Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Legalizing Our Marriage Ideas

At our renewal of our vows when G. and I get legally hitched, I think we should say a family vow too. I think the kids should be allowed to run freely on the beach during the ceremony, but that we should try to call them back for our family vow. And we should do a blessing of our rings-- perhaps in silence with our hands over them -- a symbol of our love and commitment. And bless sturdy but beautiful anklets we make for the kids too, and give them their anklets as a special gift. We should have four anklets, though, and bless the two for children not yet here. I think we should burn our regrets and send them afloat in the water so that they may be purified and made right again with this crazy wild and big universe.

I think our ceremony/ritual should be relaxed and intimate and follow its own rhythm. I think we should basically just exist in our own little world in those moments.

I keep thinking of the fertility ritual from the movie Chutney Popcorn, and the beauty of just being present with the power of our own hearts.

By the way, if you all haven't seen this yet, you should, because everybody should be so lucky.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Visting Harvard Divinity School Classes

Cool! I just found out I can visit Harvard Divinity School classes this spring! I've now scheduled time in my calendar to visit these classes:
  • Unitarian and Universalist History in the United States
  • Introduction to the New Testatment: History and Interpretation
  • Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Judaism: The Liturgical Year
  • The First Epistle to the Corinthians

I'll be visiting classes through April.

Harvard Divinity School

Hmmm. I guess this is evidence that divinity school may still be in the cards because I found myself wandering over to the Harvard Divinity School website today.

They are no longer accepting applications for '09-10. Folks are supposed to check back in the fall for 2010-11 application info. Why do I always think of this right *after* the application deadline?? Same thing happened last year. Oh well. It is probably not the time.

I did notice these statistics on the HDS website:

Class entering fall 2008:
Applied 677
Admitted 253
Incoming 160
MDiv 50
MTS 100
ThD 6
ThM 4
Students of color 24%
International 8%
Female 58%
Male 42%
Age range 21-58
Average age 27
Student religious affiliations more than 30

...and..."Financial aid is distributed on an equitable and sustained basis to all students who demonstrate financial need. The policies and practices of the office coalesce in producing a community of students pursuing scholarly and ministerial goals that embrace the ethnic, theological, and denominational diversity of our world."

Weekly Horoscope Check-In

As you all know, I am a horoscope skeptic, ironically obsessed with my horoscope since I found the AstroStyle website because their 'scopes always seem so "right on" for me. Anyway, here is my weekly horoscope from that site, with my comments in purple:

Workaholic alert! You may be a little too emotionally wrapped up in your career at the moment.

VERY interesting. I preached on Sunday, and found myself with a renewed vigor by Sunday evening. I was feeling a really intense sense of vocational focus and seriously hammered away on some big projects until after two in the morning! I took Sabbath on Monday, but thought about work throughout the day and returned to work today with a lot of momentum. I am seeing this as very positive, and I will continue to see it as positive, but I guess I also have to be careful not to overdo it.

While it's wonderful to be ambitious, striving too hard for status, fame, or prestige could cause you to forget your values. You don't want to step on people as you climb the ladder to success. That's simply too much bad karma to bring into your life.

I guess it would be nice to have warning if people's feelings could become an issue. I wasn't seeing any danger of stepping on anyone with the projects I'm working on, but I guess I'll keep my eyes out!

Oh, wait, I just thought of something that this could absolutely be about...the current strategic planning and goal development. Oh, yeah. I can definitely see this being an issue if I am not careful. Will try to be even more restrained than I've been lately.

A little detachment is advised.

Whether horoscopes are valid or not, I think this is terrific and very helpful advice for the strategic planning meeting tonight. Will try very hard to keep it in mind.

Your work is important, but don't let it define all of who you are. You may also need to make a few sacrifices in the name of your career growth. Be selective.

Hmmm...have no idea right at the moment what that could mean. Perhaps time will tell.

If there's an opportunity to learn from an industry expert, jump on it--even if you do the work for free.

