Archive for October, 2008

Halloween Weirdness

This very weird day started at exactly 12:04am, when I was in my bathroom, washing my face, getting ready for bed. I heard and felt my front door being slammed. I thought it might be Chris, since he was out laying freeway tubes, but a walk out to the living room revealed nothing. I got a little freaked out since I KNEW I had felt the house shake. I walked around, checking to make sure every door and window was locked. I didn’t sleep very well. This morning I found out that it had been an earthquake. Weird.

Then, at 9:30am, our bank down the street was robbed and two tellers were shot and the robber got away. Police and federal agents immediately put all area schools on lockdown, where they remained for three hours, while they searched the area. Grace’s class had to sit on the floor, back against the wall, blinds closed, lights off, doors locked for three hours. No potty breaks and lunch was late. Sadie’s teacher turned the lights back on after a while and had them sit at their desks and work quietly. Still, blinds closed, doors locked, no bathroom or lunch. After a couple hours, the principal came and got them out of their portable classroom and moved them into the main building. Callie has not come home yet, but her school was also in lockdown. They lifted the lockdown at 12:15 but as far as I can tell, they are still searching for the gunman. Weird.

Then, to top it all off, Grace announced that when they finally did go to lunch, the cafeteria food was eggs, corn dogs, syrup, french fries and ice cream. Not that weird. But because lunch was so late, they gave everyone double servings. I’m glad I made the kids’ lunches today.

Kinda feels weird taking kids trick-or-treating when there’s a bank-robbing gunman on the loose. And he robbed my bank. The bank where I take our deposits for work. Could this day get any weirder? I’m afraid to ask.

4 Comments

Washington DC and Another Creative Burst

We took a whirlwind trip this weekend to Washington DC. Our friend Jackie got married and what a magical affair it was! Oh, the food that we ate! Not only were we served thirteen courses of gourmet french food at the wedding itself…Jackie and her husband, Philippe, cooked a seven course meal for us the night before the wedding at their home. I am still full. It was so good. And the company made it even better. Chris, Callie and I flew over for three days while Sadie and Grace stayed here with Uncle Matt and Aunt Marisela. I believe a good time was had by all. Although the trip was too short and jam-packed with fun activities to really do any sight-seeing, Chris and I did manage a quick trip on the subway to the White House. We got a cup of coffee, took the obligatory pictures and hurried back to prepare for the wedding. It was really, really fun. Callie stayed at Jackie’s house with Jackie’s daughter Jasmine, that she has known since she was born while Chris and I were down the block in a hotel. We walked everywhere, even in the cold rain. I loved it.

Also, I came up with something the other day at exactly 4:33pm that has changed my life forever. Well, maybe not forever but probably for a long, long time. See, I’ve been addicted to the song Acrobat by U2 lately. I do that. I get addicted to songs and have to listen to them over and over. LOUDLY. While they work their way into every fiber of my being. It’s become my new theme song. Anyway, I’ve found that the quickest way to find it on my iPod is by looking it up alphabetically by song, since it starts with the letter A. Well, after about the twentieth time of listening to it, I didn’t hit replay. I just let the iPod go on to the next alphabetical song (Addicted – Kelly Clarkson). And then the next (Addicted to You – Michael Whalen) and then the next (The Advent – Sojourn Music). Interesting. Now I’m stuck. I’ve made a promise to myself that I am going to listen to every song in my iPod, in order, alphabetically until it’s done. I want to see how long it will take me and I want to see if I really like all those songs I have in there. Of course, when I get to the end, I will need to go back to the a’s and listen to the eight songs that come before Acrobat, since I missed them. I will end with Aces, by Suzy Bogguss. I’ve got about 3000 songs in there. I’ll let you know when I’m done.

Pictures from DC:

Jackie, cooking for us in her kitchen
IMG_0290

Her husband, Philippe, with his mother, Gisele
IMG_0296

Jasmine and Callie
IMG_0298

Waiting for our ride
IMG_0316

We played a little Yahtzee while we waited
IMG_0317

Caribou Coffee and the White House
IMG_0319

IMG_0320

IMG_0324

IMG_0325

Ready for the wedding
IMG_0336

IMG_0342

The beautiful bride and groom
IMG_0360

They passed out berets for all the men to wear during the escargot and frog legs course
IMG_0372

I liked the way my glass of water looked with the candle burning behind it
IMG_0388

What a beautiful, fun time with beautiful, fun people. Thanks for letting us be a part, Jackie.

