Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Happy Mardi Gras!

I'd originally intended to write about a lengthy and strange paranormal encounter that culminated yesterday morn, but I can't. It's Mardi Gras!

Not that we're going to do much here to celebrate. I have a King Cake (just in time to blow my now normal blood sugar levels hee!) and I'm making gumbo for dinner. We've also been watching the parades and crowds just a smidgen at NOLA.com

Makes me miss home. Yeah, I miss South Louisiana. I don't miss the heat, the mosquitoes or some of the dumber attitudes of the locals, but I miss so many other things. Mostly I miss my father, a guy who's very favorite holiday was Mardi Gras. He always had a hotel suite right on the parade route for many years. He lived for this day!

This year because of some of the modesty debate and discussion of sheltering children going on at No Longer Quivering I've remembered some Mardi Gras with my father and other family members when I was in my teens. I would have been damned to hell by the purity crowd for my actions at 14 and 15 years old. One of the things back in those days when I was thin, pretty and young was that guys would ask you for a 'Mardi Gras kiss'. Let's just say I made out on the streets with a pile of super-hot guys.

So now you know what a Mardi Gras lip whore I was...

Hey, at least I never got arrested for public exposure like my step-brother Frank!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

No Pancakes For Me?!

One of the sad things that has happened over the last week or so involves my bouncing around blood sugar levels. Because of the highs I spiked after not reading yogurt levels and consuming three times the recommended amount in one day for weeks on end I've been recommitting myself to controlling my blood sugar. Not as easy a task as this December when I felt like crap and had zero appetite, sad to say.

A few days ago I downloaded an app on my phone to help out. I track everything I eat and the nutrition track does all the figuring for me. It has hundreds of thousands of values preloaded into the app so you can see at any one time how much you're consuming. It's pretty ingenious and much better than my old method writing down everything and looking up the levels.

That's good and that's very bad at the same time. Yesterday evening I started getting the dry eyes and itching finger tips I get whenever the blood sugar levels are high, so I pulled out my cell phone and app to take a look since I'd been tracking every bite and thought I was being very virtuous. Not quite. My diet apparently has great deal more hidden sugars and carbs than I thought.

Today I've been good on the carbs and sugars, but not so good on salt and cholesterol. So when Jim turned to me this evening and started insisting I go with him to a nearby sausage and pancake dinner for charity I had to demur. He just was not hearing it, insisting I go until I had to quite angrily state I was going nowhere that was filled with foods I could not eat. It would be too torture-some to sit there while he ate several plates of pancakes, fried apples and sausage patties. 

No thanks! I'll stay home with my cauliflower, cabbage and lean roast beef for dinner. I would still rather have pancakes however. But I don't relish the idea of having to constantly poke myself with an insulin needle either.


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Hodor!

Been a crazy couple of days. My creative mind is going into some weird spaces as a result.

1 - I made the discovery a few days ago that the reason I was feeling crappy and my blood sugar levels jumped from normal to insane was that I was eating yogurt three times a day. A few weeks ago my new doctor said that while I'm on antibiotics for some months now I should be eating yogurt two or three times a day. I have been, but I slipped and bought Chobani yogurt without reading the labels. Holy cow! In the type I got it has a full days allowance of recommended sugar in one damn serving. I was eating it three times a day for a couple of weeks. Sending my blood sugar into insane diabetic range again. Three times the sugar you're supposed to have in one day!?!?!?... knew I'd hit on the right thing when my blood sugar tumbled 80 points in four hours after stopping that yogurt. Going back to my own homemade yogurt with only a bit of mashed fruit and stevia. Shit you feel weird as hell when the blood sugar levels are zooming around!

2 - Andy had a car wreck. He was unhurt but it was the craziest damn thing. He was driving down the road with three friends to pick up lunch when a woman backed out of the auto body shop and hit him hard. She'd just gotten her car back from her last wreck! He's riding in a rental car and making arrangements to get his car fixed on her dime.

