Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Okay, how 'bout we take a couple of months off?

Is anyone besides me already tired of the presidential race?

I'm a political junkie, but the media is really about to send me over the edge. They oversimplify, and make broad assumptions. Many are doing their best to make race, religion, and gender the reasons for picking a candidate.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jane, not Janie

Often I'll start writing a post and set it aside, only to discover that a friend has beat me to the posting. Usually it's a current event or reaction to another blog post. I generally choose not to post my repetitive post and leave a lamenting "you beat me to it" comment on the other blog.

But this week it has happened with an un-timely, un-current topic. And since I already had my post on names mostly written on Wednesday morning, I'm going to go ahead and post it, even though Pastor Petersen posted about names already this week.

So here's my original post:

Last night I was talking to some friends about what we call certain people and why. It was an interesting conversation and it got me thinking about the relationships between what we call each other and how we perceive each other and the power that names have.

Growing up I was Janie. I hated the nickname almost as much as I hated my name. In a world of Lauras and Loris and Lisas and Amys and Julies and Kims and every variety of Kr/Chris(ti)(na)(ne) I was plain Jane. When I was going into eighth grade we moved and I decided to shed Janie. I was Jane. I still didn't like it, but at least it wasn't a little kid name.

Of course, it wasn't quite as easy for the people who had called me Janie for 14 years to embrace the new name. It took years before most of my aunts and uncles called me Jane. Sometimes they still slip. My mom caught on the most quickly, because she was likely to be in trouble with the teen-aged me if she didn't. My grandma still called me Janie until she died last year. She also had the most nicknames for me. Now, no one calls me Janie except for my mother-in-law, who didn't know me when I was, but picked it up from my husband.

We were raised to call adults not related to us Mr. & Mrs. Aunts and uncles are called Aunt and Uncle, even when they were only a few years older and we sat and nursed our babies together. My mom is Mom, after being Mommy when I was little. But for some reason, I'm Mama. I don't know how or why, but that's what my kids call me. My kids are taught to call adults by their last names, although from time to time there are adults who end up being on a first name basis. I'm never quite comfortable with this, even though it doesn't bother me when certain kids call me Jane.

Sometimes it isn't easy to know what to call someone. One of my friends is often in business situations with her mother and feels awkward calling her Mom, so she calls her by her first name. But she's been called to task for it, and wanted to know what we thought. I told her that I still call my mom Mom, even in business situations. That relationship trumps business relationships.

With blended families come new name challenges. My mom started dating Ron when I was a senior in high school. He told us to call him Ron. Twenty-five years later, when he has been married to my mother for over twenty years, is Grandpa to my kids, and has been a wonderful father to me, Ron doesn't seem sufficient. I can't call him Dad. There was someone who had that name. My brother calls him JR, his initials. I call him Wicked. He used to identify himself as my wicked step-father when he called, and it stuck. It is an ironic and completely affectionate name for one of my favorite people, but from the outside it probably sounds strange.

Nicknames can be affectionate or the opposite. When my brother calls me Sis 'O Mine or I call him Martian, it's affectionate, but we had less affectionate names for each other as kids. My kids are Beppy, Patchy, Jon-Jon, & Gussy. (Or as they've gotten older Bep, Patch, Jon and Gus.) D

Don't call them Beth, Pat, Jonny, or Andy. Especially not Andy.

By the way, I like my name now. I was named for my great-grandmother.
Jane is a good grown-up name.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Time to retrench

Okay, I had two phone calls and an email asking why I am supposed to keep my leg up. For those who know me well, it will come as no surprise to know that I sprained an ankle. This time I sprained my good one. (At least it's not my driving ankle!)

Unfortunately, I have needed my driving ankle during the past 24 hours to get to the emergency room and the regional burn center.

Patrick had a run in with some hot olive oil yesterday. He has about eight burns on his face and neck and one on his arm. A couple of the worst on his face are two-three inches long and an inch across. They are mostly second-degree burns and should heal well with good wound care.

