December 25, 2010

What makes a Christmas?

As I was driving out to my aunt's this afternoon and listening to a song called "The Secret of Christmas" (gotta listen to the Christmas music before tomorrow right?),  I was considering the lyrics and wondering what actually does make a Christmas for me. I'm sure it's a little different for everyone, but here are some things that are essential parts of Christmas for me.

#1 - The album "Brand New Year" by SHeDAISY. (Yes, they capitalize all but the E like that. Don't know why.) But this is my favorite Christmas album of all time, and usually my Christmas season starts sometime after the Chamaco's birthday on the 9th when I pop in this CD and sing along while putting up the Christmas tree.  Disturbingly, the Chamaco's favorite song on the album is "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag". He probably doesn't realize it, but the premise of the song is that Santa has basically had an extreme makeover and now the girl singing has the hots for him.

#2 - The shopping trip with my sister. At some point not too long after the first event, my sister and I will go out on a big shopping expedition. I always think I'm going to get all my shopping done that day, and it never happens. But generally we sing in at least 3 stores. And the car. And generally we find stuff that we would like for ourselves that the other agrees to buy and wrap on the condition that the other acts surprised on Christmas morning.

#3 - The Ladies' Ornament Party/Cookie Exchange. This is where the season really starts hopping... nothing says Christmas quite like laughter, theivery, and multiple exclamations of "Oooh, shiny!!!" And most of the time I bring home an ornament that isn't even hideous! My Christmas tree does not have a nice set of themed ornaments, oh no... it is a random mish-mash of stuff my kid made, stuff my mom gave me over the years (she's been giving me an ornament every year for years, on the premise that when I grew up and moved out I would have some... she's still giving them to me), and mostly ornaments garnered from Ornament Parties over the years. Also the all women singing of Christmas carols is pretty awesome.

#4 - Smashing candy canes to bits with a hammer. No, seriously. I do this every year. There's a reason. A few years back one of my co-workers at MES made this stuff she called "Christmas Bark" and we all demanded the recipe. It's easy enough that even I can do it, so I made some that year, and have done so for the family Christmas gathering every year since then. One of the requirements is smashed up candy canes, and I have found the most effective method of smashing is to put them inside a couple of plastic bags and then have at them with a hammer. Fun and festive. : )

#5 - Wrapping. I almost don't know why we bother, because by the time we've helped Mom wrap everything, we've seen pretty much everyone else's gifts and maybe one or two of our own, but I guess it takes me back to the days when I was the only one old enough to wrap presents so I'd help Mom wrap everything for my younger siblings and my dad. This year I did it while wearing reindeer antlers, which was a new twist.

#6 - The annual "me singing 'Police Stop My Car' and someone else looking at me like I'm nuts. Many years ago when I was in Community Chorus and we sang at Zoolights, one of my choirmates taught me this song (to the tune of "Feliz Navidad") and we ran about through the zoo in the dark singing it. Instant holiday classic. Lyrics follow, so that you may all be educated. (This should be sung in a fake Mexican accent, ideally.)

Police stop my car
Police stop my car
Police make me stop
Walk a straight line and blow a balloon up

He wants to wish me a sober Christmas
That's why he always pull me over, Christmas
He just wants to make sure
There's no open bottles in my car

Police, road they block
Police, road they block
Police, road they block
And I can smell the donuts as they smell my breath


Police lock me up
Police lock me up
Police lock me up
'Cause when I blew, I blew a 2.1 


Item #6 leads us to...

#7 - Unconventional Christmas songs. To me, Christmas isn't Christmas without at least one listening of each of the following: "Merry Christmas From the Family" (Montgomery Gentry), "Merry Christmas from the Whole Fam-Damily" (Cledus T. Judd), "Leroy the Redneck Reindeer" (Joe Diffie), "'Twas the Day After Christmas" (Jeff Foxworthy), "Christmas at Ground Zero" (Weird Al Yankovic), "The Night Santa Went Crazy" (Weird Al Yankovic), "Spice Girls Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (no idea), "Grandpa Got Runned Over by a John Deere" (Cledus T. Judd)... Not to mention the aforementioned "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag" (SHeDAISY). There are probably more, but I have to hear all these plus three "normal" Christmas carols... "Angels We Have Heard on High", "Carol of the Bells", and "O Holy Night" (as sung by Martina McBride. Josh Groban or whatever his name is can just zip it.)

