Category Archives: random

Too Charming for Myself

Last time the a/c technician came to the office, he kind of asked me for my phone number and i kind of said No.
Today he is here again and i think i made him cry.
I told him no one told me he was coming.
It is unnerving for a guy to just show up and want to come in, and i think he got sad.
I just passed him down the hall and gave him my best fake smile i have to offer.
Charmed, no doubt.

This morning i went to do ministry work which is done this way in my congregation:
Whoever is a member of that congregation or an active member of another congregation can meet at a set time at our hall.
In our hall it is only in the mornings and since i work most mornings and oversleep the other mornings, (without mentioning the mornings on which i do both), i tend to only make my own arrangements and go out in the evenings.
But i try to show up Fridays and Saturdays to the group meetings when i can.
Today only one brother was going out in the ministry.
He is a Vietnam Vet and has a lot of stories.
(We don’t go to war but that was before he studied the Bible).
He is retired and married but his wife died twice and the paramedics brought her back to life.
(“Oh Well,” he says).
Now she is overweight and can’t really walk anymore, so he is always alone or with this single younger brother who is a little socially awkward, but i’ll leave his stories for another day.
So this brother is from Central America and he’s always contrasting his childhood on a coffee farm with the time he spent in trenches in Vietnam.
Later in life he had other jobs, the last of which was a lawyer.
Today we were speaking with a genuine hippie, the kind you only find in Ojai, Seattle or Oregon.
Mr. Hippie owns a big property (big by California standards) and feeds wild animals from scraps he finds in the neighbors’ trash bins.
He bathes in the creek or ocean with his clothes on.
(Thank God).
I’m pretty sure he was stoned the whole time we were talking to him.
You see, people round here are not that nice.
But he invited us to take a seat and the brother i was with was telling him his war stories while a woman who rents a room on the property overheard and was visibly disgusted.
That is the problem with people round here.
No one wants to hear the truth.
They just want to paint butterflies on their walls and build water fountains out of rocks they find in their neighbor’s driveway.
Still, despite his probably being stoned, we had a good conversation about making conscientious use of the earth’s natural resources.
He pretty much thinks everything humans do is damaging and we are bound to destroy ourselves.
I tried to read him a couple verses from the Bible about the future but if you are a woman, perhaps you can relate to the following:
There is a point when a woman is having a conversation with a man when you know he is dismissing your opinions as not having any serious weight to them because he is seeing you as a sex object.
Confirmation of this suspicion came when he proceeded to ask me my age.
What the hell, you go talk to people about God and stuff and guy just wants to know if you’re young enough to bear his offspring.
Of course i only put two and two together because he held his gaze for too long.
I was uncomfortable but the brother i was with didn’t seem to notice and kept sharing war anecdotes.
I don’t mind that the brother strays off topic because i wonder what his mind would be like if he didn’t have anyone to share his traumas with.
He could be one of those homeless guys who heckle my friend and me at the park.
Vets have been through a lot and though i am opposed to war, they do not get the social help they need- that is more than obvious.

I am still adjusting to the local small town artsy culture there is here.
I still haven’t decided if i have any friends yet.
One sister whom i spend a lot of time with and yeah, she’s pretty cool, kind of keeps hinting that she wants to see my twitter account but i don’t think our relationship is there yet.
At least i’m not.
(My account is public but i dunno. It’s a big step).
There is a sister who i was getting along great with but last time i saw her she kind of got on my case about not meeting in the mornings and i am the kind of person that usually doesn’t reply… but the more i think about it, the more i wish i had said, “Uhm some of us have to work.” and possibly even be more insulting because she lives off a trust her husband has and he is a little bit disabled, and she doesn’t work because she has asthma.
I have asthma too but i work.
So it is just irritating when people pressure you to do more and you already feel like you’re doing the best you can and instead of asking how they can support you, they focus on what you can’t do.
Don’t get me wrong, i love everybody, at least in theory.
But when things like that happen i don’t have anyone that i can talk to about it because i am supposed to be this model minister who gives discreet answers to stoned hippies and doesn’t tell off the homeless guys who heckle her at the park, she doesn’t tell people to mind their own business when they ask about her personal schedule and she doesn’t talk about her bouts of depression because she is supposed to be always happy and smiling and encouraging and God i hate everyone, i swear everything i do is all out of love to God and no one else.