3 - Worrying about Laura because she had to buy four new tires for her car and she's stressing out over working full time and working on her Masters. It's a time and money crunch for her. I don't get to see her as often as I would like. I miss her.

Today we ran around to Costco after walking around the mall and taking phone calls from both Andy and Laura. The good of today is we were both feeling so tight and stressed out that we plumped out the dough to sit in one of those massage chairs in the mall for ten minutes. I need an official medical massage so badly right now for my back. It might have been the mall (which I'm not crazy about in the first place), it might have been the really crappy mall in Fredericksburg, but I was melting all over the chair. I need one of those massage chairs at the house. Tried to get Jim to go with me to get a pedicure so we could sit in their massage chairs for free, but he's not quite brave enough to go for a pedicure yet.

Once we got home tonight and I started the thankless task of hauling, sorting and packing our Costco haul into the shelves in our laundry room I started thinking about this political race. It's sort of like "Game of Thrones", with the exception of no one is literally cutting anyone elses head off with a sword, just figuratively with their tongues. It's so obvious by the media coverage that certain candidates on each side are the frozen chosen of the Koch brothers and the 1% no matter what we peons think. I've never seen it quite so awful and manipulated in my lifetime.

Which led me down the odd path of thinking which candidate is who on "Game of Thrones" and why they are... Here's my first pairing. Look at the facial expressions and tell me it's not similar...

Jeb Bush

and his GoT counterpart     

Hodor



Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A Shameful Joy at Lacking the Housekeeping Gene

Lately I've been faa-faaing around doing very little. The hand/thumb is better but I still cannot write more than two words with a pencil, I cannot use scissors and typing, using a spoon in a pot, a potato peeler, etc is still a challenge.

I finally got around to vacuuming the entire house for the first time since this latest health thing started happening on November 27th last year. Plus I'm spending a load of time mopping. I have been mopping all along (or nagging Jim into it) since getting sick but for some reason when we get big snows like Winter Storm Jonah every kind of road grit, sand, salt and mud ends up being tracked all over the wood floors. No matter how many times you steam them or run the swiffer it's all a smeary mess.

It's not like I love housework at all. I actually hate it, distracting me from important things like quilting or painting. But it is a necessary evil.

During my Fundigelical years I tried to make myself like it, tried to tell myself to be thankful because I have my own home and family. But it never worked. I was never joyfully happy and smiling to be mopping those floors or baking a pile of bread. It's always felt like uncreative drudgery to me. Something to rush through so I could read a book.

You know what, I'm okay with not 'loving' housework, unlike what Nancy Campbell and Debi Pearl insist. Not everyone is cut out for the same things. Ask me to weed the garden or wash the car and I'm there. Ask me to iron your shirt. Hmm, not so much. That's what the dry cleaners is for.

I'm in the middle of a house reorganization, hauling several boxes to the community second hand store daily, no matter if it's something valuable. I'm in merciless mode. So far I've halfed all my kitchen things and am moving on into the bedrooms next. I'm going to half the bedding and in six months do it again. Just do not let my maw in law know that her fancy china is going to the thrift store. I have no use for it.

In many ways it feels like I'm shedding some of the heavy baggage of my days at the old fundigelical church. Especially the day I took the punch bowl, 35 punch cups and 35 fancy dessert plates to the thrift shop. Once upon a time I hosted the church baptism every single year at our pool. It was always a drag and days of baking and making on top of cleaning and making sure I had a huge pile of waiting towels. No one would help and it was always assumed that I would gladly do the heavy lifting so a few kids could be baptized and their families have cake and punch.

I like this, I like living without a punch bowl, too many cups and the expectations of the 'must dos' Since leaving I've learned I can say 'no' when asked to do things for the church. I've learned it doesn't matter if I take time for me to heal and do not dust for a couple of weeks. That the dust bunnies will still be there waiting for me when I get out of the bed.

