Saturday, February 27, 2010

4/20

Yesterday was our meeting at church for our elementary school kids. I was in charge of picking out a craft. I picked out two. One was painting a cross suncatcher. The other was something I found online. It seemed innocent enough.

The craft was a paper palm frond. The kids were supposed to color and cut out this leaf and then fan-fold it to create what looked like a palm leaf. Only, it didn't look so much like a palm as, well, as cannabis.

So here where all of these innocent little church kids waving pot leaves throughout the church supplied by none other than the pastor's wife. Never knew it was Jesus and Mary Jane, did you?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Therapy

So....I have been in therapy for about 10 weeks now. I have to say I really hate it. It's painful, creates horrible turmoil in my soul and I'm pretty sure it is producing anxiety which is causing my chest pain (my doctor's office rescheduled my appointment for today because my dr. is sick-another week's wait). BUT...and this is a big BUT....I do think it is helping.

Dealing with my issues has helped me curb my sneak eating. I haven't gone through a fast food drive thru in over a month. When I go to a sit-down restuarant, I don't order more than I actually want. If I do get more than I can eat, I box it up or push the plate away. I know for normal eaters that sounds silly, but for people like me, it's monumentally huge. I'm not going to make my 40x40 goal, but I might make 20x40. And I am okay with that.

Therapy has also helped me realize just how much I hide myself from people. I wear big, baggy clothes and just pull my hair back into a ponytail, or at least, I did. But, as part of trying to push myself and overcome some negative emotions, I went out and bought a few outfits that actually fit and are fitted. Hubby saw me in one of the tucked at the waist shirts I bought and had to recover quickly before he said something that hurt my feelings, like "OMG, you DO have a waist." No, he didn't say it, but I can read his mind and I know he thought it.

So, here I am, making progress, taking tiny steps and I think to myself, it's time to do something about my hair. I use my all one-length, thick, coarse hair to hide a lot from people. It covers my face and no one can see what I think or feel. When I was a teenager, it was long, thick and perfectly straight. There was no curl or bounce in it whatsoever. But then I got pregnant and a crazy little thing called hormones took over and suddenly my already thick hair got worse...it got wavy. It became impossible to style or tame. No amount of hair gel, mousse or shellac would keep it in place.

What to do...what to do? I decided the healing me needed to do something about my hair. I scheduled an appointment with the woman who cuts my family's hair and I told her I needed to try something new. She ran her fingers through my hair and pulled it this way and that. We both agreed we had no idea what was going to happen when she cut it and got some of the weight off. But I told her I didn't care what happened, I had to try something, anything. So, she suggested we try long layers and cutting it to my shoulders. Okay, I took a deep breath and we proceeded.

Only things didn't go as planned. That hormone induced wave that we thought would be more pronounced when cut wasn't. It stayed exactly the same. The cute bangs she tried to create didn't go the way she wanted, even with hair cement and 20 minutes of blow-drying. The little flip she cut into the bottom part flipped, but the hair above it bowed and it really looked distorted. When all was said and done, all she could do was apologize. Even she thought it looked bad. Sadly, it is too short to really fix without making it worse, so I just have to let it grow out. So much for trying to improve my appearance.

But even this is okay. I tried. Hair grows out and now I know that my hair is supposed to be all one length. Only when it does finally grow out, I am not going to let it define me or hide me. I'm going to wear it like a crown...a very hairy crown. But let that be a lesson to people starting therapy...save the hair for last.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh...My Head!!!!

Something I never bargained for when I became a pastor's wife was the amount of confidentiality that would be bestowed upon me. My husband offers counseling in his day to day worklife and occasionally I become privy to certain things if he thinks my opinion would be helpful. But as a general rule, he does not tell me everything. Most people assume he does and come to talk to me as well. So there I stand as people tell me their innermost thoughts thinking I know what the hell they are talking about and I really don't have a clue.

Other times I become a confidant in the innerworkings of the association of churches. I know when a pastor is about to be moved to a new church and when another pastor has been having an affair. I know when a wife has filed for divorce. Occasionally I even know when grand poobahs are about to be moved by the supreme poobah before it is announced. All of this I am expected to keep closely guarded. And I do. I have no problems keeping the largest of secrets. A lot of times I keep my secrets by keeping my mouth closed during conversations and just listening. People ask me things and I will smile and move my head. When I do this, people translate this action however they want and they feel as if I have answered when I really haven't.

But today I got tripped up. There is a woman in our church who has a very effeminate husband. He is a great dad, a loving husband and an all around nice guy. But if you gave me truth serum and asked me if I thought he was gay, I would have to say yes. But I also know that some gay men choose a heterosexual lifestyle because they want the family and kids. They don't want to "be" gay. That's their choice and who am I to judge? Surely the woman could tell that he was not as manly as other men in her life.

