Wednesday, February 29, 2012

reflections on leap year.

Happy Leap Day, Lobsters! Zoe suggested that I write a post specific to this festive day, and I accepted the challenge, only to realize that I just have some random thoughts on the day, nothing organized. But everything looks more organized in list form. Ready? Go!


1. I'm making dinner for some people at church on Leap Day, and I thought it would be cute to do something themey. But then I realized that Leap Day doesn't have a theme. My only thought was to make frog legs, but...ew. Plus frog legs wouldn't really make sense - legs unattached to a frog would only work for a Cannot Leap Day theme. 
2. So maybe Hallmark needs to come up with a mascot/decoration theme for Leap Day. You know, like Halloween has pumpkins and ghosts, Easter has the bunny, Valentine's has Cupid and hearts, Christmas has Santa and the baby Jesus, the 4th of July has flags and exploding things. I submit that unicorns should be there for Leap Day, and my reasons are threefold: Unicorns are rare, like this day that comes only every four years; Unicorns are marketable; and I like the word threefold.
3. Do you think it's extra cool to have a birthday on Leap Day, or is it lame? My guess is that it's extra cool. It's a fun fact, and when you're old and care about your age, you can tell people that you're 1/4 of your actual age. 
4. I feel extra pressure to have an awesome day on Leap Day. It's like I've been given this extra day to live (I know that's not actually true - it just feels like it), so I should do something spectacular with it. I'll probably just go to work, take care of Eiley, and cook for the church. But I should be solving world hunger, writing the next great American novel, or at least skydiving, right?
5. I feel like Groundhog's Day should have been called Leap Day. I mean, Leap Day would have made more sense since it's a special day, and time seems different or something. Just a thought. 


That is all.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Assuaging my conscience re: Two Truths and a Lie

Thanks again to all you Lobsters who played Two Truths and a Lie with Emily and I. Ever since I could not fool my mom into believing I had brushed my teeth when I hadn't, I figured I was fully incapable of convincing anyone of non-truths. It was fun to find out I wasn't totally wrong ;) But Mom drilled that distaste for lying deep down into me, so I feel compelled to clear things up to assuage my conscience. In the reveal, you can see which factoids were true. Here are some clarifications on the non-truths:

Day 1: I actually did grow up with a dog named Dixie, and the story is true. The thing is, it was not my story, I stole it from a former work colleague who also grew up with a dog named Dixie.

Like Emily, I also received a dress as a present when I was little. Unlike Emily, I threw a complete hissy fit. I'm still trying to live down my spoiled ingratitude and lack of self control.

Day 2: Again, the "lie" is a true story, and this time it was even my story, but the recruiter was from a different modeling agency. I still love that I got to wear my mom's prom dress to my prom, it was so red and so flowy, I just waved it around in circles all night long. That was the only time in
my life I spent weeks working out to fit into clothing, my mom was a skinny-minny in high school!! Here's how gorgeous she looked in it way back when (and yes that is my dad, high school sweethearts, still together a few decades later!):


Day 3: Ok, from day three on, no one guessed my lies correctly, so I have a lot of convincing to do.

Shane & Shane: Once upon a time, there were two bands, one was Shane and Caleb, the other was Shane and Xavier. Shane and Caleb spent a weekend on a ranch with my youth group leading worship. Shane and Xavier spent a week in Colorado with my youth group leading worship. I continued to follow both of them around obsessively. I could tell you a number of other stories of when I met or interacted with both Shanes, but they wouldn't remember a one, so it's not like we're buddies or anything. But they will always be one of my favorite bands, so when they came to my college, I had to do something special. When I approached Shave Everett's wife after the concert with cookies for the crew, she insisted I come hang out with all of them in the trailer, so Manny and I did, somewhat awkwardly, go enjoy their company and try to remind them of our shared history. (see Michelle, his wife, my boyfriend were all present, no scandal) They claimed they remembered me, I think they just enjoyed the cookies and didn't want me to take them away.

Between high school and college, I went to Jamaica to help build a workshop for this guy so he could have a steady stream of income. Guy and said shop were located in the neighborhood where Bob Marley grew up. The tenement yard where he lived is looked after by some of the guys he grew up with, where they've made a sort of Bob Marley museum. Georgie, who poured the porridge, still lives in the area and rode his bike back and forth between the tenement yard and the house that Bob Marley used as his recording studio in the center of town (which I also visited). So I actually ran into him a number of times. Emily didn't believe me, and I did have to qualify that he sure didn't talk or react much when we were introduced, I think he was a bit too, um, "zoned out" shall we say? So again, he would never remember me, but it happened, I swear.

The drummer from No Doubt was indeed married at the same hotel where I was married in Santa Barbara [so the hotel staff said]. In fact, the reason I heard about it was that before my wedding, he'd held the record for the largest wedding party they'd ever accommodated. Guess Manny and I just have more friends than they did ;) I never met him though. I believe Emily actually has a cooler No Doubt connection, perhaps she can share.

Day 4: This one is boring, the first time I was published was in fifth grade, for a piece I wrote about my best friend in fourth grade, but it was a poem, not a story.

Day 5: I did travel to Italy with my family, and my mom, sister and I were on a very tight schedule to catch our flight home. Rushing through the very crowded train terminal, arms filled with bags, my sister did indeed drop a bottle of wine that splattered all over the floor. But, irresponsible citizens that we were, we just left it and kept rushing, trying to calm her emotional distress, and somehow powered through boldly enough to make it to our flight on time. Sorry for the mess, fellow travelers!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Movie Review Monday #39.5: You Again

It had been a long week. I wanted to veg out with a warm, fuzzy, romantic comedy. Without much energy to pick with discernment, we played You Again on Netflix Watch Instant.



