Sunday, December 31, 2006

okay, so i'm a big baby. i figured out another way to do it. what should have taken me 30 seconds took about 30 minutes. now i'm going to scrapbook before preparing to go out tonight. here's the pics. you can probably guess which house is mine.

14 hours of sitting in a car and I'm finally home.

And what do you think the first thing I saw when I pulled into the Griswald Family Neighborhood where I bought my modest house?

My good neibhors Clarence and Tommie welcoming me home. (insert picture of their house)

I also found my heater/ac broken. Broken. there's a short in the wiring. my neighbor said the breaker flipped and when it was pushed back over my dial was spinning like it was supplying electricity to an apartment complex. except i live in a small house. so the breaker's been re-flipped, there's no heat, and last night i slept under 5 blankets (my whole body - head included), fully clothed with the cats curling in close to any bend in my body under those blankets they could find. it was freezing.

today it's lovely out and i'm trying to will the heat into from house from the sun outside but to no avail.

and it snowed in st jo mo today. you can imagine my feelings on that. i'm freezing my ass off in the sun in texas and it snowed "beautiful soft snow" the day after I left st jo mo.

no biggie. extra clothes around the house. at least gloria (from hawaii) gets to see the snow. i'll sit in the sun and try to warm up. i'll blog and download pictures from my camara to my computer to make me feel better.

this is where i put the pictures of the christmas lights on my house to accompany the picture of my neighbors' houses above. oh, you don't see them? hmm, that's strange since the camara is brand new - a christmas gift. but gee, you're right, i don't see the pictures of the houses either. that must be because i can't get the pictures downloaded onto my computer. i downloaded pics from my parents old camara in st jo, no problem. but my new one? nope. nada. nothing.

now my nose is running.

i know, i know, i'm debbie downer, but can't i get anything to work right now. geez. please. it's new year's eve. i want heat, i want to be kissed and i want to look at my pictures of christmas.

apparently, that's too much to ask for.

not that i was asking. i try not to bother god about things like house stuff, boy stuff or electronics stuff. i figure if i've got my health and a job it's best to keep my mouth shut. i hate to knock on wood or pester anyone.

okay, for all my pessimism at this moment, i've really got a good thing going today. i looked adorable at church in my new clothes (boots from emily, skirt from amy, shirt from mom, and necklace from aunt yo). kevin did a great job preaching. i had lunch with friends, then i came home and got my laundry done. i emptied my dishwasher. and now i guess i'll do some scrapbooking - finish up 2005 so i can get on to 2006 since tomorrow starts 2007.

if you want to come over to keep me company, you can.

just bring a scarf.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

This is the Pittman living room where Christmas "happens." It kinda looks like snow outside, but don't be fooled. The only wonderland to be found was in our hearts.

This is me Christmas morning sporting some of my new gifts including jammies (rolled up pants and top - all the girls got these on christmas eve), boots (from Emily), a "cutie pie" necklace because i lurve cherry pie and obviously, i'm cute, earrings from Amy, and I think that's it...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

For the first time in 20 years, we had the whole Maker family here for Christmas. Of course, 20 years ago, I was eight years old, and half of the cousins weren't even born yet. And I think Granny Baker was still alive.

But today, Grandma and Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Amy, Emily, me, Aunt Gloria (from Hawaii), Aunt Milly, Uncle Mike, Ruth, Jeff (Ruth's boyfriend), Mary, Robbie, Silas, Susan (all from Columbia) and Andee (our surrogate sister) all gathered together.

So Andee took a picture of the whole family in front of the living room tree. It was nice. I'll have pics posted soon. It's funny though, we never just have blood family. Jeff's in this one and last year's. Jeremy's the one before that. Then you get back into the David era. Men. They come and they go. But that's a blog for another time. Often the pictures have included pets too and so of course Sophie joined us (Amy's huge puppy lab), and of course my cats stayed up in my bedroom this year. Still the sentiment was good. The whole family together. And I like our current family including Andee and Jeff. If it were only snowing, it'd be perfect. My old house, my fun family, and snow outside. Just like Christmas used to be (pre-global warming: it hasn't snowed over Christmas in St. Jo Mo since I moved to Texas 6 years ago).

So, boyfriend or no boyfriend, snow or no snow, Santa or no Santa, (I'm beginning to wonder if all those things aren't imaginary!), Merry Christmas.

I hope you're with family, and if not family... friends.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Potter is purring again.

For those of you who know Potter, you might think, "huh? - he quit?" and i admit, the cat's a motor mouth. but this has been a rough week.

After being stuck the in car for almost 24 hours, he arrived chez pittman to meet Sophie, my sister's 8-month-old ginormous "puppy".

