Monday, February 25, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It's great to be home! I was so happy to get home on Thursday night and get to hug my kids. And they seemed to be genuinely happy to see me, too, so that made it even better.

We spent the weekend doing all kinds of family things. I took the kids to their swimming lessons on Friday and then we went for a bike ride both Saturday and Sunday. We all got our first sunburns of the year after spending the entire day outside yesterday. It was just a very nice weekend.

Now, having been back at work for an entire day, I almost wish I could go back to Pascagoula where nobody bothered me all day long and I didn't have to put up with all the project stupidity that goes on here.

But, I get to go home and spend the evening with my family and that far outweighs any of the negatives they seem to continuously throw at me here at work. Time to go! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dungeness Crab

Ok, I'll admit it, not everything is horrible about traveling to the thriving metropolis of Pascagoula, Mississippi. On this trip, I learned how to eat crab!

Yep, even after living in Houston for almost 15 years, I have never attempted to eat crab or lobster or anything else that swims and is served whole on a plate.

So, even though I knew I would have to endure endless taunts from the guys with whom I'm traveling (all Texas natives), I admitted to them that I have no idea how to eat large shellfish. You know - not a lot of seafood in Nebraska besides frozen fish sticks. (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

That secured the decision on where to eat dinner last night. We went to one of the many seafood restaurants around here and everyone ordered the Dungeness Crab.

Since one of the guys used to Crab for a living when he lived in Louisiana, he took great pleasure in showing me how to rip apart and crack the shell of the poor thing that had been alive only a few minutes before being served. It was delicious.

Of course, the expert crab-eater was finished with his before I was even half-way done with mine. He even had time to order a pound of crawfish and eat it before I finished. But, at least I wasn't the last one done. I hurried up enough to beat at least one of the other guys. :)

Tomorrow, we head home and I should be in time to tuck the kids into bed. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Church politics

Well, we found out two weeks ago that the Unitarian Universalist church is not without it's own politics. We've been going to the church on and off for about three years now, but two weeks ago, we were really surprised by the service.

Both of the pastors were somehow run out of the church! They both gave a "Homily" sermon and that was the end of that. This past Sunday, there was an interim minister there. Strange. We still haven't heard the rest of the story.

But, I wanted to relay one of the stories that was told during their "homily" service. It's a story about an ancient "Truth" that fell from the sky. I can't remember the exact story, but it went something like this:

There once was the truth and it was kept by an ancient tortoise who lived in the sky. One day, it fell from the sky and broke into two pieces. One piece, fell in plain view while the other rolled into deep grass. The piece in plain view caught the attention of many different animals. Each, in turn, picked it up and held on to it for a little while, but quickly realized that it was incomplete and not the whole truth. It lost its luster.

One day a human found the half-piece of rock and read it. It made him feel special and he put it into his pocket. It made him feel good to know that it was there and every once in awhile, he would take it out and look at it.

Finally, he decided to share the message of his rock with some other people. It said,"You are loved". The people really liked that message. They liked it so much, in fact, that they began to call it THE truth and they made a special place to keep the stone and come see it once a week.

Then they began to believe that they were the only ones chosen to hear this truth and felt that everyone else who did not believe this truth were not as good. Before long, a war broke out.

But one child who was watching the fight thought she might be able to do something about it. So, she went to a far away place during her vision quest and she met the ancient tortoise. He told her where she could find the other half of the truth. She searched and searched and finally, she found it. She hurried home to share the other half of the rock's truth with the villagers.

When she arrived, they were still fighting, so she walked out in the middle of the battle and said, "STOP! I have the other half of the broken truth."

The people on both sides of the battle stopped and their leaders came out to the little girl. One village leader carried the first half of the rock, "You are loved" He placed it in the little girl's hand, and the girl put the pieces together. The rock, now complete, read: "You are loved ... and so are they."


About halfway through the story when the humans started turning against each other, I started remembering a song that we used to sing in our church youth choir and I couldn't get it out of my head for the rest of the day:

(a 1960's era anti-war song written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter)

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They'd have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven,
justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowin'
come the judgment day
on the bloody morning after,
one tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they'd kill.

Came an answer from the kingdom,
"With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there."


Now the valley cried with anger,
"Mount your horses! Draw your sword!"
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.

Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it...
"Peace on Earth" was all it said.



Funny how we used to sing this anti-war song in my church and now I feel like the Christian religion has been totally hijacked by a war-mongering "Christian Right".

A bumper sticker I recently saw says, "The Christian Right is Neither."


Monday, February 18, 2008

Where did the week go?

There was a lovely layer of smog over Houston as I flew out this morning.

I'm traveling for work this week - Against my better judgement and really, against my will! However, I was informed last Wednesday that I would, in fact, be required to come to the refinery for the week, which meant that I had to try to get everything done on Thursday that I had planned to do this week. It didn't work and I ended up going in to the office for a couple hours on Sunday (was that just yesterday?) to try to finish.

It also meant that I had to change my plans for Friday and go take the refinery safety training class and then I had to spend the rest of the day getting ready for our son's school's garage sale.

The garage sale seemed a little more subdued this year than last year, but it's really hard to say. Last year, we were on the garage sale committee, so everything was a little more stressful last year.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing for the last week. Maybe I'll have a little time to relax and blog this week! We'll see...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Boring Post

Ok, my parents complained about the dark colors during my mourning period, so I figured I should change them back. Even though I'm still upset about the impending doom of the country...

And since I'm still depressed, I can't find anything good to write about. This weekend our plan is to go through our entire house and make a huge garage sale pile. Our son's school's major fundraising event for the year is a neighborhood garage sale. Each student's family is required to donate at least $250-worth of stuff for the sale and last year, I think the school made about $6000 off the event.

You might think it would be hard to find that much stuff in your house each year, but it's actually fairly easy! We're definitely ready to get rid of some more crap in an effort once again to streamline the household. (always a good thought, but it never seems to work out - I'm this close to hiring a professional organizer...)

Also on the agenda is a bike ride. Actually nobody else in the family knows this yet, but I have now proclaimed it and it shall be so.

Have a good weekend!