Saturday, December 29, 2007

from our house to yours

We made a gingerbread house on Christmas.  Here it is, along with my prayers for warmth and delight for you.
Heck, for sweetness, too.

We've been busy.  Christmastime is hectic for a preacher, and more so for a crazy one whose family is trying to build a house out of stuff like wood and nails, not just candy. Or who's trying to savor any time she can get with her dear husband, who's fixing to deploy to this insane and immoral war in Iraq (again) at the end of January.  Or so.  The Army seldom really gets their act together about sharing useful details like this.  

In the meantime, we're ducking out of the blogosphere for a big of a vacation together, and some time with my family.

After I preach one more sermon.

Friday, December 21, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like xmas

I finally decided it was the right time to climb back into the narrow space behind our shed (I use the word "climb" because it requires maneuvering around oddly-placed shovels, a large pick, a wheelbarrow, 2 ladders and the scrap wood that used to be our aquarium stand, plus an overgrown passionfruit vine and the shed itself...) to harvest some of the poinsettia flowers back there.

[I know, I know.  It wasn't really the "flowers" that I was after, but "bracts" just doesn't sound as lovely.  And darn it, those radiant red things deserve a word as nice as "flower."]

Now, our coffee table is decorated very well.  And the lily Jay left with us when he went back to Iowa combines nicely with the smell of pine from our tree and garlands to make a sweeter Christmasy smell than I've known before.

As a bonus, I discovered that I could replace the gaudy plastic wrap around the lilies with a chunk from the sleeve of a sweater I felted.  :)  No sewing necessary--just scissors.

Punctuating this Christmasy goodness are bouts of play of the coolest, most fabulous video game ever: Rockband.  It's a good thing that we don't own the game.  I wouldn't get anything (other than channelling rock stars, with the use fake guitars, microphone and drums) done.  But how cool is it to have a friend with the game--in our neighborhood!?  Rock on.

Now, if I could just get my crafting projects for Christmas done...

Friday, December 14, 2007

a bit of gratitude

If Orangeblossoms can do, it so can I.

Here's something I'm grateful for:
Our clownfish, Jackie and Nighty (named by the child of a friend), used to live in a coral in our aquarium.  In coral reefs, they tend to live in anemones--just like in Finding Nemo.  But, in the midst of some technical malfunctions earlier this year, the coral that had been playing the part of an anemone-like home, died.  They became homeless.  And, in our new aquarium, they seemed so lost--floating around the edges, as if lost.  Or, worse, swimming so near to the top that my corner-of-eye vision often thought they were, um, floating there.

Last week, we added a *real* anemone to our aquarium.  And, after a few days of contemplating the possibility, Jackie and Nighty took up residence inside.

It feels so good to see them now, hanging out--even sleeping--in the comfort of their green anemone.  Like everything is going to be alright.

complaints about the army #291 & #292

With news that my dear husband is really almost certainly deploying in January, I share two of my current complaints, neither of which really addresses my broader and deeper frustration with war:

# 291-Though the nice ads on television suggest that joining the Reserves while going to college is a fantastic idea, that has not been the reality I've seen.  In five years in the Reserves--six by his anticipated return from Iraq and exiting of the Reserves--my dear husband will have completed four semesters of college.  He has enrolled every semester possible since he joined.  That's two out of six years.  Which is remarkably less than his hopes or expectations, and less than the touching ad suggested.

#292-Though our government already rightly noticed that it seems unfair that Reservists who serve long deployments should not have access to the same GI Bill benefits as active duty military folks, and opened up this benefit to Reservists, they do so ONLY while Reservists are IN the Reserves.  Not after they've left.  And, as mentioned in complaint #291, it's difficult to actually complete semesters of schooling WHILE in the Reserves, making this benefit, well, not very beneficial.  

Not that I'm bitter.

Don't even get my started on how KBR (who we're playing lots of money to provide services that, in previous wars, were provided by military personnel) burns the plastic plates they serve our soldiers on, and lets the smoke from their burning plastic trash drift through the barracks they set up for soldiers to live in.  Wrong in SO many ways I lose track.