The initial introduction of the animals on Tuesday was not good. Picture the Griswold family Christmas when the squirrel flies out of the tree and Snot begins chasing it. that scene could have been filmed in my parent’s living room.

their house is pretty spacious and Potter took off and Sophie followed right along. They flew so fast through the house there was no chance to grab either of them. Potter fled to the top of the dinner table set with my mother's china and my father's lavish centerpiece. Sophie has the ability to jump that high. my sister drew in her breathe of disbelief but released it as Sophie took the faster track under the table, sparing hundreds of dollars and my mother's sanity. potter then jumped from the couch in the living room, soared over the three feet in circumference plant to the top of the grand piano and rounded at the bookshelf. Sophie followed under the piano around the corner and as potter headed behind the fully decorated and lit real Christmas tree; my family froze as we watch 80-pound lily leap toward the tree.

it could have been disastrous, but this time my father's sanity was spared and miraculously, Sophie didn't jump into the tree but behind it. we watched the tree wobble forward and i thought for sure it was going down, but as Potter fled the scene from behind the trunk full of presents, Sophie was caught and soon coaxed out and calmed down.

Potter was a wreck. He slept under the covers with me that night, terrified of the dog. My normally social, purring, "please pet me" pussycat was struck with fear and planted on my bed behind closed doors.

Over the past few days, Sophie has bounded into my bedroom (the cat's sanctuary) several times, and after watching big brother Zorba, Potter now knows how to hiss, spat and swat with the best of them.

In an effort to help him and Sophie become friends this afternoon, I held Potter in my arms as Sophie tried to sniff him and whimpered, begging to be loved. Potter hit him on the nose time and time again, smacking him so loudly everyone in the room could hear it. He'd shake with fear when Sophie would retreat defeated, but put his defenses back up when Sophie returned for "one last try."

Tonight when I brought Potter his favorite blanky that I had just washed, i tried to pick him up off my bed to put him on it and he practically wriggled out of my loving embrace and shrank near my pillow watching me. "Potter, are you mad at mommy?" I held the blanket up. "It's your blanky Potter, don't you want to lay on it?" He ignored me. And i'm not kidding, this cat loves this blanket.

Great, I thought. I've destroyed the sweetest, most loving cat in the world. Joy's gonna be so mad.

But then tonight when I came to bed and began petting and sweet talking him again, he snuggled right up to me and right onto his favorite blanket and began purring - for the first time since Tuesday. it's gotta be a record.

The menagerie is in full effect at the Pittman zoo. Feel free to come over for a visit. You may pet Potter and Sophie, but not at the same time, and don't feed the Zorba - you could lose a hand.

(Pittman household not responsible for bites, gouges, scratches, bruises or chewed up articles of anything.)

Enter the petting zoo at your own pace.

But I can promise you one good thing, you will get a purr from Potter.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well, that was different.

My mom and I just threw a baby shower for a high school/college friend of mine who is (obviously) pregnant.

Since we grew up together in the church, there were of course church people here at the house. These are the people I am used to seeing once a year. At Christmas. At church. No biggie.

But then arrived Allison Bean and Runae I don't-remember-her-married-name and Elizabeth Buckner Hill, and suddenly I was back in college. Except I wasn't. I was in my house cordially greeting people i used to run around in my underwear with in the dormitory. Well, maybe not Allison and Runae, but E for sure. And it was kind of surreal. It was Buckner, but with children: two of them who sat down in the den my pledgeclass used to gather in once a year to snuggle under blankets, eat taco dip and talk about boys. Except they watched The Polar Express and played with blocks. E has offspring.

I have cats.

And I realize that a lot of people my age are married and have children, but that is so far from where I am right now (whether I want it to be or not) and so far from streaking the quad in college. How in the world did we get from there to here? Elizabeth was the first person I knew who had a nose ring (way before it was cliche) and now she has kids. I used to write shitty music and sing in bands, now I'm a reverend.

How did we get from there to here?

Little tiny decisions along the way. A scholarship application here, a school there, a date here, a marriage there, volunteering here, getting a job there, and like the little baby growing toes and fingers and organs inside my friend, suddenly all those little decisions we made make a whole person.

Always growing and changing.

"You are a beautiful, single professional..." I theraputically repeated to myself as I dressed for the party and snuck a shot of tequila with my equally beautiful, single, professional sister. No pressure. You're not married - no biggie. Marriage sucks for most people. You're not having babies - thank god. They're very expensive and get in the way of your career. Plus there's no room in your house for a crib, let alone a husband if you want to take the traditional route and go marriage then kids. But you could adopt. You've always wanted to. Once you get a stable job. Then you'll be a beautiful, single professional mother...

What the?

What was I thinking? Since when does marriage and motherhood make you whole? I admit, it's a goal of mine, and a worthy one, but I'm not incomplete because I haven't crossed that line yet. Sheesh.

Little decisions take us places. Some little decisons carry more weight than others, but they're all baby steps to being. Being. And whether it's running around my dormitory in my underwear or writing sermons, the little decisions to be who we are make us unique.

