Monday, September 29, 2008

Invisible Knives In My Calves

Courtesy of the sub at my Saturday morning Step 2 class.

Man it's hard to walk.

I've had a lovely time reading michelle's blog. She went to New Orleans. I'm always a sucker for a New Orleans story.

I've been attempting to write a post about my conflicting thoughts on the concept of inerrancy of Scripture, and how I don't know if I agree with the statement "the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God", because I feel like I haven't been attacked by my fellow bretheren in awhile, ho ho ho.

But it requires a little more research on my part, so to attempt to meet my Monday post quota, here's my current theme song, sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me."

Jesus loves me, even though
I'm a bitch and yes I know
Try to be like Christ all day
it rarely works, but still I say

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
you all can go to hell.
(I'll see you there as well.)


Monday, September 22, 2008

The Weirdest Part Of The Day

Roomie Jekyll and I went to see the latest Troubadour Theatre Company. offering, “As U2 Like it” last week. If you’ve never seen the Troubies, they are awesome, they cross Shakespeare plays with popular music to create things like “The Comedy of Aerosmith.” or “Much A Doobie About Nothing” or my personal favorites, “A Midsummer Saturday Night Fever Dream” and “Romeo Hall and Juliet Oates.”

One of the mainstays of a Troubie show is that they will stop the show for any latecomers to sing their twist on Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” changing it to “You’re So Late” to spotlight the offending patrons. During this performance, they actually had to do it twice, for two separate groups, and at the end of the second time, the lead actor/artistic director shouted “Lock the doors!” and we all laughed.

And that’s what I felt like leading up to my second blood drive of the year for my church, which happened yesterday. Lock the doors! We were shooting for 33 signups, but partly due to the interview I did in front of the congregation with a lovely woman who needed three blood transfusions while giving birth, and partly due to me mentioning the Metrolink crash which wiped out local blood supplies, we ended up with 53 signups.

Lock the doors!

Red Cross was stoked at our signup rate, but couldn’t spare another Bloodmobile, so I was looking at 53 people, 1 Bloodmobile, 3 beds, 2 interview rooms, which all equals veeeeeeeeeery long waiting times. Last time, people waited up to 20 minutes before the Bloodmobile would take them on, and that was with 30 people. Nobody should have to wait to get stuck with a needle, folks. Nobody.

So I was trying not to panic. A fair percentage of people that signed up weren’t from the church, they found us online from the Red Cross site. So I send emails to everyone, explaining there might be waiting times, bring a book, I’ll buy doughnuts, we’ll have fun.

Stay with me, we’re sidestepping:

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:30am, because I’m a freak, and decided to walk Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy. They hate other dogs and there certainly wouldn’t be other dogs at that hour. So off we go in the dark (it gets light around 6am) to the Greek Theater. This is my prayer time with God, and we were talking about my hopes for the blood drive, and please order things so nobody has to wait too long, and everything else going in my life.

We reach the halfway point of the walk, turning back around to head home. On Vermont Blvd heading south past pretty big mansions and rolling lawns. Basil Diva Dog is lagging, because he’s getting on in years (I have my suspicions he might be going deaf too), and Ginger Puppy is trying my patience because she has to stop and sniff everything every few seconds. It’s grey light, not dark, not light, and for some reason, I turn around and look.

There’s a coyote pack behind us.

When we see coyotes on our early morning walks, it’s usually just one (whenever anybody sees a coyote in L.A. their first thought is always “what a strange looking dog”) and the coyote usually slinks away, tail between its legs.

This is a pack of three, maybe four. They’ve come down a lush green lawn, they’re pointed towards us.


As I spot them, they stop moving. I hurry the dogs along, hoping that the coyotes are headed somewhere else. I look back a second time, they’re following us.

Again, another sidestep:

One of the very few Southern things I will cop to in my life is that I did indeed grow up across the street from a cow pasture. (It’s subsequently been turned into million dollar homes.) I did occasionally play in the cowfield, there was a lone tree I liked to climb, we even flew kites there sometimes. And one of the things you learned very quickly about cows (besides the fact they’re really not attractive to look at) is that they would come towards you if you turned your back on them. I don’t think they would ever try to charge you, I don’t know what they had in their little cow mind Red light! Green light! But all you had to do was turn back towards them, maybe even advance a bit, and they’d scatter.

