Monday, April 14, 2014

A very cool opportunity for you: cheeeeeck it out!

How is it possible that I missed National Siblings Day last week?

Actually, I retract that question. Everyone close to me knows how it is possible that I could miss such an important and delightful holiday:

I almost certainly have early onset dementia.

This is a self-diagnosis, of course, that I may have mentioned to you once or twice.

The [much too rapid] deterioration of my memory has affected my life in a number of ways over the years, including but not limited to:

1. The time I got in my car, wondered why it smelled of cigarette smoke, noticed a beach bag in the front seat that I did not recognize, and then tried to drive away. Except the key didn't work. Why in tarnation didn't the key work?! I must have pulled out the wrong key — you know, the spare car key for the spare car I do not have. Or maybe the key was broken? Or upside down?

Or —

Oh. I see. This isn't my car.


2. The myriad times I've gotten in the shower still clothed.


3. The myriad times I've left the house wearing clothes that are inside out.


4. The myriad times I've showed up to appointments days early, or late.


5. The time I lost my grade book, tore the house apart looking for it, and later found it in the mailbox where I'd apparently put it, because, you know, who doesn't like a good scavenger hunt?


6. The time I was juggling 8 bags of groceries and couldn't get into my apartment. The darn key wouldn't work, after five years of working just fine! Surely it was broken [another broken key!]. Or the lock was broken. Or the door knob was broken. I couldn't figure out what, but SOMETHING WAS BROKEN.

After standing at the door pounding and yelling for a roommate to please please come open the door, I walked down the steps, looked around, and realized I was at the wrong apartment building.

Turns out my brain was broken.


But hey, there's no rule that says you can't celebrate National Siblings Day several days late. And so, I give you: a shout out to my amazing siblings, in the form of some of the worst poetry you have ever read. I blame the poetry on the dementia, too.



Dearest sister and brothers,
I’d like to thank our mother
For all of you.



My life has been rife
With all sorts of delight
Because of you.



 Words cannot express
How you are the best.




No really. There aren’t enough words in the world to capture this stuff:






You’re smart, hilarious and kind
And I really wouldn’t mind
If we all still lived in the same house.




Actually, I’d love it.
And surely we’d all fit
In mom and dad’s basement.

Let’s try it. 


The end.


But wait! There’s more! Not more poetry [insert sigh of relief], but another sibling! My little brother Aaron done got hitched a few years back, and now he and his wife, Natasha, are living in Canada where she is training for the 2016 Olympics as a track and field heptathlete.

My sister-in-law, Natasha 

The heptathlon is a two-day event comprised of seven different events: the long jump, high jump, javelin, shot put, 200-meter sprint, 100-meter hurdles, and 800-meter run. If super heroes existed, I feel quite certain they would be heptathletes by day (world-savers by night).




Heptathletes earn points for their seven respective events, and the athlete with the highest cumulative point total by the end of the two-day event wins. Because the heptathlon is the most intensely rigorous and varied sporting event for women in the world, the woman who wins the heptathlon at the Olympics is arguably the best female athlete in the world.




By this point you've probably concluded that my sister-in-law is fiercely determined and wildly talented. You'd be right about that. She's a mighty hard worker: she currently trains 6-8 hours every day at Calgary's Olympic training center AND she works a part-time job.



But that's not the thing I admire most about my sister-in-law. Natasha is working fervently to bring the Gospel of Jesus to the largely unreached world of sports. She is determined to use her platform and its accompanying power to proclaim the goodness of a God whose love for us is absolutely, wildly unimaginable. She's a heptathlete AND a world-changer: a true God-empowered superhero.

If you are looking for ways to support a missionary in the next year, then I have an opportunity for you.

But first, there's bad news: Canada has pulled back their funding for professional track athletes, leaving many of their elite athletes to scrounge up their own competition costs. These costs can accumulate quickly since most of the elite competitions require international travel, room and board. It's imperative that Natasha compete in these competitions if she's going to realize her Olympic dream.



Because Natasha is determined to do what she can to make it to the Olympics, she's created a campaign to raise funding to cover her competition costs. The campaign has lasted the duration of the month, and is now in its final days.

