Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cafeteria Catholic

I have to admit I am a Wishy Washy Catholic or better yet, A Cafeteria Catholic. I slid my heart and my logical thinking brian along the steel rails and peer over the sneeze guard. What looks good today? How do I feel about myself and God these days?
Interestingly, I think more about Jesus, the saints and Mary more than this "God." The whole Trinity thing is complex. Ok Jesus has Monday and Tuesday. Holy Spirit you can have Wednesday and Thursday and God; Friday, Saturday, and well, because you are God, you have dibs on Sunday.

I grew up in a very strict Catholic family. Rosary after dinner ( I don't really remember how long this lasted.) I just remember feeling odd and embarassed by it and wondering if any of my friends sat around the table with their families doing this? Mass every Sunday and of course the obligatory Holy Days. During Lent we had the cardboard bowl on our table. Operation Rice Bowl. Loose change from fasting during the 40 days of Lent was to be dumped into the bowl and then given to the church. Fasting, Almsgiving, Confession. All those big scary things a kid tries to wrap their wee intelelect around.

I remember giving up chocolate or trying to be nicer to my brothers or more helpful around the house. On Good Friday we would spend quiet time reflecting on the Passion of Jesus. For as long as I can remember that Friday was always dark and gloomy, inside the house and outside. I'm lounging on my bed, picturing the curtain in the sanctuary being torn in half, his Mother at his feet, those around Him realizing what they had done. Heavy stuff.

In college I stopped going to Mass. I thought for myself and was quite content being a "former" Catholic. It's not that I stopped believing, it's more like I wanted my independance, a tempting of fate, having no lightning bolts crashing upon me. I was lazy, sleeping in, wrapped in the arms of the man I was falling in love with.

That was then this is now. I took a path of self discovery and was re directed back to that path in some unexplainable supernatural ways. For now I can say there were voices involved and a gold rosary and a missing Miraculous Metal that found its way onto my bathroom rug after dissapearing several years earlier.

For the past 15 years I go to Sunday Mass. I participate in the Sacraments. Hell, I even venture to confession every so often (more so, than often.) My husband does not understand confession. He wonders what on earth I could possibly have done to warrant telling a priest. I won't say he's anti Catholic, he just is uncomfortable with organized religions in general. He's a great guy because he understands how important my beliefs are to me. He likes the person I am. Both of our kids are baptized Catholic. Though Sean says he doesn't want them believing in heaven and hell. These are battles yet to be fought.

I'm not a bible thumper, nor do I jugde others for their beliefs. I think there's room for discussion and I've always been open to other ideas and challenges. I'm not perfect and no one confuses this testament!!!!! I get pissed off pulling out of the church parking lot after Mass if someone cuts me off in traffic! While sitting in church I wonder what I'll make for dinner that night.

I know what's comfortable for me...... Maybe I should dive a little deeper into this and find a level not so comfortable, stretch myself a bit more. I want my kids to learn compassion, empathy, and charity. I want my kids to understand why Dad doesn't go to church. I think it's OK that his views are different from mine. We've had an amazing 20 plus years together, 11 of those in marital bliss (after he agreed to step into a Catholic Church to make it official!!!)

I'll leave you with a quote that pretty much sums it up for me "God; The more you chase him, the more you catch him."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is It OK To Hate My Vacuum?

I absolutely loath the new canister vacuum I bought last week!!!! I've had a Dirt Devil Upright for the past ten years and really had no complaints about it. Last weekend we were having some friends over for appetizers and drinks so I lugged out the ole girl to banish the dog hair and lonely remnants of Goldfish Crackers under the sofa.

I noticed the vacuum was spitting out small stones and grit instead of eagerly eating my fine tapestry of dog hair woven into my foyer rug. I unplugged it and turned it over to see if something had lodged into the beater bars. That's when I noticed all the bar bristles were gone, absolutely worn aways by years of use. CRAP!!!!!!

