Thursday, March 30, 2006

march mundane madness

I am truly mad. It was bad enough to sign up to host during the week of my son's birthday in February. But to sign up to host, AGAIN, the week of my daughter's birthday AND her spring break... well... suffice it to say I am not of right mind.

If only I'd listened to Todd, who reminds us that time is a precious commodity...

So, if I were of right mind, I would tell you how Stephen's commute brought home the issue of illegal immigrants. I might also tell you that The Random Yak welcomes Slovakia to his corner of the world. And, if I had an ounce of sanity left, I would kibbitz with you about Tracy's shiny-brand-new-cable-box (and swell new look for her site!), Centrerion's announcement about mediorce media, and Heidi's advice about good fats and bad fats. (Furthermore, had I any sanity left, I would actually TAKE Heidi's advice. But, as we've already established I do not, please pass the pizza and potato chips.)

Speaking of pizza, I wish I'd read Kim's post about large families BEFORE we tried to order pizza for the birthday party on Saturday. I might have had a better idea of how many we needed. And where the heck was The Skwib when I was trying to get my daughter's Barbie out of the #$%&*! package? Things like that make me want to pull a Daisy Mae (over her foam-filled no-foam latte), though I should stick with Kim and count my blessings.

At any rate, because of all of this, you'll have to please excuse my lack of creativity tonight, as Muse worries about her husband's luggage and shares her breakfast habits. I would wax poetic about Miriam's frugal friends, but I can barely wax poetic when I AM in a creative frame of mind. Therefore, it is with great mundanness that I share with you Leespea's story of the biting mop, Mata's Ode to Dill, and Kevin's lesson on the proper handshake. (I will be even more mundane and tell you about how he got spammed by Principal Belding.) Mundane madness continues with Marsha, who complains about the lack of sudafed and losing the remote. Stop the insanity!

Finally, with no further ado (truly, without any ado at all), I will introduce Randi, who wishes she were making a contribution to the websphere but will settle for chocolate instead. (I have some cake left over, Randi... LOTS of chocolate cake...) Cheryl will then take over the introductions, acquainting us with Wanda, whose description is just a little too eerily familiar for my liking. We wind down then with Dean, whose job has gone to the dogs, and Hyperion, who, it seems, did NOT need a license to drive.

All that being said, I will now take leave and return to my normal level of madness. I'll try to plan some major surgery or something for the next time I host. Wouldn't want life to be too mundane...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

martha and mary, installment two

…she was shrewd in the marketplace, skilled with the ledgers, gifted in the kitchen, and favored by the land. But in the end this earned her not respect but disdain from both men and women alike. Now that the Teacher was here, however—now that would all change.

But not if I don’t get some help in here, Martha fumed, her cheeks flushed from both irritation and exertion. She did not begrudge her siblings the responsibility she bore for them—indeed, she bore it with a certain air of martyred pride. She knew she was competent—no, more than competent—she did more than three women and she handled the burden placed upon her as if it had been made to fit. But a burden made-to-fit was a burden nonetheless, and there were days when the weight of it all threatened to overwhelm her, which vexed her to no end. And when Mary pulled stunts like this, well, the burden became a chaffing aggravation and Martha rubbed with bitterness and resentment.

Looking down at her flour-covered garments, Martha indulged the self-pity rising up within her. Surely the teacher must notice how she leaves the work to me. Surely he will say something. It is not right for her to sit there doing nothing while I slave away in here! Surely he will rebuke her. The thought buoyed Martha’s spirits for a moment, but as time went on it became clear no such rebuke was coming, and her anger began to boil over, making a further mess of the kitchen. He didn’t seem to care, either! No one seemed to care that she was taking care of everything while everyone else lounged at his feet, listening to his senseless stories that mystified her and caused her to shake her graying head with confusion.

What good were stories? What good did they do them? Did they pay their taxes? Did they put food on the table? No! They merely stirred up dreams and visions in the hearts of her siblings, rendering them more useless than before, increasing Martha’s burden and frustration. Stories, indeed! She had a family to provide for—she had no time for such foolishness. After all, if she didn’t take care of matters, who would? The town had not offered any help—sure, they pitched in for a few months after her parents’ deaths, a few of them for even a year or more—but where were they now? Even the cousins had disappeared, only coming around when they needed something, as if there was anything to spare. No, there was no time for sitting at the Master’s feet… not when there was work to be done. And for Martha, there was always work to be done.