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Kalistera, Kosmos!

How do you tell someone you hardly know that you’ve selected them to teach you Greek?
You see, i have been trying to teach myself Greek since last summer but i keep forgetting everything i learn.
My brain doesn’t store it in its “probably will be useful later on” portion.
It stores it in the portion labeled “mambo jumbo and ideas that make no sense.”
That portion gets wiped clean every 3-4 days, when it gets full and needs to make space for new ideas that make no sense.
Anyway, we met this Greek woman at her door when we were handing out invitations for our congregation.
It was my husband’s turn to speak and he went on and on about how much we’d love to visit Santorini but we don’t because planes fall and we don’t like that.
She was very attentive.
She must have learned English as an adult.
She lives in a beautiful cottage complex on a huge property that looks like an abandoned wild garden with patches of organized harvest here and there, all the way in the back.
Stones painted like cats peek between the high grass and wire arches coated in ivy beckon one toward brick paths, leading to doorways with splintered chipped paint.
Man-made dry creek beds swirl in front yards while a natural creek flows audibly in the back.
Now, i had honestly given up learning Greek a couple weeks ago, so i completely forgot to say anything to her in Greek then and there.
You know, like when you’ve been waiting for a special moment for ages, then you think it’ll never come, so when it finally does come, you miss it entirely.
Like when you’re waiting for your team to score and the game’s about to end so you just get up to beat traffic, then turn on the car radio only to find out your team scored.
Or when you’re going to medical school to learn how to save people and suddenly someone needs CPR but you forget that you’re going to medical school so you just let them die.
So i completely forgot i had been learning Greek for the past 6+ months and missed my one and only opportunity to ever practice Greek.
Hopefully when i go back and try again, she won’t think i’ve just now decided to learn as a result of meeting her.
That would be creepy, right?
Like if i tell someone i teach Spanish, and then they say, “what a coincidence! I just decided to start learning it just this second” that would be weird.
Right now i’m trying to remember why i decided to learn Greek, and i really don’t know why.
I like to read the original Greek Bible verses in church when i get bored.
(Not that church is boring.)
(I just get distracted, but in a good way.)
But maybe this is why i wanted to learn Greek all along; maybe i was supposed to learn it in case i ever met someone who spoke it!
So that i could ask them to teach it to me!
But then what?
Maybe i’m just a language geek.
A Greek-geek.
Try saying that five times fast.

The Hungry Commuter

On a very hungry day of the week, my friend CM was driving home from work on the northbound freeway between Goleta and Buellton when she was passed by a California Highway Patrol car at the precise moment she happened to be biting into a burger.
He pulled into the lane behind her and switched on his siren lights.
She safely stored the burger in front of the speedometer until she found a decent spot to pull over.
The officer stepped up to her window and asked, “Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going?”
CM glanced under her dashboard.
“Well, no… I couldn’t tell because the burger was covering the numbers…”
The officer told her he was going to have to write her a ticket and went back to his car.
Just then a strong ocean breeze came upon them and swept one of her food wrappers out the window.
She watched in despair through the rear view mirror as the wrapper stopped every few seconds only to then roll away some more.
Not only was she facing a speeding fine, but now, if the officer saw the wrapper, she would also be facing something like a $400 littering fine.
The implications were overwhelming.
Should she risk endangering her life by stepping out of her car next to the busy freeway traffic just to pick up a silly wrapper?
Would the officer think she was going to attack him?
Should she pretend nothing had happened and pray the officer didn’t notice the wrapper rolling by?
As the officer stepped back up to CM’s window to hand her the ticket, she saw the wrapper lodge itself behind a prickly plant.
The officer asked if there was anything else she wished to tell him.
“Well yes…” she said, “Would you mind handing me that wrapper that just flew out of my car?”
“Where is it?”
“Behind us, lodged in that prickly plant.”
“That one there?”
“Yes.”
“Ok.”
So he handed her the wrapper and sent her on her way, with clear instructions not to put burgers in front of her speedometer in the future.

