February 28, 2009

my latest crush

It's a Eureka tetragon 8, and it's finally mine. On the way home from bookclub I thought. "I don't have any fires to put out at home. I think I'll wander down and see if that tent is one sale." It was, so I bought it. Then I wondered if this other place might have it cheaper. They did. Plus their box included the rebate tag. That was double score. Triple score came when, while returning my earlier purchase, I asked if they did price matching. I ended up getting a brand new $120 tent for $40. Now I can't wait to go try it out. Now I just have to decide where I want to go first.....

image credit W. Van Pelt"packhound" on amazon.

February 23, 2009

it is or it isn't (a disjointed rambling)

Reading some the Pandora comments for an artist (Plumb I think?) I noticed someone asking in frantic caps "IS THIS ARTIST CHRISTIAN??????" To which someone else replied with "What does it matter if you like it?" Now I can understand some of the question because honestly some of the songs that come up on Pandora I thumb down simply because the lyrics are so contrary to my beliefs that I can't enjoy the song. On the other hand when Harry James comes up on Pandora it doesn't even cross my mind to wonder whether the band playing "King Porter Stomp" was lead by a born again Christian. The whole horn section could have been Rastafarians, and it wouldn't make the song any less enjoyable. On the other hand some people (mainly evangelicals with a bumper sticker theology mentality) seem to think that "Christian" is an acceptable substitute for "well crafted." It's like the Left Behind books. Who care's if they're any good? The way some people talk it's like Jenkins and LaHaye went to the Isle of Patmos and unearthed a whole nother set of scrolls. Literary quality isn't the important thing to these people. Same thing with those radioactive Kindcaide paintings. Same thing with a fair portion of Christian music. Which is not to say that a large portion of secular or mainstream music isn't pure musical chaff. But jeesh people listening to bad music because it's Christian doesn't make you a better Christian. It just makes you a bad judge of music. Allen and I were talking about this last night on our way to church and came up with two criteria for music (and I would say most artistic pursuits). 1. Is it good? 2. Is it edifying? Either it is or it isn't. Baring personal tastes of course. Considering my inability to understand anything said in a rap song much less appreciate it I wouldn't be likely to find even very good rap edifying or well executed.

Of course I know this opens up a huge window to talk about what is good. Some people would exclude country. Some people would exclude hip hip or techno. Others honestly do prefer Bach and Handel to pretty much everything you hear on the radio today. The window is good because it means that finally we're talking about good Christian books versus bad Christian literature or possibly even good literature versus bad literature instead of merely Christian v secular. Once upon Christian wrote the great literature of the day, wrote the finest symphonies, and painted the most beautiful women. Now we mass produce plastic WWJD bracelets. Blah blah culture, downfall of standards, etc. Are we even trying?

February 21, 2009

once more with feeling

I know I've been posting a lot of random stuff, but I'm feeling the need to post me a list because here it is nearly one, and I haven't done much besides eat lunch. So here's my (short) Saturday list:

1. clear dishes and junk mail out of the living room
2. run a load of laundry
3. clear laundry out of bedroom
4. make a pan of ziti
5. drink water
6. change sheets
7. not worry about what I didn't get around too
8. play Team Fortress :D

conversations I still have with myself

not that kind of girl

It's kind of funny. I over on Quietude I noticed Laura posting about her china pattern. Not having a china pattern of my own I immediately went out looked up some just to see what's out there and was again quickly reminded that I'm really more of an urban cottage style girl than I formal tea style kind. (After a conversation with a friend this afternoon I really doubt I'm even very urban minded, but it's a convenient way to label my affection for some of the wares sold by Ikea and Urban Outfitters.) There's some fine china I could tolerate and even a few patterns I could admire but I'm continually being attracted to stone and earthenware dishes. This is my new recent favorite from Pottery Barn called Emma. I really think I'd rather have it than almost any china pattern I've seen.
It's just sort of funny though to read all the comments on Laura's post on how much these women enjoy using "real" china and wondering why people don't register for it anymore. Of course I don't really understand people getting those dishes in odd "organic" shapes. At least, I can understand some people might find them attractive in the same way people find formal platinum banded china attractive, but personally I don't get it. Anyway, seeing as how I don't have room for any more dishes it's all somewhat moot, but wouldn't these make wonderful Sabbath dishes?

February 16, 2009

Personal application of a sermon

Last night Tom preached on envy, which is honestly probably one of my more significant failings as a Christian. Probably. Allen might say it's leaving the mustard out on the counter all week. Anyway, here's how it works. For people outside my group I think, "wow that is so cool I wish I could do something awesome like start a non-profit/hike the cascades/start a lindy scene/have x cool job/etc. That's more a "be content with where I am today" type issue. When I'm in a group it's a different story. Take lindy hop for instance (since that's sort of my thing). I have struggled tremendously watching various girls in our group develop as dancers because every time they learn a new swivel or break I feel threatened as a dancer. This is nonsense yes? But there it is. I have to very consciously remind myself over and over again that everything they learn is added to the community closet so to speak. We learn from each other, and their progress makes me a better dancer. But the problem is that I'm no longer the "best" dancer. Of course I wasn't anyway because there are always the instructors. However, some dark spot in my psyche was content being the best among the students. However, as the scene has grown other girls have joined who've proved singularly adept at the step, step, triple step. For my better nature that has been a tremendous blessing -people to learn from and with, more styles brought into the dance, a bigger scene, etc. For my sin nature it's been very hard coping with being better without being best. I'm a better dancer by far since other people have started even though my absolute ranking in the area may have fallen (if there even was such a thing.) And this is the nonsensical part of my struggle with envy. Envy would rather be on top even if that means I remain I worse dancer/friend/organizer/etc. The quality of the work doesn't matter so much as remaining the undisputed top dog.

