11 April 2012

Ahem. Is This Thing On?

My poor blog, limping along in the wake of Facebook, where I can throw up a quick sentence or two and feel like I’m connecting. Also, now that we’ve moved back to the States, my musings are not nearly so interesting, to me or (I presume) anyone else. Northern Virginians are busy! I’m still socially awkward and clueless about how to make friends! My kids are still cute, except when they are screaming terrors! Allergies or spring cold: a riveting mystery involving phlegm, coughing, and Robitussin. Hmm. That one has some potential—a “cozy” on the microscopic level. Just when you think the virus did it, the devilish duo of Histamine and Pollen steps out from a dark corner….

So. In no particular order, here’s an update of what’s in my jumbled brain. Maybe you can tell me in the comments if you’d like a whole post on one or more of these topics. (Or one that says, please, for the love of all things holy, NO MORE on that one!) (I’m not picky.)

1. The Paleo Diet. Started it on Ash Wednesday, except I didn’t give up dairy , so more of a “primal” approach. No grains, no sugar, no seed oils, no legumes. Meat (preferably grass-fed/pastured), vegetables, nuts, fruits. I lost ten pounds by Easter. But the, ahem, digestive problems I had hoped this diet would alleviate did not go away. So I gave myself a couple of “cheat” days—made gluten-free brownies on Easter, and pizza on Easter Monday—and am now back on the diet, using coconut milk in my coffee and giving up cheese and yogurt. I have been going on and ON about this thing. I’m a bit obsessed, because the diet’s philosophy includes a lot about the quality of food. I’m probably the last person to have NOT read the Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen Food Inc, but give me a break, I’ve been out of the country for a few years. I’d like to get the whole family on board, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. My husband is already sick to death of me talking about it. Also, grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic etc. is not cheap. A Budget Talk is upcoming.

2. Speaking of socially awkward, I told my Bible study today (you know, the one led by the senior pastor’s wife?) that the Good Friday service that her husband led made me miss my church in Germany. Thank goodness I preceded that stellar observation with saying that I thought it was a great service and that it made an impression on my daughter. But oh, I missed Pastor Morrison standing at the back of our echoing church singing, “O My People.”

3. I had a short conversation today with the associate pastor at our current church, while A. played on the church playground after Bible study. He asked how we “found” Prince of Peace, and in a roundabout way I got to why we’ve made the switch from ELCA churches (the more “liberal” of the Lutheran denominations) to this church, which is part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (the more “conservative” Lutheran body, though there is at least one body that’s even more conservative).  The ELCA is going through an ongoing…disagreement?…among its member churches similar to that of the American Episcopal church, concerning the acceptance/ordination of gays/lesbians. And here is where I managed to convey entirely the wrong meaning, by vaguely mentioning that the ELCA has become too “liberal” for us. Because the decision to try out the more conservative denomination had nothing to do with the issue of gays in ministry (or in the pews). It had to do with sitting through too many sermons full of amusing anecdotes and feel-good platitudes, but no substance or challenge. With a high-ranking guest pastor, years ago, telling us that “virgin” did not mean virgin, but “young girl.” With a pastor saying he didn’t believe that Noah’s Ark actually existed. With a new hymnal where old lyrics were changed beyond recognition, or hymns were left out altogether.

Don’t get me wrong, I also have strong points of disagreement with the LCMS, the greatest being its refusal to ordain women. And maybe if we lived in the Midwest, the stronghold of old-school American Lutheranism, LCMS churches would be too conservative and the ELCA about right. But here in the cosmopolitan DC suburbs, a somewhat liberal-leaning “conservative” congregation suits us just fine.  I think we have come to the conclusion that no particular denomination is going to agree with all of our idiosyncratic beliefs/opinions, and maybe it shouldn’t have to. Grace. I’ve about given up on “fitting in” and now just want to be among people who do their best to follow Jesus and give others some leeway when they fail.

4. The Book. Yeah, I have this…story thing rattling around in my head. Except it’s not a full story, like with a plot or anything. It’s a character, and a situation, and I don’t have an ending or really a middle. I started it maybe 2 years ago, just a few short chapters, and it sat in my computer files for about a year. I’m getting back to it. It’s a novel. Doesn’t every writer have a novel somewhere begging to be written? I made the mistake of mentioning it to my daughter some time ago. Every so often she says, “So, are you done with that book yet?” Ruh-roh. So. I have approximately 6 hours a week “free” while both children are in school. I can blog, I can work on The Book, I can go grocery shopping without having to keep track of a 3-yr-old who thinks the yogurt aisle is a vast tower-making facility. Or I can watch American Idol or Chopped while folding laundry. I think you can see where I’m going here. I love Colton but I think Jessica or Joshua will win it. Also, I’ve got two characters in a dead farmer’s car on the back roads of post-apocalyptic Pennsylvania, and I’m not sure what to do with them. They have guns now so at some point there will be some shooting. It’s like a law of storytelling or something.

5. My 9-yr-old told me last night that she misses the way our house smelled in Germany. I…didn’t know what to do with that. Except to tell her that I miss that house, too. Especially the family/dining room with the wall of windows looking out on our backyard. I like our house and our backyard now, but older houses just weren’t built to maximize windows and natural light.

6. On the other hand, our “juh-man house,” as A. puts it, did not come with family just around the corner. That’s been the best part of moving back.


Dave said...

It’s like a law of storytelling or something.

Wendy said...

Re the Paleo Diet - please, for the love of all things holy, NO MORE on that one!

Re the book - maybe we could collaborate. I have an active imagination, but absolutely no patience to sit and write a book...

And re the family around the corner, I was all, "aw, shucks" until I remembered that Jon and Char actually live closer, probably. ;)

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Dave, that was exactly the quotation I was thinking of, but couldn't remember who said it.

Wendy, it takes almost exactly the same amount of time to get to your house as it does to Jon and Char's. It is lovely to have BOTH of you near. You haven't yet offered to take the girls overnight, though, so they have the edge there. Maybe you should get on that. ;)

Wendy said...

You first.

Sarah said...

More on the book. Perhaps we could share/trade! ;)

What's up with this Paleo thing? I want more. Don't listen to Wendy! ;)

What're you discussing in your Bible study. I'd love to hear more on that.