I don’t think a coyote pack is the same way, nor do I want to find out.

Meanwhile, Ginger Puppy has noticed them, and wants to charge, lunging in her harness. Oddly enough, she’s not barking, maybe she knows we shouldn’t be messing with them. Basil Diva Dog has not noticed, maybe his sniffer isn’t working either.

And the thoughts running through my brain are I cannot be attacked by a coyote pack today, I have a blood drive to run. I have no time to go to a hospital and get a rabies shot, I have a blood drive to run. I can’t even GET blood at the blood drive I have to run, we’re overbooked. This is not happening today.

So I turn around and shout “GET! GET! GET!” I have no stick to throw, both hands have leashes of housesitting dogs in them. I cannot throw a Ginger Puppy at them, that would be bad (and she weighs something like 40 pounds and hates being picked up.)

The shouting doesn’t make them scatter, but it does freeze them in their tracks. I continue to hurry the dogs along, look behind us, and they’re gone. And a steady stream of cars come up Vermont to the country club (there’s a golf course), so even if there HAD been a dust up, people would’ve stopped to help.

So after successfully getting the dogs home and vowing not to walk in the dark ever again, handling an overbooked Blood Drive seems like no problem at all.

Not even when the first person that meets the Bloodmobile is a heavy lidded drunk guy who wants to give blood “But I’ve been drinking, that’s not a problem, is it” who swears he’s a registered hematologist.

Not even when people have to start waiting at 10:30am.

Not even when more than a few people can’t wait any longer and head to church.

Not even when the Red Cross has provided me with an utterly humorless volunteer who has a very precise way of manning the check in desk. I swear, she lack the socialization gene. She’s more anti-social than me.

Not even when there’s a lull twice during the day, because the online people have not only heeded my warning about the waiting time, they’ve decided not to show up at all. So ultimately, we don’t have 53 people showing, we have something like 36 (I’m still waiting for final numbers from the Red Cross.)

Because the lull means that I can fill the gap with me and my blood. I march onto the bloodmobile into the interview room, they test my blood and BOO YAH! 13.5 in the hemoglobin machine o’ death! I BEAT you, hemoglobin machine o’ death!

The nurse seems to think my veins are too small, “Have you ever given blood before?!”


I say yes I have, I’ve been bounced at every step, low iron, tissue clot in the needle, bruises on the arm, but none of that is happening today, because I did not get attacked by a coyote pack and I am running a blood drive for reasons I’m still not entirely sure about so FIND A DAMN VEIN!

So she pokes and prods and eventually finds one she can deal with, and sticks the needle in. Since I’m the only one on the bloodmobile, the nurses are chatting away about which is the better Video Of All Time: “Thriller” or “November Rain.” The bag fills up, they take the needle out, and they tell me to lift my arm. Then Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” comes on the radio, and the charge nurse says, “Okay! Let’s all start headbanging now” So for two seconds, the nurses do (I’m so not making this up) and I thrash my arms since I’m laying down and can’t move my head, and the charge nurse says “No, not you, you’ve just donated” and the headbanging party comes to a halt.

Yeah, that was probably the weirdest part of my day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Very long mopey blog ahead (but hopefully will be the last mopey blog ever)

Warning: the following blog entry may be very goopy and self indulgent. I’m working through a moment here, people. With any luck, it’ll be the last time we all do this. And it’s very long.

I’m back at the housesitting house again, this time for a week while Ginger Puppy and Basil Diva Dog’s Daddies are off on their honeymoon. (Yay California, where daddies can do that.)

And since the ceremony was here at the housesitting house, both Ginger Puppy and Basil Diva Dog got baths for the occasion, so they smell pretty and no fleas anywhere, which makes them much nicer to deal with. Just look at the coquettish pose that Ginger Puppy strikes for the camera. You know she’s thinking, yeah, check it. I’m AWESOME, I am.

I know the blog entries have been on the mopey side, lately. I know this, I do. They can’t be fun to read.

So I decided to fix things my own way. Which currently involves tequila. It’s Patron, but it’s not Silver, it’s Patron Orange. They had ordered a bunch of Patron for the ceremony, but the guests are no dummies, and given the choice between Patron Silver and Patron Orange, everyone went for the Silver, so there’s a buttload of Patron Orange for me to swim my way through, except, well, what can you with Patron Orange? Everything’s so complicated to make with it, when all a girl wants is a simple margarita.

