March 31, 2008

A rather more cheerful update

So I ended up being stressed because I was running late and hadn't finished when people started arriving, but in the end things turned out really well. My mother-in-law brought carrot cake and bean did, and I had pecan pie and cut up apples and oranges, and so we made a regular little feast of things. It helped that I didn't have time to eat my supper before folks arrived. I was chowing down on some bean dip. That stuff was good. It's refreshing being with other people. I'm still sort of looking for that kindred spirit (as I have been practically my whole life) to hang out with and share girl talk, but just plain being with people is good too.

Speaking of people, last night I went to the local kickoff for Script Frenzy. Talk about walking in over my head. Abby Road and Fight Club and dialogue driven plots about the modern life...I can honestly say that the Beatles (although I certainly don't dislike their music) don't appear anywhere on my pandora stations. I listen to bands that are so unknown (like Carbon Leaf and Great Big Sea) that they aren't even cool unknown clique bands. They're just bands no one knows about but me and maybe two other people that I know personally (all in my family). Plus, I must unashamedly admit that I'm writing a stage play about a fairy tale. I'm such an authentic po-mo. So tomorrow it's laptops and coffee to kick off the official "you may start typing...NOW!" beginning of script frenzy. And I'm going to be again hanging out with pretty cool people who's cultural overlap with me is maybe 50-75% and the other 50-25% is all gibberish to me. Of course I'm sure there's a lot I would say that sounds like gibberish to some of them. It's the way life goes. But out of all of the neighborhoods around me I end up with this group. Should be educational. I really want to see what comes out of this.

Birthday cheers, birthday angst

Today is Allen's birthday! Since we normally have health community group on Monday anyway we're going to turn it in to a regular shindig with all sorts of good eats. Healthy eats of course but still very yummy. I'm going to pop a pecan pie in the oven as soon as I finish this post.

I want to be all upbeat and everything for Allen's birthday, but unfortunately when I think about Allen getting another year older I start thinking "Ok God, how many more birthdays before I can watch Allen playing with his own kids." Face, the guy is a kid magnet. He's probably dangled half the little boys at our church by their knees at least once. He's really, really good with kids, and he likes them. So why does God slap him with a woman who doesn't seem altogether good at getting/keeping a pregnancy going? Yes, I do know I can't blame myself over any of this. God knows I don't want to be pathetic and mope around just because I can't have this one thing I want (or this one thing I know Allen wants). Also, no Allen isn't a whiner either, and he's certainly not pressuring me. It's just...I don't have an advanced degree, or a career, or a child. Long ago I traded my desires for academic superstardom for more domestic dreams. So now, Allen's turning 27, his brother is graduating, everyone's lives are moving one, and I'm stuck here between a past desire and an unfullfilled want wondering just where the heck I fit into this crazy picture. Right now I better fit into by getting things cleaned up real quick for tonight. Jeesh, why of why can't I do this stuff earlier? Oh yeah, existential google searching. Also I got an antique rocker from freecycle. Pretty sweet, but I really didn't need to go out this afternoon when I had floors to vacuum.

Anyway, happy birthday Allen. I love you to bits, and I'm super proud of the way you've been growing and becoming an even more amazing man than the one I loved enough say yes. I'm just struggling to accept that the one thing I would most like to give you for a birthday gift isn't mine to give.

March 26, 2008

two bikes and a kayak short of perfect

I turned off the main road, rolled down the windows, cranked the stereo, and fell in love. This car's suspension consists of half a dozen bungy cords and a pack of used chewing gum, but I don't care. With the sunroof open and the windows down, this car was made for backroads, beach trips, and bike racks. It makes me want to move to the coast just so I can drive down the road and smell the sweet ocean breezes. Barring that, I can't wait to take it to Jekyll Island later this spring. It feels more like a jeep than an suburban mom suv. Just getting in the car makes you want to go somewhere (other than soccer practice -those mommy suv's probably have directions to the local PTA preprogrammmed). Even better, it gets honda gas mileage. I drove it down to my in-law's and back and that needle didn't even budge. These things are even supposed to get better gas mileage than our old accord. It's fun; it's thrifty. I love it, and I want to take it on adventures.