There were couples that were affectionate towards each other, and I did laugh. So I guess it counts somehow as a romantic comedy. And there are plenty of actors in here that I really enjoy, so you would think it had some potential. Also, Betty White. But it was one of the few times a movie got a one star rating from me on Netflix. It was pretty poorly done. The only reason worth mentioning it is that I know how passionately Emily loves to mock bad movies.

Emily, as far as mock-a-bility goes, this one was two-claws up for shizz.

Movie Review Monday #39: Terri

When you are away from people you love for a long time, it is easy to forget the little things that you enjoy sharing together. Over the holidays, I got to remember how much I enjoy watching movies with my mom. She is hilarious when the television is on. She just loves to yell at people on the screen, newscasters, actors in commercials, and people in movies. Mostly idiots in commercials. They really rile her up. We also share a mutual favorite when it comes to watching movies, which is watching the trailers before hand. I can't believe Netflix hasn't come out with a disc you can rent that is two hours worth of trailers of a upcoming movies, or movies in one of these recommended genres they try to suggest you add to your queue. I would so rent that. Anyways, while watching trailers for a movie with my mom, I became curious about the film Terri, and added it to my queue.

Terri is a sweet, quiet, sometimes uncomfortable film about a high school misfit who wears pajamas to school every day and attracts the concern of the principal, played by John C. Reilly.  I was skeptical about how John C. Reilly would handle the role, he's usually playing an identical goof-ball in most roles I've seen him in. But I think he did a really fantastic job of balancing a really quiet humor and genuine tragic sincerity to portray a well-rounded hero. Unlike so many of the films about school teachers/personnel rescuing troubled kids, he is not a perfect savior (see Freedom Writers the movie), he is also not a colossal screw up who only identifies with the troubled kids cause they're in more trouble themselves (see Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson). He's just a guy who cares and who does not necessarily have it all together. It was a refreshing balance. One of my favorite gifts that this principal character gives to the protagonist is the language with which to speak love into other people's lives. I thought his example was a great example for anyone working with or raising kids.

When you start the film out with an overweight guy wearing PJ's to high school everyday, and see that the principal is going to reach out and try to help him, you kind of expect that in the end, he's gonna loose weight, find an amazing romance with a beautiful popular blond, and show up in the last scene strutting into school with a nice pair of jeans and a proper shirt. Spoiler alert, none of that happens. He also did not transform the school such that all the students started wearing PJ's to class. (I think I was secretly hoping he'd start a new trend, I love wearing PJs!) And I appreciated the subtlety with which the transformation he did experience was actually illustrated. He is changed for the better instead because he learns how to find beauty and love in a way that respects himself and others at the same time. The change is more minor, more genuine, and more beautiful in my opinion.

The film still manages to fit itself into this fairly typical high school drama structure, there is a popular blond female heart throb, for example. But the way the plot handles these conflicts gets much deeper into the interchanges between high school kids. This meant that you came away with a more true insight and there were moments that were almost too uncomfortable to watch. One of the uncomfortable pieces has to do with a little hobby Terri picks up. I found myself conflicted about how to feel about the hobby, weather I was supposed to see this as a sign of how truly troubled he was, or how beautiful and yet misunderstood his "good heart" was. I suppose the ambiguity is intentional and useful for the goals of the film.

So there's my warning. It is not a feel good comedy or standard uplifting drama. I don't know whether I would necessarily encourage someone else to watch it, and yet at the same time, I have to say all in all, I think it was a good production. One claw up, Lobsters. Any other good trailers I should check out?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sabbath Sunday

This morning, I feel like a computer that has been on power save mode because my battery was low and I was not connected to a power source, and suddenly someone just plugged me in, and I could return to full screen brightness. I sort of had a full night of sleep for the first time in over two weeks and I feel like a whole new person. God designed for us to rest for really really good reasons, did He not? Thank you God for rest!!

Thankfully, Sofia is also resting now (though that means I don't get to go to church this morning :(  ). It is a beautiful, sunny, blue day outside. So in addition to a few chores, I'm hoping we can enjoy some outdoor beauty today, maybe get a glimpse of the ocean? As I said, my power source is renewed, my hopes are high!

How are you spending this first Sabbath of Lent, Lobsters?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Flashback! The Eighth.

10/13/2004

well i have decided that since my weekend was horrible, yours MUST have been amazing because i don´t think God would smote us both at the same time.  please tell me all about your parents´ visit and withhold all apologies of boredom because you never bore me!  also, i just got your letter today and it made me SOOOOOOOOOO happy, so thank you!

i love you and can´t wait to hear about everything!

emily grace pyg boyd

10/13/2004

Hey Pyg,

:(  Sadness! Why was your weekend so horrible? Was this your trip to England?  Well - you are right, you must have sacrificed your own happiness to send some my way. But before i get into that, i realized something last night that i had to tell you!  So - i've told you how my boss is so super awesome and how i love working with her and everything?  Well - my house is getting fumigated, so she is letting me stay with her and last night when i came by - she was watching the Lakers game cause she's a super huge fan.  And it occurred to me that you two are so much alike!! Lakers, short hair, the way you communicate, all this stuff - i am not sure i can totally describe it, but it was trippy to realize! 

