September 28, 2005
Its Not About Me

I've been thinking about this post for a few weeks, trying to find a way to make it all tidy and coherent. Which requires serious effort these days. As a brilliant mind said once, "Forgive me, I don't have the time to be brief."

This morning I read something by Leni over at WorthDoing (see sidebar for link) and it prompted me to post this sooner rather than later.

I've often wondered about why sometimes bad things happen to good people, and reconciling it with "all things work together for the good of those that love God", and "rain falls on the just and unjust alike", and God answering prayers sometimes "yes" and sometimes "no".

Ultimately, I give up and accept that I will not ever know everything and I simply must believe that God has my best interests at heart and will act accordingly. And I do believe that. At a practically cellular level. That God loves me. "Why" can wait for later. Now it is enough that I know. Perhaps thats all I could take now. Anyway, its not like I don't have other things to think about.

However, sometimes a new thought enters my world that really gets my attention.

September 27, 2005
The Pat Conroy Cookbook

If you have not laughed and cried by the bottom of page 38 then there is something wrong with your soul.

Yes, I know its a cookbook. But, remember that its written by Pat Conroy.

I forced my husband to read part of it. He doesn't enjoy cooking, much less cookbooks, and even he laughed out loud! I called my mother and read her three pages. She went to go buy it right that minute. Well, actually, it took her about half an hour to get ready but she did start getting ready right that very minute which is half the battle with my mother, who is late for everything.

(I got mine at for $10, which includes shipping and handling)

September 25, 2005
Oh, I'm Fatigued. Definitely.

"Disasters May Be Causing 'Compassion Fatigue'" Thats one of the headlines at

I'm facinated by the assumption that America is overwhelmed by the tradgedy of Hurricane Katrina. Sure, people are feeling ill-effects emotionally from the disaster. It was a horrible horrible thing.

But, personally, what leaves me fatigued and in absolute despair is the RESPONSE to Katrina. And I'm not talking about the physical rescue efforts.

I've made the somewhat startling discovery that a significant percentage of my friends and family, people that I love and generally respect, are liberals. I mean REALLY socially liberal. In the same way that I mean I am REALLY socially conservative.

While we generally avoid intense political discussions, its natural that we talk about such a national disaster as Katrina. Sure, we talked about 9/11 but there was an obvious target of blame there. Terrorists. Its harder to "blame" Mother Nature, or assign no blame at all. Its human nature to want to assign blame to something that we can theoretically control. It makes us feel safer. And I understand the human desperation to feel safer.

Yet. In spite of the temptation, taking complete leave of your senses is NOT the answer. For concrete examples of what it is, exactly, thats pushed me to the edge of despair lets consider my interactions with three people that are close enough to me that they'd actually WANT to speak at my funeral (not that they're wishing me dead, btw).

(1) Immediately following Katrina, I had the following exchange with a friend. "Surely we can agree that the least the people in NewOrleans could have done was to get some bottled water" "It gets hot in NewOrleans, even if they had water they'd have drank their six day supply within the first few hours" Apparently, she thinks that people lack the self-control to ration water for more than a few hours. In other words, people need the state to do EVERYTHING for them. There is NO personal responsibility at all.

(2) I also had the following exchange with a diferent friend. "Someone ought to do something. Gloria can't be expected to sacrifice her lifestyle to take care of her mother. Its not right. You know, you ought to suggest that Gloria dump her mother on one of those really big religious churches. They look after old people." This in response to the news that Gloria was taking off two weeks (JUST TWO WEEKS) to look after and potentially relocate her elderly mother. Note to World: Neither Gloria nor her mother are remotely Christian! Apparently the "someone" who "ought to do something" is anyone but the individual.

(3) I had the following exchange with my mother, who until this moment had shown no signs of dementia. Ok, a few signs but all related to loving-Clinton/hating-Bush. "So. Mom. You're saying that Bush caused (insert specific action to complicated to go into here). You do realize that happened 36 years ago, right?" "Yes! No. I didn't say that. Its all his fault though. We shouldn't be in Iraq!" You know you've lost all hope of reasonable discussion when they accuse Bush of time-travel with the intent of thwarting liberals.

Sometimes, I feel like one of those people (elves?) defending the walls of that city at Helms Deep in LOTR:TwoTowers when big wave upon wave of bad guys rushed them, like a locust plague ... stretching as far as the eye could see ... completely beyond rational thought.

I'm fatigued with the effort of trying to show them reason, of pulling them back from the brink of insanity. Ultimately, I realize that I must embrace my own ideal of personal responsibility. I have to let them go their own way. They are grown-ups that would be determined competent to stand trial in a court of law. It is their choice to abandon reason in their quest to feel better, to feel safer.

Personally, I've always been the kind that prefers being safe (which involves taking some precautions) to feeling safe (which involves sticking my head in the sand).

September 21, 2005
Response To Paul's "Chopper Dream"

Check out "Let the Finder Beware" on my left sidebar. Paul has the most active imagination! But its nothing compared to the weird dreams created out of pregnancy-related hormones!

For example, a few days ago I watched LOTR:TwoTowers. For some reason, LOTR doesn't give me nightmares. Of course, I fast forward through the orc fight scenes.

