Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not So Much Assisting...

as *teaching*.

Debbie (the other woman who volunteered to help with religious ed) and myself met with the DRE last night. It's not so much that we'll be helping teach (which to me implied that there'd be a teacher and then one of us, assisting, to learn the ropes), but teaching right off the bat. Ourselves.

Assuming that we pass the FBI screening we'll be teaching Basic Faith to 5/6th graders, which I'm comfortable with. The DRE is still previewing text books for next year, so I don't have a curriculum yet.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My New Orthodox Bible

Hmm, my new Bible came today...








I'm at work, so I haven't really had a chance to look through it, except quickly, but I really like the quality and format, from what I've seen. And, yes, bonus, I love the icons that they've included....very nice. It is, for those who are interested, The Orthodox Study Bible.

Now, back to work. And to decide if there's a point to the post about the Fast & Furious and gladiatorial combat and female hormones and reproduction that I half want to write...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Proof that Amber is Occasionally a Little Kid

To balance out earlier whining post...
I found a grasshopper leg in my yard.

This is very, very cool:


Really, what are the chances of looking down, in a large yard, and finding a grasshoppers leg? It was sans grasshopper when I found it, just to make the point - I would never de-leg anything, on purpose.

Rant to Get it Out of My System

Pardon me, whilst I rant a second. I'm not going to name names, because I don't think that I should give this 'church' (edit: henceforth referred to as 'Apostate Schismatic Heretics' thanks to Alana's suggestion) any word, even negative. However...

I am in possession of 8, *EIGHT*, separate 'press releases' (in one day, and it's still early!) from these Apostate Schismatic Heretics that run around the country picketing soldiers funerals and *LITTLE MURDERED GIRLS* funerals, because they can't get anyone to pay any attention to them any other way. You know why that is? Anyone with half a brain can see through their paranoid, apocalyptic rantings. There is no justification for these people. None. I read their crazy-pants rantings to get my blood flowing in the morning.

They justify their hatred of *everyone* who is not them using the Bible. And they use it badly, hells bells, they've *changed* it to say what they want. Even I, a novice, know that. All it takes is opening a Bible, pick a translation, any translation, and they've blatantly *changed* some of the verses they quote. I am aware that there are wackos in the world, and I accept this as something unlikely to change. But these people take the cake, they really do. Their badly written and *inaccurate* invective is mostly amusing, but also infuriating.

They make me ashamed to call myself Christian, because of their misuse and abuse of my religion. So, you know what I'm gonna do? I know where they're 'protesting'. I'm going to a couple of these places, where they don't want people to show up. And I'm going to *resist* the humongous and primal urge to flip them off and then beat them about the head with a large heavy object until they see sense. Because answering stupidity with violence is clearly not the answer. But I'm going to go to the churches they called 'damned' and worship there, and go to the places they 'damn' and have fun.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Things Seen at Lunch

A semi with the script 'Jesus es el camino' on the top. For which my brain supplies, 'Jesus is the road' which just sounds funny to me. I'm sure they mean something more along the lines of 'Jesus is the way'.

Two young men (probably about my age) wearing yamulka and tzit-tzit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two Happies and Jim Butcher

Two things that made me quite happy yesterday:

1. Traffic stopped both ways on a fairly busy street so someone could rescue a turtle crossing the road. Also, public service announcement: If you do ever rescue a 'turtle', please do not help him by tossing him, however gently into the nearest body of water. Said 'turtle', may, in fact, be a tortoise, in which case he cannot swim, and you will have, unfortunately, killed him. Since most people (including me), cannot tell the difference, please play on the safe side and move him to a nice, safe, grassy area, headed away from the road, and let him do the rest.

