Sunday, September 28, 2008

Church, my yard and other people's trees

We made it to church early this morning and we still didn't get a good seat! I live about 3 blocks from my church, but I still usually get there right as the priest is about to get started. I wish the "children's mass" wasn't at 9 a.m.! Anyway, this morning I had my shit together and we left the house at 9:45 and got to church at about 9:50. 10 minutes... 10 minutes early and still I had to sit in the back where the kids can't see what is going on. I think the church needs to invest in stadium seating. The kids were good and were able to enjoy a doughnut after mass. I've only been taking them to church with me for about 6 months and I still can't imagine how my mom handled 7 during the weekly service. I only have two (but I am flying solo) and they drive me bonkers. They don't want to go to Sunday school, so they usually stay with me and ask me how much longer, every 2 minutes. I tell them they should be grateful they are Catholic and only have to sacrifice 1 hour each week:)

After we had lunch I dug into some yardwork. After 5 hours in the yard -- well, on and off in the yard, playing with the kids, cleaning up mud they and the dogs tracked in and vaccuming up some spills throughout the day -- I am extremely depressed. I got to about 1/4 of my yardwork for the fall. I still have so much more and I don't know where I'm going to find another 15 hours to finish the rest. My lot isn't huge -- about 11k sq. ft. -- but it might as well be 10 acres. there is so much pruning, weeding, lawn to be cut, fountains to be cleaned out, and there is still the dead zone (about 200 sq. ft. of dirt) that I am constantly tinkering with. I have a list of projects that need to be done inside the house and garage and I think by the time I get to those it will be spring cleaning time. I spend an hour or two each week on regular maintenance, but that doesn't cut it. I still have to do major work each of the four seasons. The thing that kills me is that my yard doesn't look glorious for all of my hard work. I have a notorious black thumb and no creative mind for budget landscaping. I see lots of people in my middle-class neighborhood with really pretty yards and I just don't know how they do it. They haven't had to spend tons of money, but they just know what works and what doesn't. Oh well, I'll just keep pulling up weeds and sweeping up my mess.

You know the only thing worse than having a tree on your property that is messy? Having a neigbhor with about 5 olive trees that hang over your back wall and spit their messy fruit all summer and fall. It's all over my yard and has to be raked up before mowing. It sucks. Why don't people invest in non-fruiting olive trees for landscaping?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three dogs

Help! I'm in a zoo!
My mom recently lent me the book "Three Dog Life" -- a memoir. It was OK, but I had to lie a bit because my mom freakin loved the book and I was really ho-hum about it.

Anyway, tonight she dropped off her two dogs at my place. She's going to be parading around Ireland while I have to pick up extra poop.
Craziness is all around me. My mom's dogs are a 40 pound mutt and a 4 pound chihuahua. I have a 14 pound mutt. They are currently brawling at my feet. It is total chaos. There is going to be dog hair everywhere -- my dog just jumpd on my laptop and the 40 pounder just dropped a nasty chew toy on my leg. Tiki, the 4 pounder -- is currently shaking up on top of the couch, right above my shoulder.
It will be an interesting night. We drop the 40 pounder at my brother's house tomorrow and we'll get her back on Saturday. Then we give the 4 pounder to another person to watch and we get the 40 pounder back until early October. Musical dogs... fun!

I think my neighbor is trying to convert me

Let me preface this by saying that I really like my neighbors. I feel so lucky to live next door to them and that they are so friendly. They have 4 children, the youngest of whom is 4.5 -- right in between Lucas and Amanda. The kids are forever playing together and run between our two houses all the time. I love that... that's the kind of neighbor I've always wanted.

A couple of months ago, my neighbor asked if Amanda would be in a little talent show with her daughter at her church -- she is Mormon. She said her daughter was a bit nervous and would like it if Amanda could do the show with her. We agreed and it was very cute. There was no sales pitch, or anything like that. Then, last Saturday, she stopped by to say that her daughter was going to have a small part in something for her Sunday school and she would like us to be there. I thought, what the heck. My husband warned me that it would be a real service, but I said, no, she just said it was a little show or something. Well, Phil was right. It was a full service with communion and everything. Then the preaching about making sure Prop 8 passes here in California started and I clenched my fists. They were starting to preach about the wrongness of being gay. Anyway, our neighbor's child was very cute and everyone was friendly. I thought that was that.