Anyway, that night I dreamed that the whole thing took place on my grandparents farm. Their house was Isengard. My parents house was Gondor. The toolshed at the top of the hill was Mordor. The rising forces of darkness were ... a bunch of golden retrievers. They were determined to urinate in my grandparents house. As the dream progressed, they slowly darkened from gold to black, all the while trying (in the yard) to jump and lick you until you laughed and rubbed their tummies while their tails wagged frantically. I woke up before the final confrontation, which was postponed by doggie-treat-cookies.

My husband just shakes his head when I tell him stuff like this. Although last week when I told him something, which might have been "I'm just not a dramatic person", he laughed until he turned purple!

September 15, 2005
(Almost) Speechless

Even after well more than a decade, there are still moments when my husband surprises me.

Last week, we had an incredibly silly argument (in the grand scheme of things) Options A and B are different decorating options. Basically, I think its obvious that Option-A is great and Option-B is horrid. My husband thinks its clear that Option-A is horrid and Option-B is great.

Due to a misunderstanding, he incorporated the items for Option-B in the bid list. He really believed that I had agreed with him previously about Option-B. I really believed I had all but tattooed "NO NO NO" on my forehead.

Thus, the "intense discussion" and the shocking surprise!

We were -- ahem, discussing -- the situation. I shared all my objections to Option-B in free-thought-form, which might have sounded like a REALLY unhappy squirrel. My husband mostly tried to follow my stream of thought.

When I run out of breath, he interposed "but Option-B is pretty". Aieeee! Off we went again.

After about a half-hour of this (and yes, I can EASILY monologue free-form for that long) I must have said something that got his attention. He interupted to tell me "Now, THAT strategy is not going to work. It'll just make me mad."

I was stunned almost speechless on multiple levels. Think about it.

(1) We were in the middle of an argument and he was giving me advice on how to win. Against him!

(2) He thought I had a strategy! LOL. That still makes me laugh. Want to know my strategy when arguing with him? (A) Don't hyperventilate -- it'll raise my bloodpressure (B) Don't cry -- it'll make my eyes and head hurt, not to mention looking like a splotchy beet (C) Don't shriek -- it hurts my throat. Yep. Thats the strategy of a evil-genius-mastermind!

Random Weird Thoughts That Crossed My Mind Today

(1) "Tipping Point" versus "Cocktail Effect". TP refers to the dose of anything at which it becomes toxic. CE refers to the toxic interaction of otherwise harmless ingredients. Both are important concepts when considering the use of additives and preservatives in the food supply. And buying organic milk doesn't make me a liberal-tree-hugging-hippie-cummunist that wears white socks in public with birkies.

(2) Its sad to realize that one of your very best and oldest friends is totally having a mental "episode". By that I mean that she's completely lost touch with reality. Literally insane. She'll be ok in a few days (or weeks). But it leaves you with the rather unsettled feeling of being unable to count on her. For anything. Emotionally or physically.

(3) If you buy a tempur-pedic mattress, invest in a good set of satin sheets. You'll need the "slide-ability" to change positions. The foam mattresses are really comfortable, but it takes several seconds for the foam to adjust to the new position which means you'll need to be able to slide out of the "trough" your old position made until the new indention is formed. Just a thought.

September 12, 2005
A Horse In A Field

We were driving along, which is often the time the boys want to talk. Last night, Ron (age 7) asked me out of the blue "If theres a horse in a field, can I use my markers to color it?"

Lucy: "What!?!"
Ron: "If there's a mumble-mumble-mumble my markers to color it?"

Lucy: "I don't understand you."
Ron: "Can I color a mumble-mumble with markers?"

Lucy: "I still don't understand."
Ron(who is not deterred by my obtuseness): "Imagine there's a horse in a field, you know, one of those things that is like a bubble protecting you in space. Now. Can I use a marker to color it?"

Lucy (who does NOT allow the boys to watch the SciFi channel): "FORCE FIELD! Ok. No, you can't use your marker to color it."

Ron: "Why not?"

Lucy: "Um. Well. Force fields aren't really solid substances. They're created with molucules that are vibrating and shaking at a very high rate of speed. The ink would simply shake off." (Yes, Lucy has been known to watch SciFi with her husband although she laughs at all the wrong times)

It turns out that Ron had been watching Cyberchase (a math-oriented age-appropriate program involving animated characters in cyber-space on PBS)

I'll spare you the detailed conversation from last week where he explained how to use the vector and initial impact to calculate where the volley-ball will land so he can anticipate where Emily is sending it and thus intercept it quicker! Apparently a little too much viewing of MagicSchoolBus (although in my defense he does watch it on the channel with no commercials).

It continually fascinates me how the boys apply new knowledge to their daily situations. It continually intrigues me that its entirely possible that he may be approaching the limits of my math-knowledge by the end of fifth grade. With very little pushing from me.