Call me pompous but I really don't think I was meant for envy. I don't mean in the theological sense that humans were made for the garden of Eden either. I mean in the day to day sense. I don't like it. If it's one of my besetting sins it's also the one of which I'm possibly most aware and over which I most grieve. It's also the one in which I was possibly most trained. Who trains a kid in envy you may ask? Possibly my parents. Among us kids there were a couple of mentalities competing. One was a sort of school mentality. Stick together or the sharks will get you. It was five kids trying to understand a mom who was (and probably still is) very likely seriously, clinically depressed. However that was another competing mentality more along the nature of sharks. The line was pretty nigh impossible for anyone to toe, but sometimes someone would give a fairly good impression of it. That meant that all the parental heat was off of her/him and on the rest of you. Enter the sharks. Self-preservation said bring that sibling down before we all die here. I'll give you an example. My mom would (no kidding) ask people "So who do you think has the higher gpa, Natalie or Claire?" You might think this sounds deplorable no matter what the gpa. But let me tell you something -my gpa was three hundredths of a point lower than my sister's and that furthermore I was a junior/senior and she was a freshman/sophomore. See what I mean when I tell you I was trained in envy? My good grades became a foil for my sister's better ones. In the end that's about all the were good for. Growing up it wasn't so much about toeing the line as being closer to it than anyone else. One kid looking good frequently (admittedly not always) made the rest of us look bad.

I know that regardless of what I learned growing up that my sin is still my sin. I can't just look at something my parents inadvertently did and pass that buck back. Wrapped up as it is though in my search for love and approval and my desire to be a "good kid" envy has been a pretty tough one to root out. I don't want to be the bad kid. I don't want to lose approval. I want to be loved and accepted and commended. If that meant stomping on a few fingers....Father hunger is a strong emotion. The interesting thing though, to go back my lindy hop example, is that I'm in no less demand as a dancer now that I was before. I would say the reverse is true. Other people's successes have made me stronger and I believe will continue to make me stronger. I'm not as envious of other people as I was a year or two ago, and I believe I owe that in many ways to my church family because I don't have to scrape and connive to get these people to care for me and to approve. The masks can come down. It's ok to be unsure, faltering, and imperfect. And in that I see the face of God. I don't have to be better than Jennifer, Allen, Scot, Laura, etc because God loves me independent of and without thought for where they are in their walks. It's a very beautiful and very free thing. No more competing. No more being glad when the best dancer/biker/babysitter/etc moves out of town and you get to move up a rank. It's a good place to be whenever I can maintain the altitude.

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Not a very happy day here with Allen in bed sleeping off a fever, but I hope the rest of you are enjoying chocolate and pink hearts aplenty. Maybe Allen and I can do something next weekend.

February 5, 2009

This explains a few things

Somewhere underneath this conservative, grew up nice-girl, exterior I think there might a crazier girl who would like to go backpacking in grizzly bear country. But since I'm not bat-guano insane I'd go in with a can of bear spray strapped to my hip and a portable gps unit. Anyway, I think this song explain a few things.

Btw, has Dierks Bentley gotten cuter since he first showed up?

on blogging coolness

Poking around a few of my church's blogs I've realized that I lead a pretty banal blog life. For instance, most of my music choices are weird. Not cool weird mind you like all those people posting music reviews on their blogs that sound like something out of "Interesting person's guide to cool music." My stuff is really just weird. Apparently it takes a special kind of person to get worked up about the Pogues. Maybe I'm in the wrong denomination to like this kind of music? The only person I know who's into that sort of thing is a whiskey drinking Irish Catholic. Makes me wonder whether I have a Canadian Irish Catholic doppelganger who just can't get enough of blue-grass and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Actually, now that I consider, the problem is that I don't get the "Beatles." That is what has kept me back from music blog review cool-dom all these years -lack of a classical education.

But there's more to my little blog than lack of cool music reviews. No cute baby pictures. None, zero, nada, not even preggo (that I know of). So the cool mommy blog thing is out. As likewise is the hip single girl blog chronicling one girl's hopes and dreams through the tangled web of hideous brides maid's dresses, unsympathetic bosses, out of touch males, and challenging life decisions. Yeah, I never even had a nodding acquaintance with that girl in my single days. Being an overprotected fundamentalist kid with nearly no fashion sense will do that to you.

Let's continue here. I haven't started any cool groups. I don't read eye-brow crunching books and give reviews. My job is very cool, but I don't feel the need to obsessively compulsively write about someone else's kids. I guess that just leaves me right here where I am. Three days a week (occasionally more) I look after some kids. Seven days a week I look after one husband. While doing so I often listen to sea shanties and irish punk rock. Sometimes I go dancing. Sometimes I think about things that I want to write down. That's not all of me, but that's a fair part. I guess that's what comes of being a jill of all trades type who can't stand the thought of getting an office job.