Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Filthy Rags

I've got something so much on my mind, that I can't seem to do anything. So I guess I'll share it with you. Maybe someone else needs to hear it. Maybe just me. Last night as I was falling to sleep, a mental movie appeared in my head of a girl, maybe me, but black and white, sitting alone in a dark place, scrubbing and scrubbing the dirt off her arm--the once white cloth turning blacker and blacker. Then a voice said "Your righteousness is as filthy rags". I sat up in bed.

I've never given much thought to this verse in Isaiah. I just always took it to mean that even our very best is worthless compared to God's perfection. I still think that's true, but somehow this gives it new meaning, which may have been obvious before to everyone but me. I suddenly realized that rags don't get filthy on their own. They start out clean, but they get filthy by cleaning something that's filthy. In my head, this girl looked pretty clean--pretty sparkly white actually--but the rag she was using was filthy and kept getting filthier. And she could never stop scrubbing because she could never get clean. In a second, I bet she could hide that rag and make everyone think she was pretty white, but she knew and the voice knew where it was hidden. What I find hard to understand is why at some point, she decided that the clean garment she'd been given as a gift would make better rags and why scrubbing her arm alone in the dark seemed better than saying "Thank You" to the One who clothed her. I guess maybe it's because undeserved gifts are the hardest ones to accept, and those matching white garments always seem to look so much better on everyone else in the family.

Thank you friends and family for challenging me not to live in hiding. Thank you for being patient with me while God works on me. I love all of you.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I've been slackin' off pretty hard in the blogging department. Here are some potential excuses. I was still full from my lunch triathlon, stressed out by work (it can happen), de-energized by the dollar-a-day plan, or too busy with the following activities:

On Thursday, I slept the entire day. Well, from 9 am to 3:45pm when I got up and found an e-mail from my friend, Bee, asking if we were still going hiking. We sort of have a hiking routine worked out, but we stick to it maybe one week out of the month. I can think of a total of 2 hikes we have taken. So naturally, waking up in the 90 degree weather and being a little unexplainably melancholy, I was not too eager in my response. She suggested we stretch our legs at the mall's sidewalk sale instead. I agreed and suggested DQ as well. Luckily you can still get a cone for a dollar there. I wasn't feeling too dilly-bar-y after my last experience. Anyway, I know this is how half the world thinks that girls are, and I hate to confirm their manly suspicions, but shopping with Bee was the perfect cheer-up session. We talked about what we will wear when we are old old and what these con-found-ed youngsters are wearing (or not wearing) these days. We enforced a shirts-only shopping rule because of our respective fat days. Bee said, whilst we ate our DQ, that you should wear striped pants on fat days, and I said, in between cone licks, not if your striped pants are too tight.

In the end, we decided on matching shoes. This is where the entire man universe and a few ladies who balk at being stereotyped produce a collective eyeroll. Matching sparkling shoes. Bee said "Shoes are the perfect pick-me-up". Retail therapy. I know. I never thought I'd say it either. Seriously though, doesn't it kind of make you happy to look at them? And when's the last time you were too fat for your shoes? On the way out, we met some band members on the Warped Tour. I felt bad for rushing by them, but we were in a hurry. At least I could've had them sign our shoes.

Here are some other highly recommended forms of therapy:

Visit Rocket and his very own handsomest man on the planet at the meat market.

Bake mass quantities of cookies for a Zimbabwe-fundraising bakesale with your friend who is kind enough to assist and volunteer their kitchen.

Watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the oldie) in a schoolyard at night and witness a falling star (which is apparently just space garbage, but don't let that keep you from making a wish).

Witness Cuchillo and his impersonation of One-Eyed Whisman (aka Rocky the Rockhound). Then draw a picture of it later at work. Then wonder what the heck is up with his arm and ask yourself if you should not take some courses in human anatomy.

