Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘fun’

I Was Wrong. You Can’t Karate Chop People Just Because You’re Mad.

I had a pretty intensely fun, long weekend.  Why can’t fun drag on like boring stuff does? Fun just ends way too quickly.  I’m really against that.

Another thing I’m against is getting in fights with your friends on Facebook.  I know I’m against it, because I’ve done it.  That is NOT fun.  Facebook fights drag on for.ev.er.

You might find this hard to believe, but I’m not much of a fighter.  This weekend I had to turn my head away when my sisters told the waitress their fish was bad.   I don’t like conflict.

It’s  just that I am SO mad.  I’m so mad about the war on women.  I’m so mad that women and young girls are being held captive by evil terrorists.  I’m so mad that men are trying to force their will on women, controlling what they do and what they wear.  I’m so mad that these men are committing violence against these women.  I want to help.

I told my Facebook friends that I saw a woman in the store wearing a burqa that covered everything, even her eyes.  Her husband walked slightly ahead, wearing street clothes.  I told my  Facebook friends that I wanted to deliver a karate chop to this man.  Some of my Facebook friends were not on board with this.

Here is what I learned.  Some women choose to wear the burqas that cover their entire face, even their eyes.  I didn’t know that; that certainly changes things.  This fact surprised me.  I have a hard time comprehending why a woman would make this choice.  I thought that out of solidarity, any woman would refuse. Turns out I have very little influence here, which is surprising.

The other part of my plan that seemed a little shady to some friends (other than assaulting an innocent man),  was the part where I tried to cure violence with violence.  I think someone had some silly logic like, we keep trying that.  It isn’t working.

Where does that leave me? I guess not even one teensy weensy little karate chop will help.  I’ve been practicing too. So, that’s disappointing.

I did get some ideas from my friends on how to help victimized women locally.  That was a good thing. Sadly, it appears as if there is not one practical way I can physically help the women and girls in captivity who I read about last week.  Except pray.  We can always pray.

I asked my family if we could pray for these women before our costume party.  Here’s what that looked like:

praying

“Hello Reggie, ever heard of closing your eyes when you pray?” I told you he wasn’t a Christian.

I think praying women everywhere should keep praying. Our sisters need us.  Oppression sucks.

It’s hard to do normal life after reading about real girls who want to kill themselves to escape their torturers.  But, that’s what you have to do.    It seems like the whole world should be rushing to these girls’ aid.  But, I guess we can’t.  I’m not sure why, but it just isn’t done.

I have been told that there are any number of horrific things happening to people all over the world at any given moment.  What would happen to society  if we just dropped everything and helped all these people?  Probably nothing good, other than they’d all be helped. I mean, where’s the benefit?

All this human suffering is making me bitter.

I did carry on this past weekend.  I put the sadness away, and had some fun.

I hosted a bridal shower at my house for my nephew and his lovely new bride.  She’s such a sweet young woman, and she also has great ideas.  She asked us to wear costumes.  I’m going to recommend this to other new brides.

You know that feeling you get when you’re going to a party, and one person is the common denominator, while the rest of the guests are strangers to one another?   There is usually this awkward tension in the air.  That tension does not exist when people are dressed like cat burglars and Minnie Mouse.

niece costumes

I haven’t hosted anything at my house in a while.  I like having people over, but it feels like I’m in an era of life where finding time to host parties is extra hard. I’m in an era where finding time to get milk feels like a victory.  Party hosting seems unattainable.

I used to host parties a lot.  I liked it, and was getting sort of good at it.  I have lots of fancy dishes and decorations left over from those days.

For this party, I looked at a beautiful silver, rectangular bowl I have and tried to remember the pretty way I used to display it.  Now the bowl just sits empty on my buffet.  I take that back.  There was one, yellow air-soft bullet at the bottom of the bowl from a fight the boys must have had.  I’m not gonna say that bullet wasn’t pretty.  I just thought it needed something else.

I did my best.   I fluffed and polished.  I threw some cute pumpkins in that silver bowl. When I was finished everything looked medium to okay.  It didn’t really matter anyway, because I knew my sisters were about to descend upon my house. Once that happens, I can go play checkers.  I’m the baby, and lucky for me old habits die hard.