Visiting Popsicles

I had mentioned several months ago that my church’s Spanish congregation had been dissolved in this particular town i am in.

Today we formally began to meet here, although for now it is only to visit those who were previously interested.

We are sent off in pairs but when there is an odd number of us, i get assigned to my husband and his pair.
I’m a third wheel of sorts.
Or the other brother is.
Depends on how you look at it.

I wait in the car while my husband and the third wheel visit a man who invites them to sit and chat.

Earlier, this elderly brother accompanying us complained that we’re just visiting popsicles, since most in this area are apathetic toward biblical topics.
He himself reasoned that we must still preach.
“So where are we going?” he asked.
My husband directed him toward said Popsicles.

This is the third home we visit.
I see my husband greet the man of the house like an old friend, though they’ve never met.
He takes personal interest in every word the man says.
After a couple minutes, the edges of the Popsicle-Man have melted and they are invited to sit.


I had gotten out of the car while writing the above introduction because of the heat.
My husband saw me leave and texted me to come join them.

They were speaking with a Catholic counselor (not sure what his formal title is).
The man was seemingly polite but he got agitated when i read him a text from his Bible.
He said i was showing-off and i had failed his psychological test.
I said i wasn’t sharing anything of my own but that it was out of his own Bible i had read the text.
He called me a show-off again and i perceived that he was not accustomed to a woman teaching him.
My husband told him we do not visit people to psycho-analyze them and God doesn’t test anyone, for it would be unkind of him to do so.
The man said, “One needs to be very humble to talk about these things.”
I assume he was saying that in regards to himself, since we all know i am as humble as they come.
I restrained from adding carbon to the fire and tried to shut up.
The man said he’s seen some from our church drinking a beer, and the elderly brother told him the Bible does not condemn drinking moderately.

That reminded me it was almost lunchtime, so on that note we left.


My husband said he was not satisfied with the way the conversation went.
I wonder if i made things worse when i joined them.
Probably.
But i tried not to dominate the conversation.
The man was criticizing us for preaching to the population at large, while saying he focuses on alcoholics and drug addicts- “those who really need it.”
I praised him for helping “those who really need it” before asking him for permission to use his Bible.
The text i read him lists nine sins that prevent people from inheriting God’s kingdom, not just one or two.
And i reiterated that some of our members had participated in those sins before becoming Christians, so it’s not like we’re not helping anyone.
He said he carries the Bible with him but doesn’t go around using it.
“That would be showing off.”

We meet different people everyday and i’ve been doing this for quite some time.
First time ever someone tells me i’m showing off.
I don’t think handling a Bible well is showing off, much like i don’t think people who are not familiar with the Bible are ignorant.

“I’m a nobody,” i had replied, “what could i possibly share as far as wisdom? All i can give comes from God’s knowledge, not mine.”

But when he told me again that i was showing off, i decided, again, to shut up.

It is not uncommon for our visits to leave a bitter taste in our mouths.
My husband’s demeanor throughout never seizes to impress me.
The way he discreetly but very effectively teaches about God leaves me in awe, like when he explained that God doesn’t test anyone.
This was, of course, in response to the man telling me i had failed his psychological test.

The same thing happens when i accompany my mother in the ministry.
Her calm demeanor when people are being flat out rude is just beyond me.
And her compassion tape runs three times longer than mine.

I am the opposite.
Sometimes i wonder if i do more harm than good.
I may not talk back but my personality can be somewhat transparent.
It’s easy for people to tell when they’ve exhausted my patience.
Especially if they follow me on Twitter.
As a minister, i am most effective with people who have low self-esteem.
Awesome people, like me.
Patience is not my thing.

The man asked me twice if i would go give a 3-hour sermon at his church and i replied that men head the congregation under Christ, not women, but that i minister by giving home Bible studies.

