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December 2008
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February 2009

Productivity -- steroid style!

I've been going downhill lately, but I've been so busy, I didn't really notice.  Not until this morning when I couldn't get out of bed, and when I did, the room sort of swirled.  I'm not a real complainer (about my health anyway, everything else, yes) but this morning, I told DH, I need to go to the doctor's.

"I have to go to the bank."
Not the sort of romantic answer you hope for, but it will have to do.  "I'll take a shower first."
I did.  He returned with donuts and an iced mocha.  All is forgiven.  Who needs compassion when hero is bearing espresso?  We head to Kaiser.  This is my first real experience with Kaiser since we just joined.  I must say, it's run like a well-oiled machine.  Take a number, list your complaints, get seen by doctor, who consults with neurologist and I am outta there with a neatly packaged set of steroids.  Or as I refer to them, "inspiration in a pill". 

You see, I can't sleep on steroids.  So I write.  It's how I started this job in the first place.  The circle of life -- sicko style.  It's been so long since I had a MS flare-up, I honestly didn't recognize it.  I mean, I knew I was getting run down, but I've never been a great listener.  Unless it is none of my business, then, I'm all ears.

So when I don't listen, my body shuts down.  Just like that.  Stops working and says, rest or else!!  So I rested.  Watched an all-day marathon of "Leave it to Beaver".  Dang, that show is hilarious.  But wow, no wonder men of that generation are disappointed that wives don't kiss them, and rub their back when they come home two hours late and say, "Well Ward,you're finally home. I thought you'd be home two hours ago.  Your dinner's in the oven.  Might be a little dried-out by now."  Yeah, that happens.

It really was a setup for mass disappointment.  Mrs. Cleaver didn't have a lot to do with her life.  This is apparent by the constant needle work she does while sitting around the house in her starched dress and pearls.  Plus, she doesn't seem smart enough to think of anything on her own.  "Ward, there's a paper on the piano you need to sign for the Beaver to take music lessons."  Why?  Does she not have her own signature? She certainly is not in possession of any hormones.

Enough of that.  Paula Deen is deep-frying lasagna.  And I have a little time to kill.

Ted Haggard, Cont...

So I watched Ted, the disgraced preacher from Colorado, and his wife on Oprah and Larry King Live.  And I realized something.  Telling the truth never disgraces Jesus or the church.  I think what they've gone through is so utterly painful and humiliating and I can't know their hearts.  I can know I'd have trouble being his wife and standing there beside him, but I don't know what he's stood by her for -- and maybe that's my weakness, not hers.

Anyway, he was TMI truthful about his situation from what I could see and apologetic.  Does he mean it?  I don't know, not for me to judge actually, but I do hope that someone out there heard the Words of Jesus he spoke.  How Jesus will leave the 99 to come after the one. 

He said something on Larry King that really struck me.  He'd read a book by an atheist during his time 'in the desert' and that really highlighted for him what his true faith was -- he had to separate his own superstitions (the book had called all religion superstitions) from his true faith.

Man, that's huge.  Don't we all need to do that?  Maybe God wanted to use Ted to save one he couldn't reach as a "good" man, but only as a sinner.  Who knows?  But I do hope that God is glorified in all this and that those hurt by this situation come out better people in the end. 

It's a good conversation starter though, about how sometimes God's journey for us doesn't fit into a little box.  Sometimes good people get divorced, sometimes good people have gay tendencies or other struggles and our job is to love them into the faith.  Good reminder anyway.

Ack!! Shut up Ted!!

Haggard When Ted Haggard fell from grace, with his apparent "gay" affair and meth allegations, I hurt for his family -- and naturally, the church.  I can't say I had a lot of compassion for Ted, not because of his "sins" but because of how he handled them afterwards.  He just didn't seem like a person who really felt the destruction of what he'd done.  That's sort of my pet peeve.  When the church is so ready to forgive, not fully contemplating the destruction of the deed.  I mean, forgive him and all, but the man needs work to restore himself in his family and the church.  Not because he's a sinner, but because he fails to see how he hasn't put others first.  You can't simply trust someone who has proven untrustworthy without cause.  That's human.  It's the reason Paul wouldn't take Mark on his missionary journey, because Mark had screwed up once.  So a separate journey had to be taken with Barnabas and Mark did prove himself worthy.