And so I will be uniquely me.

Beautiful, single, professional me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Taking your car into the shop for the pre-trip tune up: $860

Getting an inspection sticker that you stupidly ripped off to replace it with your registration sticker: $40

Gas for the drive home: $75

Roadtrip with a good friend and two cats one of whom threw up on you three times before you even hit Kansas: Priceless.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Um so this is about 12 days late. I'm definately getting behind on my birthday blogs. In fact, I may nix them come January. But I've got one more worthy shout out before I do.

Here is a limerick for Lynnette on her belated birthday.

Lynnette is funny and wise.
Too busy to make fancy pies.
We both went to Truett;
We both got through it,
But we'll never be pastor's wives!

So that was weird, but I tried.

Lynnette, I miss you. See you... well, I don't know when I'll see you again. Hopefully before I get married or pigs fly.

I'm still awake. How can I still be awake?

Probably because I went to work and got a jumpstart on the week, went to a strategic planning meeting and got all discombobulated, went to college movie night (which they politely waited to start until after i arrived 45 minutes late), watched "love actually" and laughed hard and contemplated much. then watched all the deleted scenes with commentaries and then drove home at 1:15.

That's why I'm still awake.

There are some great lines in Love Actually that are running through my mind. And just for the record, there has been a debate among my students that this film is a chic flic. I disagree. Any movie that can depress you the first time you watch it, make you laugh the second time you watch it and make you think the third time you watch it cannot be labelled "chic flic." Granted, it's no Shawshank Redemption, but it's a quality movie about the complexity of relationships and the fragility and joy of love (if you're one of the characters that gets it).

"Self-preservation" is one character's to response to his best friend's new wife when she discovers that this cold, distant, unfriendly best friend of her husband's actually has been in love with her, but she never knew because of his callous attitude toward her. Self-preservation. How many times do we demonize other people to keep ourselves sane? Self-preservation. Interesting concept.

Anyway, I recommend the movie. A stellar cast: Leim Neilson, Collin Firth, Kierra Nightly, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, the guy from Harry Potter, and even a cameo by Mr. Bean. It's great. It might make you cry, it will make you laugh, and it will allow you the chance to re-evaluate your own morals and the fragile strings with which love ... actually .... happens.

I mean did you know there was a lobster at the birth of jesus?

Just try to watch it at a decent hour.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Overdose (A word of caution for the holiday season)

While I wish everyone a Happy Holidays, I hope you will take the following into consideration before you make the same mistake!

I'm posting this graphic picture of an overdose victim. Not for shock value, but rather in the hope that you will have a frank discussion with friends and family about respecting moderation, understanding limits, and knowing when to just walk away.

Remember....This did NOT have to happen!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Jesus was one of those kids who when you ask them where they’re from, you get a long complicated answer.

Like my friend, Peter, who was a military kid. “Well, I was born in Nebraska, but we moved around a lot because my dad was in the army so I’ve actually lived across the US and in Germany…”

Or like Joy, a Missionary’s kid who was born in Jacksonville Florida, and from there moved to Texas, then to Louisville Kentucky, then to Oklahoma, then back to Louisville, then to Missouri, then to Arkansas, and then as an adult to Toronto, Buffalo, Maryland, Cyprus, Florida, and finally Austin.

Where are they from? When you ask people with backgrounds like that where they’re from, how do they answer? I guess they choose the place that feels the most like home – I would. Even I, who lived in the same town for 18 years as a kid, have lived in five different cities in three states and two countries since then.

Jesus was the same way.

“Where you from kid?”

“Well, I was born in Bethlehem, but then my parents moved to Egypt for a while and then I spent the rest of my childhood in Nazareth, where my dad was from, traveling between it and Jerusalem to visit family.”

Except his dad wasn’t in the military and his mom wasn’t a missionary.

“Why’d you travel around so much kid?”

“Well, there was a huge census and my parent’s got stuck in a cave in Bethlehem which is where I was born, then there was an edict out for my death and the murder of all other 2 year olds so we moved to Egypt and then when that King died, we returned to Judea, but my dad was still paranoid so we moved to Galilee to the town Nazareth where my dad’s shop was.”

Alrighty then.

We see them in Christmas plays, the little girl in the blue smock with a pillow stuffed under her belt and the boy with a head-dress dragging another kid in a donkey costume across the stage, and we know that they symbolize the holy family traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem to take part in the census decreed by Augustus.

And we feel bad when we think about it – a pregnant teenage girl taking a bumpy ride on a donkey– no wonder she had the baby as soon as they stopped. Not to mention that she’s a kid herself – not that that’s unusual in that time when men married girls – after all, she was already engaged when she got pregnant, but still our hearts go out to her. A poor girl, pregnant, engaged and soon to be the mother of God. What a calling.

