Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Personal Storm System

Perhaps the hurricane has affected me, because this morning I created my own personal storm system.  First the 5 year old did not want to get up. She complained it was “snuffy” and I had to turn on the air. Then she sluggishly half dressed and half let herself be dressed. Then I braced myself to tackle the 3 year old, who had woken several times during the night and finally fallen into a troubled sleep on the sofa. She steadfastly refused to wake up or to let me dress her, or even to be touched. I then began the threat dance, “Well, we’ll just have to leave without you then.”  “Mommmy!” Further refusals to dress, accompanied by kicking. Another threat to leave (Who do I think I’m fooling? I can hardly leave the 3 year old to fend for herself).  Finally, glaring in fury at me, she lets her sister dress her. Time is ticking away and I have visions of the KinderCare bus leaving without the 5 year old. Eventually we get to the car. “Mommy—I forgot my glasses!”  I shout at 5 year old to run get her glasses. By now the inner storm clouds are dark indeed. We are driving off. “Oh—I forgot my backpack.” Cloudburst. Now, screaming in fury at a 5 year old who has forgotten her backpack is a lesson in the broken nature of humanity if ever there was one.  She will not be expelled for want of a backpack. The world will not come to a screeching halt. Her moral character is not doomed because she couldn’t remember to grab her pack as we left.  My moral character, on the other hands, needs some work.

Monday, August 29, 2005



This weekend my husband and I celebrated a wedding anniversary. Of course, no major event occurs in our lives with out drama. In this case, just half an hour before the babysitter arrived, I found my husband curled up in bed, crying from excruciating pain. He has been hit with an IC flare. IC, or interstitial cystitis, is a nasty, incurable condition in which the bladder lining deteriorates, exposing the sensitive inner cells the lining normally protects. In addition, the cells of the lining release histamines, creating more inflammation, and the pelvic muscles go into spasm.  This disease is more common among women, but my husband is one of the lucky few men to get it.  He has accompanying urinary retention, and recently had a Medtronics device implanted to take stimulate the nerves to function properly. At least he doesn’t have to catheterize himself, which is something many IC patients live with.  And periodically, for reasons unknown, he is visited by sudden bouts of pain.  

He was able to pull himself together with some painkillers, and we still had a wonderful anniversary dinner, which says a lot for my husband.  He was determined that we would have a pleasant time together. We went to a restaurant in an old house in the old-town section of Duluth.  We enjoyed good food and conversation (ah—how pleasant to have a conversation uninterrupted by our adorable children).

The next day found me at the mall with the two adorable children to give dear husband a break. I admit that I am not one of those moms who can herd kids through any situation. I always brace myself when I take them out alone, for I feel like I’m carrying two cases of dynamite.  We rode the carousel. The youngest insisted on being in the spinning cup but burst into tears when it started to spin. It’s quite difficult to remove a struggling three-year old from a spinning cup while a carousel is moving and you’re holding onto a horse.  Then we headed for Starbucks, mainly to shore up my reserves for the rest of the afternoon. The two girls chose butterfly cookies, covered in a hard frosting the slowly dissolves all over hands and clothes. After this it was off to the mall playground, which I think of as The Germ Factory.  Here while I was boosting the oldest up onto some strange piece of equipment, the youngest walked right out into the food court, nearly giving me a heart attack. This is why I don’t like to take them out by myself. Even in an enclosed area I can’t seem to keep up—they have as many strategies as cats for slinking off.  I was able to lure them away with promises of a trip the dollar store, where we purchased what I can only call “junk” but which they seem to treasure: My youngest daughter fell asleep clutching her small plastic cars.  I survived and no children were lost, and nothing was left behind, except some of my cash.

All in all, I’m feeling a bit better about life, the universe, and everything, except that I worry about Dear Husband and fret that there isn’t a lot to do to help. I’ve also been keeping alert today to Katrina, and praying for everyone along its path. It seems that New Orleans wasn’t hit with the utter devastation may feared, but it sounds bad enough.  

Friday, August 26, 2005

What Is a Sovereign God?

I love this site http://www.opentheism.info/. I will readily admit that I have not read any of the books listed here, and have only skimmed some of the articles and questions, but I'm intrigued and comforted by what I read. I find that the longer I work among Calvinists the more free-willish I become.

We recently had a devotion focused on the verse "Knock and the door shall be opened" etc. I really don't understand why Calvinists bother with petitionary prayer at all. They tie themselves in pretzels with explanations about how prayer isn't about God but about us and so forth. Well, I thought it was supposed to be about communion and communication, not just God filing away our ridiculous desires to have something be other than it is, since whatever it is, is God's will, and nothing surprises God (a favorite saying around here) and God is in control of everything. I think that latter phrase is as close to a chant as We come, since it comes up over and over, prefacing any request and dished out during any tragedy. No matter what crap lands on my plate, Thank you God for being Sovereign--I am greatly comforted, and as I partake of this crap, I can rest in the knowledge that is is Your will.