Ouch! Martha looked down at her finger, blood mingling with the juice of the vegetables she’d been slicing. Her eyes stung with tears that she wiped away as quickly as they came. That’s it! She slammed the knife down on the table, gathering up her skirts and dusting off what flour had not sunk into the cloth of her garment. Hair askew and face aglow with anger, Martha marched into the room where the Teacher sat, Mary at his feet, just as she had predicted. He looked up at her with surprise as she stood there, breathlessly, waiting for him to speak, to offer help, to apologize for the thoughtlessness of her sister. He cocked his head to the side, questioning her with his eyes, not certain what she wanted from him.

In exasperation, she blurted out what she assumed to be obvious— “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” The plea in her voice was unmistakable—surely he would help her. Surely would jump to his feet and make things right. Surely he would appreciate all that she had done. But he didn’t move. She stared at him bug-eyed, breathless from her outburst, and tried desperately to read the look in his eyes.

“Martha,” he began. “Oh, Martha…”

(to be continued)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

martha and mary

Part one of a piece inspired by my women’s group discussion on the same topic…

The clay vessel landed with a hard thud on the wooden surface, leaving yet another dent in the well-worn tabletop. Where is my sister? Martha’s agitation had gotten the best of her over half an hour ago, and the table was not the only inanimate object suffering for it. She slammed another bowl down as she hastily continued her preparations, not entirely caring who heard her banging about. Why doesn’t she come help me? They had guests to look after—important guests—and, as usual, her sister was conspicuously absent from the kitchen.

She wiped the sweat from her permanently-furrowed brow, leaving behind a trail of flour quickly hidden by the loose locks of hair continually escaping from behind her ears. Does she not know who we entertain? Hosting the Rabbi would bring honor to their marriage-less home and redeem them if only a mite in the eyes of their fellow villagers. It was imperative that all be perfect—they must be pleasing to the Master. Of all days, couldn’t she at least help me today?

Martha knew exactly where she’d find her sister, had she even the time to go looking for her. Far more interested in the exchange of ideas than in the management of the home, Mary would undoubtedly be with the men. Never mind that it was inappropriate—that it wasn’t her place to sit among the scholars at the foot of the teacher—no, Mary was not bothered with notions of propriety in the slightest, in fact, she barely even seemed to notice. But Martha noticed. She noticed a great deal.

It is true that Martha resented the lack of help. But even more than that, truth be told, she resented the attention the men paid to her sister, treating Mary as if she were an equal. Did Martha not run their household as efficiently and effectively as any man and woman combined? Did she not provide well for herself and her siblings? She was shrewd in the marketplace, skilled with the ledgers, gifted in the kitchen, and favored by the land. But in the end this earned her not respect but disdain from both men and women alike. Now that the Teacher was here, however—now that would all change…

(to be continued)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

daddy's girl

web1, originally uploaded by as we see it.

climbing the walls on her 7th birthday...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

at the zoo

IMG_7394, originally uploaded by as we see it.

me posing with a turkey... i mean my son!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

empty (isaiah 55:2)

there is a place
where only chips and salsa
seem to reach—the
carbohydrate pit in the deepest
region of my psyche
clamoring to be filled.
cavernous and
perpetually empty, it
echoes with demands for
fresh-baked chocolate-chip
cookies and a tall
glass of milk—
no less than a half-dozen
will do.
—that which will not be ignored
is craving something more.
potato chips.
apple pie.
chocolate cake.
chex mix.
hungry for
that which satisfies,
my spirit cries “feed
and I open my mouth
and fill my

Friday, March 17, 2006

springing forth

The sun blesses me with a cameo appearance today, breaking up the cold monotony of March if but for one cheerful moment.  Unseen birds beckon me to give the outside world a glance and my startled gaze falls upon the huge Oak three houses down.  Buds.  It has buds on it.  I am now completely distracted from my conversation as I strain to see to the west, to the east, to the north.  Three windows.  Three views.  Three confirmations.  Buds.  On all the trees.  Joining the tulips and crocuses, the forsythia and the daffodils, the hyacinths and the newly-green-again grass.  How did I miss it?

