Friday, May 30, 2008

Faith. Life.

I'm a Cradle Catholic. Immersed in the faith from the day of my baptism. Twelve years of Catholic School reinforced the beliefs my parents worked so hard to instill in me. Until I went to college, I truly believed that everyone wanted to be Catholic. That they envied us. Don't ask me why then, that I didn't question that they didn't all just convert.

My Western Civilization classes knocked some wind out of my faith filled sails. The classes exposed bits of history that were glossed over in 12 years of Catholic School. History that reflected very poorly on the institution of the Church. On top of that, going to Mass every Sunday was decidedly not fun and indeed boring. So like many young people, I floundered with my faith a bit in my college years.

Oddly enough, my brother got me back on track before graduation. He asked me to be his oldest daughter's Godmother - but only if I started going to church again. That was all it took.

Years of work and dating - miserable dating followed. Relationships don't last long when you're abstinent. I often had to defend my beliefs. More often than not - others dismissed my faith and following of commandments to be silly and pointless.

I never understood the perspective of people without faith until I heard one of them refer to faith and religion as 'a fairy tale'.
Well, now I knew just how far fetched they found it. I felt so sad for them.
They see it all as a waste of time. We're oppressing and denying our physical needs and urges for a fairy tale. Hmm. Now I see why they are so confused.

One of the only ways I have been able to describe the importance of faith, and that it is indeed a choice... not brain washing is to compare it to health.

Most of us know that to take the best care of our bodies, we should eat healthy food. We should get off the couch and exercise. Those who are really dedicated to their bodies cut out carbs and lift weights or run 10 miles a day. They do what it takes to be fit and stay healthy. They don't even see it as a sacrifice.

It's the same for your soul.

Bad out. Good in.

It's not some regimented denial of pleasure... it is instead... doing what is best for - not your body - but your soul.

I go to Mass because it nourishes my soul. I abstain from sex because it keeps me pure. I follow the commandments - because - following my analogy - it keeps me from getting fat, ruining my cholesterol, or clogging my arteries.

I know many people who go to great lengths to follow their healthy diet, train for a marathon, chisel their abs - yet mock me for maintaining my soul.
Meanwhile, I wonder how they can put so much effort into their earthly shell while ignoring the one part of their earthly presence that will actually make it to an after-life.

And I'm the one who is silly?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Up in Flames

Wow. My neighbor is causing trouble again. This time- it was very dangerous!

The woman who lives below me is not mentally stable. She's very hard to live with... but we're a condo - she's a homeowner like the rest of us, so it's not like we can evict her.

Last night I came home around 10:00 and all my neighbors were standing outside. What's going on? Miss M. They said. I started looking around at the building for noticable damage - the last big incident involved a broken entryway mirror and landscaping bricks through two car windshields.

No. They said. There was a gas leak coming from her unit. They called E*xcel Energy - and the guy with a meter detected 15% gas in the hallway. He said 10% was combustable. In her kitchen, at the source of the leak from her stove, the meter read 40%.

Okay. That's not her fault. Except she was sitting on her couch - drunk off her gourd - smoking a cigarette! How do you not notice that your apartment is full of gas while you have a fire stick in your mouth?!?!? Thanks for blowing up the building Miss M!

Not only that. The guy from E*xcel told her she had to put out the cigarette and she asked Why? After he finally got her to extinguish the bugger, he turned around and she was lighting up another! He took the cigarette right from her mouth!

At least now we can prove that she is a danger to herself AND others. Maybe we can make some progress.

Our laws are very protective of the mentally ill. And that's a good thing. The only problem is - those same laws sometimes make it very difficult to get them help. And to protect the innocent.

What if she'd have blown the place up?!? Holy cow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Uh... I don't think you can help me.

I'm still adjusting to the constant varying temperatures in Denver. I just can't get a handle on the 'dress in layers' theory. Even in the summer. If you're wearing a sundress or shorts and a tank top - you have to bring a jacket if you are staying out past 5:30 - I just can't buy enough light sweaters to go with every outfit.