All those leftover towels are about to be shredded for a rag rug.

The other recent change is in how I handle the ruder members of my former church when I run into them in this small town. When I first started being approached and told I was going to hell for leaving the old church I'd crumble, be devestated by the verbal attacks by them. It hurt badly, death by a thousand tongue lashings.

Then I moved into a phase where I'd reflect a question back to every rude hostile remark. This was particularly effect in shutting up some rude gossiper.

But now I'm finding it merely annoying, not hurtful when I'm approached and receive a hateful screed about hell mixed with a 'come to Jesus at our old church' Now I will usually say some version of 'I don't know what the f*** you're talking about and I don't f***king care' and I walk away while they are still in shocked jaw dropped mode.

My friend Joanie is sweet to them. I've seen her in her Lady Bountiful 'Bless Your Heart' mode. She has that ability. Not me, I just want them to shut up and leave me the heck alone.

This week I was treated to encounters with two former members where I busted out my 'zero fucks' reply. One lady was angrily ranting because I'd spoken to her husband in the grocery store a couple of months ago. I'd been nice to him because I've never received anything but normal treatment from him since leaving the old church. So now his wife is upset that a heathen like me dared have a conversation with him.

The second encounter happened this morning. I ran into Mr. Scammer and he immediately started babbling about how he's been made a church elder at his new Church of the Holy Basement (home church with just a few members) before issuing a 'Come to Jesus at the Church of the Holy Basement. Again, I gave my 'zero fucks' speech. He wasn't rude, he was just humble bragging, not realizing I know about his family trying to scam the company he did work for on a phony workers comp situation, I know about his wife embezzling at two different places she worked and I know all about their borrowing money and other things from various church members and paying zero of it back. I didn't want to pause long enough to listen to him lest he lift my wallet off me.

With the insistence that I 'go back to church' I get, totally ignoring the fact that I do go to church, just another church, and I'm only nominally believing much of anything I'm tempted to make the Evil Eye hand gestures and shout 'Hail Satan' and end by singing Book of Mormon's 'Hasa Dega Eebowai' the next time. But that would just reinforce their views that I'm on a  slip n slide leading right to Hades.

But it might be fun to watch their heads explode.

I'm done taking any guff from them.





Monday, February 01, 2016

When Dangerous Fundamentalist Ideas Creep Into Mainstream Society - "War Room" Movie

Yesterday morning I had one of the most triggering moments post-fundamentalism I've had in a very long time. It took place at the large mainstream denomination church my husband and I now attend. It involved the movie 'War Room', a recent release from the same folks that did the films, 'Fireproof' and 'Courageous'

Back this last summer I had the opportunity to see 'War Room' in the early days of its theatrical run. I went with a few blogger pals who were writing reviews of the film. I'd planned on writing about my impressions of the film for NLQ, but with the long busy days of summer that didn't happen. I went into the viewing not expecting much because so many of these 'Christian'-type movies are sappy, preachy, heavy-handed with the message with very poor production values. It sometimes feels like watching the world's dumbest Lifetime Movie Network movie.  So my expectations were already in the realistic range for the movie before my popcorn had started to cool off.

But by the time the film was over one of the friends I went with turned to the rest of us and uttered quite plainly, 'What the fuck did I just watch?' That phrase pretty much succinctly summed up my feelings about 'War Room' The film was so awful on so many different levels, almost as awful as 'Showgirls' but without the fake breasts, nude female flesh, fancy manicures and potato-chip eating.
'War Room' has in common with 'Attack Killer Tomatoes' and 'Showgirls' one big thing. Every single artistic decision made was the  wrong one. The dialogue is hokey and belabored, one of the main characters is that Hollywood stock character/trope known as the "Magical Negro", the film is preachier than an IFB pastor on speed at a tent revival, filled with simplistic formulas that do not work, and comparing it to a Lifetime movie is an insult to Lifetime. It's much worse than its predecessors in the Christian film genre. Even worse that the cringe-inducing purity ball-esque father-daughter moment that was in 'Courageous'

What makes 'War Room' much more dangerous and awful of a film than 'Killer Tomatoes' is the main message of the film. Which is 'Shut up about your unhappiness in your marriage, about the emotional abuse, submit at a deeper level, start praying hard and your husband will love and esteem you, treating you like the queen of his life.'
 