I'm not sure yet what this means either, but I can see a couple of opportunities to which this *might* apply. Will have to think on it.

An issue with a prominent male relative needs healing. You may have to extend the olive branch this time. Let go of grudges and make peace.

Huh. I wonder if this is true for me or not. The only guy-person with whom my relationship has been shaky (as far as I know) is my brother, and that's been going on for years. I feel like I've been doing my part, but maybe???

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Antidote to Saccharine Laced Anthologies

Here is a book coming out sometime in the next few months, and it is going to be very good: I hope you all will pick up a copy.

Way back when, when the editors were first calling for submissions, this was the vision they described for their book: "My Baby Rides the Short Bus will be an antidote to the saccharine laced anthologies that exist for special needs parents. It will give punk, alternative, and marginalized parents a place to write about their realities."

I'm sure it will be interesting and moving reading for anyone, whether you have a kid with a so-called-special-need or not!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yesterday's Music

I realized yesterday that one interesting thing I could post periodically on my blog is what music my kids are listening to. We don't have IPODs or anything, so thank goodness for things like the internet where we can find a variety of music when we don't have it on hand.

What my kids listened to yesterday:

  • Pink (until I decided the kids were listening too closely to the lyrics of "So What")
  • Rihanna
  • Mediterranean Lullabies (one of two naptime standards)
  • The Cure
  • Kid Cudie
  • Regina Spektor
  • Bob Marley
  • The Beattles
  • The Cranberries
  • Judy Collins
  • Nanmo Amituofo
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • The Murmurs

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Valentine's Day Request About My Birthday, To My "True Love"

Over the Christmas season my kids learned the song "12 Days of Christmas" pretty much in its entirety. There is nothing sweeter than hearing my two and three year old belt out, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me." So, sometime toward the end of the season, M. asks me, "Mama, who is your true love?"

That is a three year old question to make a heart melt alright. I don't want to forget that one.

I told M. that my beautiful children and my beautiful wife are my "true loves." He liked that answer, but I wonder if he thought I was cheating a bit to name them all. So on this Valentine's Day, I'll choose the romantic meaning of the phrase "true love." Here's a letter to my wife, G. about not a Christmas gift wish, but a birthday wish. (Just in case she reads my blog.)

Dear G.,

My 30th birthday is coming up and you've been asking for ideas of how to make it special. Other than wanting to spend it with you and the kids, there are few things I want or need. Of course I dearly wish we could all go visit Colorado or that our folks there could come visit us, but I know that isn't possible so let me tell you something else that would make my heart sing:

Honey, let's get legal. Ever since we moved here we've put off going to get our marriage legalized, but its a great joy to be able to do so and we really ought to do it for so many reasons. The reason that we've put it off is because you know I want to make it all romantic and renew our vows and all that, and you're afraid I'll invite people and you'll have to talk in front of everyone like at our wedding. So let me make this deal with you. Why don't we do a private renewal of our vows on the beach with the kids, with only the number of witnesses required. We can have a small party with everyone else afterward to celebrate if you want. But otherwise, let's dress up and take pictures, but make it a quiet elopment and a family thing. That would be a great way to celebrate my 30th birthday month. Because sweetie pie, I love you, and nothing would be bliss like being your lawfully wedded wife :-).

Love, S.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Some Thoughts on Food

Have you all seen "Depression Cooking With Clara" videos? If not, check them out. I was struck primarily by the notion of turning off the stove and letting pasta cook itself just by sitting with the lid on.

Though Clara's egg drop soup recipe is nothing like "traditional" Chinese egg drop soup as far as I know, I liked her idea of bulking up egg drop soup with potatoes.

I make egg drop soup frequently for myself because it is basically zero Weight Watchers points and is surprisingly filling. I make a really simple version for reasons of economics and time: just broth, with egg whites dropped in through a fork (to break it up) once it is boils. Rarely I thicken the broth a little with a tiny bit of flour whipped in. I use egg whites alone per the standard recipe. Since I can't afford to waste yolks, I cook those up for my kids. Or sometimes I use egg substitute, as it is often more economical if I buy egg sub in bulk at only works with Egg Beaters though, no other brands.