#8 - Christmas morning with Mom and Dad. 28 years now and I have not missed a Christmas morning with Mom and Dad. Sometime if I ever get married again and/or move far, far away (or even move near-ish but have in-laws), I might have to miss one, but I haven't done it yet.

#9 - Christmas afternoon get-together with extended family. Sometimes this happens up to a week after the actual Christmas, but when it does it's Christmas all over again. And it always leads to...

#10 - Hilarious family game. It just wouldn't be a family get-together at all if we didn't have at least 4 or 5 of us sit down to play what seems like a perfectly innocent game and then have some sort of hilarity ensue. This is often Apples to Apples, but can also be Mexican Train, Outburst, Taboo, Chicken Foot, or any of a host of others. Today it was a new game called simply, "What?" And I learned that my relatives are all so weird it's hard to tell which wacky idea came from who... I love that about us.

With the top ten list out of the way, I also wanted to share something... maybe it's a week early for this, but the title track of "Brand New Year" is a song that I always like to listen to a little bit after Christmas and as I head into January. I'm going to put up the lyrics for you, and I suggest you consider them...

Learning to turn the outside inside out
Having the courage to find what life is all about
Loving so purely can surely melt a frozen heart
Knowing sometimes all over's the perfect place to start

Welcome to my revolution
Lucky you, lucky me, the way we were meant to be
This is my one resolution
And I make it with no fear
To live, to love, today
'Cause it's a brand new year

Seeing the world through rose-colored eyes
Yeah, this is my one big chance, and I'm gonna take it twice
With the past down below I know love lifted me up here
So I'll take a breath, kiss the sky, toll the bell
'Cause it's a brand new year


Resiliently reclaiming me
Refining my recovery
Untwist my fate, unlock the gate
Let's make a little noise
'Cause it's a brand new year!

I mention this song because, as a career pessimist, it has always been my inclination to say something to the effect of "Hey, a whole new year.... just like the last one!" in a very sarcastic tone when January 1st rolls around. But maybe, just maybe mind you, it would be okay to look at New Year's with a little optimism... like the song says, "sometimes all over's the perfect place to start" and there's just something symbolic about taking last year's calendar down off the wall and tossing it in the trash... last year is over and done, and you get to start all over fresh in a brand new year. This is probably why people make new year's resolutions. I make new year's suggestions, but that's another blog... ;-)

Song o' the Day: "Bury Me Alive" by We Are The Fallen. It keeps being stuck in my head. (Bet you thought it was going to be "Brand New Year", didn't you? Ha!)

December 21, 2010

The changes TWO years can bring...

Last year I wrote this blog comparing Christmas season '08 and Christmas season '09. I figured I might as well keep the chain going and compare Christmas season '10. And since I'm a great fan of color coding, 2008 will be in red, 2009 will be in yellow, and 2010 will be in green. :)

2008: We lived in a falling-apart house with no heat.
2009: We live in a pretty nice apartment with gas heat.
2010: We live in the same apartment as last year. Have somehow managed to keep paying the rent. Praise God!

2008: I was unemployed. All year.
2009: I sometimes wish I worked less, but I am blessed to have a job surrounded by good, godly poeple who are passionate about what they do and make working with them so much fun.
2010: Same job situation except it has dawned on me that I really don't like teaching. Okay, so I knew that all along, but now I'm really starting to get the urge to move along... still like the people I work with, though!

2008: I did nearly all my Christmas shopping at the Dollar Tree, because it was what I could afford.
2009: I did most of my Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart... moving on up!
2010: Primarily Wal-Mart again. No huge change in this department.