And, of course, all this does nothing to express the complex immoralities of a war of occupation, or the unthinking cost of human lives--mostly Iraqi--in this war. Among other things.


Plus, I just really don't want to have to live without my husband for another long piece of time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

a little humor

Thanks to Erika, I've fallen for ASBO Jesus, whose post for today is way worth checking out.

Merry Advent.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

in the cracks

This summer, when we were working on making our backyard more delightful, Matt hacked away at this giant plant that was growing in the little space between the back of our shed and the fence.  We wanted to be able to keep some tools and things there.

I noticed that it was a poinsettia.  I was a little bummed that it had been hacked away (though glad for more storage space.)

Last weekend, while looking for a shovel, I went behind the shed again.  The poinsettia has returned, this time in Christmas bloomin' splendor.

It's not easy to get around to see it, but there it is, flourishing away in a narrow canyon of metal and concrete.  It must be 10 feet tall.
Lots of little blooms are growing, too.
I take this as a good sign.

It's been a week of grand discouragement, frustration and outrage.  My dear husband was told he's on a list to re-deploy to Iraq, as an Army Reservist.  In January.  Next month.

His local commander is trying to get him off that list.  But only so he can go with that commander in September.

Now, I know that it's not unreasonable to imagine that anyone anywhere near the reach of the military would be called up to deploy.  It just really, really sucks when it's your beloved life partner.  And a war that you hate so much.

I had harbored hope that he could make it through 'til he's able to get out of the active Reserves next November, without another deployment.

So, we're waiting anxiously, to hear if he's really on the January list.  And then imagining how we're going to live in this little space between now and his departure.

I hope it looks even a smidgen as lovely as that poinsettia.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

eating seasonally

My quest to eat more locally, and to eat what it in season, seems hardly fair when you live in San Diego: I made fresh pasta sauce out of tomatoes and basil I picked from my garden this weekend.  Yum.
My tomatoes are not nearly as bountiful or gigantic as during the summer months, but one should never complain about fresh tomatoes from the garden in December.  I give thanks also for kind people at the church, who shared both persimmons and tomatoes with me last week!
Winter sun, compressed into juicy orbs.  

Sunday, December 02, 2007

needles and pins

When I was a kid, and Mom was teaching me how to sew, she always warned me to be careful that I didn't catch my finger in the needle.  It seemed impossible to me that a person could sew her finger.

After this weekend, I'm a believer.  I hurts a whole lot to sew your finger with a machine.  I don't recommend it.

So, as of this past Friday night, I've renewed my commitment to pinning what I sew.  I will no longer grow lazy and just try to use my fingers to keep things together.  Really.

Crafting can be dangerous.  Darn dangerous.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

magical speaking

I think my dear husband has magical speaking abilities.

See, last weekend, when we were up working on our house-building project, he started us talking about this pile of leftoever concrete blocks we've been trying to get rid of.  Months ago, we posted on Craigslist, and a nice man agreed to take them.  He started the process of picking them up, but stopped maybe 2/3 of the way through, and about 5 weeks ago.  Also, he hadn't made it by to pay us yet.  So, we were left with this annoying obstacle we've dodged for, like, ever.  

The next day, the guy calls. He wants to come by to pay us, and he promises to take care of getting the rest of the blocks.  The cash is in our hands, and the promises to retrieve blocks seem hopeful.

Then, this Thursday night (while playing Rock Band, the most fabulous video game, EVER), my dear husband complains to our Rock Band-owning friend that the city has never followed through with our request for repair or replacement of our trash container.  As you can see, it has NO LID.  It used to have a lid, but it cracked one day, between the time we set it out and the time when we retrieved it after it was dumped.  Later, the crack became a split, and before long, the lid was all the way loose.  It persevered for a couple of weeks, but then one Friday, when the trash truck dumped our dumpster, it dumped the lid right into the trash truck.  Since then, our driveway has been smellier than usual.  It rained this weekend, too.
But, thanks to his magical speaking abilities, and my dear husband's complaints to friends, the nice folks from the city called Friday morning (the next day, you'll note), saying they'd be by Monday to repair or replace our container.

Now, if we could just get him to complain about bigger things.  Like this war in Iraq.  Or loss of civil liberties...