Sunday, December 30, 2012

Waiting on The Birdbath to Thaw

A friend of mine posted on FB this last week "We are now open for bird ice skating!"  With a picture of a frozen over bird bath and the thought of birds ice-skating made me smile. But as I thought about it, actually a frozen bird bath is an inconvenience to a bird not a delightful event.  Where I had been thinking of doing a picture of ice skating birds with smiles on their faces and tying to the verse from Matthew 6 to it

 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life" 

I began to think-- a frozen bird bath, while beautiful and whimsical-- its actually a hardship to the birds. A source of help was inaccessible.  A place of fun gone. And if that frozen over bird bath were all I could focus on it would be depressing-- if not for the promise

Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
25 There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
26 There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.
27 They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
Psalm 104

Life at times can be hard.  Even more so when others around you are rejoicing. I'm reminded of the line from the movie Sense and Sensibility 

            What do you know of my heart? What 
                         do you know of anything but your own 
                         suffering? For weeks, Marianne, I 
                         have had this pressing on me without 
                         being at liberty to speak of it to a 
                         single creature. It was forced upon 
                         me by the very person whose prior 
                         claims ruined all my hopes. I have 
                         had to endure her exultation again 
                         and again while knowing myself to be 
                         divided from Edward forever. Believe 
                         me, Marianne, had I not been bound 
                         to silence I could have produced 
                         proof enough of a broken heart even  
for you.

At times though we may try and be happy, our griefs are heavy to bear and even compounded. But let the word of God encourage you and take a lesson from the frozen birdbath. He attends to all in their due season. And like winter-- it will end-- and the ice will thaw, and the place where joy was once found will be found again-- or there will be an even better place of iceless joy.  Though sometimes the winters are short and other times longer-- it is really just a season and not forever. 

This one hope we have as Christians is, that in Christ, eventually there will be a spring that never ends.

In the meantime, my prayers goes out to all those who read this and find they are stuck in a frozen bird bath.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Brilliantly Busking

I just came back from a lovely trip to visit some friends in Princeton.  Mind you I couldn't say "Im going to New Jersey" My friend decried, "No please tell people you're coming to Princeton"... I guess to spare me the infamy of having to explain that I was not going to the Shore.  While out one day walking my friend pointed to a large house and said "That is where Einstein played his violin"

I had recently seen a movie which portrayed a fictional Einstein in his older years as a kindly gentleman who with his silly cohorts was trying to match his adorable mathematician niece to a charming and misunderstood auto mechanic-- but I had never thought of the REAL Einstein as actually playing the violin-- I mean, he was so brilliant, I assumed his life was consumed with math and other matters relatively related.  But Einstein was a person just like all of us, and of course he had other interests-- and he had friends as well.  Maybe they were silly, or maybe they were serious, but he spent time with them as well.  It wasn't his home he played in but theirs.  Why? because they had a music room.

Later,  went to Times Square. I hadn't been since I was a teen ager-- which is to say I might as well say I had gone for the first time two days ago.  (youth is wasted on the wrong people)  and as I stood there in the lights of historic thoroughfare  and marveled at the sights the lights and the crowd I thought of Einstein and his fiddle.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Noble Gift of the Noble Pine

It seems like only yesterday I was at the big box home improvement store buying my first live Christmas tree in many years.  And as if by some cruel finger of fate, my tree has gone toes up two weeks after I got it... or should I say roots up.  What once was a lovely and noble pine has become like a drooped over old man.  Still standing straight up, but everything hanging down and sadly brown. I wondered if I could resurrect it, but after polling my FB friends, including one fireman who said 

" I have seen a house completely destroyed by a Christmas tree fire BUT BUT BUT, it was still plugged in and left on overnight. I wouldn't have a problem with keeping it unplugged and making sure there are no real sources of fire within several feet."

I decided it was best to just unplug the pathetic thing and and enjoy the memory of what it had only just been a week ago.