Thanks to my friends and their therapy.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Belated Birthday Lunch Triathlon

Fella bought me a belated birthday lunch yesterday. Actually, he bought me several belated lunches yesterday. This was number two and three. For some reason (I don't remember what it was, but then I guess we were never the kind to need one), we decided it would be a good idea to have a lunch triathlon. First stop: Trenary's, the Irish restaurant famous for The Matador, but famous to us for The Halibut Sandwich. Second stop: Hoagieville. Third stop: Dairy Queen. We pooped out on the 3rd leg of the race, but only because we discovered that Hoagieville had giant (Oreo) shakes which negated the need (yes, need) for DQ. So it isn't really pooping out, per se. It's more like getting off your bike and deciding not to finish the race. So, instead of running the course, you run back to your car which happens to be parked 3.1 miles away, or 26.2 miles, if you're an ironman. Am I right, Fella? It's been a while. We were comparing it to the Nap's challenge which is still on the agenda ('though Fella has already conquered), and Fella says we're probably only 60% there. This is bad news considering how excited I was at the idea of having a missions fundraising hot dog/Oreo eating competition between #1 Sister, LaFalda and I. Fella and I deliberated over whether gambling and gluttony would be an offensive way to raise funds for missions, but decided it was all for a good cause. Possibly a moot point now.

Fella in a "real" triathlon

Thanks for the lunches, Fella. It just occurred to me that you probably hate that name. It sounds like a horse's name. That's funny. Love you, kid. Always will.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

All You Can Eat

Yesterday I met with Twin and Rocket for dinner at everyone's favorite greasy spoon. Gene wasn't there, but we think maybe Christy was. Sadly, she left before we could all decide on what to order. I think we went through quite a few waitresses that way, actually. And yes. It was all my fault.

Rocket's decision was made easy by the All-You-Can-Eat-Shrimp challenge. I believe his exact words were, "Oh yeah. I could eat like a million of these". Sorry, Rocket, but I only counted like 50 and half of those were tails. Still, it's good to know they will refill your shrimp if you need it--and apparently your Coke as well. Although they (or certain unnamed parties) may not let you write a check for $1.

Twin, you know I can't resist a challenge. Rocket, you may hate me now, but you'll change your tune when the ladies come-a-knockin'. Well, I'm out. Gonna go say hello to Rocket downtown before I enter arch nemesis territory. Then I get to eat all I can eat with Fella. Hooray!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Yesterday was a good day. Boy let me listen to MO-DO as we drove to Wal-Mart to turn in our film. I believe the phrase "I hope you're happy" was breathed more than a few times. And I was. Sehr, sehr happy. Is there anyone on earth who wouldn't be at the apparent sound of Arnold doing techno? We later walked down by the river and read. Boy finished one of his many Nero Wolfe books and I read some S.J. Perelman stories. We also discussed various get-rich-quick schemes. I don't want to be rich; I just want to get rich quickly so I can give it away to go to Africa. We're thinking we should do something with all these photos we take. And of course, stop spending money. This is where the $1-a-day diet comes in, but more on that later. Or not. That would be a pretty boring blog. I actually stumbled across a blog last night that was nothing but the writer's food consumption and exercise regimen. It depressed me for so many reasons. Twin and I hung out in the evening. She bought me Dairy Queen and we laughed and talked for hours on end about The Inexhaustible Topic. I love my cousins.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Wilderness Family

Friday morning I got off work and went home to pack for a weekend of backpacking with my family. I met up with my sisters and dog-nieces. We drove to the town of Drummond, about 50 or 60 miles away, where we met my dad. My mom was unable to come since she had too much work to do. I rode with my dad for another 20 or 30 miles to the town of Phillipsburg (Home of The Sweet Palace). We made candy store & malt shop stops before heading out into the wilds.

It was in the 90's (temperature-wise) when we began our trek through the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness. We hiked for a few hours before stopping to read the map and make some dinner in a mosquito infested swamp meadow. Once settled into our meal of rehydrated spaghetti and peanut butter pie (pretty good for a powdered meal in a bag), Dad and #2 Sister began to discuss the possibility that we were lost. It was decided that we should pitch our tents in the swamp meadow before trying to move on or find our way. The news of our wrong turn which led us on the path to current nowhere was broken gently to #1 Sister and I. I suggested that when we backtrack in the morning, we just backtrack all the way to The Sweet Palace. #1 Sister suggested the lake we had passed on the road to the trailhead. We weren't poor sports, really, just a couple of tuckered out kids who'd been eaten alive by vampire mosquitoes. Dad said we'd discuss the matter later.