Okay, so I'm getting snarky and reducing a complex theological stance to caricature. Won't be the first time in my life.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blogomania and Anhedonia

I love lurking in other people's blogs. It's like being at a wonderful party without the stress of introducing myself to strangers. I can truely be a fly on the wall. Perhaps this is my attempt to live vicariously, since my own life is gray and tasteless. I found this description of anhedonia on a website about bipolar children (a disorder I do not have but that runs in my family):

The most awful thing was that I realized that my days had been composed of little moments of anticipated pleasure: that first cup of coffee in the very early morning, the inner thoughts that made me chuckle, a browse through a book store, the satisfaction of a job or chore completed…Now these moments failed to hold the crest of pleasure—everything was flat and gray. Life seemed locked away from me and I was filled with an unspeakable dread.

The newsletter authors go on to say, "When the mind is laid barren of thought, the imagination cannot make the necessary leap into the future, and the individual experiences himself as out of time and isolated from the ongoing currents of life. He cannot reconnect."

My mind hasn't leapt into the future in years. It's struggling simply to complete the tasks for today. That's all I see when I think about the year: 365 days of to-do lists.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Muddle headed

For the past two weeks I have not been able to focus properly on my job. Here I am, for instance, blogging instead of working. I've prayed, I've taken small steps, I've blundered and bumbled and nothing is wretchely behind, but nothing is leaping forward, either. And since I work for a church denomination and all we do is supposed to be for the glory of God, I feel particularly guilty and inadequate.

It doesn't help that my three-year-old often wakes up several times a night or that three mornings of the week I have to limp out of bed at 5 a.m. Sometimes I find myself nodding off in front of the computer. I find myself eating too much in a feeble attempt to wake myself.

Lately I've been trying to improve my routines. Actually, I'm trying to construct them from whole cloth. I grew up in a patholgocially unstructured environment. One of my favorite shows was the Brady Bunch; I tried to immitate their household, making up the beds just so, carefully folding down the sheets at night. I still don't know how anyone could sleep bound to the matress that way. Anyway, I would start the summer by constructing an elaborate schedule that inevitably fell apart, as I lacked the tenacity to stick with such an unfamiliar project. No wonder I loved going back to school in the fall--school was rigidly structured and I could just pour myself into it. So, here I am trying to run a household and raise two children and I really have no clue about the stuff that most people learned as a matter of course. Budgeting, meal planning, cleaning, preparing for holidays or special events--they're all mysteries to me. But I do now have a set of routines so that I can actually get my kids on their buses on time. And I resent those routines. My entire day is swallowed up by a sequence of small, dull steps that fit together to form one dull life. Blah.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


It began a fews weeks ago with the occasional titch in my right eye. Now it twitches off and on all day. It is either stress or my anti-depressant, or perhaps both. I used to think that I was a relatively laid-back person, but I've come to realize that I'm slothful rather than relaxed.

My husband has the Journey to Wild Divine software, which a therapist recommended to him for biofeedback training to manage pain. I tried it out and discovered that even when I think I'm relaxed I'm a tightly coiled bundle of nerves. The only exercise I've managed to do successfully is shoot some arrows, which is suitably aggressive.

But off on a tangent now, because someone just showed me a trailer for Harry Potter and the Goble of Fire from a French site
<http://www.allocine.fr/>, and it looks beautiful. The Harry Potter books put me on a young-adult fantasy kick. I am now convinced that young-adult novels are far more entertaining and thought provoking than adult fiction. I still have to finish the third in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I hope to see those books as movies someday.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Loser Mom

This weekend my five-year old brought me up short by offering this comment: "You never seem happy with me. You never smile at me." And later she found a photo album with a picture of me: "See, you used to smile. Why don't you smile any more?"

I wasn't aware that I looked that grim. Yes, I keep reminding myself not to spend all my time with my children in a fit of exasperation, forever trying to get them to hurry, or "just do it for pete's sake," or "come on, please."

Elizabeth's comments have made me profoundly sad. My husband says I should study and meditate on the motherly side of God. This is to help me heal from my rather odd relationship with my own mom, who had bipolar or schizophremia or perhaps some unknown third mental illness. God does indeed seem remote, despite the fact that I talk to Him/Her all day long. I don't feel like God offers much protection, so what's the point? Our earthly mom may not be able to protect us from everything, but she does her best to keep us from running out in the street and away from lunatics and perverts. God, on the other hand, lets us go crash with the comforting knowledge that somehow he's there with us, somehow, intangibly, but not doing much to intercede, not doing anything useful, like stopping the head wound or striking down the molester.Basically, despite the fact that God is supposed to love us more than our human parents, on a day-to-day basis he doesn't seem to do half that our human parents accomplished. Who cares about the creation of the world when you want a hug?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ah, beginnings . .

I embark upon blogging with some trepidation. I'm not sure I'm interested in what I have to say, much less showing it to someone else. But I'm obssessed with blogs. I can't stop reading them. And one blog leads to another. This will either encourage me to record my thoughts or to stop thinking altogether.

Ready, set, go.