...were with us at dinner it seemed. Or there was enough blood present that you would think that.
My carnivorous son made steak kabobs. I will buy the meat, I will observe the meat, but I do not want to have to touch it/smell it/wash it/cut it/taste it in any way. The right side of the grill is deemed a chickenarian friendly side and only chicken is allowed. The cows must be kept on the left. That goes for you too little piggies! CHICKEN ONLY on the right.
AND No sharing of utensils. If the tongs are flipping Ole Bessy, they shouldn't be near Chicken Little. It just wouldn't be right.
I know my son, and all of my family really, would love to see me sit down to a big steak dinner sometime, but I can not fathom the idea of doing so. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to think about it.
I am not really sure how long it's been since I ate beef or pork. I can't even remember what they taste like, but I know I don't feel like I'm missing anything.
And no matter how many family dinners I have with my sister and parents, I am almost certain to have to talk about it. I'm not sure why...it's been about seven years since I stopped eating red meat/pork; it's really gone beyond the "it's just a phase" period. It's almost like I personally offend some people by choosing not to eat the same foods.
I think of it the same way as other food preferences. Regardless of why or why not someone is choosing to eat/not eat a certain food, it's really just a choice they make. Should we really hold it against them? I don't think so....it's really not a big deal, until someone makes it a big deal. And it isn't me making it a big deal....I've had plenty of meals where I've had nothing but a hamburger without the hamburger (bun, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, bun). It's not my favorite-but it's tolerable and it's something to stop me from wanting to snack all night. I've also had plenty of meals of thanksgiving/celebration-of-the-hostile-takeover-of-the-new-world dinners where I've eaten nothing but potatoes and corn. Still not a big deal. To me anyway...
Good morning everyone!! Today's wake-up call was provided by a beautiful overly-friendly BlueJay and his fluffy friend Mr Squirrel.
Mr. Squirrel told Mr. Bluejay all about his evening last night. It was quiet and peaceful. Mr. Bluejay told Mr. Squirrel all about his flight to the area. It was fairly chilly, but not very windy.
Mr. Squirrel told Mr. Bluejay about the stash of nuts beside the tree. Mr. Bluejay told Mr. Squirrel that he wasn't too sure about the cat in the window.
Mr. Squirrel assured Mr. Bluejay that the gray cat is harmless and quiet, but the calico cat is definitely trouble. Mr. Bluejay questioned why there were three fully in-tact carrots by the tree.
Mr. Squirrel let him know that the crazy neighbors left them for him, though he isn't really a vegetable kind of furball. Mr. Bluejay thinks the neighbors aren't very smart.
The conversation between the two continued for at LEAST an hour. They had a lot to catch up on apparently. And apparently they had to do so directly outside of my window. Early in the morning. On a Saturday.
Dumpster Diving is a sport to some people-I've never done it, but I've seen my sister get some really great things from the dumpster area on the military base.
Living in an apartment, every time someone moves, we see the remnants of the family left behind. A tv or bookshelf will end up by one of the dumpsters and one of the other families will give it a loving new home. There was a group of three ladies who would come through and actually climb up into the dumpster and sift through items. They usually walked away with something or other, but I am not so confident that the value of it was worth the effort put forth to get it. I read this book, the name of which escapes me right now, which was about a society of people who live in New York who go through and recycle other peoples garbage. It was very interesting-and they did find a LOT of stuff. Some of which was quite valuable. Most of us just discard things because it's easier to throw it out than to find a new home. Or we believe that because it is no good to us, it is no good. Who determines when the lifespan of an item?
Anyway....A family recently moved out and left two unbuilt structures in the garage they vacated. Brand new, never built, left behind with unopened packages of nuts and bolds and the like. One had directions for a bookcase, that might be the right ones. The other had a note attached saying, "New Armoire-Never built-All pieces here. No book-sorry!"
We gave these pieces a new home last month....and they have been sitting outside my back door until last weekend.
I enlisted the help of Jeff (the only other male at the easter volunteer project) to get the armoire together. I had hoped to use it for my tv and sell my old one on Craigslist, or put it together and sell it.
Jeff came over with this funny idea in his head that it would only take two hours. After an hour of just staring at pieces and talking out how they MIGHT go together to create my new tvarmoire, Jeff starts assembling things... Three hours and three beers later, Jeff and I come to the realization that we (meaning he) has just built an armoire! For a computer.