2008: We got food boxes from a couple of different local organizations.
2009: An organization called to offer us a food box and I told them they could probably find someone who needed it worse than we do. After I hung up I realized what I'd just been able to say and I almost cried.
2010: Nobody even offered us a food box this year.

2008: I carried my son upstairs to his bed when he fell asleep on the couch.
2009: I can barely pick up my son, much less carry him upstairs. This only happened in the last month or two. I realized today that soon I won't be able to pick him up at all... my baby is gone. I almost cried.
2010: I can still pick up my nine-year-old boy for brief periods of time

2008: My son was the sort of co-dependent that being the only child of a single mom will get you.
2009: I have an increasingly independent eight-year-old who more and more often wants to do things by himself. I told him that I was going to get Nancy's recipe for play-doh because the stuff we make at work is better than the store-bought stuff. I said this because I thought it would be something fun we could do together. He asked if he could do it by himself.
2010: My son cooked dinner a few weeks ago. I supervised him, but the only thing I actually did for him was turn the knobs on the stove, because he can't reach them yet. He's older but still short... lol.

2008: I had a couple of friends, but mostly felt very lonely and isolated.
2009: I have some very good friends, some less-close-but-still-good friends, some casual acquaintances that always make me smile (hello CTG!), a pretty full social calendar, and sometimes wish desperately to just be home by myself for a few hours.
2010: All of the above, plus a couple of new friends... :-)

2008: I was single.
2009: Still single... no change there. : )
2010: Despite some rumors you may have heard, still single. But I guess there were at least rumors this year. Maybe next year there will be something to them! ;-)

I was remembering that when I started working where I work in September of 2009, my supervisor asked me what my goals for the future were. I told her I didn't feel I'd had enough stability in the last 7 years or so to have made any goals... I'd been in constant survival mode. My "goal" was to create as much stability in my life as possible. Looking back over 2010, it's been actually a pretty quiet year, devoid of any major upheavals. I worked a lot, I played a little... we were housed, clothed and fed. Money was tight but we were never completely without anything we actually needed. Things have been relatively stable. So I guess I got what I wanted. And maybe I'm imagining it, but I have this feeling that 2011 is not going to be anywhere near so quiet... I have the feeling that big things are about to happen. I just have no idea what. So everyone hold onto your hats, because 2011 is just around the corner!!

December 18, 2010


So, I have a confession to make. Last night, I bought a stuffed animal. And it wasn't for my kid... it was totally for me.

Sammich (not her real name) and I were digging around through the stuffed animals at Goodwill. She was looking for a Christmas gift for her child/dog Frank (not his real name, but close in a way!) and decided the ideal thing would be a stuffed animal he could play with/slowly rip to bits. Sammich found Frank an giant purple stuffed platypus... how awesome is that? Basically it was a big, round, fluffy disc (think fat, hairy frisbee) with little feet and a bill. We decided it was probably actually a platypus and not a duck. It makes me really happy to know that someone out there is making stuffed platypuses (platypi?).

That was when I saw something. A stuffed owl. It was white with black speckles, big yellow eyes (though really not big enough for an owl) and a black beak in its white face, little flipper-like wings and big white feet with black claws on them. I couldn't recall ever having seen such an adorable stuffed owl before. Or much of any stuffed owl for that matter... at least not of the variety that are clearly intended to be given to children as toys. He was also wearing a big blue satin ribbon around his neck that I thought most undignified. I picked him up to check the price tag and noticed the tag on him... he is from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Somebody went to Build-a-Bear and built an owl instead. How awesome is that? And he was only $2.99 (though unfortunately not a red tag, so I didn't get him for half price). So I just had to bring that little piece of awesome home with me... I now share my bed with a stuffed owl. Okay, and actually I'm holding it in my lap right now while I'm typing. Sometimes you just gotta snuggle something. (Oh, and also I took off the stupid blue ribbon. He looks much more dignified now.)

December 15, 2010

Somebody check my brain...

*commence guitar riff here*

No, just kidding. This blog post actually has nothing at all to do with the Alice in Chains song "Check My Brain" (which is a fabulously awesome song by the by... click that link and go check it out).

