Saturday, January 28, 2012

one more reason

here's the thing. there needs to be more parties. more celebrations. they don't need to be big, but they need to be more frequent. we don't take enough time to create joy in our lives!

i love parties. i love to celebrate people and events and nothing at all... i love that you guys dressed to the hilt last night and brought food and laughed and stayed and made the night something festive and wonderful. i love that all the wine was sipped and the margarita bucket emptied and the wood for the fire consumed. i love it all. and i love you guys. you are my people. you make my life rich. which is a whole separate reason to celebrate.

my next party is going to celebrate you... it's gonna be fabulous!
<3 rae

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

God, are you out there?

this is what the moon looks like at my  house tonight. (minus the mountains.) a sliver of crescent at the bottom, with the faint, full orb visible. i still remember the first time i ever saw a moon like this - full, but hidden. i was dumbstruck. suddenly the moon wasn't a light in the sky, but a wholly different entity that took my breath away.

tonight it reminded me of a conversation i had with kyra, who is starting biology today. biology was my hands-down favorite subject... mostly because of the jaw-dropping awe of complexity...not only of the world or the human body, but even the universes' tiniest pieces, and how terrifyingly interdependent we all are. i find it reassuring, all the complexity and dependence. it reminds that i am here on purpose, that God has created, and does create... that all is not lost.

for your consideration:

Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): "It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life." 

Fred Hoyle (British astrophysicist): "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question." 

George Ellis (British astrophysicist): "Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word 'miraculous' without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word." 

Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."


in november i gave my much beloved cat, holidae, to my little brother vincent upon the arrival of our dog. she just refused to adjust, as evidenced by not one, not two, but THREE occasions of peeing on my bed... once right on my hand. anyways, rather than dump her in the pound, vinny offered to help me out by adopting her. he is a lovely boy. :) this is an email i received from him today:

Rae -- I don't know if you allow guest posts on your blog, but I thought you might like this transcript of last night's goings on. Thought it might make ya smile.

me: zzzzz...
Holi: mew
me: zzzzz...
Holi: mee-owww
me: zzzzz...
Holi: (wet nose)
me: grllrgh
Holi: (purr)
me: grllrgh
Holi: (cough) (spittle)
me: gross
Holi: (wet nose)
me: damnit Holi
Holi: (purr)
me: (roll over)
Holi: mee-oww
me: zzzzz...
Holi: (cough) (spittle)
me: zzzzz...
Holi: (purr)

and you know what? it did. it did make me smile. because holi loves vinny, i can tell. and he didn't shove her off the bed, so he loves her too. and i love him, regardless of cat adoptions. and he is getting married! which has nothing to do with the cat, but still! my baby brother is getting married! <3

Friday, January 20, 2012

what about....rachel?

have you seen 'what about bob'? with bill murray and richard dryfuess? there is a hilarious scene where bob is strapped and tied to the mast of a boat, and he is yelling at the top of his lungs... 

"i'm sailing! i'm sailing! i'm a sailor! i sail!"

i am having a 'what about bob' moment in my life. i've started going to wine & design when the budget affords, and i love it. like, really, really love it. i have so far only painted 2 canvases, and in my heart of hearts i sing to myself, "i'm painting! i'm painting! i'm a painter! i paint!"

now, understand, my paintings are not terrible... they're even lovely. but when i look at my old friend kim's paintings, i am awed at her stunning work. she is painter.

i had a moment when this crushed me. i realized am not a painter... just a girl who paid her money to take a class and ended up with a modest finished product. but.... but in my simple and ordinary way, i created beauty. i created beauty for my brother - the lucky recipient of my 'work'. it created joy within myself, which is really another form of beauty. and we, humanity, were meant to create and add to the beauty of what has already been created. everyone has an innate ability to give beauty form... in song, in invention, in molecules, in flowers, in children, in discovery, in happiness or hospitality or sculpture or kindness or friendship.

there was a song that was on sesame street when i was a girl. "sing, sing a song... sing out loud... sing out strong. it doesn't matter if it's good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song." i nearly let the beauty of kim's art lead me to despair... to where i wanted to stop singing my small song. but you know what? i refuse to dampen the beauty. i choose to embrace the spirit of Bob. guess what, ya'll?