Both of these things happened because we are doing too much and running around like crazy people. There's going to be some serious schedule slashing around here.

I keep hurting myself because I have a badly healed ankle after surgery nine years ago and because I just keep getting more and more out of shape as each succeeding injury slows me down more. I never take he time to heal properly or exercise to get back lost function. If I don't put some serious effort into taking care of myself I'm going to end up really hurting myself sometime.

So, to compliment our budgetary cutbacks, we are also going to take a chunk out of our time commitments.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oooh, my first album!

Found this over at Elephant's Child's place. Since I am supposed to be keeping my leg up I have some time to play. This looked like fun.

1. The first article title on this page is the name of your band.
2. The last four words of the last quotation on this page is the title of your album.
3. The third picture on this page, no matter what it is, will be your cover artwork.
4. Take the artwork, your titles, and use a photo-editing program to paste them together.

I'm still trying to figure out who my first band is, but I really like their name. The software I'm using is pretty annoying, so I'm not entirely happy with the look.

I think I'll have to try another:

Love the title on that one!

Okay, I switched editing software and liked this one better:

I think that I would have listened to this group in college.

This is fun. I think I'll make some more.
But I'll only share if they're spectacular.

Update: I think each one I do is cooler than the one before.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gonna soak up the sun

I'm not often given to spontaneous little dances, but yesterday I was.

I'm going to Florida. For six whole days. In February. By myself.

Well, its not entirely accurate to say "by myself." I'm flying alone, but when I get down there I'll be visiting my mom and my wonderful Wicked.*

I can't wait. I need the break.
It's not my family that has me needing a break. I need a break from all of the other demands on my time and energy. I'm finding myself increasingly mentally exhausted. And I'm not even accomplishing the things that I need to accomplish for my family.

So, what to do?

Run away to the beach for a week, of course.

*Wicked is my pet name for my sweet step-father. Step-father just is too cold. And that is part of another post.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Home Alone

I find myself in an unusual situation this morning. I'm at home by myself! I really can't tell you the last time this happened.

Usually I would be with the boys at church for Greek, but hubby has the day off today for MLK Day. Bethany's at work and DoRena's at chapel.

So what am I doing with this precious alone time?

Checking my email and reading blogs.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Been scrappin'

We've started scrapbooking at Redeemer a couple of Saturdays a month. It's been great because it is keeping me in touch with what I'm working on. Even if I only get five or six pages done at a time, it's still progress.

Scrapbooking with other people is good, too, because it's a great way to get ideas. Since we've been doing this, my pages have gotten more interesting.

And it's just plain fun.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More lazy blogging

This looked like a fun diversion. My friends RPW and Cheryl both answered these on their blogs, so I thought I'd try it, too.

If you want to play, consider yourself tagged

Two names you go by: Jane and Mama

Two things you are wearing right now: cream fisherman sweater that is a hand-me-down from my youngest brother-in-law and pink turtleneck

Two of your favorite things to do: read and hang around with people I like

Two things you want very badly: more time and more sleep

Two favorite pets you have had/have: Ben, Bethany's three year old cat and Shakes (short for Shakespeare) the cat that I had in high school

Two people you think will fill this out: Bethany. Other than that I don't know.

Two things you ate today: FiberWise Cinnamon Clusters Cereal and vanilla yogurt

Two people you last talked to today: my mother and Patrick

Two things you're doing tomorrow: going to the BMV and getting an external hard drive

Two longest car rides: Spring Grove, IL to Siesta Key, FL and Spring Grove to Hightstown, NJ

Two favorite holidays: Easter (with the Vigil!). Nothing else really competes.

Two favorite beverages: Alcoholic--a good top-shelf maragarita. Non-alcoholic: good dark coffee

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The speed of life

Sometimes the days fly by so quickly that it just amazes me. The past few days have been like that.

