Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Watching the sunset on Sunset Bay... making friends with the butterflies at the State Fair...It's been a summer for making fine memories.

not an update

For reasons passing understanding, Blogger isn't interested in my cutting and pasting from Word today; the Laptop seems to be feeling some inner conflict. Not unlike its owner. I had a lovely birthday, and for the most part that's an understatement. I am however much too lazy to retype the whole account... there were flowers, lots of them; and signs, lots of those too; and wine, and lobster, and a fabulous La Bete Noir at the Wilde Roast Cafe. More than this I will not say. Bless all my wonderful, beautiful friends for coming out this past week to honor my random number. I really felt the love...

And now, today, this Tuesday... I am tired. Tired! I had a hamburger for lunch and now I am tired. All the layers of experience and impressions from my walks and rides will have to wait. Descriptions of the people I've seen and the places I've been... I'm just too lazy to tell you. It's a problem sometimes, in the rest of my life as well, but no matter. I will just get back to it when the mood strikes.

Peace to you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The morning has dawned wet and sneezy, as any September birthday should. I walked my son to the bus stop and waited, chatting carefully with the other kids' parents. (I'm always sort of shy around these kinds of peer groups, no one asks any personal questions, we just stand there and make polite noises at one another.) Afterward, walking back to the house, I began to admire the wet gardens and the slightly weedy, past-their-prime beds we have installed rather randomly over the past few years. Spent some time in the back yard pulling grass from the rock garden, eliminating some overgrowth amongst the gladiolas and just generally getting my hands dirty. Damp and chilly, but a good green smell.

Afterward I took the camera out, and while snapping these photos had the privilege of spotting a female hummingbird, darting amongst the runner-bean blossoms.

Soon, I'll treat myself to a massage. And then head to work for a while, before picking up my son from school. Tonight we'll all go out for seafood. It's bound to be a good day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

America's Funniest? Home Videos

I hate to be a wet blanket, really.
But I have to say I'm disappointed with tonight's winning submission on "America's Funniest Home Videos."
First, let me state clearly that if I can avoid this show I usually do. I'd rather watch football, frankly, and that's saying a lot, since I despise football.

Tonight's $10,000 grand prize went to a family from Waite Park MN (a suburb near here). The hilarity offered up and preferred by hundreds of Americans? A video of a 6 year old with stomach flu sitting on the toilet crying "Why do I have to do this? I'll never be able to get off the toilet!? This is terrible!!" That's right folks, a woman with a crying, sick, pooping child had the presence of mind to grab a video camera and film him. Why? "Some of things coming out of his mouth were just really funny," she says. No pun intended I suppose. And then she watched it enough times to think Hey, I should send this in to AFV!


Almost as bad is the fact that my husband laughed through the whole thing. Funny to an adult, maybe, once you've lived through the experience a bunch of times and understand that in America, stomach flu generally won't kill you. Not funny to me as a Mom though.

I am a wet blanket, I admit it.

Honestly, these videos of rotten things happening to kids and old people are the primary reason I hate that show. God help those poor souls who have to pre-screen the submissions -- I'm sure they see some truly sick shit. Probably not "Faces of Death," or at least I hope not. But still.

Meanwhile, every Sunday night (and several other times a week I'm sure), we can sit in our livingrooms and yuk it up while little kids crash their bicycles, jump off broken diving boards and get scared witless by siblings or parents leaping out at them in frightening costumes. We can watch drunken senior citizens fall off folding chairs at wedding receptions, and see our idiotic neighbors attempt strange stunts like cutting the cord on a plugged-in TV set with a pair of scissors, or tricking the dog into growling savagely and biting at its own hind foot.

Videos will be judged for inclusion in shows and for prizes on the basis of their humor and/or uniqueness. Examples of videos that have been considered include those showing silly blunders at social occasions; unexpected foul-ups involving children; animal antics; slip-ups during sports or vacation activities; bloopers during plays, recitals, parades or speeches; celebrity impersonations; home music videos; natural phenomena; life's annoyances and oddball news events.

Apparently that last one was admitted under the category "animal antics." I admit, occasionally I do watch more than five minutes of the show, and sometimes I laugh at something genuinely funny, the rare video depicting only gentle humor. Sometimes, the good ones even win. Because my husband watches the show, I too have watched it, and it isn't all garbage.

