Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Summer is like winter. Only hot."

The weather - or really the lack of weather - is one of the things I treasure most about living in the Pacific Northwest. But this year is kind of testing that love.

Last winter it was all putting chains on, taking chains off and shoveling for pretty much the whole month of December. Everyone talked about the weather all the time. And every foray out into the weather required special clothes.

Which is why, last night with that deep wisdom that comes right before sleep, I told J that I thought summer was like winter, only hot. By which I meant, all the extra work (in the this case moving fans around, watering plants - so much watering! - and constant adjusting of shades up and down), all the extra conversation (I felt like I was shouting into the phone all day yesterday with people who I worried might be at risk from overheating, "are you DRINKING enough WATER?"), and, of course, the what to wear question (keeping cool in 100 plus while looking more like a pastor than a beach bum is definitely a challenge).

The Book Of Face is all wondering if this year's climate weirding in the PNW is the sign that global warming has finally arrived for good and earnest. But I dont think so. I really believe in global warming. (Which you actually still have to say out loud and firmly in some circles.) But I would like to advise against making one hot week in summer proof of global warming (or climate weirding, as I've heard it more accurately called).

Climate weirding is big picture stuff - major weather patterns and global movements - not the small inconveniences of one hot week in one hot city. And when we say "I'm too hot, this must be the global warming theyve been talking about" I think we might give those anti-global-warming folks more fuel for their ridiculous flames.

So be hot, and be cranky about it if you must. Be incovenienced or annoyed or (in the case of one friend) delighted, like you're "in a cleansing spa sauna all. the. time." But remember this has been a few days, in one small part of the world. Because climate weirding is affecting all of us, for all time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dog Days - Monday Night Randomness

-Boy, it's hot.

-This is the most awesome summer I can remember in recent years. So far no one has pneumonia or a broken leg (coujeffgh), we are not moving, no one has a constant migraine (yeah, that'd be me), we dont have a newborn baby (I'm mean, I'm all for babies, but they do kind of cramp your maxin' and relaxin' summer style...) and we're not planning any big trips. We're going to the ocean for two nights, but other than that, we are just enjoying Portland in summer. Which is pretty enjoyable.

-But, it is pretty hot.

-Spent an afternoon at Portland Saturday Market. Best people watching EVER. And we got a cool tie-dye for E, so it was a day well spent.

-Went to Cooper Mountain. Humungous new park with lots of trails and an example of how you can get right into Nature without really leaving town. Portland reminds me of Duluth that way.

-Even the lessons we're learning this summer are the benign kind, not the hit-you-over-the-head kind: If you put 2 cherry pits in your garbage disposal, it will make a funny noise, so you should take them out. If you go to Home Depot at the cool end of a hot day and ask for 12 bags of mulch, everyone will rush to help you, since they get to be outside for that part. If you dont cut the dog's hair, pretty much all that will happen is that it will get longer, which is not so bad.

-Getting ready to do a wedding I am really looking forward to. Since it's Portland, the reception will be a bike polo game. I dont know what that is either, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

-Attended one hour of our 9 hour neighborhood party. During that hour, got asked the question I have actually never been asked for real, in person by the octogenarian who had just told me that he married his wife even though she wasnt as built (I believe was his term) as her twin sister:
Him: "Have you been born again?"
Then, me: "Oh, I think I'm born again every day. Every morning my prayer is, Jesus, let me know what you have for me to do today."
Then, him: "Well, that's a weird way to do it."
Then, me: "Well, I suppose so, but it's what works for me."

-This was not as adverserial as it probably looks in print. In fact, I'm pretty sure we're still pals. And he DID say he prayed for us every day as he walks by the house, and I'll take all of those I can get.

-We will not be going to Lebowskifest tomorrow. (In fact, I'm not even linking to it, since there is a stripper on the front page. But you can google it if you really want to find it.) So, anyway, we're not going, even though Jeff had this great idea of going as The Big Lebowski in a suit and a bald cap. And I could choose if I wanted to be Bunny or Brandt. Anyway, great idea, but we're not going. Still, when I went to get my nails done today, I picked up the green polish, put it down, picked it up again, put it down again. Picked my usual orange-ish.

-By usual, I mean, the once or twice a year that I actually go to get my nails done.

-So, good summer.

-Although. Have I mentioned? Sure is hot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Never heard that one before

(After a short negotiation at the church door which ends in the Pastor presenting the Guy with a bag of groceries, and a can opener.)

