Very Funny Scotty; Now Beam Down My Clothes*

When I was married the first time, I married a man who had strong family ties in the RLDS church. (No, not the Mormons, the other ones.) I tried to be a ‘good girl’ and fit in, even being baptized in their faith. I went to church, went to church camp, and tried to find out more about their religion. When my then father-in-law started giving me books and talks about how their religion was tied into UFO phenomena and the desert drawings and cave paintings… well, they pretty much lost me there. It’s not that I don’t have an open enough mind to believe that UFO’s are a possibility, but when you mix that up with my image of God, it just doesn’t work. Neither did the marriage, for various other reasons.

Although I’ve had my go-rounds with organized religion, I’ve always still had my faith in God. I’m not sure if He’s a He, a She, or an It, (for our purposes, I’ll stay with He), but I know He’s there. How? Too many examples to mention, from the premature birth of my eldest child and subsequent health of all of my children, to my almost eerie luck in finding my current husband. I tell, ya, all the moons and planets were aligned that night! They had to be…

My second husband and I were married in the Lutheran church, by a minister I’m almost positive was a fake. Just kidding. He did like his wee nip of liquor, however, and he really seemed to enjoy our rehearsal dinner and reception maybe a tad more then I felt was a good thing for a man of the clergy… just sayin’…

After that, we didn’t see much of the church, as my husband has the same attitude about organized religion as I do. This became a bone of contention in his family – especially with his mother – when we did not baptize our two younger children (the older ones were already baptized by the previous family.) Again, he and I don’t believe that God was going to send our children to hell if we were wrong in our beliefs… and we felt when they were old enough to make their own choice, then we would support them in whatever they chose.

We didn’t pray at mealtimes, we didn’t go to church, but we tried to get across the story of Jesus at Christmas and Easter and we tried especially to raise our kids with the one important message, “do unto others”…

When our youngest daughter started looking into religion as a college student, we supported her and when she went gung-ho into it in a big way, we tried to keep up. It made me sad when I went to a meeting where she was going to speak and she got up and told this room full of strangers that she was not raised in a Christian home. Ugh. Knife. Heart. Stab. Pain. Boy, kids know right where to get you, don’t they? This led to a lot of discussion and further realization that perhaps we’d not done enough to lead our children into Belief.

I began going to an E-Free church that my daughter had gotten pretty chummy with. She was singing in the choir, and at first I just went to hear her sing – she has a beautiful voice. I liked the way I was treated there and began going on a pretty regular basis. Finally, deciding it was time to change my membership out of the RLDS church that I’d not been with for years to the E-Free, I took a big leap and went in with what I thought were eyes wide open. Our daughter even went so far as to be baptized – making her grandmother finally happy that she wouldn’t be going to hell.

Things went pretty smoothly for awhile. I was getting involved in some of the teachings and joined a bible study group. Things were fine until the church decided they needed a bigger church. Mind you, the one they already had was huge and had all the modern do-dads – big screens, etc. Now I was suddenly having flashbacks again because all the sermons began to circle around “we need money” …”land”…”building”…”money”…”money”… arrrggghhh!!!

In frustration I began skipping the services. Then I had trouble facing the bible thumpers studiers and the lesson-givers. My daughter hung on… until the straw that broke the camel’s back. She met a man. The man who she is now happily married to. The man who was raised Catholic so in the eyes of the E-Free people was a demon. WTF? What are they talking about? The head pastor got her off to the side and told her they were not happy with her choice and that she should stop seeing him. They got cold and bitter with her. She tried to tell them she had even dated someone in their church who treated her horribly – but they didn’t want to hear that.

After much soul-searching, she, too, left the church. Not having lost her belief, but having seen what her father and I had been trying to explain for years about the organized religion part of it all.

I don’t know why, but it seems the people who are in the church who are supposed to be the most loving, forgiving, (turn the other cheek??) are the ones who can be the most spiteful, hateful and unforgiving. When I was going through my divorce and the court send out a social worker (we were undergoing a custody suit) the people who said the worst things about me were the church people who didn’t even know me! I was so stunned and hurt by that. With our daughter, once she stood up for this loving, kind, sweet young man she had met and saw no reason to break up with simply because his family raised him in a different church, she too was given the down-the-nose look of the almighty church peoples.

When they got married, it was by a judge. They were married in a beautiful room on the college campus where they met. It was a lovely service and in my heart I know a blessed service. Why? Because I believe God is everywhere. God doesn’t belong in a stone palace. God is in the face of my children, the face of my love. You can’t look at the perfection of a single flower or a single snowflake – or the face of any one of my cats – and not see God had a hand in it. That’s not to say I’m not a believer in science or medicine – I feel God has to have had a hand in that, too. I don’t know if I believe in the creation story – I guess I have a theory that it may just be a creative way to describe evolution.

Too many things have happened in my life for me not to believe in God. He, She, or It will always be with me. The Church? Sorry, but you can keep it. My church is my garden, my children’s laugher, my kitties snuggled up next to me purring, my pups being silly, my beagle giving me a big hug, my husband’s eyes. That is my church. Amen.