Somehow we never got around to voting on our backtrack destination that next morning. A few minutes into our backward detour, someone suggested that getting back on the right trail would best be achieved by climbing straight up the side of a fallen tree strewn mountain. Several hours and a few pant-rips later, we found our trail, where 10,000 bloodsucking insects were kind enough to wait for our arrival. My sisters and I fantasized about meeting strangers armed with DEET. #2 Sister had come prepared with lots of pleasant smelling natural insect repellents at the smell of which, every mosquito in the forest promptly erupted in laughter. #2 Sister said she would offer $10 for real bug spray. I said I would barter my digital camera, and as the afternoon progressed, my soul. (I was only kidding about my soul).

Meanwhile, Dad had been promising us for 2 dank, steep miles that "The Meadow" was just another 300 yards away. The Meadow was where we would stop and rest. He made good on his last promise all right, but someone had beat us to it. Further investigation revealed 2 friendly faces with horses (and horses with faces) bearing gifts: AN INDUSTRIAL-SIZED CAN OF BUG SPRAY. We invited ourselves into their camp and sat down for cheese, sausage and cracker lunch with our new friends for life. It turns out that our new friends for life may have lied to us, but I didn't really care because, for a few blissful hours, the mosquitoes flew in another direction.

Eventually we got back on the trail and still more eventually, we reached our destination:
Hoodwink Lake*, at the base of Swindle Peak* in the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness

We camped there overnight. Dad and #2 Sister went fishing. Dad lost part of his collapsible fishing pole in the lake, but caught a little Mr. Fishy. #1 Sister and I napped and made Mad Libs. The next morning, Dad made blueberry griddlecakes with strawberry syrup and we packed up and headed for home. Home (the car) was further away than we thought, but we made it. Dad took us out for lunch. We were all excited to use the bathrooms. When it came my turn, there was one toilet on the verge of overflow and one occupied. While I waited for the occupied one to clear, another lady came in and used the on the verge toilet. As I was finishing up my business in the next stall, the on the verge toilet was flushed and was no longer on the verge, but in full on overflow mode. The lady screamed and ran. I dodged the flood and even managed to wash my hands.

Another hour or so's drive brought us home, where all I wanted to do was shower and shave. Sadly, I ran out of body wash mid-shower. Well, half clean & shaven is better than not, I reckon. Now it's off to work, but tomorrow I'm turning my film in to be developed! You have not heard (or seen) the end of this journey, I'm afraid.

I had to show you a picture so you wouldn't think I was just being a
whiney baby. I look like an ad for acne arm...or armne.

I think that, if you ask me in a few days--when the swelling goes down and the hunchback disappears and the happy feet return--I will say it was definitely all worth it. If nothing else, it is worth it to have stories to tell the children I would have had before being rendered barren by one too many log-straddles.

*The real names of these locations are of course, Tamarack Lake and Warren Peak. But after cheating my sisters out of a hot-day swim (I forgot to tell you it rained) and myself out of no less than 3 s'mores, I thought they deserved to be rechristened.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Saturday Part III: Palling Around

Pal, I know you'll hate this, but I just wanted to relive the memory.

I only get to see my friend Pal about once or twice a year. There is never enough time to do and say all the things we want to, but for seven happy hours on Saturday evening, we were able to share some Pal & Ed traditions.

1. A much-needed couch session. This is what we call our catching up sessions and talk therapy.
2. A stroll downtown.
3. Banana Pepper Pizza from Little Caesar's. Nothing better. Fella turned me over to the dark side of pepperoni, but I am beginning (again) to see the light.
4. Shopping for old movies at Hastings. I bought Bedtime for Bonzo. Highly recommended.
5. Staying up late watching Stage Door (another great old movie) and eating Red Vines, jelly beans and Reese's Pieces (a member of the nut family). Further decaying our teeth with Huckleberry Flathead Monster soda. Not so much recommended.

Pal, I miss you and I'm praying for you. I'm so happy you're my friend.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Saturday Part II: Just Like Grandma

Grandma with a daisy in her hair.

After shopping on Saturday, my mom and I met up with Dad, # 1 Sister and Grandma for lunch. Now I try not to throw this around too much because nobody likes a braggart, but I have the best Grandma in the whole world. I hope to be like her when I'm her age. Or even now. She's so quick. You may think she's all sweet and innocent, but then out comes the sass and mischief.