(Check out her campaign video below):


If you'd like to help support Natasha's ministry and Olympic dream by donating, then you can go to her campaign website :

http://makeachamp.com/natashajackson

There are two days left in her campaign, so hurry on over! Every little bit helps: five dollars for a tank of gas while traveling to and from competitions; $10 for a meal on the road; $20 for a rental car.

If you're unable to give financial support at this time, then there are a couple of other ways you can support Natasha:

1. Share the link to her campaign website via social media.

2. Pray for her, particularly for a fruitful ministry, good health, ample financial provision, and a sense of God's involvement with her training and competing.


Thank you to the moon and back, everyone!

Aaaaand happy Siblings Day [a week late]!!!

-Sarah



© by scj

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Just because

Here you go:




It's Thursday, which means you probably need this. Take some. There's enough for everyone.

Also, you'll notice that is not me in the background of that picture. That is my assistant, er, Horatio. He helps me do important things like craft and disperse the finest gourmet chocolate (obviously); pick and polish apples from the orchard down the hill before baking them into pies; spritz my patio full of orchids with a light mist 12 times a day; scrub my kitchen floor and floor boards with a precision only made possible by a toothbrush; weave my recyclable plastics and cardboards into Anthropologie-inspired curtains; and brush, rub and feed my pet unicorn.

Everyone needs a Horatio.

Okay, now hold the chocolate up to your nose and inhale its dark, rich scent. Is it filling your nose and making your mouth water? Then put that chocolate in your mouth! Close your eyes and chew it slowly. Let it melt.

It's an indescribable experience, isn't it? All that sweet, rich cream; all those endorphins the cacao releases; the way your tongue can simultaneously taste sweet and bitter and feel smooth and crunchy; the smell of the chocolate while you eat it.

Isn't it crazy that our bodies are cursed? Our tongues, noses, fingers, and stomachs have all been affected by the Fall of man; they've been damaged by sin's curse. And the cow that made the cream that went into the chocolate? It's been damaged by sin's curse. And the ground that grew the grass that fed the cow? It's been damaged by sin's curse. And yet, these things open us to so much grace.

Can you imagine what chocolate would have tasted like in the garden of Eden, back when our tongues, the cows, and the ground weren't cursed? Now close your eyes again, and imagine what chocolate will taste like in heaven when we're freed from sin's curse — when our bodies are new and the food we eat hasn't been cultivated on a dying earth.

It's going to be crazy. Off the hook CRAZY.

I like imagining heaven. And I'm thankful for a God who gives a world full of so much varied grace right now. Our tongues don't have to open us to such pleasure, but they do. The cows don't have to make thick cream, but they do. The ground doesn't have to grow cacao beans, but it does. They do and it does because God is good and he likes to give us good things, just because.

I'm thankful for that.

So once you've finished Horatio's chocolate here, go buy yourself a bar of chocolate, just because. And then eat it, just because. And then notice how much grace is packed into the bar of chocolate and your body, just because. Just because God loves us, and he loves giving us good things.

Happy, glorious, chocolate-filled Thursday!

-Sarah



© by scj

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sparkling

Greetings from earthquake land!

We made it. We had seven straight days of earthquakes last week, but the earth's shaking has finally subsided. For now, anyway. This soothing and still development has radically minimized a number of unique fears which sprouted last week — fears which I have never before experienced. For example:


The fear of being in the shower when an earthquake hits.

The fear of being on the toilet when an earthquake hits.

The fear of being in the middle of getting dressed when an earthquake hits.


I fear I owe all of my geographically close friends an explanation for my un-showered, un-changed and generally disheveled presence last week. Earthquakes will make a girl do crazy things. Or, in this case, not do normal things.

But today I am showered and dressed [in sweatpants]. All earthquake messes have been cleaned up; my vases are back in their proper place; and I've resumed my habit of leaving a half-full glass of water on the table, without fear of it being knocked over.

My nerves, however, have not been fully calmed.