Apparently her family took her to task for marrying a "gay" man (remember, he claims he is not) and they both got really offended. So there I was, listening and head bobbing when she said, "I've always just accepted him for being who he was. I never thought he was gay. But now I am having my doubts." Nod, nod, head bob...."OH MY GOD!!!! You think he's gay too!" EEERRRPPPPP!!!! Abort, Abort.

I must have looked like a deer trapped in the headlights. I have learned over the years that when people are talking to me in the pastor's wife capacity, I must act like a counselor and never give a definitive opinion. I can't risk someone coming back and saying, "Well, the pastor's wife told me to do such and such." I stumbled for a minute and said, "I do think he's metrosexual." And that was the truth. Her anger was diverted by that comment and she assumed because I didn't finish with "and gay" that her marriage was happy and safe.

But lord help me when he finally can't live with himself in this manner anymore. And I need to brush up on my nod, nod, head bob routine.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Soup Recipe and....

When I was pregnant I lived on 4 things: strawberry oatmeal, eggplant parmesan SUBS (not entrees), Gatorade and nectarines. They are the only things I could safely eat and not be sick the rest of the day. One day my school kids were having a heritage celebration and a parent brought in her ancient secret famly recipe cornbread.

Now, there were 16 separate dishes spread out through the classroom and NONE of them passed the pregnancy smell test. Just being in the room made me nauseous. But then the cornbread entered and it actually looked good to me. And then I smelled it and it SMELLED good. I hesitantly took a little nibble and I was suddenly ravenous for the first time since getting pregnant and I ate three or four pieces right there without getting sick. I was in heaven.

So I went to the mom and explained that I hadn't been able to eat food for 7 months but I could eat this cornbread. Could I PUH-LEASE have the recipe? She turned, stared at me and said, "We don't give out the recipe." Ummm...who is we? "This is our family recipe and we don't tell anyone how it is made." But...but...I can't eat food but I can eat this!!! My baby needs access to this cornbread! "I'm sorry, but I just can't give it out."

I was stunned. I NEEDED that cornbread. It wasn't crumbly like most cornbread and it wasn't cake consistency either. It was SO good and I was being denied. The woman must have felt sorry for me because she voluntarily promised to make another big batch for me and I could freeze it in small portions. That made me happier. At least I could portion it out to myself in small amounts like a hiker lost in the woods.

But you know what??? She never did! She never made me the promised batch even though I would have paid her at least a $100.00 for the recipe. And then there I was, back to eating just 4 things for the next 2 months. Recipe hoarders beware- your day will come. Someday pregnant women everywhere are going to rise up and smack you with wooden spoons and soup ladles!

Speaking of soup, here is my soup recipe. I got it out of a magazine, but I can't remember which one. I do remember thinking it sounded really gross, but it is not. It's really good. Promise.

Six 6 inch flour tortillas
Nonstick cooking spray
2 T corn or vegetable oil
1 c chopped onion
½ c diced bell pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large whole bay leaf
one 2-inch strip orange zest
1 t chili powder
½ t ground cumin
29 oz chicken broth
1 t salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 large sweet potato (peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes)
2 c diced boneless deli bbq pork, chicken or turkey (about 1 lb)
0ne 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
2 c frozen whole kernel corn
8 oz tomato sauce
½ c smoky bbq sauce
1 med. Avocado (peeled, pitted and diced)

Preheat oven to 375. Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray, stack tortillas, three at a time, and with a sharp kitchen knife, cut into ¼ inch strands. Spread on ungreased baking sheet and bake uncovered until lightly browned (about 10 minutes.)

Meanwhile, heat oil in medium-size Dutch oven over high heat 2 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate; add onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaf, orange zest, chili powder, and cumin and cook, stirring often, until limp and golden, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, salt, black pepper, and sweet potato and bring to boiling. Adjust heat so mixture bubbles gently, cover, and cook until potato is firm-tender, about 10 minutes.

Add pork, diced tomatoes w/ chiles, corn, tomato sauce, bbq sauce; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors mingle, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and orange zest. Add salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with diced avocado, then lightly crumble in toasted tortilla strips.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Addictive Soup

A while back I took part in a soup dinner that the women's circle at our church was sponsoring. About 8 of us made different soups and desserts and sold the meals to the church as a fundraiser. I made a bbq/sweet potato soup that is actually quite expensive to make because it has SOOOOO many ingredients. Now, it is good soup. I like it and all, but one of the church members seems to have become obsessed with it.