Those women were like a party producing tornado.   I know just the tricks to get out of work with these ladies too.

Me: I forgot I have to do the potatoes.”

Older sister:  Oh, I’ll do it.

Me: Shoot.  I meant to vacuum the front room before everyone got here.

Another Older Sister: Oh, I can.  Where do you want the vacuum when I’m done?

Me: I wish I would have remembered to get ice.

Another Older Sister: I can run and get it.  I’ll be right back.

Me:  My shoulders are really tight.  I was hoping to get a massage before this thing.

Older sisters:

So, maybe they’re not ALWAYS there for me. It’s okay.  I still think they’re pretty great.

sister halloween

Cotton Candy and the Kardashians

I get so mad when my life doesn’t know I’m a blogger.  It’s all crazy and busy, and I’m like, “Excuse me?  I’m a little bit of what you call a blogging genius over here.  Could we make some room for that?  I mean, someone has to save humanity through blogging.  It may as well be me.”

My life doesn’t listen.  It just stays all high speed and wild; never giving me a chance to think.   I crave time to think. I miss it when it’s gone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about humanity lately.  What a complicated, beautiful heap a crazy that is.  I just read one of my new favorite books that made me think about humanity even more.  Have you read, “Hiding Place”?  This book is a biography about Corrie Ten Boom.

Apparently, I am the last Christian on Earth to read this book.  The story is freaking me out.  Whenever I mention it to a Christian friend, they’re all, “Oh, I know.  I read that book 8 years ago.”  Show offs.

Corrie Ten Boom is just this wonderful, amazing, incredible embodiment of strength.  I can’t believe someone like her existed.  It seems impossible.

ten-Boom_Corrie

Corrie Ten Boom was Dutch.  She came from a loving, Christian family.  During World War II, Corrie and her family helped with the Dutch underground network.  They  assisted Jewish people with avoiding concentration camps and death, actually.

Corrie had a secret room built in her own bedroom.  When the Gestapo finally discovered Corrie and her family’s illegal activities, they stormed Corrie’s home. Corrie’s Jewish friends snuck into the secret room, and survived the raid.  Corrie and her family saved their lives.

Corrie and her family were sent to prison, and then Ravensbruck, a concentration camp.  Corrie was in her 50’s when she went to prison. Things got ugly.

This is a beautiful story.  I cannot explain how much Corrie and her family members moved me to want to be better at being human.  I cannot explain how much their faith in Christ renewed fervor in me for things unseen.  If you’re sort of anti-Christian, because Christians act all know-it-ally and holier-than-thou-ee, you’ll like Corrie Ten Boom and her family. They aren’t like that.

Have you read “To Kill a Mockingbird”?  That’s another favorite of mine.  Atticus is the only other character in my history as a reader that has moved me in the way Corrie Ten Boom has.  Too bad Atticus was fictional.  I think Atticus and Corrie Ten Boom should have gotten married.  They’d make extraordinary humans together.  How is that relevant here?  I don’t know why you want to talk about stuff that can’t even happen.  It just seems silly.

Atticus and Corrie Ten boom touched my soul because they both have a super human quality.  Humility.  They have unnatural ability to suffer humiliation with dignity.  In Corrie’s case , she claims her strength is not her own.  In fact, more than once when she’s at the end of what she can bear,  She admits it to us and to herself.  She tells God that she’s just out of strength; If he means for her to keep going, He must sustain her.

Right there.  That is the part when Corrie is revived.  Her strength is renewed. It’s almost like God wants her to get to the end of herself, to see His power to carry her is real.  Not a fairy tale.

Here’s what else I love, love, love about Corrie Ten Boom.  She does not judge.  She’s filled to overflowing with love for humanity. She works feverishly to meet the needs of those around her.  At one point she described celebrating Christmas and Hannakah with her Jewish friends. She spoke with respect of her Jewish friends.  She did not cast herself in a superior light.  It sounded beautiful.

Corrie figured her whole purpose on this Earth was to show Christ’s love.  She talked about it all the time.  But, more importantly, she showed it.  She didn’t try to convince people.  She didn’t engage in debates. I love Corrie.  Did I mention that?

