28 January 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Here's an import from Facebook, which I'm fast becoming addicted to.

1. I've been thinking of stuff to write here all day. As soon as I sat down to write, my mind went blank.

2. Perhaps that explains my lack of regular writing output, despite the stellar ideas I get while driving the car.

3. I was a professional copyeditor and part-time writer for 10 years. Yes, I do notice your grammar mistakes and misspellings. I can't help it. But I won't tell you about it unless you ask me.

4. I think that a good writer can get away with a lot of BS. Remember that next time you read the newspaper--or the next James Frey book.

5. I've not used contraception since 1997.

6. I have two daughters, 6 years apart.

7. I've had three miscarriages.

8. I was strongly encouraged by the doctor who oversaw my younger daughter's birth not to get pregnant again.

9. Every medical condition I've ever been diagnosed with was preceded by a doctor telling me how rare it is.

10. I hate the word "rare."

11. I have celiac disease. I cannot eat wheat, rye, barley, and most types of oats. Yes, that means no (regular) bread. Yes, that means no pasta. No, I did not get this disease to annoy waiters in restaurants, though some have acted as though I did.

12. Parenting has taught me how very self-centered I am.

13. I am an INFP according to Myers-Briggs. My sister has the same personality type except she is an "E" (extrovert). My husband has the opposite personality type except that we're both "I's" (introverts).

14. I am a Christian and a member of the Lutheran denomination. I love the Lutheran liturgy and resonate with the core theology. But I am too conservative to feel at home in the liberal wing of American Lutheranism (ELCA) and too liberal to feel at home in the conservative wing (Missouri Synod). The church we currently attend is a hybrid of the two (because there are not enough English-speaking Lutherans to form separate churches). I feel at home there.

15. I vote Republican but do not agree with some of their positions.

16. I am pro-life. I believe abortion hurts women as well as their unborn children. But I think the law in the U.S. will never be changed. I think the pro-life movement should focus more on changing people's hearts and helping women in crisis and less on politics. Yet I cannot bring myself to vote for a pro-choice candidate.

17. I fail to understand the fuss on the Republican/Christian right about (not) legalizing gay marriage. Let gays marry if they want to. Aren't there way more important things to worry about? Like, I don't know, war, poverty, disease?

18. All through high school I thought I was fat. Now I would LOVE to weigh what I did in high school.

19. I am easily overwhelmed by clutter, a busy schedule, too many people in one place, or a mall. Parties are fun but exhausting. A busy mall at Christmas when I have 62 people to buy for is a recipe for a very bad day.

20. I hate to make phone calls. I will IM you before I call you. I will e-mail you before I IM you. I will update my status on Facebook and assume you saw it before I e-mail you. If you call me, I will enjoy our conversation. And kick myself for not calling you sooner. And you'll probably still have to make the next phone call.

21. I wonder why I have trouble making friends?

22. Living in Germany would be perfect if only I could transplant my family and friends here.

23. I think Battlestar Galactica is the best thing on television.

24. When I am in a public place, I eavesdrop on strangers and speculate on what their lives are like. Living in a foreign country has kind of limited that habit, because people insist on speaking their native language(s).

25. Perhaps from that same impulse, I read way too many blogs. And start way too many sentences with, "This blog I read? Well, this person said..." This has prompted my sister to make fun of my imaginary Internet friends. But hey, you guys aren't imaginary, right? Right? Call me!

25 January 2009

Just to Amuse My Siblings

This will probably be funny only if you were a church kid/singer in the 80s-early 90s.

22 January 2009

Random Cuteness

Baby is still up twice a night, every night. Wake-up for me is 6:30 am to get Katrina on the bus by 8:30. Have plenty of profound thoughts, fleeting, I bet that would have been a good blog postZZZZZZZZ.

Hey, pictures!

The girls entertaining each other.

Seven degrees.

Favorite toy.

Cutest of all.

16 January 2009

7 Quick Takes

I know, the blogging has been sparse. But, I'm back to try again 7 Quick Takes from Jen at Conversion Diary. Because Annika's naps are reeeeeeally short.

In an update to my previous post, after feeling bad all day that I had no decent warm clothes for Katrina in single-digit temperatures, I asked her that night if she was cold during recess. (What? Keep kids inside on a sunny, but freezing cold day? Only an American school would do that. The Brits and the Germans? "Fresh air is good for you!")

"Were you warm enough when you went outside at lunchtime?"

"Mama," in an injured tone, "I was soooo hot and they wouldn't let me take off my coat!"

"Honey, it was very cold today--only about 15 degrees at lunchtime. Of course they didn't let you take your coat off."

"But, MAma, the sun was out!"

Toys are taking over our house. I've been packing up some of Katrina's toys that she no longer uses or which are too young for her. I have to do this without her, because she will insist that she wants to keep toys that she has not touched in a year.