His wife had passed by twice without acknowledging our presence in any way.
It is not difficult to be Christian.
What God asks of us is straightforward and doable.
Yet, it is very difficult for me to be a minister’s wife.
It is very difficult to dominate my own wants and passions and subject them to the priorities of an imperfect human.
A Christian shepherd should always have serving God as his priority, and a large part of that is serving the congregation.
My husband does an amazing job at that but our own shortcomings can create frictions at home.

It is very difficult to not walk out and look for someone who makes me his priority instead of a large group of people.
It seemed unrealistic of me to maintain “platonic” friendships with guys who subtly or openly hit on me from time to time.
Almost half of the married friends i had ten years ago have ended up getting cheated on, having affairs or getting divorced.
I’m not so different.
I’m only human.
Close guy friends who never hit on me have come to ignore me all together.
So i cut off the ones that were left last November.
(I’m referring to local men i was friends with over several years, not people who live far away and i occasionally talk to online).

It is easy to get lost in my husband’s shadow.
For instance, a sister who has been in our congregation since January was surprised a couple weeks ago when i told her i worked.
“I thought only your husband worked,” she said.
Which would make perfect sense… if i was ill, had a baby or a zoo… or living off a rich uncle’s inheritance…
Anyway, what i’m trying to convey is that as a minister’s wife, much of my role in the congregation, which is also hard work, goes unnoticed and i just have to bite the bullet.
Or perhaps she thought i am so supportive, she just assumed i had all the time in the world.
?
My husband, who is a minister in two capacities, both in the preaching work and within the congregation, sometimes forgets to acknowledge my relevance.
Then i have to remind him that i exist and i need him around too.
He usually takes to it but sometimes he puts up a fight.
(That’s when i try to kick him.)

It is not easy being a minister’s wife.

I would recommend a life of self-sacrifice and social service to hardly anyone.
But when i look back at what i wanted from life when i was a teenager, i know this is it.
This is what i wanted.
This is what i got.
But there are people out there who make it worthwhile.
Now and then i’ll meet someone who reminds me of me, and they just melt my own popsicle heart away.

Psychological Displacement

Ever feel psychologically displaced?
Lately my opening lines have been optimistically poised in the form of questions.
I’m not 100% sure what it means to be psychologically displaced- if it’s a cool term I just made up a couple minutes ago or if it’s a real thing.
Let’s assume I’m making it up, that way I can take full creative liberties.
Psychological Displacement is when you can’t find your anchor inside you- the one that tells you you’re real.
For instance, some minutes ago, my co-worker and I were toying with the idea of taking a class together.
I was going on about how much I miss school, and she was going on about how dumb she is, so we flipped through the community college’s course catalog.
Of course, we had to focus on courses without pre-requisites, but I was still excited.
Then I couldn’t find anything that interests me.
There’s got to be a thousand courses in there, and not one makes me feel anything.
This is very unusual.
Am I depressed?
But I can’t feel it.
Then again, I am sucking on a butterscotch lollipop.
My mind is usually very active.
I often find myself telling me to shut up.
Especially at 4 AM, I wake up and it’s like I’m a tiger running at full speed through a jungle, except that the monkeys hanging along the way are all people nagging about something.
But at this very moment, nothing or no one engages my attention.
I could plan a vacation, but that usually implies flying (flying+me= panic attacks).
There are a few tasks I could work on in the office, but that usually implies working.
I probably need a good novel.

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The other day I almost kidnapped a hen on this street. That was sort of exciting.

