Sunday, December 27, 2009

why I'm like this 2.0

Sister 1: Not to start a big religious debate, but, don't you ever sometimes wonder what Christmas was all about?

Me: Um, Jesus?

Sister 1: No, but, wasn't Jesus really born in April? So, why do we celebrate it in December?

Sister 2: You just got that from an episode of Bones.

Sister 1: I mean, Christmas is nice because it brings people together, but, what's the big deal?

Me: Well, Jesus was the Messiah, which is kind-of the basis for our faith. Christmas is his birthday.

Sister 1: But, don't you ever wonder sometimes, like, what about the dinosaurs?

It's a good thing we're not on a reality show.


Friday, December 25, 2009

one of the best

This Christmas is one of the best in memory. We played Scrabble. We watched our L-decker family favorite Mel Brooks classic, "Young Frankenstein". We dressed up for church. We sang hymns. My niece and nephew woke us up the next morning - time for presents and breakfast casserole. Sweet.

Church was an interesting experience. As we sang each hymn, I kept debating which line to select for my facebook status update. Meaningful, I know. I'm such a deep thinker.

You see, I try every year not to think about her. I try think about Jesus. He's the reason for the season, right? The babe in the manger, the wise men, the star, the sheperds, etc etc. I think, "It really was nice of God to send us his son." I think, "I probably would've thought Mary was a slutty lunatic," and "Those wise men were crack smokers - who brings a baby gifts like that?"

None of it works. But I don't feel guilty. I just really miss my mom at Christmas. I think about how she died on Christmas Eve, how the life just left her and how I believe, more than anything, that life eternal was waiting. I have faith God planned this. Imagine just being alone on any other day - no family, no hymns, no candles, no choir, no reminder of how much you are loved by God.

So, I don't feel bad that I can't concentrate during church on Christmas. Even if every year I get sad and re circumvent my way back around to the l-o-v-e message, I bet it was His plan all along.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

why I'm like this

During a game of family Scrabble:

Daddy: Don't be intimidated by the fact that I am smart. I can't help it. I just puke intelligence.

Me: You puke intelligence?

Daddy: Yes. Every day. Why, don't you?


Sunday, December 20, 2009

love and the internets

I know a lot of people who use internet dating sites. I used to be one of them. Lately, I just can't find the motivation.

I used to equate my days to "internet shopping for men". Like any other glorious website, I could mix and match my preferences. Size? Color? Delivery? With one click I could place them in a shopping cart. Maybe I'd complete my purchase, maybe I wouldn't. Winks were like carrying the item around the store. I might try it on; I might put it back on the rack. Sometimes I would buy things. Inevitably I would return them.

Not that it wasn't fun. I met nice people. I enjoyed many a free dinner and drinks. One of those guys even stuck around for awhile. In the end, we weren't meant to be. Granted, it took about three breakups to realize it, but I don't regret our foray of dating that began on the internets.

I don't know. Sometimes I want to be with someone and sometimes I just crave my solitude. Do people always expect us singletons to want to be with someone else? Does anyone have success with internet dating beyond the people who look related and star in e-harmony commercials?

The one change I notice in myself is the desire to take care of someone else. For so long, I've been an insufferable victim. "I've been taking care of myself since I was ten, wah, wah, wah!" The exhausting experience of financially putting myself through college coupled with my innate independence has rendered me somewhat useless in the girl-who-needs-rescuing category. If I need rescuing, damn it, I'll do it myself. Later it became, I can't rescue anyone because I'm too busy taking care of me. At some point, this morphed into, I'm so tired of taking care of me! I'm going to die alone! (Ok, that's usually after some alcoholic persuasion and someone drops a wrench in your engine. Literally.)

Now, I kind-of feel like I'm ready to strike that balance of taking care of myself and someone else. I want to be a good wife. I want a good husband. I would like to be with someone who can fix my car and maybe enjoy eating any of the three things I know how to cook. I would like to meet someone who laughs at my jokes and makes me laugh, too. I would just like to be in a relationship that allows me the space I need and the chance to make someone else's life a little better, too.

Oh shit. I'm a grown-up.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Questions

What's a gift horse?

Why should one not look a gift horse in the mouth?

What am I supposed to think when a parent gives me skin-clearing body wash and cotton balls for a Christmas gift? Merry Christmas to me and my acne??



Monday, December 14, 2009

aren't you, like, super-religious?

The other day, while the guy who teaches next door to me was explaining his new tattoo design, I told him I could never get another tattoo because of the pain.

He was shocked. "You? A tattoo?"