2. Snoodity! My snood, which I won from Alana in her giveaway came in. It is currently seated, cutely, upon my head. Very adorable.

~~~~~~~~~~~

An open letter to Mr. Jim Butcher:

Dear Mr. Butcher,

The way I see it, there are two choices - either cease being so awesome, immediately, so that I can get some sleep, or write faster. I am almost finished with Codex Alera, except, of course, for First Lord's Fury, which is not out yet, bugger it all, and then I get to reread the Dresden Files, so I can get to Turn Coat. That's a *lot* of books, and very little sleep for me! And I just want more! So, you know, the only responsible thing is for you to write faster, so I can do all my damage at once! And not have the horrible delay and withdrawals when I finish all your books and have nothing left to read!

Thanks muchly,
Amber

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also, it is insane and mindbending to look at the numbers, and realize that you, to be healthy, need to lose an entire person. A *whole* other person. I am carrying around two of me. *brain breaks into little pieces*

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Cooking" With Amber...

One of my favorite cold snacks. Very easy to make, and no cooking required.

Edit: We just call this 'Cottage Cheese Salad'

1. Ingredients: 1 large bowl, 1 mixing spoon, 3 tubs of cottage cheese (24 oz.), 1 tub of Cool Whip, 2 cans of fruit (mixed or otherwise), 1 box of jello mix (flavor up to you, but I recommend a fruit flavor of some kind - *not* pudding mix. Jello - the jiggly clear stuff.). Now, I use all fat free, lite, etc. but, depending on your dietary requirements, that may not be necessary for you. It's the basics, cottage cheese, cool whip, jello flavor, fruit. Also, for those who don't consume pork products, I believe that there are some jello substitutes that are acceptable, but I don't know exactly what they are.




2. First, take the mixing spoon and carve out a scoop of the cool whip. How big a scoop is up to you, I tend to make it just a little bit bigger than the spoon bowl itself. Less, the result is a little less sweet, more, and it's more sweet. Keep in mind you'll be adding fruit, so that adds sweetness to the dish.




3. Dump all three tubs of cottage cheese into the bowl, and add the packet of jello flavoring, in powder form. Mix well. You want the color to be as even as possible, which means that the flavor you chose will be throughout the dish.




4. Drain the cans of fruit. Again, the particulars are to taste, but I tend to use mixed fruit and mandarin oranges. My mother only uses mixed fruit. Dump the cans in one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each can, to spread the fruit out as evenly as possible.

5. End result:




You can either serve immediately, or put back in the fridge to chill before serving. The food *will* have to be refrigerated. Also, *cover* in the fridge, or it dries out.


Now, it is also possible to add fresh fruit - grapes, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, etc. The only difference is, those really do need to be added *just* before serving, since they tend to go brown or mushy in the fridge once cut up.

Like I said, quick and easy. It's got kind of a messy look, I admit, but it tastes wonderful. A nice cool snack, and healthy too. And if you've got kids, they can help with every last step of it.

Happy Easter

or Blessed Pascha, which feels a bit less 'bunny' to me, but I still can't say it rolls off the tongue.

Vigil was beautiful last night, we all made it, no one tripped and fell down the stairs, which was a concern for me. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Story No One Else Knows

I'm going to tell y'all a story I've never told anyone else:

Years ago, I almost got myself killed.

It was my first car, a used Mustang, the road was wet, and the stop was one way. With heavy cross traffic. The traffic cleared, and I turned left. And the car immediately spun out of control. I remember doing a 180, I remember seeing a big red truck coming at me, then spinning away, then there was the huge *thump* of going through the ditch and bouncing up a hill. I skidded, and then stopped.

I was in the vacant lot across the street from where I'd started. It was a nice, cleared lot, but with large old oak trees all through it. It was up for sale. My car had stopped in the middle of three bunches of these trees. One on each side, and one right in front of me. The trees on the drivers side were so close that I had to climb over and out through the passenger side.

I checked the car for damage, nothing.

Not a scratch, not a ding. Just some sod stuck under the front bumper. I crawled back through, started the car, and carefully maneuvered myself back out and drove off the lot along the very edge, onto a side street, where the ditch was almost non-existant. I drove home, and I never told anyone, because I was scared I'd get in trouble for almost wrecking the car. It never crossed my mind that my parents would be *happy* I wasn't hurt. I hadn't thought about this in years, really. I don't have that car anymore, I don't live in the same place, so I don't use that road anymore.

Yesterday, I drove to the mall, and I took the back roads, wanting to avoid traffic. And I found myself at a stop light, waiting for it to turn so I could turn right. And I realized...this was the same intersection.

The trees are all still there, in the same places. The rest of the lot has been totally cleared and developed. There's a church there now. I looked at those trees, and I still don't know why I didn't smash into at least one of them. There are so many, and I was spinning out of control.

