who I am. Once, when I was about three, I was at my grandmother’s house riding a little red tricycle. I had to go inside to eat but I was pretty nervous about leaving the tricycle outside with the other kids who might get on it. You should know that the tricycle was not mine. I hadn’t brought it from home. It was the trike that was always at my grandmother’s house, but I believed it was mine.

Once inside, the kitchen window was open and I could hear the wheels grinding in the gravel of the driveway. It was all I could do to not run out there and kick them off, but, instead, I crawled up on the step stool and yelled out the window “Hey you guys, off my bike!”

Later, someone painted my name in orange on the back of the trike and everyone knows, even now, that it’s mine.

It shouldn’t be so surprising to me that my blood starting boiling yesterday when I drove up into our carport. For over a year now Jud and I have had the same two parking spaces right outside our door. Our neighbor Stacey parks on the end. Jud parks next to her and then my car rounds out the spots. I have no idea what happens in the middle or on the end with the other people’s cars because I don’t need to know. They can park however they’d like, but spots number two and three are ours. Don’t get me wrong; we don’t have assigned parking. When we moved in, we just made sure to ask the landlord if anybody had dibs on any of the spots. He said that Stacey usually parked there by the dumpster but that the other spaces were available. So, we claimed our spots and no one had any problem with it.

Until, of course, some new people moved in. He’s a future DTSer and she’s a nurse. They live on the other side of Stacey (where there is street parking available in front of their door). They have one red car and one maroon car. They have a cat and sometimes we hear a dog barking from inside their place. We don’t really know them at all, but they are infuriating me. They’ve been parking in our spots.

I know. It shouldn’t be such a huge deal. Why can’t I let them just park their cars there? It’s not like they are assigned anyway. But there’s an unwritten rule. And that rule is not “first come first serve” it is “this spot has historically been mine and therefore, until you ask for it, it shall remain mine.” If they were to have a conversation with us about it and give some logical reason as to why they want the spot, I would acquiesce (shut up, yes I would. Maybe not with a happy heart or anything, but I would do it). It’s this passive aggressive stealing that’s driving me insane and I am not going to start a conversation with them about it. No way. They need to initiate it with us. They are the ones usurping our parking positions and they are doing it deliberately.

Yesterday, as I pulled into a different parking spot because the maroon one was in my place, I had visions of Fried Green Tomatoes in my head. Since I’m young and have just okay insurance, I contained myself. I may not be able to keep from containing one primordial yawp of “Hey you guys, outta my space!” or maybe I’ll just paint my name on the ground in a nice bright orange. Seemed to work well before.


Saturday Sorrow aka Drowning our Tears in Fish

If Saturday’s game didn’t feel like a kick in the teeth to you, then I’m pretty sure you don’t cheer for NE. It was the most difficult thing I’ve watched so far this year and I caught part of those tapes with beheadings from Saddam’s reign of terror (okay, so I didn’t actually see those, but my father described them to me yesterday on the phone (we don’t get the National Geographic channel) and they sounded pretty gruesome…beheadings and people getting thrown off rooftops and snatched out of the crowd and the whole bit. Dude was nuts. Still is). Anyway, back to the football misery. Jud and I watched it in disbelief and horror. We did miss the last, albeit meaningless, NE touchdown because we were on our way to a fish fry at Brandon and Zanna’s.

(I’ve gotta say that we were less than excited about going to the party, given that four of the people in attendance went to OSU. We obviously wore our Husker gear and Brandon and Zanna wore their orange OSU shirts, but there wasn’t too much ribbing, thank goodness (Missouri lost and my hopes were high. Too high, apparently. I just believe so much in those boys and it killed me to see them not show up. Where were you Blackshirts? Zac, where was your head? Why did you keep your fingers from curling around that ball, Maurice and Nate and the rest of you? We’re not mad at you. We just never want to see any of that behavior again. Mkay?).

We did have a really great night with everybody…Jenn makes some killer hush puppies, in case you were wondering and Jud loved the shrimp Mike boiled with potatoes and corn and all. We didn’t eat much that was good for us, but we did eat well! Here are a few pictures of the crowd…

These pictures are thanks to Zanna…

From left to right, Mike, Gina, Jared and Brandy.
From left to right, Chad, Melissa, Jenn, Daniel, and Wally (complete with OSU shirt).

Vote Pete Ricketts

Election time is around the corner, and its is extremely important that everyone gets out to vote on November 7. If you’re a Nebraska voter and need to register, make sure to do so before Friday.

With that said, I just want to encourage Nebraska voters to cast their US Senate vote for Pete Ricketts. I really do think that he is someone that would represent Nebraska (and the Midwest) in a much more honest manner. (BTW, Ricketts is financing his entire campaign on his own apart from the NE Republican party.) I really have no idea why Nebraskans have continued to support Ben Nelson as long as they have, I guess it primarily lays in the fact that Nebraskans are very loyal people. If nothing else, Nebraskans should seek to limit the ability for individuals such as Nelson (and Hegal for that matter) to maintain careers as politicians. Enough with my opinions on this, just check out the facts on Ben Nelson and that should say enough.

