Sunday, November 25, 2012

Loud and Clear

Most of the time, messages from God can be generally vague and extrapolated from the resources provided for that purpose (Scripture, homilies, etc.).  We expect them to be mostly about living good Christian lives and that ongoing struggle that is increasing in virtue.  But sometimes, divine guidance can be very blunt, extremely specific, and about seemingly the most mundane things.

A few days ago, a friend of mine (he knows who he is) shared this inspirational meme on Facebook.

Of all the things I've been dreaming of doing, those Krav Maga classes I've been talking about for months jumped to mind.  I can procrastinate like no other, and I usually invent a string of excuses.  It probably costs too much, I'm too busy right now, I need to get in shape first, etc.

I've always wanted to take some kind of martial arts class, but frankly I've been too intimidated to actually take the plunge.  There's a Krav Maga studio right here in the neighborhood, so we can't beat it for convenience.  We have no kids to work around, and it's extremely unlikely that I'll be pregnant anytime soon.  I probably have more free time now than I ever will again.  Add to that, I now have a part time job that should cover the expenses.  As frustrating as these months alone can be while Dave is deployed, I'm feeling driven to find a semi-violent physical outlet.  Really, nothing is stopping me but me.

I was still thinking about it this morning, and puzzling out the details before Mass started.  I was sitting in my favorite section of my favorite pew, and just couldn't get it out of my mind.  I was so intent on it in fact, that it took me a while to notice that the church had shiny new hymnals in all the pews.  How nice.  As we all stood for the processional, I flipped open the one in front of me, and saw the dedication on the book plate inside the cover.

Generously donated by 
Krav Maga - Maryland

Are you serious?

Okay.  I'll pick up a class schedule tomorrow.

Friday, November 23, 2012

So Over It

This deployment is going to put me back on blood pressure medication.  For being so brief (as deployments go) it has been WRETCHED, and I'm not even entirely sure why.  I would like very much to walk away from my life right now, thank you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Welcome To the Fake World

It's no wonder people don't seem to have a firm grasp of reality.  This whole culture of American consumerism is permeated with rank artificiality.  I spent eight hours at work yesterday unboxing more fake candles than I have ever seen in one place before.  I promised myself years ago that I would never own a plastic battery-powered candle.  "Flickers like a real candle!"  Not it doesn't; it flickers like a faulty lightbulb!

We have fake smells, fake flavors, fake fur, fake leather, fake flowers, fake trees, fake fingernails, fake diamonds, fake sunlight, whole fake lives in fake computer-generated worlds with fake friends and fake money.  Even real money is fake now.  Did you know quarters and dimes used to be made of silver?  Maybe you did, but lots of other people don't.  Almost everything real in our lives seems to have been replaced by a cheaper, more convenient plastic imitation.

I think it's high time we got back to the nitty-gritty.  Burn real candles this holiday season, and set the table with real flowers once in a while.  I don't care whether you buy a prepared arrangement or pick some dandelions out of the backyard.  It will be worth it, I promise.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Too Much Hanky-Panky In the Workplace

Seriously, I work at a retail store.  I was there all night . . . with two other women . . . in different corners of the building.  You would think there would be no better environment for intense concentration and productivity.  But I reckoned without the music being piped in through the speaker system.

Personally, I prefer to have music while I work.  It usually keeps me awake and makes the time pass more pleasantly.  But, as of yesterday, they've started throwing in a few Christmas tunes with the regular pop assortment.  I don't mind Christmas music, and I have been known to play it out of season while working on Christmas projects.  A little Adeste Fidelis or First Noel gives me warm fuzzy feelings.  However, there are several selections I absolutely detest (Jingle Bell Rock, Run Run Rudolph, By Gosh By Golly, Frosty the Snowman, to name just a few), and unfortunately that seems to be all the store is going to play.  Just to make it ten times worse, they only play the jazzed-up modern covers, which frankly sound more ridiculous than the originals.

BUT, I will listen to Frosty all day long if I could tune out the "adult themed" carols.  I know practically all songs are love songs, and they usually aren't singing about having some cocoa and watching TV.  But if I have to hear the "extra sexy" version of Baby, It's Cold Outside every work day for the next six weeks, I may have to start slapping people.  It's like being trapped in a closet with two people getting hot and heavy on the other side of the door.  You don't want to listen, but you don't have much choice.  Besides that, the whole premise of the song is one selfish bastard trying to get what he wants in spite of his lady friend's better judgment (after quite possibly slipping her a rufie), and that bothers me.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but it made it very difficult to work.  It didn't help that the woman's voice sounded vaguely like a case of tinnitus.  I'm trying to count holes in the pegboard to set planograms, and I had to start counting out loud.  Reprieve was brief, as the musical canoodlers were soon followed by THREE (count them) different versions of Merry Christmas, Baby, which to me sounds a lot like "Thanks, babe, for buying me all this expensive stuff (and probably providing other services), and letting me crash on your couch, because I'm probably a deadbeat leach." That also bothered me.

