Thursday, September 24, 2015

My mom's watch, Testify!, and other things

I've started wearing my mother's watch. It's a beautiful Citizen Eco-Drive, with (what my watch guy confirmed are) real diamonds around the face. It's much too fancy for me but I love to glance down at my hand and see it there.

It has made me decide that my Fitbit - basically a piece of rubber - looks funny next to it, so this week I ordered a Fitbit One, which is the kind you can clip on to your clothes. My friend wears it on her bra and swears it's more accurate than the Flex, which is what I have.

Aside from appreciating her watch, I've been thinking about my mom quite a bit lately. Things have come up that are such a reminder of her.

Yesterday, during lunch, one of my coworkers joined me in my cubicle. He was very serious.

He said, "I've been wanting to talk to you about something for a while now."

I said, "Oh, no, am I in trouble?" - This is my standard response in these situations.

He said, "No, I've just been wanting to follow up on something that you said to me a while ago."

I thought I knew what he was talking about - once, we drove together to Costco to pick up pizzas for the office, and in line there, he started telling me his "testimony." His is a good story, and I certainly don't mind listening. We actually had a really nice talk. I said, "Oh, is it about that time we went to Costco?"

He said, "No, but I remember that conversation." Then he told me that some other time, I said to him, "Are you going to ask me if I've accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and savior?" I remember saying that, I don't remember the context, but I'm 100% sure I was making a joke. Anyway, he asked me, "Why did you say that? Those were very interesting words to use."

I said, "I'm sorry. Did I offend you?"

He said he wasn't offended, but he wanted to know why I had used that particular phrase. That's a specific sequence of specific words that not too many people would put together on the random. I told him that I've heard it many, many times. Then he asked, "So, have you?"

I kind of hesitated. I'm not exactly an atheist. I'm an "Oh shit" believer, right? I mean, I don't know if there's a god, but if I'm about to rear end someone unless space opens up in the lane next to me, I'm going to pray a little. (Note to the affirmative: I've never rear ended anyone. Does this mean anything? No, only a testament to my superior driving skills!) I mean, I don't want to say what I believe. Maybe I do. Maybe I don't. It fluctuates. If there's a god, I'm sure he or she would be okay with that. If there isn't, then it's only my time I've wasted.

I started telling him about my mom, and her path to Christianity, and the scam artists on TV and the in the church, but not all the full-on details.

I told him about the time Jules was flipping through some of my mom's things (still all exactly where she left them) and he found the 3 X 5 cards with the dates of my whole family's acceptance of the lord on it. Everyone else had a date, but mine had a question mark. I told him that I have seen and heard a lot of stuff that goes against what I believe people who claim to know God should be saying or doing. It has made me very, very wary of religion, and religious people. I could have told him about the pastor who claimed he could make my leg, supposedly shorter than the other one, grow, just by the "laying on of hands." (There was nothing untoward about this. My mother was present. But WHAT THE HELL, DUDE. I was like, 10 years old.) I could have told him about listening through the bedroom wall to my mother watching Praise the Lord in the living room, and hearing some former heavy metal singer tell stories about actually battling the devil in person. I seem to remember him saying that occurred in prison. I could have told him that it makes me sick that there are people who will send their hard earned money to televangelists so that those scam artists can buy themselves a jet or a mansion.

Then we sort of veered off topic and started talking about (I don't know why) Kim Davis. My only thought on that was, "If I decided that I didn't like some employee's life choices or personal beliefs, I can't deny him FMLA. I have to do my job. She has to do her job. If she doesn't want to do her job, she should stay home." Simplistic and naive, maybe, but my opinion. Anyway, at that point (thankfully) another coworker came by and stood in my cubicle too. Now all three of us were talking and the conversation was less personal and we were having a bit of fun. Until coworker no. 1 mentioned that "Christians are the most persecuted people in the world."

I like this guy. He's a sweetheart and we laugh a lot and talk about our kids. I've heard this line before. Religious people of all faiths could assert this. But in this country, in these days? Christians? Persecuted? Come on.

And then I made my big point: "Jesus' whole message is that we should love each other. Everyone. Once you go beyond that, you've corrupted what is supposed to be a simple, beautiful thing."