I don't know, but I'm happy to be here, and in three days, I'll be Catholic.

Yes, I'm having issues with some things, and I may (honestly), not remain Catholic. But I'm certainly closer to God than I've been in decades.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quote from The Orthodox Church by Kallistos Ware

"From this Gregory turned to the main problem: how to combine the two affirmations, that we humans know God and that God is by nature unknowable. Gregory answered: we know the energies of God, but not His essence. This distinction between God's essence (ousia) and His energies goes back to the Cappodacian Fathers. 'We know our God from His energies,' wrote St. Basil, 'but we do not claim that we can draw near to His essence. For His energies come down to us, but His essence remains unapproachable.' Gregory accepted this distinction. He affirmed, as emphatically as any exponent of negative theology, that God is in essence absolutely unknowable. 'God is not a nature,' he wrote, 'for He is above all nature; He is not a being, for He is above all beings...No single thing of all that is created has or ever will have even the slightest communion with the supreme nature or nearness to it.' But however remote from us in His essence, yet in His energies God has revealed Himself to us. These energies are not something that exists apart from God, not a gift which God confers upon humans; they are God Himself in His action and revelation to the world. God exists complete and entire in each of His divine energies. The World, as Gerard Manley Hopkins said, is charged with the grandeur of God; all creation is a gigantic Burning Bush, permeated but not consumed by the ineffable and wondrous fire of God's energies.

"It is through these energies that God enters into a direct and immediate relationship with humankind. In relation to us humans, the divine energy is in fact nothing else than the grace of God; grace is not just a 'gift' of God, not just an object which God bestows on humans, but a direct manifestation of the living God Himself, a personal encounter between creature and Creator. 'Grace signifies all the abundance of the divine nature, in so far as it is communicated to men.' When we say that the saints have been transformed or 'deified' by the grace of God, what we mean is that they have a direct experience of God Himself. They know God - that is to say, God in His energies, not in His essence." - Kallistos Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, p. 67-68

Monday, April 6, 2009

People Disappoint Me

Weekends should just be stricken from existence.

I had time to think this weekend, and, of course, I reflect on the fight I had with my friend last weekend. I love her dearly, but I've realized that she runs certain aspects of my life, and I let her. And, that I think she enjoys, on some level, having me as a friend, because no matter how 'not what she planned' her life gets, she can look at mine and feel pity. Now, don't get me wrong. I like my life - are there things I want that I don't have? Of course. Am I successful by the standards of the world? Oh, hell no. I'm 26, not married, no kids, never really a serious relationship. I don't party, I dress 'weirdly', I'm from two, count 'em, two broken homes, I don't make a lot of money, I've never graduated college (and that's by choice, mind you), and I live at home (I don't mooch, just to clear that up, I pay rent, and I purchase all my own clothes and things). And all I want out of life is to find a good man, get married, and raise brilliant, good children. And, you know, if possible, have a gigantic personal library. But that'd just be icing. :) My friend has been married for four years. She's a thesis shy of her doctorate. They live in a nice house, yadda. She works three jobs to *pay* for all her nice things, hubby doesn't work at all, doesn't clean, doesn't cook, doesn't do yard work, goes out all day and all night with his equally bum-tastic friends. I, trying to be nice, cleaned her house once. I figured, give them a clean slate, and they'll be able to keep it reasonable, if not to my standards. Nope. And I refuse to do it again, because nothing, clearly, will be learned. She's miserable, she's in therapy, and her husband has no idea how close he came to being divorced. I might not be as 'successful' as she is, but I'll bet you even money that, over all, I'm happier.

And then, Saturday morning? We're all eating breakfast (all being me, mom and dad), and dad's reading the paper. And he reads an article about North Korea, and makes some commentary, calling them 'gooks'. And then says something about Obama dealing with them, and I said, 'well, I'm pretty sure he'd have to deal with all the people still using the word 'gook' first.' And then, there was another article, about someone who had been arrested being released, and found not guilty. And he made some other comment, this time calling him a 'towel-head'. I was shocked, really. He's never used derogatory terms for anyone before! I interrupted him, and told him I didn't care, I didn't want to hear whatever it was that he was saying. He just went right on, saying that he 'knows we're all supposed to be liberal now, but...' I couldn't think of a thing to say. I was just...what? WHAT? What does 'being liberal' have to do with not being an asshole? I wanted to say, 'What would you do if one day I came home and said, 'I'm Muslim'?' Or what if I brought home a Muslim and announced that I was marrying him? I wanted to, but I didn't, because, honest, I don't think I want to know the answer. I like to maintain the illusion that I have unconditional love from my parents. I just ate quickly, cleared the table, did the dishes, and avoided speaking to him. Or even really looking at him...