I just can't shake the feeling that a big Los Angeles earthquake — the BIG one scientists have been predicting for years — may be in our near future. I've been hearing about "the big one" since I moved down here, without much fear of it occurring. But all the seismic activity last week has me googling, "how to predict big earthquakes." If the big one's going to hit soon I'd really like to know so I can adequately worry about it. I'm strategic like that.

Here's what my googling uncovered:

Although not terribly reliable, there are patterns that scientists have observed before many big earthquakes. For example:

Often, before an earthquake, there's a significant and unusual change in the temperature.

And sometimes, before a massive earthquake, there are rainbow-ish clouds in the sky.

And often, before an earthquake, the entire animal kingdom — including pets— starts acting weird.


Incidentally, the day after I made this discovery our temperature spiked 20 degrees, from 70-something to 90-something. Thankfully there have been no rainbow clouds. And the squirrels outside my window? I've been watching them like a hawk. I've been watching the hawks like a hawk, too, which is probably weird for them. So far I have seen no moon-walking squirrels or somersaulting hawks. But when I do, I'll be sure to warn you southern California folks that something seismic is.up.

In the meantime, I've been trying to redirect my focus from potential future disasters to all of the good gifts in my life right now. A weekend beach trip was a particularly good way to do this:



Oh Laguna, how is possible that you are cursed? Your beauty is staggering, and I cannot imagine what you looked like before sin's curse affected you... but it sure is fun to try.




I went to the beach with a handful of my truest, bestest friends. We always have fun together.

The guys had fun climbing on rocks and letting the ocean waves break over their backs.




The girls had fun taking pictures...


...And watching the waves.


And then my body let me do something that it hasn't let me do in almost four years: it let me run. Not the walk-jogs (a.k.a. "wogs") I've been able to do a handful of times the last year, but up on my toes, springing forward, pushing deep RUNNING.

I wonder if I felt a little bit like Lazarus did when he walked out of his dark, fetid tomb and into the light of day and land of the living. Blood pulsing, heart pounding, lungs heaving, muscles burning, endorphins flowing, sun shining, breeze blowing, body working. I have no words to describe how it felt to be flying down the beach in a body that didn't feel like it was decaying, imprisoning, limiting.


I think the experience was like walking into a celestial soda shop and up to the shiny ice cream counter showcasing rows of flavors.

"Hey God," I said. (He was behind the counter, see). "I'd like to taste that golden flavor in the back row. Yeah, the glowing stuff — the one labeled 'heaven.'"

So he put a dollop of heaven on a spoon and said, "Enjoy, dear heart! There's more where that came from..."

Because the best is yet to come. And boy it's a good day when I get a taste of what awaits — of healing, freedom, and newness of life. And it's a good God who re-directs Anxiety Girl's focus from life's quaking and cracking to its sparkling glimpses of heaven.

You see, the key to helping Anxiety Girl has always been an ice cream parlor with its delightful array of celestial flavors!

And this is just one of many, many reasons I think God is the greatest.

Merry, sparkling Tuesday, my friends.

-Sarah

© by scj

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I feel the earth. move. (under my feet)...

I've finally come out from under the table long enough to do a little blogging.

The earth has been trembling — sometimes violently shaking — since Friday. Walls spitting vases onto the floor; dishes rattling against cupboard doors; gas leaking from the furnace; patio furniture tumbling. My nerves. Oh Earth, have you no consideration for my poor nerves? [Name that movie].

Our first quake— a 3.6 — hit Friday evening while I was talking on the phone with my sister. "Sweet heavens, it's an earthquake!" I cried. And then I felt it: that weird intuitive knowing churning in my gut: there would be more. Big quakes; scary quakes; quakes that could send my bungalow tumbling down the hill with me in it.

"Oh no, what should I do if a bigger quake hits?!" I asked my sister. "What if my roof collapses? What if I'm knocked unconscious? What if I die?! All the neighbors are gone! How is it possible that all my close neighbors are gone tonight?! It's a conspiracy! Help, Rebecca! Help!"