Anyways . . . This weekend.  Well, obviously, as you know, i was terrified, but Manny was pretty calm and relaxed up until the conversation itself.  We took them all over town [from Carp to Goleta] - walked a few beaches, drove around to several good look out sites, ate some great food, etc.  We took them out for a real nice meal sat. night after spending the whole day spoiling them in the wonderland that is Santa Barbara, and then afterwards, we picked up some longboards Cookie Monster, and brought it back to Manny's house.  After we had our dessert and Manny finished playing super host man, he settled down and explained our desires and asked for their blessing/permission/support. And my dad basically said that i hadn't waivered in declaring my love for Manny over the past year despite all our conversations and conflict, and that's something awfully important to making a marriage last. And it was clear that manny was my passion, and my dad doesn't want to stand in the way of my passion, so he gave his blessing.  It was swiftly followed with a "But . . . " because my mom is apparently busy this year, she has to do practicum hours for her masters, but she wants to be involved in the wedding, so my mom asked if i could put it off until next christmas.  I held my toungue and was quiet - trying to process and consider what she asked, but i was kinda like "i'm supposed to plan my wedding around your schooling? Ok, but isn't it my wedding?"  but i didn't say that, i just suggested other times that she and i would be able to get together over christmas and spring break to do parties and planning and all together, and my dad really chimed in and was really supportive of trying to find a way to make it work in my favor, so that was pretty cool - that was the only debate in the conversation, and we went from there to the internet to look at her schedules and determine the ideal dates - so - keep your calendar open for early june!  We even started looking online at a few things, like the mother of the bride's dress and a couple things - so i could show her this site where we'd be able to coordinate things online since we'll be trying to make decisions so far away from each other.  All the while, my dad and manny were joking around bonding as boys who didn't know how to have anything to do with wedding plans - and my dad was all jolly - it was so sweet!!  I really feel like manny and my dad got alot closer this weekend, and started to bond, and it was SO exciting to see that!  We checked out possible sites on Sunday - the one manny and i had our hearts set on wouldn't allow for dancing at the reception cause you can't have amplified sound - i'm really bummed about that, but we'll still be looking. It feels kinda weird to do all this cause we're not actually engaged yet, but we're kinda concerned about availabilities, so we want to nail a few things down before they disappear - cause june is only 8 months away - i always figured i'd have a year to do this!!  Yikes!  But i'd rather work hard and fast then put it off.  So that was all good and exciting and pretty overwhelming really - i mean, i was so scared and within 24 hours of asking, we were nailing down details - SO crazy!  But then Monday morning, my parents wanted me alone without manny - we took a walk on the beach and they told me all about how i was going to have to be a good wife and make sure manny did this and that and i got so upset that they couldn't just accept him as he is and be happy for us and proud of me, so we got in this huge fight, as always, but manny was there for the end of it cause we ate breakfast together, and he helped mediate and forced me to tell them i loved them as they left - and that did a lot of good to repair things and really start some healing, and so my dad sent "make up herbs" - instead of flowers, so i can plant them in my garden. And he and i have been emailing back and forth and are both trying to figure out how to love each other better. So everything is pretty good! Except for the amplified sound problem he he!  Thank you so much for caring and praying and asking!!  You are actually the first to get the actual story - i've given a thumbs up or two to some others, but this is the first official report! :)

I love you pyg! Fill me in on your weekend ok?

-zoe faith

10/14/2004

zoe zoe zoe!

thank you for honoring me by telling me so much about your weekend!  it was SO great to hear how your dad and manny have started to really get along and that your wedding is already in the works!  Aaaah!  I can´t wait for the day  that you call and tell me that you have a ring on your finger!  i can´t even express the joy and relief i felt at hearing how terrific your weekend went, even if there was a bit of tension towards the end of it.  also, you have to remember that the wedding is equally for the parents and the bride.  it seems like it should just be for the bride, but it´s your mom´s day too, so she is fully justified in wanting to be a big part of it (although she needs to be flexible too, which it sounds like she´s going to be).  weird!  i just referred to you as a bride!  do you think you´ll have the wedding in santa barbara?  what plans have you really pegged down so far?  i want to help in any way that i can when i get back...i´ll be your personal assistant/gofer.  

my weekend was terrible, but I think I will be better sometime soon.  I went to London and saw my ex, but it wasn´t the guy I knew because he´s changed so much and not for the good.  He and his friend only talked about drinking and how cool it is to be tipsy and everytime we went by a pub or any restaurant that advertised drinks, they´d stop and check it out.  At one point, he saw an advertisement for a cheap (well london´s version of cheap is still expensive) cocktail and he actually raised his arms in triumph and said "YEAAAAAAAH!"  See, it honestly wouldn´t bother me that they´re drinking so much, but then when he bragged about it and could only talk about that, it all seemed so ridiculously immature.  They kept asking me if I´d had good drinks or how much I drank or how often I went out drinking...if they had listened to me at all they would have heard me say "I don´t drink" the first time I said it and they could have avoided all the unnecessary questions.   Somehow they made me feel lame for not drinking, when technically they´re the ones who need alcohol to feel like they´re having fun when I´ve been having a blast without it (just think how much MORE fun I´d have had with a little buzz...) Also, remember when I said I thought he and that girl might hook up?  
His friend says this is a big possibility and that they flirt all the time and that my ex has told him he really enjoys flirting with her (who talks like that anyway)?!  In the past I would have cared, but really I found my ex´s actions
concerning drinking so repulsively immature that I can hardly imagine myself liking him at all.  OH, and then the kicker is that on saturday we had about 7 hours in which we could have hung out, but after about 3 hours he decided to take a nap and I never saw them again. Good riddance, they were making me feel awkward. other than all that, london was cold. my traveling group had some fun, but i can´t think of it right now because i´m tired (but eventually i´ll write a group email and that will only have the good happy stuff in it).  

and that´s about all.
i love you a lot, roomie! and i miss you!

emily pyg

Friday, February 24, 2012

Reader Request: The best things about being married to an actor

Today's request comes from Amy Dunlap, who I look up to like crazy. She's an amazing mom, student, actress, theater department worker (I don't know her title, but she does stuff), and general person. I hope to be much like her when I grow up, in that she's super fun and I suspect hasn't fully grown up. Anyway, on to the post!