Do I regret having bought the tree you may ask?  Well, maybe you didn't ask. but I thought about it anyway.  I smiled as I thought what a gift it was even in its short life.  When I first expressed my desire to get a tree so many people and why, many people expressed their love in a way that I had not expected. One friend told me that she was so touched that she wanted to help me go get it (which was an unspoken prayer as I imagined myself like Meg Ryan from "Harry Met Sally" trying to lug the thing to my car.)  So I got love, an offer, and a fun evening with a friend that lasted well into the night as a couple of usual humbugs listened to Pandora's Christmas list and strung the light with trees (after spending an hour trying to make it stand) laughing all the time.  

Not only that, I learned to make cool light effects by cutting out a mask for my camera lens because I wanted to capture the magic of the tree  (something that would have never caught my eye had I not had the tree... or a camera for that matter. ) and got to make other people's day a little more filled with wonder when they saw the result.  So even as it died, the community outpouring of caring through information showed that my little tree was not just a tree to me, but a lightening rod of support and love. Okay, the tree is dead-- but it served its purpose.  To help me remember a time of love.  Sure I wish the it had lasted just one week longer (its been sincerely dead for a week now)  But it gave its gift long before the Christmas day.   

It kind of reminds me of God's gift to Mary of a baby boy.   Mary is said to have treasured things in her heart that she had heard about Him from a group of shepherds who were told

"...I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' "

Thirty three years is not a long time when you think that you're going to see you Child grow up and have children of His own. But the gifts she got along the way could not be taken away from her-- and the greatest gift being the promise she had "...He will save His people from their sins.”

Everything dies. My mom, this tree,  and I will too one day. But the message of Christmas is the gift that was given that even in death, there is hope for not only life-- but meaning to life while we walk this earth.  I am thankful to the tree for that last little gift-- because in thinking of it's death, it helped me to remember my Savior's everlasting life. 

Merry Christmas 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sledgehammer Sleeping Pills

"Can't sleep. Coughing fits and bruised ribs. I just need the Sandman to show up with a sledge hammer."

My poor poor friend is sick... again.  and there's nothing worse than being sick... except being sick alone-- which is what often times I hear happens when you're married and coughing... so I guess whether, your single or married, being sick simply stinks.  Its been a long time since I've been kept up with wracking coughs. but my mom told me she was taught by my great aunt Francis who hailed from Oklahoma, that to relieve a cough; dump a little salt in your hand and lap it up.  Mom said she even tried it on me as a child and said when she left the room, she was convinced it wouldn't work.  She sat in the other room and listened in frustrated helplessness to her small child:

hack hack hack
hack hack hack

and then silence.

The old wives' tale proved to be a back woods remedy to which I resorted from time to time in my growing up years.


in my adult life, I've decided I didn't really know how much salt I should be downing (and since high blood pressure runs in my family I really don't want to be guessing-- though I suppose having a stroke would stop the coughing just as much as robitussin. ) So when I'm out of cough medicine, I warm some water, dissolve some salt and gargle.  It seems to do the trick for a common cold cough at least for a little bit.  But for my friend who has bronchitis-- I got nothin' for him,  but if he's still up-- I hope this cartoon will make him feel a little less alone on the couch, where Im sure he's been quarantined.

feel better soon friend...I'm going to sleep.
ps) the reference to purple butterfly is a logo for a sleeping pill. the commercial has people being visited by a giant butterfly as they drift off happily to sleep... I don't know, it must be just me, but being visited by a giant butterfly seems more like a nightmare than a welcome dream... 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Never too Old for the Young

When I was a new believer I was introduced to the concept of serving by an elder's wife at my church as she stood on the platform and announced, "We need help in Sunday school and no one is signing up. So I am sending around this clip board and if it comes back with spaces on it, I will keep sending it back until the spaces are filled"

Fear that she would find out I hadn't signed up was as good a reason as any to serve I suppose and so sign up I did.  Soon I was summarily dropped into the nursery department where I learned to be smarter than a three year old, come up with crafts, and at times shhhh them by holding my foot up to my mouth instead of my finger.

I was charmed by their equal parts play, and cuddly love.  Though I couldn't understand the whole "what do you mean you can't push a push pin into a cork. Its not that hard.--- or understand that a child of that age shouldn't have push pins in the first place...  As time went on and I began to understand development, over the years I grew to love watching the change even a year would bring in a small child.  I remember the first time I saw little Sean as he leaned against the wall with his tiny arms folded around his little legs.  "What's wrong?" I asked, expecting a pouty sputter of someone took my toy kind of drivel.  instead he said replied with two words.  "Im depressed"

Depressed?  What's a three year old have to be depressed about?