My sister has known me for 27 years. She knows I'm good at catastrophic thinking. She knows I can find a way to explain why the worst case scenario is the most likely scenario. She knows worrying is one of my special gifts. She knows I am...Anxiety Girl:




So she calmly replied, "You're fine, Sarah. Nothing has happened. Just curl up with a blanket and a book and relax."

So I did. It helped, and I've been curled up under the table with a blanket and a book ever since. Well, I've ventured out for food, water, and work a number of times. But I've had plenty of reasons to run back for cover.

Because a bigger quake measuring 5.1 did hit about an hour after I talked to my sister. To those of you who have survived earthquakes measuring 7, 8, and 9 on the richter scale: I can't fathom the terror of that experience. Because Friday night's quake scared the daylights out of me. It was close to the earth's surface, and I was on the epicenter. And as the shaking grew more violent and prolonged, I began to truly wonder if this.was. it. If my life would soon be over. Kaput. Finito. Arrivederci Roma.

But when the shaking stopped, I was still clinging to the leg of my table, my floral table cloth tickling my feet. I was very much alive. And I very much heard sirens all over the city and smelled gas leaking into my studio. So I turned off my furnace, packed a bag, and walked out to the street where I surveyed the houses up the hill and prayed,

"God, which house should I go to?"

I'd met an elderly lady — probably in her 90s — and her son on a walk awhile back, and had seen them in the window of the house at the top of the hill. Maybe they'd take me in. I lugged my bag up the hill, knocked on the door, and introduced myself.

Minutes later I was sitting on their couch watching the news while they dished up ice cream and cleaned up messes the earthquake made. "Why don't you sleep on our couch tonight," the elderly lady invited. Relieved, I snuggled onto the couch with my childhood comforter and flannel pillow, breathing thanks that I wouldn't have to brave the night alone.

Minutes after we'd turned out the lights, another earthquake rocked the house. Once its rumbling subsided I heard my hostess talking to her son in the back room, her voice stretched hoarse with age, "I'm glad she's here tonight. It would be so lonely in that apartment."

I didn't sleep much that night. Earthquakes rocked the house every 20-30 minutes or so, sending adrenaline shooting through my body. But I wasn't alone, which made me much less inclined to assume death was imminent. Anxiety Girl's worry powers are weakened when she's with other people.

The next morning I had gluten-free blueberry muffins (with a side of aftershocks) with my new friends before heading back down the hill to wait for the gas man. I had to wait 16 hours before he arrived due to all the gas leaks the earthquake had caused, but I wasn't alone that day. A friend of my next door neighbors had come to check on their cat, and checked on me regularly to make sure I was holding up through all the aftershocks. By the end of the day, he was a new friend.

So it's been a productive week. The aftershocks keep on rocking, and the friendships keep on accumulating. It's marvelous to see all the good gifts that God gives in the midst of distress. I am tired of all this shaking though. And my adrenal glands are tired. I don't know how much more adrenaline they can pump. Hopefully they won't have to pump much more. But just in case there are more quakes, I've got my disaster preparedness kit packed and ready to go:


Toilet paper is the cherry on top of this girl's disaster preparedness kit.

Speaking of cherries on top, I have a tub of ice cream in the freezer. I think I shall go eat it. Ice cream helps with adrenaline overflow and makes earthquakes more manageable. It's a scientific fact.

Science always was my strong-suit.

Just kidding. We all know worrying is. ;)

Happy Tuesday, friends!

-Sarah


© by scj

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Santa Bah-bah-ra Town

This is my friend Laura celebrating her 31st birthday last weekend:


Let me tell you a story about Laura.

Three years ago, a month before I was supposed to get married, I was suddenly without a place to live as a result of canceling my wedding and subsequent plans to live with a husband. I was devastated, numb, and sicker than words can say but desperate for a place to live, so I plowed through the search process.

The week I scoured the internet for housing, Laura and her roommates advertised their open, ready-to-rent room. I contacted Laura, met her, and really liked her, but realized soon after that I was sick too sick to live with roommates. I needed the silence of solitude.