A person seeking to be restored does what they have to do.  Now, Ted Haggard is going to be on Oprah "explaining himself" again.  Whining about the Christians who won't forgive him, I'm sure.  He is in a new movie that Nancy Pelosi's daughter Andrea did, and here's a Haggard quote:

"The Church has said go to hell. I understand why when a criminal is caught they will sometimes admit to things they didn't do," he says. "I wanted to overrepent, and I think I did overrepent. In my letter to the church I said I was a deceiver and a liar, but I hadn't lied about anything except to keep quiet about what was going on inside me." 

Okay, if you're cheating on your wife with gay men and doing meth, your very life is a lie, dude.  Please, get over yourself and your healthy dose of narcissism, and truly, get right with the Lord and stop trying to defend yourself.  Who cares if the church forgives you?  You need to worry that God forgives you, that your heart is truly right.  Ugh.  In the meantime, the church gets beat up yet again for what unholy, judgmental jerks we all are, apparently.  Yeah, except Haggard knew the Scriptures and what he was called to, so I don't buy that.  And of course, all this is foolishness to non-believers, but in 2 Corinthians 13: 8-9, we are told this:

Do the right thing before we come -- even if that makes it look like we have failed to demonstrate our authority.  For we cannot oppose the truth, but we must always stand for the truth.  We are glad to seem week if it helps show that you are actually strong.  We pray that you will become mature."

If he defends his actions on Oprah, I am going to hurl!!  (That was me, not Scripture!  LOL) And how do you overrepent exactly?

It's a new low!

I think I hit an all-time low today.  I actually went to the grocery store in pink socks with breast cancer ribbons on them, gray Mary-Janes, old jeans that hang off of me, and my beige grandma cardigan over an orange shirt.  But wait, it doesn't stop there!  Once I got to the store, I realized that though I had makeup on, I had completely forgotten to brush my hair.  Not just style it, or straighten it, I actually mean run a brush through it.  I'm like, worse than a homeless person.  How did I get here??

First off, my husband's car is in the shop, so he is going to "help" me with the kids in the morning.  I still have to get three of them out of bed, get them fed, dressed and out the door, but he did take them to school.  And I'm grateful, I really am, but then he came home.  Why is it men don't know where anything is?  I mean, don't they live in the same house as you?

So DH is going to run errands for me this morning.  YAY!  So he goes to the pharmacy and comes back annoyed, but I was smart enough to have him bring me an espresso since. "The pharmacy doesn't open until 9." 

He has a phone call at 10:00, but unplugs my Internet, so I have to stop, show him where to put the phone.  I clean the kitchen and he finishes his phone call.  His car still isn't ready so he's going to run to the cleaners for me.  Except he doesn't listen and goes to the wrong cleaners.  Why he doesn't call me at this point, I'm not sure, but he went to two cleaners and they told him, "Wrong ticket."

So he comes home again.  Now his car is ready and I take him to pick up his car and grocery shop, completely forgetting I have done nothing to myself with this odd morning of helpfulness.

When I get home and get the groceries put away, I have exactly ten minutes to pick up my daughter and her friend from school.  In other words, I'm now at the school, with people I know!!  And I haven't brushed my hair.  A smarter woman might have a hairbrush in her purse, but you know, I have this really cute little bag right now, it's navy, patent-leather crocodile and it doesn't fit a brush.

I take the girls to the cleaners and pick up what DH didn't, get to pick up my son, pick up my other son, come home feed hungry kids and finish putting groceries away -- then go pick up my other son.

By then, it's dinner time.  And I still look like a bag lady and I still have no idea what happened to my day, but I am grateful my DH has a good job and it's just Fiona and me during the day.  I can't handle more than that.  Clearly.

