And now back to your regularly scheduled griping

My thankful, optimistic, philanthropic attitude lasted exactly four and a half days.

Remember how I said that I was thankful we are still renting? It has its upsides. But then. Then there are the community laundry rooms. Twelve washing machines, 240 people. At least. And don't we all know, that in community laundry rooms, posession is 100% of the law? If there's laundry in the machine, you don't touch it. Even if it's been sitting there for three days. No matter how mad it makes you. I respect the law, and I expect everyone else to. Unless there's a posted rule about how if it's been there for a certain amount of time, anyone can move it. I'm all for this rule, but it doesn't exist in our laundry rooms.

So I went down there today to move over my two loads of laundry. I was maybe 15 minutes late. I checked my washers, and they were full of someone else's stuff. My soaking wet laundry was sitting on top of two dryers, and not even two empty dryers. It made me furious. I kicked some things. Bad Kristy came out, and I contemplated opening the tops of my two erst-while washing machines so that they'd stop washing and the person who committed the crime would return to find their laundry not even halfway done. But my better self returned, and I left it alone, and waited for the girl to come back when her laundry was done. I asked her why she'd done it, she defended herself with the clever line, "Well, this is a public laundry room." Yeah.

I guess "public" means you check common courtesy at the door. Even in Yorba Linda.


Learning to be thankful

I've been thinking about writing this post all day, trying to pull together the things I'm thankful for. And I started getting a little depressed. It seems like everyone has big exciting things to be thankful for this year. Bri and Ash will have two new babies any minute now. Barbara is moving to South Africa to have new adventures. Aimee and Andrew bought a great new condo. But there doesn't seem to be anything like that for us this year. Judah is following all the usual patterns for babies, growing up slowly and steadily. We're not planning any trips. We're in the same apartment we were last year, with no prospects of buying anywhere in the future. So my list of things to be thankful for was looking like the usual: family, friends, good food and fun. Our life is extremely routine and normal right now.

But then I started really thinking about it. And all of those things, the family, the baby, the apartment, our friends are all huge blessings, when I think of people who don't have all those things. And not even people in third world countries. People here, in Orange County. How many people do we know that are at odds with their families, or are struggling to have babies, or can't make ends meet, or feel like they don't fit in, or feel like life is caving in on them? Hundreds. THANK GOD we have our families, our wonderful, crazy, chaotic families that love us without end. And our sweet baby, who is so bright and cheerful and keeps us laughing with the things he's learning to say (like "coffee" and "punkin pie"). And we have a place to live, and food to eat, and shoes to wear, and relatively clean air to breathe, and furniture to sit on, and money to buy Diet Coke with Splenda and Starbucks caramel mochas so that we don't go through caffeine withdrawal, and books to read, and a great church family, and the luxury of enough clothes to spend a ridiculous amount of time each day figuring out what to wear.

Patrick Henry Reardon said, "Suppose for a moment that God began taking from us the many things for which we have failed to give thanks. Which of our limbs and faculties would be left? Would I still have my hands and my mind? And what about loved ones? If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I have not given thanks, who or what would be left of me?" So this year, I'm thankful for the way things have stayed mostly the same in my life. Because things are good. I'm thankful that I'm still married to and in love with the most wonderful man in the world. I'm thankful that I still have my same old friends (and some new ones). I'm thankful that we still have our big families mostly nearby and that we still all love each other unbearably. I'm thankful that we still live in a comfortable, spacious apartment. I'm even thankful that we're still renting, because when something breaks we get to dial the magic number and the elves come and fix the problem while we're out. I'm thankful for all of God's continued blessings to me and my family.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!


New love

Thomas, being the great source that he is on what's going on in music, told me about Angels and Airwaves months and months ago. I, being the stressed out mother that I am, felt that I didn't have time to explore any new music. I should have listened. I heard the single on the radio, of course, it being one of the few songs that KROQ consents to play even though the band doesn't have the words "Pepper" or "Killers" anywhere in their name, but I wasn't really paying attention except to think, yeah, it's a pretty good song. Then this morning I stumbled across an old Blink 182 song on my iTunes list and remembered about Angels and Airwaves and how they were pretty good, I seemed to remember. So I headed over to their website and checked out the video for The Adventure (which you should check out too, here). And fell in love.

What I can't understand is how Blink 182, a band that used to make me routinely want to rip the radio out of the dashboard of my car and hurl it into oncoming traffic, became something as incredible as Angels and Airwaves. It's like Tom Delonge woke up one day and went, "I think today I'll begin to actually be a musician." And then created this, a group with an epic sound that would fill up a stadium in a way that would recall the glory days of U2. But there's something a little darker about them, too, a little bit of Cure mixed in there that makes me love them that much more. Tom Delonge still sounds like a bit of a snot-nosed punk-whiner, but somehow it works better than it used to.

