Saturday, July 30, 2005

Family Reunion

This is what happens when you get too many Swedes at a family reunion in 107 degree heat (see second picture...they start dressing funny...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Back to a beautiful rainy day!

I took the red-eye back from California, getting back here at 6:30 in the morning.

Lesson learned this trip: don't assume.

I got on the plane and was pleasantly surprised to see that the two seats in my row were empty. I though, "ah! a gift!, because now I can curl up across the three seats and get some real sleep, and my errant hip - actually the trochanter - won't be as sore."

Just before the doors closed, a young mother with two little ones came and took the seats. Baby girl about 6 months old in a Baby Bjorn carrier and a little boy perhaps three. The inner grumbles took over - you know how CS Lewis says that if you grumble enough, you actually change from a grumbler into a grumble? Not only couldn't I spread out, but I'd have cranky kids next to me. I was a grumble.

The mom smiled and said, "They're good sleepers." I put on my noise-cancelling headphones, tipped my seat back a tad, wiggled my butt in deference to the bad hip, and went to sleep. Slept like a log - a rather bulky one - until they turned the lights on right before landing. The baby was nursing, the toddler was still sound asleep, and there hadn't been a peep out of them the whole trip. The baby unlatched from mom, and looked up at me with a look of mild interest as if to say, "You doubted I was capable of being a good, sleeping baby? Hah!"

Sometimes I can be really, really clueless.

Last week, I met with a dear priest friend and talked about my progress on the discernment trail. He asked if I was a good listener, if people asked me to counsel them. I said that lots of people seemed to use me as a sounding board, and that one of the gifts of middle age was listened a bit better and talking less. He seemed pleased by that answer (aren't I a little old to worry about whether he approves of me?).

So I was out at our California offices, with a string of meetings stacked up with our senior execs and a lot of stressful things happening in the company. Each meeting was, in essence, a counseling session, since everyone is worried about the direction the company might be taking and how it might affect their jobs and those of their subordinates. And instead of just listening and giving them a safe ear, I kept trying to offer solutions.

The good news was that they were wanting to talk to me, and felt safe doing so in what is a highly politicized environment. The bad news was that I was trying to "fix" things.

Lesson learned #2: I have more to learn.

DS21 update: He is starting in an outpatient alcohol treatment program on Monday. Dear Lord, open his heart and his ears, so he can learn to listen at an earlier age than his mother. Keep him safe. Help him heal. Take away the power of the demons in the night. Amen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Betwixt and Between

Home for 16 hours before I go to California for a business trip.

The Family Reunion in Tornado Alley was wonderful, except I ate like cattle in the feedlots and am terrified to get on the scale. I think I have enough stretchy-baggy clothes to cover me for the next few days. The temps were over 100 EVERY day. Don't you think it should have melted off a pound or two?

We came home to a sink full of dirty dishes, back door unlocked, garage door open with my Saab exposed to the world (gasp!) and the key to it sitting on my kitchen counter. So much fun coming home from vacation to start grinding one's teeth over teenage behavior. Yes, I know I'm obsessive about keeping my kitchen sink empty, but it's a little tiny vice. Ah, the belief that we control our little world is so easily shattered!

I find myself thinking a lot about attending an event like this which is grounded in another faith tradition - in this case, the Swedish Pietist Movement - think Lake Wobegon. It gives me a fresh view, and fresh appreciation for my own. I thought harder about the words I was hearing than I sometimes do when participating in our service. A lovely gift, although the sermon gave me the wimwams, since it was delivered by one of the more conservative pastors in a family with a very much higher than average parson-per-person ratio.

DH and I sang a duet at the family talent show. We've decided to keep our day jobs...

Please pray for me traveling out and back. I'm taking the red-eye home, and so will be getting home early Saturday morning, which means my hands will be shaking with not enough sleep for icon-writing class at noon that day, but that's another story.

Peace to all.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Back in a few.