Just as a side note, Ben Nelson spoke at GU’s commencement in 2003. I have no idea how or why this happened but it was a disgrace to all of the graduating class of 2003 to hear a “go get em’ tiger,” “you can do anything you put your mind to” speech. I suspect that his speaking engagement was a sorry attempt on GU’s part to increase it’s clout with the elitist community of Omaha and in so doing hope to garner more community interest. I can almost guarantee that it was not because Ben Nelson is an model for Christian living (if he is a Christian at all, judging by his opting for a “moment of silence” rather than prayer) and I find it extremely distasteful to use people of prominence regardless of their integrity to represent your institution.

I don’t want to even get started on Texas politics. Needless to say, politicians here have multiple hands in multiple pockets and it doesn’t matter their party affiliation. In fact, I wish I could use my vote to go against certain individuals rather than for a specific candidate.

The World, It Is Ending

Well, this news is both shocking and alarming. Someone’s going to have to save us from our own stupidity. Quickly.

Not Quite the Zoo

Yesterday at work, fourteen of us went on a field trip. Here is my report:

The field trip to ________ was fun. First we all got into the cars and got on a toll road. This was fine with me because no one wanted me to drive and I did not have to pay any tolls. We drove way up north, which reminded me of all of the trips we go on to see our family who live far away. I wished that the cars would not stop and that we would drive all the way to my family, but they didn’t.

Before we went to the _______ _________ we had lunch. Usually on field trips you have to bring a sack lunch and sit on the curb to eat your sandwich before you go into a museum or something, but yesterday we got to go into a restaurant. A fancy one. Chilis. The food tasted just like Chilis food and I didn’t have to pay for it because our class leader said “one check” and then we all got to order whatever we wanted. It was great.

While we waited for our food, we talked. I was sitting with two people who are from foreign countries (both countries are on the continent of Asia) and three people who are Americans. Somehow we started talking about how funny it is that we don’t call countries by the name they call themselves. One of the foreigners said she didn’t understand. I gave an example “like how we call it Germany but the Germans call their country Deutschland.” She is from a country in the far north of Asia and she was all “No. That’s right. In my country we call it ger-man-ee.” It took about five minutes for me to explain that her country calls them by a different name too. I was glad when my food came and I could eat.

After lunch, we got back into the cars and drove a short distance to the __________. We know the people who work there because they buy the stuff my company makes and resell it to other people who then sell it to end users. That’s a lot of buying and selling but that’s the way it works. We walked around and saw our stuff on their shelves and they told us how they find the stuff, get the stuff, repackage the stuff and then ship the stuff to the buyers. It didn’t take too long, but it was kind of hot in there and I was sweating. It was a good thing that I stopped on my way to work that morning to buy deodorant after forgetting to put some on at home. Now I have deodorant in my desk at work so that I don’t ever have to stink when I sweat.

At the end of our tour, some high up people from _________ came into a conference room to tell us how much they like us. It was kind of weird. Then they gave us bags of candy (I ate my Sweetarts right away) and we drove back to work. Lots of stuff had happened while we were away and then I couldn’t leave until late.

I’m not sure why we went on a field trip, but I sure liked those Sweetarts.

The Other’s Gold

You know that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine is thinking about how she doesn’t have any girlfriends anymore and Kramer says to her “Of course not. You’re a man’s woman.” That used to be true of me. I had very few female friends. One year for Christmas, my mom bought me a book entitled “Friendships With Women.” She was obviously getting pretty worried, unlike Kramer, who seemed to address the issue as if it were an irreversible issue. I don’t think I read the book (sorry mom!) but somewhere along the way, I started making friends with women, lots of women, of all different ages, with whom I have shared so much of my life.

My friendships with Cheryl, Kathy, Laurie, Ellen, Kristi, Allison, Lydia, Carolyn, Julie, Renee, and on and on and on, are the friendships of my life. They are the people I still call for recipes and for laughter. They are my advisors and I give them an ear full too (although these days I mostly find myself badgering them about not missing their yearly physicals). They are the women who I long to see, many of whom went from being my babysitters, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, mentors and Bible Study teachers to intimate friends. I miss them all terribly.

I realized this week that I’m making new friendships with women down here that are similar to the ones I made up north. They are in their infancy and they probably can’t be what the others are, but they have a great deal of potential and I need to give them enough space to grow.

Tuesday night I went to Bible Study and it was pretty good. The room set up was changed to a big square of tables, making it easier to communicate with everyone since we could all see each other. There were some really sweet women there and I’m excited to get to know them more as we study together.

