Monday, December 31, 2007

The New Year a la '07

I will have all of you know that I’ve been trying to write this post for the past week. But it kept getting mopey, and I kept disgusting myself. Except for this paragraph:

“I don’t want to be a cynical person. How does one make that move from cynical to joyful? Certainly everyone knows how to go the other way, from Joy to a Cynic. All it takes is years of trampled self-esteem, dashed dreams and a sprinkle of substance abuse! But how does one go from a Cynic to a Happy Chipper Christian? Without barfing?”

That made me laugh. And if I can’t crack myself up, it’s not going up here.

Let’s see. According to last year’s post, I was going to make purposeful steps towards not worrying. Well, I guess I kinda did that. Not worry, that is. The buggerall of it is, I still was sad. I still cried a lot, more than I thought I was going to.

I’ve been temping for over a year now. That’s never happened before. It frightens me, but I don’t worry about it. Is there a difference? Sure there is. Frightened is when your internal organs drops three feet inside you upon a sickening realization like you’ve been temping for over a year. Worrying is dwelling upon that sickening realization for more than five minutes. I clock it right up to four minutes and fifty-seven seconds, I do, but then I go write in order to focus on something else.

When I was home in Alabama for the holidays, I had my annual breakfast with Miss Eunice. Last year, Miss Eunice said that you allow things like compassion and God’s grace in, that they’re not things you work on. (yes, that may seem blindingly obvious, but Christianity has a way of making you feel like you’re repeating the first grade over and over again.) This year, I was stuck on the concept of Enough, and what is Enough, and how will I know, who’s gonna tell me the Amy equivalent of “That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.”

And Miss Eunice said there is no such concept as Enough in Christianity. The idea circling back around to Grace, and how God sent Jesus to be Enough, and I don’t have to be enough (I’ll never be able to reach it anyway), because He is. All I have to do is accept it.

Ha ha. Accepting God’s grace and love. Accepting the fact that He loves me, cares about me, will pick me up and hug me and kiss me and call me George. Ha ha ha. I know better than to say that’s a goal for 2008, accepting all of that. That’s not a goal, that’s a journey that’ll take the rest of my life. Yay (said with a sigh.)

If you had told me on New Year’s Eve in 2006 that 2007 would find me doing the following (this is the Deliberately Positive Version):

• Embracing my girlyness via wearing skirts and boots on a regular basis.
• Willingly coaxing cranky babies to sleep by singing 80’s songs.
• Drinking champagne and eating chocolate on a balcony overlooking the ocean on my birthday.
• Assisting at a camp for kids with brain tumors
• Overcoming my fear of needles to the point where I’m spearheading a blood drive at my church in two weeks
• Skinny dipping in the housesitting house’s hottub.
• Acting as a pseudo mentor for Act One newbies who are too new to realize that my advice is worthless.
• Thinking of a particularly evil way to kill off a character in my zombie graphic novel (iron spike through the eyeballs. It’s thematic and everything!)
• Coming up with a compelling argument for the devil on the night that Jesus was born (Devil tells God that God needs the Devil around because “Can't give the people freedom of choice if there is no wrong choice to go with the right one.”)
• Hit a dog and not only NOT kill it, but able to find its owner through bumbling adventures across Los Angeles and the power of Google and senior citizen roommates.

Then I would’ve probably told you, um, okay. Not really what I THOUGHT I’d be doing. Wasn’t I, you know, gonna sell a script or something?

It’s never enough. Because there is no concept of Enough, apparently. HA!

And here is where I was SUPPOSED to post the Ren and Stimpy Happy Happy Joy Joy song. Had it all prepped and everything and youtube has since taken it down. I could look at it as an ominous omen for 2008, but I choose not to. You all just don't get any pictures with this post.

Thanks for reading. See you in 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Mother The Phone Harpy Is So Short....

I've talked before about how short my mother the Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much is, but I think this conveys it much more eloquently than all my many words could:

Behold, a tiny duckling STREEEEEEETCHING to reach the stone shelf where the party is obviously happening.

And here is my mother, STREEEEEEETCHING to reach the laundry detergent so cruelly placed out of her reach on the top shelf of the grocery store.

Also implied is the evil daughter taking a picture of her shorty mommy instead of helping her get the laundry detergent. Which I did. Eventually. Ha!

Friday, December 21, 2007

So if you watch late night TV in Alabama...

You see this commercial. I can't say that it's solely directed at a Southern audience (the Spears family tree from Louisiana not withstanding), because there's not a Southern accent to be found anywhere in there. But I've NEVER seen this one on Los Angeles TV.

To watch this on TV with your dad across the kitchen table is just plain hilarious. And wrong. But I survived.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Soon, people, soon.

I promise. Got a five hour plane ride tomorrow, so there should be something I can come up with.

As we say in assistant world, "Please hold."

Friday, November 30, 2007


Sorry folks, there's just too much shit to do and not enough time to do it, and blog entries are on the expendable list for the next few weeks. If you really miss my stunning words o' wisdom, send a few prayers for discernment, elastic time, the wisdom of Solomon to complete my various responsibilities, which only have increased as more and more people take me for granted. Yay.

Some days...some days I just don't know...

Monday, November 26, 2007

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation

You know, I did have a topic in mind to write about, and it had to do with God and everything, but there’s just no way I can slap it together in an hour and upload it to the site and have it be all profound and crap. I’m working on about four hours worth of sleep here, and while I can be amazingly functional on five, four is tough.

So instead, I will do a pictorial of my Thanksgiving holiday.

This is Native Chick’s Maltese dog Olga. I spent a very lovely Thanksgiving at Native Chick’s house with her fam and friends, and begged Olga’s forgiveness that I hit one of her kind a few weeks ago with the car (though props need to be paid. Olga is full breed, while Beau from The Worst Day Ever is a mix.) Olga appeared to grant me forgiveness, even though she doesn’t look like it in this photo. I did get the tiniest of puppy licks on the knuckles, so I’m taking that as absolution.

This is Olga’s stepsister Margo (same mom, possibly different dads.) Margo also appeared to grant me forgiveness for hitting a Maltese mix and breaking its leg a few weeks ago (she may not be so forgiving of the Grandma holding her, though, hee hee hee.)

This is the first thing I saw when I leaned over the bed every day of the Thanksgiving holiday. Ginger Puppy insists on being as close to me as possible, and she’s not allowed on the furniture, so she would position herself on the floor, right where I might step on her in getting out of bed (she’s half under the nightstand there.) I never did step on her though, which I consider something of a miracle.

And this was how I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon, in the backyard with Mojitos and Ginger Puppy in her own patch of sun. (Basil The Diva Dog didn’t want his picture taken.) I discovered mint sugar especially for Mojito making in the liquor cabinet, and I totally went overboard. If there had been any ice cream in the freezer, I would’ve sprinkled it on that too and died from a sugar coma, so I guess it’s a good thing there wasn’t any.

And now my lovely Thanksgiving holiday is over and it is SO hard to come back to regular life. But I shall try, with a hopefully profound and coherent piece next week.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Random Thoughts That Make Me Smile

Many thanks to those that or emailed the kind words about my Worst Day Ever. ‘Cause this is how it works – I can’t see how wrong I am until you point it out to me, ho ho ho. KIDDING.

Perhaps the most Frying Pan To The Head Realization came from my buddy, (um, um, he needs a pseudonym, everyone wants one, let’s name him, uh, Norman? Have I had a Norman yet? Norman!) Norman wrote “…but Guilt is NOT from or of God. Guilt pushes you away from God. It builds a wall between you and God. Who do you think Guilt comes from then? (Insert Church Lady voice) Hmmm... I don't know... maybe... SATAN!!! “

Guilt is not from God. Hmmmm. There’s a thought I need to tattoo on my forehead. I’m gonna try and put that into practice this week. I’m not supposed to feel guilty about anything, guilt is not from God. It is Thanksgiving, and that means FORBIDDEN PASTA! (I’m not a turkey gal.)

I like to think I’m a pretty funny gal in print (I tend to talk way too fast in person for people to realize the jokes I’m trying to make) But then I click on links like this and realize there are much much funnier writers than me. And that’s absolutely okay. Because I laughed and laughed and laughed at that one.

Saturday found me updating an old script of mine, and testing out lines on Roomie Heckle, who’s the closest Typical Male in proximity to me. The set up is a girl is explaining why she didn’t want to go into a men’s room and I was trying to replace this line, “I didn’t want to start the night out smelling the inside of (his) ass.” Because I wrote that line like, two years ago, and I’m SO much more mature now, ho de ho ho.

So I’m throwing lines out there for Roomie Heckle to give thumbs up or thumbs down like, “I didn’t feel like trudging through an Ebola breeding ground.” “I didn’t want to catch sight of anything pasty white and dangly.” “Open Trenches Of Piss Death! Danger Will Robinson!”

As always, the easiest solution to these situations to examine the logic behind it. Why WOULD a girl wanna go into the boy’s bathroom? It’s not Mardi Gras. There’s not a ten mile long line to the women’s bathroom. So, move the location from a men’s room to an office. Now the line is, “No, I had no idea, I wanted to make sure you had the Birthday From Hell because I am not your best friend, I’m actually Satan, nice to meet you.”

Satan! Satan who sends big heaping piles o' GUILT on your head! (Who says I can’t work religion into my writing. HA!)

I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, because I will be housesitting Basil and Ginger Puppy. And we will be dancing around the house to this song. It’s an oldie, sure, and the video is barely in focus (though you can clearly see the oversized Gingerbread Man tackling the drummer, which is my favorite part), but it’s such a happy upbeat song, with ironic lyrics, my favorite. It makes me smile and is also my Enforced Secret Joy # 54 – Death Cab For Cutie’s “The Sound Of Settling.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

The worst day ever.