And Joseph, how embarrassing to have your fiancĂ©e pregnant. Not exactly kosher in those times, but he sucks up the shame and stays engaged to her anyway. What a man. God’s dad.

And then Caesar puts out a decree and the whole nation’s in an upheaval as people pack up their bags, close down their shops and travel to the birthplace of their family’s heritage. Joseph was in King David’s lineage so he and Mary pack the donkey tight and head off for Bethlehem.

What an unsettling two days of travel.

I travel every Christmas to St. Joseph, Missouri with my car full of suitcases, Christmas gifts and cats. And let me tell you, it is a rough ride. Zorba cries the whole time. Actually he hardly cries – howling would be a better description. When Radley was alive, his fluffy fat belly liked to lay on my lap so I was always driving with one arm on the wheel and one on the cat while cooing at the other one to shut the hell up. Eventually I give up on music and sweet talking the cats and resort to Dramamine. I break off a small amount of powder, put it in some water and squirt it down Zorba’s throat. It’s at this point that the howling ends and foaming at the mouth begins. Cats’ saliva never mixes well with medicine, and it causes the most unpleasant mess you can imagine. Add to these joys snow, ice, rain, pit stops, hotel rooms, and McDonald’s and you’ve got a real torture trip on your hand.

So I sympathize with Mary and Joseph. Donkey’s aren’t known to be the most helpful beasts in the world although they are better than some, but I can imagine times when that donkey probably got tired of carrying all their bags and the pregnant lady and just wanted to sit down and munch on some weeds. Not to mention the unpleasant weather that they were exposed to with no roof on the donkey or even an umbrella. And Joseph being the polite man he was had to walk the whole way and poor Mary had to feel that baby bouncing around the whole time itching to come out.

Now maybe they were excited. I am when I travel to St. Joe for Christmas. But I’m going home, and they left theirs. I bring and receive presents, whereas they had to pay their taxes. I have a fat cat and a crying cat. They had a tired donkey and a crying baby. But maybe the joy of their son’s birth and the shock of singing shepherds showing up brought the holy family enough awe to escape their circumstances and revel in the awesome miracle of the moment.

But they were soon on the road again. For when the King of the Jews gets wind that your wife birthed a king herself, it’s never good news. Now he wants your kid dead and all other boys his age too. And so Joseph packs up the donkey again, and he and the holy family steal away in the night, but not to his home town, not even to Jerusalem to visit relatives, but to a whole new country, culture, language, people. And though the text doesn’t speak of it, I doubt he had a whole lot of time to make travel preparations for once they arrived. He would need a place to live for his young family, a new job, stay under the radar in case Herod had friends down there…

Oh the things we do to keep God safe.

How could such a little child cause so much turmoil?

What child is this whose family was so poor that they traveled everywhere by donkey and stayed in caves and lived in a foreign land to avoid upsetting the government?

What kind of parents go to such an extent to protect their child?

Parents who are called by God to be God’s parents.

And part of their responsibility was to travel to Bethlehem where prophecy would be fulfilled, to travel to Jerusalem where prophecy would be fulfilled, to travel to Egypt where prophecy would be fulfilled, to finally settle in Nazareth where prophecy would be fulfilled, and to raise a son who would travel so much in his adult life that foxes and birds had better places to lay their heads. And in his traveling he would heal the sick, raise the dead, forgive the sinner, love the world and die for his cause where again prophecy would be fulfilled.

And as much as we would like to parent Jesus now, keep him in a box, protect him from the Herods of our world, God is never safe. Not from our enemies and not for us.

For God calls us, as his did Mary and Joseph, to travel with him to familiar places, hard places, foreign places and home again. Jesus calls us to be as he was, a danger to society, doing good in a world where selfishness and legalism threatened every life. He calls us to love, wherever we go, however far or near we are to where we call home, we are called to go, to love, to be Christ again to the world around us.

And that may be a very difficult journey indeed.

But fortunately for us, it’s a road that’s been taken before.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

An 1100 square foot house, all yours, ready for the holidays: $106,000

Four strings of white icycle lights that hang from your roof and two strings of blue lights to go around your front windows creating a "warm home covered in snow" look: $52.43

Having outlets installed outside your house so you may plug in and light up aforementioned bulbs: $54.24

Paying the two men you talked into putting in the outlets and nailing up the Christmas lights with a small lunch consisting of mac n cheese, organic frozen vegetables, ready-made Chocolate Chip cookies and beer: $8.73

White string of lights that you tried to throw over the tree to your friend waiting on the other side, but totally missed, crashing the wad of lights in your neighbors driveway, breaking the bulbs and requiring you to decide on a new tactic for hoisting lights high up in the trees while your neighbors snicker from their front porch: $1.99 and 3 advil.

Competing with your new neighbors for who can create the best lit house on the block: priceless.