Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is God a girl?

I just came home from the funeral of a wonderful woman named Anne. I never met her, but I am in a play with her teenage children, and out of respect to them, my children and I attended.

This woman was remarkable, and I wish I could have known her. She was extremely active in her church, she trained a therapy dog, she rescued animals on a regular basis. Apparently her laugh was infectious and her personality bubbly. She almost saw three beautiful children reach adulthood.

Apparently, she also enjoyed theological debates, and she often wondered if God was a woman. As a result, her funeral was geared toward this concept. The scripture choices reflected this, and so did the music. (I stumbled through "On Eagle's Wings"; I just couldn't get the words "And hold you in the palm of Her hand" out of my mouth with any level of fluency.)

Now, I was raised a Missouri synod Lutheran. (This is most certainly true. Ha ha ha.) And I'll say right now that I don't agree with everything that the Mo's believe. I think it's silly that women can't be pastors (heck, they couldn't be USHERS when I was a kid) and I don't believe voting Republican will change the abortion rates and I don't care if someone with a penis marries someone else with a penis.

I like to think I'm fairly open-minded.

But it turns out, I don't feel comfortable with this "God as a woman" idea. During this whole funeral, whenever the pastor referred to God as "she" a little voice in my mind muttered, "Um, yeahhhh.... No." I wish I was more open-minded but... Well, what can I say. I'm Missouri synod. We're not known for our flexibility.

When I envision God, I don't envision a woman. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong, I'm just saying I picture a father figure.

I know, I know... how very Missouri Synody of me.

Although envisioning God as a mother figure is probably comforting to some, to be honest, when I picture a mom I picture someone who is harried and under a lot of stress. Can you imagine God telling you "Eat your carrots!" "Quit picking your nose!" "If you keep making that face, it's going to stay that way!"?

On the other hand, it's usually the mother who holds you when you cry, strokes your forehead when you can't sleep and  pulls your hair out of the way when you're throwing up. And any mother worthy of her title would die for her children without thinking twice about it.

Hmmm... maybe God is a woman, after all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What a difference a word makes...

So, we went to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" for the third time tonight in honor of Thing #2's 10th birthday. 

After the show, the actors were out in the lobby, greeting folks and taking pictures. Of course, everyone was crowding around Ben Bakken, who does an AWESOME job of playing Jesus. (Not only is he mega- talented, he's also incredibly nice.)

Standing next to him was an absolutely beautiful actress and the oh-so-very hunky guy who plays Peter. (I can't remember his name. I pretty much refer to him as  Hunky! Guy!Peter!) 

Anyway, I had five young girls with me and I asked if they could take a picture with the actors, including Ben. The absolutely beautiful actress asked me, "Do you want us to be in the picture?" And I said.. are you ready for this?... 

"I'd prefer not, but thanks anyway."

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson.... "D'oh!"

Without blinking an eye, Hunky! Guy! Peter! and the absolutely beautiful actress walked away. And then I realized a rather important word that I had misconstrued. 

I thought she had asked, "Do you want to be in the picture?"

I am notoriously camera-shy, and usually decline any offers to be in a picture. Even a picture with an absolutely beautiful actress and Ben-who-plays-Jesus and Hunky!Guy! Peter!

Yep. One little word misunderstood, and I had transformed myself into the rudest human being to ever walk the earth.

The realization hit me like a thunder bolt on steroids. Naturally, I gasped and screamed, "No! No! I thought you asked if I wanted to be in the picture!" 

Ben-who-plays-Jesus threw his head back and howled with laughter. (I'd interviewed him for the newspaper and talked to him several times before, so I like to think he knows I'm not that big of a jerk.) Hunky!Guy!Peter! patted me and reassured me and made me feel lots better.  The absolutely beautiful actress laughed and kindly hugged me and said, "It's okay, I figured you had misunderstood what I had said!"

My kids nearly died right then and there, because their mother is such a big colossal dork.

So, what did we learn tonight? We learned that one little word can make one very, very big difference.

I also learned that if you make a big dork of yourself, maybe Hunky!Guy!Peter! might pat you a little and make you feel lots better. 

Yep. It was almost worth it. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Karma's a you-know-what.

I have a Teenager.
I also have an Almost Teenager.
I am selling them both at one low, low price.

No, I'm just kidding. Mostly. Unless you're willing to make me an offer. In which case, let's talk.

So, this was our afternoon:

The stormclouds, aka my offspring, roll in as soon as I pull into the school parking lot.
As The Teenager approaches my car, she holds up her elbow, which is covered in bandages. Then the other elbow, also plastered in bandages. Then she holds up her palms; they too are covered in road rash.
During "track and field" day, my kid wiped out on the asphalt. That'd be enough to put anyone in a bad mood, right?