8 Comments

Creative Juices

I heard on the news the other day that research shows that the most creative time of day for people is 10:04pm. And creativity is at its least at 4:33pm. Interesting. I thought I’d test it out here as I’m nearing the 10:04pm mark. Let’s see what’s in my mind right now:

9:36pm: Right now I’m thinking about how I realized something new about myself today. I realized that I prefer my water cold, with no ice when I’m drinking it by itself. But when drinking water with food, I want that water to have ice in it. I wonder what that’s all about.

9:38pm: (taking a break to go get a drink of water…)

9:40pm: When I was just now in the kitchen, drinking my iceless water, the chocolate pudding cake, half-eaten, still cooling on the counter caught my attention. Tonight after dinner, Sadie wondered aloud how she would ever learn to cook like me. That inspired me to get out my well-worn, food-spattered Holly Hobbie cookbook that I learned to cook with at about her age. It easily fell open to the most-used page in the book: the chocolate pudding cake page. My favorite recipe to make, grades four through nine. Sadie got right up from dinner, and without a second thought, proceeded to follow every direction to the letter. Right down to “serve warm with a glass of cold milk.” Might I add that we enjoyed it with multiple candles burning in the family room and Norah Jones playing softly in the background. It was nice. And yummy.

9:46pm: (staring blankly at computer screen….)

9:47pm: (heart starting to pound a little at the anticipation of my most creative time of day coming up in seventeen minutes…)

9:48pm: (wondering if upcoming burst of creativity will change my life forever….)

9:49pm: Oh! I just thought of something! This morning I almost passed out because I was so dizzy. Honestly, I had to run to my bed before the rushing sound in my ears took me down to the ground, involuntarily. I barely made it. All day, my ears itched after that. This afternoon sometime (probably 4:33pm, for all I know), my right ear gave a little bursting sound and then warm liquid oozed out. While I was riding in someone else’s car. It was seriously creative.

9:52pm: (singing the Smallville theme song in my head, complete with all the instrumental parts…)

9:55pm: (thinking about how we’re supposed to get rain tomorrow along with a cold front and how maybe I should finally follow through on one of my New Year’s Resolutions…)

9:58pm: (biting fingernails intensely…)

10:00pm: (thinking about brushing my teeth and getting in bed…wondering if other people out there hate brushing their teeth as much as I do…)

10:03pm: Ohmygoodness, it’s almost here! What’s gonna happen? What am I gonna come up with?

10:04pm: Yeah. I got nothing. Maybe I should try 4:33pm tomorrow. Maybe I’m backwards from other people. That wouldn’t surprise me.

Good night to all and to all a good night.

7 Comments

I Bleed

I have a heart.

As far as I know, it’s in perfect working order. When I was born, there was a hole in it. In other words, I was born with a defective heart. That hole closed over on its own by the time I was six years old. During each of my three pregnancies, my heart decided to let me know it was still there by giving the doctors and midwives something to frown over every time they listened through the stethoscope. They called it a murmur. My first pregnancy, the doctor was concerned enough to send me to a specialist who ran all kinds of tests to determine that in spite of some irregularities, my heart seemed to be doing its job just fine.

When I was fourteen or so, I discovered butter. Real butter. Real butter contributed to my love of cooking that has carried me into adulthood. I remember my mom walking in the kitchen once when I was making a grilled cheese sandwich. I slathered butter on both sides of two pieces of bread, fried one of the sides face down in the skillet until it sizzled a beautiful golden brown, while emitting the most wonderfully pleasing aroma, then I turned it over and put the cheese on the golden side while the second buttered side let itself succumb to the glory of all things fried. When I put the two pieces together and let the melted yellow cheddar ooze itself out of the perfectly crisp, yet gooey bread, my mom told me that if I kept cooking and eating that way, I was going to have a heart attack by age sixteen.

I’m almost thirty-six and haven’t had a heart attack yet, although I do feel irregularities in my heart often. Sometimes it does this weird thing that I can only describe as beating two beats too close together. The second beat is so forceful that it forces air out of my lungs and makes me do this funny, involuntary cough. Sometimes I wonder if it’s related to butter. Most likely not. It’s most likely related to the fact that there’s just something not quite right about my heart.

It’s not wrong enough to worry about, but it’s not quite right enough to be considered normal.

I think about my heart a lot. I don’t wonder why we talk about our heart when talking about emotions. Or commitment. Or joy. Or loss. My heart pumps blood through my body. My heart is a bit on the defective side. My emotions are a bit on the defective side as well. Sometimes they force air out of my lungs.

I don’t have to cut myself to know that I will bleed. I bleed internally on a consistent basis.

My heart makes me bleed.