But thats the thing.  They may be little kids without the ability to push pins into cork, or time to remember to go to the bathroom.  but every now and again, there is a glimpse of who they will be and how they will feel, and how they will see the world.  Those moments grow bigger and bigger as they age, until those moments spill over their lives like water spilling from a bucket and saturating a floor.  No longer puddles, but them-- and the puddles of who they once were as a child show up in a tickle fight or two when no one least expects it.

I guess Im thinking about that in light of recent events.  The puddles of who they will be.  I didn't know any of those children.  To watch any videos would almost be pointless, because there is no context. I but I think of the children I know, who've passed through my life like a meandering stream passes a river rock.  All the little kids who've snuck into my lap to cuddle during bible story time  because they possessed me from the other kids.  All the children  who have moved on to the next class and onto the next part of their lives.  They are like those kids in Newton.  They said to someone "Don't you remember my name?" or "that's my mommy's friend" or "watch me, watch me"

For someone who doesn't like change, they are the embodiment of it-- yet somehow its okay, because they are so adorable...  I wish all change could be like that...

When Kelly was four-- back in the day when a child could still ride in the front seat of a car,  I took her someplace I can no longer remember.  As we struggled to put on her lap belt in the very old and used 1976 Dodge dart, I asked her if she was okay in the seat.  I was new to little children so what she muttered made no sense.  I apologized and said, "Im sorry Kelly, can you repeat yourself, sometimes I don't understand little kids"  And she replied "Its okay, sometimes I don't understand grown ups either" While she might have been referring to how we speak... I always ascribed to it a deeper meaning.  And as I live my life I tend to agree.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Best PR, Ever

When I was in eleventh grade I went to Manhattan for the first time.  First time on a subway, first time to a Broadway play and first time eating street food.  Being that it was winter,  on many of the corners, there were many carts that sold Chestnuts.  Well, after walking out of Macy's (of course I HAD to go, after all  I couldn't resist having grown up on Miracle on 34 street),  I could no longer resist, and since I had already eaten NY Pizza, Ny Cheesecake and NY bagels, I decided it was time to have some NY Chestnuts. 

I figured they had to be amazing... someone had dedicated an entire memorable line of a beloved Christmas song to it..

As the frosty vender shoveled a few of those dark brown  beauties into a little paper sack, my mouth watered in anticipation.  I was so delighted at the taste that lay ahead.

I know it may be just me... but the best thing about Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is the line in the song.  What a disappointment.  They weren't' horrible  but they certainly weren't nuts.  they didn't taste like walnuts,  pecans or my then favorite at the time Brazil nuts.  They were hot and squishy, not crunchy and satisfying.  It was like eating a mushy kneaded eraser-- with a flavor that was indescribable, but not like a nut.  Where I had been disappointed that the NY vender had not given me enough of those little brown beauties when I bought them, I was now miffed that I had to throw so many of them into the NY trash can.

Well, that was many years ago, and since then I have learned to like many foods I would have turned up my nose to as a fifteen year old.  Sushi, pate and Chitterlings... okay, I lied-- I always liked Chitterlings. But suffice it to say, I figured it might be time to give those old chestnuts roasing another shot... and even though they were done in the commissary oven and brought out to the steam table in one of those long metal pans at the office Christmas party, when my friend said, "Ooh, I've never had a Chestnut before" I decided it was time to try them again.  We each grabbed one and stood over a trashcan while the DJ played unseasonal 80's music (I suppose as not to offend anyone  who might be bent out of shape because he didn't play their favorite Kwanza tune) And joined a random young man who also had not ever had chestnuts roster on an open fire, or any fire for that matter.'

The concusses was unanimous.  three unilateral thumbs down.