But... it was her sister, An Almost Teenager, who had a colossal conniption when, upon discovering that our trip to the mall would be postponed until her sister stopped bleeding from her multiple wounds, embarked on a silent treatment. The highlight of the treatment included a long half hour in the car, during which she refused to stop pouting and come into the house. Eventually I went to the car, unlocked the door with my remote (as she was trying to lock me out) and hissed, "Get.in.the.house.now."

After a lengthy time-out, I allowed Almost Teenager to come out of her room for dinner. Her cheerful personality had returned and she announced proudly that this fall, she would be old enough to play in the school band and wanted to take up the trumpet.

The Teenager's head exploded.

OK, I'm exaggerating. But it did spin around in circles in a style that would have made Linda Blair weep with pride.

 Now, I understand the kid was sore all over and probably embarrassed on account of what had to have been a magnificent wipe-out on the asphalt. BUT... there was no excuse for the Absolute! Freak! Out! she had. It went something like this:

"You can't play in the band I play in the band and I don't want my little sister in the band with me that's my place not yours you're such a baby you always get your way and I never do I can't believe you're going to take this away from me Mom I can't believe you're going to let her be in the band why can't you ever be on my side?"

I don't know what she was complaining about. We are still paying off her clarinet and now we have to shell out cash for a trumpet, too.

For the rest of the night, that kid was trolling for a fight. When she wasn't yelling, she was wailing in her room about what she had done to deserve such unfair treatment.

I sent them both to bed at eight o'clock with the words "You are both going to bed because you're both being extremely melodramatic and you're driving me bonkers- now SAY YOUR PRAYERS AND GO TO BED!"

That's me- Mother of the Year 2011.

Anyway... I realized tonight that this was what  No, this isn't an abrupt subject change- it's relevant because I was a teenage drama queen. Oh, boy. I was the queen of yelling and screaming and gnashing my teeth. Of course, I never do that anymore because I am An Adult.

But as a kid I was extra-special melodramatic. And I distinctly remember my mother hissing, "I hope you have children and I hope they're JUST! LIKE! YOU!"

She cursed me. It's like in Freaky Friday when the mother and daughter wish to be each other, and then the music strikes an ominous tone and then WHATM! their wish has come true and their lives are miserable.

It was pretty much like that when my mother cursed me. And now Karma has arrived at my doorstep, carrying a big bouquet of flowers and smirking.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Becoming an old actress (or, "How I found myself on an episode of "Glee")

I am watching the first season of Glee (Yay, Netflix!), so I'm aware that I'm many episodes behind the general population.

However, currently  I'm watching the episode with Neil Patrick Harris in it. Oh, I was so looking forward to it, as I would happily bear Neil Patrick Harris' love children. (If he hadn't just had twins with a surrogate.) (And if he wasn't gay and in a relationship.) (And if I wasn't married and middle-aged and whatnot.)

Anyway... Neil Patrick lust aside, the episode dealt with, among other things, the very real possibility that all those rising stars in high school drama productions may end up not becoming "stars." They might end up becoming accountants.  Or insurance salespeople.

Or drama teachers. Like me. Because you know the old expression: "Those who can't do, teach." 

All of this made me a little bit sad. I thought back to the high school version of me, who was going to be a "star."  I realized I didn't know what had happened to her, but I knew she wasn't here now. 

Back to "Glee."  To make me even more sad, this episode showed a woman auditioning for a community theatre production. She was middle-aged, eyeglasses-clad, frumpily-clothed. She was supposed to give a comical image of an actress well past her prime.

It was comical. Sort of.  

It's been 20 years since I've been onstage. In high school, I was supposed to be one of those kids who "made it" in theatre. But I wasn't that kid. I went to college, discovered I didn't like auditioning for plays and not getting past the chorus, and decided to be a writer instead. (Because there's less rejection in the writing world... ha ha ha.) I was still in a play here and there, but it was no longer what I lived and breathed for. 

As it does, life went on after college. I had a series of jobs I didn't really like, dated a series of men who really weren't worth the effort, and eventually ended up scoring a husband, a couple of kids and a regular writing gig. But I think in the back of my mind I assumed I'd be in plays again someday. In fact, when my daughters auditioned yesterday for a local production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," I shyly asked the director if they happened to need female background actors. You know... villagers and that sort of thing. And then I realized that being onstage again would scare the heck out of me. 

The director said I'd be more than welcome to be in the chorus if I wanted to, and then she gently mentioned it was sometimes difficult for people who were "stars" in high school to step back onstage and take their place in the chorus. 