I thought it might be worth my time to somebody to check in with the state of my mind after last night's cookie experience (see previous entry if you have no idea what I'm talking about, and it might do you good to read the one before it first so you know how I got to that point). So here's how the day went.

I woke up today feeling unusually cheerful and pretty good aside from the slight lingering headache that usually follows me for a day or two after letting myself cry (still have it, actually). I was pretty determined that today was going to be a good day and there was pretty much nothing that could be done to dissuade me from that viewpoint. Indeed, not even a meeting with the manager of my apartment complex to fill out a zillion more forms and have it explained to me yet again that HUD calculates my income with funny math that results in them basing my rent on a yearly income figure that is in fact $6,000 more than I actually make in a year and thus makes my rent nearly half of my actual monthly income could dissuade me from feeling pretty darn good about things. I told her to tell corporate to call me and I'd tell them what I thought of their math, but I said it with a smile... quite often I leave that office fighting tears of injustice because I have the highest rent in the whole stupid complex because I actually work and I don't lie about my income or sit around on my butt collecting unemployment/child support. Heck, I don't even get child support. But you know what? Somehow I've managed to pay my rent for almost 2 years now and I've only been late once (and it was totally the Unemployment Department's fault... it took them 6 weeks to figure out that I'm not a 12-month employee of a school district, so they didn't want to give me any money until they had that settled), so today I said to myself, "No matter what these morons do to me, God has taken care of us in the past and I see no reason to believe that he will not continue to do so in the future... he even gave me cookies!" And I had a bit of a chuckle as I left the office.

Shortly after I was done with that, it was time to make my daily drive from Molalla to Estacada for work. Long about Colton, the midway point in the drive, I started getting these texts:

"There's a storm just south of Molalla that actually made a tornado in Aumsville, OR." (Barney)

"Tornado warnings for Clackamas and Marion counties!" (The Empress)

"Tornado in Molalla. Weird weather and sky today." (Micro Machine)

"Tornado coming to Molalla, took 3 houses near Silverton." (Tazzy) (BTW, the names of the senders are their names as they appear in my phone. The owners of the aliases know who they are... only Tazzy actually gets called that to her face. Well, and maybe "The Empress" as well...)

So for myself personally, I didn't care about this at all... I wasn't in Molalla and wouldn't be returning to Molalla for at least six hours. However, the Chamaco was still in his school. In Molalla. And part of my brain wanted to panic that my (9 year old) baby was 30 miles away and possibly in the path of an oncoming tornado (Seriously Oregon... make up your mind what sort of weather you want to have!). The rational part of my brain, however, said, "Come on... this is Oregon! If one tornado already touched down, two would be completely unheard of and what are the odds of a second freak tornado hitting the school?" And the new part of my brain that is just starting to find its voice and apparently likes to listen to a lot of Flyleaf said, "God's got him... whatever happens, God's got it. Just do what you need to do and don't worry." So I decided to listen to those two voices and went about my setting up of the classroom (for by this time I had reached Estacada) after sending off only a short text to my good-friend-who-needs-an-alias-desperately telling him about the tornado thing because I figured he'd be interested since he used to live in Texas and all. He expressed the opinion that it must be a lot warmer south of Silverton because where he was currently located (Tualatin) it was too cold for tornadoes.

When Nancy (who needs no alias because as far as I can tell she's got nothing to hide!) got to the school she told me the last she had heard was that the storm system was breaking up and while there was still a chance of some severe thunderstorms, the tornado warning was cancelled. So I put it out of my mind completely at that point... no stress, no worry for the Chamaco's safety. (I did call my mom later to make sure he'd been picked up as planned, but that's just because I'm his mom and I have to verify. Also my mom has been through chemotherapy and sometimes her memory has gaps.)