I want to be like Corrie.  I want to know why I am here.  I want to remember that I have been called by Christ to love.   I want to make loving people my mission: Christian people, Jewish people, gay people, heterosexual people, Morman people, atheist people, all people.   That’s the point.

These are the kinds of thoughts I’ve been having.  They’re big thoughts. I was pondering Corrie’s dependence on Christ when I became distracted by Kim Kardashian.  It’s true. Sometimes that’s on at our house.  Olivia discovered this show on Netflix.

Do you know what happens when you are contemplating the love of Christ and saints like Corrie Ten Boom, and you’re yanked from your thoughts with angry voices arguing over a prada purse?  Or you catch sight of a 13-year-old girl showing her sister how to use a stripper pole?  It’s harsh.

It’s like being snuggled up in a warm quilt on a cold day, and having the quilt stripped away and ice water poured on you.  Or, it’s like eating a deliciously sweet apple and biting into a worm.  It’s alarming and abrupt.

I’ve been reading better books lately; books about inspiring people.  I’ve been trying to meditate on more scripture too.  I guess I’ve been doing a little too much of that, because I’m now officially unable to tolerate the Kardashians, or real housewives, or any other screaming, materialistic, self-serving reality TV personalities.

See how far I’ve carried my Corrie Ten Boom lessons?  In my world,  you love everyone expect for the people on reality TV.

I should probably tell Olivia that she isn’t allowed to watch the Kardashians.  But, I’m not going to do that. Not yet.  I think the Kardashians and folks like them are causing us to crave entertainment that is as good for the soul as Cotton Candy is for our body.  Cotton Candy is sweet on impact, but offers no nutrients to sustain us. We eat it because it tastes so good and harmless. But, a diet of cotton candy will make us sick and lethargic. And let’s face it, cotton candy is gonna slowly crowd our organs and skeleton with globs of fat.  Which is really bad, mostly because all those globs of fat will make our butts look big.  Sometimes I just get all caught up in this complicated theology.  It’s hard for the common person to even understand me.

Let me say it this way: Cotton candy offers us nothing but taste. That’s it.  That’s all you get out of it.  Oh, and a big butt.  If you want that, you should eat it.

If you like the Kardashians, I hope you don’t think I’m judging you.  Hah!  I have some ladies over in New Jersey and Orange County who I want to eat cotton candy with all the time.  I have SUCH a hard time saying no to those gals.

I’ve explained my position to Olivia.  Because, I’m Corrie Ten Boom’s protoge, remember?.  Corrie Ten Boom doesn’t judge.  She doesn’t tell other people how to live.  She just follows the path God lays before her, and loves everyone along the way.  Christ’s love through Corrie draws people towards her.  Towards Him.  He changes people through her.  It’s beyond her control. Corries friends are on their own paths. She’s not in charge of changing their direction.

I’ll keep loving Olivia, and eventually she’ll leave the Kardashians, because God is calling her there.  Yes, I’ll have loved her into it, because that’s what I learned from Corrie Ten Boom.  That, or I go bat crap crazy when I hear those Kardashian girls fighting over another dress.  Then, I’ll smash the TV in the driveway.

I’m not very good at this, Corrie.  I think I need to read the book again.

corrie ten boom quote

Scott’s Favorite Holiday

NCAA Wrestling: Division 1 Championship

This past weekend was Scott’s favorite Holiday: NCAA Wrestling Championships. When the tournament has been as close as Iowa or Missouri, Scott will take our boys out of school and they go in person. I just know those trips are going to be at the top of our boys’ lists of best childhood memories. I still don’t know exactly why.

Scott is in charge of those trips. I’m not involved. It’s a good way for me to see how things would be run in our family in my absence. Not the way I’d like them to. Let’s get that straight.

Nary a hotel reservation is made, nor a single preemptive thought is given to what will be eaten or worn on these trips. I used to let this lack of preparation worry me, but now I have been forced to admit that sometimes you don’t have to be one bit prepared to have the time of your life.

Scott started going to the NCAA Wrestling Championships with his brothers many years ago, before we had kids. He and his two brothers(and sister) have always been in agreement on a lot of things. One of the things they agree on is that there is rarely a good reason to part with money. Wasting money on a bed, blankets and pillows seemed especially frivolous to those brothers.