Perhaps it was not the right time to read her Racketty-Packetty House--about an old, neglected dollhouse and dolls supplanted by the brand-new but soulless Tidy Castle. But it was a fun book for both of us.

I recently read Robert Benson's In Constant Prayer and it convinced me to once again try to pray the daily offices. I met Robert Benson at a writer's conference many years ago, and he impressed me with his kindness and his ability to be straight-forward, humble, and poetic all at the same time. If you are at all interested in spiritual memoir, go hunt down his first book, Between the Dreaming and the Coming True, about his struggle with depression. All of his books are beautifully written, but that one is my favorite.

Oh, and as always, something about Benson's writerly voice and dry humor reminds me of my cousin Dave. Which amuses me because their worldviews couldn't be more different. But I bet they would appreciate each other's work (and humor).

In addition to praying the daily offices (I'm using Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours), my other New Year's resolutions are to get back to exercising regularly and to write regularly. Today is the second day I exercised, and I'm feeling it.

Annika is teething, we think. She is not happy. She is especially not happy if I put her down. At all. From about noon on. So, I did push-ups and chest presses and what-not this morning during her nap (using an exercise DVD), and I spent the rest of the day carrying the baby around. Oh, and her crying has turned to screeching. Actually, most of her vocalizations get up into screeching range. She squeals for joy and she squeals in frustration and she squeals when she's hungry and...what's that? oh, just my eardrums vibrating.

Katrina is in football (soccer) club at school. Last week, I arrived just in time to see her beaned on the side of the face by the ball. She cried, of course, and sat on the bench and held her cold water bottle against her face. I was so proud when she decided to get back in the game after about 10 minutes. Within two minutes, she got hit in the head again.

And yet she went back to football club today. Good for her! And no injuries today, thank goodness.

Did I mention that Annika is teething? She did not go to sleep easily tonight, but worked herself up to crying/screaming pretty hard. I calmed her down, finally, and she started to relax in my arms and suck on the bottle. I sang a bit to get her to sleep. Her eyelids fluttered shut, and I started to relax for the first time in hours. And it appeared in my mind, a song I haven't thought of for years, "Sweet Little Jesus Boy." I couldn't remember all the words, so I hummed it to a just-barely-sleeping Annika. In my mind's eye I could see Joe Graves singing it in the church of my childhood, his gravelly voice catching on the minor notes. I searched through YouTube trying to find a similar version. The closest to the arrangement that Joe sang is the version below, sung by Andy Williams, of all people. Joe is long gone, but to me, the song will always be his, sung in a hushed, darkened church, with a spare piano accompaniment, his voice needing only a few running notes before it soared away.

07 January 2009

They Used to Call Me Gifted

Happy New Year! We are slowly getting over jet lag from our two-week trip to the States. All but the baby slept through last night, as opposed to the previous night, when Katrina (and, thus, me) was awake from about 11 pm to 2 am. Oh, and the baby woke at 1 am and 4 am. Then up to get ready for school at 7 am. Good times.

I keep seeing other blogs doing various types of "year in review" posts to start the new year. But since I skip those posts, I won't bore you with one of them here. Instead, I'll entertain you with a brand-new tale of my own stupidity. (OK, "entertain" and "tale" might be strong words to use. "Stupidity"...uh, yeah, exactly right.)

OK, so we bought Katrina a brand-new winter coat at Target while we were in the States. It came equipped with a zip-out lining (that could also be worn as a separate jacket) and a removable hood. Within a few days after we bought it, temperatures were near 60 in northern Virginia. We took out the lining and took off the hood. Stuck them in our suitcases.

A week later, in Pennsylvania, packing Christmas presents in boxes to send back to Germany. I remembered last winter in Germany, when the temperatures got below freezing maybe a few times the whole season. And when Katrina wore only the shell from her (old) Target winter jacket the whole season. The lining turned into a spring jacket. The only time I tried to have her wear them together, she complained that it was too bulky and hot. So. Lets just put the lining and the hood in the box. Less weight in our luggage, and she probably won't need it until spring, anyway. We'll get it in a week or two, anyway.

This morning, it was 7 degrees. Seven. I had to check the thermometer...surely it had been mistakenly set to Celsius. No. The high today is expected to be 15 degrees F.

So Katrina went to school in the lining from her old jacket paired with the outer shell of her new jacket. And one of those headband thingies to keep her ears warm, because...no hood, and no hat that I could find at 6:30 this morning. She DID have gloves...of course, they had holes in them from last time she used them and I haven't had a chance to go get new ones, and, hey, she didn't even use her gloves last year but once, and...

Any day now, the school will take up a collection for poor kids who have no winter coats, and Katrina will come home with an envelope full of loose change and a note: PLEASE buy this child some warm clothes!

Who would like to bet on the temperature going back up just in time for the box that contains the rest of the coat to arrive?