I think most women in Colorado manage with clothes from REI. This doesn't work for me. I was raised in the Midwest. Everything has to be an outfit. I need to look cute and I don't feel cute in t-shirts and fleece. (in the Midwest, I could wear one outfit all day long. if it was 95 degrees when you left the house, it won't be any cooler than 90 after dark! Plus the humidity held the heat around me like a shawl. I must be the only person who really appreciates humidity for that reason!)

So in lieu of matching sweaters and hoards of fashionable jackets I carry a wrap or pashmina with me nearly all times. It's just enough to wrap around my shoulders to ward off the chill when the sun dips behind the mountains (or if a place happens to be air conditioned).

Still, in the quest for having the right jacket or cover for all occasions, I decided I needed a cute trench coat for spring. It would be perfect for church or anything bordering on slightly formal.

I looked all over town. It had to be affordable since my job situation is tight. Both TJMaxx and Ross had moved on from jacket season so no luck there. I saw a really cute trench in the window of Ann Taylor Loft, but it was about $190 and it wasn't very flattering for my figure.

So I went to the outlet mall and poked into a few stores.

In one of them, a young sales girl came up to help and asked what I was looking for. "I'm looking for a light weight spring trench." said I.

When she replied with, "What do you mean?" I was stymied.

Light. Spring. Trench.
I'm plum out of descriptors there sweetie. If you don't know what I'm talking about - you probably shouldn't be working in clothing.

I just stood there for a while trying to think of another way to say it, then I repeated, "A light weight spring trench coat."

"Oh. Like a trench coat?"

Oh boy.

this picture is just a diagram. I ended up finding something really cute at Kohl's - and ended up spending under $25! Whoo hoo. Maybe I'll take a photo of it... I can't find it online.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More Favorite Thing(s)

I don't cook or bake much so finding some favorite things in the kitchen is kind of a surprise!

When I lived in Omaha, my parents visited one weekend and we trolled around some estate sales.
This is a great activity with my parents because mom and I get to shop and dad gets to be around old stuff and talk to strangers (also old).
The best part of this activity is getting the stories from dad. He'll see some old tools or something like a wet stone and then regale me with stories of his childhood, sharpening knives, almost cutting someone's finger off.
I love taking him to antique stores because he can tell me the origination of anything and has a story about it - and then a sidebar story in addition. I love that (if you wondered about my tendancy to wander in storytelling, that's where I got it)!

Anyway, we're at an estate sale. 60 years of one woman's kitchen goods are spread out on card tables. Pyrex bowls, glass refrigerator dishes, untouched dish towels... everything.

Mom called me over to a table and said, "Don't you want a set of measuring cups just like mine?"

I didn't know it until then, but I did!

I love these measuring cups because you know they are precise for all those old recipies. They're stainless steel so they're indestructable. The simple styling puts function above form... but the form is cool too.

And mostly, I love them because every time I need a measuring a cup I'm reminded of my mom. It's like having her cups - but they're mine.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Pots O Peppers

Time for an update on my plot to plant peppers.

Here they are today. I transplanted them into pots yesterday.

I wonder if I'm wasting my time transplanting them into gradually larger pots. By the time they're ready for Mr. Burns patio they'll have to be in BIG pots. Don't you think?

After the first transplant... I planted another batch of tomato seeds to start.

Then guess what? Just as I was about to discard the previous tomato attempt... look what I found.

Two tiny little tomato plants trying to make a name for themselves!
Tres exciting.
Maybe they don't hate me after all.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Borrow a Cup of Sugar?

I live in a small condo building. It's actually a converted apartment building so it's small and cozy.
There are six units on my floor and we're very neighborly. We share internet service. Throw BBQs together in the courtyard. Last year during the blizzard we combined our resources and shared a meal together - sort of a picnic in the hallway. So neighborly requests are often honored.

The other night I was on the phone with Mr. Burns when I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door and saw my neighbor - and motioned silently that I was on the phone and I'd check in with her later.
She motioned silently back - and I once I understood her message I burst out laughing.

She was waving a dollar bill, asking to buy a roll of toilet tissue from me!

With a request like that... you can't take payment. If someone is down to their last square glued to a near empty roll - you can't be stingy!