That's some dangerous thinking that is rampant in Evangelical Christianity that has left a long trail of dead women and children, not to mention the thousands who've silently suffered more abuse under this dangerous idea. If someone is emotionally abusing you it's not that big of a hop, skip and jump to physical abuse, or financial abuse.

It's a very unhealthy idea that to end borderline emotional abuse is to be even more sacrificial. Giving the other person a license to ramp up their abuse of you. How many stories at No Longer Quivering have we had of mothers and wives trying desperately to turn the hearts of their husbands even more to them by being gentler, more kind, quieter, sweeter, by being more submissive only to be pushed to the breaking point by a man who has turned into a petty tyrant over the course of time? So how did that work out? It didn't!

Thinking you can change the behavior of an abuser simply by changing your reaction to them and treatment of them is a good way to end up beaten or dead. Pushing this as the 'Christian' way is simply disingenuously leading women deeper into abuse.

There are no simple formulas to make a marriage work, but some of the things shown going on in this family are red flags of abuse potential. Taking the advice of the elderly 'wise' woman in this film only creates an environment for abuse to flourish.

Back to yesterday. I'm sitting on the platform with worship team when the trailer for this film comes up on the video screens and I find out my very mainstream church is promoting a movie night with 'War Room' I just about fell out of the chair. Later, after the service, I approached on of the assistant pastors I have a friendly relationship with about my concerns that showing 'War Room' is tacitly approving of the lie that at a woman's behavior can change a man. Sadly she told me that the film was the best film she'd ever seen and we'd have to agree to disagree. I came away from our encounter in tears, tears because I know first hand how dangerous this type of theology is and that in mainstream Christianity there tends to be a tone-deafness to the abusive ideas pushed in much of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christianity.

The question that this brings to mind for me is how do we best combat the poisonous ideas of QF that end up being promoted, however innocently, in the mainstream parts of society?  These are ideas that must die if we're to move on to a safer, just and more sane society.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Preparing and Thinking About Big Messes

Apparently we're supposed to get official winter Storm Jonas here on the Eastern Seaboard on Friday and Saturday so today Jim and I prepared for it. Oiled the snow shovels, sprayed Pam on the old synthetic broom I always use to sweep off the walkways and got out the Quick Melt for the steps.

Around noon we went out, got a few things and went to the park to walk around and feed the ducks. It was cold but invigorating. A 180 degrees from growing up in South Louisiana where if the temps get near freezing or there are a few random flakes everyone freaks out. The first time I owned a proper winter coat was when I moved to Germany.

Washed and dried all the throw rugs, bath mats, etc and swept and mopped, which is likely the worlds dumbest move on the front side of the bad weather. Snow here usually means that the cats and Jim and I once we start trying to shift the frozen stuff off every car start tracking road salt, Quick Melt, sand and melting snow into the house, turning the beautiful wood floors into quite a mess of drying puddles ringed with white. This year I think I'm going to put a pan next to the front door and a couple of old beach towels. Take off the boots at the door, wipe up the mess.

While I was in and out, dealing with deep winter preparations today I kept popping in and out of online, seeing a big mess happening on one Duggar-related site I am a member of, but rarely post at. Over the last month or so at this place there have been more and more photos posted of Jill Duggar Dillard and Derick (why do I always think of 'Zoolander' whenever I type this poor kid's name?) Dillard's ten month old son.

I'm not even going to post that poor baby's name. But the photos and speculation is going in a way that is telling me that many in the anti-Duggar sites are headed straight into creepy and inappropriate-town. I'm so glad that I decided for NLQ that discussion of minors, no matter how famous or famous via parent they are that we're not going to discuss them.