I had yet to whip up my crab cakes and make my crust for my blue cheese and onion tart. Company would be at the front door in under four hours!!!!! I wound the cord along the back of the vacuum and also noticed various spots where Newman had been chewing on it!!! He suffers from occasional chewing fits in the middle of the night (that only my highly attuned ears seem to hear!) and will sample rug fringe, cords from our wooden blinds and winter scarves not put in the hallway closet.

The vacuum had become a bit of a fire hazard I sadly thought. Now she'd given up the ghost and buying a new one was the last thing I felt like doing before guests arrived. In desperation I pulled out a smaller stick model and did the best I could. Thank God for lots of candles and mood lighting!

Last week Gibby and I drove to Target in search of another vacuum. I had done lots of research from consumer's posts and decided on a canister version this time. Prices ranged from high $500 for Dyson models to about $100 for a Dirt Devil canister model. I chose the Eureka Sideswept? Windswept? Sidesweep? We were in and out of Target in under an hour and $150 later. OK, I also picked up a cute Valentine shirt for Lola and socks for Gibby.

I must admit after putting Gibby down for his nap I was a bit giddy opening the box. My Christmas morning excitement turned sour as I pulled out the plastic red pieces. Wow, was it flimsy and cheap looking. I pieced it together and looked down doubtfully at it in its hooker red tawdriness. It had a bag instead of the dirt canister which I thought I might like this time, not emptying the dirt and breathing in all the residue. The compartment for the bag was small at best and I hadn't thought about the extra cost and pain in the ass of having bags on hand. Buyer's remorse was setting in.

After popping it together I plugged it in. Much quieter than my upright. It did suck up the dog hair, I plowed little carpet furrows back and forth, pleased with the suction. Several minutes into the job the hose kinked up, and kinked up again and again!!!! Stupid hose doesn't swivel from the canister base! I had to rely on picking up the base to unkink it and I cursed the design! The canister handle or grip or the pick up thingy was UNDER the front of the canister!!!!!! The plug wouldn't stay in the outlet and the cord could have been several feet longer.

Oh, I loathe this vacuum. I dug the box back out of the recycling and I'm repackaging it and taking it back!!! After I post my consumer thoughts about this model, I'll probably buy another Dirt Devil Upright; if they still make them, and it won't be the color red!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Let Go

Lola has quite the temper. She's incredibly verbal, leaps beyond her peers when it comes to expressing her displeasure. We've taught her it's OK to be angry about something and to say such, but we don't want to be willing participants in her physical and verbal meltdowns. We tell her to go to her room until she's ready to calmly join the family.

Last night she was telling Sean about some Looney Tunes Tweety Bird cartoon. I guessed he hugged her a bit too tight (poor neglected child) and she had a huge raging fit. "Daddy stop it!!! You're squeezing too too hard!!!!!!" Then like a whirling dervish she spun out of control and her whole body became red, fierce, and ridged. Her hands clenched into fists and tears were pouring down her face. She stomped out of the computer room, frightening Gibson and causing him to cry too.

"I'm so angry!" Sean and I looked at each other a bit bewildered. Gibson ran over to Lola and was petting her arm. Poor Daddy. I asked Lo what was wrong. She said Daddy always hugs too tight. I said Daddy works all day and doesn't have the luxury to spend as much time as he'd like to with her during the week. I told her he was showing his affection and was so glad to see her after a long day at work.

"Some days I'm just cranky OK! I'm having a hard day!" That was fine. It was the throwing of toys and pillows onto the floor from the sofa that I wouldn't tolerate. "Lola, picture your anger like a red balloon and hold out your hand." I gave her the imaginary balloon to hold. "Don't let go or it will float up to the ceiling and pop!" "What happens when it pops?" "That's when you let go of your anger." Lola said "then you hold it." I told her it was her anger and she was in charge of letting it go.

She told me I was silly and she let go of her imaginary anger balloon. "I need to go tell Daddy a secret, you stay here." She and Daddy made up over a bowl of microwave popcorn and more Bugs Bunny.