Death is losing its grip on Central Ohio.  Life is springing forth unimpeded in all of its wet, sloppy glory.  Today, there is mud on the floor and well-worn winter coats near the back door to ward off the last of the chill, but tomorrow the trees will be clothed with leaves and I will be putting away my sweaters and wondering what I did with my flip-flops and capri pants.  

Buds.  It will not be long now…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the writer reads

Haven't had the energy, physically or emotionally, to write this week, so I've been reading (and trying very hard to not feel guilty about it). Here is what's on my nightstand (and yes, I really am reading in ALL of these books currently- I am a reading FREAK):

Reaching For The Invisible God by Philip Yancey
Getting my regularly-needed doubt and confusion remedy.

Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose
by Constance Hale
I LOVE THIS BOOK! Coined "the grammar book of the new millenium," it is a BLAST to read! I recommend it to anyone who is interested in writing. Good, good stuff! Bear in mind, however, that this comes from the same woman who confessed she enjoys diagraming sentences!

Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
First grade and we're already inducted into the world of cliques and mean girls. Ugh. This is the most recent, and probably best, book on the subject.

Mean Girls by Hayley DiMarco
Same topic but written for MS girls by a Chrisitan author. I read bits of it with my daughter. She is beginning to recognize that she is sometimes a "mean girl" at home and trying to change that behavior. I'll let you know how it goes.

The Prison Poems by Deitrich Bonhoeffer
Written while in the concentration camp--very interesting. Includes commentary by the translator.

The Ordering of Love by Madeleine L'Engle
The complete collection of poems by my favorite author. Delicious. Especially her collection of sonnets "To a long-loved love." Five stars and two thumbs up.

Well, I'm spent. Guess I'll go curl up with Max in the sunshine and get back to some serious reading...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the wall

It rises tall and cold between them, damp to the touch after a day of rain. It always seems to be raining, she thinks, her back against it, rubbing her arms to ward off the chill seeping through her clothes. How appropriate. In truth, she forgets now, once inside, if this wall was of her making or his, so overgrown is it with vines that the craftsmanship is no longer visible. No matter, I suppose. It is here when I need it. That will suffice. She draws her limbs closer, embracing herself tightly for both warmth and comfort, and surveys her surroundings.

Gray sky blends into gray walls casting gray shadows on gray floors. Dreariness etches itself permanently into the stone, like lovers seeking graven immortality. The imposing gate, some distance to her left but completely within view, is locked from within—the key weighing burdensome around her neck like a yoke to heavy to bear. To her right is the only furnishing, a small table laid with a decanter and glasses. Recognizing her thirst (but not recognizing its source), she pours herself a glass and takes a good, long draw before nearly spitting it out all over the front of her. Ah, yes, she remembers. Self-pity is a nasty, briney drink. Inevitably, it does not satisfy. Biting her cheek to produce saliva, she returns to her post, eyeing the gate warily, if not pointlessly.

There will be no attempts at entry tonight. Of that, she is certain. Despite the fact that words were not spoken in anger, they were received in anger, and retreats had been made and stones had been thrown, one of them nearly missing her head and another bouncing off her shoulder and landing near her foot, only to be kicked to the farthest reaches of the courtyard. No, he would not be coming for a while. Not that she would open the gate should he actually try to approach her—she drops the key down into her sweater, its coldness shocking between her breasts, and folds her arms as if to ward off any attempt to retrieve it.

Now what. She pulls herself in tighter, her efforts to find softness yet again met with frigid unyeildingness. The irony of it all. The key presses harder against her chest, digging its cold form into her flesh, reminding her that the stone wall is not the only thing that does not yield. Ignoring this thought, and all others like it, she begins to settle in for the night, perhaps for even longer. That is when she hears it.