I went onward through my day mostly humming to myself the line from the song "Io Canto"  about "i rami che si intrecciano nel cielo" because the kids are talking about trees and there was a good bit of stuff about branches going on. (For you non-Italians, "rami" = "branches".) But as soon as I got back in the car, Flyleaf again. I'm pretty shocked that I'm not more tired of it than I am, though later in the drive between Estacada and Oregon City I did put in my old AVB cassette tape that I dug out. For those of you not in the know, AVB was the earlier incarnation of fairly well-known Christian vocal group Acappella... I got the AVB tape when I was probably about 7. It is truly an antique. Aside from the pure nostalgia of listening to those songs that I must have listened to a million zillion times as a child, however, it seems that the new bit of my brain that is still really amused about the cookies and keeps telling me that God is in control prefers to listen to Christian music.

I learned tonight that I only like Christmas carols (especially "Silent Night", which I quite despise in real life) when they're sung by my sisters at OC, many of whom are actually quite good singers and between them have a pretty good mix of altos and sopranos. "Angels We Have Heard On High" is my favorite, if I were forced to pick a favorite of the more common carols ("Carol of the Bells" is my all-time favorite, but wandering carolers rarely sing that one), and it sounded awesome with our ladies singing it. I really wanted to stop singing along and just listen.

I neglected to mention that our annual ladies' ornament exchange was tonight. I had the best seat in the house (right between Aracely and The Empress) and also drew the #1, which is one of the better numbers you can get, really. I got an ornament I quite like, I didn't have to steal from any little girls and make them cry, and generally I got to spend a good bit of time enjoying the fellowship with my sisters and eating more cookies than I even want to think about until next year's ornament exchange.

So yeah, I didn't get home until about 10:15 or so, I had a bit of translation to do and some other stuff I wanted to accomplish before I even got around to writing this blog, and now it's a bit after midnight. Nothing spectacular or particularly awe-inspiring happened today (no more cookies! lol) but maybe the most astounding thing about today is that I was pretty consistently happy and in good spirits all the way through it. For me, that's weird. But it's the good weird.

Song o' the Day: "Tiny Heart" by Flyleaf... there's not an official video for this one, sorry, but the link will give you audio, lyrics, and a few pretty pictures.

December 14, 2010


Other possible titles I considered for this entry:

"Seriously God? Cookies?! "

"Come to Christ... we have cookies!!!"

"I asked God for a sign... and I got cookies."

I had probably better start explaining pretty quickly here what I'm on about... sorry if this comes out a little discombobulated, but I'm just almost giddy right now... a stark contrast to last night (see previous entry).

So, tonight I was supposed to lead the discussion in my "depression class". I had already decided a week ago that my topic was going to be crying and not keeping things bottled up. After last night, I was really dreading it, because I'd already been crying all day long, and everything was making me cry, and I knew that I was going to cry if I tried to talk about crying. I thought about ditching at the last moment... it's not like I didn't have other things to do. I had translation work waiting, and somewhere I was supposed to find time to make some cookies for the ladies' ornament/cookie exchange party tomorrow night. And I don't even know how to make freaking cookies.

After much deliberation and wavering back and forth on the subject, I decided to plunge boldly ahead with the class and my intended topic, whether I cried or not, and screw the cookies... I would just go without cookies and not bring any cookies home. Simple, right? It's also important to note that after last night's deeply searching discussion with good-friend-who-needs-an-alias-desperately, I had resolved that I needed to experience God, just as he said. So starting last night and continuing on every time I got a chance all day today, I was praying to God to give me an experience... a sign... something that I would recognize as being indisputably a sign/experience from God, just so I would feel his presence and know I was heading in the right direction.

I did my class. And I cried almost the entire time. And I received more love and grace from that group of people than I knew was possible. But that wasn't the weird bit.

During the entire class there were two big platters of cookies sitting on the table. Apparently Kaye, who had not baked in years she said, had gotten the urge to bake cookies this afternoon and had brought some in the hopes that the class would eat them and get them out of her house. Nobody touched them. At the end of the class, she pretty much forced me to load up a plate with cookies and take them home with me.