I might try Clara's recipe as another egg soup recipe. I also think I'll start adding finely diced carrots and onions in my egg drop soup for more nutrition.

(Photo courtesy of Cake Wrecks)

Something interesting is happening between me and food right now. You know how some people find fats troublesome, and some people find sweets troublesome? As in, some people find they can't control themselves around fats, and others can't control themselves around sweets?

For many years, I have struggled not with fats or sweets, but with both of these. I love food, and I frequently crave fats and sweets. Nothing has worked to rid myself of the cravings, including attempts at getting through some type of "withdrawl" period and quitting "cold turkey."

Recently, however, I've found my desire for sweets to be very low. So low in fact that the idea of having something sweet at times is a total and utter turn off. It's not that I never crave sugar now. I do. But the cravings are less strong and far, far more infrequent. Yesterday I turned down a delicious-looking piece of from-scratch chocolate cake, two different types of ice cream, and an offer of Peanut M & Ms. I'm back to watering down any juices to basically flavored waters, something I have done only periodically over my adult years. And this morning when I saw ice cream sandwiches in my mother-in-law's freezer, they only caught attention briefly before I moved on.

I do think this is more consistent with my genetic make-up. In my family of origin everyone enjoys some sweet treats, but no one as far as I know is overboard in any way like I have been over the years. That watering down juice until it is flavored water thing? That came straight from my mother.

I don't know what is shifting, but I think this will be a nice wave to ride for a while. I am hoping the change in taste preferences is permanent, and for a good reason (growing out of sweets or something) rather than a bad one (my body compensating for wildly fluctuating hourly blood glucose levels from stress and life changes over the last couple years).

Either way, for now, I am quite happy and have a renewed sense of hope about getting my dietary life and overall state of health back in gear. Only problem is, my salty fats cravings have increased slightly...I'm finding that at times, in place of wanting a big slice of cake or something, I want a big snack of potato chips. That said, I'm not worried yet, as the increase is only very minor and might just be a matter of adjustment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Anyone feeling bitter, scorned, resentfully loving, or unloving or unloved?

I found an anti-Valentine's Day song for you, just for fun. It's "Silver Lining" by Rilo Kiley.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Is Your Income is Dropping to $500,000?

Someone on one of my Mothering Boards posted about Obama capping the CEO salaries at $500,000 for those companies receiving federal money ("bailout bucks").

Stealing an idea from another mom, I'd like to offer this to any executives who are facing tough financial issues such as needing to sell their homes or reduce personal employee salaries:

I can help you successfully live on $250,000 a year. I am available for consultant services, and I will help you navigate the changes in your personal financial life. The fee for my services is $250,000 per year.


No, seriously.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Monthly Horoscope

This is my monthly horoscope from You should go check out yours!

Who are you and what do you believe in? It’s time to heed the call of your inner truth, Gemini. You’ve got a vision and a purpose—a life that was made for big adventures. Travel, study or new horizons await you in February. Rocket yourself waaaay out of your comfort zone, Gemini. Old perspectives and ways of doing things are simply boring. You’re not a creature of habit anyway, so pack your bags and move out of Dullsville.

On February 9th, the lunar eclipse in your communication sector could bring a surprising message. This is a full moon eclipse, which brings manifestation and closure. If you’ve been waiting for big news, this could be the day it arrives. A situation with a sibling or close friend could also reach a peak.

It’s also a good time to really examine your own thoughts and words. Your mind, while brilliant and active, can be your own worst enemy. If you’ve fallen into negative thinking, you really need to seek new perspectives now. If you’ve been gossipy or just speaking negatively, clean it up. The things you say affect your experience of life, so if possible, find a way to reframe the less savory speak. For example, if someone asks you how you’re doing, just say “Great!” rather than deliver a long, woeful saga. It may seem phony, but it will keep you from indulging in soul-sucking drama.