My mother, the Phone Harpy Who I Love Very Very Much, has no appreciation for the skill and subtleties of a good storyteller. Which is to say, she does NOT like tension or fictional creeping dread in any movies or TV shows. She’s been known to bolt the room during an ER rerun on TNT.

And while she reads mysteries from the library and doesn’t skip to the last page, or listen to a James Patterson book on tape and not fast forward to the last chapter during a grisly murder scene, when I try to tell her anything about what’s going on in my life and it contains the merest sliver of Bad News, she immediately cuts to the chase, “But you’re okay, right?” “But the car still runs, right?” “But the house didn’t burn down during the fires, right?” “But you still have health insurance, right?” She doesn’t want to know about the How of the situation, it’s too traumatic to listen to the logical progression of What, When, and Why, she wants to hit the Epilogue five seconds into the telling. I try to tell myself that this is just how she is, and it doesn’t mean she doesn’t care, it simply means she’s got some kind of delicate Mom condition, and while I had to live out the Bad News, it doesn’t mean she has to hear about it.

So Mom, print this out for Dad, whose issue is that he doesn’t know how to work the computer like the rest of the world. And should you choose to keep reading, know this, and keep it first and foremost in your head during the rest of this entry: THE DOG IS OKAY. THE DOG IS OKAY. FROM EVERYTHING I’VE GATHERED, THE DOG IS OKAY.

And a note for the rest of you, this is one of those extra special entries where I drop the F bomb. Repeatedly. With no apologies. As you’ll see, I think the situation warrants it.


The ironic thing about it all was that I was praying in the car before it happened. Lately, I find myself stymied about what exactly I should be praying for, because I’m still wrestling with the idea that you’re not supposed to pray for things that are YOUR idea, you should be praying for things that are GOD’s idea. And I still don’t know what God’s idea for me is, so the last sentence I remember praying for was this:

“I have no idea what will happening today, God, but please let me be obedient no matter what happens.”

I’m driving on Cahuenga, having made the turn from Santa Monica, and all of the sudden, on the right hand side, I see a small white dog running at break neck speed, tongue out, somewhat crazed look in his eyes, right into the street. Oh my God, it’s not gonna stop.

I slam on the brakes, veer as hard as I can, but there’s still the sickening thump. And in my rearview, I see the dog now lying on his back, four paws up in the air. I even hear the pained, high pitched Arf Arf ARF!

(Did you just hear that shriek? That’s my mother, the Phone Harpy Who I Love Very Very Much, screaming from Alabama. She’s now printing out the entry and shoving it in front of my father to finish reading, ‘cause there’s no way she can do it.)

I jump out of the car and run back to the intersection. There’s a woman on the sidewalk with her dog, another girl trying to get directions to a vet from another woman in a car, and a guy is holding the dog I hit.

“Was that your dog?” I ask the woman with dog. She says no. I say “I’m the one who hit it.”

I’m the one who hit it. It sounds awful. My eyes were on the road the entire time, the dog came out of nowhere. I sound like one of those idiots in a TV show, or a movie, “It came out of nowhere! Nowhere, I swear!”

We have to get this dog to the vet. And because I’m the one that hit it, I’m gonna have to take responsibility. I jump in the car with the guy holding the dog, and I swear, I see a brief two second flash of relief from the other girl well, at least I don’t have to do anything more. Someone else is gonna take care of this mess.

I’m now holding the dog, hyperventilating, crying. I’m thinking this dog is two seconds away from dying, and it’s my fault. Helpful Guy driving is trying to calm me down, “I have a lot of respect for you for coming back. You know how many people wouldn’t have stopped?” Of course I have to stop. Of course I do. I have to take responsibility here. I couldn’t just leave it, go on about my day, why no, God, I didn’t hit a thing. I’m still a good person, because I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior. The guy goes on to say how he was right behind me, it’s totally not my fault, he saw the whole thing, and the woman with the dog on the corner tried to stop it, and it wouldn’t stop, it was determined to run into the street, on its date with destiny with my car. Helpful Guy also adds that he was listening to The Secret when the whole thing happened, and maybe this all happened for a reason. I inwardly groan. You say The Secret, I say God, it’s still not clear why this dog decided to run in front of my car.

We find the vet place on Cahuenga, and dash in. They refuse to take the dog, saying they’re not equipped to do X-rays, and it seems that this dog’s leg clearly is broken. Amazingly enough, that appears to be all that’s wrong with it right now. We see the tags on the collar, call the phone number, it’s disconnected. We get them to run a microchip thing over the dog. There’s one there, they call the microchip company, now we’ve got a name of an owner, the same disconnected phone number, and an address. The dog’s name is Beau. It's a Maltese mix, and it's in need of a good bath. The vet directs us to a place in West Hollywood, it would cost about $60 for an initial exam, and $250 probably for treatment. Fuck. I am barely climbing my way out of debt, which is what happens when your temp agency only got you two days of work in a three and a half week period. Yeah, now I have a gig that seems like it’s gonna last awhile, but I’m not ready to go back into debt for this dog, even if I’m responsible in so much that I hit it. Then I then have to take it home with me, rearrange my life around it, find its owner, if it’s owner can’t be found, I have to take care of it until I can get someone to adopt it, and if I can’t get someone to adopt it, I have to take care of it for the rest of my life, because that’s my punishment for hitting it in the first place.

And I don’t wanna do that. Does that make me a bad person? I am a huge dog lover, I grew up with dogs, I dogsit all the time, but I don’t want one of my own. I can’t do it. Getting a dog was on the list of Things To Do after I Sold Three Scripts and Bought A House. I don’t have the kind of stable lifestyle a dog needs. I don’t usually get home until 9pm – 11pm most nights, because of all the functions I have to do. Having a dog costs money. Money I don’t have.

I tell Helpful Guy I’ll take it to the vet. Helpful Guy drives me back to my car. I leave the dog with him briefly while I call work to explain why I’m gonna be late. When I hang up the phone, the guy is holding the dog up so the dog can see me through the window, “He likes you!” The guy says, “He wanted to see where you were going.” The dog likes me. Doesn’t the dog remember I FUCKING HIT IT?

I take the dog from the guy to put him in my car (doesn’t the dog have any kind of memory that THIS IS THE CAR THAT FUCKING HIT IT?!) and I see a two second flash of relief on Helpful Guy's face. Another well, at least I don’t have to do anything more. Someone else is gonna take care of this mess.

And off we go to the vet on Santa Monica Blvd, between La Cienega and Robertson. I’m still crying, worried that Beau the Dog is in the final spiral, and there’s nothing I can do, except drive and navigate the rush hour traffic as best I can.

Is this obedient? Is this being obedient enough?

The questions are coming fast and furious. Why wasn’t it on a leash? Where’s this guy’s owner? Why didn’t they update their information? Did they purposefully abandon the dog? The address is in North Hollywood. Has the dog run all this way? Was it kidnapped, and now escaping its dognappers? Was it abused and escaping its owner? Who’s gonna take care of this mess. WHO’S GONNA TAKE CARE OF THIS MESS? Me. I’m gonna have to take care of this mess. Because it’s my fault. I’m responsible.

Beau the dog yips everytime I have to tap the brakes, which makes me feel awful. We get to the vet on Santa Monica Blvd, and I carry the dog inside. It must be said that the dog is not shaking, is not shivering, is not moaning in pain. Other than if someone brushes his broken paw, which makes him yip, he appears to be fine, unless there’s some broken ribs or internal bleeding or something, (but that still wouldn’t make sense, because he’d be yipping if I was holding him.)

The second vet tells me that THEY’RE not equipped to handle this kind of injury, and I need to go to an Animal Surgical and Emergency Center, which is on fucking SEPULVEDA on the FUCKING WEST SIDE. I can’t believe this.

There is a woman in the waiting room who seems to get it, “He ran out in front of your car? That must have been so scary for you!” yes it was, yes I’m fucking wrecked about it. Then, as I’m carrying the dog to the door, she says, “You’re doing the right thing, you really are.”

Traffic isn’t moving at all on Santa Monica Blvd. (I find out later that the WGA writers are striking in Century City, which is where I have to drive through in order to get to the West Side.) I start crying again, as I pull out every trick in the book to try and avoid traffic, to keep moving, to keep moving.

I can’t take this dog home with me! I can’t! I can’t afford to go into debt for this dog! I can’t! Well, you shouldn’t have hit it, then, if you can’t afford to pay for its treatment. IT WASN’T MY FAULT! IT RAN OUT IN FRONT OF MY CAR! It looks like this dog has no one to look after it except for you. It’s all on you now. God doesn’t care if you can’t take it home, or if you can’t go into debt for it. You have to. You fucking have to, because it’s all on you now. You have to be obedient, just like you told God you would be, and that means you now have to accept this dog as your own even though you don’t want one. Who cares what you want. Fuck what you want.

My mind is racing, I feel like I should call somebody, anybody, so I can explain what’s happening here. But then I think better of it. What would calling anyone do? It’s not like anyone would be able to fix this solution for me. I already know what I need to do, and that’s to try and get to the Animal Surgical and Emergency Center, before Beau the Dog dies on me. Calling anyone would spread the worry and discontent. Hey, look at this impossible situation I’m in! There’s no way out! Feel bad for MEEEEEEEEE. I look at it from anyone else’s perspective. If someone called me, panicked because they hit a dog, what could I reasonably do? What would I reasonably WANT to do? Nothing. So I don’t call anyone. You have to fix this all by yourself.