I am married to an actor, and I love it. I mean, obviously I love him and I would love him no matter what profession he chose (well, I guess there are a couple exceptions to that too, no offense to you assassins out there), but I think his choice of acting is especially fun. Reasons:


1. I get to go to shows for free fairly often. I have always loved theater, so this worked out well. 
2. Helping him run lines makes me a better person. I have a nasty habit of correcting people. This is something I dislike about myself, and something I try not to do. I love that I get to run lines with Jeff because it's one time that correcting him is totally acceptable and even appreciated. It kind of helps me get some of that need to correct out of my system.
3. It gives us plenty to talk about. It used to drive me crazy when we'd see a show and Jeff and his friends would rip the production to pieces, criticizing or praising every little bit. But now I've learned how to play that game too, and it's fun to bounce our opinions off of each other. And since Jeff's an actor, he usually has extra insight to provide.
4. He has to be well groomed. For the most part, I get a well groomed husband because his job calls for it. Although sometimes this point backfires, and we end up with this: 
(Thanks to David Polston for the photo.)
or this:

but most of the time, I get something like this:
Yesssss. So much hot.
5. I get complimented often. Just yesterday, someone was telling me that Jeff's performance of Tartuffe was so incredible and he's amazing and what a great actor, etc. And she was saying it to me like I had something to do with it. So obviously, I said thank you. I mean, I married the guy, so I guess I can take some credit. Right? Riiiight.
6. Life is an adventure. Sometimes it freaks me out that we don't really know what's coming up next for Jeff. In fact, I'd say that most of the time it freaks me out a bit. But there are moments, wonderful moments, when I get excited. Jeff is talented, and I believe he could play any role and play it well. It's exciting to imagine what could lay ahead for him. 
7. I have a husband who follows his passion. Above all, I love being married to a guy who is willing to step out in faith and do what he has always been called to do. He knows that acting isn't the most secure job in the world, so he's hoping to teach as well (which is something he also happens to love). But he wants to continue to act no matter what else he's doing because that's the gift that God gave him. 


In conclusion, I wholly recommend marrying an actor. It's neat.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cooking with Zoe: Mama's had a day

I can not say I have ever understood the concept of "retail therapy." Much of what brought Emily and I together when we first met was that we were not "girly girls." So while she has saved more than once in my life from a fiasco, with a successful shopping spree, we were not exactly the types to spend our free time together perusing clothes racks and giggling over accessories downtown, we would have rather spent out time at Borders. [which is sadly now a Marshalls. so depressing.]

But last week, I was having a really rough day. I've been having lots of rough days lately. Sofia has four canine teeth forcing their way through right now and I fear this process may end up being the death of me. I felt a sense of utter despair last week when on top of the rough day, I had also managed to overlook some key ingredients for the last two meals I was going to make for the week when I'd sent Manny out on our grocery run. Without them, I was not going to be able to make dinner. So with fussing babe and hair spazzing every which way (Sofia's and mine by the way), I had to brave it and get myself to the store.

But wouldn't you know it, Sofia was so distracted by all the people and interesting things to look at and touch, that she calmed down (mostly). I was able to get what I needed, giving me a sense of not only accomplishment, but  also triumph over adversity. And we bumped into a friend here and there. And as I went along, filling my basket with the items on my list, I might have also snagged some cornbread mix because Manny loves some good cornbread to go with his chili, and I felt all kinds of warm fuzzies inside for my sweetheart at the thought of surprising him with this treat. And I may have snagged some danishes for myself, which I never ever do, but "Mama's had a day."And the employees at the store just gushed over how cute my baby girl is, and she just ate up their attention, and we all laughed at the preciousness.

And there it was, group giggling. I realized that I'd entered the store with a head clouded and tangled with frustration and hopelessness, but there I was, on my way out the doors, not only having survived, but transforming into a whole new me with a clear head and smile on my face and a good bit less frustration with my daughter's growing skeletal system.

Could it be? Had I just benefited from retail therapy? I indeed was a few bucks lighter than when I'd come in, pushing myself just a bit over budget. I believe so, my friends. Retail therapy had finally worked for me. Those danishes may not have helped me look any bit cuter the next day, but mmmmmm, they sure tasted good!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jimmy Fallon kissed me. True story.

When we played two truths and a lie, two of you thought I was lying when I wrote that my husband asked Jimmy Fallon to kiss me and he complied. That means there are two of you who don't know the story yet, which is great because I love to think about it and replay it and stare at the accompanying picture. My apologies to any of you who have heard or read this story a lot. I suppose you could just stop reading, but I know, deep down, you want to relive it with me too.


On Friends, all the characters have a list of their top five celebrity crushes that they're allowed to sleep with if given the chance, even if they're in a relationship with someone else. Jeff and I would so not be cool with that, but we do have a list of the top five celebrities we can kiss. My list follows:


1. Jimmy Fallon
2. Matt Damon
3. Neil Patrick Harris (Yes, I know...)
4. Joel McHale
5. David Boreanaz, Zachary Levi, Matt Dallas (#4 and #5 change pretty often, which is why I've never made a card and laminated it. Also, I'm fairly certain that Liam Hemsworth is going to hit this list on approximately March 23 even though that would really seal my cougar status.)


Anyway, my sister got Jeff and I (and herself) tickets to see Jimmy Fallon's stand-up show in Irvine the weekend after we returned from our honeymoon. Jeff insisted that if we saw Jimmy, he'd ask him to kiss me. Well, after the show ended, we went to a sports bar to catch the end of a big Lakers game, so when we headed to the parking lot it was a super random time to leave. As we were walking, my sister mentioned how awesome it would be if we saw Jimmy, and I jokingly shouted "Jimmy! Jimmy Fallon!" 


