July 11, 2010

Luke 6:38....

It's been an interesting week... I'll see if I can hit some of the highlights.

I've been stressing a good bit over money lately - and I probably shouldn't. God always gets me by in one way or another. But since I got laid off on May 28th and have had absolutely nada de income since then, I have begun restricting my trips to Oregon City and thus to church as well. The first thing I cut was my Saturday voyage to English classes... I offered to hold a class in Molalla for any of my students that wanted to come, only one took me up on it. The Wednesday night church service seemed like the next logical one to go, since I have to go to Oregon City twice on Sundays anyway to pick Damian up from his dad's. I hadn't been to a Wednesday night service since May. But this week I really wanted to go... but I was afraid if I did I wouldn't have enough gasoline to get back to OC on Saturday for skit rehearsal for ASBA and then back to church again twice on Sunday. Yikes! So I decided to practice that "giving it to God" thing. I told him that I was pretty sure if he wanted me to be there, he'd find a way to cover the gas money and I'd just trust him. Did God deliver? Um, yeah, I'd say he definitely made a statement. While I was at church Wednesday night, someone gave me $50 out of the blue.  That's TWO tanks of gas. For those who will argue that it was coincidence, let me ask you... how often does someone coincidentally give YOU $50? Yeah, that's what I thought. And God wasn't even done yet.

On Thursday, I found out that the Oregon Unemployment Department had finally pulled its collective head out of its collective backside on and decided that, yes, I am eligible for unemployment benefits... a mere six weeks after I got laid off. And when did this actually happen? Wednesday... the very day I was dithering around worrying about having enough money to drive to church. God had already been all over that one, and I was too busy fretting to pay attention. The money didn't actually get deposited into my account until Friday, but that still would have been in plenty of time to get to skit rehearsal on Saturday. It seems that God was merely reassuring me with the $50... something I'd notice, something I couldn't ignore or overlook. Not the first time God has pulled that particular stunt, actually, but last time it was $5, not $50.

Also one of my students (the one who lives in Molalla and was the only one who had shown up for the Molalla class) critcized me roundly when I told her I wasn't teaching any more for financial reasons. "Why didn't you say something?!" she demanded. "We could have all chipped in a dollar for gas money! Or I could just drive you myself, actually..."

Saturday morning I taught English class at Oregon City. Maria drove me there, and said she would gladly continue to do so for the rest of the term (we're all taking August off). So now not only is God pretty much throwing money at me this week, but he's also lowering my expenses.

And apparently he wasn't even done yet. This evening (Sunday) as I was getting ready to leave to go to evening service, it dawned on me that I had not checked the mail on Saturday. So I meandered over to the office where the mailboxes are and surprise! One thing in my mail box (I usually don't get mail) - a letter from my grandparents. Inside the letter was a check for $150 and a note explaining that they did not want to be paid back... they had just heard (probably via my mom) that money was tight and they "wanted to make sure I was all right".

So tonight after the Chamaco was in bed, I sat down to pay some bills that weren't even overdue yet (I still have 3 days, even), and a verse kept popping into my head. I'm fantastic at remembering general verse content, but I never know where the verses are actually found so I had to look it up...

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Yeah, that sounds about like my week.

July 4, 2010

Green alien goo...

AVOCADO: (noun, English) A food substance (fruit?) with a dark green, wrinkly exterior and a soft, squishy, paler green interior surrounding a large central seed that makes a rather satisfying *thunk* sound when dropped on the counter.


AVVOCATO: (noun, Italian) A person who practices the law profession, in altre parole, a lawyer. Also makes a rather satisfying *thunk* sound when dropped on the counter.

So, here's my current predicament. I find myself in my unemployed stretch of the year, this year scheduled to last until September 7th or so. I have dyed my hair back to a more subdued sort of color because I can't afford the upkeep on the red. The water no longer turns pink when I shower. However, my hair kinda damaged, and the only conditioners I can presently afford are the cheap 99 cent Suave things which do pretty much NOTHING for  my hair. Oddly, you can't buy conditioner/shampoo with food stamps. Here's a nice shot of my hair:
Looking a bit fried, no?

As it happens, you can buy avocados with food stamps. And olive oil. I did some digging around on the interwebs for homemade conditioning mixes, and found one involving avocados and olive oil, both of which I already had on hand. The result was this: ---->

Totally looks like something you'd want to cover your head in, right?

But, daring adventurer that I am, I decided to go for it, figuring that if that one didn't help, I'd try the olive oil/egg mix  next. Why did I go for avocado first? Well, because I had a surplus of avocados and I was afraid they were going to go bad before I used them all, that's why.

So I got my hair wet and wrung it out a bit, and started putting the goo in my hair with my head hanging over the bathtub. I soon discovered an unfortunate side effect was that it looked like someone had barfed avocados in my bathtub (Speaking of barf, you should have seen the hair clog I pulled out of my drain immediately before I started this process. Looked like the famed Coiled Crap Hound!). I found this vaguely nauseating, because I am actually not fond of avocados as a food product in and of themselves. I like them in their guacamole form, but as far as I'm concerned that's the only thing they're good for at all. I had them on hand to make guacamole out of. I remember when I was in Mexico I complained loudly many times about how I could not get a sandwich from the school cafeteria thing that didn't have avocado slices in it. I don't like the taste of straight avocado, and I'm not particularly fond of the smell either. But I got the stuff in my hair and settled in to wait.

Speaking of other things you can get with food stamps that aren't strictly food - baking soda and vinegar. To you is fun science experiment for kids/papier mache volcano fuel. To me is drain cleaner. I figured since my bathtub was already smelling kind of weird from the avocados (and post hair clog) I'd pour some baking soda down the drain and follow it up with a chaser of vinegar. My mom taught me this trick... poor man's Drano. (My apartment manager also told me that a bottle of bleach poured down the drain once every couple of weeks is a good preventative measure, but you can't get bleach with food stamps.) I just like the hissing noise the drain makes for a while until everything settles down again. It would be good for convincing a little kid that there's a monster living in the drain. :)

By the way, anyone besides me ever notice that there is no generic, cheap brand of baking soda? You can get Arm & Hammer or... you can not buy baking soda. Why does Arm & Hammer have the monopoly on baking soda?!

About 15 minutes in to my half an hour wait time, I discovered something interesting. Apparently after a while the olive oil starts to separate from the avocado and run out from the edges of the shower cap. I just assumed it was good for the skin and rubbed it in, since I was going to take a shower pretty soon anyway.  I also rubbed it into my scalp really good, because I could feel the olive oil trickling down there too, and my scalp/hair tends toward dry... can't hurt, right? The recipe I read said to wash the avocado out with "a mild shampoo". I was just hoping I could get the stuff out of my hair. I think that could be rather embarrassing at church in the morning.

SOMEONE: What's that green thing in your hair?
ME: Oh, that's avocado. I guess I missed some.
SOMEONE: (backs away slowly)

It was actually surprisingly easy to get out of my hair... I think I pulverized it well enough before I put it in there. Chunks are the enemy. So far, however, I'm not noticing any appreciable difference in the status of my hair while it's still wet. If something changes after it's dry, I'll let you know.