The dog has now fallen asleep in the seat. I drive with one hand on the wheel, one hand on the dog, checking to make sure it’s still breathing. Praying to God is a little frazzling right now, because I keep getting suffocated by all the guilt thoughts. Please don’t let this dog die. But please don’t create a situation where I have to pay for it, take it home, and find it a home all by myself. Because I can’t do that. Please let me be able to find his owner, and please let finding his owner be the right thing to do.

I keep remember that blasted phrase from Matthew 25:37 - 40 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Does a dog count at the least of these? Does going this far count as obedient? Does going this far count as being a good Christian? Is extending myself this much mean I’m a good person, or somebody trying to assuage guilt? And even if it’s just that I’m assuaging guilt, does that still count? Does that still COUNT, if you’re not doing it with a shining pure heart and motives, but you’re propelled by fear that if you DON’T do it, you’ll be consumed by guilt for the rest of your life? Or did I really need to be all Yippee! I hit a DOG! Why sure I’ll take it home, and feed it, and clothe it, and call it George, because gosh darn it, I NEEDED a dog in my life!

It takes an hour to get to the ASEC, and I once again carry the dog inside. I explain the situation, and they quickly take the dog from me, and whisk him away behind closed doors. They then push a piece of paper towards me, an authorization of treatment, a list of all the things they MIGHT have to do to treat the dog, including but not limited to X-rays, glucose drips, blah blah blah. The initial estimate is $500 - $750.

“I can’t sign this,” I say, “This is not my dog. I don’t have this kind of money,” I start crying again. I explain to them that I’ve called the number on the collar, the number is disconnected, I can’t get a hold of the owner, I don’t know what to do, I can’t pay for this. And I’m getting a sea of blank stares. “Do you understand?” I ask. “Oh, I understand,” replies the woman behind the desk, with the same kind of blank stare, but an undercurrent of judgment is now seeping into it, like oh, I understand you fucking hit this dog and you don’t wanna pay to fix what you’ve done. I think these people think I was guzzling a fifth of Jack Daniels, changing channels on the radio station, and putting on my lipstick all at the same time, saw the dog minding its business on the corner, and deliberately screeched the car towards it, thinking TWENTY POINTS FOR HITTING THE MALTESE! WHOOOOO HOOOOO!, because that’s what kind of evil bitch I am.

I think these people think I’m the dog equivalent of those LAPD nutjobs who pick the bums up from Skid Row and dump them in front of the hospital and drive away, so somebody else can clean up their mess.

All because I know I can’t pay to fix this dog. What’s wrong with you? Just go into debt. Just rack up what’ll probably run close to one or two grand to fix the dog. You’re the one that hit it.

They confer amongst themselves, come back and ask me to give my contact information to them. They say they’ll notify the animal shelter, who’s come in and paid for treatment of dogs before. They say I can call later to check on his status.

And just like that. It’s done. Now what? What’s your problem? You wanted the dog to be taken care of, now it’s done. Aren’t you fucking happy already? The dog is officially someone else’s problem.

But no, I’m not happy. It’s not everything I could’ve done. I can do more. I can drive out to North Hollywood, to the address listed on the collar, and see who’s there. I can do that much, because I know nobody from the hospital will do that. The animal shelter won’t do that. But I can do that. You better do that. That’s the very least of what you SHOULD be doing.

So I drive out to North Hollywood, entertaining visions of knocking on a door and finding a tear strained distraught grandma like woman opening it, “You found my DOG!?” and hearing some story about how it dug a hole under the fence, how somebody dognapped it, how this, that and the other happened.

It takes forever to get to the address, because it’s not just in North Hollywood, it’s in BUMFUCK North Hollywood, and I get lost so many times, and for every neighborhood that I pass that looks nice, and that nice people live here that would want to know where their dog is, I pass into another neighborhood that’s ratty, where suspicious types stare at my car. And I’m praying again, Please let me find this owner, Lord. I know it’s 10:30am in the morning, and most people are at work, and not at home, but please let me find this person, please let me find this person.

But finally I find the place, and a middle aged guy who speaks little English opens the door. Looking past him, I see that there’s no furniture in the house, it looks like the guy is a construction worker, working on the house, which is draped in painting sheets and the like. I try to communicate with him as best as I know how, pointing to the address we had written down, and the woman’s name, and asking if that person lives here. The guy goes back inside and returns with the gas bill, which has the right address, but a completely different person’s name. He says the guy is his boss. I ask him how long it’s been since his boss has been living here. He says a few months.

And I shuffle back to my car, hopes dying again. This SO looks like a case of somebody moving and just deciding not to take the dog with them. Goodbye little one! You’re on your own!

But I’ve done everything I can, right? No. You’re gonna have to find this dog a home. This dog doesn’t have an owner, obviously. The phone is disconnected, and the people living at the address aren’t the people that own the dog. This dog is officially your burden now, and you’re gonna have to take care of it. But I CAN’T! I CAN’T! Life is not a movie where I hit a dog, and subsequently adopt it, and life becomes one beautiful fucking doggie Hallmark card. It’s NOT.

I spent the rest of the day at work trying to figure out if all the nonprofit adoption agencies do things like go to clinics and rescue dogs with broken legs. Because I can’t have this dog go to the pound or animal shelter, and be dead in a week. The only one that should be going in there to rescue it is YOU, Amy. Clean up this mess. Fix this mess. It’s your responsibility.

Is this being obedient? Is this being obedient enough?

At 3pm, I call the clinic to check on the status of the dog. The person answering the phone says, “We’re legally not allowed to give you any information about the dog’s status because you’re not the dog’s owner, but we can tell you that he’s doing fine.” Gee thanks. I ask what’s going to happen next, and they say that they’ll be calling either the pound or an animal shelter to come get him. I ask for those numbers, they say they can’t give them to me, “because we don’t know where he’ll be going.”


I get the idea that I should hit Google, and google the owner’s name. And after about five minutes of clicking around, I stumble upon
this L.A. Times article.

The dog's owner is dead now, but according to the article (Written THREE FUCKING DAYS AGO), her roommate is CARING FOR THE FUCKING DOG WHICH IS EVEN MENTIONED IN THE FUCKING ARTICLE.

Is this how God is going to help me? Seriously? This is God’s grace shining a light into my situation? Honestly? If this is how God’s gonna help me, why didn’t He convince the dog NOT TO RUN OUT IN FRONT OF MY CAR!?

I call the Alternative Living for the Aging center, and explain the situation. They are much more understanding than the folks at the animal clinic, and while they don't give me the guy's phone, I give them the animal clinic address and phone, and they say they'll contact him and let him know where his dog is. I explain that I'm concerned about the time factor, if someone can't prove they own this dog, this dog might be put down in 48 hours or something. They say they understand, and I believe them. I hang up, stunned at the whole situation.

Is this being obedient? Is this being obedient enough?

But I can’t pat myself on the back, because again, it feels like all of this is the LEAST of what I should’ve done. There’s still that nagging undercurrent of You should have paid for the dog’s treatment. You should have been “oh yes, absolutely, I’ll take the dog home and rearrange my life around it and find it a good home.” That is to say, because I wasn’t meeting the test with an absolute pure heart and joy about What Can I Do To HELP, that everything I did do is lacking in a way. It wasn’t enough, because you weren’t joyful about it.

My cell phone rings on Saturday afternoon. It’s an 83 year old woman named Betty. She’s the new prospective roommate for Beau’s owner, and the Alternative Living for the Aging center contacted her when they couldn’t get a hold of him. Beau’s owner is one of those people that only has a cell phone, so she’s been leaving messages on it, as has the Alternative Living for the Aging center, and so far, no return call. I explain the situation as best I could, and she says she absolutely understands, she’s not blaming me. She says she’s met the dog before, Beau’s owner brought it over last week for their first interview together. He was supposed to contact her to come over again today or tomorrow, and she hasn’t heard from him. She also called the ASEC, and if you’re an 83 year old woman who’s a prospective roommate with the dog’s owner, they’re going to be nicer to you than if you’re the person who brought in the dog because you hit it. The clinic says that the dog is fine, resting comfortably, and that he’ll be going to the West L.A. Animal Shelter either today or tomorrow, where he’ll be held for five days, giving the owner a chance to claim him. All information they WOULDN’T give me, nice.

I explain to Betty that I’m researching nonprofit animal shelters that could go in and get the dog to take him off the five-day watch in case Beau’s owner can’t be contacted. She says she’ll start calling the hospitals, “I know he’s with Kaiser.” We promise to keep each other updated.

Irony of ironies, Saturday night finds me attending a charity event for a nonprofit animal shelter. This was set up waaaaay in advance of me hitting any dogs. My awesome friends Ned and Nora invited me because they had tickets. Free food, free booze, lots of dogs running around that you can ADOPT. I’m amazed the dogs don’t have a sixth sense about me, that I’m not giving off some sort of Guilt Smell, sniff sniff sniff, hey, I smell the murderous stink of a Almost Dog Killer!

The evening’s entertainment is Sylvia St. James, the mistress of ceremonies at the House of Blues gospel brunch, she’s wearing the same dress and everything. They’re singing overtly religious songs, which I find weird, since this isn’t an explicitly Christian event, but you can make the case that God is the God of dogs and cats too.

But it’s hard not to laugh at the songs, “Nobody does me like Jesus. Nobody touches me like Jesus.” And when they start singing, “I Am A Friend Of God.” I start rearranging the lyrics for Nora’s benefit, “I am a friend of dog. I am a friend of dog. Except when I run them over and then spend my whole day trying to find their owner.”