We took a few more steps forward to cross a back alley, when my sister screamed and jumped back. There in the alley was one Jimmy Fallon, putting his guitar in the trunk of a car. A few other people were helping him load up, and I totally chickened out. Jeff said "Let's ask him! Let's ask him!" and I said "Noooo, don't bother him, he's trying to leave..." 


Luckily Jeff ignored me. He walked right up to Jimmy and said "Hi, Jimmy! My name is Jeff Fazakerley, and this is my wife Emily. We just got married last week. We both have a top five celebrities we're allowed to kiss if ever given the opportunity, and you are her number one, so I was wondering if you would kiss my wife."


I said "Just on the cheek" a few times and proceeded to stare at him with a painfully huge smile. I'm certain I looked rabid.


Jimmy said "That's hilarious. Let me ask my wife, she's right over there." He asked his wife, and she said yes and offered to take the picture. That's when this happened:


I was smiling and basically hyperventilating. Some people don't care about celebrities, and I kind of wish I could say that about myself. They're just people. They poop too, you know. But come on...that's Jimmy freaking Fallon kissing me. 


True story.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hello Ministries

Once upon a time, when I was a college student, I went on a trip to San Francisco over spring break to do some service projects and learn about the city. While there, I heard a speaker talk to us about all the people that go to work on MUNI and the BART, in the zones of their commute, surrounded by crowds, and yet quite alone. He challenged us, in our short week there, that when we were on public transit, we should approach these zombies and say hello. He asked us to consider the power of breaking through the monotony of their day and reaching out to experience community and relationship. 

We took that challenge to a bit of an extreme, and there may or may not have been some line dancing at one point going on in the middle of a MUNI bus. Our raucous enthusiasm inspired one passenger to query, with near sarcasm, "you kids are Christians, aren't you?" Yes, MUNI Zombie woman, we were. So ok, maybe we were a little zany, but I took that philosophy to heart. 

Years later, when I commuted into the Financial District of San Francisco on a daily basis, I looked for those little opportunities to connect with my fellow zombies, and really beautiful things happened, not the least of which was my own nourishment from the fruit of those connections. I would even go so far as to say that my commute was one of the greatest blessings to me in that season of my life, and I often find myself missing dear old AC Transit, the G and H bus lines. Public transportation was one of my favorite things about living and working in an urban center. 

While I believe there still exist buses here in small town Maine, they are hardly even necessary for us, as this town is so walkable, even in the winter. My husband's work commute is so brief, and Sofia and I can stand safe and warm behind our back door, and watch him go all the way from our steps to the walkways of campus. He has complained more than once that his walk is not even long enough to listen to any decent amount of music on the headphones I bought him expressly to liven up his commute. No, we do not live in a bustling urban center anymore. 

But take heart! My dear sweet Sofia has taught me yet another lesson. Even though I miss my bus driver, Elias, dearly, and we can no longer hear the BART rails hum through the night from our bedroom, we still have opportunities to break through moments of isolation and reach out to Zombies in transit. 

With a matter of steps, Sofia and I are able to intersect the student's path between their dorms/classrooms/and athletic facilities. And apparently, 80-90% of these students are involved in sports, so I figure we're catching most of the population at some point or another. For months we've watched students from our window or sidewalk traipse back and forth or head out and back from their runs. Sofia has actually been trying to greet them for ages, but something about the sight of an infant in arms was making us invisible to 18-22 year olds, for whom babies are only a terrifying concept. 

But now Sofia is walking. And somehow, that has made us visible again. And out we go, and along comes our prey. Ear buds in place, steady gait, shoulders taught up by their ears guarding them from the cold, eyes straight ahead and slightly glazed over. You can usually sense some degree of worry behind their eyes, or at least forlornness or drudgery. But wait, out of the corner of their eyes, what's that? A baby is waving right at them, eyes sharply fixed directly on their person, expectant, waiting to see if she'll get reciprocation. Nine times out of ten she so catches them off guard that they laugh out loud in shock. The zombie regains human life and the glazed look shatters from the power of a huge grin, the kind of grin you can see even in their eyes. Sometimes they're so shocked, all they can do is laugh. Some of them pull it together though and they wave back, and even as we continue to move along our path, they turn back around to watch us go, still smiling our way, processing the joy that just befell them. 

I do. not. know. where she got this from. I'm a terribly shy person. I was the kind of little kid that hid underneath my mother's skirt, grasping for dear life to her calves. But she loves it! Even if they don't wave back, no worry, she's on to find her next victim. And if they do wave back, it is a grand success. And she is also so delighted that she often catches her little breath and eeks out her own little laugh of joy. It is just so simple, and so beautiful. So now, I'm starting to join her, and I say "hello" too. Sometimes, that even allows us to strike up a little conversation. And I'm not sure what all that does for those college kids, but it sure brightens up my day. So hey, if you're feeling a little low, stop on by the field house late in the afternoon, and maybe we'll be there, armed and ready to wave you into a better mood, out of your isolation, into this little community we're forming, which I like to call, "Hello Ministries."

"Hello!"

P.S. After reading this post, my grandmother sent me this message: 

"When I went to Baylor  and went in for my first interview one of the things that we were instructed  was that whenever we were walking across the campus were always to speak to anyone we passed with at least "hello."  It was amazing, but there was hardly ever any one passed, coming or going that didn't speak to each other and sometimes we met new people that way.  I am trying to use that here at [my retirement community] to speak to people in the elevator or passing in the halls and most people seem to answer." 