Off to Tornado Alley for the family reunion early tomorrow morning, thence on to California for business meetings. I'll be back in a little over a week. What shall I do without you all now that I've become a blog addict?

Say a prayer for PH, who will be presiding over our expanded household while I'm gone (yes, he is a saint, at least 85% of the time.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Your thoughts, please...

DD17, who has a heart as big as all outdoors, has asked us to put up her work friend, and 18 y.o. girl who has just found out she is pregnant, plus her 18 y.o. boyfriend. The girl was kicked out of the house by her parents when she told them she was expecting, and the boy's situation is equally complicated. We've got a downstairs bedroom and bathroom and can offer them some temporary quarters, but I have reservations about the whole situation. They are offering to pay rent. My inclination (before speaking to PH) is that I'd rather they save up their paychecks for their own place, if they're going to try to make a go of it. It's also condoning this very dicey relationship between two kids, ferhevvensakes...

The New Grandpuppy

This is the new grandpuppy, named Maya. She's a beagle/pug mix. She will grow up with DGD Katie, who will be three next month. Ah, bliss!

On a less blissful note, DS21 is having problems. He is with his dad this summer in North Country, working. Apparently, when he's not working, he's drinking. A lot. More than the usual college boy overindulgence, and in a family with alcoholism on both sides, this is troubling. Looks like intervention time. Please keep him in your prayers.

On a lighter note, DD17 just got back from her first galpal road trip, from DC to North Country to Montreal and back again. She and my car survived well. I'm so glad I had her drive the blue chariot (my recent vintage Saab) rather than her car (an ancient Saab - we're a three Saab/ one Volvo household, which is another story). We ended up taking her car, which was doing odd unreliable things, to the John and Don Cathedral of Saab Repair, where it cost a few hundred dollars to save its Saabie life (again). Motherhood is an expensive proposition.

Today it will be my turn to do a long drive - just for today. Isn't that an old sappy semireligious song from our childhood? "Lord, for tomorrow and its needs, I do not pray. Give me the strength to do your will, Just for today." Business trip down to the state capitol (120 miles away) for a lunch meeting. Taking the opportunity to visit with a priest friend and retreat master down there.

Another trip on Friday: flying with PH to Lindsborg KS (Swedish capitol of the US or something like that, and Home of Bethany Bible College and the Fighting Swedes) for a family reunion of his mother's family. We, being the perverse people we are, are going to KANSAS in the middle of the SUMMER TORNADO SEASON for our vacation. The upside? Swedish pancakes with lingonberries.

Yet another trip next Tuesday to CA on business. There are parts of CA I love (San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Monterey). Sacramento is not one of them. Yes, I'm whining now, so it's time to stop. I'll check in later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And here's one of those white lilies...

I wish I could upload the scent as well.

White Lilies

The large fish pond PH built two years ago is full of three generations of goldfish now. Hovering over them in the heat are the white liles, planted two falls ago. They are so heavy with blooms, and the blooms are so fragrant, that it's like walking into a perfume bottle when I go out in the morning to feed the fish. Mornings in the gardens of Isfahan...

The cats, of course, are not impressed with the lilies. They only want to go catch fish. And that's why they're indoor kitties.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hi, all!

Welcome to my blog world!

A bit about me:

I'm a middle-aged banking exec in the neighborhood of Your Nation's Capitol.

I'm married to Pastoral Husband (otherwise known as PH), who is a pastoral counselor.

I've got three kids of my own (DD17, just graduated from high school, DS19, working as a stonemason in the North Country, and DS21, entering his junior year of college out west).

I've also got two wonderful stepsons whom I raised from their early years (a long story) who are 31 and 27. Each are married to great women and each has a child - my precious DGCs - dear grandchildren.

I am in the midst of the discernment process to become an Episcopal priest, hoping to go to seminary in August 2006.

This blog is a record of my journey.

Feels like way too much info on me. Come visit and talk to me!