It's not for my tv at all! I'm a bit disappointed, as it's big and has doors and is more unobtrusive than what I have now, but the kid is happy--it's sitting in the corner of my living room, without the doors on yet, and he's got it set up for school work and asks every day if we can rearrange his room to make it fit in there.
Not the original plan....but I guess someone was happy in the end.
Jeff was happy that I didn't bug him to come back and take it away! (I'm sure I had him nearly convinced he wanted it!!
Wendys is yummy-admit it-they are. The fries are *just* right. Thick and crispy, but not dry. Salty, but not too much so. AND they were the first to go trans-fat free. Yay for Wendys.
The kid and I go there about every other week it seems. Usually just for an order of fries to share, as I don't think that highly of the rest of the food they offer. One time we had a great laugh after I asked them to hold and then told the Monkeyboy "okay, go ahead when you're ready." He very cooly said, okay, I'm ready.
Sometimes we'll place our order and specify that we would like it "to go." In the drive through.
Lately, I've started specifying who wants what.
Monkeyboy at Wendy's: Welcome to Wendys. I'll take your order whenever you're ready. Me: One moment please.
Monkeyboy: Go ahead when you're ready.
Me: (pause. pause. talk with kid). Okay, Andrew would like an order of fries and a five piece nugget. And I would like an order of fries and a medium dr. pepper.
Monkeyboy: Okay, blahblah.
Last time though---Monkeyboy stops me before I place my part of the order and says, "wait, who wanted the nuggets?" Me: Andrew did. Monkeyboy: Okay, Andrew wants nuggets. Go ahead.
We are funny. I love that the Monkeyboy played along with it.
Another book off my booklist! I'm not sure where I heard of this one from, but it was pretty sad. From Amazon: Sebold was raped as a college freshman, but the police said she was "lucky." At least she wasn't murdered and dismembered like the girl before her. Yep, it was just that uplifting-the whole way through. I kept waiting for the magical ending where she rose up and had some enlightening moment, but the whole book was a struggle, reliving the violent rape about five different times throughout the book.
It was well-written and I would probably read something else by her, but this book was harrowing throughout. The ending was a bit abrupt - the rapist was put away after she was incredibly brave throughout, and then she pretended nothing had happened by drinking a lot, then she finished college, kept telling her story, got on Oprah as a guest and then turned to heroin while teaching. Where's the feel-good ending there? The Oprah/heroin portion literally was wrapped up within the last 20 pages. I think becoming a guest on Oprah alone deserves 20 pages, much less a life on heroin as a teacher!
Nothing big going on here. I'm so super-busy at work that sometimes I don't notice the time until I realize it's been two hours since I last had a drink of water, or last moved from my chair, or last thought of anything but work. The world just SPINS at work (in my old job, the earth pretty much just sat on its edge, sometimes listing from one side to the next, thinking about how fun it would be to spin). My wish for the day: I'd like to buy the 3bd, 2bth house down the road-complete with pool, garage, fireplace, on a corner lot on a cul-de-sac near the high school. It's about $200,000 more than I can afford though. I will now begin taking donations. I anticipate HUGE amounts of people are waiting to invest in someones happiness and I am willing to help them fulfill that need.
I want the third bedroom for the first of many foster kids I want to take in, though my son would most definitely want it for a game room, since 80% of the people he knows have their own room for GAMES (how absurd).
Since the Big Fall of 2007, the whole world has been off-kilter. Slightly askewed. Leaning a bit too far on one edge.
I'm still achy. I haven't worked out lately. My house is a mess. I started decluttering the volunteer supplies in my closet and have things spread out in my bedroom, but got sidetracked by going through a big box of old clothes (dress shirts from two years ago...still cute, still don't fit, still in a box). I need a haircut. I need contacts. I need to sleep three more hours in a night. I need to stop whining.
I somehow started biting my nails again. Just on the left hand. I think that means the earth is leaning to the left, due to the Big Fall of 2007. Things not to be blamed on the BF of 07:
The people of Darfur are still in the midst of a genocide. The people in Baghdad still live every day angry at Americans. The people in Canada still talk funny. The people in France still smell (sorry, sometimes the truth hurts France).
I wasn't the one drinking and driving. I rarely even drink, much less think I should drive afterwards...
