Friday, December 31, 2010

On Holiday

I have been on a blogging hiatus. Ever since my camera broke I have been feeling slightly uninspired. I like a fresh photo to accompany my posts. But tonight I read an article by a sharp-tongued little Snippit that reminded me that the world is a very big place, worthy of exploration, and I have absolutely no good reason to whine and fuss simply because I do not currently have a camera. Most folks in the world do not have a camera. So, appropriately humbled, I am back in.

Back to the Snippit. This woman recently returned from a two-year stint in Oaxaca, Mexico and is wrestling with rabid criticism of exploitative U.S. culture. Fair enough. But as I read the article I wondered, "When was the last time I was this vehement about something?" My mind wandered back to my college days and the first feminist studies course I took at the University of Washington. I returned home for Christmas full of spitfire and venom. I distinctly remember yelling at my Aunt and Uncle that year when it was suggested that women were created by God as lesser-beings. I am certain that I screamed the word penis at a family gathering. This is not a word one should yell surrounded by a large group of people.

My frustration came from a good and healthy place, but it found expression in a rather useless manner. Head down, I began shoveling a chasm fueled by fury that ten years later feels impossible to fill in. Instead I stand with my hands on my hips on the other side of the canyon, curious to know if my Aunt and Uncle still think about the year I yelled about penises.

Tonight I sit in the comfy guest room at my sister's house and relish the quiet. The wee one's have gone to bed and Aunt Carmen is off duty. I have many things to ponder these final hours of 2010. Wishing you goodness and delight as 2010 comes to a close and the New Year begins.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nativity Scenes

I am supposedly very busy this week. It is the last week of Advent, two days before Christmas, and I work in a church. Yesterday I glued the giant head of a wise man back onto his giant body. I helped decorate the sanctuary of the church while one member banged out Christmas tunes on the piano. A few of us croaked along, irony in every syllable, as we sang the song "Silent Night." This morning I had breakfast with a woman who had me rolling with laughter about the war over tiny baby Jesus in her home-- baby Jesus is the dog's new favorite toy and her mother chases the dog around the house shouting "Drop baby Jesus, Hank! Drop him!"

Aside the wonder and the awe of the Incarnation, I like this time of year because it is so dang hilarious. One church Christmas party that will live in infamy: picture two old ladies adorned in plaid taffeta trying to out-do one another as "hostess" for the evening. Party disintegrates into a screeching fight that ends when one woman says to the other, "Take the %#$*ing Yule Log! Just take it!"

I love church. Most of the time. Or at least a strong 60% of the time.

I have only been in one Christmas pageant in my life and I am dying to run one. I love the idea of troops of kids acting out the Christmas story, adorned in bathrobes and foil-laden gifts creatively interpreting gold, frankincense and myrrh. My grandmother used to read us grandchildren "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and it still has me in stitches every year.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas, whether you are a fierce believer in Jesus the Christ, a miffed Scrooge, a committed atheist or anything in between. Much love to you and grateful to be a fellow wayfarer on the journey!

"We shall awaken from our dullness and rise vigorously toward justice. If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion."

- Hildegard of Bingen

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fa la la la la la la la la

I am roasting a chicken for the first time in my life. I am wearing an apron to legitimize the act (If you ever see me in an apron you can be certain I am insecure about whatever I am doing in the kitchen). It snowed for the first time today and my room-mate had a lousy day, so I decided to go all out and cook a very merry, cheerful holiday dinner. The kitchen smells like rosemary or thyme -- some lovely green thing. My walk to and from Whole Foods was exhilarating. Tiny white flakes, slick side-walks, and the frigid air made me feel arctic and adventurous.

My camera is at the doctor's, so this is a stock photo. I am certain that my chicken looks better. Fingers crossed this darn thing will be delish.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

I regularly bring some work with me to the Starbucks at Chestnut Street and 19th, a few blocks from my house. They have particularly cheerful baristas and a loft with comfortable chairs and tables. The loft is often full of scads of well-dressed college students alongside homeless people who have found a warm reprieve and rest. I like this Starbucks because no one is ever asked to leave, whether or not they are paying customers. The weather took a sharp turn today and it is bitter cold outside. No snow yet, but the wind is piercing. There is a woman sitting across from me, a worn Bible in her lap, and she has wedged herself comfortably into the corner of a big chair, eyes closed, shoulders twitching in sleep. On occasion she paws around her lap for the bag of chips that sits precariously at her side. Breakfast of champions.

I stupidly (intentional adverb) used to refer to Starbucks as 'the man.' And while it is ridiculous that franchises are taking over the world, I have softened my verbage. When I was in the Doi Sutep Mountains in Thailand a few years ago, I drank coffee with villagers who sell their coffee to Starbucks, fair trade, and it seems that the whole enterprise is legit, improving the lives of the community. So, I toast my Americano to thee, O Starbucks. Thanks for providing some warmth and comfort for some folks.