I had mentioned to Ned and Nora that I’m pretty sure Beau’s owner must be dead. Because if the choices are that you’re either dead, or you lost your dog AND your cell phone so you can’t return your messages, it’s strangely more logical to go with the You’re Dead choice. Because nobody loses their dog AND their cell phone at the same time. “Maybe he was mugged.” Ned says. “Nah, I’m pretty sure he’s dead.” I say, because I always hit the Worst Case Scenario button.

But Betty calls during the middle of the event, and reports that yes, Beau’s owner is alive and well, and yes, she has made contact with him. It turns out he’s been in his car for hours, looking for the dog. He’s been staying with friends, and they accidentally left the gate open, which is how the dog got out. It doesn’t explain why it took him forever to return the message, but whatever. Betty has given him all the information – the clinic info, and the West L.A. Animal Shelter where he’ll be going, so it’s now all on Beau’s owner to pick up his dog, pay for whatever treatment was given and la la la.

So now it’s officially off me. Honestly and truly. “You really are an angel” says Betty.

Am I? Or am I just someone who suffers tremendously from a guilty conscience, to the point where I move heaven and earth, not just because it’s the right thing to do, not just because it’s my responsibility, but because I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t. Does it count? Does it count as obedient enough?

Some stereotypical church people would look at this story so far and say, Amy, you don’t understand. You are the dog, and GOD is you. God would move heaven and earth to take care of you. And yet, I still don’t feel Him. I still don’t see Him. I didn’t have a pure heart and joy to help the dog. I helped the dog out of fear and guilt. I have no grace for myself. It’s the struggle of my life. I don’t know how to get over it.

Right now, life appears to be a series of instances where I thank God that it’s not worse. Thank you that I didn’t get fired for taking all that time to work on helping the dog. Thank you that the dog didn’t die. When does the part of my life come where I get to thank Him for the stuff that went RIGHT, not for the bad things that I was able to fix, or the bad things that I managed to avoid.

What counts? And how would you know?

Monday, November 05, 2007

So I didn't write it, but it's still damn funny...

Mucho thanks to Winifred for sending this to me:

Everything I need to know about Christianity I learned from zombie movies.

The World is Passing Away

Sure, we all know this intellectually. Everyone is going to go belly up sooner or later, but its one thing to know it and it's another to actually live it, and realize it. But every zombie movie has a moment of clarity, when the characters realize that they may be all that's left of humanity. In 28 Days Later it becomes a major plot point, in most zombie movies it involves at the very least a few minutes of freaking out after which the characters all decide to strike out for what they hope will be more of humanity. James 4:14 assures us all that we are nothing more than a vapor that is here for a short time and then is gone. Nothing says "you're just a vapor" like a pack of undead groaning for your brain.

Humanity is more than the sum of our parts

So, modernity stormed its way to the forefront of human culture during the enlightenment and armed with the scientific method naturalism soon followed and told all of us that we are nothing more than complex, biological machines. In Dawn of the Dead, after they realize that a bite is all it takes to create a new zombie the protagonists have a debate. Should they waste those bitten now, or wait on them to turn? Eventually it's decided to post a shotgun wielding Ving Rhames on guard. After the guy zombifies he shoots him in the head. Most notably there has never been a zombie movie in which there is a moral consideration given to blasting zombies into bits. 3 John 1:2 makes a distinction between soul and body, as does many other places in scripture, but more importantly scripture places a much larger value on the soul, just as zombie movies do. After all, what says you are of little value like a shotgun blast to the head?

Judgment for sins

Eventually every zombie movie asks the question "why are the undead walking"? There are always two components to the answer. The first are the actual causal events which created zombies. Usually it's something like a biological accident, or nuclear waste, or some other zombie creation event. The second is the metaphysical question, which asks what the purpose is behind the zombie infestation. Almost always the answer is judgment. Sin eventually requires judgment from a morally perfect God. Romans 2:2 tells us that the judgment of God is based in truth. Dawn of the Dead tells us that when Hell is full, the dead will walk the earth.

There are worse things than dying

In pretty much every zombie movie there is one guy that gets bitten, fights off the crush of the zombie mob and then puts a bullet through his head to keep from becoming a zombie. Usually there's at least one soliloquy about how if I become a zombie please shoot me in the head. Matthew 10:28 urges us to consider our priorities, that is to fear the one who can destroy the soul in hell, and not just the body.

(And here's Herbie, the Zombie Pumpkin my buddy helped me carve for the office Pumpkin Carving Contest. I know it's hard to believe, but we didn't win.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Your idea vs. God's idea

Okay, so obviously, we need to shift the posting schedule a bit. I have a new small group, which I’m excited about because it means more new people to offend (I’ve already asked them which swear words I can use and if I’m allowed to flip people off in the room), and it meets on Sunday nights, making it hard to get a GIPIAN (is THAT what my blog acronym looks like? Ha! That makes you all GIPIANers! Hee hee hee) Sunday post on time.

So Sunday posting will now become Monday postings. Sometime on Monday.

I haven’t been doing the Enforced Secret Joys for a few weeks because #1 – I kept forgetting to put them in and #2 – Not a lot was overtly joyful outside of the obvious elements in the individual blogs.

But here we go, we’ll put it at the top. Enforced Secret Joy #53: this site What’s so joyful about it? Well, just observe the hours and hours of fun you can have.

I am not the type to talk about potentially good news in my personal or professional life, because every time I say even the slightest fragment of a sentence that starts with “I met a…” or “They’re sending paperwork over on….” POOF, it all goes up in smoke. Like, EVERY SINGLE TIME. So let’s do a substitute, shall we? Let’s pretend that instead of me ever wanting to be a screenwriter, I’ve always wanted to be….a lumberjack!

And I’ve been pursuing my dream of chopping down trees ever since I was 16, and I’ve been chopping something down every day, working on my craft, not letting the fact that I’m a chick, or that I’m in California (a state not known for its lumberjacking industry) stop me. God has given me this amazing gift for tree chopping, for log rolling, for cross saw cutting, and even though lumberjacking is a secular occupation, I’m gonna somehow use my gifts to be the proverbial salt and light to the tree world. Okay?

Now, let’s say that I was close to my flannel clad goal of winning the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition at the Lumberjack World Championships held in Hayward Wisconsin. This is something I’ve wanted very very badly, and I’ve worked for years and years to make it to the championships, and every time it looked like I was close, I landed in fifth place, I twisted my wrist, my flight was late and I didn’t make it to the match on time or something. But this time, THIS TIME, everything feels like it’s lining up how it’s supposed to.

So I want to win. I REALLY really want to win. And so, as any good little Christian would/should do, I send out the all call to my peeps to please pray to whatever Deity they believe in that my skills would be enough, that circumstances would unfold the right way enough, that Amy Winning The Underhand Chop Competition is in God’s plan for me.

I’ve already blogged before about the conflicting schools of thought about praying for what you want versus praying for how to be. But what’s weighing on my mind this go around is that it’s okay for what you want to happen if it’s God’s idea, but it’s not okay to pray for if it’s my idea.

Does that make sense? I don’t think so, let’s rephrase. We all know that God can and does use secular events for his own purposes, so the foreman who crushes your self esteem and calls you “The Bowlegged Wonder From Bama” as you studied 90 Foot Speed Climbing under him for three years was there so your skin (and hamstrings) could toughen and tighten and withstand future attacks from rotten personalities like him. There was no way you could change him into being a nicer person, and you weren’t praying to study under a jackhole like him in the first place, but that wasn’t why God put him in your life. Now, years later, you understand God’s plan, and you say, “Yay, niftykins, God! Thanks for looking out for me!”

But here we are, staring the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition right in the face, and MY idea is that I win it, achieve my goal, and move on to the higher plane of lumberjacking, where I can give God the glory, nab a Mountain Dew endorsement, give talks around the world about how you too can accomplish your goals and dreams through the glory of Christ, la la la (yes, this is where the metaphor breaks down, because I’m obviously not in screenwriting for the publicity, just work with me people, please.)

But I can’t help but feel that because it was MY idea to win the competition, that it’s not something God wants for me, and therefore, I shouldn’t pray to win it, nor should I ask for prayer to win it.

That anything, plan, goal, dream, wish, desire, that I come up with is going to be inferior to what God comes up with for me. I can’t tell you how many times in church I’ve heard the pastor say something to that effect, that God has bigger designs in mind than anything your troglodyte brain can come up with. Which means that all those missionaries and justice workers trying to bust up the international human trafficking circles just aren’t dreaming BIG enough, snerk.

So what do you do? Wait on God to do all the work? That can’t be it, you gotta do SOMETHING, right? So what, I practice chopping, spinning, cutting, and wait to be divinely struck with the next step (enter the championships)? Is that what I do?

When do you know how what YOU want is what GOD wants for you too? ‘Cause I’m guessing we should be praying for things that God wants to give us (and why is He waiting to give them to us, by the way? Because we have to put in a formal request? I am so READY to win this contest, God. HONESTLY. Consider this my formal memo to You.)

Oh sure, we can always hearken back to Tulip’s talk, and we should pursue “goodness, righteousness, and holiness” blah blah abstract concept, no grounding in reality blah.

See, my whole thing is that I hate wasting time. My time, or anyone else’s, and ESPECIALLY God’s. So I don’t wanna bug Him praying for stuff that He doesn’t want me to pray for. (Or for stuff that He has no intention of ever giving me, but that grumble grumble topic is its own blog entry for later.)