We all met at one of my favorite places. We were a little nervous that Grandma might not like it (when you're a good cook, you get the luxury of being nonenthused at restaurants), but she totally did. She even got my favorite item. Just like me. She got the giggles when she saw what she thought was a girl that looked just like my sister, only to have "her" turn around and have a beard.

I think the only time I had a beer (in a shot glass) was at one of these places. It came after a long year of hilarious nagging by a fellow bank employee. They had a little going-away dinner for me there and I happily caved. Not bad. Apparently his daughter is this girl's roommate. Tis a small world indeed.

The Worst Way to Start the Day

My morning at work has made me a little nervous to let this day unfold. I forgot to set the alarm and I slept in til 6:35. "At least that still gives me time to shower," I thought. So I turned on the hot water and in my haste, knocked my comb off the sink into the unflushed toilet. I didn't have wits enough to get gloves, which would have required getting dressed, so I just reached my hand in and grabbed it out. Needless to say, I spent most of the morning washing my hands and sterilizing my comb. At least I have my own toilet at work. At home I'd just have to kiss that comb good-bye. Now there's a mental picture.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Saturday Part I: Antiquing

I know. My posts are all mixed up. But I figured I'd better get that 4th of July post up there before Twin and Rocket decided to take me out.

Mom's pretty desperate for grandkids.

On Saturday, my mom and I went birthday shopping. I guess where they live, there are no presents to be had. Well, not really. The shopping itself was actually part of her present to me. I never go shopping these days. My shopping life takes place in a 3 mile radius which is further limited by how much I want to carry home on foot. Besides that, no one will shop with me because I'm such a nuisance. Poor Fella. This was his life for three years:

Me: I just need to grab one thing really quick...
(2 hours later)
Me: Oh, I don't know. Which one do you think I should get?
Fella: (ever so patiently) Get that one. It's much cooler.
Me: Okay...yeah...but...hmmm...
(I'd eventually buy whichever one he didn't suggest, or worse, buy nothing at all)

It continually amazes me that he never just lost it. Well, now you know how that went. But today's post is not about that. So yes. Shopping with my mom, for better or for worse, is very much like shopping with myself. When she says, "I just need to grab one thing really quick," we all just pretty much laugh. And she laughs too. So Saturday we went to The Antique Mall to try to find some kitchen chairs. (That's the other half of the Fella story--ha ha). I didn't find any, but we had fun just looking around. And then mom saw...

...IT! Green glitter naugahyde with a magazine rack underneath! That's me! A sparkly poodle and this?? What more could a girl want?

Now I have a new place for the magnetic magic to occur...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Happy 4th

Last night Twin and Rocket kidnapped me from work so that I could watch fireworks with them. It is tradition for Twin's family and mine to go to "The Brown Church" by our old houses and watch the mall's display. Out of both of our families, only Twin and I were able to keep the tradition alive, but we made a convert of Rocket, so I think that counts double. (For what, I'm not sure). It's a good thing too, because we lost points in forgetting to bring chocolate licorice, Bugles and...


We didn't forget to call out wedding color predictions, though. Hmm...pink and blue? Must be Rocket's!

After "The Grannnd Finnnalleee...", it was back to work for me (where neighborhood fireworks ensued). I tried to sleep but, for some reason I had Mr. Roboto and the image of a man with confetti eyes hopelessly stuck in my head.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Bugs, Hobos and Cake

On Friday I went to the County Health Department to get all my Africa shots. I met with an awesome nurse who explained to me all the different ways I could die. There's a lot of nasty diseases riding around on the backs of African mosquitoes. As it turned out, I was too broke and perhaps too much of a pansy to get all my shots/pills in one day. Thankfully I have a little time, so I can take advantage of the pay/pain-as-you-go method. Oddly enough, I'm even more excited to go now. And nobody hates bugs more than me. Many a friend has come to my door, only to find me paralyzed in a spider staredown. I'm always afraid of losing sight of them, so I watch and wait until a bugslayer comes to rescue me. Whenever I think that I'll just stay an old maid, a bug comes along to remind me I can't. I once had an arrangement with a friend of mine. I'd marry him for his bugslaying abilities and he'd marry me for my dishwashing skills. Maybe I should just learn to like cats.