It begins faintly, as if in the distance or as a child would sing to herself under her breath while at play. Curious. Unable to make out the tune, she is only aware that it is music, and she strains her ears to further discern both its refrain and its source. In time, she begins to make out the voice, gentle to the ear, and it grows both stronger and tenderer as the words slowly begin to resonate clearly. Arise my love, and come with me… Knowing fills her, and her wounded heart flutters anxiously within her chest, thumping against the weight of that which binds her. Keeping to the shadows, she edges toward the gate, stopping just short of it. And that is when she sees him.

Crouched on his heels, back against the wall, he leans his head against it with eyes closed and continues to sing to his beloved. You’ve ravished my heart with just one glance—my Beautiful One, arise and come with me. She is at once undone. Back to back, separated by stone, she begins to weep, as his fingers gently find their way through the gate to her own. He came for her.

He came for her.

She is redeemed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

oppositional defiant or three-year-old?

You decide:

1. A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present:

  • often loses temper

  • often argues with adults

  • often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules

  • often deliberately annoys people

  • often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior

  • is often touchy or easily annoyed by others

  • is often angry and resentful

  • is often spiteful or vindictive
Note: Consider a criterion met only if the behavior occurs more frequently than is typically observed in individuals of comparable age and developmental level (particularly those of your friends, family, neighbors, or complete strangers at the mall observing you with disdain as you navigate your screaming and flailing child out of the scrutinous public eye).

2. The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning (the consequences of which include but are not limited to: getting beaten, sent to bed early, put in time out, removed from the table, removed from the room, removed from the premises, or removed from the family).

3. The behaviors do not occur exclusively during the course of a Psychotic or Mood Disorder (your own OR the child’s).

4. Criteria are not met for Conduct Disorder (kills dust bunnies, decapitates Barbies, steals Matchbox cars), and, if the individual is age 18 years or older, criteria are not met for Antisocial Personality Disorder (kills animals, decapitates classmates, steals cars).

Differential Diagnosis
Conduct Disorder; Mood Disorders; Psychotic Disorders; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Mental Retardation; impaired language comprehension; typical feature of certain developmental stages. Also comorbid with Refusing To Eat Syndrome, Teasing the Sister Condition, Kicking and Screaming Fits, and Embarrassment of Parents in Public Disorder.

Your diagnosis?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

in her element

The same face that was blank in class earlier is now rapt with attention. The same hand that could not be coaxed to rise as she stared blankly at the walls, lost in thought, is now the first to shoot up from her side, the springs in her legs propelling it even higher. The same spirit that hung as limp and lifeless from her body as her oversized uniform now is now pulsing again, threatening to leap from her muscular frame as she propels herself through space and time.

The gym resembles a three-ring circus gone awry—a dizzying array of bodies twisting and turning, flinging and flying, leaping and landing. My eyes bounce from one flip-flopping figure to the next, as I consider my daughter’s own flip-flopping act as of late. Alert and attentive. Distracted and spaced out. Engaged and animated. Detached and disconnected. For the time being, she is landing on her feet. But it is not enough to free me from worry…

Here, however, liberated from her prison of “sit stills” and “don’t moves,” is the child I recognize, whose every movement is accompanied by a bounce and every achievement celebrated with a wide-mouthed, toothless grin. This is the child I remember—my sparkling, spirited sprite. But there are still signs, even here. She flits back and forth between the various apparatuses—from bars to beam and back while the instructor tries to instruct her. She is redirected easily, however—all energy propelled into appropriate motion, for once.

I watch with relief as, like a toy wound too tight, she is finally released. It is a glorious sight as her spry, spring-sprongy legs unshackle her, if but momentarily, from the constraints of gravity and grade school, and she flies. Free. My daughter is finally free.

Willing her body to obey her will, she achieves that upon which she had set her sights and rings the bell to announce to the world her conquest. In this battle for control over her body, she has been the victor. Her eyes search for mine in the bleachers, checking to be sure I have noticed. I have, indeed.

All my fears for her—unfounded here. My daughter is, at long last, in her element.

Friday, March 03, 2006

aerobic hiaku, III

she tortures me to
"I'm not crazy, I'm just a
little unwell." Right.

the mundy buzz

Take a break from the Oscar's buzz and check out the latest Carnival of the Mundane at Neil's place! Red carpet and all!