I'm not a real "pusher", but there's no need to make him reinvent the wheel either. Last week I realized he was intuitively trying to use algebra to solve his subtraction homework. You can't imagine his absolute JOY when I explained how to do the problem backwards, calculating the value of x by saying "x+3=5" instead of "5-3= __"

I think one of the problems that we've had with home-schooling is that I don't share enough of the day to day horror with my husband. He'd like to know whats going on, other than "yes, we did school". He may not be grasping that by the time the day is over I feel like I've been locked in a closet with with some liberal majoring in French literature. Not that there's anything wrong with French literature, or liberals, or closets.

Now that the boys are going to school, I'm sufficiently removed from the situation that I don't feel the need to trauma-block large chunks of reality. (LOL)

Since I live on the edge, I've decided to do a little specialized homeschooling each afternoon on the advanced subject of their interest. Which means that there'll be a quick review/reinforcement of their weak subject followed by as much "fun" as they want. What else can you do with boys that day-dream about how to color force-fields and speculate about how many english words mean "green"?

September 08, 2005
My Husband's Genes

Today Cassie walked through the house wearing a t-shirt and one pink floral sock while flapping a pair of wings.

I said something that recognized her presence, like "good little bird". She looked at me like I was ... under-intelligent.

Cassie: "I'm NOT a bird."

Lucy: "Ok. What are you?"

Cassie: "Woof. woof. I'm a flying dog."

Lucy: "Ok. Why do flying dog's wear only one sock?"

Cassie: "I like these socks, but I can only find one and you say I can't wear two socks that don't match so I decided to just wear the one I liked."

She is DEFINITELY her father's daughter! Like a great mind said once, "Its possible she's thinking inside the box, but her box is far far away from my box!"

September 06, 2005
How To Negotiate With A Pregnant Woman

Start off slowly. For example, "Are you REALLY sure you want white fixtures in the guest bath with the white-ish tile? Maybe another color. Maybe ANY other color. I really think another color would look better. How about blue? Or green? Or anything thats not white?"

At this point the seeds of doubt are planted. Admittedly, quickly rooted up by the pregnant woman determined to have white fixtures. Because the white-on-white tile will look lovely with white fixtures. But ... she senses you're starting to focus on "her" attractive guest-bath. This makes her nervous, and twitchy. She offers up the other smaller guest-bath with ivory tile. If white upsets you this much, she can live with ivory fixtures to match the ivory tile.

Thus, the wedge is in place. She's thinking that ivory isn't so bad. She's thinking that she wants you to be happy. She's thinking that at least "her" guest-bath is safe! All is well with the world. This is the time to mention that one of your fond memories from childhood is visiting your grandparents because they had the coolest bathrooms. The only house you knew with fantastically colored fixtures that matched the tiles.

She'll start to crack. Afterall, she does absolutely adore your grandfather (mostly because he's so very very much like you). Casually mention that the kids ocean-theme bath would look so great with the blue tub. Do this while sitting in front of the computer looking at the Kohler site. Make sure she has a comfy chair. Let her have some of your bowl of chocolate ice-cream. She'll be so content that she won't even wonder why you're eating a bowl of her favorite flavor instead of your favorite which is also in the freezer, at least until the next day when she's blogging it.

Suddenly, she sees the joy in a matching blue sink-toilet-tub set! Don't give up, you're in the home stretch! The seafoam green would look so great with the ivory travertine tile! Yes, YES! Let's change the ivory to GREEN! Oh, what a pretty pale sunshiney yellow. Where can we put it!?! Aieeeeeee! There's no place to put the yellow!

At this point you should step back, satisfied with astounding progress in moving a pregnant woman from Point A (Only white, and I mean it) to Point B (I WILL find a way to fit in that yellow)

For those of you that live on the edge, always pushing the envelope, prepare for the adrenaline rush of going for primary colors (aka "crayola" colors).

Hello, My Name Is Lucy And I'm ...

... the daughter of a raving lunatic. (Imagining gentle readers responding ... "Hi, Lucy")

If only there were some sort of twelve-step program for me, something that could help me cope with the fact that my mother is a Bush-hating-rapid-democratic-lunatic. Not the average-ish Democrat. No, that would be too socially-acceptable.

My mother is over the edge to the point that an otherwise totally coherent person can't even make a simple sentence, much less a followable argument.

Its not that I love "W". I just don't think he's the Fount Of All Evil.

So far, in my mother's mind, he's enjoyed killing our troops by sending them into battle with the variable motives of "avenging his father's reputation" or "it's all about the oil", encouraging illegal immigrants to take over her elementary school with the results being that he's either doing nothing to help them assimilate or that he's doing too much by offering a federally-funded pre-school program that teaches English to four year olds so they'll be less of a burden on the system in Kindergarten, and now Hurricane Katrina is his fault. Not to mention that she suspects he's cheated on his wife because thats just the kind of man he is!

I kid you not. Its embarassing, and confusing. Frankly, I worry about mental illness. Except that she seems to have only one trigger for the insanity. Maybe its her blood-pressure. Maybe some sort of delayed bizarre response to menopause.

I've told my husband that if I ever start behaving like this to just medicate me. Seriously.

(Well, ok, but I SWEAR that my aversion to Bill Clinton is totally rational. I feel the same revulsion for EVERYONE that cheats on their spouse. Really )