Last night I went out for dinner with some women from our Sunday school class. It was a really good time…great group of women with plenty of diversity and plenty of humor.

So, I’m making new friends, but I’m keeping the old too [So glad I learned that song in Brownies back in the day. Come to think of it, Brownies might have been the reason I stopped being friends with girls in the first place. I’ll tell you that story sometime] .

The Thing About It Is…

I’m obviously not updating this thing the way I have before and there are good reasons for it, the largest one revolving around the idea that I feel a bit more secretive about our life plans right now. We’ve been contemplating what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and where we’re doing it and all of those sorts of things that you probably would have an opinion about if I drug that laundry out in the open for you to examine. I’m just not so sure that I want a lot of opinions right now. All the voices saying all the things that they are thinking can really clutter up the mind and muck up the gears. Sometimes it’s better to keep your trap shut. So, in a sense, that’s what we’ve done. We’ve battened down the hatches and have gone to silent running.

But, of course, you know I can’t stay completely silent. It’s just not in my genes. There’s been tons of stuff to tell you about, but I just haven’t given much thought to all of these great things because of all of the weighty ones pushing them out of my mind. I’ve decided to brush off the cobwebs and let you in on some pieces of our life. The good pieces. The pieces for which we’re grateful.

On Sunday, we went to our church’s annual meeting. I was especially excited when I saw that there was a vast array of baked goods to eat during the meeting. My favorite little hotdog in a roll thing that Texans refer to as kolaches (or sometimes they call them sausage rolls, which I very much prefer given that the brief definition of a kolache is “a bun of yeast dough with a depression or pocket for filling, generally with a fruit jam” – yeah, not quite a hot-dog-style pig-in-a-roll-type-blanket) were there. I grabbed two of them. Jud went for some sticky buns (think Monkey Bread). The food was a great surprise.

The meeting itself was interesting as they were attempting to change, in my opinion, a rather important part of their constitution. Currently, all pastoral staff is voted in and out by the congregation. Sounds good. As someone who was on staff at a church and who was voted into a position there, I know how important it was to have the confidence of a congregational vote behind me. I knew I had a heap of people who wanted me there, who had confidence in my ability and who were pledging to help me succeed in my leadership. That’s important information. Had I been asked to tenure my resignation for reasons like impropriety or lack of performance or just sheer ‘we don’t like you anymore’ I would have done that. I would have resigned, if the board had asked and that would have been that because I believed (and still do) that the unity of the church family is more important than my job or my ‘rights’ or my anything. Any sane, rational person would agree to do the same. The only time when actual dismissal would need to happen would involve a nut job…a crazy person who would have slight megalomaniac tendencies. This person’s pride would be what forces a congregational vote upon their dismissal. It would be appropriate for the person’s nuttiness to be explained to the congregation. Apart from that scenario, there won’t be a congregational vote to remove someone. Normal people step down when the writing is on the wall.

The change proposed is for the supporting pastoral staff (aka all of them except the senior pastor) to be hired and fired by the elders without congregational approval. Made me shiver. We’re not members, so we couldn’t vote, but we prayed that the people would see the wisdom in keeping a little say in the matter. Guess we’ll find out soon!

After church, I went home to get my food ready for a baby shower. Hansy (of Martin & Hansy fame) gave birth to a beautiful little girl in August and we were finally getting around to throwing her a shower. I cut my tortilla-roll-ups, plated my cheese ball and made sure my presents were together. It was a little before 2 when my phone rang. It was Jenn, as I thought it would be, (she did the bulk of the shower planning and organizing and such because she is totally awesome at those things and loves to make things beautiful and does a great job of it too). I thought she was calling to say “I’m on my way, are you ready to decorate?” But she was really calling to say, “Where are you, crazy late woman! This shin-dig is at 2:00!” I’d thought 3:00. I’d written it down as three o’clock in my planner. I was an hour off.

When I got there, frazzled and feeling like a schmutz, everything looked beautiful (props to Daniel on the chocolate shavings for the trifle) and women were milling about nicely. I put the food out and joined the groups talking, trying to ignore the sweat beads on my back from the mad dash. The baby slept through most of the shower, but her big sister got up when presents were being opened and added a good deal of levity to the process. It was a lovely shower! I hope Hansy enjoyed it too.

As I pulled into the carport, trying to decide if it would be a bad idea to eat the rest of the cheese ball in one day, Jud came out to let me know that we were late, very late, for a football party with our Sunday school class. I suddenly remembered writing our name next to “Salad” on the “Who’s Brining What” list. Crud. Late again. In the same day. I didn’t have a salad made. I didn’t have the energy to get there. I didn’t have the ability to stand in front of more people and laugh about my mistake. My humor was totally gone.

So, instead, I went inside, changed out my church clothes, and laid down. It was all I could do.