I get it. I am a walking girl scout. Yes, I curse and drink, but I can sell the crap out of a box of cookies with just my sweet smile. And don't get me started on my merit badges. Plus, I look like a twelve year old.

Regardless, I wasn't really prepared for what he said next.

"I can't believe you have a tattoo. Aren't you, like, super-religious?"


My immediate response was an emphatic No, I'm not super-religious. Then he asked why I was always leaving work to go to Montreat Planning Meetings. Isn't that a church camp? Don't you do that every summer?

Well, yeah, I do. I always describe Montreat as "church camp that's not really church camp." I suppose I don't want people to think I'm teaching kids to make bombs for abortion clinics or inviting them to come down to the campfire and witness their salvation. I always emphasize that we are Presbyterian. Decent. In Good Order.

But, what's so wrong with church camp? Why do I assume people view religion as a negative? I suppose some judgment I've run into along the way hasn't helped.

A few years ago, at a friend's birthday party, we were hanging at the bar. Everyone was doing shots and I didn't want one. The bartender offered it free, but I said no.

The reason I said no? Well, I don't do shots. I just can't swallow them, literally. If someone really wants to order me a shot, I get either Patron or Belvedere and then I sip it, just to make them regret not just accepting my 'no' for answer. Also, at this party, they were all doing gross, sugary shots that would most likely make me vomit. Not to mention, I'm a lightweight and one shot is going to put me over the edge. All this aside, this friend's husband looked at me and said, "Stop being so judgmental." Then, he 'crossed' himself.

Huh? Where did that come from?

Was it because I'd just come back from Montreat, and his wife complained to him about things I'd shared with her? Was it because I was wearing a necklace with a cross? Was it because he knew I had a commitment to my church, and he just assumed I didn't want to drink because it was against my religion? I'd never discussed religion with him. I very rarely bring it up unless people ask. Since when is saying, "No, thank you," a judgment?

I was really offended. Later, when his wife tried to tell me I was too judgmental for her friendship anymore, I couldn't help but feel so incredibly misunderstood. (Ironically, she also told me she didn't believe in bisexuality and found it difficult to believe my blond bombshell of a co-worker had a master's degree. Ok. Whatever.) Still, I never really stopped to think about judgment he'd encountered earlier in his life in the name of my religion. Maybe I had judged them, but didn't they do the same to me?

I just wish having faith didn't automatically group me in the same category as the pipe-bomb people. My faith in God tells me to love people, to forgive people, to always do what is right and to know that God will forgive me if I do something wrong. My faith tells me that God could care less about tattoos, dancing, body piercings, or alcohol and more about helping your neighbor. My faith tells me that God would want anyone, ANYONE who is in love to get married, or be ordained, or adopt a child. I'm not perfect, I don't claim to be. But I'm motivated by my faith to try and be a good person who loves and accepts others.

I know others say and do heinous things in the name of my same faith. I can't help that. I can't force people to believe the same things as me and I will never, ever do that.

However, I will continue to try and let my actions speak for themselves - to let people see that a girl who loves Jesus can also love really expensive vodka and gay people. One day, maybe that will be the new definition of "super-religious."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

you spin me right round, baby, right round...

My principal's secretary asked for a picture of myself to put on the bulletin board for "Teacher of the Year." Luckily, I had one on my work computer that I used for the yearbook. Click, print.

I love this picture! I look super cute! I get compliments on this picture all the time. Ironically, it's the same one I use for my blogger profile.

Maybe I'm a narcissist who only ever looked at herself in the photograph, but I didn't realize the one thing I'm holding in the picture could be so misconstrued. My students selected this picture for the yearbook. I'm not that mean teacher they want to prank. They looked at the picture and said, "Oh! You're on the merry-go-round!" The girls all said, "You look so pretty in this picture!" Hello, Approval.

Well, some people noticed the interesting detail. One of which happened to be my principal. He took one look at the picture and said, "She's on the pole!"

In the office. In front of everyone.

Then, he very kindly asked me about it at the Christmas party.

"What's this with the stripper picture Ms. L?"

I. Died.

Protesting immediately, I tried every tactic. Nothing worked.

"But I'm wearing my granny shawl in that picture!"

"And nothing under that shawl I assume?"

"No! I was on the merry go-round!"

"I bet it was a merry time for some people who go round."

"It's not like that! I was at a fundraiser!"

"I'll bet you raised more than funds that night."

It was all in good fun. It was also quite possibly the most embarrassing conversation I've ever had with a superior. Not to mention, this is the picture I used in the yearbook and the same picture I sent downtown with my Teacher of the Year application packet.

I think I am a permanent shade of red.