The brothers would attend the tournament in Iowa City and just knock on the door of some people they vaguely knew when it was time to catch a few hours sleep. Those stories horrified me.

Scott was telling our kids the other night about the time his brothers and three other guys went to the tournament together. When they decided it was time to get some sleep one of the guys they were with said his friend “Sheila” said they could crash at her place.

They went to the apartment building and knocked on her door. They knocked and knocked. Then they started getting a little annoyed. I mean, she DID offer. Finally, a strange guy, who had obviously been sleeping, came to the door. Oops. Wrong apartment.

They eventually found the right apartment. They knocked again. Another strange guy came to the door. “Sheila’s” friend in the group said to the guy, “Sheila said we could stay here tonight.”

The guy’s like, “Whatever,” and let them in.

The six guys walked in and laid down on the carpeting (which you know for a FACT “Sheila”, the girl who lets large groups of strangers sleep at her house, keeps meticulously clean). They slept until it was time to go watch wrestling again.

I told Scott it’s funny how one person’s nightmare can be what another person considers a good time.

I’d like to post some pictures of these epic trips. Because Scott definitely always remembered a camera. He took a lot of pictures, and developed the pictures right away. The pictures he took look magical they way he displayed them in his scrapbooks. That’s not true. But, you knew that.

Scott’s to do list before these trips did not include remembering the camera. His to do list included one item: watch wrestling. The rest of the details he figured out as he went along.

Now my boys have similar fun NCAA Wrestling Tournament stories to tell. They talk about how hard they laughed, how awesome the wrestling was, and how great it was of their dad to splurge and buy them a piece of gum. To share.

They’re old enough now to be able to tease their dad for his funny ways; I sense that they are also being groomed. I would guess they’re quite likely some day to submit their own children to the same atrocities of cheapness come NCAA tournament time.

This year, the tournament was too far away for Scott and the boys to attend. Instead they hosted an NCAA Wrestling party at our house. Scott said he wanted it to be like the Super Bowl party he had this year. He called me one day in January and said, “I want to have a Super Bowl Party.”

That probably sounds like a normal comment to you. It made me stop what I was doing. I’ve known Scott a really long time. I’ve never heard him suggest having a party. Ever.

I asked, “What did you say? Did you just say you want to have a party? That is awesome. Who are we inviting?”

“Zeke,” he answered.

That’s for real. That conversation happened.

“Zeke? Zeke is the only person on your guest list?” I asked. “What about Eddie? Doesn’t he get to come?”

“He can come. He just doesn’t sit still, and always gets bored after a while.”

So, Eddie’s out. Zeke’s in. And that is what Scott calls a party.

They had their party, and it got a little crazy. I won’t give away all their secrets, but let me just say some some gum was split and some soda was had.

NCAA Party

*Eddie, some wrestlers and a giant chocolate bunny crashed Scott’s party. More proof that the best fun isn’t always planned.

How I Like to Party

It occurred to me that I could write up a decent list of things I have learned about raising a chronically ill child. On the list would be this, “Don’t feel guilty that you don’t have a social life. Don’t feel guilty that you don’t want one.”

When your sick child is home, missing out on fun and not being a part of typical rights of passage, the thought of leaving him so you can hang out with other adults for the purpose of having a good time is appalling. Over the years I may have dabbled in some guilt over not having an impressive social life. Like when I go outside at night and realize I have forgotten what stars look like; I’m rarely out past dark. I don’t feel guilty for long. When I break it down in my head, I realize 100 times out of 100, most moms and dads will choose their suffering child over fun.

Let’s examine the silver lining here. If my life had taken a different path, it’s likely I would have put my husband through all sorts of social anxiety inducing parties and get togethers he would not have chosen on his own. We both like people a lot. I just happen to enjoy them in much larger doses. Instead, we live pretty quietly. Turns out I like this too.

Just a few times a year though I get a little antsy for something fun. Coincidentally, that urge usually hits me around my birthday. Two years ago, when I turned 40, I emailed Scott an invitation to send to some of our friends. It was an invitation to my Birthday Party. I thought it may be more socially acceptable to make it look like the invite came from him. You know, so maybe someone would think he planned the party.