(I almost started singing this song we used to sing in church - it goes like this: "They will know we are Christians by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love. They will know we are Christians, they will know we are Christians, they will know we are Christians by our love, BY OUR LOVE, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love." Repeat.)

He said, "I disagree that that's the whole point of Christianity," and then I said, "OK. But I don't need to know what anyone's religion is. People have the right to believe whatever they want. But they don't have the right to inflict their moral or religious code on me, especially when there are laws to prevent that," but we didn't go any further. Which was good, because I was getting uncomfortable talking in the office like that.

(I once heard someone in my office say, while discussing another colleague, "God don't like ugly!" She said this as if that other person had better watch out! I had to bite my tongue and not say, "No. God loves ugly THE MOST. Doesn't that make you feel good?")

I said, "Are we all friends still?" and coworker no. 2 said he talks this way with coworker no. 1 all the time. So I hoped it was all okay.

This morning we had a staff meeting, and I got there a little early. These two guys were there early too, and coworker no. 1 said, "You know, I've been thinking a lot about our talk yesterday," and I said something like, "Really?" He said it had made him a little sad. And I half-seriously said, "It's okay with me if you want to pray for me." And he said he would.

And it is. It's totally okay.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Apples to oranges. Am I the apple, or the orange? Does it matter? (No.)

A funny thing happened today.

There's this woman who works in my building. She's part of my department, but of a totally different operation. She's a secretary - her boss is a higher level manager than my boss. However, I am not a secretary, so there's really no comparison. Apples to oranges.

I've dealt with her in the past, and I can honestly say, she has an attitude. Other people corroborate this assessment. I don't need to give any examples, do I? She just comes off as stuck up and unhelpful, and every time I see her in the hallways, I always make it a point to say Hello to her, even though she never, not once, has said hello back.

Today, my co-worker and I were taking our afternoon break, and went for a walk. (This other woman is a dedicated walker too.) We took the stairs to the first floor, and I opened the door to the foyer. This is a large, heavy door that opens outward. I pushed open the door, and she (literally) came barging into the stairwell. I felt her shoulder brush against mine.

So I said, "Excuse us!" I swear I didn't say it snottily. Maybe I said it with some false sweetness?

She made no response, and kept walking.

Later, my co-worker and I saw her again, with her walking partner. Neither one of us said hello.

However, I'm determined to keep saying hello to her. Some people just deserve it.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hello, Stewart.

It's been so long since I posted anything Stewart Copeland-related that I thought I had finally grown out of it. I still think I have. However, last night I had a funny dream about him so I'm going to tell the story here.

My dream had two parts (because I had to get up to pee), and the first part was strange and I don't remember much except, I think I was at the airport, and there were parts where I was climbing a ladder and driving some kind of cart. But after I fell asleep again, I dreamed this:

Patrick needed a replacement snare drum because his was broken (I'm not positive but I think he uses a marching band snare, probably Tama? I'll find out later). His band, Suffering Luna, had a gig coming up, and I, the devoted wife, tweeted about it. Something like, "Oh no! Pat's snare is busted and @sufferingluna plays in 4 hours!"

(I don't think the band has a Twitter account. They probably should.)

Next my dream puts me in my kitchen, doing dishes, and a blond head comes in view out the window. The doorbell rings.  I go to open the door and into my home barges Stewart Copeland, carrying a cardboard box with all sorts of things rattling inside. Behind him is a boy, maybe around age 9. Looks just like him. I think Stewart's kids are all older than this in real life.

The two of them come in and Stewart explains that he saw my tweet (impossible, because for the first time in several years I did not get a response from him to my annual birthday message a couple of months ago) and he was in the area with these spare parts and would Patrick be able to use any of them?  Patrick comes in and inspects the items, and is confused. I explain about the tweet and Stewart says he wanted to help another drummer and Patrick said thank you and invited him to the show.

I must've had to pee again because I can't remember anything else.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Forgetter Strikes Again

Two weeks ago, Jules came home from school with something he had made for me.

It was a bracelet, crafted from colorful fuzzy pipe cleaners and one metal-like leaf. The leaf gave the whole thing an elvish air. I loved it. I promised to wear it. I promised to wear it to work.

Well, as Jules as begun calling me, I am The Forgetter, a moniker I have earned, because dude. I forgot.