This morning KROQ announced that Angels and Airwaves will be performing the second night of Acoustic Christmas. And that's enough to make me want to go, even though I swore I'd never go to another KROQ festival, even though I'd rather be stuck in an elevator with Britney Spears for ten hours than endure a Gnarls Barkley set. I'd do it to see them live. I think it'll be that good.


Barbara made me do it

Barbara posted on her blog about the Winter Reading Challenge, so I thought I'd take it up and see if I could do it. Heaven knows there are enough books on my shelves that I've bought and never read, so this will be good incentive to read some of them. Here are my five books, in no particular order:

1. Looking Backward: 2000-1887 - Edward Bellamy. Dr. Wilshire mentioned this book in one of my history classes, and I was fascinated with the idea. I bought the book, and it's been lying around for probably close to 10 years now.
2. The Man Who Was Thursday - G. K. Chesterton. I think I bought this book because I liked the title. We'll see if it lives up to it.
3. Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy. A book that I've always felt like I should read.
4. Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel. NO, I've never read it. Yes, I KNOW you can't believe it.
5. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley. Heard it's good. One of those books that you should be able to say you've read, much like Animal Farm. Which I also haven't read.

So there they are. I tried to make myself throw in Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, but I just can't bring myself to choke down Russian lit in the winter. But I did put things on my list that are more than fluff. Because fluff is mostly what I've been reading lately. I do most of my reading between 10:00 and midnight, and by that time I'm lazy and feel like I can't handle anything that requires a lot of thought. But I need to get back in the habit, so here I go. I'm starting with Looking Backward. But I'm pretty sure I'll be dovetailing in a whole lot of Jan Caron and the Mitford books at the same time, because they're light and fun and comforting. Nobody in Mitford ever tries to overthrow the government and start a new world order.


Raising a frat boy

Judah's over at the coffee table. He found a penny on the floor and is now bouncing it off the table, undoubtedly practicing his quarters technique. I suspect this because I think Nathan is teaching him things. Last week Nathan dubbed Judah's room the home of the He-Man Woman Haters' Club. He had shut himself in there and when Judah opened the door to come in I heard Nathan say, "Hey Buddy, come on in. Have a stogy."

Our next kid better be a girl.


Counting away

It's November. I'm not sure what the date is, but I know it's November. And that means it should be at least a little, tiny bit cool here. But no. Today it was 90 degrees by 11:00, and then it got hotter. I'm feeling a little cheated. But there were a lot of good things today, so I'm counting my blessings. Here are the little things that made me smile today.

I was listening to Kevin and Bean this morning (in and of itself a good thing) when they took a break from their relentless schedule of All Red Hot Chili Peppers All The Time to play the new U2 single Window in the Sky. It was so awesome, so classic U2, and it made me so happy. And I count myself lucky to have heard it before KROQ pulled it from the playlist hours later. It seems they'd jumped the gun again and played it before they were legally allowed to. I should've known it was too good to be true, but I'm glad I heard it once.

Judah tried to enlist today. In the Army. I'm smiling because he was rejected. He didn't have any ID on him to prove he was 18. But he did try. He ran right up to the Army table at Biola and made friends with the soldiers, who gave him a sticker and a bracelet and told him to call them in 16 years.

I'm insured! You have no idea how much this excites me. For a full year I was un-insurable (is that a word?) because I dared to treat my post-partum depression and get healed. But when I got home from lunch there was a message from our insurance agent saying I'd been approved! So happy. Now I can contract that new trendy disease I've been wanting to check out.

Barbara posted pictures on her blog today of us at the Hollywood Bowl years ago. I can't actually see the pictures for some reason, but I know exactly which ones they are. And they bring back SO MANY good memories. I could write pages and pages about our Hollywood Bowl adventures over the years. Written into the contract of our friendship is a clause that says we have to go there together at least once every summer. And there must always be green olives.

I made a friendship bracelet today. I haven't made one since I was 14, and it was awesome. There's something about the repetitiveness of tying endless knots that calms the brain.

The second disc of The Thorn Birds was in my mailbox today. Yes, Mom, I know it's a horrible story about people who have turned their backs on God, but it's still good drama. Good 80s drama, that is.

And finally: tonight at 7-11 I found the new Hershey's bar that's the extra dark chocolate, 65% cacao. Pure heaven.