But, the coup de grace, and probably a new low for the whole genre of Christmas music, was Backdoor Santa.  Basically, in almost as many words, this guy who considers himself some kind of sex god goes sneaking around through backdoors "when the other boys are out" pleasuring all the women of the neighborhood who love it so much they call him "Backdoor Santa."  Oh, and he bribes the children of these households with loose change to leave him and mom alone.  The sleeze meter was maxed out.

This is as fabric store!  Little old ladies shop here!  Who picks out this music, and what's wrong with them?!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Domestic Dream Team

I've been meaning to write a long and wonderfully sappy post about how awesome my husband is for quite some time, but once again my Pandora station took the initiative and picked out the perfect song for the occasion.  So, in the meantime, I made a video instead.  It basically says it all in a nutshell.  (The text was originally red, FYI, but YouTube turned it into a sort of salmon color.  I guess you can't win them all.)

I'm getting a little desperate to have him back at home.  The world can go hang for all I care, so long as we can face it together.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

War on Debt II

Since officially putting this household on a war footing last month, we have successfully reduced our total debt by 11%.  That was a combination of my new paychecks, the sale of some pre-marital assets, and general penny pinching.  Seriously, I'm tearing dryer sheets in half at this point.  I don't think we'll be able to maintain this pace, but it would sure be nice if we could.  I'd at least like to maintain a 3.5% decrease each month, which would represent five months' worth of payments.  Once the debt is gone, we can officially start building the adoption fund.  I'm currently searching the apartment for stuff worth listing on Ebay.

I can't believe I get so excited about paying bills.  It's like buying back our lives a few months at a time.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Different Sort of Hopeful Audacity

The more I find out about Werner von Haeften, the more I like him.  For those who don't recognize him, he was adjutant to Colonel Claus von Stauffenburg, a longtime member of the German resistance, and a key participant in the July 20th plot to assassinate Hitler in the  Wolfsschanze.  Despite the best laid plans, the whole attempt quickly unraveled when the bomb failed to kill its intended target.  Von Haeften, Stauffenburg, Friedrich Olbricht and Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim were executed by firing squad in the early hours of the following morning in Berlin.  Apparently at the last moment, von Haeften moved to take the bullets meant for Stauffenburg.  He was thirty-five years old and left a fiancĂ©e, Reinhild von Hardenberg, also active in the resistance.

Unfortunately, I think we might need role models like this in the future.  I don't know what may happen, but that particular strain of selfless courage and loyalty will be a necessity, regardless.

I'm not too keen on "Werner," but having a son named Haeften would be awesome.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Penetrating the Bureaucracy

Those of you who have been keeping track of us know about our dealings with the MVA.  Everything progressed uncharacteristically smoothly when we bought the new car, so we dared to hope it would all be smooth sailing from now on.  But apparently there had to be at least one last glitch.

As soon as we secured a loan for the new car, we were sent the blue title listing PNC Bank as the lien holder.  When we paid them off eight months later, PNC sent us something which looked like a pink version of the same title (though it clearly insisted that it was NOT in fact a title) stating that PNC no longer held any claim to the car.  The cover letter told us the real title would be sent to us directly from the MVA, allowing ten days for delivery.

After waiting sixty days without hearing a word, I finally trudged out to the local MVA Express in hopes of finding a real person who could tell me what the heck was going on.  I took the kiosk ticket for "Miscellaneous" problems, because none of the other categories seemed appropriate.

After standing in the proverbial DMV line, I told the nice man what the problem was.  The way he rolled his eyes made it immediately clear that PNC had told us a lie.  Apparently this happens a lot.  The upshot of it was that I could take the blue title and the pink un-title all the way back to Annapolis to have a "clear title" printed free of charge (how nice), or I could just staple the two together and call it good.

At present I'm opting for the stapler.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How Appropriate

I need this on a throw pillow or something.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

For All Saints and All Souls

Here's another quick musical tidbit.  During my morning prayers a few days ago I was mentally regretting that I didn't have any music that could remind me of the kids without reducing me to tears.  My Pandora station spit this out.  Who says God doesn't use the Internet?