Monday, August 31, 2009

fun with quentin, hitler, and the bear jew

is he a goober? yeah. big nerd. big-chinned big nerd.
is he a cut-and-paste borrower/mash-up d.j. of films and genres and language? yes.
can his films contain elements that are cute and self-referencing? yes.
does he just plain like violence and blood? yeah, the man does. sometimes i get grossed out.

but quentin tarantino can tell a story. and enjoy it. and bring audiences into it. and inglourious basterds is a really, really well-told story. and it's, i dunno, quieter than some other tarantino films. which i think is good, a mature sign; the movie isn't in any hurry - because as it goes along, there is a cliff ahead, and so why rush? the whole thing is headed over the edge anyway; but i felt like i was in good trustworthy hands as i was tumbling. which is all i ask for in a movie.

Friday, August 28, 2009

here's one of my very very very favorite poems

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty

and scared. Don't open the door to your library

and begin studying. Pick up your musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love, be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

- Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet and mystic, and all-around Jesus-y man

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It Was An Honor, You Crazy Girl

Olivia, the Tiny. then, Olivia, the Shy Cat. then Olivia, the Sassy. then, Olivia, the Queen. Olivia, the Old Lady. Olivia, the Slow But Still A Badass.
and now - Olivia, in cat heaven. we were with her for 15 and a half years. i brought her home, one of a litter of kittens cared for by a friend from our then-church. when our kids were six and three. now they're 21 and 18. olivia wasn't named yet; my wife named her. she said she didn't know why "olivia" fit her - but it felt right.
from the beginning, olivia was shy. which is tough when you're a kitten among big expressive people like the Diamonds and the folks who'd come by. olivia would act like she was just sniffing you, then pause, then hiss and swat at you. and the she'd run off.
we're not sure what the kid in the famiy who gave olivia to us had done with the kittens born in his house, but the story we heard was that he, also a very young child, had tossed the kittens against the walls. so, there's that. but, she was just shy. kept to herself.
didn't come and get in your lap if you called her. didn't do ANYTHING if we asked her to. no tricks, no obedience. but she wasn't wild, or mean. she was just her own girl. so, we often called her the queen.
but it was funny because she was little and skinny.
she loved bling; she wore a collar. when her collar would get worn out, and we'd get her a new one, she'd stretch out her neck and let us put it on her. like a rock star being dressed for a show.
but when she wanted to be close to us, or when she was cold, she'd walk over casually, and jump up into our laps, and allow us to pet her. and, depending on whom she'd decided to sleep next to that month, when it was bedtime, she'd jump up into that person's bed and snuggle tight up against them.
she hissed, we figured, because she was scared. if you'd been tossed against walls in your deeply formative years, wouldn't you be? so, she didn't like strangers. but she liked us.
she didn't make messes or tear things up; that'd be beneath her. but she would jump up on the kitchen counter if there was chicken or whipped cream.
last week there was whipped cream.
she'd felt bad for a few years; turns out that, like many older cats, her kidneys weren't good. the vet suggested a canned food that helped cats' kidneys work easier. he said she wouldn't live that long. but she didn't die. just a tough old girl.
then she leaped up to sneak some whipped cream, and fell off the counter, and broke her leg. turns out she had bone cancer. we didn't know. she must've been in pain, maybe a long time.
so we took her to the vet and decided to euthanize her - the other option was to cut off her leg. but the vet said she wouldn't heal.
we told our college-age children to come say goodbye if they wanted to, and they did, and then we took her and held the queen. and said goodbye. she went quickly and quietly. she was ready.
so, we miss her. we kept her latest collar. and lately when i look up at clouds, i think they are whipped cream, and queen olivia doesn't have to sneak bites of it anymore. although she probably does because it's more fun.
but olivia mellowed out, too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

