Monday, November 27, 2006

A "Great-full" Weekend

Ahh! Last weekend was just what I needed. It is a gloomy Monday morning and the day started off with a flu shot but I'm still chipper from the great weekend. It was the type of weekend that reenergizes you and gives you joy and wonderful memories. What made it so great? A hundred little things that only come with spending quality time with your family and very old friends.

There is something incredibly freeing in seeing your quirky fantastic family over the holidays. They are people who know you in all sorts of weird ways. They know your life stories, they know your failings (and frequently tease you about it), they know your embarrassing nicknames (and frequently they started them in the first place). For me, an introvert at heart, it is a chance to be extroverted and goofy in a loving place. We give each other crap about sports teams or politics (or hair plugs and OCD handwashing, whatever) but deep down there is a joy to be with them that keeps everything loving and blissful.

It is the kind of weekend that makes me so grateful for my family. They are all so unique and beautifully flawed (in the way that all creation is). They are the types of people that make me think that politics, ideologies and "isms" will never destroy the world because there is always an uncle standing by with fake dog poop. They are families that play cards with voracity (playing for nickels). They give credence to cliches all over the world.

They tell stories of hunting and forgetting to load the guns. They decide not to exchange gifts and instead all donate money to give a needy family a great Christmas and then argue about how best to do that. They rant at the way the Star Spangled Banner is sung these days (In my day...). They still call me "Show-biz Liz." They accept my husband into the family as if he'd always been there. They are wonderfully weird and full of grace and love. Even when they annoy me (the world is never perfect after all), I am deeply full of the truth that I am one LUCKY daughter, grand-daughter, cousin, niece and wife. I hope that all families are all as diverse, unique and as much of a blessing to you as mine is to me. There is so much to be thankful for.

The weekend was a whirlwind. Thanksgiving day in Chicago with Gramma and the family (Dad's side). Some had to leave after dinner to drive home to be with my cousin who was having surgery on Friday (imagine being on clear liquids for thanksgiving, but so far it seems as though the surgery was successful). There was plenty of food (from the club who even sent home the leftovers! yum!). There was football and joking and some cards.

Friday we spent lunch in Chicago and drove to see the rest of the family in Milwaukee (Mom's side). For the first time in a LONG time, everyone was there. We had dinner out and saw my Aunt and Uncle's new house that they moved into last week. More cards, more laughter, more love, and still WAY too much food. I saw my cousins who are becoming more grown up everyday (8th grade, 6th grade and 4th grade). And we drove to my parents late that night to spend the night.

Saturday we had to drive home but not before having breakfast with one of my oldest friends (practically family afterall). She and her husband and kids met us for breakfast. Her kids are so cute and getting so big and they are so open and cheerful. (I must have gotten them on a good day). And she's pregnant so I got to see her cute pregnant belly (29 weeks and counting).

As we drove home I was so aware of my blessings. I know some wonderful people. People who help me to see God in this world. I am married to a fabulous man who complements me so well and fits right into my family. I've got great families (including the ones I've married into) and there is so much to enjoy in the world. It was definately just the kind of weekend I needed.

I hope that these memories will come to me when I'm grouchy or grinchy in the next few weeks. December can always be a challenging month but I'm feeling the love today!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Delurking week!

Hey everyone! I got this from another blog that I follow (here) . This week let people know that you are here. Let me know you are reading. Just say hi or Happy Thanksgiving or whatever you want. And bloggers feel free to join in Delurking week yourself!

For my own part, I'm at my last day of work this week. Tomorrow we drive to Chicago to go to Gramma's thanksgiving extravaganza...

In those days a decree when out from Gramma Jean, that all the family should be gathered. This was the second gethering and was taken while Liz was in Minnesota. All went to Chicago to be gathered. Liz went from the town of Minneapolis in Minnesota to Chicago, to the city of Gramma because she was descended from the house and family of Gramma. She went to be gathered with Chris, to whom she was married...

Hehe. But Gramma said so, and so we go. We'll be having dinner at their club so she doesn't have to cook for 26 any more. It will be great to see the family though. Then on Friday we'll have dinner with the other side of the family in Milwaukee. It will be good to see folks over Thanksgiving since we'll be with Chris' family over Christmas (which will be fun too).

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving. I may find time to check in after my turkey induced coma is worked off.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Holding out for universal popularity

Gosh, this place is trying to suck the life out of me this week. Have the stars alighted against me? Somewhere I can imagine stars lined up spelling out - "HaHa Liz sucks" - in all their beauty and wonder. The worst of it is that I've been trying really hard to have a positive attitude about it this week, but I'm so grouchy right now.

I'm sick of people complaining but not helping. Sick of church politics and kissing ass. Sick of toddlers who try to rip hair from my head to feed it to the dinosaur (seriously). I'm tired of passive agressive women who liked the other lady better. I'm tired. I'm grouchy. But i'm also sick of using the blog as a way to vent about the annoying things that go along with a normal church job. I did sign up for this gig afterall and I like it (mostly).

Despite (or maybe because) of my mood I'm forcing myself to do an exercise. With thanksgiving a week away and me being thouroughly unthankful, I'm going to list things that I'm thankful for...just to remind me. You can read them or disregard as you want. (I hope to continue this throughout the week).