*author unknown

Is Man One of God’s Blunders or is God One of Man’s Blunders?*

This is going to be a long one. Hang in there. I’m probably going to make someone mad here. If so, you know what to do – leave. This is for me. You don’t like it, you can’t go somewhere else.

I don’t believe in God.
Got your attention?
I lied.

I don’t believe in organized religion.
That is the truth.

When I was three, my mother died. I was sent to live with my fraternal grandparents at some point when she got sick with polio, before she actually passed. I was raised by them until my dad got re-married when I was five. That was when my relationship began with God.

I used to have dreams of my mother. I could see her, but she was always out of reach. Beckoning to me to join her, I could never quite make it. I would wake crying and wondering why this had happened and why I couldn’t get to her. I remember praying to God to help me get to her.

My earliest recollection of church was summer Bible school in a very small town we lived in. The only thing I remember about that summer Bible school was the boy who had a small shiny red bicycle that I wanted to learn to ride in the worst way. (I’m still a sucker for shiny red vehicles.) When I finally managed to ride it I was so proud that I spilled the beans at home – leading directly to spanking and lecture, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 – for being on someone else’s’ bike. (No, I did not have one.)

My next recollection of church was in junior high when we moved back to the ‘big city’ and in an effort by my parents to make sure I attached to the right crowd, they found a girl who went to school with me that attended the Methodist church my parents actually were married in. It was in another part of town, so they arranged for me to start attending Wednesday night MYF meetings with her. (Methodist Youth Fellowship for those of you who aren’t familiar – most religions have some sort of similar groups for their youth. A lesson, a snack, and good, wholesome fun… uh…okay, whatever.) What they didn’t realize was this girl was a bored with it all as I was and we usually sat outside and talked while the fun and games part was going on. We go to know each other pretty well and she became my best friend.

When I became a little older, my grandmother got very sick and died of cancer. It was blessedly quick, but very difficult to lose a woman who I really looked on as a second mother. I started skipping out of MYF and instead of sitting outside with my friend, I began sitting in the chapel in the dark, trying to make some sense out of what my life had become. I was deep into the “dark years” of my life and saw no end in sight.

No, no light came down from the sky and spoke to me… no pews burst into flames… nothing at all happened. I thought maybe it was the approach. I began going to church on Sunday morning, hoping to hear a sermon that would lead me out of the darkness and show me the right path. Nope. Didn’t happen. I got a lot about “missionaries”… “underdeveloped countries”…”need money”… “money”… “money”… blah blah blah. I was crushed. Where was my guidance? Where was the hope? Where was the help for me, here, now? Did I have to be in an underdeveloped country to hear about God?

To Be Continued…

*Friedrich Nietzsche

Comfort Food

Stolen from Jules.

Hot cocoa and buttered toast
Homemade chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes
Buttered mashed potatoes
Buttered noodles
Mac and cheese
Scalloped potatoes and ham
Homemade veggie soup
Homemade bread – warm with butter
Biscuits and sausage gravy
Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Homemade beef stew

I see a starch trend here… could that be the Irish coming out?

As Predicted

Yep. Don’t want to brag, but it was as good as predicted. I had a great afternoon on Friday, and an equally good weekend. The internet guys are supposed to be out to the house between 11 and 3 (yes, that would be when they are scheduled, at any rate) and if all the planets are aligned and the internet gods are smiling, we will once again have internet at home. (Hang on, Hubby, just a few more hours!)

I just love when a plan comes together!

Hope you all aren’t too hung over tired after your super bowl parties. Me? I think I know who won…

Reasons Why Life is Good – In No Particular Order

  • I’m playing telephone tag with the people who are re-aligning my internet dish. This is good. This is hope.
  • I’m leaving work at noon
  • I’m relatively healthy again
  • I’ve got a character on WoW that is kicking ass
  • I have nothing planned for the weekend
  • I’m getting caught up on my blog reading
  • I have kids that rock
  • I have the perfect mate (for me)
  • I’m making one of my favorites for supper (baked chicken with rice)
  • My critters are good companions
  • I have a shelf full of unread books
  • Did I mention I’m getting off at noon?

Harmony – Sort Of

One day later.
One not-so-expensive monitor.
One not-so-expensive video card.
Peace.

Internet? Not yet.

After another 90 minute conversation first with “Fernando”, then “Raoel”(I’m sure they must make up these names) I am transferred to the Advanced Tech Help department for my satellite internet. This would be “Damien”. After another 30 minutes of this and that, he happens to ask what my signal strength is. 43 I happily reply. 43? To surf the internet he tells me I should have a minimum of 52. Hmmm… He has me tweak this and that and I get it up to 55. This is not good enough for Damien, and, no, I still cannot get my system to work. So now we are on a list for a “truck call” – meaning some actual person is going to come to my home and re-align the satellite so, hopefully, I will once again have a great signal strength and we will be in the land of the technologically advanced peoples. Damien asked me if anyone else had asked about the signal strength. I told him they had and they’d seemed perfectly happy with 43. I could swear I almost heard the word “dumbasses” come out of his mouth… (I was thinking of you, Director.)