Oh in sharp contrast to today's look, here's my new headshot.  : ) Kristin20090104_Billerbeck_0128_Rtch_Sm

Humor me.

I went to see Bill Engval this weekend.  He was playing at a local theater and I'd heard him on the radio, and thought he was funny, so I bought tickets.  I really find someone with a quick wit, who can take the normal and make it funny, hysterical.  He did a routine on a colonscopy that made me laugh so hard, my stomach hurt.  (And I probably won't schedule one anytime soon.)   

I love improv.  Sinbad did that when I went to see him, I think that's my favorite.  I met someone locally, who is beautiful, and she does improv here.  I'll have to get tickets for that!  I also love the writing on 30 Rock and I know Tina Fey came out of improv.  (I just wish it weren't so dirty, don't you think that sucks the humor out?)  Of course, I've already said I love Rick Gervais and "The Office".  What would you call that unstated humor? 

Anyway, I'm home, ready to write my young adult novel and my DH is here, so I'm lagging getting started.   What is it with men that they cannot find a thing without help?  And why, oh why, does he assume his A.D.D. wife would know where it was?  I do, but that's beside the point.  I tell myself he has all these important things going on in his head for work, so he can't process things like where the phone jack is in the bedroom.  : ) 

So my young adult is of course, more romance-oriented.  Not sure that's going to be easy this morning with DH home.  I'll be reminded of my quiet, peaceful studio when I was single and the only man in my life was Scott Bakula on Wednesday nights in "Quantum Leap". 

Life atop the Froth

There's a reason I prefer to stay marred within the frilly, frothy side of life.  The world is stinkin' depressing.  I read the newspaper today, and remembered why I like to avoid it.  Some 19 year-old kid runs down his 45 year-old neighbor, kills her (on purpose) and his aunt says the typical, "he's a nice kid" quote.  "He wouldn't do something like that."  Except he did do something like that, with witnesses, and his rap sheet shows it's not the first time.

What the heck?  Why are we so quick in this world to forgive evil, but not protect the innocent?  How are we getting all these people who live without conscience?  Even if you take God out of the picture, how do you justify being a completely entitled narcissist who is a drain on society?  

Why wouldn't I rather read what Bradgelina is doing this week? Or contemplate Michelle Obama's ball gown (which I loved, btw).  Why wouldn't I want to go and hang out at Los Gatos Coffee, where the caffeine-induced (and their dogs) are happy?  They're not making excuses for why they're miserable human beings, they're just out there trying to enjoy their day.

I think that's underrated.  The life of normal people, who go about their day, not making the world a worse place.  A little happiness and consideration for others goes a long way.  Meeting a simple need for someone else is underrated.  Those small, unexpected greetings don't go unnoticed.  

In the meantime, I'm going to uplift myself with my "More" magazine, with Emma Thompson on the cover (LOVE her, she wrote the screenplay for Sense & Sensibility) and then, maybe I'll get to my new book by Colleen McCollough, then I'll wash it down with a People magazine chaser.  Man, ignorance is truly bliss.  

God's Sitcom

I've often said I'm God's sitcom.  There's something about me, I'm just set up for humor.  Maybe it's my lack of coordination, maybe it's that I set to do things I'm not all that good at, maybe it's just God created me to have foibles, I don't know. 

It's 10:15 and I'm in my office, closing shop for the day and my teenage son says, "Psst, Mom!"

"Go to bed!" I snap.

"Mom, no I need your help."


"Can you get me some underwear?"

"Can't you get your own?"

"I'm naked."

"Of course, you are."  So I get up, schlep into his room, grab some undies and he does battle with the dog -- who has stolen the clean underwear while yahoo is in the shower.  There are moments in life, like late at night, when your teenage son is battling a yorkie-pom naked, trying to out-think the dog with chew toys, that maybe I wasn't cut out for this parenting thing.Gucci

Dreams don't have to make sense...