So, in no particular order:
I am thankful for...
1. My husband who loves me even when I'm crazy or grouchy or ugly.
2. My family who are dysfunctional in all the fun quirky ways but are loving and supportive.
3. My cats who welcome me home everyday.
4. That I have a good job and can (mostly) support my family.
5. That I'm happy and healthy.
6. My friends who are wonderful and diverse and make me think deeper than I do normally.
7. That God created music and there are people able to perform it.
8. Stars (even if they are spelling insults at me!)
9. Cheesy science fiction that teaches us lessons of life.
10. Chocolate
11. Cheese
12. Diet Coke
13. Seeing God answer the prayers of my friends
14. Sunshine
15. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia.
16. Rambling conversations over coffee or tea.
17. Babies
18. The kids I get to see every week.
19. That I don't work for a mindless coroporation set on world distruction.
20. That the dems won control of Congress.
21. That I haven't lost my entire trumpet lip.
22. My vacation next month.
23. My education.
24. Color.
25. Life, love, hope, grace, faith and peace.

Aah. I think i'm calmer now. Back to work. Love to you all.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Help I'm allergic to my office.

Seriously! There is something in the air here, or something growing and it is getting worse. The office staff and I have been noticing our allergies have been bad for several weeks and it came up at staff last week. Our church manager is currently looking for places that can test it without costing an arm and a leg.

In the meantime, the thing seems to be getting worse. Chris commented on it when in my office on Sunday and my eyes are starting to burn whenever I'm in my office. I'm keeping the door open in an attempt to get more air, but my eyes are itchy and my throat is scratchy and my sinuses look like balloons. I really hope this gets remedied quickly and it isn't anything serious. I have images of toxic molds running through my head. Ugh. Too bad this doesn't mean I can take the week off...too much to do and not enough time.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Et tu Brute?

Well my blog followers, it has been 5 days and nearly 1500 miles since we last touched base so allow me to update you on my life of the last few days. The time: This weekend. The place: Ann Arbor, MI. The goal: Shakespeare!

On Thursday last week I took off from MN on the way to my parents home in WI...5 hours or so. I went there to meet up with my parents to prepare for our drive to Michigan the next day. The drive went fine and we spent a lovely evening talking about the terrible state of political ads and various other topics of conversation. (Discussed only briefly - the baby-house-school question that my mother feels sure we will have to answer before too long..hehe).

Friday morning we set out early in order to get to Michigan by 5ish. My sister and her husband are in school in the University of Michigan for their various graduate programs and the Royal Shakespeare Company was coming there to put on a variety of Shakespeare this weekend (with Patrick Stewart - of Star Trek:TNG fame - as a headliner). We drove without incident and arrived at my sisters to order in Chinese and play with her cute dog Anya. Then that night we went to see Julius Ceasar. The play was very good, particularly the actor who played Marc Antony. His funeral speech was great. This play didn't have Patrick Stewart in it though, but was well done none the less. I saw Julius Ceasar at the Guthrie once and this performance was equal to it if not better....lots of blood though!

Then to bed - I spent the weekend crashed on my sister's futon (Chris couldn't come so why spend the $$ on a hotel) sleeping with her puppy dog! On Sat we got up and while the whole world (just about) went to the U of MI football game we wandered around Ann Arbor. We had lunch at a fabulous vegitarian restaurant (a phrase I never expected to pass my lips) and went to the flagship Borders! And we saw Kristin (sister) and Logan's (brother-in-law) offices. Kristin attempted to explain her research to me. (If you understand biophysics drop me a note and I'll attempt to sum up, otherwise I won't make an obvious fool of myself just now).

We ended up having pizza for dinner and then off for more Shakespeare. This time Antony and Cleopatra. Patrick Stewart played Marc Antony and was amazing, but even more amazing was the actress who played Cleopatra. She played a fully developed character with depth, humor and clarity. Truly the play was stunning...the best Shakespeare I'd seen (to date). It made all the miles totally worth it.

The next day we went to brunch and then to our final play of the weekend: The Tempest. This time Patrick Stewart was Prospero. Amazingly, if I thought that the previous night's play was the best I'd seen they set out to prove me wrong. Not only was this play beautifully staged and orchestrated but the whole thing was flawlessly acted. It was the kind of thing that you blinked and it was over and that rarely happens for me with Shakespeare - no matter how good the play or the actors are. It was simply superb, and that isn't simply the Trekkie in my talking. Stewart was consistently fabulous but that alone couldn't account for the greatness of this performance. (There was only lovely scene though with Stewart with his shirt off - for a 66 yr old, he is in excellent shape!).

Saying goodbye to Kristin and Logan we hopped back in the car and drove home that night (A LONG trip), but we were able to listen to the night football game and sing along to some good oldies music together. Beyond the Shakespeare, it was simply a great weekend to see my sister and my parents and to enjoy their company. It was just a great time.

This morning I drove back from WI. I definately don't want to get into a car again any time soon, but I wouldn't have changed the crazy weekend at all. It was a great time and I'm lucky to have gone. Now I just hope that when I go to work tomorrow things aren't totally insane!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Heading over to Michigan to see Patrick Stewart in Antony and Cleopatra! More on my life and thoughts later.