It’s like there’s two ways to pray:

Option #1 – Please oh please oh please let me do my absolute best to win the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition, and let my absolute best be enough to win.

Option #2 – Please let me reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control regardless if I do or don’t win.

Except I don’t know a single person out there who prays like Option #2. You kinda wanna kick Option #2 in the teeth, because that’s just dripping with sanctimonious bullhonkey. That’s not a real person. That’s an ideal concept that nobody can live up to. Sure, I can ACT like I’m Option #2. But that wouldn’t be me. That wouldn’t be real.

Oh, I bet I know the answer. It’s Counselor Gladys favorite comeback, “It’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and.”

Option #3: Dear God, because I am human, and an annoying little brattykins, I’m praying please oh please oh please let me do my absolute best to win the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition, and let my absolute best be enough to win. But please let me reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control regardless if I do or don’t win. And please forgive me if/when I don’t completely embody those lovely spiritual gifts. Because, dammit, I’m trying. Honestly. Love, Amy The Writer.

Your post wouldn't be on time either...

If you went to the 11:30pm showing of "Nightmare Before Christmas" last night. In 3-D. The SING A LONG version!

Tons o fun has put me behind, the post will be up sometime today.

Meanwhile, enjoy this cat. Because I did:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fighting a case of the blahs

Been thinking about stuff, but nothing resembling a coherent blog entry, so check back next week and maybe things will be different. Blah.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Connecting, I think.

I got the email a few weeks ago. Geraldine, the acquaintance from Act One who referred my blood donating adventures to little Hudson and Abella, sent me an email asking me if I would come volunteer at a weekend camp she was running for kids with brain tumors and their families.

Now we all know I’m not a fan of kids, regardless if they have brain tumors or not (notable exceptions include my niece Bug, and I’m sure she’s gonna start irritating me any day now, and baby Hazel, who I’m sure will start annoying me as soon as she learns how to talk.) In fact, one of the reasons I was so stoked to be able to donate blood to Hudson and Abella was because I could help them without having to be in the same room as them.

Giggly once asked me if I was absolutely sure I didn’t want to have kids. Yes, I am absolutely sure I don’t want to have kids. I don’t understand why my certainty isn’t more applauded in society. I’m doing my part to reduce the earth’s carbon imprint! I’m being a responsible human being by not bringing a child into this world because I can’t provide the same comfort and care of living that my parents gave me. And honestly, if I don’t have any grace for myself, if I’ve been known to literally slap my own hands if they wander towards the refrigerator one too many times, how on earth could I possibly have the patience, grace and love to raise a squirt who will have half my DNA. Seriously, folks, you do NOT want a squirt who has any of my characteristics running rampant across this earth. I’m doing everyone a HUGE favor, and I don’t understand why that’s considered a bad thing, that I’m not embracing what my gender was designed to do. Thank you, religion. You suck. Love, Amy The Writer.

But to tell Geraldine, “Um, no, I’m not gonna help you and your brain tumor kids camp” would reach a new level of Grinchy Bitchiness that even I’m not capable of, so I emailed back and said, “Well, okay, but you know I’m not a fan of kids right?” Geraldine replied, “There really is no pressure, though I might exert some to make you a fan of kids. You won't escape the weekend with out a few of them getting to your heart!”

But see, Geraldine likes kids. She’s got five of them.

When I was telling my parents what I was going to be doing for the upcoming weekend, my dad, The Great Stoic Wonder Whom I Love Very Very Much, instantly reacted with these words, “You’re gonna do WHAT!? WHY would you wanna do THAT!? Oh come on, Amy, it’s gonna be DEPRESSING!”

(Anyone who wonders where my cynical nature comes from should wonder no longer.)

“Dad, it’s not a hospice situation. They’re not going to camp to die, they’re going to camp to laugh, play, have fun, all that stuff.”

“Are you getting paid?” “No, it’s not about that.” “You’re not gonna get anything out of it!” And I reminded the Great Stoic Wonder Whom I Love Very Very Much that there are things you do in life because it’s not about you, it’s about you serving other people. He settles down after that, but to hear all those Grinchy Bitchy thoughts that had been running around my head come out of his mouth shifts my perspective slightly, and I head into the weekend thinking, Okay, I’m here to serve. I’m here to serve. It’s God’s joke that He’s calling me to serve kids, and I don’t like it very much, but fine. I’m going to be obedient and do it. It’s a pain in the ass, and I’d be lying if there wasn’t a part of me that’s clearly hoping I’ll be rewarded not with warm fuzzy feelings of Do Goodism, but something more tangible in the form of meeting a hot guy, my heart has been so bruised this year, but now that I’ve gone and said it, it’s not gonna happen, so okay fine, I’m here to serve, I’m here to serve, I can’t WAIT to serve.

Here is a picture of where I slept for the weekend, and the infamous Greeny Meany sleeping bag (last used when I did gutouts in New Orleans last year.) If you’re thinking it looks a little grim, you are correct, and you’re not even seeing the gal who slept five feet away from me who snored very very loudly.

You’re also not seeing my breath frosting in the air, because it was COLD. We were at a camp that’s about five miles away from Idyllwild, where I was at the Act Two retreat in September. It was damn chilly for a lot of the time. I’m a fan of cold weather, but even I thought it was chillier than chilly.

Geraldine, thank God did take me seriously, and kept me doing admin paperwork behind the scenes stuff, as opposed to playing with the kids. I checked families in, I escorted the jovial Director of the Neural Tumors Program at Childrens Hospital around from group of kids to groups of kids, and listened to him answer questions I never thought could be asked, “Are they working on a way to reattach my optic nerve (since they had to cut it to get at my tumor.)” I learned all about proton therapy, when you should and shouldn’t use gamma knife treatments, what Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis looks like (like frosting on the brain), and it was all very fascinating.

And it really wasn’t about me, it was about the kids and the families getting a chance to interact and play with kids that look just like them, and have the same issues as them. I did have one little 21 month old continually coming over to me to give me imaginary marbles (perhaps he sensed I was missing a few?) He wanted to be picked up, so I did, thinking a-ha! Here’s your chance to be maternal! Pick up the child, and warm fuzzy maternal feelings will flow! Your Grinchy heart will melt, and little children all over the world will flock to you the way forest critters flocked to Snow White and helped her clean the Seven Dwarves house! This is the lesson God wanted you to learn! Embrace it! Embrace it all!

And then the 21 month old grabbed the pen hanging from a lanyard around my neck and whacked my head with it. So I put him down, safe and secure in the knowledge that I still I don’t want to have kids.

But the entire weekend, I’m searching for connection. Why am I here (besides the obvious you’re here to serve. ) Isn’t there some big lesson God wants me to learn here? Isn’t there some connection He wants me to make? Who or what am I supposed to connect with? I’m not a parent, I don’t have a brain tumor, I’m not good with kids if they do or don’t have brain tumors. That pretty much distances me from just about everyone else at this camp.

Hudson and Abella are here, I get to meet them and their parents. They’re adorable, of course, and I even play a few rounds of soccer with Hudson. Seeing as how he’s three, his idea of soccer is throwing the soccer ball at the volleyball net and shouting “GOAL!” But I can handle it. And because I want a picture to show Mom and Dad of the kid I donate blood for, I whip out my camera and ask Hudson if I can take a picture.

Here’s the little guy. You can tell he’s grown up with cameras shoved in his face all the time, because he totally struck that pose without me coaxing anything out of him. He’s absolutely adorable, and pretty damn brave with everything he’s been through, though he has no idea what that word means. And as I looked at him through the viewfinder, this thought hit me, a part of me is running around in you, little man.

And maybe that’s all the connection I needed.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Amy The Overthinker

I had a job interview this week. It was to be the assistant to a Life Coach, let’s see, what to call him, what to call him, gosh, I hope I’m not giving anything away but let’s call him Mr. Crazypants.

There are certain stereotypes that anyone who doesn’t live in California thinks people from California are like. People in California are WEIRD, they’re New Agey, they shop at that Whole Foods place, they do yoga, they carry around small dogs, they talk about their feelings far too much and far too freely. They have wackadoo theories about plastic containers. Mr. Crazypants was mostly all of that, except for the New Agey part (He’s a Jew from New York.) And the yoga part (he’s got a bad knee, he can’t bend down, he makes you pick up everything that falls on the floor.) And the talking about his feelings far too freely part (he’s all about analyzing YOUR feelings.) But he did have a small dog, a three and a half pound Maltese named, uh, Mr. Crazypants Cute Dog. And he shops at Whole Foods. And refuses to use plastic containers.

I knew even before meeting Mr. Crazypants at the Whole Foods in Pasadena (which he later changed to the Westin Hotel, RUH ROH!) that I didn’t really want this job. An assistant to a Life Coach? How is this going to advance my screenwriting career, except as possibly a B storyline in a TV spec I write someday? But I also recognized that I needed to go through with the interview in order to not make the person who recommended me for the job look bad. Because I like her, I want to remain professionally friendly with her. She might give me a job someday. And she’s not crazy.

And I don’t think that God is steering me towards this job because he wants me to be the proverbial salt and light to Mr. Crazypants. I think God’s probably sitting on the couch with the bag o’ popcorn, munching away and elbowing the angels, “Check it, Mr. Crazypants just asked her to get in his car at the Westin Hotel. Gosh, I sure hope she represents herself in a way that reflects My glory.”

The interview turned into an eight hour day riding around Pasadena with Mr. Crazypants, holding Mr. Crazypants Cute Dog while he looked at places to live, listening in on phone conversations he had in the car with people who were designing promotional material for him, listening to his side of phone coaching sessions he was having with clients, trying very hard not to laugh as he sang to the dog, “My dooooooooogie loves his weeeeeeeeeeeenie!”