I haven't spoken to dad since that morning. I'm sort of pretending that he doesn't exist. It's like shunning...

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Lisa did one over at her place, and it seemed like an entertaining thing to do. :)

Supernatural:



Dean and Castiel and 'the Winchester Gospels'! And a prophet of the Lord named Chuck (not pictured).

This shalwar khameez from Al Hannah:



Jumper-dress from Katie's Mercantile: I'm considering buying one, but I want to wait and see how Alana's order with them goes first.



My Baby (and all my pets, but his picture is the one I have on my computer):



Great White Sharks:


Beads:



Good Omens (Crowley!):

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good Omens

Do I need to have two copies of Good Omens so I can have the cover with Crowley and the cover with Aziraphale?

I already have the black cover, with Aziraphale, and I saw (not on sale, which is why I didn't pick it up), the white cover, with Crowley. Exact same book, different cover...hmm....




Very important question.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Books, Books, Books

Three things, but all on the same theme: books.

Item 1:

Some people bargain hunt for clothes, some hunt animals, shoes, whatever. Lo, I am the great hunter of books! Out BAMM has large bargain tables, and they get library books as well, and every so often I go through them. Today, I feel I have done excellently. :)





Item 2:



Okay, goal of the year is to read 100 books this year. As of the end of March, I have read:


Living with the Dead - Kelley Armstrong
Wish You Were Here - Rita Mae Brown
Rest in Pieces - Rita Mae Brown (1/7/09)
Murder at Monticello - Rita Mae Brown (1/9/09)
Pay Dirt - Rita Mae Brown (1/11/09)
Murder, She Meowed – Rita Mae Brown (1/14/09)
Murder on the Prowl – Rita Mae Brown (1/16/09)
Cat on the Scent – Rita Mae Brown (1/19/09)
Pawing Through the Past – Rita Mae Brown (1/21/09)
Catch as Cat Can – Rita Mae Brown (1/30/09)
The Tail of the Tip-Off – Rita Mae Brown
Whisker of Evil – Rita Mae Brown (2/5/09)
Men of the Otherworld – Kelley Armstrong (2/6/09)
Furies of Calderon – Jim Butcher (2/17/09)
Academ’s Fury – Jim Butcher (2/20/09)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (2/21/09)
Cursor’s Fury – Jim Butcher (2/24/09)
Living Islam Out Loud – Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur (ed) (2/25/09)
In the Land of Invisible Women – Qanta A. Ahmed, M.D. (2/28/09)
The Caged Virgin – Ayaan Hirsi Ali (3/5/09)
Infidel – Ayaan Hirsi Ali (3/11/09)
An Exorcist Tells His Story – Gabriele Amorth (3/17/09)



22 books. So, I'm a little behind. Clearly, I need to read more.



Item 3:



I have lots of books. Some, I have decided to get rid of. Before I take them to either Goodwill or the used book store (to exchange for more books), I thought I'd query the couple of people who read here. Would any of you like some of my books? Right now the backlog of books I want to get rid of consists mainly of Star Wars books, but eventually there will be others. If you guys are interested, or know anyone who is, let me know and I can work out how to do this. Keep in mind, I'm *giving* the books away. No charge, no shipping, nada. I'd rather mail them to someone who wants them than dump them off at Goodwill where they might languish forever, or take them to the store, where I will just get more books, which, since my current library is somewhere around 1,500 books, we'll all agree I don't really need. :)

Your Friends Are Not Always Right

I had a truly crappy weekend.

I was talking with Pixie via email, she very kindly offered to help me with something and we were in the very beginning stages of it. I was thrilled, and I told one of my friends about it.

And got lit into.

I'm immature, I don't think things through, what the h*ll am I trying to do? Do I really hate my life that much? If you do this you'll crush your parents hearts, everyone you know will be so disappointed...On and on and on... I felt horrible. I cried, and I never cry.

So I emailed Pixie and thanked her, and called it off.

And I really regret that, I do. Because, after giving myself more time to think, I know my friend is wrong about a lot of what she said.

But what's done is done, and my opportunity with Pixie and her help has passed.

In conclusion, I am a moron. And that's the worst part of it.

Shape up or you're not going to have a kingdom left

2 Samuel 19: 1 - 8 - 1 Joab was told, "The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom." 2 And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, "The king is grieving for his son." 3 The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. 4 The king covered his face and cried aloud, "O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!" 5 Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, "Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. 6 You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. 7 Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don't go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now." 8 So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, "The king is sitting in the gateway," they all came before him. Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.

It's sort of funny the different things you notice each time you read a book, especially the Bible. I've read it before, in different editions, and it never really occured to me that the above passage is David getting chewed out by Joab. It makes them more real, in a way. I mean, this is something you'd expect to occur between two friends. One of them is misbehaving, messing up, and the other is taking him to task.
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