Something you need to know about CountryTime is that hoarding disease appears to run rampant here. My next door neighbor died at Christmas time and he and his wife had so much stuff in his house (and his body was so large) that the EMT's had to take him out the window because they couldn't get through all of the stuff in his house. We have a church of 150 people and we know of at least 10 members who have hoarding disease. I don't know if it is genetic ties, environmental factors or what, but it is prevalent here.

Anywho, there I was, sitting at home yesterday, folding laundry, minding my own business when the doorbell rang. There on my stoop stood Gayle. Gayle is our most, hmmm, how should I say this? Gayle is our most "eclectic" member. She is extremely smart-our state college system offers free courses to seniors, so she has obtained 3 or 4 degrees. She also makes inappropriate comments to the men in the church ("No one is around so no one would know if we....you know..") Lastly, she is a hoarder. Her car has so much junk piled in it that she has to move things to sit down in it. The papers are piled so high in every seat that they line up with the tops of the headrests. Her house is supposedly worse.

Our very first night in this house Gayle showed up on our doorstep at 9:30 at night, when all of our lights were out, to give us some expired (by 2 years) Gatorade. And there she was again, standing on my doorstep with food in her hands. I opened the door and she shoved 4 sweet potatoes, a bag of northern beans and two bottles of expired Gatorade in my hands. She said, "Here's some sweet potatoes. I want you to make that soup and share it with me." Then, just as quick as she appeared, she turned on her heels and walked away, leaving me holding the food with a stunned expression on my face.

The thing is, I really don't mind cooking for people. If she had asked me politely I would have happily made her some soup. However, Hubby only gets paid twice a month and January was a 5 week month. I also walked into the arts council to ask about why I had not received my January paycheck only to be informed by the new administrative assistant that there was a problem and they hadn't been written yet and they MIGHT NOT BE WRITTEN AT ALL. Are you kidding me? So I really can't afford to make this soup now. I know several of you are going to comment that she is mentally ill and I should cut her some slack, but is it wrong of me to have asked for a please?

Monday, February 1, 2010

A repost from my past

I posted this on my former blog and just thought about it recently. This still feels like a dirty secret two years later.


I was on the road again this weekend. I had to travel about 5 hours away with my theater troupe. I love the people I am currently traveling with. We have these long, ambling, meaningless conversations in the car and laugh so hard my jaw locks. I hate the traveling, but at least we enjoy each other.

So we check into the hotel Friday night and we are on the second floor, no elevator. I don't care that there is not an elevator, but it plays a relevant part in this story. So, I put my stuff down in the room I am sharing with my friend, the Assassin. Now you have to understand, the Assassin and I are the same person, only she got the more masculine energy and I got the more feminine energy of our shared personality. We complete each others sentences, burst out in nebulous song lyrics at the same time and can give each other just a look when an inappropriate person walks by and crack each other up because we KNOW what the other is thinking. It's a rare friendship.

Anywho, I put my stuff in the room and decide I need some water. I only drink bottled water on the road, because, well, not all water is created equal. But I go downstairs and the drink vending machine is right next to the snack machine. I get my water and then think to myself, geez, I really want some sugar. Oh, why not? It's a roadtrip. What's a roadtrip without sugar? So I put my money in and press the button for a Three Musketeers bar (the least calorie and fat load.) Just as my bar is falling into the pit I notice an Almond Joy bar hanging upside down by a tiny piece of corner wrapper. Anyone who orders an Almond Joy next is going to get TWO. TWO bars for the price of one, hmmm?

As my bar hits the pit, the door next to the machine opens and this older couple comes out to see me and sees the Almond Joy. They mumble about how it was just me getting a candy bar and no, their bar is still stuck. So the man in the couple says he is going to go get the manager to get his bar unstuck and he waddles off down the hall.

I don't know if it was road weariness or a backlash against VBS all week or just some evil curmudgeon taking over me, but I had to have those two bars. Only I didn't have enough money left since I had already BOUGHT my candy bar. But the challenge was on, so I raced upstairs, slammed into the room and breathlessly forced the Assassin off the phone asking her if she had any change. She poured out her purse and I asked her if she liked Almond Joy bars becauseifshedidthereweretwohangingdownanifImadeitfastenoughIcouldbeattheoldcoupleandgetoneforfreenowgivemethechange (yes, I said it that fast.)

She gave me her change, laughed hysterically and yelled "GO, GO!' as I ran out the room. I raced downstairs, put in my money, got the two bars and zipped back upstairs. I stopped at the top of the hallway as I heard the old man coming down the hall with the manager talking about getting the candy bar out of the machine. I laughed silently as I walked down the hall to my room to give the Assassin her candy bars. After all, I didn't need them. I had my Three Musketeers. It was just the challenge of it, I guess. Karma is going to come back and bite me in the butt for this, isn't it? But I never do anything mean or bad. NEVER. And you know what......

It felt so GOOD!!!