But part of the time was Mr. Crazypants taking me through the initial steps of a Life Coaching session. He did a shitload of intentional leading, where he would say things like, “I’m about to give you a profound piece of advice” and “I’m psychic, you know.” (Why he didn’t sense that I had no intention of taking the job, I don’t know. Maybe he thought he could change my mind with the profound piece of advice.)

The profound piece of advice was my Word. Everyone he coaches has a Word, and your relationship to your Word is what you will deal with, either successfully, or unsuccessfully through your life. Other peoples Words have been Recognition, Respect, Selling, etc.

My Word is Understanding, and Mr. Crazypants says that a large part of pain in my past has stemmed from people not understanding me, and that I spend a lot of my life trying to make sense of the world, and making sure people understand me. Well, um, yeah, most writers are misunderstood, and write to make sense of the world as they see it, thanks.

“Your needing to Understand is you pushing Understanding away,” Mr. Crazypants says, “It’s going to be very hard for you to find a man who navigates as freely as you do,” Wha-huh? “Promise me that if we never see each other again, that you won’t settle in a relationship, that you won’t lower your standards. You are better off being alone for the rest of your life. I know this makes you sad. But it’s better for you to be alone than for you to be alone in the relationship. Because that’s what it’s felt like for you, hasn’t it?”

And I would dismiss most of this as Standard Advice For Chicks except that he drops a paper napkin on the floor, hands me a putter and some golf balls, and tells me to land the golf ball on the napkin. He asks me to grade my shots on a scale of 1 to 10, and since the first shot is way long (Sorry Dad. Never was much of a golfer), I gave myself a 2. The correct answer, if any of you ever have to do the Golf Exercise in front of a Life Coach, is that the first shot is always a 10, because it’s the FIRST shot. “You’re so judgmental,” he says, though technically, he asked me to judge myself, “You’re so lovely to everyone else and such a dick to yourself.”

Oh, I wish I could direct him to this entry, and the Grace and Truth scale, and how I’m forever stuck on the Truth side, because I don’t understand the concept of grace for myself. But in Mr. Crazypants’ world, any answer longer than five words is me falling into the Understanding trap, of me needing to explain myself, when apparently he already knows everything there is to know about me.

We go a couple more rounds with the golf balls, where I get closer, but never quite on the napkin, and Mr. Crazypants says I’m an Overthinker on top of being an Understander, and I need to focus on the process, not on the goal. “Be in the moment,” he says, as Mr. Crazypants Cute Dog humps a stuffed animal in the corner. “How do you do that?” I say, carefully counting my words to make sure it’s not too many. “Let go of the questions,” Mr. Crazypants says.

Ah yes, Let Go. One of my favorite platitudes of all time. Mr. Crazypants isn’t telling me anything I don’t know already, but I still don’t know how to put into practice. And he won’t tell me, because I guess the answers would come if I either had $15,000 to complete the course, or if I agreed to work for him. Neither of which I’m doing.

But the Overthinker/Understander thing bugs. Where’s the line between Thinking and Overthinking? I mean, obviously we have to think about things, right? I have to think in order to fill in the details on my outline. I have to think of solutions to plot holes in my other outline. I have to figure out how to juggle two temp agencies where I can chart a course in steady employment without missing out on any cool assignments because I took the other assignment first.

Ah hell. This is ALL Overthinking, isn’t it. What would life be like if I didn’t think so much? Um, I think I’d be drunk. Like, all the time. Hmmmm, I wonder if that’s a feasible option. What shape is my liver in these days? If I haven’t been drinking in awhile, do the bad parts of my liver rebound?



Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yay For The Moment

Sometimes, if you’ve read a columnist long enough, or listened to a speaker speak more than once, you will eventually stumble upon 1 of two things:

1. They will recycle their talk. I’ve heard this done at church actually. That’s how I could tell I had been going to a church for a looooooong time, when I recognized that the pastor’s “Second Choice” sermon, about Leah, of Jacob-Rachel-Leah OT fame and how second choice doesn’t mean second best, blah blah blah, was what he pulled out when he didn’t have time to prepare a new sermon.

2. They will talk about preparing for the talk. How it’s hard to pull together a column/sermon/review every week, how am I gonna do it, how am I gonna do it, oh the PRESSURE.

I don’t really have anything to say tonight, so I won’t do either one of those things. I will say I’m enjoying the mix that Pandora is spinning right now.

1. Fragile - Trauma Pet
2. Wishing (A Picture Of You) – Flock of Seagulls
3. Tiny Vessels – Death Cab For Cutie (this is one of my favorite songs in that unfortunate category of Gorgeous Melody/Really Mean Lyrics. Elevator Love Letter by Stars is in there too.)

I’m trying to train myself to be in the moment. To just be. Be still and know that I am God. I only worked one day this week, and I’m teaching myself not to panic about it, no matter what my bank account says. Because I’m trusting God, and apparently God didn’t want me to work that day, I THINK He wanted me to work on my outline, so work on my outline I did. And God didn’t want me to work the next day either, but that became pretty obvious why, as it was so I could be available to race Basil the dog to the vet in the afternoon when he started quaking in his paw pads (turns out the poor guy was constipated.)

And currently, I only have one day of work lined up for this upcoming week (but it was a request! A request from the TV network! I am a rock star assistant and people remember that!) and I am again choosing not to mash the panic button.

I choose to recognize that I am in a place right now where I am still. Metaphorically. Things could be abrewin’ on the horizon on a number of fronts, but I know better to talk about them and look like a dumbass if they fall through later.

But I will say that every night last week at 10pm, I jumped in the hot tub in the backyard. Basil chose to hang inside the cabana, but Ginger Puppy, never wanting to be too far away, curled up on the second step to the hottub. And we watched the full moon above. Well, I watched it. This is Ginger Puppy and her view (yeah, it’s blurry. Shoot me.)

I turned the lights off so it was me in the dark water, with the full moon above, and the Los Angeles city lights turning the clouds a better-than-it-sounds shade of brown.

And it looked like, it may have even felt like a moment where I should have made some important decision about my life. But my head was empty. I have no burning questions, no nagging issues. Life isn’t where I ideally want it, but it’s not troubling me at this very second (I reserve the right to be troubled later.) So it was me, and the dark water, the puppy on the stairs, and the moon up above. Be still and know I am God. I’m still. I know. You’re God. I’m me. It’s up to You what happens next. So, um okay, cool. Thanks for being God, God. I’ll just, uh, wait and be still, I guess.

And that’s really all I have to say tonight. Except Pandora just gave me a new song, “It’s Not Easy To Live That Well,” by Headlights (listen here . ) Yay for the moment.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I don't deserve anything I have. What to do, what to do.

In the early hours where last Friday night turned into last Saturday morning, Roomie Heckle called on the cell and roused me out of an alcohol and Benedryl stupor (and I probably shouldn’t be combining those two, but I’m still here so hey, praise God!) to inform me that someone had broken into the house. Further conversations through the weekend revealed that the bad guys did the deed at 4pm on Friday afternoon, so even if I had been living at home instead of the housesitting house, it wouldn’t have changed anything, except my stuff would have been stolen with Roomie Heckle’s.

But no. I’m here with Basil and Ginger Puppy. My computer, my camera, my ipod, even my external hard drive, all here with me. It took me a day to remember my jewelry, though, and I called Roomie Heckle on the cell to try and direct him to the location of said stuff in the bathroom. Roomie Heckle is a clinically diagnosed ADD head with no insurance, and therefore no medication, so needless to say, he couldn’t find it, and got pissed off that I even asked him to look.

So the jewelry was gone. Which bummed me out, and I felt completely unjustified that I was bummed. My parents had given me the jewelry over the course of my high school years. They were my birthstones, aquamarines. A necklace, earrings, a bracelet. I loved them dearly because they were unique, and my parents gave them to me, and I really don’t need jewelry gifts for the rest of my life, because I’ve got my “luckies,” my aquamarines, which I bring out on special occasions, and if this event has taught me anything, it’s that I needed to wear them MORE, because you never know when two punks are going to break into the house you’ve lived in for years and years without incident and spirit them away to pay for their crystal meth addiction.

I immediately wanted the power to curse the Luckies. Those Luckies are only Lucky when they’re with ME! If anyone else touches them, especially if anyone steals them, they are officially cursed and will bring nothing but DOOM to whoever touches them. That means you, Crystal Meth Punk. That means you, Pawn Store Owner because you know the Crystal Meth Punks didn’t just happen to come in with an aquamarine set because they bought it for their girlfriend who didn’t want them. That means you, Pawn Store Shopper, knowing that such a nice jewelry set in a seedy Pawn Shop didn’t get there by willing means. The Luckies are doomed. DOOMED. They will bring DEATH to you until you give them back to ME, in one of those twisty turny ways that independent films are made of! Muah ha ha ha HA!

I had all this petulant bratty anger, which was completely unjustified, and I couldn’t get rid of it. How dare I mourn the loss of my Luckies when I still have my computer, my camera, my Ipod. In the grand scheme of things, the loss of the computer would absolutely have been more devastating. So why am I whining about the loss of jewelry? Be happy! Rejoice! Praise God! Forgive the Crystal Meth Punks! You have your health!