So cool! Well, maybe that's where Sofia gets it from!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Movie Review Monday #38: Humble Pie

I watched Humble Pie with my friend Erin a couple nights ago. You may remember Erin as the winner of the First Ever Lobster Contest. She's obviously the best guesser ever. She's also pretty freaking nice too! She's also an aspiring teacher, so we decided not to watch Chalk, which is supposedly about the pitfalls of being a teacher. Anyway, Humble Pie follows a 400+ pound man who works in a grocery store as he starts to change his life a bit by taking an acting class and befriending a group of teenagers. Thoughts:


1. This felt so real that I wondered where they found the main actor. Did they see him in a supermarket and ask if he'd like to star in a film? Maybe. (Note: I just checked it out on my BFF imdb, and apparently he wrote the film. So I guess no one found him. He found himself. Deep.)
2. His sister is played by Mary Lynn Rajskub, who played Chloe on 24 and whose name I just spelled right on the first try. I love her. She is delightfully quirky, and continued that streak in this film, though she was sweeter than most of the other characters I've seen her play. She has over 100 stuffed animals, each with first and last names, and she loves her brother.




3. There was a very Napoleon Dynamite type quality about the film. Weird people who seem real. Awkward moments punctuated by moments when I felt extreme sympathy for the characters. Bad hair. The works. (Note: Another tidbit from imdb. This dude wrote both Humble Pie and Napoleon Dynamite. So the parallel is really not a good observation.)
4. Billy Baldwin was in this. Why is he always such a skeezy character? Actually, I think he ends up not totally skeezy at the end of this, but I wasn't sure because he is a perma-skeez in my head and I didn't trust that he was actually good.
5. I loved the ending. The big guy reads a poem he's written to a girl with whom he's always butted heads. It's a beautiful poem, and I expected their relationship to take a turn. Instead she thoughtfully says that she doesn't like it. Hilarious and surprising.


In conclusion, I give this 1.5 claws up. It wasn't the most amazing film of my life, but it was an altogether enjoyable 1.5 hours. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sabbath Sunday

Today I went to church, out to lunch with friends (Panera is extra delightful on a rainy day), and then came home and finished this puzzle with Jeff:


Don't let that baby fool you. She didn't help at all.
Hope you're all having a great day too, Lobsters!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flashback! the Seventh

10/6/2004


Subject: Monkeys in Gibralter

Okay, Z...I feel like whatever Stan the Man said was very wise, but somehow I missed it in your message. Could you maybe rephrase or something because I want to know :).

Your description of your yard was delightful and makes me wish more than anything to go sit in your hammock with you, where we could have our long talks or read to each other with leisure :).
don't forget, you have my phone number here for...you know . . . whenever ;).

Have to keep this short because I’m supposed to be working on a group project right now!

I love love love you!
Pyg


P.S. You can ask Manny the meaning of my subject line. (Provided that he’s read the email I sent him, he’ll know what it means.)


10/6/2004


Hey Pyg -
What Stan was talking about was this whole Master Plan process - where we want these new buildings so we can be a better school, but the community won't let it happen and what was supposed to get done in 1979 is still in this ridiculous waiting process. My point was just that this time of anticipation is hard - when there's alot of frustration and angst and anxiety and stuff [and now i feel like i'm making it worse rather than helping at all - by putting it this way] but when you're looking back on it from heaven, things will look different - the question is, from that perspective, will you know you handled it the way you should have - with patience and perseverence and everything. It just seems to me that looking at it that way eases some of that anxiety cause it takes you out of the pain of the moment itself by realizing its part of who you're supposed to be and how you're supposed to get where you belong - in other words, that in that moment, you are in God's hands. I love Switchfoots line "if its in my head, its in your hands" - that just gets me every time. Does that make any more sense?
I gotta run to staff chapel.
LOVE YOU!!!
Zoe faith






10/7/2004 






hey you,
here's what she means... :)
mlr
Quoting eboyd@westmont.edu:

Manny, did you know that there’s an entire city filled with monkeys here in Spain?  It’s true, there is.  Its called Gibraltar and I very much want to go there.

Also, Zoe told me that her parents are coming this weekend, and I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be praying for you a lot! I’m also so glad that God has blessed my roommate with such a cool boyfriend (that’s you ;) ) and I’ll be praying that He’ll be with you as you move forward in that relationship.
Love you lots!
 Emily 

Friday, February 17, 2012

I just might make it

So it is 2:54 pm and I think I just might make it. Manny usually get home just after 5 (thank God for his super short commute and flexible hours), and some days, I'm just watching that clock, calculating, "can I make it another two hours and five minutes?" And today, I think I just might.

The longest stretch of sleep I've gotten all week was a glorious five hours that ended with a 4 am wake up call. No other stretch throughout the week even got to four hours. We've got a virus going around the house and three canines plowing through my little girls mouth [as I read that I realize I should clarify that I mean teeth, not dogs, yikes] and it. has. been. rough.

I was pretty zen about it earlier in the week, compared to previous teething nightmares. But after several days of this, it has just been catching up to me and I'm worn thin. I think I passed my breaking point a few days back and I'm not sure what to call where I am anymore. Today, there are three things that have gotten me to where the end of this week if finally in sight:

1) Good Theology.

I just finished reading an awful awful book that details the entire history of the Mormon church in the most sordid manipulative fashion and the whole experience left me feeling dirty and sad. I had my reasons for reading it, it remains to be seen whether they could have possibly been worth it. But praise God, that book ended. And shortly after it ended, I got to meet with my bible study gals and get excited about Good theology and a Good God for hours into the night. With my reading schedule open and my excitement peeked, I powered through all of Leslie Newbigin's A Walk through the Bible yesterday [the whole story of the bible summed up in about 80 pages, why don't I read this like every month? so good!], and launched into some N.T. Wright this morning. Truth and Light are so refreshing. Amen.