off we go

it's a strange and sad and beautiful and joyful thing to launch my daughter into the world of college and young adulthood. i am remembering having the same experience with my son three years ago; i wanted him to be safe, to be happy, to adjust, to make friends, to settle in, to do well, to feel good, to find his way. i also knew that part of that process is in the bumps and bruises that will show up. they do. that's part of it. i know that, too, about myself, and my own continued launches into the next thing i'm to learn or to experience, the next lesson, the next joy, the next bump, the next loss, the next awareness, the next misstep, the next epiphany. i thought at some point i'd acquire some level of "there-ness." as in, okay, i'm there. but that's a foolish thought. it's not the truth. it's not real. even though i know there's a part of me - and all of us, i think - that seeks that sense of having figured at least SOMETHING out.
here's the beauty: when i stop and breathe and relax, i realize that i have figured many many many things out. i've accepted a lot. i know how to do some things. i even know sometimes when to rest in something and feel confident and peaceful. and yet - i still want to learn. to grow. to lose some things and to gain some things. it doesn't stop. nor should it. the road goes ever on and on. and that's good.
so, that helps me as i watched my daughter meeting her new roommate, and settling into her dorm, and meeting her R.A., and walking around the campus, and becoming a Pirate. it felt ... right. it felt good. it's time.
that doesn't mean there's not huge sadness in my heart, because of course there is, just as when my son left for school, just as when i let one thing go in order to become something else. but it's not loss; it's a passing; and it's good; and it's time; and whatever comes will be part of her path, and my path.

and, too, it's fun. as my wife and daughter and i were hanging out yesterday afternoon in her now-decorated-and-moved-into dorm room, the suitemates next door came in and asked our daughter, "Do you want to come hang out with us?" and she said, "Okay, y'all can go. I'm going to go hang out with the girls." and it was a good launching. we weren't just launching her; she was launching us.

off we go!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

i have a total crush on flo

the progressive insurance girl.

is that wrong?

Monday, August 10, 2009

if you don't know about landover baptist church .org - you're missing out on some beautiful satire ...

God once shaved every single hair off the bodies of his female followers without using a razor because some gals in town were wearing bells on their toes and walking funny.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

little baby steps into a big thing

i'm having blood drawn in the morning. i don't mind. the place i go has great people who take a few vials prettypainlessly. and i've got big veins. big fat ones. so, i'm lucky. one phlebotomist years ago told me i'd make a good junkie since my blood vessels are so easy to stick with a needle. so i've got that goin' for me, which is nice.
i've been watching what i eat for many months now, and have kept my weight pretty stable, though i still don't really watch out, and i can feel it when i eat a bunch of crappy food. no good.
i started exercising in the mornings seven weeks ago and THAT was AWFUL. i have never - and i mean never - exercised before in my life. no athletics in high school or college. p.e. class in high school, but we didn't exercise - just did basketball or track randomly. i took intramural badminton as a p.e. class, but that doesn't count. and i don't guess my college bowling class counts either.
throughout my adult life i've tried a couple of times to "get into shape," which is a before-you-even-start-you're-doomed thing to say - i mean, what does that even mean? it's not exactly a measurable goal. but i always quit pretty quickly anyway. i always hated running. i hated doing pushups and all that.
but i just have felt for a long time - with much encouragement from people who care about me - to start moving my body. i was scared. but i finally, finally, finally signed up at the little fitness place on the corner of our neighborhood, and a friend joined too, and another friend had just joined not long before that - and now we're there early in the mornings. it was awful that first couple of weeks. i hated it.
now i love it. something broke through. it FEELS good - in my body and in my soul. i sweat. i push myself. i hurt. it's good.
but it was so so so so so scary to walk into that gym the first time.

i think this is what happens with people who are afraid to do spiritual work. it seems overwhelming - god? jesus? church? getting spiritually fit? the bible? completely intimidating. i grew up going to church so it's never been that big a deal to me - sort of like the people who grew up physically active, for whom working out or running or whatever isn't scary.
it makes me happy, then, that i'm part of a faith community that welcomes people on purpose - not a passing of the peace but a serious effort to help people feel at ease, not just when they walk in the first time, but that they are welcome as they are, with all their questions, whether they know jack shit about the bible or doctrine or anything like that, or they don't, or they don't even care.
we're not a bunch of people showing off how buff our souls are.
we're much more like the schlubs at Average Joe's ...

anyway, i hope when i have my checkup with my doctor, my cholesterol is better. should be ... but either way ...