I couldn’t get to the house until this past Sunday, and no later than five seconds after I walk in the house, there’s a knock on the door. My neighbors are there with a breathless report of what they saw that day, and how they’ve given their statement to the police, and they’re so sorry this happened, and they’re trying to be vigilant, and we need to get our landlord to put bars on the window, to cut away the tree in the yard, la la la. I am stunned that my neighbors care this much (though one of them calls another one “Nosy,” but in this case, Nosy works.) You don’t expect to have such helpful neighbors in Los Angeles. It’s rare that anyone talks to their neighbor in Los Angeles, much less write down what bus the Crystal Meth Punks got on when they got out of the house. I thank them profusely, and when they’re gone, go to the bathroom to check on the drawers.

And the Luckies are there. They’re there, in a box in a box at the back of one the bathroom drawers. Roomie Heckle’s ADD clouded his vision, and the Luckies are safe and sound, as they always were.

So now I just feel like a dumbass. A bratty dumbass. I don’t deserve to have anything, and yet I have everything, and I don’t deserve a speck of it. I am blessed but I am not worthy. It’s a little difficult to skip through life knowing you don’t deserve anything that you have. You want to enjoy these things, but you feel guilty for doing so. I wonder where the line is. Yes, you may enjoy this, but no, you may not take them for granted.

Oh trust me, I was talking to God the entire time about it. When I thought the Luckies were gone, when I discovered they were still there. “ThankyouGod,thankyou. ThankyouGod,thankyou.” Has become every third breath I take these days. Maybe it needs to be every second breath. Hmmmmm.

Enforced Secret Joy #52 – I’m not working today! I have stuff to do tonight, but I’m not working today, and I’m blogging with this as my view! That water’s damn cold, lemme tell ya! That’s Ginger Puppy! Waiting for me to stop typing and start petting her! I told ya she had eyes! ThankyouGod,thankyou. ThankyouGod,thankyou. ThankyouGod,thankyou

Monday, September 24, 2007

At least I'm honest when I say...

There will be no post today.

Maybe tomorrow if I can get my crap together

Meanwhile, let's enjoy the lovely weather!

(or something like that)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Moment Is Not My Moment

You all might be proud of me, I just got back from another retreat and managed not to cry! Or kill anyone! Or come back and slide into another puddle of paralyzing depression! Is this a sign!? Is this a SIGN FROM GOD!?

Ah, I think it’s more about the fact that the retreat was quite small, and God wasn’t the sole focus. It was the kickoff for the Act Two screenwriting class, (it was in Idyllwild, quaint little town in the mountains between Los Angeles and Palm Springs), there’s only eight of us students there, and I THINK the idea was for us to get to know each other before we’re separated into groups of four for the rest of the time. I’m a little unclear, because we didn’t do a lot of writing (well, I did, but it was late late at night), there weren’t a lot of talks, and we spent a majority of the time eating. Three meals a day. Blarf, blarf blarfy.

But there was one talk that got my hackles up was the one where Group Leader wanted us to go around the room and share “The one moment or timeframe in your life where Jesus became real for you.”

Ah hell. As we all know, I don’t have a moment or timeframe like that. I wonder if that means I fail. You know how some writers (or actors, or anyone who’s successful at what they’re doing) feel like sometimes the Person Who’s In Charge is gonna stomp in and unmask them, “You FRAUD! At last I have apprehended you! You have not escaped my notice, and I denounce you as talentless to the WORLD!” I feel like that at these retreats. No, I have not had my Special Shiny Jesus Moment, Ergo, I Must Not Be A Christian, Ergo, I Must Not Believe Enough, Ergo, I Must Not Be Doing Something Right, I Am Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

So round the circle we go, with everyone sharing their Special Shiny Jesus Moment, except for the one girl who says she doesn’t feel Jesus so much as she feels God, but she had a Special Shiny God Moment to contribute.

Gentle Reader, you understand by now that I’m not knocking these stories, right? You understand that I’m super green with envy, because they’ve encountered Jesus and/or God, and I’m still floundering in dark waters, right? The stories are nifty, compact, tied with ribbons of understanding. This is How I Met My Husband, This Is How I Became a Christian, This Is How I Was Crippled With Doubt And He Pulled Me Through, This Is How I Heard Him Calling Me To This New Career.

I don’t have a story. My story is still in progress, and I WISH I had a ribbon of understanding to tie the whole thing up with because right now it looks like a half-baked mess. And I know, I know, we’re still baking the thing, but you know what? We’ve been baking for years and years. I might be overdone and crusted over at this point, can we pull me out of the oven please? I’m not saying God hasn’t been there for me, because He has. But surely, there’s going to be a bigger, much more important story I can tell than God Gave Me A Job, or God Sent Me People To Fix My Car.

(A funny sidenote. Wella, the savior who fixed my car, is in the room, and when he goes back to his cabin, Stella asked him how the talk went and he reportedly said, “Amy did NOT like that talk.”)

I even start to feel the tiny prick of tears behind my eyes. Oh no. You are NOT going to start crying to a small group of people because you don’t have a moment where God and/or Jesus was real for you. No you don’t, no you don’t. I’m over this whole Crying Over The Absence of God business anyway. Grow up. You don’t have to have a Special Shiny Jesus Moment to be a writer, and that’s what you’re here for. So suck it up, punk. Be yourself, be honest, and THINK OF SOMETHING TO SAY RIGHT NOW!

So I do. I say I don’t have a moment. I say that’s why I started the blog (so if anyone who was in the room is now here reading the thing, HI! HI! HI! I’M SURE I’LL SAY SOMETHING OFFENSIVE IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS AND I’M APOLOGIZING FOR IT NOW!) that I’m still searching for connection, la la la.

And then I share a moment. But it’s not mine. It’s Kate Braestrup’s (and yes, I gave her full credit.) She’s got a story, it’s an awesome, poignant one. She was married to a police officer who was killed in the line of duty, and searching for meaning, she became ordained as a Unitarian-Universalist minister and was installed as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service. She accompanies officers on search and rescue missions in the woods and lakes all over the state, to minister to the ones awaiting word on their lost loved ones, to the people searching for them, and to the bodies they pull out.

She wrote a book, it’s called “Here If You Need Me,” and it’s about grief, love, and miracles. In one recollection, she’s sitting with a brother whose sister had committed suicide in the woods. The brother says that his sister had attended a church the week before where the pastor said that suicide was the one sin that God never ever forgave. What does Kate think? So this is what Kate says:

“Look around…the game wardens have been walking in the rain all day, walking through the woods in the freezing rain trying to find your sister. They would’ve walked all day tomorrow, walked in the cold rain for the rest of the week, searching for (her) so they could bring her home to you. And if there is one thing I am sure of – one thing that I am very, very sure of - it is that God is not less kind, less committed, or less merciful than a Maine game warden.”

That really hit hard for me, the idea that God would care that much, even if I’m not lost or dead in the Maine woods (I might be, metaphorically speaking, but let’s stay literal today.)

Then I said that God seems to be the most real to me when I hear other people talking about Him, and what He’s done in their lives. I did not mention the green envy pearls that usually follow, but but but He’s there for THEM! Why isn’t He here for ME!? Because that’s the bratty two year old inside of me. They’ll figure out that brat’s there soon enough. No need to unveil her quite yet.

Group Leader nodded, and we moved on with the rest of the weekend. We ate more food. We took an hour hike in the Idyllwild woods, in thirty second intervals so we could be alone in our literal walk with God. No, nobody got lost. And no, God didn’t talk to me, even though I invited Him to, and didn’t clog the airwaves with my usual litany of requests and prayers for myself and other people. I was silent, I walked, and nothing happened. But it’s okay. I’m used to it by now.

Enforced Secret Joy #51 – Housesitting for Basil and Ginger Puppy again! It’s the annual two and a half week gig, and all construction in the backyard is finished! Meaning the pool, the hottub, the cabana, they’re all MINE! This is the view from the cabana when I write. And that lump o’ fur is Ginger Puppy, waiting for me to put the computer down and pet her. As usual.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Will You Run With Me?

In sixth grade, I was the gangliest thing that you ever saw. All knobby knees and elbows. My eyes took up the top half of my face, I looked like one of those pictures of those sad bubble head kids you see in the dentist’s office. I didn’t weigh much, because I didn’t start eating real food until, oh, about eighth grade. It was all cereal, peanuts, grilled cheese sandwiches, Cheetos, and my mother banging her head on the stove, convinced everyone in town was talking about her malnutritioned daughter, and blaming my mother for it. (It wasn’t her fault. I was a very stubborn child.)

I was also running cross country in the sixth grade, and hating every single minute of it. We didn’t have an official cross country track team. It was more like there was a Cross Country Running Club, their course was out by the old abandoned airport, and it seemed like all the other athletic kids in sixth grade were doing it, so ever the sheep, I followed along.

While the other kids would grow up to seriously pursue cross country as a sport where their team would win state championships, they’d get scholarships to college, and battle anorexia, I knew instantly that cross country running was NOT for me. It was too far. It was a mile. A mile was too far for me. There are two types of people in this world – the ones that run outside, and the ones that stick with the ellipticals, because they can fool their body into going just as far as the Outside Runners, since they’re staying in one place. I am that fool. My body is that dumb (but with an amazing ass ☺ )

But in sixth grade, I had gotten myself into an impossible situation. I hated cross country, but to drop out would subject me to sixth grade scorn and ridicule about how I just wasn’t strong enough, to hack it. And damned if I was gonna let THAT happen.

So the last race of the year was a mile run competition, and I’m pretty sure it had a stupid name like Spring Fling or Fall Chase. They divided you up according to your grade, fired a starter pistol, and off you went. For a mile. And scattered among you would be the older high school runners. They didn’t get out too far in front of us, they stuck to the middle of the pack. They weren’t competing, their job was to be our Pacer Rabbit or something, there for Buck Up Little Camper words of encouragement.