Today the daughter was playing at our house and when my neighbor came to pick her up, she mentioned that she'd like to have us back at church with her and have the kids go to Sunday school with her daughter. She wants to take me to a few classes. I am Catholic and she knows this. I attend mass probably every other Sunday -- I skipped last Sunday to go to the Mormon service. I thought God would think this is OK -- I personally think if I'm hookin' up with other Christians and thanking God for all I have, he'll give me props.

Now the dilemma. I wouldn't mind going with her to her Church occasionally, I really would not, but I don't want to mislead her. I'm not going to ever convert -- and I'm especially not going to become a Mormon.
I'm a Catholic. I've tried other churches, but they aren't my peeps. It's too ingrained. I don't always agree with some of the teachings of the Pope -- eg. birth control and homosexuality -- but I believe in Christ and I want to live more like him.
What do I do? I don't want to dis my neighbor, but I don't want to lead her on, thinking I might someday convert.

The think about Mormonism -- and I don't intend to offend anyone out there -- is that, as I've read, they believe that you aren't truly baptized in Christ's church unless you are baptized by a Mormon priest. That doesn't make any sense to me. Joseph Smith came along, what in the 1800's. What happened to all those folks baptized for 1800+ years? They say Peter came to Joseph Smith, but Peter was the founder of the Catholic Church, so why would he defect like that?
I don't know.... I like the oldness of my religion. It is comfortable to me, like my favorite pair of jeans. It fits. I like that, at least in my local church, they don't tell me how to vote. I like my politics with my politics and my religion with my religion. I don't believe that Jesus is going to condemn anyone who has tried to lead a good life just because they weren't fortunate to have been baptized by a certain kind of priest. I don't believe you can be Christ-like when you are busy condemning other people. You need to first make sure you are living your own life in a good way and then try to lead people to that way. But don't throw stones at them or condemn them. Only God can do that.

That's all I have to say.
Do you have any advice on how to gingerly let my neighbor know that I won't be converting anytime soon?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New neighbors and fallout from political choices

New neighbors are moving into Mr. Frank's house. They have two kids -- and their youngest goes to Kindergarten with Luc. We are so happy that the cul-de-sac is filling up with some children for our kids to play with.

Speaking of the neighbors, the new neighbor mom works for a really good orthopedic surgeon in the area. My husband (a PT) speaks highly of him and is hoping that our close proximity will help some referrals come his way. But here is the thing... he said that he'd rather not claim his political leanings to the neighbors. Some of the people he treats have a real hatred for people who are on the other side of the political aisle from themselves. He's afraid that if someone spots my Obama08 car magnet, it might hurt him professionally. I disagree, but then I'm more of a "happy go lucky" type and I would not hold someone's politics against them.
I told him I would remove the magnet if he really wants me to, but he said it is my decision. He's my husband, so my initial reaction is to respect his feelings, but part of me cringes a bit because I don't want to be afraid to publicize my views.
What do you think?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Red meat

Dude, if I hear another journalist say "red meat" I'm going to freak out! Can't they come up with original ideas. If one journalist uses the term, does every single freakin' other journalist have to start with the same line?

Hate it... 2 more months... blah!!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

2nd tooth gone, bbq and politics

My baby boy now looks more like he did 5 years ago -- he is missing two of his bottom teeth. The second one came out today and now he is eagerly awaiting the tooth fairy's second visit.
At this rate, I won't be able to afford my mortgage this month....:)

We had a good first week of Kindergarten -- I think. Luc doesn't like to talk much about school. I think he is pretty tired after being there all day and he really doesn't want to rehash everything. But he seems happy. We are ready for week two after a nice Labor Day Weekend. We headed up to my big sis' place on Saturday for some bbq and fun. She has the most awesome backyard and I only saw Lucas for about 5 minutes the whole time -- he was very busy exploring and jumping off walls. Amanda was busy getting makeup applied by her older cousins, so Phil and I actually had a chance to chat with my siblings. It was nice.
Sunday was boring... some chores and errands. Today we hit the local farm for some produce and to get back in touch with nature:) The kids love feeding the animals and Amanda actually went on the pony ride today. She had been too afraid up until today.
We then headed over to our neighbor's house for another bbq. They just put in the most awesome pool, and again my kids were totally oblivious of me for about 3 hours. They went back and forth between the pool and the trampoline. Fun! It was OK for me. I believe all of my neighbors are conservative, so there was lots of political talk going on and it was clear which way they lean. I didn't even get involved because Phil cringes when I do. I just listened and nodded and bit my tongue. I wonder what they'll think when my Obama car magnet comes in the mail. I also got t-shirt. I stopped short of getting the yard sign -- I live on a cul-de-sac, so no one would see it anyway:)

Hope you had a good Labor Day holiday!