It didn't hit me until I got halfway to my mom's (where I was headed to pick up the Chamaco).... not only did I do my class, I had cookies. I laughed out loud and said, "Seriously, God? Cookies?! "  And I won't say I heard a voice because I didn't exactly, but I more felt him say, "See? I even care about the trivial stuff like cookies... I can handle the details. You can trust me." And I was laughing at the absurdity of God giving me cookies, of all things, even as at the same time I burst into tears for the zillionth time today. I have never laughed so hard and cried so hard simultaneously. I almost had to pull over. It was a ridiculous, trivial little thing that probably has no significance to anyone else but me (though the good-friend-who-needs-an-alias-desperately said this was an 'awesome story') and totally appealed to my sense of absurdity, but there was no doubt in my mind... God gave me cookies.

And even though I am both emotionally and physically exhausted (all the crying plus lack of sleep, no doubt... I didn't get to bed until almost 4 last night), I inexplicably feel really good. I mentioned that to the good-friend-who-needs-an-alias-desperately, and his response was "Ahhh... the peace of God."

Yeah, that sounds about right.

So, fellow ladies attending the ornament/cookie exchange tomorrow night... I'm bringing cookies. They're homemade, but I didn't make them. God did. So if you think they're nasty, take it up with him... I'm going to bed and resting up for tomorrow, because I don't doubt that God will spend another day or two making me laugh and cry. Maybe longer, even. But I will leave you with this....

Songs o' the Day: "Fully Alive" by Flyleaf, plus "Again", also by Flyleaf. I've been doing a lot of Flyleaf today. In fact, I'll even throw in a third one just because I love the video (and the song is pretty darn good too)... "All Around Me"  (All 3 of these songs made me cry today.)

December 13, 2010

My thoughts on paper (screen. Whatever.)...

I don't even really know where to start right now... so many things are swirling around in my head. And probably most of what I'm gonna say here isn't anything I haven't said out loud in the last hour, but knowing me... who knows? I think by writing things down... taking it out of my head and putting it there where I can look at it and go "Oh, okay... so that's what that looks like, then." (Oddly enough, I didn't even realize I did that until I wrote that just now.)

This brings me to the topic du jour... introspection. Generally something I avoid like the plague. Whatever's going on in there, I don't wanna know about it. Keep the voices quiet and I'll do my thing and they can do theirs. This only works for so long, though, because voices multiply... try it for yourself. Enter a quiet space, like say an office where people are working, and if you start talking to one person, someone will chime in with their opinion and before you know it nobody's getting any work done because of all the chatter. (This is especially true where I work.)

But I may as well say it and get it out of the way... in many areas of my life I have stagnated. I don't know for how long now I've been sitting here waiting for something to change, and it doesn't. And I rave and rant and rail about how I want something - anything - to be different than it is now, but I never do anything because I haven't got the foggiest idea what to do or what I want to accomplish.

Profesionally speaking, I'm 28 years old and I still don't even know what I want to be when (if) I grow up. Here's what I know by process of elimination - teaching isn't it. Neither is fast food or residential care. I could go either way on funeral transport or living history interpreting... both of those things were still fun when I stopped doing them, but I don't know if they always would have been because I didn't do it long enough for it not to be fun, if that makes any sense. I'm still just "all grown up and still waiting to be a rockstar"... just like the button on my backpack says. (Seriously, in all my daydreams and many of my night dreams, I'm a rockstar... perhaps lame, but true.) (Side note: I just remembered the only time I've ever in my life had any sort of "ah-ha" moment... somehow we wound up at an Acappella concert - the band Acappella, not just people singing without music - and they were doing one of their talky bits between songs and the guy who was talking described them as "musicianaries" (musician + missionary in case anyone didn't get that). I was probably 15 at the time. I remember turning to Audra, who has been around for most of the dramatic moments in my life and saying, "That's what I want to do.")  (See, this thinking in parenthetical discursions thing really works for me!)