It still was still warm, and it still wasn't a nut-- however my friend described it perfectly.  "it tastes like lima beans"

I don't have a problem with lima beans-- but not when Im expecting a nut.  It made me think of all the greatest PR jobs ever done or ever will be is the one done by the Torme and Wells song.  Perhaps if they were still alive they could take a pass through the entire unpopular produce in the vegetable aisle.

Imagine the eventual bump in sales for Turnip and Dandelion greens.  Children would be banging their tiny slender fists on the table singing the familiar words

July and turnips, Barbecue style
Parsnips on picknicks 
Sunshine kissed smiles"

So many family dinner time arguments could be averted if only there was a new songwriter to champion the cause of unloved but good for you foods.  Sigh...

Oh but that is just a pipe dream, a wish for something that can never be... like me ever eating a chestnut again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cartoon and Cookie

Im always sketchy about those kiosks at the mall.  I've been chased by many a young woman eager to sell me 50 dollar Israeli hand cream only to find myself smack in front of a henna tattoo parlor on wheels.  When I first saw one several years ago, a lone cheap jewelry huckster, I was like "why is this here?  Its so random and out of place"  but as time has gone on I realize the necessity of it. The malls want to make more money for all that needless empty space, and the venders want to be in the mall and can't afford to pay for all the larger space.  so voila,  a symbiotic relationship, like the shark and the pilot fish.

But there's certain things at which I draw the line... and when my friend Alfred took me out for my birthday a few years back and told me he would pony up the dough for one of those water massage beds,  I was more than creeped out by it. First of all, its all public, with your head sticking out of it like some kind of pig in a blanket for all to see, second of all how do you keep a dark moist place shared by multiple people from not developing creepy icky germs and third of all, ewe, just ew.  Plus I know Alfred-- all his protestations of innocence and curiosity veiled a more devious plan I was sure of it.  He's a wiry jokester who is fast on his feet and cagy like a fox.  nothing is innocent with him... he would get me locked in that thing take a picture of me and post it on FB--and that would be the tame guess of what he had up his sleeve.

Well, today's Alfred's birthday.  And I wanted to wish him the best. so in honor of him I decided to live up to my blog title. I made him a special gift.  When he opened it, he was very delighted and exclaimed

"Ooh!  My favorite food group!"

Happy Birthday Alfred... and for the record-- I have a friend who tried one of those water massage beds things, and he said it was pretty okay-- so that will have to be enough sate your curiosity.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blogs are like Ducks

When I was in 6th grade the teacher who taught in the classroom next to my super cool teacher was, as I recall a real sourpuss of a lady.... Everything about her was pinched. Her shoulders hunched up around her ears next to her short curly hair and framed her pinched face complete with eyebrows that knit together like a homemade sweater that was created on knitting needles two sizes smaller than what was recommended in the pattern.  Out of her tiny pinched mouth emanated a high pitched nasally pinched voice.

while I only had her for one class when my afore mentioned super cool teacher was out for the day, I still remember the words she said from her tiny pinched squinty face when  a child followed her and tried to ask her a question:

"I am not.  a mother duck..."

while I too am not a mother duck. I am acutely aware how thankful I am to have you following my cartoon blog entries.  It is a huge encouragement to me and I hope that I can return the favor by encouraging you with a smile, or maybe even an inspirational thought or two.  

at any rate. 

I say this with all the openness I can muster-- from the top of my head to the bottom of my heart.

thank you for following!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

A friend of mine posted on FB 

"My daughter just prayed - Jesus I give you my mommy, my daddy, my baby sister and my gum. Actually not my gum." 

At least she was honest. 

How many times have I prayed and "given" something to God but not really. its cute when a child does it, but notsomuch an adult... Its an interesting thought... especially in light of the verse,  "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"

To God we are His children-- but until that time when the child grows up, he or she has to trust that their parent knows better than they do. 

As I think of all the prayers in which I've reneged, I am thankful that though God doesn't have a giant FB where He updates His status for the angels with tales of my flakiness, at least I can hold on to the promise that because I stand in the shadow of my bigger brother Jesus, God my father who overhears my false prayers though they may not amuse Him,  is kind and patient enough to forgive and transform me-- sometimes teaching me lessons:Like the one I just learned from a two year old child.