2) Justin Beiber.

Like the good, loyal little Lobster that I am, after reading Emily's post on Never Say Never, I added the movie to my queue. And this morning, after getting up with Sofia in the night three times and then not being able to get her down for a nap, I was at the end of my rope, so we had a little Mama-daughter dance party to the Beibs. You gotta have some fun, laughs, and tears to get you through from one day to the next! So embarrassed that this documentary, of all documentaries, could make me cry, but there it is. Remember how I said I haven't gotten much sleep this week?

3) My Long Distance Lobster.

After weeks of failed attempts, Emily and I finally managed to Skype today so our girls could see each other wearing lobster hats I got them for Christmas. There was nothing wildly substantial about our call, but connecting with an old friend in and of itself can be sustenance. I continue to be so entertained and encouraged by working on this project of a blog with you, Pyg, thank you.

3:09 pm. One hour, fifty-one minutes to go.

Out of chaos comes order

Judging by the coloration on the bottom of Sofia's socks at the end of the day, I'm guessing the floor's not such a healthy place off of which to eat. But that's what we do alot of these days. Ok, not me, mostly the little one, I dunno about Manny, I only have one pair of eyes and only so much superviser-ly energy. 


My dirty floor plagues and terrifies me constantly now, thanks to Sofia's sampling.  This afternoon, she confirmed my suspicions that she actually prefers food off the floor when she took cheese from my hand, immediately threw it down, and promptly picked it up and shoved it into her mouth. It's as if she throws food down there to develop her special brand of seasoning. Over time, the layers are going to build up to perfection for rolling her food in. Cause you know mama won't have a chance to mop on a daily basis, or, ever!?


AND she is the one constantly pointing out to me every little thing that needs to be picked up. "Mama, there's a stray bit of Kleenex I ripped up with my mouth and threw on the floor there. Mama, come on! Mom! Aren't you going to pick it up? Cause if you don't, you I'm gonna eat it, and this time I'll swallow." (translated from "Mmm buh a;slieruapowjndf;lkj dukah")


My days lately feel like nothing but an endless cycle of urgent cleaning. It is a race against Sofia, hoping my sponge makes it there before her tongue. Or my quick snatching of a toy before she steps on top of it and topples over. Or a desperate grasp of some fragile piece of dish-ware or piece of electronic equipment before she grabs in, harming herself and breaking the object all at the same time. She is so tall, so agile, so quick. I fear I am no match for her. But I keep at it as best I can. And I trust. 

I trust that every time I return an object that she has thrown/toppled/transported to its proper place, I am teaching her something about order as I patiently watch her unravel our lives back into chaos over and over again. I trust that with each block tower she rips apart, she's learning something about building up. I trust that with each book she tears off the shelf, she's learning something about reading. I trust that each time she drags that bath towel from the bathroom into the kitchen, she's learning something about function. 


And I trust that each time I put these things back, every day that I engage in this tedium, that she's learning something about purpose. That sometimes, when we're fulfilling our purpose, it doesn't look so glamorous, it doesn't feel so good. But sometimes, it is in those persistent acts of drudgery that constancy is learned, dedication is discovered, sacrifice is submitted. Out of the chaos of grimy feat, messy house, seasoned floors, hopefully we can order up some love.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking back, Looking forward



On New Years Day, in visiting a dear friend, we got to introduce our babies to each other. Except my baby isn't a baby any more, and her baby was truly a baby, only two weeks old at the time. What a blessing. What a joy life is. What a mystery, how life comes to be. All mixed together were my sympathies for a difficult labor, my ecstasy for the abundant love coursing between mother-child-husband-father-wife, my appreciation for a husband who cared so lovingly for my dear friend, my respect for a woman who cared so lovingly for her child, my comfort at seeing an old friend, and an intense sense of overwhelm in realizing that we were once there(ish) and are now in such a different place.


Somehow, for me, this picture [above] captured so much of what I was feeling. Sofia, neck firm, brain spinning with curiosity, eyes at attention, discovering, wondering, learning independently about this baby whose only volition is to absorb her mother's love and care and neck support. Were we ever there? New parents, just home with a newborn, minds still spinning from labor and sleep deprivation and joy and wonder and shock. Less than a year before that day, we were there, and yet I can barely fathom it, barely bring back that memory from the fog.


It occurred to me that throughout my whole pregnancy, I did no let myself believe there would actually be a baby at the end of the process. I was so fearful, no, so sure, that I would miscarry like my maternal grandmother. When we got past the point of miscarriage being possible, I became convinced I would deliver a still born like my paternal grandmother. When had to go to the hospital because the baby I was pregnant with was in distress, there was a real part of me preparing for leaving that hospital empty handed. But I did not. I walked out of that hospital with a fragile life-filled baby in arms. I hugged my nurse goodbye, and went home and filled my house with all that love I was witnessing a year later in my friend's cottage by the sea. But, I had thought, that was already more than I deserved. Certainly, it had all been too good to be true. Certainly, SIDS would find us, and it was only a matter of time before I lost my precious. (don't think the Lord of the Rings allusion in that term, and the desperation and idolatry that surrounds it wasn't lost on me each time I uttered it over my child)


But a year later, there I was, witnessing my lively daughter, witnessing another new life. At what point will I accept this gift? Why do I instead accept these shackles of fear so readily? When will I accept this life that has been given to me. When will I let myself look forward, to dream for her future, wonder what life holds for her? When will I stop holding my breath, paralyzed in the present moment, fearful that it will vanish like the air I refuse to exhale?