Been asked why we haven't chimed into the discussion on the swaddling photos that Jill posted showing was seems to be her child crying his eyes out wrapped in a blanket. Well, it's because it's concerning this child and I'm not comfortable with speculation on this kid at all.

Today's dramatic discussion and denouement was over the same child, over photos posted by his mom. Why? A bruise on the forehead. A bruise. A bruise like every active child that age that crawls, gets into things, is learning to walk routinely gets.

Heck, the first six months after my son Andy learned to walk he was sporting a bruise on his forehead frequently. Once he was mobile he didn't walk, he ran! He would get up in the mornings and run headfirst into his sister's room to wake her up. He was so active as a toddler that if I had him out and about in Germany, say at the zoo, or the farmers market or on the subway I quickly discovered I had to put him in a leather padded harness and leather lead. If not he would be gone in a flash.

Yeah, I got dirty looks over the harness and lead, but it was better than having him dashing into the street. He was very active and being allowed to walk instead of being in the stroller made him much happier, even if I wasn't exactly happy how he'd stick every cigarette butt, bug or other thing he'd encountered in his mouth if I wasn't watching with an eagle eye every second.

Which is why I was so uncomfortable the minute people started howling that Jill was a bad mother because her young son had a bruise on his noggin. Commenters were diagnosing everything from some sort of palsy to him being mentally challenged. Some went as far as claiming Jill was an abusive or neglectful mother, insisting that someone call whatever version of CPS there is down in whatever part of Central America the Dillards live in now.

See, here's the thing with that. I know that there are message boards out there that love to call the authorities and make child abuse and/or neglect claims from photos they've seen online of the children of various mommy bloggers or reality show television people. I know of one in particular who that is their raison d'etra who've caused a mountain of troubles for people having a bad public moment. But really, unless you are there, witnessing first hand that the bruise was caused by someone slapping their child into a cabinet or hearing an outcry witness like the siblings you're just speculating based on a small narrow window of time, a single photograph.

Let's face it, childhood isn't all roses and peaches. There are stubbed toes and bruises, bloody noses and scratches from an entire spectrum of things. It happens no matter how carefully you at watching every move your child makes.

And parents are always going to make dumb mistakes. There will always be moments where you are suddenly distracted for a millisecond and look back to see Lil' Mr. Perfect has decided to chomp on the pebble near his feet. It happens.

Let's grant grace for those moments and worry about our own parenting instead of everyone else's parenting lacks. Perhaps we can all learn something from those moments.

Makes me happy I'd decided there should be a moratorium in 2016 on the discussion of under age children on NLQ.

We're not called to be perfect as parents. We just do the best we can and hope it's good enough.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Duck Bowling?

It is cold out there today. When I got up this morning the windchill put the temps in the minuses. But I've been home more than not lately so I was starting to feel a little antsy. Particularly since..... drum roll please....... THE MEDICINE IS WORKING AND I CAN USE MY RIGHT HAND at least for a while now each day.

No more whining and crying or mourning today thank gawd. Just a lot of chilly errands ahead of the big snow. You'd think we were getting a blizzard tomorrow because the store was filled with folks hording milk and yogurt and eggs.

Took some time out to visit the park and feed all this last week's stale bread to the ducks. With the low temps the lake is mostly frozen over. When the ducks saw me coming they RAN...and slipped and slid into each other, bowling others over. I wish I'd have taken a video instead of this lone still right before the running on ice happened.

I'm going to revisit in the morning and see if I can get a duck bowling video.

One of the things I never like about going to the park is even on a day were it was all of a balmy 18 degrees when I was outside there are random dudes lurking in the park. Most of the time they're just sitting in their trucks, staring at who knows what. Makes me nervous. Never expected to see three of them on a day as cold as today. What on earth are they doing there?