I don’t follow too many people on social media.
It depresses me when other bloggers don’t engage.
I probably need something like a friend or something.
My husband texts me usually every day but he’s really busy and doesn’t get my jokes.
It’s ok I guess. He tries.
Well not the jokes.
He doesn’t even pretend to get them.
Hardly anyone does.
Idk maybe I’m not amusing.
Maybe my cuteness is an illusion of mine.
Or delusion?
At church all I ever want to do is draw.
I sit in the corner so no one sees me.
I think I’m going to start going to an English-speaking congregation on the side.
Maybe I’ll make new friends.
Or at least I’ll get to draw new people.
The thing missing in me is passion.
Everything seems to have already been done.
Overkilled.
I still take great pictures.
But it seems like it’s enough that I see them.
I have no pressing need to share them, like before.
Maybe I’m lonely.
But not for people in general.
I should’ve had a sister.
My ex-psychologist once told me life screwed me over by not giving me a sister.
I have these friends: B. and C.
B. is my best friend.
But she is the female personality version of my husband.
Super ultra mega busy.
She’s always there when you need her, but it better be important.
C. is easy to talk to and very creative.
But she doesn’t open up to me about her own life problems, so she’s more of a therapist than a friend.
R. is another friend.
We communicate in the same wavelength but unfortunately she’s 15.
Starting to get a bit too mature.
Other than that I don’t have close friends.
Just acquaintances and cats.
Maybe I need to change my entire approach to life.
Maybe drinking isn’t the answer.

The Wrong Bus

Ave managed to walk all over downtown and get her errands done before 5.
She could take an early bus home or go to the art store 3 blocks away.
She was short on art funds and in this 90 degree weather she thought about how crisp the a/c would be inside the big blue bus.
She detached into her virtual world at the stop for a few minutes as a row of professionaly dressed non-sweaty females stealthily trickled up against the local library.
When the bus pulled up, there was something wrong about it.
The driver was unrecognizable to her.
She hadn’t taken that particular bus in a few months.
It was packed.
She waddled her way down the aisle to the first empty seat with an ocean view, which was also the last seat on that side of the bus.
She closed her eyes and grinned as the a/c vents blasted her thick curly head.
Just when she was about to pull the lever to lean the seat back, she noticed a lump on the armrest.
A blue goop.
Yuck.
A gum.
It was a gum!
A chewed up wad of a guck of a germ laden gum!
She quickly grabbed her bag and coat and hopped to the seat across; one with an ample view of the freeway.
The gum kept looking at her across the aisle as if it was about to grow legs and strangle her.
She took out her bus schedule in order to text her husband about not forgetting to pick her up.
There was no scheduled stop to where she was going.
Was this not the bus that she used to take all the time to get home?
The horizontal line on the trifold page could not be wrong.
This bus she was on made no such stop.
In a flash, she saw her fate before her: “Honey! I got on the wrong bus!”
“How do these things always happen to you?!? I can’t pick you up til 10!” (Hypothetical).
She ran to the front and begged for a transfer slip.
(Since her bus funds were also low.)
As she made chit chat at the next stop with a normally apathetic woman, she noticed a shady stone wall that beckoned at her.
She waited for the woman to look the other way before akwardly straying over there.
“Ahhh,” she thought, “no a/c but shade is nice.”
But something kept tickling her up her skirt til she finally became paranoid and shot up onto her feet.
She’d been sitting just above a spider web.
‘That spider was trying to rape me!’ she gasped.
The next big blue bus pulled up and Ave verified the destination with the driver.
She put her transfer into the machine thingy (what did we call it last time? Dollar gobbler?) and momentarily freaked out as an automated voice announced to the rest of the passengers, “TRANSFER DENIED. PASSENGER IS POOR. PASSENGER STOP HOLDING EVERYONE UP.”
She turned red-panicky toward the driver.
“Let me guess,” said the driver. “You got on the wrong bus?”
Ave waddled her way to the back seat of the ocean-facing side of the bus, the only available ocean-view seat, and did a general search of the area for any stray gum guck.
This was, in fact, the right bus.

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Ocean view. Big deal.

The bus arrived early at her off stop.
She mingled with a pack of homeless waiting to be picked up.
Well “mingled” is such a strong word.
Maybe she just didn’t hide from them.