This morning I was getting dressed at around 6 a.m. for work. Jules woke up - he usually gets up at 6:30, so each morning, I miss saying goodbye to him when he's actually awake, because I have to leave by 6:15 at the very latest.. But this morning, he got up and started getting out of bed. I asked him, "Hey, why are you up so early?" He mumbled (eyes half closed still!), "I don't want you to forget..." and stumbled off into the living room. I didn't follow him right away because I was still putting on my bra, but Patrick went in there and turned the TV on for him. After I had a shirt on, I went to him and he got up from the couch and walked over to the little green side table we have, where the bracelet (actually, I think it looks like a wrist corsage) has been sitting.

He picked it up and walked back over to me. "You have to wear it to work today. You keep forgetting." And then he helped me put it on.

I wore it in the car for a while, but it was making driving difficult, so I took it off. Then, when I got to work, I had many things to carry: an apple, my coffee, a magazine: I didn't have a free hand, and I left it in the car. However, I went down to get it, and am now wearing it proudly. And when I told my coworkers the whole story, they all died.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The past and future (caught up in July)

So here we are in another July. It seems like this one came around much faster than it should have. I'm trying not to look at it negatively but there is only one day this month that really matters.

July 20.

Yesterday I put in a request to have that day off. The last place I want to be is at work on that day. Not here. Not with these people. On that day? The day she died.

Today my request was approved, and when the request popped up on my Outlook calendar, even though I typed up the request yesterday without feeling anything, I teared up a little at my desk before I clicked "accept."

Last night on my way bome, stuck in terrible traffic, I listened to "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads. I wondered if my mother had ever heard that song. Probably - my older brother was a fan of theirs and I think still living at home when that album came out. I wondered if she liked it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do that day. I was thinking of spa day, or at least a massage. Or maybe a movie. Patrick isn't taking the day off, but doesn't think I should be alone. Maybe I'll visit a friend. Maybe I'll see if Patty is available, and ask if she wants to play duets all day. I mean, literally ALL DAY. She used to love marathon duet dates - she has way more stamina for it than I do. But what else helps me more than making music?

(Well. Shopping is up there, but I don't think Patrick would like that.)

It's in less than two weeks. I feel it coming, like a truck.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday morning edition box office rant

I admit it: I'm a pretty hardcore newshead. I start everyday with @nprnews and the @kevinandbean show. Reliable sources, both. And yet both of these venerable news agencies insist, every Monday morning, on telling me what the weekend box office totals (generally for movies I didn't, and won't ever, see) was. How many millions did "Spy" make? I really don't care. Does anyone? And isn't that information readily available, elsewhere, for those who do?

On the other hand, if NPR stops talking about this, that probably means they'll increase the time for Sandra Tsing Loh, the one time during my morning ablutions when I actually consider homicide. Never mind. Keep talking about the movies.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Oh yeah, that happened: The Voice Finale

This week I "finally" watched the Voice finale show (last week I watched the finale of "Dancing with the Stars. I was happy for Rumer Willis and her win, and was strangely delighted to hear Erin Andrews pronounce the word "finale" as "fin-all.").

My number one comment is that the finale is so long! Some of the performances - with Sheryl Crow, John Fogerty, Ed Sheeran, and others) felt like indulgent filler. I thought some of the song choices were wrong (Fogerty and Sawyer should have sung "Fortunate Son," not that limp medley). I honestly thought Sheryl Crow had retired (Ah. That's why she was there!). I've only heard of Ed Sheeran because I've seen him a few times on this show - I don't know who he is or why he's apparently popular.

One of the performances, though, blew me away: all four judges doing a tribute to B.B. King. Christina sang so perfectly and beautifully, and even Adam surprised me. They all did a really good job.

I already knew who had won but I didn't know the order of the runner ups. I was surprised Koryn was 4th, not that it matters. When she sang with other, voted off contestants, she stood out as the most interesting voice on that stage. She earned a place in the top three.

Joshua bored me these last few weeks.

Megan is already a star and I hope to see and hear her again soon. I'm not 100% sure what she's going to do or what genre of music she wants to conquer, but she has a gorgeous, beautiful voice.

Sawyer - not the best singer of these four but the one most settled in his style. He always sounded sure of, and like himself. I loved his last song, with his mom and dad nearby on stage. I'm glad he won. I liked Taylor John Williams from last season more but I can see why Sawyer won.

See you next season…