But I can't figure out why we as a nation got so upset when a family bucking for reality-show fame faked their child's accidental launching in a homemade balloon; after all, if it had actually happened, and they'd rescued the scared crying kid after a couple minutes of him being stuck in a tree in his balloon, we might very well have voted them America's funniest family and awarded them ten grand.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Things Jen Bought

If I should confess anything these days it's the number of items (including 4 pair of boots!) I've purchased online of late. I once told a coworker that just before I found Jesus, I would stop being such a clothes horse materialist. I was wrong.

Recent history includes:
1 pair of North Face 'Janey' waterproof winter boots (brown beauties with curvy soles and laces up the back, mid-calf)

1 pair Steve Madden 'Linderr' brown suede zip-up knee-high boots - Soft sides, loose but not slouchy, perfect for transitional weather...

1 pair Earth:
Elite black patent rain boots (fleece lined!)

1 pair UGG Highkoo slouchy cuffed suede boots in Stout (yes, another pair of brown boots! But the cuffs are almost lavender...)

Also... 1 new twirling baton!!! From American Baton. It arrived via UPS at the office today, 4pm. And you know, it's like riding a bike. I can still twirl. Pictures soon maybe.

And...three packets of hand-dyed fabric from Germany. Haven't seen that yet, soon I hope...

And that's just the online shit. Nevermind the spring-green cowboy hat from Scala, or the bright red leather purse from Patina, or those Aerosoles. I'm a fucking retail ho'. And...a boot JUNKIE. I'm all about the boot-TAY. Professor, what's another word for pirate treasure?

Time to get some stuff together for consignment... unless you know a size nine-ten who likes boots?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

another America

Yesterday Sadiya, a Muslim woman, came to the food shelf with her young daughter. A neighbor drove her there. After we had bagged up her groceries, she took my arm in a tight grip and said "Thank you. You'll see me here again. I'm a single mother, I'm going to school now to be a nurse. Thank you!" The food shelf is located at the Lutheran church where I work; I was wearing a cross. But I don't think she saw me as a Qu'ran-burning Christian extremist, and I certainly didn't view her as a hate-filled Muslim extremist. Our one concession to the topic of faith was making sure there was no pork in the hot dogs. I hope America won't always be a place where food shelves are needed to keep good people like Sadiya from going hungry; but I know this is the America I believe in, the one where some day Sadiya will be the healer at my mother's side or my own, and her grown daughter will have no fear of her neighbors.

I don't understand why certain religious or political "leaders" want me to hate the other -- to hate the immigrant, the Muslim, to hate and fear people with skin darker than my own, whose beliefs are culturally dissimilar from my own. What passes for moral outrage in our country these days is often pretty sickening. Time and again though I have to defend my willingness to live in America, to my spouse, who has seen enough of the rest of the world to believe there are better, more peaceful countries in which to reside. I can't run away from the stupid people -- because of course there are stupid, bigoted, fearful, easily-influenced people in every nation. We seem to have the market cornered, here in the USA, and we might; we have the world stage and the camera crews and plenty of opportunities to show off our ignorance.

It's particularly grievous to me that Christianity has such an awful right-wing association in America. I have good friends who just assume most Christians are loud-mouthed hypocritical haters. Now, that's as foolish as assuming all Muslims were happy to see the World Trade Center fall. But it's easier to take a position than it is to take a stand. It's easier to say what we're against than what we're for. Hate speech always uses short words and short sentences, set to a primitive rhythm. It's the lizard brain, the least evolved part of ourselves, that responds to fear with aggression. The so-called "leaders" who appeal to the lizard brain in us all are themselves fearful -- they are filled with insecurity, and they crave the illusory brotherhood and the adrenaline-pumping power of mob mentality. The best way to respond to them is to use short words like "No" and "Stop" and "Not here." The mob is not my America. I'm not running away from a bunch of lizards holding signs that say "Burn the Qu'ran!" Especially if those lizards look like me, dress like me, worship where I do and vote in the next booth.

If Sadiya and I can tell the difference between love and hate, I'm sure you can figure it out.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Splitting headache/virus? Check.
Angry, alienated, aggressive best friend? Check.
Likelihood of these two things making the night progressively worse? High.