So here I am, knobby knees and elbows, running as fast as I can simply so I can be done with it, because it’s the last race of the year, and next year when I hit seventh grade I am NOT running cross country, I’m gonna run regular track, where the distances are 100 meters, 200 meters, maybe even try hurdles, but never again a mile run.

I also happen to be in first place currently.

The girl who had won previous mile run competitions was a Miss All Around named Priscilla. She was pretty, popular, smart, and was unconscionably nice to everyone. This was also going to be her last mile run, as when she hit seventh grade, it was Cheerleader Country all the way to high school graduation. There was no question about it, she was a Bright Shining Star and everyone knew this to be her destiny, that she would continue to be pretty, popular, smart and unconscionably nice about it while she picked up nearly every single title one could have in high school: Class Representative, Beauty Court, Homecoming Queen, etc.

But right now she’s somewhere behind me on this mile course that I really don’t wanna be on.

I can’t remember where I had placed in previous runs, but it wasn’t anywhere close to top ten. I’m Amy The Writer, I just won a sixth grade poetry contest with my stunning entry that began “Time is a funny thing, it flies like birds, but without wings.”

I’m Amy The Writer, not Amy The Runner. And here I am, pounding the dust with my shabby Nikes, following the trail as it darts in and out of the woods with strange dips and turns, and everyone’s behind me, which had never happened before.

If I had started the race with a burst of YES! LET’S GET THIS OVER WITH! I’m now fueled by SHIT! I’M IN FRONT!

I can’t be this far in front and not stay there. It will be embarrassing to let up, even a little bit. It will hurt if Priscilla blows by me, never mind the fact that she’s supposed to, that everyone’s expecting her to. I’ve been running this race for three minutes now, and I’ve been in front the entire time. And while nobody knows that I’m only running this fast to put this whole cross country nonsense behind me once and for all, the fact that I’m in front when by all accounts I shouldn’t be, means I have to stay there, or risk ridicule from my peers about how in the world did I think I could really snatch away the victory from Priscilla that was supposed to be hers practically by birthright.

That’s when I notice a Pacer Rabbit coming up next to me. He’s a high schooler. He looks like he’s going too fast to be a Pacer Rabbit, he’s probably training for something else, like running a mile is an appetizer for him, his main course will be a 10 K tomorrow or something.

“You’re doing great!” says Possibly Pacer Rabbit as he lopes along. Two more seconds, and he’ll be ahead of me, and I can chase the back of his shirt for the rest of the course.

And while I’m huffing and puffing already, I manage to get these words out.

“Will you run with me?”

“Sure I will!” Definitely Pacer Rabbit replies cheerily, and slows his pace to match mine. And for the next three and a half minutes, he runs with me.

There’s not a lot of conversation. I remember as we came up upon the tricky last bend, the one that looked like it would only take 15 seconds to get around when it really took a minute and a half, he said, “I predict victory for you!” to which I wheezed, “Don’t jinx it.” He also said he was gonna let me run the last 100 yards on my own, which I remember wasn’t surprising, I think all Pacer Rabbits had to drop back at that last thoroughfare. I thanked him for running as far as he did, and he smiled and said no problem.

I’m thundering down the last 100 yards, and the crowds are cheering, and I sense Priscilla practically at my elbow, at the edge of my peripheral vision, and now I’m REALLY running, dear GOD help me, bring that f’ing finish line closer, get me out of this already.

Running so fast that everything blurs, and I can’t see anything, not until a race official grabs me around the waist to stop me, and hold me upright as I wheeze and wheeze and wheeze for breath, my cheeks, lungs, and heels of my feet on fire.

To this day, I don’t remember what Definitely Pacer Rabbit looked like. I don’t remember if he came up to me at the end of the finish line or not. But I remember that he was there.

It’s a comforting memory. And even if Definitely Pacer Rabbit really was honestly and truly a real high schooler, and not an angel like some sappy people would think he was, I don’t mind using the memory to illustrate how I think my walk with God/and/or/Jesus is like.

It’s not footprints in the sand, it’s not dewtracks in a luscious meadow. It’s me scared out of my mind, running for my life, pounding down the dust in a race that I didn’t want to be on in the first place. But I’ve got a Definitely Pacer Rabbit who slowed down to run with me when I asked him to.

That makes me feel better. It would make me feel better even if I hadn’t won.

But I did. ☺

Enforced Secret Joy #50 - The Gospel Brunch at House Of Blues. All You Can Eat Southern Buffet, bottomless glasses of Mimosas, and the Holy Rollingest Gospel Choir you're ever heard (lead singer looked like she belonged on a weddding cake in the middle of Mardi Gras, another singer had the longest red talons you've ever seen in your life and they stayed on the entire time.)
We were singin', praisin', wavin' our napkins around. There was joy in that place and I had a big stupid grin on my face. How can you not love a choir who belts out, "Aint no party like a Holy Ghost party!" I totally reccommend it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

This Is The New Year (No, Really.)

I was filling out an application for Act Two, a higher intensive screenwriting class and the next step after Act One, which I completed last year. Filling out Christian applications are always funny to me, because I can’t answer questions like “DESCRIBE YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY since completing Act One. What are specific spiritual challenges that you’ve faced, and how have you dealt with them? What challenges do you anticipate dealing with as your career unfolds? What is your strategy for dealing with these challenges?” with a straight face. Since most of the faculty at Act One knows me or has heard of me and my big fat mouth by now, I figured I could answer honestly, so I included the line, “…one of the things I’ve learned about how to deal with spiritual challenges (other than alcohol helps. Kidding!) is that you don’t walk away from them.”

But in addition to that Danger Will Robinson Line, I wrote this, “August 2006 to August of 2007 has been such a battle for me on all fronts: spiritually, professionally, personally.” And though there wasn’t much thought behind it as I was writing it, the truthfulness of that statement hits me like a ton of bricks now.

August 2006 – August 2007 blew. It just blew. There were little blips of happiness here and there, but the rug kept getting yanked out from under me, so much so, that even when I did have a happy moment, I was never sure I could trust it. People let me down. Past experiences didn’t lead to logical present conclusions. Writing goals were set, were met, and went no further even though they were supposed to. You follow the instructions on the bag of chocolate chips, and a stinky soufflĂ© came out of the oven instead of cookies. In other words, nothing made sense.

But now we’re out of August 2007, and I’m trying to convince myself that Amy’s Fiscal Year O’ Happiness starts now. Never mind what I said here, NOW we’re really gonna start living. NOW things are gonna knit themselves together into a lovely Afghan O Stability.

At that Act One closing reception where I tended bar and did my best to get everyone rip roaring drunk, the party shifted to a rooftop Jacuzzi of an apartment complex where one of the graduating students lived. I found myself in conversation with him as we sat on the edge of the Jacuzzi, dunking our feet (which seems so quaint in these days of 103 degree temperatures, even though it was maybe two weeks ago.) I recognized that Deer In The Headlights look of what the hell am I gonna do next that many Act One students sport towards the end of the session on his face, so I asked a few questions, got him talking, and he finally heaved a big sigh and said, “I just want things to be stable, so that I know what’s coming next.” And without thinking, I blurted out, “If it’s at all possible to make peace with the fact that instability will always be part of your experience here in Los Angeles, it will go better for you.”

Why is it I can say these things to other people, and they believe me (since he gave me a big hug at the end of the night), but I can’t convince my own damn self of it? Am I one of those bozos that can’t take my own advice? Should I split myself in two so I can sit myself down and have a good talking to? Now Amy, listen to me. I know better, I really do. No you don’t. You’re just me. Yes, but everyone else that you offer advice to, seems to think you know what you’re talking about, so just listen to me. Listen to the collective we, why don’t you.

The thing is, Amy, that timetables and deadlines are kinda meaningless in the grand scheme of things. If it makes you feel better to contain it with months of Augusts as your bookends, then okay, but I’m worried you’re gonna pull your hair out if September turns out to be just as sucky. Now it probably won’t be, because it’s hard to imagine a worse few months then what you just came out of, but you never know, and you’re paranoid enough to still believe in jinxes, even as you admit in the next breath that you believe God is sovereign.

Can you make peace with the fact that instability will always be a part of the process?

Can you accept that it will always be a struggle?

Can you believe that God is still watching you, over you, is sitting beside you as you type right now (and even He thinks your mattress needs to be replaced as soon as you can afford it.)

Can you understand that He cares, that He hears every word you tell Him, that He’s there watching every tear fall (and He’s also there with every half smile you sport when you see an impossibly cute dog.)

Can you agree that He has your absolute best interest at heart and He knows the road ahead even if you don’t?

Well theoretically, sure. I mean, what other answer can I give to loaded questions like that? “Um, nope. Nope, nope, I don’t believe a word of it.” I know me too well to believe in it fully. Other people don’t know how craptastic I can be, so sure they would believe if I told them all of that.

But personally, it’s an automatic knee jerk yes, even if I don’t fully BELIEVE believe it. Just say yes now, and understand it later.

My application was accepted, by the way. I get to embarrass myself to a new group of teachers and students. I can’t wait.

Enforced Secret Joy #49 – My Iron Man Marathon of seeing three Shakespeare plays in as many days, thanks to the Independent Shakespeare Company. While I didn’t get a picture of the pug puppy watching Richard II, I did get these shots of these guys watching Midsummer Night’s Dream (no dogs on Macbeth night. Wonder what that meant. Hmmmm.)