Last night, I hear a vehicle come flying through the apartment complex. I am on the corner unit in the back of the complex; I don't typically get a LOT of traffic my way, usually it's people who are actually trying to get to the back for some reason. This vehicle made quite a ruckus coming around the corner though, it was obvious before I even looked that they were going to fast. I looked out the blinds but just caught their taillights as they passed by.
And then.... Loud crashing noises, squealing of tires, more crashing noises, and then the vehicle headed back past my door (where I was now standing). I watched a big white truck go flying by. I could smell the burning of the tires. And then... I heard crying. We have three little lovely Hispanic boys who live at the other side of the unit. Sometimes the Kid goes out to play with them. I offer them candy when they are outside and we have some in the car. I speak Spanish to them, they speak English to us. They are adorable. AND they are outside playing about 90% of the evening. My first thought was that they had been hurt by the Flying Vehicle. There have been many times that I've had to slow way down because they were playing in the street and didn't move very fast even when they saw my car coming. Flying Vehicle would not have given them enough time to move.
Luckily---it wasn't them crying. Even more luckily, no one was hurt.
Four cars had been rammed by Flying Vehicle though. One little car was the unfortunate one to be at the end parking spot and has almost lost its entire back end. The other three aren't quite as bad. Two of them are still drivable and look to be pretty well off. Apparently Flying Vehicle came around the corner at mach speeds, missed the corner and rammed into the car on the end, pushing it into the others. Then Flying Vehicle decided it had no option but to back out and leave the way it came....we think it got a bit stuck on the smashed car though, and hit the gas a bit too hard, as it then drove up the curb at the top of the corner and struck a tree. It then spun out and headed past my door.
And then... About 30 of us from the surrounding buildings came outside to check things out. As I got there, someone was walking around and said Has anyone called the police yet?? No one had, so I did.
What's really absurd about this, I later found out, one genius (Roger) was actually sitting on his front porch, which is in-between Rammed Car and the tree that was struck. He had been smoking a cigarette and watched Flying Vehicle do its little dance. And was talking on the phone. To a friend. And apparently never thought to get off and call the police. Brilliant.
Someone in the building apparently knows the driver and admitted to the crowd that they had been drinking and maybe were upset when they said they would be right back. More brilliance, they let him drive away.
And then... I went back inside for my coat, after talking to the 911 operator and being told to wait for the police. I headed back to the area and just as I came around the corner, in clear view of approximately 30 neighbors, twisted my ankle and fell. Full body splat. I tried to play it off like it was no big deal and tried to get right back up, but from then on, everyone I passed by said "are you okay" and one girl actually referred to me as "the girl who fell." I don't know about 23 of the people who watched my slide into the invisible home plate for the winning point for the Red Sox, but I think that they will remember me. If they see me passing by them at an angle to the ground. Probably with a shocked look on my face. And probably making a noise that sounds something like "aawwww-argh" and then..."splat."
Does anything we do ever make a difference in the world? I like to believe that every positive little thing we do will be like a ripple effect for other good things. I wish I could do more.I had 21 volunteers show up for my Uganda project on Sunday. We made two complete alphabet posters for the JIM school in Uganda. Looking at the pictures of the school, I can imagine how the posters we make will make the kids of the school VERY excited. The walls are very bare. The floors are literally dirt floors. They do not all have a table or desk to sit at. They have no frame of reference for their schoolwork once their teacher erases the chalkboard after a lesson.
Hopefully the ABC posters we made this weekend (and next month) will be helpful to the education of these amazing kids who endure so much. But ultimately, it's not enough. I can't make their lives easier or better or last longer. I can't help the little boy who lost both his parents to AIDS before he was four realize his full potential as a human. It saddens me to know that I can make the smallest little piece of their life a little brighter, but I can't make their life better in a broader sense. I like to believe that they know that with this small bit of effort and energy devoted to this project from a random lady across the world means that there are people out there who care. People know about them. People want to help.
If only there were more people who would give a little of their time. If we all cared just a little more, we could share the burden of knowing these innocent children are growing up in such a cruel world. We can make it better. We could at least try. Sometimes the weight of my privileged life is too much.
The only source of water at the school: It is new in the last year and is only there because the volunteer teacher was awarded a grant. Running water as a luxury? What kind of world is that?
Africa saddens me. I want to do more. I want to make a difference.
Everybody can be great...Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace - A soul generated by love.