So I made one. A Patron Orange Margarita. It’s not the greatest. I wouldn’t make it for anyone else. But it’s doing its job. Which is to make me contemplatey, instead of mopey.

I think this will be the last time I talk about this. Not that it won’t still be an issue in my life, I will forever think that I’m God’s punching bag on this, but this will be the last time I talk about it here, in these blog entries.

Ever since things starting going right with every single other aspect of my life besides my heart, I haven’t really felt like I’m connecting to God. Yeah, it’s always been an issue, but I’d hate to think that I only feel near to Him when things are drop dead awful.

I think I came close in Blink And You’ll Miss It moments today. It was a long day at church for me. I got there super early because I’m orchestrating another Blood Drive, the second one this year for my church. I haven’t talked about it on the blog, because there weren’t any issues for me. I knew it wouldn’t be hard to get another one started, I knew it wouldn’t be hard to get people to sign up. Today during the service I interviewed a lovely member of our congregation about the time she needed three blood transfusions while giving birth, and I didn’t freak out that I was conducting a interview in front of 300 people. I just did it. Just like I knew I’d get sign ups. I’m already over 40 sign ups, when our goal was 33, and we’ve still got a week to go.

But because I was part of the service, I had to sit in the second row, close to the front. So no people to look at to split my focus. Just me, singing the songs when they came up. And we were singing one of my favorites, a really simple yet lovely one by Richard Swift, called “As I Go.” You can listen to it here

(The way the church band plays it is a lot more rockin’ though, a lot of drums and guitar.)

Somewhere, in the middle of this part, I think I felt a tiny spark of connection.

Everywhere I go,
Every page I turn,
I see your tender heart
I cannot earn your love
I cannot earn your love
You love me just the same

Halleju, I need to sing with all I have:
Halleju, I need to sing

If I falter, if I fade
You will hold me, still so close
And I need you, my good father,
To be with me, as I go.

As I go.

And once I get a tiny blip, I’m all on it like HEY! WHERE YA BEEN!? Which instantly chases it away, like, like, like a guy. Sigh.

My church did another one of their Relationship Series Talks, which I hung around after the service for. You could submit your questions anonymously and they tailored their talk around them.

And apparently, I do not have the problems the rest of the single people in this congregation have. Because all their questions were about how do I let this person know I like them? How do I know that the person I’m dating is the one I’m supposed to marry? What if I’m unequally yoked by dating a non-believer?

Nobody asked the question I’ve been waiting all my life to meet the one I thought You were preparing for me, but we’re hitting double digits on the waiting period, and I’m losing all hope that me meeting someone is in Your plan, but why do I have this ache that I think You put in me if You’re not planning on filling it? I don’t wanna be a missionary in Africa, by the way.

So I guess I’m the only one with that problem, then. Great.

I can’t say the talk was a complete loss, though. I came out of it with a clarity I hadn’t had before, that um, you’re not gonna meet your Future Husband in this church. I’m out of step with the majority of the congregation. It’s not bad, it doesn’t mean I have to look for a new church. It just means, I dunno, that I can stop looking at that one guy, and that other guy, and whatever.

Pastor Bernard did address the guys at one point to say (paraphrasing here), “You know, we think a lot of you guys are bozos because we see so many really great girls here that you all aren’t asking out.” To which every single girl, including myself, instantly thought, does he mean ME!?!?!

Nah, Pastor Bernard doesn’t mean me. He knows me pretty well, I’m too cranky, too cynical, too cussy, I don’t go on mission trips to Kenya, I take up less showy causes like blood drives, I’m too much of a loner, and I’m probably too old to be considered a viable romantic possibility at this church in general. Sigh.

So I took to the backyard tonight. I felt like there was something I needed to settle once and for all, and it felt like a dramatic backdrop was necessary.

Yay for me, it’s a full moon out tonight. So I turn off most of the outdoor lights, hop in the outdoor Jacuzzi, and let my eyes adjust to the moonlight.