An unjobby job

I recently started "working" for one of those query places where people send in questions either from their computer or their cell phone and wait impatiently for answers they were too impatient to look up on their own. Ok, so maybe you really need the number of that chinese place just down the street from city hall, but you happen to be at your laundrymat. I understand. The funny thing is that doing it is actually kind of fun. I haven't really wanted to get a real job. For one thing Allen is content to have me at home. For another thing my days are fairly unpredicable still as to how much up and arounding I really want to do. For a third thing every part time job I've checked out has pretty bad hours. Allen comes first. Period. That means being at home at a reasonable time to fix supper and not filling up my weekends at the whim of some boss. And....well...I have to put this place first. If I were all up to date (or reasonably so) on my duties here and had things running fairly smoothly then I might be more interested in working at a real job somewhere. For now though this is fun. The part that get's me excited is thinking that I may be able to earn a little to cover some of my fun stuff -camping and sewing and the like. That's really all I wanted a job for anyway. Allen makes plenty to keep me happy. Every now and again though, it's just nice to have some mad money. If it's there, play with it. If it's not, you're not missing anything very important.

And if you're curious where I'm tapping out text message sized squash casserole recipes it's ChaCha.

March 25, 2008

My Car!!!

They called. My new car is almost here. Allen's gone up the street to meet the man so's he doesn't get lost trying to find our apartment. Squee!

March 21, 2008

Capitalism v the Devil and God's redemption

There's quite a few people who seem that capitalism should go to the devil as a foal should return to her mare. Those people need to quite honestly get a clue. Ok, if you want to define capitalism as that hulking monstrosity of big business and government regulations that walks around purporting to be capitalism then maybe you have a point -albeit a point with its definitions mixed up. There are plenty of evils that occur under (and quite likely are exaggerated by) the current economic system, but to denounce the free market system because of the farce currently's simple minded at best. I can't write an economic treatis on the stuff. I'm not that skilled. What I do know though is that there are really only two directions you can take this. You can increase the regulations and restrictions or you can decrease them. It's darn certain that the former won't work. You end up with socialism and communism and the mess that is the former Soviet Union. No one could say that was an unmitigated success. Yeah, argue that wasn't real socialcommunism. Whatever. The mechanics of it don't work no matter what you try to call it. The other alternative is to stop letting the bureaucrats sit pulling the strings (all hauling the money in towards them) and see what happens when business actually start working together without a jillion gov agents fouling up the works. Instead of letting the gov redistribute all the money (and taking plenty off the top) wouldn't it be something if we actually got to decide how to use our money? No more tax money going to Planned Parenthood and condoms for 12 year olds. More money going to the widows and orphans living in our own communities. More money for us to share with each other period whether that be furniture and food for a family who've lost everything or a bottle of red passed around a room filled with shared experience and the glow of community.

Writing about this makes me wish I'd read more about the Old Testament laws. When God was laying down His laws and rules concerning the way His people would live, He laid out an entire economic system. In a way the point isn't whether capitalism or socialism or whatever is a better, more just way to structure society. God has given us plenty of principles in His word about the way we should order our lives -economy included. We just need to stop arguing about our systems long enough to really try and understand what God wants of us. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm not staunchly on the side of free markets. I am, and I think that it's more in line with God's way than various other schemes. However, even though I think my way is right I recognize that God's redemption is necessary in all areas of our lives. Even the "right" thing can be done in a way that dishonors God. And most of all I need to remember that even Christians with "stupid" ideas about economics are still fellow workers in the vineyard and that I should -must- esteem them as co-heirs with Christ. I don't have to pretend to agree with them on everything, but I must never ever lose sight of our common goal and our common destination.