Spiritually... I've barely advanced from where I was almost 14 years ago when I was baptized. That's a horrible and painful thing to admit (even worse to note that most of that tiny bit of advancement has happened within the last two years). I know I'm not where I should be, and I have absolutely no idea how to get there, which is heartbreakingly sad considering I've been attending church quite literally my entire life with the exception of about two months in 2008. Intellectually I have a lot of knowledge... you don't sit through 28 years of Bible classes and sermons without picking up something. Emotionally, however, it has never clicked... I have a pretty long history of being emotionally retarded, so this doesn't surprise me. I can't cope with my own emotions (in fact, I like to ignore them or bottle them up) and I hate everyone else's. Someone recently told me (like about an hour ago) that I needed to "experience God". That's totally correct, and I've had a few close calls... the mission trip to Toluca was one of them. And this is where the spiritual crosses over into the emotional.

My biggest struggle, the issue that pervades every other aspect of my life, is loneliness, isolation, disconnect... whatever face it's wearing today, I'm talking about the overwhelming sense of being by myself. Even in a room packed with so many people that I can't breathe. I want desperately to not be alone... yet I'm far too scared to let anyone very close because every time I've tried I've gotten hurt. Badly. Part of my growth in the last two years has been letting a select few people get way closer than I've ever let anyone get... still not too close, but progress, I guess. In the last two years I have met four - count 'em, four! - people not related to me who I did not know prior to two years ago who have managed to scale my defenses and peek over. The first three are women, which seemed safe enough even though it was odd at the time because I didn't (and don't) actually like women in general. The fourth one is a man... a surprise latecomer who just hopped over the walls ("Walls? What walls?") and made himself at home. Come to find out, that's just how he operates. (Nobody read too much into that, okay? It's not that sort of a relationship.)

Getting back to my original point (introspection, if you'd forgotten while I was babbling) it is something I have historically avoided because it depresses me to no end. And when you are like me, someone who tends toward depression anyway and even more so during the nine months of Oregon winter, anything that is just going to depress you more is a good thing to avoid. The drawback, though, is that I have not introspected (I don't know if it was a verb before but it is now!) in YEARS and I no longer have the foggiest idea who I am because I haven't bothered to check in. So I am one of two things... I'm either the most authentic person you'll ever meet because I'm deliberately not affecting any change of any kind on myself, or I'm the most fake person you'll ever meet because even I don't know who I really am. It could even be both, because recent events have shown that I'm totally at home with that sort of dichotomy.

So I'll start with what I know: I don't like where I'm at. I don't know where I am, exactly, but I hate it here. I want to get out. I don't know what I'm in, what it is I want out of exactly, or where I would go if I got out, but I want OUT.

What I know from the last few hours, though, is that if I want to get out of the mire I'm currently mired in, there are some things I'm gonna have to let go of... things I've been holding onto tightly because they give me reasons and excuses for how I got this way. But I've also realized that if I don't let go, I'm gonna end up like my dad. (Not trying to be harsh, Dad, if you're reading this, but we both know it's true.) And I'm going to have to be introspective and it's probably going to depress me. A lot. But (there's a big but in every crowd, and it's usually mine!) I currently find myself in the previously unknown situation of having closeish friends. Closeish Christian friends, even. Aside from the one who just jumps walls, I'm going to have to let the walls down and let them in so when I fall (and I'm going to fall... hard) they can catch me. And I have to trust that they will catch me and not let me repeat 2002 (the year of somnambulent suicide attempts). There are a lot of things hindering me, and I have a lot of work to do, and I don't want to do any of it. So why blog about it, then? Well, here's why:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..."  (Hebrews 12:1)

You, o blogosphere, are my cloud of witnesses... and it's very likely that some of those people I was talking about who scale walls are going to read this. And then you'll know I need a lot of help... more than I'll ever be able to express out loud in words... spoken word is not my thing. (Though I did probably one of the better jobs of it I've ever done a couple of hours ago, and it was still pitiful.) So witness this, people... I am hereby attempting to throw off everything that hinders (my past, certain people) and the sin that so easily entangles (4 of you know exactly what I'm talking about) and run the race marked out for me... as soon as I can figure out where the heck the racetrack is.