I Presume You Think I’m Stupid

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"A- I presume you know that .25 is #1/4

Dear Mrs. Upper Micro Management,

No, I did not know that .25 would be referring to 1/4, despite getting an A in my 4th grade math class.
Even so, I still managed to graduate from college and accurately calculate all the invoicing for both your businesses for the last two years.
In fact, I was going to work very hard today,  but I have decided my time would be better spent grasping my head around the concept that .25 is 1/4.
That must be why 25 cents is called a quarter!!!
Thanks for the enlightening post-it note.
Working with you is such an enriching experience.

Sincerely,
Your Eager Employee

PS- I notice you throw away the magazines in reception that don’t have white people on the cover.
I will speak to Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and People en Español to request special custom covers for our particular office.

PPS- I presume .5 is 1/2?

Remember to come up with a title before you publish this

I haven’t posted anything in a while.
That is a classic line used by all bloggers when they are about to write a lame blog post.
Which this probably will end up being.
It’s late Thursday.
Husband’s in the shower.
That gives me about 10 minutes to write this post and tag it before he starts to “subtly” complain.
There are a lot of great things about marriage but that is one thing I hate- having to accommodate my night schedule to his.
Ok… well i did warn you about the quality of this post.
The ongoing heat’s stressing me out.
And there’s a little bug that keeps landing on my head but I can’t quite manage to kill it.

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Temperatures are cooling next week! Yay!

I have spent the better part of tonight going over my personal finances and am quite upset at myself that I am so much in debt.
Mostly it’s just my student loan and the house’s closing costs that my generous brother lent me.
Also all that time after I graduated during which I wasn’t working full time,  I still had to buy a  few basic necessities.
(Like those dresses in Milan.)
Oh and then there’s my invisalign.
I just miss being free of all those obligations.
It doesn’t feel like it was all that long ago that I was doing what I loved.
I should have never let anyone tell me what was important.
I should have never-
(Oh I think I finally got the bug.)
Husband is trying to sleep.

The “Stop Blogging” Award

Are you an amateur poet who recently took up writing as a result of a breakup?

Do you see yourself as the protagonist of your own movie script?

Are you passionate about social issues that you research on Facebook but are otherwise oblivious to?

Are you in the habit of liking every post without reading it just to get more page visits on your own blog?

Do you blindfold yourself and then type random characters at your keyboard for several minutes?

If you or someone you know identifies with any of these, please nominate them for my new award:

The Stop Blogging Award.

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This award is designed to give recognition to all sorts of authors, but mostly just the bad ones.

If you’re not sure if you qualify, feel free to private message me and I will pretend to be happy to read what you write.

After all, isn’t that what the WordPress community is all about?

Are you an initiator?

Are you typically the person who initiates conversations, texts, relationships, sex, etc?

Or do you like to be on the receiving end?

Some of us don’t have much of a choice.

If we don’t initiate, we could go years without human contact.

I am not naturally an initiator.

Being shy and with low self-esteem my whole life,  I can think of a dozen reasons off the top of my head why someone would rather not be contacted by me.

But there are some people I’m willing to initiate for, because if I don’t,  I’m afraid I’ll lose them.

There comes a point, though, where I become exasperated.

I wind up at the corner market pigging out on chips and taramisu for lunch.

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This is something I'm happy to initiate.

One recent example of said exasperation is my supposed BFF.
She got divorced in April but has been disconnected from me because she has been talking to this new guy I don’t approve of.
She’s never been a clingy friend, but it’s like she only calls when she has guy problems.
I told her I was buying a house in May and didn’t hear back from her til yesterday.
She only texted me because she’s depressed that she’s cut off contact with the new guy.
I see the pattern clearly now, though I ignored it for over the last five years.

I was arguably rude, I think,  cause after a few texts back and forth,  she didn’t reply.

Eh. I’m used to it.

But that’s not why I’m pigging out right now.

That’s because I just saw through my coworker.

She keeps asking me to move patients to an earlier time and then sabotages the schedule so I have to call them again and move them back to their original time.

I decided to take a long lunch and let her deal with her own mess for a change.

I don’t have sisters and was never really close to my cousins growing up,  so maybe that’s why I have trouble getting along with most women.

Not sure why I can’t get along with men, though.

That’s a whole ‘nother mystery for a different food binge.