A year later I was still sick and desperately lonely. It is hard to make friends in a new town when you can hardly leave your house. So I decided I'd muster up every last ounce of energy to go out with friends once a month. But how in tarnation I was supposed to make friends to go out with when I was too sick to go out more than once a month was beyond me.

So I begged God to give me friends. I pointed him to pictures I'd stumbled upon on Facebook of single Christians having fun together, and asked God if I could please please please meet these people.  

The days slipped by, my prayers piled up and no friends magically showed up at my door.

One day my begging turned to ragged sobs. "God," I cried, "you have to bring me friends. You just have to."

A few hours later, I forced myself out of bed to go teach one of my two mornings at Biola, and I ran into Laura. "Hey, we know each other!" she said. We chatted, and then she invited me to her house the next day to watch Anne of Green Gables with some other girls. I think I may have cried right then and there.

From then on, Laura included me. She introduced me to her friends and invited me to events. And when I had to turn her down most of the time because of my illness, she didn't forget about me like most people do. She remembered, and reached out, until years later, I had a community — the same single Christians I'd seen in the pictures on Facebook.

Laura is special. She is an others-centered includer and her friendship has changed my life. I'm so thankful for her, and am glad God's given her 31 years of gracing his green earth.

To celebrate Laura's birthday, a small group of us girls went to Santa Barbara for the day. It was a glorious day full of sea breezes, cascading bougainvillea, and rolling hills.

Our first stop was downtown Santa Barbara, where we wandered through the Mediterranean-style buildings people-watching and taking pictures.




After we'd whet our appetites for street musicians, shopping, and people-watching, we walked to the pier. It was a very silvery scene:


Silvery sky...


...and silvery sea. Can you see the silvery tide racing across the sky trying to beat the ocean's tide to the sand in the picture below?



If I were a rock n' roll star, this would be my signature move:


After we'd taken jumping pictures to our hearts' content, we drove up out of the clouds and into the sunny hills to go wine tasting. The winery was beautiful. I felt as if I'd been transported to France.


Side note: Once, when driving through France with my family, we stopped in the middle of the night at a truck stop so my dad, who was driving, could take a nap. The car was so full of luggage that there was no room for any sort of lounging, so my brother and I hopped out of the car and slept on the sidewalk in front of the bathrooms. It was the best night of sleep I got on the road, and remains one of my favorite memories of France.





Our goal was to beat the sun to the beach after wine tasting so we could have a sunset picnic, so when the sun began to sink we raced back down the hill to the sand where we enjoyed a quiet dinner.



On the way home later that night, I marveled that my body had made it through the day. I'd hesitated to RSVP to the outing because I didn't know if my body would be able to handle the festivities of an all-day affair, but I've felt so healthy the last several weeks that I decided to take the risk and go. And I made it without relapsing during or afterwards. It's a crazy thing, this healthy feeling. I'm not clinging to it or counting on it lasting, but just enjoying the right now that feels so good. I love it.


My health and this birthday trip: they were the perfect way to kickstart spring.

© by scj

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

World Vision and the Either/Or Fallacy

I’ve not read much about the controversy swirling around World Vision’s decision to hire married gay employees, but the little bit I have read is disappointing. In particular, I’m bummed with Kristen Howerton’s final word on the issue over at her blog Rage Against the Minivan.

Kristen is a Christian living in my area who does a lot of good in the world. She cares about people, and she cares about Jesus’ reputation. She cares because she knows Jesus is the Door to human flourishing, and she doesn’t want misrepresentations of Jesus to repel people from the Giver of good Life.

Today she addressed World Vision’s decision to hire gay married employees, stating her dismay at the number of people who announced their decision to stop sponsoring a child through World Vision in order to make a statement about gay marriage. She challenged people to sponsor another child at World Vision today, rather than retract support of some of the world’s hungriest most vulnerable children.

Kristen's obvious concern for hungry, disadvantaged kids had me cheering, but her last word on Christians' responses to World Vision was hard to stomach:

"I’m also just so, so dismayed that this is yet another instance in which Christians are telling the world that their feelings about gay people are stronger than their compassion. That their anger over gay employees is greater than their anger over starving children."