Oh, and the mega-TV center? Is working just fine, thank you. I got the remote re-programmed for the new DVD player, so now all you do is push one button on the remote to “watch movie” and the TV comes on to the right signal and channel, the DVD player comes on, and the stereo (yes, Becky, we already HAD the surround sound) comes on to the correct settings. One button. I think Hubs can handle that. We still have two remotes, as it would have been too confusing to try and program the remote to handle all the DISH-TV stuff, but still… two remotes is pretty good.

Did I mention I have a little mini-watt microwave coming for the downstairs bar? Now we can have fresh popcorn without walking up the stairs. Pretty soon you’ll just have to roll us out the downstairs door and around the house to get us to the vehicles.

EITTTS Returns!

Everything
I
Tough
Turns
To
Shit

It’s baaack…

Let’s recap. We bought the new TV. We had to have a DVD “up-convert” player too, of course. It was inexpensive, but is supposed to take your ‘normal’ DVDs and make them HDTV quality. We got a universal remote that does everything except pop the popcorn – you program it with your computer.

I get everthing hooked up. It all works – except – the DVD player skips. WTF? Skips? Yes. Every few seconds it blinks quickly, then after about six blinks, it goes black for a few seconds. The satellite guy tried to tell me this was the way it would be and gave me some techno-description for why. Sorry. I’m just techno to think he’s nuts. This is not the way it will be.

I go back to Big Box where we bought our stuff. Talk to the guy in the department we bought it. Of course, the same guy wasn’t working today, but this guy looked half-way intelligent. He says, that’s not right (duh) and bring it back to exchange, must be broken.

After work yesterdayI take DVD player back, exchange for exact same one, heading home with thoughts of a quick install and a few hours of WoW afterwards. Not to be. For some reason, my i-net wasn’t working, so I stopped to see if that could be fixed. I’d been having issues with them changing my account around and they were having trouble getting it to re-do itself and let me back into the system. I take the time to call them.

At some point, tech guy says, “go turn of the modem, and the computer, wait 30 seconds and turn them back on”. Kiss of death, I tell ya. The modem came back up, the computer tried to, but now my monitor won’t do anything. (Yes, smartasses, it is plugged in.) The lights blink, but I can’t get it to show a picture. At all. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. I unplugged and plugged back, I re-hooked to computer, I tried everything. It’s toast. Well shit. Now I have to let the tech guy go (knowing when I call back it will be another 30 minute wait listening to something from the disco age).

I ponder this and call Hubs to ask him to bring his monitor home so I can try it. Okay, that’s settled, he’ll do it.

I go downstairs and proceed to hook up the new DVD player. Putting in a brand-new DVD, I wait for the picture to come up… and…blink.Blink. Blink. Blink. NO! Tearing chunks of my hair out I run for the phone and call the Big Box guys and after a long discussion of cables and DVDs and TVs… oh, wait… TV! This TV won’t work with this DVD player. WTF? You mean they couldn’t tell us that the day we were in there buying all of this stuff at the same time??

Hubby comes home. I take his monitor and try to hook it up to my computer. They’re both Dell. They won’t hook up. They both are male. Okay, I can handle this. I’m on my way to Big Box with the DVD player, so I’ll just pick up an adaptor.

Heading across town (again) I race into Big Box and zip right up to the return counter without any hesitation. Then I must explain to the service person that the DVD player I brought in earlier really wasn’t broken, and this one isn’t either, but that I must exchange it for another one. She looked at me like I was crazy. I don’t suppose the missing clumps of hair, the excess caffeine I ingested, and the look in my eye that Hubby says I get when I’m “on a mission” did much to change that opinion.

I flew to the computer department and, lo and behold, there was a package of adaptors. Several, as a matter of fact. For $12. This I could handle. Off to the Home Theater department where the nice young man I’d previously spoken to was a dinner, but the other nice young man who was there seemed to know what I wanted.

Home.

Downstairs, I hooked up the new DVD player. Turn it on, put in a DVD, and hold my breath. The picture came on the 52″ screen in glorious color and HD-TV quality… leaving Hubby to watch “Batman Begins” in perfect blink-free viewing. I still need to re-program the mega remote, but that can wait another day.

Upstairs, I tear open my package of adaptors and pray this will solve the problem and I will be able to make some progress. It didn’t happen. The adaptors wouldn’t work with this cable. Fuck.

This afternoon I’m heading back to Big Box with my adaptors to return. Hubby has taken his monitor back to his office (he must have his i-net) and I possibly will purchase a new monitor with the stipulation that if this is not the problem I will be able to bring it back. I will take it home and (with luck) it will work and I will then be able to get on the phone for my 2 hour holding-talking-holding session with the internet tech support people and I will get my internet back at home. Keep your fingers crossed.

It isn’t even a full moon…