March 19, 2008

computers change everything

So I've been trying to do some daily decluttering. Today I bookmarks???? And lest you think I'm talking about cleaning out my Bible or my night stand let me assure that I'm talking about my humongeous list of internet bookmarks. I actually got a feeling of accomplishment from sorting out all (most) of my bookmarks into catagories and seeing my bookmark list turn into something resembling a well ordered closet and not the clutter box skulking under my coffee table. I suppose really it's just a habit. If I can be neat and organized with my online/computer spaces then maybe those attitudes will carry over into my actual living spaces. Or maybe visa versa? Maybe I'm getting more clutter conscious in my living spaces and carrying that over? I dunno. I'm just waiting for the day when I point at young child busily occupied with hacking into Google and say "I told you no playing until you've cleaned off your desktop! I want to see some folders being created now!"

Yeah, never gonna happen. Makes you think though.

March 18, 2008

More 15min miracles

Although I'm really not a strict flybaby, I do find inspiration in her missions and philosophy. Today Allen and I were looking for a thumb drive he needed for work. We looked everywhere (and eventually found it in the first place he looked and still managed to overlook), but during the looking process we came to The Desk. The place where every single paper gets tossed when there's not an immediately better place to put it (and occasionally when there is). So we started quickly tossing things into piles. Bank statements here. Insurance there. A third pile for tax documents. Since I'd already bought the file folders and a box for filing, it was the work of a minute to lable, stuff, and file the small sorted piles of paper. We didn't find the thumb driver there, but within 15min at least three quarters of the desk had been cleared of debris. It really does work. Start where you are, and just go at it for 10-15 minutes. Set a timer if you need to. It makes a huge difference.

March 17, 2008


We went to a St Paddy's Day wedding today. It was so cute, and they looked to happy together. The whole wedding (guests and all) was small enough to squeeze into a photograph together. It was very refreshing in a way to be part of such a simple little ceremony. I got the sense that they really did care more about being together than throwing a huge party. They were so cute. The groom had this huge goofy grin on his face the whole time, and his bride seems perpetually between a blush and a giggle. I hope they will be very happy together and share many laughs.

March 16, 2008

More unique finds

My last sojourn to the thrift store snagged a neat little vintage sewing stool -full of vintage thread and various other notions! It's so neat. It's just like a piano bench except not as wide. And I love the storage niche inside it. Love love. Inside it I also found a box of the queerest looking Singer feet. I really am going to have to post pictures of them just in the hopes some kind soul will tell me what they are. Unfortunately my machine has a different shank and can't take them no matter how exciting and useful they may turn out to be. The stool itself is in very good shape though badly in need of recovering (with a touch of padding this time -oof!) Fortunately the wood isn't very beat up and really just needs a good oiling to look quite respectable. Squee!

Sweet little bag giveaway

No, not mine. Olivia Joy over at All that is Good has whipped up some fabulousness that she's kindly decided to give away to her (their) faithful readers. Check it out (link above) and then put your own link in -you get more chances in the drawing if you do. :D

March 15, 2008


Today I got to go spend some time with some very lovely people who either go to or are associated with my church. Some are people who've prayed with me or stood in line with me to partake of our family meal. Others I can't recall ever seeing before. Either way it was wonderful to once again sit on a couch conversing with people who like me are bound to one Lord, one church, one community. The past few months I've played the recluse rather too much, but hopefully this afternoon marks the beginning of my journey towards a fuller, richer communion with those around me. Husbands are wonderful creatures, but they aren't very good at girly giggles.

March 13, 2008

What does "authentic" mean?