Guy: And can I get three bucks?
Pastor: I cant give you cash, I'm sorry.
Guy: I just need three bucks. I'm a smoker.
Pastor: (repeat above)
Guy: I would hate to go to jail for stealing a pack of cigarettes. It's just three bucks.
Pastor: (repeat again)
Guy: Well, are there any other churches around here?
Pastor: There are lots of churches in this neighborhood, but I dont know any that give out money for smokes.
Guy (walking away with groceries) Well, hey, Jesus was a smoker.....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In which Juniper discovers podcasting

You know how certain technologies are easy to use and work like they're supposed to nearly every single time (the toaster oven, say, or the dvd player) whereas others work only when the proper shamanic formulas are chanted over them (the fax machine comes to mind, as does the sewing machine).

Well, anything to do with podcasting has always fallen firmly into the second category for me. I've had an iPhone for a while, but whenever I would try to actually get a podcast from the vapor of the internet INTO my computer and from there ONTO my phone, something would be, I believe the technical term is, wonky. So for about a year, I had one and half episodes of The Splendid Table in my podcast menu, and nothing else. Also, I was almost mortally mortified when my brother went to look at my "music" in March and found that the only music I had at all was half of the "Jesus Christ Superstar" soundtrack that I had somehow uploaded by accident.

Well, I am happy to report the after long months of frustration, my recent houseguests* enthusiastic conversation about RadioLab set me trying again and at last somehow Learning Has Happened, and I now can listen to podcasts! And Jeff helped me download some music!

So, two things. First of all, if you havent already, (I mean, of course you have already, because you've been podcasting for YEARS, but you're humoring me, right, since I'm the new girl on the block here?) check out Pray As You Go, which I heard about in an in-one-ear-and-out-the-other sort of way on someone else's blog months ago (Sarah? Was that you?). It's just delicious.

Really, if you knew how many hours in the last 8 months I have spent getting a little less mediocre at facebook scramble instead of praying (among a gazillion other things I could have been doing), I would be mortally mortified again for the second time in one post.

Because usually? For real? I find it kind of hard to pray with Bible. I'm so used to study or sermon prep from the Bible that whenever I open it to pray by mind starts whirling about how I can Use This Somehow. But, maybe because it's already its own neat little package - the music, the scripture read twice, the soothing Irish voices encouraging you in the gentlest possible way to pull your head out of whatever hole you have it buried in and pay attention to how Christ is working in the world, and wants you to work in the world - it's very compelling. And think better for me, in the long run, than getting less mediocre at scramble.

Ok, second. iTunes genius playlist. I know, I know, I know, you smartypantses have been doing this for years and this is like nothing to you, but bear with me. I'm like a child on her first roller coaster. If that was a good thing for you. Which it wasnt exactly for me, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, to experiment, I tried making a list from the Wallets Take It. I purposely picked an obscure-ish band. I mean, the Wallets are obscure, right? Unless you went to college in Minnesota in 1989?

I was going to print out the whole list it made, but it seemed kind of overwhelming, but let's just say that if a mix of Three Dog Night's happiest ones, Duffy's saddest ones, Santana's awesomest ones, Talking Heads rockingest ones and The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald thrown in for good measure would make you happy enough to burst, than you can understand how I feel. Well, maybe only if you went to college in Minnesota in 1989.....

Wait. there's probably some way to actually save this list on actual iTunes so you could actually listen to it, but I think that would require more than I can really expect of myself for one week.


*This mere mention does not do justice, btw, the awesomeness of visit from said houseguests. Confidential to SG - I have your white t-shirt. I'm considering holding it ransom until you come visit again, but instead I'll probably put in the mail soon. But really. Come visit again. It was so very very very great to see you.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Once a month, whether you need it or not, blog post. On finding home.

I went for a walk tonight to the Plaid Pantry (the scariest corner store ever, even in our benign neighborhood) to get some Tums. I dont want to get too into it, but let's just say that eating half your weight in Kettle Korn is never going to go well, no matter what other manner of fun (parade! brats for lunch! pool time! baseball game! fireworks!) goes on.

I havent had the need for this particular product since I was pregnant with Eli, when I used to pop them like candy. At that time, we lived in a tiny, noisy apartment, and the building manager was pregnant, too and one time she gave me her last Tums ("This is my LAST ONE" she told me) at, like, 11 at night when I asked her for it. I'll probably never see her again, but I'll always be grateful for that Tums.

As I walked back past a couple rows of apartment buildings, I listened to a particularly melancholy shuffle on the iPhone (honestly, how anyone can call THREE Sufjan Stephens songs in 20 minutes "random" is beyond me) that included Nanci Griffith's version of I Cant Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound and I remembered how I used to push baby E's stroller around and look intently at the neighborhood houses when we lived in that little apartment and be certain I'd never ever ever feel settled anywhere.

Friends tell me sometimes that they have that feeling, and I have so much compassion for it. I remember that sort of panicked resentment that comes from feeling that things arent quite worked out yet. So tell me if you feel that way, and I'll give you a hug and Tums. And I'll tell you, one day it is totally possible be on the other side of this. I am living proof.