My sister works in the basement of the County Health Department, so she was kind enough to wait for me to get needled and warned and then walked home with me. We met later at my Grandma's house for my dream meal of hobo dinners and Williamsburg Orange Cake. It was a late birthday celebration since my parents couldn't come to town till Friday. Hobo dinners are hamburger patties with carrots, celery and potatoes sealed in tinfoil and grilled. It's my traditional birthday dinner, courtesy of dad. It's a good thing my birthday is in the summer. I would feel guilty watching him barbecue in the snow. Williamsburg Orange Cake is a recent birthday tradition in our family. It always comes courtesy of #1 Sister--except on her birthday when #2 Sister takes over.

I cut the cake.

Guess whose piece that is??

Dad, Grandma and #2 Sister's boyfriend are all good storytellers, so it made for some good table talk. I love hearing about the mischief they got into when they were little. Come to think of it, they were all little red-headed kids. There's nothing cuter than the mental image of a little redheaded mischief-maker.

I love my family.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Best Way to End the Day

Okay, so it's a little late, but afterall, I couldn't just leave you hanging, could I?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

11:30pm-3pm ish Blog posting. Cutest e-card from the cutest aunt ever. Nap-ish. Clean-ish.
4:30 pm #2 Sister calls to say she'll be at my apartment in 8 minutes and to watch for her walking over the H Bridge so I can meet her downstairs.
4:35 pm Supermom calls to wish me a happy birthday. She had tried earlier, but I was out galavanting. I try to change clothes while talking on the phone and tell Supermom that #2 Sister is on her way.
4:37 pm Superdad wants to wish me happy birthday too. He asks if I prefer the musical or spoken version. I leave the choice with him and get the spoken version.
4:37:30 pm Supermom has one last thing to add:

"Oh...really really quick...Tell [#1 Sister] that I met Mrs. H's cabinet maker. He's tall and beautiful and Russian and he escaped from the KGB. So, if there's a lull in the conversation, you can talk about that"
4:39 pm I don't see #2 Sister crossing the bridge, so I just go downstairs. She is engaged (perhaps trapped) in conversation. Introductions, birthday wishes, sunglasses fall apart in my hands.
4:42 pm Finally leave when #2 Sister gets trapped in yet another conversation. (She's a local celebrity).
5:05 pm Reach #2 Sister's house at the time we are to meet #1 Sister at The Birthday Place*.
5:15 pm Leave #2 Sister's house. Get stuck in construction traffic.
5:35 pm Arrive at The Birthday Place to hear #1 Sister declare, "Where have you guys been?!"
Apologies. Cutest birthday gift ever from #1 Sister**. Oohs, aahs, smiles and hearty gratitude.
6:00 pm Give #1 Sister mom's message. She is not amused.
6:10 pm Best pizza ever.

Rocket said I should have a birthday picture of myself on here. Here's us at The Birthday Place. (L to R: #2 Sister, me, #1 Sister)

6:40 pm Go with #2 Sister to visit little old friend in the hospital.
6:45 pm See Fella driving, but he doesn't see me. He looks very happy and it makes me very happy.
7:40 pm Walk by LaFalda in her darkened booth.
8:00 pm Ice cream with #2 Sister around the corner from my apartment. She drops her cone but eats it anyway.
8:30 pm Work. Huge bouquet of roses in the office when I get there. The Big Secret leaks out.
9:00 pm Surprise cake and birthday song from Sweetie Guest. Strangest but greatest birthday party with whoever wanders in the house kitchen.
11:00 pm Birthday visit from LaFalda.
11:15 pm Greatest ocarina birthday serenade from Sweetie Guest's Cutie Son.
11:20 pm Much needed conversation with my old friend and cousin, LaFalda. Just 'cuz.

Hooray! God, friends and life never cease to blow me away. Happy Birthday to me, indeed.

*In my family, birthdays are just an excuse to go to The Birthday Place, aka Tower Pizza. It's the best pizza ever. (Get the wheat crust). Just don't ask Fella or LaFalda because they are crazy. Fella eats ketchup on his mac-n-cheese, but hot dogs and mac-n-cheese make him cry. LaFalda hates chocolate. I just don't think we can trust their food judgments.

**Tell me if this is not the cutest thing you've ever seen. For some reason, I have a reputation for loving all things pink, poodly, Eiffel Tower-y and foofy. What can I say?