That word has been stalking me through dark alleys this week. First it's in our pastor's sermon. Then it starts popping out of doorways as I walk past. It's a word that's worth some thought though. I think our pastor put it well when he said that authentic people are people who know who they are. An authentic person isn't easily threatened by other people's difference or overly concerned what other people think. They are secure enough to not need a whole bunch of people who look like them in order to validate who they are, but somehow I'm not so sure that's how the word is always used. Can you be authentic if you wear a vintage style jeans from Kohls instead of trying on six million pairs of jeans at the thrift store (should you be lucky enough to live near one)? The impression I get is no. Here's another thing I don't get. It's cool to wear old t-shirts from highschools on the other side of the country or places you haven't the faintest desire to see (correct me if I'm wrong -I'm so not down or up or diagonal on cool. Never really was), but when I wear my old Carlsbad Cavern tshirt (a place I've actually been to twice) I don't even feel remotely cool. It's authentic in a way. Been there, done that, bought the shirt. Am I cool and don't know it? Hmmmm. This is getting sidetracked. I didn't really want to talk about shirts.

It's just that there are some people who sweat authentic(TM) -mostly philosophy/art majors and the people who hang out with them. They read books like Blue Like Jazz and know how to make pop culture references. I read Blue Like Jazz but way after everyone else did, and I can't say that it radically changed the way I think about Christianity. Putting the Amazing Back into Grace and Evangelism and the Soveriegnty of God did that for me, but they're just good books and aren't "on the cutting edge of a post-modern Christian culture" or whatever gritty Christian books are supposed to be. Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking the book. It's really good for us to examine our assumptions from time to time and have our eyes opened to our blind spots. I guess the question I want to ask is this: Can the housewife that I am (with all that I am) ever be authentic? According to our pastor's definition I'd say absolutely see you when I get there. Culturally I'm not to sure. I don't even know if I could do that with the "authentic" Christians -some of whom I'd like to question as to whether they are really authentic, genuine people comfortable in their skins or whether they (like so many of us) have merely found another group with a more palatable brand of patter to validate their cultural preferences. I'm betting there's a few, and if anyone says otherwise I just might point and laugh (unless that's not an authentic thing to do). For those of you who just happen to be really awesomely authentic people who love shopping at Goodwill and aren't threatened by someone who buys knock-off vintage off the discount rack at Kohl's, I say wait up and give me a chance. I want to be comfortable enough with my non beer drinking, thrift store shopping, housewifely awesome, scatterbrained self to really meet you face to face. It's slow, but I'm getting there.

When you think about it, for Christian, the one thing that's deeper than anything is the reality of God's love for us. We can be authentic about how sinful we are, because it's just so amazingly obvious that we contintually are failing God, hurting others, neglecting our duties, and generally makes a collosal mess. That's sort of 2am theology for me sometimes. I think the harder thing for us to be real about is the amazing blessed abundance of God's love. I know I certainly can't hardly grasp it in more than a general "I affirm what the Bible says way." But I sincerely think that's the best way to be really, really real.I don't want my sin to be realer than God's love. I want my authenticity to be flavored more by a blissful realization of God's love than by a haunting feeling of my own inadaquacy. Of course to understand God's love is to understand the price He paid to bring us into fellowship with Him. I don't plan to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Ideally the two would be in perfect balance, each informing and moderating the other, but if I err let me err on the side of love.

Doing the healthy whole grain dance

Thoughts of food reminded me -I am now allowed two pieces of whole grain bread twice a week. I am so psyched. Big Sky bread here I come!!! Hmmmm, what to have first? Grilled cheese or buttered toast? Oh decisions decisions. I loves them both so good. I have been doing the gluten free thing for so long....(still will largely so as not to strain anything).


Darn you Elisa, if I hadn't read your blog I wouldn't have heard about Script Frenzy, and if I hadn't heard about Script Frenzy I wouldn't be contemplating its sheer insanity. I live a sheltered, safe little life (ok so I've been to the Grand Canyon twice -you know what I mean) and like it. I've never gone out with the girls for unnaturally colored rum laced drinks or lived in a tent on a hill or even lived in a college dorm. Although I love stories my natural bent is contemplative not plot driven. Which, darn you again Elisa may yours days be long as the Nile, gives me an idea for a story, but even that idea is all emotion and no plot. However that is exactly why I need to try something like this. Even many of of my contemplations never make it out of my head 'cause I'd rather keep them there than see them spoilt by the clumsy application of words. The painful perfectionist in me is due for one heck of a kicking. Speaking of due -I have an appointment with some new habits.

