Saturday, January 30, 2010

top 5 facebook groups i've almost started

1) Don't Judge Me Cause My Son Is Walking Around The Store In Just a T Shirt, Diaper and Shoes

2) JoAnn's Employees Seem Especially Cross And Shouldn't Be When I Spend $20 On Pink Glitter Paper

3) I'm A Wife Who Speaks Football But Truly Doesn't Give a Crap

4) I Regularly Wear Gym Clothes With No Intention of Working Out Just So I Can Shop in Public Without Makeup

5) I'm A Recovering Elementary School Teacher Who Still Hoards Anything Remotely Crayola for Herself

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

don't be jealous of my shrink's leather recliner

Neal and I see a counselor.

No, we’re not on the brink of divorce. And I’m not on anti-depressants, either (although it might not be a bad idea and I totally don’t judge others for using them).

We see this guy, David, for a lot of reasons.

We’ve committed to visiting him at least once a year for a kind of “annual  marital checkup.” With the stressors of life, parenthood, working, life, (ministry) and life, we figure this is a must if we want to stay healthy. We usually chat about what’s going on (or not going on) between us, uncovering any potential sinkholes. It’s good.

We’ve also worked with David on…me. Last spring, we did three consecutive sessions so I could better deal with my past. Stuff I thought I’d healed from, but it just kept coming back up. It was painful, but good.

Two weeks ago, I visited David on my own to discuss some theological stuff that was (most literally) driving me crazy. You wouldn’t know it by my over-analytic blog posts, but I tend to think too critically about some things…and this one issue just kept me near-nausea. So, I vented and David listened and then he monologued and the Spirit of God kind of snuck in there somewhere and gave me some rungs on the ladder leading back to sanity. It was good.

If you can’t tell already, I think seeing a counselor is good.

For your marriage, or for your singleness. 

For your motherhood, or for recovering from childhood. 

For relationship with people and relationship with God. 

For a safe place to think aloud the things you’re hardly ever allowed to say. 

Now, along the way we’ve encountered a couple doozies. This one dude would dredge up crap from my childhood and then just send me on my way. I’d stumble out of his office, reaching for anything to stop the emotional hemorrhaging. Not so good. Another guy we visited just wasn’t great. There was no chemistry so we moved on.

And found David.

And it’s been good.

Have you seen a counselor? What was your experience like?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

a DCF for the world

I used to work in the ghetto.
Think, double-homicide-practically-on-campus-2-days-before-school-started ghetto.
(and I worked with some of the most amazing people, but that’s for another post)
Because I worked in the ghetto, my cell phone still has a certain contact listed between the C’s and the F’s.
That contact was DCF, Department of Children and Families.
I had to call DCF when Sarit showed me her bruises and told me who caused them. I had to call DCF when Demarius’ family abuse came out in a very descriptive writing assignment. And, I called DCF to get some answers for a very distraught mother whose son had cancer, but wasn’t receiving full medical treatment due to citizenship problems.
To me, DCF is an awfully-slow-paper-pushing-ineffective-but-totally-necessary government entity. The reason DCF is an indispensable evil is this: There are parents out there that don’t do their jobs. And by jobs, I don’t mean
write cute notes on napkins,
help kids study for science exams and
plan birthday parties complete with Disney-based themes.
What I’m talking about—these parents who don’t do their jobs—is
extreme neglect, and some more
It’s in these extreme cases that the government deems parents unfit and removes children from their custody. Being a ward of the state can really screw a kid up, so ridiculous amounts of paperwork and testimony is required to make such a drastic move.
Yesterday, I clicked through some photos of pre-earthquake Haiti by photojournalist Jeff Antebi. You should probably click through, too, cry, and then finish reading if you’re up to it.
These photos made me think of DCF. I wish, in an un-thought-through sort of way, that there was some DCF For The World that could remove countries from their government’s custody.
Don’t we have enough documentation here? Isn’t there enough proof of a government not doing its job? And by job, I don’t mean:
Prosperity, and
2 years' government-subsidized-maternity-leave for fathers (think Germany here)
By job, I mean:
Education and
I’m just sayin.
Can’t we do something here? I’m not asking for some CIA-puppet government, and Obama certainly doesn’t need to make this his Second Afghanistan, and I’m sure Bill Gates and World Vision already have years’ worth of dirty fingernails to prove they’ve taken a shot at changing things.To be clear, I'm not really suggesting the people of Haiti not rule themselves. I'm just shocked, all over again, and I'm in want of someone to blame.
The only redeeming things I can make of this earthquake is that maybe, just maybe, we won’t forget about Haiti in a couple months when her plight is relegated from page A1 of the New York Times to page A22.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

neither julie nor julia

For Christmas, my husband enrolled me in a 6-week basic cooking class. My friend Mike likened the idea to “giving your girlfriend a gym membership.” In other words, insulting. But anyone who knows me knows that this really is a good idea.

For someone who has baked pizza with the cardboard attached the bottom, set the smoke alarm off while boiling spaghetti noodles, failed at every attempt to cook tofu really struggled with cooking all her life, this was a welcomed opportunity. We’ve trimmed the excess fat off our budget, which includes eating out, so I might as well enjoy my time while I’m stuck in the kitchen.

Last Tuesday was our first class. There were 11 other people, all wide-eyed and ready to become the next Iron Chef. For 3 ½ hours, I was on information overload. Yes, I did know a few things. But there were a ton of things I had no clue about.


how to hold a knife—I’ve been wrong my whole life

how to dice an onion—less tears this way

mire poix (onion, carrot, and celery mixture that’s the foundation of any stock)

how to position your left hand so it’s less likely to get chopped off

cool chefs never say “chopped;” it’s “diced”

And then, finally, this:

Do you see where my chicken is? It’s on top of a shelf.

Apparently, it’s supposed to go (along with eggs) in the very bottom of the fridge. The risk of salmonella is contained to just the chicken when it’s on the bottom. But if it’s anywhere else, it could leak and contaminate other foods that you don’t have to cook as thoroughly. Interesting.

When I opened my fridge to assess where foods actually were, I noticed this little picture.

You see that Sealed Pan?The Drawer on the Bottom of the Fridge?

If you look closely, you’ll notice a for-real picture of a chicken (and I think a ham).

It’s been there the whole time. 

The entire 3 ½ years that I’ve used this fridge. There’s no picture of carrots, and yet they beat the poultry out every time with hardly a fight. I feel like I owe an apology to past chickens and every student I’ve ever yelled at reasoned with for not paying attention to the obvious.

Insulting or not, it’s a good thing I’m at cooking school.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Deer Woman

A deer ran past me this morning on my run.
And when I say deer I mean ridiculously tall woman.
Her legs surged with muscles you’ll never see on mine. And for the few brief seconds we intersected, there was a pattern that went something like this:
Deer woman: picked right leg up.
Me: shuffle, shuffle, shuffle
Deer woman: put right leg down.
Me: shuffle, shuffle, shuffle
For the next mile or so on my run, I wondered just how slow I was. Now, it’s easy to dismiss Deer Woman. Of course she’s faster than me. She’s got at least a foot on me. But I began to have flashbacks over my prestigious running career.
There was that one run with Jill. I told her that I was still getting back in shape after having Carter. She said that was fine. And then not even three tenths of a mile into the run, she tells me she’s won the Westchase 5K several times.  We soon parted ways (my pace made her knee hurt).
Last week, I ran 5 miles with my brother Brandon. When I asked if he wanted to run again, he said no with a smirk. “Running at that pace gave me blisters.”
So, I run by myself.
 And at the risk of being run over by antelopes, deer and other freakishly fast creatures.