So I hereby vow, to God, to all of you, that I’m not gonna talk about my heart in a romantic sense on this blog anymore. It’s self indulgent, mopey, and I suspect it causes my Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much, and my Dad, The Great Stoic Wonder, much agitation. I’m positive that for more than a few years, they suspected I was gay, when the sad truth was, no, no, just that nobody wanted to date me, not that I’m ugly, because I’m not, but because L.A. guys don’t know how to handle a woman that’s ambitious, talented, and disciplined enough to achieve all her career goals…

AHHHHHHHHH! See that? That right there? I’m stopping that.

I swear by God, and this moon. No, no, swear not by the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

I swear by God, represented by this really bright moon…

I swear by this strangely tasting Patron Orange margarita… (it's there, I promise you.)

I swear by this abstract bunny statue, which I’ve never quite figured out why it’s here…

I swear by this Ginger Puppy, never far away….

No no, I swear by THIS Ginger Puppy, as she has brought a squeaky naked bear as an offering…

I am not talking about my heart in a romantic sense on this blog again. Not saying I’m not talking to God about it, though I imagine He’s sick of hearing about it. But the rest of you don’t need to know about it.

I need to move on, is my very long winded way of saying. If I make this vow now, I’ll be forced to talk about other things on this blog and maybe I’ll discover something else that can monopolize my head space.

I’m in the Jacuzzi, the moon as my light, the Orange margarita as my drink, Ginger Puppy as my nearby companion (Basil Diva Dog is off sleeping in the cabana), and I’ve got my Ipod on. I’m singing songs in the backyard, up to the moon, there’s gotta be something that can really finalize this moment.

There’s Brand New’s “Jesus Christ”

Do you believe you're missing out
That everything good is happening somewhere else?
But with nobody in your bed
The night's hard to get through

And I will die all alone
And when I arrive I won't know anyone

Well, Jesus Christ, I'm alone again
So what did you do those three days you were dead?
Cause this problem's gonna last more than the weekend.

There’s Modest Mouse’s “Spitting Venom”

Cheer up baby
It wasn’t always quite so bad
For every venom then that came out
The antidote was had.

I sang that one for awhile, actually.

But then my Ipod flipped out a song I hadn’t heard in forever, a tiny little band nobody has ever heard of, called Common Children, and their song “Redemption.”

I had first heard them on some Itunes radio station, and in true Amy fashion, as soon as I figured out who they were, they promptly broke up. I got their album The Inbetween Time, on mail order for five bucks.

Here’s a link where you can hear the song (I hope they don’t yank it since I’ve linked to it.)

I hope you listen
To the songs the wounded sing
The sound of redemption
In this broken offering

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

And somewhere in the middle of THAT song, I feel the tiniest of Connection Blips.

This is me. I’m singing this song, in a Jacuzzi that’s not mine, in a backyard that’s not mine, drinking alcohol that’s not mine, watching dogs that aren’t mine, under a full moon that belong to God. It’s a great life, if you happen to overlook the fact that there’s a hole in my chest where my heart should be, and I’d give everything up in a second for it to be filled.

I’m wounded. I’m broken. I’m singing this song up to You, God, my broken offering to You. And then I can hopefully, please, GOD, I can hopefully move on.

I will have Charley horses tonight, I can feel it already. I’ve been drinking water for two hours now, but it won’t make a difference. These dogs are not getting their 5am walk. I hope they’re okay with that.

Someday, I will write a script where the guy write a love letter to the object of his affection and he’ll say “I would rub out any Charley horses in your calves that wake you up in the middle of the night.”

Cause that would be awfully romantic to me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You Keep Asking For It, But You're Never Getting It

So here’s Hazel the toddler. I guess we can’t really call her Baby Hazel. When they start walking, they’re not really babies anymore.

Hazel Toddler is now about a year and a half, that age where everything is super groovy cool, and if you fall down you don’t cry about it, because it wasn’t that far to fall anyway. But it’s about another six months before she formally enters the Terrible Twos, and then I shall be avoiding her house and backyard for awhile.

Things have settled down somewhat after a number of weeks, and I’m finally getting to breathe somewhat.

I guess I’ve progressed in my spiritual journey to the point where it’s not that I don’t think God’s listening, because I know He is. And it’s not that I don’t think He can’t handle my requests, because He’s God, and He’s the world’s original multi-tasker.