7 Comments

In The Zone

There’s a term that’s been thrown around my circles for as long as I can remember: comfort zone. You need to get out of your comfort zone. God’s pushing you out of your comfort zone. I decided about ten years ago that I hated this phrase and would never use it. There are a couple of reasons that I hate this phrase. First of all, it sounds like something that would be used in a business meeting, which is never an appropriate way to describe matters of the heart. I picture a circle graph, drawn on a poster board and a woman in a suit with her hair done up and designer glasses using a pointer to point out my comfort zone to me. As though comfort can be easily defined, measured and contained. Cut and dry. Black and white. Here’s where you are now: Comfort = bad. Here’s where you need to be: Scary = good.

And the second and more important reason I hate it is that it’s just not true most of the time. If we all up and took off the second something became comfortable, the very fabric of our human existence would deteriorate. There would be no relationships, no work force, no communities, no beauty…life would be very bleak indeed. I love my husband quite a bit. In fact, I am more comfortable with him than with anyone on this earth. I do not for a second believe God is calling me to get out of that comfort zone. My big, brown couch is really, really comfortable. Should I then take it out to the curb for the city to haul away to teach my children to get out of their comfort zones and sit on the cold, hard floor?

I know, I know. There’s a time and a place for taking risks. Taking leaps of faith. Listening to God’s call on our lives and choosing to do the hard thing and follow. It can be quite painful and uncomfortable. I’ve been there. I’m there now. I just hate this idea behind the phrase that is so easily tossed about. The idea that comfort is bad.

Chris and I walked into a church last Wednesday night. The pastor greeted us at the door. As he shook my hand and asked how I was doing, I took a deep breath, smiled and said “Fine.” Maybe I took too deep of a breath. Maybe I hesitated a split second too long. Maybe I said “Fine” a bit too forcefully. Whatever the case, he held onto my hand for just a moment longer and said gently, “I pray you find rest for your soul.”

Rest.

Peace.

Comfort.

That’s the zone I want to be in.

25 Comments

Explanatory (But Not Self)

We had a wonderful night celebrating Chris’ birthday last Friday. Robbie, Janet, Simeon, Nathan and new baby that we haven’t met yet had just arrived in Dallas the night before, after an emotional goodbye to their fellow workers in Bosnia. We went out to dinner at Gloria’s with all the family we have in Dallas. This now includes four nephews, ages 3, 2, 1 and 8 months. Crazy! And very, very blessed. All Chris wanted for his birthday was to eat with his family, then smoke a cigar while the kids ran through the fountains. So that’s what he got. It was really a beautiful, beautiful night.

These pictures don’t explain my heart, but they’re a good start:

IMG_0182

IMG_0190

IMG_0154

IMG_0151

IMG_0170

bwIMG_0216

bwIMG_0228

bwIMG_0189

IMG_0212

IMG_0213

IMG_0219

IMG_0221

IMG_0222

IMG_0224

IMG_0206

IMG_0243

IMG_0234

IMG_0258

IMG_0259

7 Comments

October Means

October means change.

October means wearing a sweater in the morning and driving with the windows down in the afternoon.

October means a thousand birthdays and anniversaries, starting with my pookie wookie tomorrow. He wants to go to a movie while the kids are in school, then go to an early dinner at the harbor with the family, then sit and smoke his pipe while the kids run through the fountains as the sun sets. Sounds like a perfect birthday.

October means getting on a plane with Chris and Callie and flying to Washington DC to celebrate with our life-friend Jackie as she marries the love of her life.

October means that our September spending freeze could technically be over. Apparently it was the Linebarger family that caused the financial crisis that our country is in. Good Morning America said that consumer spending in the month of September was down like fifty gigawatts. And we did it on purpose too! We did buy an adapter for the bike pump, an inhaler for Grace, flea treatment for Togo and paper towels when Chris got fed up with using cloth napkins after about a week. Other than that, it was only food (well, okay…gas too, Dad). But the problem is that I really think it was good for us not to be buying so much and to really think more about the things that were necessary. So, sorry America. But it’s looking like October might be more of the same. We’re not gonna be buying much. Not even birthday presents.

October means meals cooked in the slow cooker. Like this beef stew that I’m making tonight that calls for both Guinness and bittersweet chocolate. Can you even imagine the joy of bringing those two ingredients together? I am smelling it cooking right now as I type. And while I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and throw in the biscuits made with straight whipping cream and these apple tartlets. It will be a good night.

October means going to the airport this afternoon to pick up my brother, sister-in-law, two precious nephews and one baby still inside mama’s tummy. I haven’t seen them since they left for Bosnia about a year and a half ago. My heart bursts to think of seeing them, hugging them, loving them, sharing beef stew made with beer and chocolate with them…

October means turning off the air conditioning, opening up the windows and letting the breeze blow through the curtains and straight into my soul.

October’s not so mean. It’s kinda nice, actually.

6 Comments