P.S. Elisa I really do love you. Right now you're just the stick that's poking me in the back urging me to stop living such a stuffy existence. I love you for it, but inertia is a hard habit to overcome sometimes.

P.P.S. I am such a scatterbrain. I'm working on one project. An idea for another one comes along, and I want to jump ship. Hence the never getting things done part of my life. My life as an impulsive, wanna be artistic, scatterbrain.

March 12, 2008

More on being tired

My mother-in-law got her shingle in the mail. She got her naturapathic doctor diploma. It's amazing the knowledge and wisdom she has amassed during this whole process. She was no sneeze before she started on this, but that woman knows health sideways and diagonal and even straight up and down. She's still learning knew stuff all the time. Today we learned a few things about me as well. On top of a few other things it looks like I'm trying to shake an epstein-barr virus. Mono and chronic fatigue syndrome are epstein-barr related -hence an easily tired Natalie. Maybe this would be a good time to learn how to rest withouth feeling guilty over all the stuff I "should" be doing. lol It's either that or drive myself nuts, and why should I do that to myself when Allen will gladly drive me there any day of the week? jk. Allen is a dear. He also makes dumb jokes. Dumb jokes are contageous.

wedding projects

I'm working on a wedding project at present. It's coming along, but since I'm having to learn my image editing as I go it's taking me a bit longer than it strictly has to. I'm doing something (almost) completely new for me, and it's really quite interesting seeing it all come together. I'll try to take a few pictures (so I can feel bad about not uploading them :D ) before I hand it off. Speaking of which my hand-off date is fast approaching, so I better get back to it. Erk, and today's one of my long days. I really better get to it.

Shoes aren't footly salvation

So I'm still getting all those flylady e-mails, and did I mention that she has a thing about shoes? As a psychological gimmick to convince my brain it's work time I don't mind it. I don't do it, but if that's what cleans your counters then yea you for doing it. What does drive me nuts are the number of testimonials concerning someone's poor pitiful feet and how things would have just been peachy if they'd been wearing shoes all the time. If you've got cracked heels and spurs and pains in your ankles or wherever I'll bet you $20 that at least 90% of the problem isn't from waltzing around barefoot. You got odd bones? Stop taking costco fake calcium or drinking that gallon of milk you can't digest very well and hit the leafy greens. Then...go butter your toast. Yes I said butter. Toss that smart/sham butter and get some real stuff that actually had a prior bovine existence. It will help you assimilate all your nutrients and stop those weird aches. If your heels still hurt try drinking more water. You could well be walking over the reflexology point for your kidneys, and if they're hurting so will your heels. If on top of this you aren't rotting your bones with a daily (or weekly) pint of rootbeer I'd say you're starting to cover some territory. Just remember, flip flops aren't satan's temptations for the downfall of our arches, and keds aren't the embodiment of bipedal virtue.

March 8, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

Oy! I'm watching the new Pride and Prejudice, and I must confess that it's worse than I ever thought. Although the clothes and the lines quoted straight from the book are gratifying, the many gaffs are perfectly appalling. For one thing hardly any of the characters look old enought to be out of highschool. I get the feeling that I'm watching a highschool play wherein most of the characters are reading their lines from a cue card off stage. Then there are the nonsensical extraneous material that could only have been perpetuated by one's who's familiarity with the work and the era was confined to hasty perusals Mr. Cliff's notes. Walking around with hair down. Gentlemen in lady's bedchambers. Money given to Lydia by Wickham. And we haven't even gotten to their removal from Netherfield. What other pleasures await me I hardly dare to think. I just hope there's plenty more dancing to be had. It would appear to be this movie's saving grace.