It didn’t work. Our friends know Scott a little too well. I did have fun dramatizing my surprised and bewildered response to all the fuss everyone put in to the party I planned for myself. I still can’t believe they went to all that trouble. I just don’t know what got into them.

I got another goofy idea in my head this year for my 42nd Birthday. When I first conceived the idea to have fun, I knew I just wanted to laugh and be silly. The most fun thing I could think of was having a big dance party. Dancing to “Can’t Touch This” with my husband and friends sounds SO AWESOME!!!! I don’t want to brag, but I have mastered some pretty classic 80’s dance moves. It’s a shame I don’t have more opportunities to bust these out. And frankly, a real loss for those who don’t get to see them.

Can you believe that not very many people in their 40’s think that a dance party sounds fun? What’s wrong with them? I Googled, “40 something-year-old dance clubs”. I got nothing. I know. It’s crazy. That’s a million dollar idea right there. If you run with it, I expect to get a cut.

So, scratch the dance party. What else is fun? Scott and I have never claimed to be very sophisticated. I remember going on a trip with Scott to the Caribbean. It was a trip I earned. We were with hundreds of other couples who were with the same company. That’s the week that something became clear to me. After a week of hanging out with sophisticated couples who were sipping fancy umbrella drinks, lounging for hours by the pool and attending black tie only cocktail hours, I told Scott, “Can we just be honest about something? I think we both know that we’re just pretending to be adults.”

We spent our week in the Caribbean figuring out how to make the best use of the free continental breakfast (you can actually get two meals out of that deal), playing ping pong, tennis and racing each other in the pool. It was a slice of heaven.

I knew for my party, sitting around drinking cocktails could not be the main event. So I picked something almost as glamorous, mini golf. It was a competition. Because if it wasn’t, can you tell me what would be the point? We split up into teams. We played mini golf, shot hoops and played trivia at dinner for the final round. Scott and I were a team. We didn’t win, and that still hurts. I can’t talk about it right now. Just give me some time.

Here’s what a group of good sports looks like. I really need a new camera:

golf group

These guys were too good at this game. I’m not inviting them next time:

bball

We ended the evening at a restaurant. I was excited to eat out, because it happens infrequently. The waiter was a super nice young man. He was also funny, but maybe he didn’t mean to be? He spilled water all over our table, but didn’t come back to clean it up. Scott and two other people in our group ordered hamburgers. They looked so delicious on the menu. When they were delivered they resembled ashes on a bun. I noticed the woman in our group who ordered the burger immediately and nicely asked to have it returned and replaced with something that was edible. Scott and the other guy who ordered the burger must have silently decided to celebrate guy code. They didn’t return their burgers. They toughed it out. I think they thought it would be okay if they just drowned it in enough ketchup. That might have worked, except for some reason the ketchup tasted exactly like a strong glass of Merlot.

I really can’t recall a time that Scott has ever complained about his food in a restaurant. That’s usually my deal. But, that Merlot flavored ketchup really threw him. He hasn’t had a sip of alcohol in 20 years, that’s not the way he wanted to break his streak.

When we were leaving, the waiter handed Scott the black leather thing they give you with your receipt and change. He looked Scott in the eye and said, “Here you go. Here’s your change. It’s 26 dollars.” He said it slowly and clearly. It seemed unusual that he was making such a point of it, especially since there was only 21 dollars inside.

The waiter bid us good bye. He said, “Be careful folks. It’s really getting shi**y out there.” I was surprised. I like to keep my eye on the forecast. I thought the weather was supposed to be fine. When we went outside the weather was calm; just the way we left it. It made me wonder if we weren’t on a hidden camera show while we were eating.

That waiter was a nice kid. I’m not complaining. I actually should thank him, because sometimes I run out of things to blog about.

The night was a success. My fun cup is full now. I’m probably good for another 10 – 12 months. I did think about something when we were playing mini golf. I wondered if Scott and I will ever officially grow up. It feels like I’m always going to like playing more than doing grown up things like going to cocktail parties and talking about property taxes and riding lawn mowers. I didn’t see any elderly couples at the mini golf course though, so I’m not sure if this is done. Maybe I just have to get to a certain age before the “likes boring stuff” gene activates. I’ll let you know.

mini golf

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