It’s just that I think He doesn’t want to. What’s the thing that the guy says in the Gospels? C’mon, I just finished those suckers two weeks ago. Ah hell, let me go look it up. ARGH! I know it’s in there somewhere. It’s a beggar, a leper, a cripple, or otherwise disenfranchised person…HA!

It’s the leper. Or, a leper. (I think there’s more than one hobbling around the Gospels) He’s in Matthew 8: 2 – 4; Mark 1: 40-44, and Luke 5,:12 – 13. NIV has him kneeling before Jesus and saying “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." But The Message translates it as “"Master, if you want to, you can heal my body." Jesus says “I am willing” (“I want to”) and heals him.

“If you want to.” Acknowledging that Jesus knows the situation and has the power to, and He has the power to, because He’s the son of God.

God knows my situation, the dark corners in my head, the aches in my soul, the frustrations in my life that are meaningless, sure, of course, but don’t go away. God can absolutely do something about it, if He wanted to.

He just doesn’t want to. That’s what it feels like. He doesn’t wanna help. I’m not looking to anyone else to help me, just Him. Might as well go to the Guy who knows how everything’s gonna turn out.

But He just doesn’t want to. And He won’t tell me why. And He’s not providing other options, other avenues, other roads to go down. So I feel like I’m stuck, and I can’t get out.

There’s another quote from C.S. Lewis’s Grief Observed that’s stuck with me. I recognize that quoting C.S. Lewis makes me sound like a smarty pants, but I’m not. Grief Observed is only, like, 80 pages long. Everyone can read it and remember some part of it.

And it’s the same section where I last quoted him, the special sort of “no answer.” Before that, he’s asking God if he can meet his dead wife again “only if I learn to love you so much that I don’t care whether I meet her or not? Consider, Lord, how it looks to us. What would anyone think of me if I said to the boys, “No toffee now. But when you’ve grown up and don’t really want toffee you shall have as much of it as you choose.”

That’s what I feel like right now. That I’m supposed to ignore these ever present aches, love God with all my heart, and God will finally fill the ache when I don’t care about it anymore.

It’s an ACHE. It f’ing HURTS, okay? Not so easy to ignore. Not for years and years.

Whatever. God’s not gonna stop the ache, and He’s not gonna tell me why, and I’m supposed to grow up already and find joy in running missions in Africa, or helping nonprofits on Skid Row, or other noble efforts, and stop looking for My Future Husband Because You’re Not Getting One, So Knock It Off.

These past few weeks, in addition to wanting to pound a train spike through certain people’s heads, I feel like my life appears to be continually giving of myself, my time, my knowledge, my efforts, to help other people.

“I live to serve.” That’s what I used to snarkily say to my Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Still Love Very Very Much whenever she wanted me to do something. She had a knack for continually picking the wrong time to ask me to do things for her. I harbored theories that she couldn’t stand to see me watching T.V. when she was struggling to write her master’s thesis in City Planning, and so Amy, go clean the bathroom. It doesn’t help me write, but I’m so annoyed that I’m doing something and seeing you do nothing, that I demand you do something other than nothing RIGHT NOW.

So I live to serve. Rolling my eyes the entire way. Then and now.

Here’s the deal. I’m down with the whole loving your neighbor as yourself thing. I treat people exactly how I want to be treated.

The problem is that I want to be treated GREAT. So I treat others great, and I take their problems on as my own. You need temp agencies? You need a mechanic? You need a script read? You need someone to do last year's quarterly reports? You need a job? Okay! Let’s see what I can do, because I know I’d want other people to help me when I have problems.

So it leaves me exhausted and resentful, and the best part is, I DO have problems, but nobody else can solve them except for God. Awesome awesome irony.

Amy, you’re such an f’ing brat. Your car broke down last year, Wella fixed it. Mella lent you his car to drive. There. People help you. Stop being an ungrateful brat already and go clean the bathroom.

Right, right.

JOY! There’s JOY in them missions in Africa! JOY, I tell ya! More JOY than you can shake a stick at! Give up all your dreams and hop to it right NOW if you wanna jump on the JOY TRAIN!

Right, right.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I'm working on it

I have a super cute picture of Hazel the toddler I took yesterday that I'm trying to find an appropriate post to write around. Stay tuned.