I teach rhetoric for a living. I love teaching rhetoric because the way we communicate feels so important to me. Words and ideas are the brick and mortar we use to build society, culture, and the Kingdom of Heaven. Our words can either be productive or destructive; they can either give life or gobble it up.

I get riled up when I see people use logical fallacies to corner, pigeonhole, and manipulate others into doing what they think is best. Regardless of the intention behind the words, if the words are fallacious then they can be hugely destructive. I imagine the intent behind Kristen’s words was good — really good; but she’s left her readers with a destructive logical fallacy to swallow. In fact, it’s giving me indigestion.

Kristen’s final statement has given us two categories we can fit into:

1.     Our compassion is stronger than our anger and feelings about gay marriage and we will sponsor a child from World Vision.

2.     Our anger and feelings about gay marriage are stronger than our compassion and we will not sponsor a child from World Vision.

Either our compassion trumps our feelings about gay marriage or it doesn’t.
This is an either/or fallacy. It presents a limited range of choices and tries to wrangle us into choosing the one that is clearly more desirable. It doesn’t give us any alternatives.

But alternatives exist.

In fact, a group of people with the same convictions and goals could have totally different ideas about how to implement practices which realize their goals and reflect their convictions.

Stay with me for a minute. I’m going somewhere, but it’s going to take me a bit to get there.

Sin destroys us. The Bible makes this clear. This is why God hates sin. He hates what it does to the bodies, souls and lives of the people he loves so much. I think the Bible makes it clear that gay marriage is sin. Thus, gay marriage will be destructive to the homosexuals who engage in it. And a society that readily embraces and promotes gay marriage as natural and healthy will experience destructive consequences. 

World Vision has claimed that they are not taking a theological stance on gay marriage. Kristen seems to agree, stating that a church’s code of conduct will be different than a non-profit’s; thus World Vision's stance is less theological and more of a reflection of the way they want run a non-profit. But World Vision is a Christian ministry with a code of conduct that is, according to them, theologically informed. Which is to say, it’s informed by the commands of God. We’re not talking about a difference between a Christian ministry and a non-Christian ministry here.

And, from my understanding, World Vision has not eliminated their prohibitions on premarital sex or adultery from their code of conduct.

When you have a theologically informed sexual code of conduct and the only thing you change in it is your policy on gay marriage, then you are making some sort of theological statement about gay marriage. It seems clear to me that you are saying gay marriage is acceptable in ways that premarital sex and adultery are not. If there’s a different way to understand this change in the code of conduct, please help me to see it, because I currently cannot.

World Vision’s statement about the acceptability of gay marriage will shape culture. It will because World Vision has a big, powerful, culture-shaping voice. And its stance on gay marriage will shape society in ways that are unhealthy and cannot lead to fullness of human flourishing. That always happens when we take a stance that accepts sin as normal and healthy. And when society is shaped, individual souls are shaped. Society is not an amorphous blob; it’s a collection of eternal persons desperate to flourish.

Human flourishing. It’s the goal of World Vision. It’s the goal of the Church. It's the goal of Kristen Howerton. There will be Christians with the same goal as Kristen Howerton who decide to redirect their funds for starving children to organizations besides World Vision so they can care for children AND take a stand against a stance on gay marriage that cannot lead to human flourishing, with the hope of influencing World Vision to use their voice to shape culture differently. We don’t have to choose between compassion for hungry children and taking a stand against World Vision's statement about gay marriage. We can choose both.

This is the third option that Kristen Howerton doesn’t allow for in her post. I wish she had. I wish she had because when we wield the either/or fallacy we squash conversation. We stifle voices that may have something important to say.

Avoiding the either/or fallacy requires empathy. I know because I’ve wielded the either/or fallacy plenty of times. My friends and families can attest to this. But as I grow in my desire to understand and engage other people, I find I’m curious to hear how others’ voices might broaden my "either/or" views. I find I’m more keen to engage in discussions which cultivate a culture of encouraging and challenging each other, with the common goal of thinking and acting biblically.