March 6, 2008

Coming together

I think I'm finally starting to pull my design ideas together. I think it makes a better list than a description though.

-wrought iron
-hand me down

Thrifty trios

A trio of 99 cent red begonias in a little, low terra cotta planter perfectly filling a niche between the chair and the sliding glass patio door.

A $6.00 trio of botanical prints featuring lovely, old-fashioned pink roses. Final destination still undecided but likely above the head of our bed.

I love thrift stores.

March 3, 2008

So now what?

So lately I've been thinking about what I need to really be doing with my time. Of course there's plenty of stuff I could be doing around here, but I've been musing on getting some sort of a job. There's a church nearby with a daycare/kindergarten set-up that might be fun, but therein lies part of my dillemma. For a girl who's never spent a day in a typical school (except college) I have some pretty strong opinions about things. I suppose if you were to try and classify my general bent on education it'd be something like montessori/classical. On one hand I think schools are exceedingly dumbed down. On the other I don't really like the rigid compartmentalization of our children and their activities. I also really, really can't stand the education department at university. I took maybe a couple of classes and went through some brooha when I was considering the 5th year program, and in my opinion the whole thing is largely a complete waste of classroom space. I'm not against the concept of an education degree per say, but I'm almost rabidly against its implementation in virtually every place I've considered. What do I do now? Become a martyr to my beliefs that conventional age/grade divisions are artificial and unnecessary? I might as well get a job at Hancock's (which isn't a bad idea when you think about it). Starting my own school is infeasible to say the least. Trying to get work at one without an education degree is difficult and scary ('cause curriculum and classroom management can't be mail-ordered). I suppose it's my frustrated homeschool mom complex showing again. Grrrr. Need. Guidance. Wisdom. BABIES. Something.


The money was sent merrily on it's way, and my new (to me) car should be here in a week or two.

Also, after rereading more of my books than was strictly good for me, we finally got libary cards renewed! Now I can reread all the books at the libary :P Seriously, when we moved here we didn't drive anywhere near a library, so we just didn't bother. Online books and the occassional bookstore run for some really good books (and GLH ebay finds) kept us going.

Just in case anyone's interested I picked up a Dorothy Sayers, some Rex Stout, a few odds ands ends of canonical lit, travel books for vacation planning, and two books on Montessori education. Now I'm tired and ready to curl up with said books and devour them. However I have to get my apartment ready for tonight. Not too much really do, but it needs to get done.

March 2, 2008

Pain and Helplessness

I want to share something from Elisa's blog -Elisa I hope you don't mind.

I know that one day my story will flesh out and I will see this, as we all will see the pain and hurt and realize the good. Until then, I am working on how to live my day to day life. How to trust and hope. How to help my friends trust and hope as well. I am not the only one with crap going on, and I see it in my community and it breaks my heart. How do we all do it? My stuff seems like too much to can I help you carry yours? How do I speak the Truth to you when I am not sure that I even believe it? Tell you to hope when mine feels dried out? It is hard and it is broken. In the end I guess I just need to pray for God to help my unbelief. Help me hope, help me pray. Help me care for those in my life. Help me. I am utterly incapable

This is the comment I left:

Ouch. Yes. How can I go minister to you when my own home isn't in order? How can I help others when I can't even help myself? When I neglect the people closest to me? When I reach out am I running from my own problems and responsibilites- running from my own pain instead of running towards yours? Using your helplessness as an excuse to ignore my own? How can I even presume to minister to you knowing that my best words and actions can shred you utterly? How can we bear to be human?

We sing songs together at church, hug, and even chat. But how do we get to heart of each other's hearts? For me that's a very real question as I've never had the knack of making friends easily. I want to dig into the life of my church and to laugh with those who rejoice and weep with those who mourn, but I still don't know how. I suppose that's just another example of my own helplessness.