Friday, January 12, 2007

The Friday Five--Who I Admire

This week the Friday Five is about five people we admire. I don’t think about this very often, but now that I’ve started I can’t keep myself to 5:

1. Bono, for his artistry and social activism.
2. Peter Gabriel, for lending his voice to Amnesty International and because his Real World label makes available so much wonderful music from around the world.
3. Anne Lammott, for writing honestly about faith and for not being sweet and pious.
4. Kathleen Norris, for writing thoughtfully about Christianity.
5. Donald Miller, because his books make me laugh and because he shows what Christian evangelism can be like if you aren’t a jerk.
6. The nurses of the Maricopa County NICU. I was at Miranda’s site My Farcical Life and her list included parents in the NICU, which reminded me of the incredible women and men (not so many men) who took care of Firecracker and so many other babies who arrived too early or with other issues. The nurses didn’t just care for these babies; they loved them. Some moms lived hours away (I lived an hour away); some moms never showed up. The nurses had to stand in for us. Nurses grew attached to “their” babies. They made special name cards for each isolette and created baby books for the parents. How they found time to do all that while juggling so many duties, I’ll never know. Mona was our special nurse. Mona, wherever you are, I pray God sends you many blessings.
7. Philip Pullman, for creating the incredible imaginative worlds in the His Dark Materials trilogy and for putting up with all the nonsensical controversy over his criticism of religion.

And, OH JOY, His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass has been made into a movie. Nicole Kidman is Mrs. Coulter, which I think is perfect, because she can convey cruelty so well.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I thought I wouldn't post anything because I'm feeling rather crabby and despondent. But then I thought: What and pass up this opportunity to gripe into the void?

We live in an apartment. The apartment complex seems to be headed toward perpetually unkempt. Dear Husband believes that God is telling him it's time for us to move. I love that about my husband--he get's messages from God. I get messages from my inner Woody Allen. I have grim forebodings of moving costs and pet and security deposits. I am certain if we leave this school district our children are doomed. Unfortunately the median housing price in this district is 300k. Fact is that I love love love this little outpost of Atlanta. There's a cute little useless main street right next to the train tracks, zillions of parks, a fabulous library, a couple nice coffee shops, and access to decent Chinese, Mexican, and Thai food. The town puts on great public events, and the crime rate is very low. And my church is here. There are other cute little Atlanta outposts, but this is my cute little outpost. Can you see the claw marks yet?

Besides the housing situation, there is this expanse of year looming before me. I've never been ambitious. I generally have had no particular direction. I'd be curious to know what that feels like. Ambitious people have goals. Goals are a great vexation to me. Have you ever dealt with the Franklin Covey planning system? You are supposed to break your goals into smaller goals. They might as well be asking me to plot the galaxy by first starting with the stars closest to earth. Needless to say I have never filled out one of the Franklin Covey goal sheets. This formlessness is probably not great for someone given to deep depression, but I'm durned if I know what to do about it. Twenty years of three different kinds of therapy haven't uncovered a solution, and God hasn't stepped in, either. The best I've come up with is "Goal 1: Get through this day. Goal 2: Get through tomorrow. Goal 3: Get through entire week. Goal 4: Remember to give Firecracker her meds. Goal 5: Remember to put the laundry in the dryer before it starts to mildew." And so on. The guy who wrote "Don't sweat the small stuff" better not get within my sights.

Okay, well there is a load of laundry slowly cooling in the dryer, and a forgotten load in the washer. I must extract my girls from the house next door and convince them that they should eat something. I've been a bad mom, because I didn't make them eat dinner at the proper time. I hate cooking in any case. I had leftover pizza.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Post-Holiday Ennui

I do not like entering a new year. After the bustle and anticipation of Christmas, the New Year is a big letdown. I don’t like New Year’s celebrations much, and I’m perfectly happy going to sleep well before midnight. In January begins the inexorable downhill race toward summer, which is definitely not my favorite season. And there are so few holidays—such long stretches of work.

Christmas was nice, but it didn’t really live up to my grandiose ideas of how it should be. I don’t know how my parents managed to create such magical Christmas days for me, but instead I have my MIL mentioning how expensive or inexpensive a gift is as the girls open them. Speaking of the MIL, DramaQueen and Firecracker have always looked forward to her visits and had a blast when she stays over. This year DramaQueen and MIL butted heads almost every day. “Mom, she’s bossing me,” DramaQueen would whisper. And she does boss. And she makes statements like this: “There are no locked doors in this house.” Whatever my thoughts on locked doors may have been previously, they are now absolutely part of my house. Lock the doors, girls. So I spent part of the time feeling bristly, although I love my MIL very much and enjoyed the visit for the most part. It’s really annoying to have someone else try to set the rules in your own home, and this year I guess I felt together enough to take umbrage.

I spent Christmas morning putting together an enormous dollhouse. This made me very cranky and unpleasant. My dad would have managed such business over the course of a few days in an outbuilding on our property. The only place of concealment for me would have been a closet. I had planned to set it up on Christmas Eve, but I’m glad I didn’t attempt it. It’s still in our living room, waiting for me to forklift the other toys in the playroom out of the way.

Now there is DramaQueen’s birthday party to organize. This year she has chosen a roller rink. I love venues in which I don’t have to provide the entertainment or organize children for games. I can just let ‘em loose, feed ‘em pizza and cake, and send ‘em off with goody bags full of sugary treats. I’m taking bets on how many Polly Pocket play sets she will receive as presents. Close on the heels of that will come Firecracker’s birthday party. Since no one showed up last year, and the families at her current school seem to lack any understanding of social niceties such as responding to invitations (language barriers? cultural barriers? just dropped off a turnip truck?), I’m deliberating on a very small get-together at our house with—say—the two kids from next door.

Over the holidays I got used to having Dear Husband at hand, and now that I’m back at work I miss him. I also miss reading. I had the chance to indulge in two whole books: Shatterglass and The Prestige. Shatterglass confirms my belief that young adult fiction is just as interesting and way more fun than most adult fiction. What luxury.

Ah well, one of my Christmas presents from Dear Husband was season one of Boston Legal. There is hope yet for the new year.