And just when I was feeling really really fat, middle-aged and... hmmm, boring?... it occurred to me. It didn't matter (not a lot, anyway) that I hadn't become a "star." Maybe a "star" isn't a person, maybe it's a "love."  Maybe every person who loves the arts is a "star" because they feel that fire inside them, that joyous passion for things that happen on a stage. That love makes them just a little bit different. Once that love is ignited, it doesn't die. It's there forever. 

I've taught drama to kids for the last few years. I have taken my own kids to every play and musical I come across, and then we sit together and discuss the performance at length afterwards. My children have that fire, that little "star" inside them. The kids in my drama club have it, too. I like to think I put it there. 

After a few moments of careful thought, I decided to not audition for a chorus part in "Joseph." However, when the director asked if I'd like to help with the production's children's chorus, I felt my drama fire ignite and brighten. Did I want to work with children again? Did I want to show them the joys of performing, and did I want to ignite little tiny fires inside them?

Yes, I certainly did. That's what I'm supposed to be doing, that's my "star." 

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My thighs are typing.

Thu-thunk. Thu-thunk. Thu-thunk.

That is the sound of my thighs slapping each other.

Because as a member of the female species and ergo an expert multi-tasking maven, I am typing and using the Thighmaster at the same time. This is a fairly tricky maneuver, and of course I look like an idiot. But let's be realistic- everyone looks like an idiot with a Thighmaster wedged between their knees. Even Suzanne Somers looks like an idiot. Especially Suzanne Somers.

I have dusted off the old Thighmaster (or, to be honest, the $10 Thighmaster Knockoff) because just as I'd suspected, I have hit the World's! Biggest! Plateau! So it's me vs. the World's! Biggest! Plateau! and I'm going to win if I have to pull out the Thighmaster to do it.

And when I'm done slapping my thighs together, I'm pulling out the shaker weight. So I will be brushing up on my skills just in case I decide to give up this writerly business and pursue a career in the adult entertainment industry.

Oh, wait. I can't be in the adult entertainment industry, because I am old and flabby. Of course, I'm sure there are some people out there who like "old and flabby," but to paraphrase the movie "Tootsie," "I just don't like the kind of people who like that."

So for now... thu-thunk. Thu-thunk. Thu-thunk.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wow! I mean... wow!

I stepped on the scale today and discovered I've lost 11 pounds in 11 days.

Now, I don't expect to keep up this degree of weight loss. I'm due for the World's! Biggest! Plateau! And I have a long way to go- another 60-80 pounds, so I'm in this for the long haul.

Which is okay, because this isn't a diet so much as a "lifestyle change" (I know, I hate that phrase too). Thing #1 (my 13-year-old daughter) is doing this "lifestyle change"as well (under my close supervision) and we were discussing the fact that we need to learn to eat like this all the time- to really get it engrained in our heads. It doesn't mean we can't splurge and eat a big meal sometimes, and it doesn't mean that there won't be times when we tumble off the wagon and make a big cloud of dirt when we hit the ground. But we're going to keep following this very simple "lifestyle change" (I know, it just puts your teeth on edge, doesn't it?)  and we are really doing well.

What's funny is that I usually have a hell of a time losing weight. Trust me, it's not from a lack of trying. It's because of this lovely little disease called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). That's right- I have parrots on my ovaries. (No, no, I'm just kidding.) This disease causes all kinds of fun things like insulin resistance that can turn into diabetes. So losing weight is especially tough.

So I wonder if the smaller amounts of food, more often, is helping to even out the roller coasters of insulin resistance.

I'd call that a big ol' 'bonus.'

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Four days, three pounds

So today, I stepped on the scale with one hand firmly over my eyes.

Then I realized I couldn't read the numbers that way, so I peeked between my fingers. 

I was sure I had blown the "diet" (it's more of a lifestyle, really) last night. We went to see a dinner theater production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and I was faced with a mountain of food. Fortunately, dessert is served at intermission, and the entree served an hour before the show began, so I managed to eat my dinner and my dessert three hours apart. How lucky was THAT? 

I had to eyeball the amount of food I was eating (my kids would have died if I'd whipped out my little food scale), but I asked for a to-go box and put at least half of my entree in the box right away. I thought about putting the whole thing in the box and going whole hog on the dessert. Then the "Thou Shalt Not Skip Meals" rule rang in my head, so I ate some of my chicken and veggies.

Three hours later, I was eating a quadruple-layer chocolate cake. (I only ate one layer.)

And this morning, when I finally pried my fingers away, I discovered I'd lost three pounds. 

Yep... in immortal words of Micky Dolenz, "I'm a believer."