i'm a painter! i'm a painter! i paint! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

subtle drift

i got into my car today and realized i've become someone i never intended to be.

my prius - which i love - boasts numerous bumper stickers. even "hippie" bumper stickers. like, "love wins"... and a faded old 'toms' sticker, and even a sticker from a band. that i don't even love, but came free with the cd. and then the dog magnets... "dog mom" and "i love my rescue dog"... and looking at the stickers led me to the acknowledgement that not only am i a "dog mom", i'm a dog mom who puts a sweater on her (50lb) dog to walk her in the cold (45F. not that cold.) because she's adorable in it! somehow i have become a woman in her 30's whose car is covered with principled bumper stickers, who puts sweaters on her dog, and who, this very weekend, went to a fabulous local restaurant - the kind with actual ambiance - totally unshowered, and dressed remarkably like a homeless person. and i didn't even care. 

i don't even know who i am anymore. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

according to the intertubes...

... a dog causes an average of nearly 2000 more arguments in a family per year! this surprised me, seeing as how swagger has really added mostly joy & family togetherness... but as i gave it some thought, i realized there is one argument that has been happening over and over. although maybe it's not so much an argument as me being a 4yr old and curtis having to play the role of Patient Dad (which fortunately he's very good at!).

Curtis: swagger - let's go! off the bed! it's bedtime!

(swagger looks at him, then at me, from her position in the absolute middle of the bed)

Me: but i want her...

Curtis: but you don't sleep as well with her in the bed...

Me: but i waaant her....

Curtis: but I don't sleep as well with her in the bed

Me: but i waaaant her....

Curtis: rachel. it's like sleeping with a 50lb bag of wet cement in the middle of the bed.

Me: iknowbutiwaaaantherinthebed...

Curtis: sigh.

Me: how about if we let her sleep her to start and if she makes you crazy you can kick her out! (valiantly trying to haul 50lb of wet cement closer to my side of the bed... failing tremendously.) see! she's on my side...

(at this point curtis smiles wearily and i know that (a) i've won this round and (b) he must really love me to put up with my crazy.)

Curtis: ok. but if i can't sleep i'm kicking her out.

Me: (curling up around swagger in the little space i have, laying my arms across her unyielding frame, and burying my head into her side) ok...

Curtis: sigh.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the highest form of flattery

today's post is brought to you by curtis' blog - which was brought to his readers by frederick buechner. in describing a man who was influential in his life, buechner writes this: "... somehow or other he managed to have all of himself present in everything I ever heard him say or saw him do. You always came upon him whole, and when he gave you his attention, the gift was complete ... No matter how briefly you saw him, he left you with the feeling that you had genuinely met." 

that is the kind of person i want to be. we spend a lot of time in my spiritual direction class talking about being present in the moment... being wholly present to the other person. our lives are built to prevent this gift of attention, though. there is always a distraction... tv, text, email, et al... and finding someone who you can always "come upon whole" is rare, to say the least. 

i want to learn to be like this.

Monday, January 09, 2012

the optometrist

while i am not yet "a woman of a certain age", i am, still, a woman of a certain age. and today, when i went to get my eyes checked, my optometrist said i probably didn't need a new prescription, but maybe just "anti-fatigue' lenses. this sounded wonderful to me, as my eyes are so tired at the end of the workday. he went on to describe them as "having small section in the lower third with a greater magnification for reading and focusing on the computer". i do believe i just got prescribed bifocals.

Friday, January 06, 2012

good news/bad news... or "i'm glad i'm leaving for work today"

last night, while i was making a veggie stirfry, swagger was sitting so nicely, begging so sincerely. i told her she wouldn't want what i was making, but she continued to plead with her sweet eyes and cocked ears. so i jokingly held out the thick stem of a broccoli head, only to have her take it delicately from my hand between her front teeth and carry it into the living room. shortly thereafter, meg (my worrier), became overwhelmed with "what if broccoli kills dogs!", so kyra went downstairs to google "can i feed my dog broccoli?". she came up the stairs laughing, saying, "i have good news and i have bad news. broccoli is fine for her to eat, but it will make her farty!" now, swagger is prone to room-clearing gas at the best of times, so in an effort to stave off odorous disaster, i quickly went to grab the stem from the living room floor. alas, i was too late. swagger likes broccoli, apparently. all that was left  was small pieces of discarded greenery. i feel bad for curtis working from home today....