For a time I did not believe she'd ever smile at me. For a time, I couldn't imagine she would ever sit up on her own. I believed she would sleep swaddled in wings forever. I was convinced she would spend eight hours a day nursing for eternity. As each stage came, I settled into it as if it were my new, permanent way of life. Perhaps I'm so busy adjusting to each change, that this underlying shift is too much to grasp: life is forever changing. Certainly there is a sense in which this year has been nothing but a series of goodbyes. Gone are the days of supporting her neck, supporting her sitting, swaddling her arms,  and holding on tight with two hands while she tries to walk. Gone are the days of sleeping in, of spontaneous carefree choices about how to spend my time, long extended periods of quiet ended only by my own choice. It has been a year of endings. 


And the endings will continue to come, some possible and some certain. My fears are not fully irrational. But the problem has been that I have not been able to see beyond them. They have blocked my view. It is true. My daughter, our love, it is more than I deserve. 


And yet, it has also been a year of constant beginnings. Hello to the intimacy of three, not just two. Hello to new discovery, new laughter, new joy. Hello to a new me, less concerned with me. Hello to a new husband, exuding more love, more devotion. Hello to a new home, new friends, an entirely new way of life. 


My present is beautiful, it is precious. And still, I must learn to loosen my grasp, to hold it more lightly. Because without my hands open, I can not receive what the future holds, what my true Precious has in store for me. For He desires to give me every good gift. But when my fingers wrap tight, when my knuckles burn white, how can the gift come in? 


What if a year ago I refused to move forward into a future where she smiled at me? What if I didn't let her learn to sit up, roll, crawl, walk? What if I did not let her away from me, unclasped from my arms? Then she could not come running back into me, arms wide open, outstretched, to receive her smiling-giggling-leaping little self, crashing into me with a force of love I've never known. 




Life is perpetually coming to be. I need to open my arms to receive this. I need to open my mind; I need to humble my heart, realizing I don't know where the new joy might be coming from. It is only mine to release and to receive. I need to open my eyes, see past the fear, and allow myself to look forward to what new life is yet to come.   

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

anything once: indoor 3d glow in the dark mini golf

My dear friends Arabella and Shep recently packed up their apartment and their doxie and moved to Jersey, where Arabella will be commuting into New York to continue acting. This would upset me more if she was not wildly talented. Instead I'm kind of excited for her in the midst of missing her. 


Anyway, as part of their farewell fiesta, a group of us went to King Neptune's Indoor 3D Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf (which I'll henceforth refer to as KNI3GitDMG) a couple of Saturdays ago. To be clear, I've been mini golfing before. But I'd neither been indoor mini golfing, 3D mini golfing, nor glow-in-the-dark mini golfing, so this was a triple first. For those of you who aren't from Virginia Beach, I should explain that Oceanfront tourism here centers around one theme: The 80s. It's a nice theme, which allows for places like a cheesy Haunted House, a kitschy pirate themed ride, mini golf courses with motifs that range from Top Gun to the jungle to KNI3GitDMG, and souvenir shirts with crude sayings scrawled onto black shirts in neon graffiti font. Arabella and I have wanted to go to KNI3GitDMG for a long time, and I knew this was one of our last chances.
Please excuse Eiley's laser eyes of creepiness.
Please do NOT excuse the shark. Marvel at it.
I have to get to the point now. KNI3GitDMG. was. awesome. Everything is 3D, which totally doesn't make sense until you get there and put on the 3D glasses and stare at the neon decor. Mind blown. The second to last hole had such intense 3D effects that I felt, for the first time in my life, what it must be like to be on some kind of drug. This flat, stationary platform looked like it was floating and had stairs. I very nearly fell over. I believe, my friends, that I was trippin', yo.
So unimpressive without the glasses and black light.
You'll just have to believe me.
Have any of you ever played an entire, serious game of mini golf? I usually make it to about the 5th hole before things get out of hand, and this night was no exception. For one round we all spun around our club three times and golfed backward between our legs. For another, we ditched the clubs and went skee ball style. For a third, there was choreography (the peril of mini golfing with actors). I'm fairly certain I lost in the end though. I'm just terrible at mini golf.


In conclusion, I heartily recommend this first. I doubt I'll be repeating it, but it was still awesome. Even Eiley liked it!
Glowy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Day o' Cheese!

My husband is romantic. To the max. When we first started seeing each other, I had explained to him that I don't do pet names. I was most vehemently against the use of "baby," but really anything other than "Emily" wasn't going to fly. He agreed to these terms, but asked for one day a year to be completely sappy without being mocked. Of course, we decided to go with Valentine's Day since it's already inherently saccharine. Honestly, the super gooey lovey dovey stuff is generally not me, but I am pretty okay with it on Valentine's. (This is probably a result of the year that I surprised my college boyfriend with a home cooked breakfast - a feat to prepare in a dorm common area - and a nice letter, and he surprised me with literally nothing that day. To be fair, he did give me two dozen roses the following weekend, after which he declared that they were half price and threw his arms up in triumph. He was a good guy, but obviously was just not that into me.) 


The guy who did this was very into me: 
Why yes, that is a Bill Clinton doll. Thanks for noticing.
In conclusion, Jeffrey Michael...
You are the aspartame to my Diet Pepsi.
You are the Booth to my Brennan.
You are the pineapple to my pizza.
You are the Space Mountain to my Disneyland.
If I had to choose between dating Jimmy, Matty, or you, I'd choose you.
If I had to choose between seeing Ingrid, Wicked, or you, I'd choose you.
If I had to choose between riding a unicorn, a dragon, or...whoa, whoa. That one is inappropriate and I'd probably choose the unicorn. Scratch that.


I love you, sweetie pumpkin mooshie hugopotamus face! Happy Day o' Cheese!