It makes sense that in a conversation about compassion we’d talk about empathy, too. It doesn’t seem right to divorce the two. Not for World Vision, not for starving kids around the world, not for us.

Which means this conversation probably isn’t over. There’s a lot more we could talk about. There are a lot of other ways we can try to understand each other. If you decide to join the conversation here, let’s make empathy and compassion our guides!




© by scj

Monday, March 24, 2014

True Tales: in which I list true things

Today I'd like to tell you some true things.

True thing #1: Yesterday, on the way to a birthday party, I began writing a text to a friend that went like this: "Do you mind bringing a roll of toilet paper for me to the party tonight? I'm out of t.p. at home and won't have time to buy any tonight." It took awhile to type coherent sentences because my carpool was whipping around corners like he was reliving his childhood Nascar fantasy, but finally, after a few fumbling minutes, I'd typed it. And then, without a second thought, I sent it. I actually sent it.

True thing #2: Old age has whittled away my sense of texting dignity.

True thing #3: My friend showed up to our friend's birthday party with a roll of toilet paper in her purse.

True thing #4: I have a true friend.


True thing #5: I got so caught up in the festivities of the birthday party that I forgot to get the roll of toilet paper from my friend.

True thing #6: I convinced my carpool to stop at the store on the way home from the party so I could buy toilet paper. Actually, it didn't take any convincing as he is amicable and generous and doesn't think late night spur-of-the-moment toilet paper runs are at all inconvenient.

True thing #7: I wore wool socks with flip flops into the store to get toilet paper. Even still, my friend came into the store with me and walked beside me and talked to me, unfazed.

It dipped into the 60's last night, requiring that I don five layers.

True thing #8: I have two true friends.

True thing #9: I sure do know how to dress for a party.


True thing #10: Yesterday, before the party, I nearly jumped out of my skin when I turned and saw a stranger, wearing a Nike sweatshirt, sitting casually and confidently in my leather chair.

True thing #11: It wasn't a stranger:


True thing #12: My mama was right: it's always a good idea to hang your clothes up when you're done wearing them.


True thing #13: Yesterday, before I nearly jumped out of my skin, I laid beneath my window eating chips. Normally I lounge and eat chocolate when I'm sabbathing, and normally I am used to finding flecks of melted chocolate on my person throughout the day. But yesterday I munched too vigorously and a chip crumb flew through the air and landed in my eye.

True thing #14: It was triangular crumb. A very, very acute triangular crumb. As in, there were no obtuse angles. As in, all the angles were very, very acute.

True thing #15: I'll take flecks of melted chocolate on my person over pointy triangular chip crumbs in my eye any day.


True thing #16: Once, my sister and I ate two pounds of bacon in one morning.

True thing #17: I love bein' all growed up.


True thing #18: I like ya. All of ya. And I hope you have a toilet paper and bacon-filled Monday.


© by scj

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fizzy

Yesterday I woke up quite dizzy, or, as a Siri put it when I texted a response to a friend who'd asked how I was feeling, "fizzy."

I have been drinking a lot of fizzy water with lime lately. It makes drinking water so tropical. So unexpected. So celebratory. So fun.


Water "con gas," as the Italians like to call it, feels like a party in the mouth. Incidentally, water "con gas" does not sound like a party in the mouth. It sounds more like a party in the...well, you know what I mean.

Sorry, I had to. Blame it on the dizziness.

Siri's mis-type got me wondering: is the source of all this dizziness actually fizziness? Is it possible to overdo it on water con gas? Do all of the bubbles gather and rise like a fizzing bomb that explodes once it reaches the inner ears?

It's a question for the ages. Or my doctor. Or you guys and gals.

What do you do for vertigo? Of the myriad health problems I've had over the years, vertigo is not one of them. I don't know what to do, and it's proven to be pretty incapacitating — it's made it impossible to drive, work or do anything else that requires remaining upright for more than a second, like preparing food.

For example, last night, while talking to my brother on the phone, I got up to get food from the kitchen and promptly veered into my dresser instead.

"Ugh, this feels so yucky. I'm tired of it," I complained.

"Don't get up!" my brother responded.