Thursday, January 05, 2012


how can it be that 2 days into my new year's resolution of losing 11 lbs i have gained 4? can somebody explain this to me? FOUR.

also, why do i want to lose 11 lbs? who, exactly, am i competing with? my leggy 14 yr old daughter? the impossibly photoshopped models on pinterest? that certain type of stay at home mom who spends her time exercising and walks around purposefully in her running tights & new balances? all of them? but why? why aren't i happy enough to be who i am, in a body that is a little worse for wear but that has done amazing things? why am i disappointed in a body that has no disease, no deformity, no pain? why do i give any credence to the obvious insanity of our culture?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


honesty. i have a drinking problem. not a "how much" problem, necessarily, but definitely a "why & when" problem. the days that i want a glass, or two, of wine more than anything are the days i am stressed or anxious...frustrated, depressed, overwhelmed or scared. on those days i crave the sharp smooth taste of a glass of red, longing for the fog it wraps around me. and it's about time i admitted that i know the fog is an insidious, evil lie. it promises to ease my anxiety, soothe my fears and calm my weary heart... and i want that so, so much. but in reality, it robs me. it robs me of the little time i have with my family, as i curl within myself, letting the fog separate me from their stories and presence. it robs me of feeling the sharp joys of life - the fog dulls everything without prejudice. and most importantly, it robs me of God. it robs me of recalling that i have faced smaller, and much larger, circumstances that God has brought me through. it robs me of the courage to depend on the One who has never abandoned me, never turned His back on me. it robs me of the chance to trust Him again... and so it robs me of our relationship. and it's also about time i acknowledged that relationship is the only thing that really does ease my anxiety, soothe my fears and calm my weary heart.

i'm probably not going to stop enjoying a glass of wine, but i definitely need to honestly examine my why's and when's.

i can't stop you from judging me because of this post, but i hope you won't. i hope it might even give you the courage to look at whatever is robbing you.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


... and maybe i stopped blogging because i have to get up so early it takes me 20 minutes to be able to focus my eyes?

Monday, January 02, 2012

happy birthday, kyra!

my first born is 14 today. four. teen. only 6mo from her learners permit, as she likes to remind me. yikes. she is taller than me... beautiful and smart and bookish and funny... she loves little kids and animals, and she is one of the two best daughters a mom could ask for. happy birthday, kyra! i love you more than you know. <3

Sunday, January 01, 2012

backwards & forwards

happy new year, guys! (btw - how is it that i went to bed after 1am, and am already up and coherent? there is something wrong here...)

i gotta be honest, 2011 was a really hard year at our house. (maybe that's why i stopped blogging? it was too hard to be lighthearted.) there was seemingly endless transition, anxiety & stress, and a new crisis every time i turned around. i will spare you the gory details, but my overwhelming sense looking back on 2011 is "oh my gosh. i can't believe we survived this year. i can't believe we're still standing!"  however... i would be remiss if i didn't also acknowledge some of the gifts that accompanied this year.

the first that leaps to mind is killing a stuffed cow with ferocity even as i type this. ah, swagger. my darling darling dog! i love her. sometimes i am bowled over with love for her! curtis thinks i might even love her more than sleep! (what!?!?) i love how she brings our family together - walking around the lake, playing in the yard, strolling around the block - and how she makes the whole house happier. curtis says you can't be grumpy when there's a happy dog wagging at you. :)

then there's the gift of having made it. having overcome all the challenges together has led to a quietly renewed sense of "us" - of marriage identity and family identity. team mulder, alive and well.

i got to spend a whole week at the beach with my family... including mark & tina and The Twins. it was glorious.

i started a new, full-time job. while it sort of sucks to be a working mom, it is also a job that saved our financial life. it is definitely a gift.

i have learned, and am learning, a lot in my spiritual direction class. to quote celine dion (heaven help me), 'there were moments so golden, there were flashes of light..." :)

so bring it, 2012. bring your challenges and your gifts. i have my family and my dog and my God, nevermind the other beautiful, wonderful people that populate my life. who could ask for anything more?