The other day, I went to my friend's house -- who lives in a beautiful home -- a mansion really -- that overlooks the entire Bay Area.  We were talking about her plans for the yard and she said "My husband's dream is to build a driveway of his own, down here."  She pointed to the back of their property.

They share their street with four houses, I mean how difficult could it be to have to run into a neighbor once in a while?  And my house is pretty much on the driveway for everyone else, so I told her to send her hubby over and see "how the other half lives".  But when I got home, I thought, you know, that's his dream.  I may think it's stupid, but who am I to say?  If the guy views success as his own driveway to his property, that's his view.  His dream.  Who am I to kill it?  Shame on me!

Dreamkillers are everywhere, but we're entitled to our dreams, no matter how ridiculous they may seem.  Mine is to restore this house and make it look like an early American craftsman -- not a crapsman -- which is sort of what it is now.  I love this house, but the reality is, I'm lucky to be in it.  It's expensive here and with four kids, I should be focusing on keeping the roof over their head, but when I dream...this house is restored.  I have a yard with a theme, or at least some sort of landscape besides "natural California grasses" and my vision is a reality. 

On a related note, while in Santa Cruz today, we met two fathers out surfing and asked some questions for Seth (who is interested in it.)  Of all things, these guys gave me all the info I could want (how to sign him up, and with whom), but he gave us a boogie board out of the back of his truck!! What an amazing day!!  So I have to give these guys props for following their dreams.  They have their own surf clothing company.
IMG_2077 IMG_2073

Heroes & Such

Obviously, yesterday's plane crash reminds us we only get one life -- that only a flock of geese might bring it to an end.  That story yesterday, a miracle really, about landing smoothly on the Hudson River, everyone getting out before the plane filled with water -- people acting heroically to help each other out of the plane, out of the water.  It fills me with hope, that when faced with life and death, people choose to help each other.  That makes me want to cry!!

You know that people found God again in those last minutes.  I don't care what kind of atheist you've been, you're going down in a plane, you're going to rediscover prayer.  People held onto each other.  Strangers!  I just love that scenario.  We are intricately woven together and in times of peril, we need each other.  Isn't that a beautiful picture? 

I did hear the guy worried about his "sticks" ie., golf clubs, but he was the fluke.  And I'm sure he was kidding.  I hope.  But I'm not going to judge.  If you've survived a plane crash, maybe it's time to head to Vegas, I don't know. 

So in contrast to people who are heroic and showed us again what NYers are made of, here's the latest candidate for Celebrity Rehab.  Do you know who it is?

Boygeorge ACK!!  It's Boy George!

My warped view of manhood...

So here's a place where my judgment is so obviously out of touch with reality.  This morning, I went to the coffee shop (thanks to Diann Hunt who bought me a Peet's card).  Oh I should also mention, I fell off the espresso wagon, or into it, maybe.  I had to buy the coffee for my husband at Los Gatos Coffee, got myself an espresso and that was it.  (I went into the bar as an alcoholic, you know?)  SO that was short-lived.  Four days off espresso. 

Anyway, back to my warped views.  Today, I went to the coffee shop and this guy walks in behind me.  He's very nice looking, dressed well for work, and he smiles at me.  (He apparently doesn't have good eyesight, but that's another story.)  Okay, yes, I'm old and married, but he wasn't that close to me either.  He orders a medium decaf coffee.  What?  What?  

I'm thinking to myself, why don't you just announce you don't have a backbone?  That you're not man enough to drink espresso, the kind that will make hair grow on your chest?  Why don't you order it in a teacup already? 

Now, the guy could have had a heart condition.  He could have been on medication that made caffeine bad for him, any number of things really.  But did I give him the benefit of the doubt?  Heck no, I could barely hide my distaste.  So we get to the coffee table -- he for his sugar and cream (don't get me started), me for my straw.   And he says something about the weather, trying to start up a conversation.  I was nice and all (two-faced), but I realized I have a very warped view of manhood. 

I mean, the guy probably couldn't take Tabasco either!

Can you believe I've been married almost 17 years?  I know!  Me neither!