Song(s) o' the Day: This one started playing on my randomly shuffled iPod at an oddly significant moment earlier... "What I've Done" by Linkin Park. See it here (and I promise never ever to put up a Linkin Park song again... this is the only one I like). Follow that up with a chaser of "Broken Pieces" by Apocalyptica (yes, we've had this one before, but you can see it again here if you like). And for the grand finale, my parting shot to my ex-husband before I completely put him out of my mind except on Sundays when I have to take the Chamaco to him... "Anything But Love" by Apocalyptica... 99% of this song applies directly to my marriage, which was fabulous in its dysfunctionality and was truly based on anything but love. Never before have I heard a song that so completely said what I was thinking and feeling, and I'm kind of scared to ever have it happen again.

December 4, 2010

Explanation of my recent silence...

I've been busy. Do you need any more explanation than that?

Somehow I blinked and missed most of 2010, and the holidays are now upon us once more. For me, however, the precursor to the holiday season is "translating 50,000 report card comments" season, which usually happens the week prior to Thanksgiving and on into the beginning of Thanksgiving week. The staff of the MRSD certainly did not disappoint this year, and I was translating way more than I ever care to do ever again (and yet probably will do again in March).

Seemingly in celebration of the victory of surviving conference translation, the Sunday night before Thanksgiving I came down with the flu. I have not had the flu in almost ten years. I hadn't missed it really. Monday I called in to work both at my primary place of employment and the school at which I'd been scheduled to interpret for parent/teacher conferences that evening. I figured they might not like me puking on parents... call it a hunch. Tuesday morning I was feeling slightly better but I called in to work anyway because our policy is that you're supposed to be vomit-free for 24 hours before you come back to work. And then it snowed. Or technically it had already snowed... I hadn't gotten out of bed to look out the window and know it yet. By Tuesday night, the Chamaco was praying to the porcelain god as well, so I called in for Wednesday. Thursday was Thanksgiving and the Chamaco was still running a fever and feeling puny... sort of a bummer holiday. Fortunately I had both Thursday and Friday off as paid holidays, so I missed a whole week of work with no detrimental effect to my paycheck. Points for me. : )

So now we're in that final stretch before Christmas break... for my friends in the public school system that's exactly 10 more school days before they get two weeks off. For those of us in the non-profit sector it's also 10 school days, but with an extra couple of work days with no students thrown in on top of that. The Chamaco's last day before break is the 17th, mine is the 21st. (BTW, one of the teachers I translate for on a regular basis keeps putting things like "November 23st" in her class newsletters, and it cracks me up. No offense to my teacher friends, but on the whole you guys don't proofread at all and some of you are fairly illiterate. I don't care what degree you have.)

I find myself contemplating last year's posting about the differences between 2008 and 2009. I'll probably do some sort of addition to it contrasting those two years with 2010... really I can only think of one notable difference, and I'm not sure how to phrase it without getting myself into trouble. 2010 has been pretty uneventful, but maybe I needed that after the constant upheaval and negativity that constituted 2002-2008. I sense, however, that the break is over and that great things are afoot for 2011 (to be followed by the end of the world in 2012.... yay!) My Google homepage counts down to the end of the B'ak'tun (the Maya long count calendar)... 2 years and 17 days left, people! : ) According to the Aztecs, however (whom I also track on my Google page), today is a rather benign 11-Acatl and they don't forsee the world even potentially ending for another few years at least. (Every 52 years, according to the Aztecs, there has to be a ceremony to keep the sun moving. Seemingly, though, it's been chugging along just fine without the Aztecs for a while now... if only the Aztecs had realized that it was the Earth that was moving and the sun is actually relatively stationary.)

So anyway, it's off to beddy-bye for me. I regret not having anything particularly meaningful to say to my reading several, but this was really just a check-in post. I will, however, leave you with a steaming pile of...

Song o' the Day: "Show Me How to Live" by Audioslave. Been pondering that one a bit lately. Click on the link to see/hear it... I apologize profusely for linking you to Vevo, but I was left with no choice....