You should also examine what comes out of your mouth. Do you speak your truth, or have you slipped into Gemini double-talk? With your verbal finesse, words can be your playthings—but others may not appreciate being toyed with. Don’t underestimate the long-term impact of your speaking. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Your career heats up after the 18th, when the Sun enters Pisces and your tenth house of success. Begin to put more structure in your life that supports your dreams. On the 25th, the Pisces new moon is a great day to define new goals, or make the leap into your next level of professional success.

There’s one trend you need to know about, because it’s been affecting your sign for the last few months. Strict Saturn is opposing unpredictable Uranus, and your sign is caught in the middle of this battle. The effect is like a tough, Catholic school teacher (Saturn) trying to break bread with the rebellious teenage dropout (Uranus). With both planets forming a tense square with your sign, you’re being pulled in both directions. As if you didn’t have enough duplicity in your life to begin with!

Saturn is in your fourth house of home, family and foundations. You’re being called upon to build a brick house of inner security and personal confidence—against all odds. Gemini, you have a hard time stilling your mind and just “being” with yourself, and Saturn is challenging you to do that.

Under Saturn’s heel, your home life could bring challenges, and they’ll take patient discipline to resolve. Mother-daughter conflict is a strong possibility. A family situation or obligation could demand resources that are scarce for you. It will take all you’ve got at times!
With Uranus in your career sector, your work life could be chaotic, ever-changing and demanding—making it even harder to attend to personal affairs. You certainly could feel in over your head. You’ll need to be extra creative, and to find ways to be disciplined without killing all the spontaneity. The contact between Saturn and Uranus is close this month, and Geminis born in June will feel it the strongest.

The temptation to escape into workaholism (or escape from work) may be strong. The more you run from issues, the deeper they take root. The next 14 years of your life will be affected by the foundation you build (or don’t build) now.

Please, find the time to find yourself. When you have a sense of “you,” everything can be handled and no crisis is too great to overcome. When you’re lost or disconnected from yourself, the smallest dramas can destroy you.Tuning into your body is one way of reconnecting with yourself. No matter how brief, find regular pockets of time to do that. If you don’t have a planner or online calendar, get one now. Ink in time each day to nurture your body and treat yourself to something nice. Beating yourself up is not allowed, and be strict about enforcing that! Gemini, you’re on a path closer to yourself. While it may be rocky, don’t stray off onto the side trails. Keep walking straight ahead and you’ll get there!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

She's Amazing!

The super fabulous, most gracious, and indescribably talented (not to mention rather stylish) Massachusetts photographer Megan Peck volunteers her professional skills and time through an organization called Celebrating Adoption, and she has thus very generously agreed to fit us into her very busy schedule and do a session with our family in May out in G's hometown. It makes me want to cry, she is so sweet to do this for us. Do me a favor: if you know anyone in Massachusetts, please refer them to her. She is in-freaking-credible, and totally deserves the referral.

(Also, go to the Celebrating Adoption website and look up the photographers in your area too...then support them with your business if you can.)

Now here is something I will have on my mind constantly between now and May: what on earth will we wear? I am going to be digging through our closets and hopefully we will find something suitable for all of us (G and I will be the biggest headache...the kids will of course be cute in almost matter how much we screw it up!). Here is her What To Wear Guide for photo sessions. If it moves too fast, click the "pause" button in the lower right. I'm totally taking suggestions, and as I find options in our closet, I'll post photos of them. If you have patterns for very simple, simple, simple things to sew too, I'd take suggestions on those as well. Oh Yeesh how I wish G or I could sew more seriously than we do. I wonder if we are supposed to plan for one or several outfits? I should probably ask her! I'm hoping I can get at least a shot or two of K. in a dress, but knowing K., most of the session will probably have to be pants.