"But I need to eat some vegetables; I've eaten little besides chips and ice cream today."

"Woooah, Saaarah!"

"They're the only foods I have that don't require prep; I can eat them in bed," I defended myself.

"Sarah, perhaps you misread my tone; that wasn't a tone of disapproval, it was one of great admiration!"

Little brothers are "the beeest" (*insert hispanic accent* and name that movie).

Coconut ice cream and plantain chips are also the best. Especially with a side of water con gas. Unless. Wait. Could too much ice cream and chips cause dizziness?

Help!

Sincerely,

Sarah

P.S. I feel like one of those flies that has been disoriented by the fly contraption that sends out dizzying signals to discombobulate insects so they can be more easily killed (or captured and released outside), and is flying in circles and crashing into walls and windows.

Do those contraptions exist? Or did I just make them up? I cannot seem to find said fly contraption via google. Help again!



© by scj

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My favorite California experience soaker up-er

On Wednesday, after our girls' weekend in Arizona, my sister flew to Orange County to visit me for several days. Since then, we've been soaking up the southern California experience. She's my favorite California experience soaker up-er.

Our first adventure was a trip to Disneyland, where we rode Splash Mountain for the first time in almost 20 years. Our goal was to have fun, without anxiety, uncertainty, or overwhelming terror:

Circa 1995

This time around we laughed and squealed and didn't feel an ounce of terror.


Okay, maybe one ounce. Or two.


But it was still a blast.

This trip to Disneyland was the best I've ever had, besides my first trip when I was 11. It's likely that that trip will always remain the mother of all Disneyland trips.

Here's how it happened: Mom and dad loaded all four of us, ages 11, 9, 7, and 5, into our 9-seater station wagon and drove 18 hours to the California/Mexico border to visit family. God bless mom and dad. That must have been a drive for the history books, particularly the chapter entitled, "Unending misery and overwhelming regret," although dear mom and dad have never even insinuated that the trip was anything but fun.

On the way back, while passing through Orange County, my parents got off the freeway and told us they had a surprise for us.

I pressed my nose to the car window, scanning the streets, looking for clues to help me piece together the surprise. I saw a restaurant with a thatched roof — would we enjoy an Austrian dinner of sausage and french fries? I saw a string of hotels — would we stay in one with a my most favorite hotel feature: a swimming pool?

And then I saw it. Sleeping Beauty's castle, standing tall and magical on the horizon. I squealed with delight. Within seconds four little blond waifs were squealing and shouting and hopping as far out of their seats as their seat belts would let them.

It was the delight of the decade.

Rebecca and I both agreed this week's Disneyland experience was a close runner up to our first Disneyland surprise.



The lines were short, the sky was cloudless, there was a nice breeze, and I had my seester at my side.

Indiana Jones was our favorite "big" ride; we opened and closed the day with it

This is the first time I've been to Disneyland since I got sick 3.5 years ago, and I was in awe of my body throughout the day. It's been feeling remarkably strong the last 6 weeks, and I was able to walk around the park, go up and down stairs, and wait in multiple lines without fatigue or sickness taking over.  The energy and health made me feel like a girl again. That's the best way to feel in Disneyland.

Another of the week's happy highlights was riding bikes in Newport Beach. The sun. The sea. The sand. We were all smiles.



We had quite a time trying to take a selfie whilst riding bikes down a crowded boardwalk. It almost resulted in a number of accidents, and was great entertainment for traffic coming the opposite direction, as one older man informed us


We had plans to enjoy Laguna Beach to finish out the week, but all our traveling and fun-ing in the sun caught up to us, and we started to feel unwell. So instead of hitting the sand, we opened all my bungalow's windows and laid in bed resting, sucking throat lozenges and  listening to the wind in the trees outside.

It was as lovely a way to feel lousy as we could think of: just my sister and I, watching the sun dance through the window panes.

And then, just like that, the week was over and we were back in our respective homes and work routines. Until next month, when I will take a week to visit my family up north. Woo hoo!

Happy Tuesday, dear ones!

-Sarah


© by scj