The Acrid Stench of Contempt

Today pastor Tim was preaching out of Ephesians 5 on Marriage and he brought up an interesting point. That of all the things that the Apostle Paul could have spoken about in terms of issues that come up in marriage,  rather than tackle individual topics that commonly fill countless books on all the self help sections of any book store,   he focused on each person's responsibility before God.  Ultimately, all sin is sin against God, so wouldn't it make sense that if one sought to make peace with God, then one would eventually find peace with their offended spouse, family member, friend or co-worker? Of course this does not absolve the other person in the relationship of any wrong doing, but the idea is to look to oneself and accept and repent of one's sin (even asking forgiveness if necessary of the wounded party--without the expectation of the other person doing the same)

That way one can transform the acrid stench of contempt to the smell of love in the air.

He told a story of a time he took his wife out for an anniversary and used it as an opportunity of telling her the things she could do better as a parent-- which strangely enough did not go over well... As he was joking about the event he made the statement which inspired this drawing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Coffee I.V Drip

As much as I've tried... I don't like coffee. Wait, let me correct that.  I like coffee--IF its about a tablespoon of coffee in a cup of milk with a lot of sugar. so basically what I like is coffee candy... on second thought--scratch that, coffee candy's too strong for me too.

But like Cats, Coffee has its very strong and very vocal defenders.  I haven't had the right kind or been to the right place or I haven't lived until I tasted coffee the way THEY made it-- then the clouds would open up. the heaven's would be revealed and the angels would descend and do jackknives off the side of my coffee mug.  Until that day when I have that perfect heaven opening cup.  I will only be an unenlightened one.  A tea drinking troglodyte  who cant cross over due to my uneducated palate.  But it's more than just the coffee connoisseurs who cluck their tongues at me while sadly shaking their head.  I had no idea that coffee was not only a drink, but an actual psychological state of mind.  I even had one person tell me that there was a type of person who was a coffee drinker and only they could be a friend who would truly understood them.

uh. okay.

Well, while I don't understand this rabid ardor for what is essentially brown and bitter water that makes one's breath stink and turns one's teeth yellow, I do have people in my life whom I love dearly, and if they can put up with my not being a coffee drinker, I most certainly can put up with them being one.

So this ones for you you lovers of the Petes, the Priscilllas and the Starbucks, French pressers, custom blenders, and foam latte toppers...

Who needs caffein when I have you all in my life to keep me jumping?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sometimes Little Kid's Jokes Make me Think

I had a friend who was incredibly ticklish. so much so that if you just pointed at him it would make him  giggle. He explained that even the displacement of atoms was enough to send him into volleys of laughter.  I admired his ability to make a silly response seem somewhat less foolish by applying a thin veneer of science to it...

I saw this joke on someones wall and at first I was like "huh? but then when I said it out loud it made me smile... 

How many tickles does it take to tickle a squid? 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh Deer...

Perhaps its because I spent the day at the LA Superior Court waiting in purgatory more commonly referred to as the jury room, that when I saw my friend's status:

" I was hearing the strangest noises right outside my bedroom window and I started panicking that someone was waking around my house; turns out it was a group of mule deer taking shelter from the wind about 5 feet from my window! I love where I live

I couldn't help but think that something innocent was actually guilty in reality.

I would make a lousy juror for the defense.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In the Event of a Zombie Apocalypse

While I don't believe in a zombie apocalypse (who needs an apocalypse when there are a lot of seemingly undead shambling around as it is)-- but it never hurts to be prepared.  so for those of you planning on being around for the ZA, feel free to use this idea.

Saw this on a friend's status update and it made me smile.  

"Line at Dunkin donuts is just stupid driving by. Glad I'm not one of those suckers that needs coffee to start their day. Good luck during the zombie apocalypse"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh Nevermind

I got up this morning and decided that I would bake two dozen cookies before work.  When I got in I saw that I should have gone for my jog instead

My friend Jessie had a shower over the weekend and well... tis the season.  We have made an agreement that when each other bakes that we are compelled by the law of "ooh, I never had that before"  to at least taste one.  Thankfully, it turns out of the enormous pile of things she brought only one of them was hers...

Well played Jessie M. Well played...