Yesterday the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood had their retreat at Redeemer. We were there most of the day doing one thing or another. The boys attended the chant workshop that they held, and then we got to enjoy their chanting at Vespers last night.

I've been spending way to much time lately thinking about money. First, we are engaging in a Total Money Makeover. I'm working hard to get all organized so that we can really start doing everything the right way in February. It's hard work! And I'm sure that staying on our budget will be even harder.

I'm also trying to get all of the year-end stuff done at church. I hate the software that we use. I know that it has its plusses, but I mostly run into the minuses. I'm sure it would help if I were a financial whiz, but I haven't even balanced my checkbook for years.

(And yes, that is going to change.)

Of course there's lots of fun happening. We are looking forward to the arrival in town of Susan and a couple of her kids. They are coming for the annual Theological Symposia at the Seminary.

Having an extra "daughter" in the house has added another level of liveliness.

And a lot of junk food.

I'm loving my iPod.

And my house is staying clean, mostly because when we're home I never sit down.

Life is good.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A new addicting game

I'm always picking up interesting new addictions from my friends.

This one is Julie's fault, because she linked to it on her blog. Why couldn't I pick up something useful like Julie's work ethic or her lovely voice?

By the way, if you have kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, godchildren, or any other little people in your life, you need to look at Julie's books while you're at her blog. They are really, really good.

Good works?

My very smart friend Susan has an excellent post on her blog today about how works righteousness differs from "good fruit."

Go read.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thank you kind Aardvark

I was pleased to find that I have been awarded a Golden Aardie by Orycteropus Afer.

I have been running very behind on reading my blogs, and discovered my good fortune after reading my friend Cheryl's post about her Aardie.

What's an Aardie? Go here to see.

And here's the post where this batch was awarded.

Orycteropus Afer is the author of the Aardvark Alley blog and maintains the excellent BBOV, which is displayed in the drop-down menu in my sidebar.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

An addition

We have an addition to our household for the next few months.

Bethany's friend, Bean, daughter of the good Reverend Dr. Stuckwisch and his lovely wife, has moved in for the spring semester. We will be blessed by her presence until her wedding in May. The girls just realized yesterday that they will be able to enjoy one of the great benefits of sisterhood: sharing clothes.

This also means that my office is completely clean, because it is now Beanie's room. Talk about a great side benefit!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Global what?

I love it when the rare article shows up in the mainstream press questioning the conventional wisdom on global warming.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa envy

I don't usually feel jealous of people who live in Iowa. It has never been on my top ten list of places I might like to live. In fact, the strongest impression that I have of Iowa is that three years ago, as I drove across Iowa on 80, there was no place to get a good cup of coffee.

So it feels quite strange to be feeling so envious of the folks in Iowa.

The thing is, I am a political junkie. I love to watch the news, read about the candidates, and listen to talk radio, not just during the election but all the time. I debate with my TV. I say things to my kids and two minutes later some talking head makes the same brilliant point.

So it is very frustrating to live in a state where the primary is so late as to be almost completely beside the point. Why should Iowa get to be first? They don't deserve it, as the Republicans proved last night by giving a majority vote to the Huckster. (Look for an upcoming post on homeschoolers who don't like Mike.)

I want to meet Fred Thompson while I'm pumping gas. I want a chance to cast a vote for the candidate that I think should be the nominee and have it potentially matter.

So, yes, for a few days I am suffering from Ioway envy. But I suppose even if my primary vote isn't worth a hairball, at least here I can get a cup of good coffee.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

I am breaking with my own tradition this year and making no resolutions. This isn't because I have nothing that I need to accomplish or change. Instead, it's because there is so much. And a lot of that is undone from last year!

I do have one quick, short-term goal. I am going to lose the five pounds I gained between Thanksgiving and last night! We'll worry about the rest later.

How 'bout you? Resolutions? Unfinished business? Or did you manage to keep them all last year?