Saturday, March 15, 2008

This and That

OK, it's been a while. I know you have all missed me terribly!
So here's a catch-up post. I'll try to do better at posting more often.

First, my car is still in the body shop. I called just before closing time yesterday (Friday) after taking it in on Monday. The guy had just gotten the driver's door. Apparently he checked out four salvage doors, none of which was acceptable, so he got me a new door. Let's all say "woot!"

This was supposed to be a six-day repair. When I took it in, he said he hoped he might get it to me by the end of the week. Obviously that did not happen. They'll install and paint it Monday. I'll just be patient until they let me know it's ready. I've got a Chevy Cobalt as a rental. It's a 2008 --it's OK, but I will be very happy to have my own 13-year-old car back. The Cobalt is bright red but doesn't have much in the way of accessories. I miss my car, with its power locks and windows. And it's MY car.

OK, so that's the car.

I had company last night. My best friends from the OKC area (rural Jones) came up for a wedding at the Marland Mansion. Cliff was in the band for the reception (the wedding was for the daughter of a fellow band member). While they were setting up, Anne and I were able to go to dinner. Service was INCREDIBLY SLOW. Good thing she just got a salad and I just got a quesadilla. No telling how late she would have been to the wedding if we'd ordered something that took any time at all to cook!

They had discussed spending the night with me so I made my bedroom guest-ready. The rest of the house was decidedly NOT company ready. I still struggle with this house. Anyway, after the wedding, they came by and had decided to go ahead and drive home because her mother was coming to visit this morning and they thought it would be easier on all of them if she awoke them when she arrived, rather than them rushing to get back this morning to meet her. We had time for a good visit before they hit the road, but I worried about how tired they were. I'm glad they were traveling together so they could make sure they stayed awake on the way home.

And of course, that meant I got to enjoy the company-ready bedroom myself! I guess it was a fair trade for not having their company for longer. Now that spring is here I hope to see more of them, either here or there. I've missed them and all my other Oklahoma City friends a LOT.

I wound up working today for a few hours. Working six days a week IS NOT FUN. I hate not having much of a life. GROWL. I took a long nap when I got home to help my lousy attitude. It only helped some.

Someone on one of my message boards raised an interesting question which I pondered for several hours today. The question is: Do you think that modern life is faster, more stressful, and expensive than it used to be in your life?

The immediate response is "Duh. Yeah!" But as I am wont to do, I took off on a tangent with this, turning over a lot of thoughts. I even took off and went to the cemetery to "visit" my mother and brother. I also stopped by to "see" my friend J.T.'s mom, nearby. While looking for her, I literally stumbled upon my next door neighbor from my childhood, who, coincidentally, is next to J.T.'s grandparents. (Weird, huh?) Anyway, a lot of thoughts came to me while I visited with her.

I'd say that I now understand that I have immense choice in how I live my life. Although I feel more like a "big city" woman than this "small town" girl now, I understand that here I can have the best blend of things -- for now. It does not have to be forever. When I am ready, I can choose changes.

But here I have the technological advantages of being connected to the world, combined with relative peace (at least outside of work. I can't control the office.) I have the ability to live a simpler life using fewer of the earth's resources. I can continue to make my contributions to the Greater Good in valuable ways. My circle of influence is not defined by the city limits.

What I worry about here is not so much the worship of abundance, but the decay that comes with reduced incomes, drug use and loss of hope in a community. Yes, the desire to "have everything" does still exist here, but drug use, domestic violence and child abuse are the big factors I see at play. Those are the things I would change if I had an hour with the Magic Wand.

In my time this afternoon with Mrs. Reinking at her grave, I knew that some things remain the same in value -- time spent with family and neighbors, the importance of a sense of home and a high-quality domestic life. It became ever clearer to me that a lot of those values were instilled in me by her -- cooking, sewing, quilting, baking, hosting friends. Those are not throw-away values as some might think.

I'll continue to do more pondering. But one of the practical things I have to deal with now is a mess in the garage. While I was doing laundry last night waiting for company, a huge bottle of the high-efficiency laundry detergent fell off the washer. The lid came out and I now have a lovely blue lake on the floor of my garage. I can't get to the washer OR the dryer without cleaning this up first. I guess I'm going to have to take my tea towels out there to mop it up, then use them in my next several loads of laundry so it doesn't all go to waste entirely. GROWL.

Hey, one good thing this afternoon: I went to Blockbuster and got a card so I can rent movies. I still don't have television, but at least maybe I can watch SOMETHING for entertainment!

In other news: I am sadly disappointed and angry about events at my church. The staff-parish relations committee has asked that a new minister be appointed at my church at the end of this church year, which will be June 1. This is a record in my experience in the United Methodist Church, since he and I arrived at this church at the same time, in June, just nine months ago. I have admired him and found him to be an exceptional minister who was tossed into a difficult assignment. He walked into a church that was in the midst of a massive rebuilding project, which contributed to declining attendance and finances. These were issues that were not of his making.

I have walked out of several gatherings over the past several months when church members started gossiping about "setting that man straight" on this or that imagined slight. One of the hot buttons that I found totally ridiculous was a raging complaint about changes in the church bulletin. Lord, help us.

There is a good chance that I will find it necessary to move my membership to another congregation, but I plan to stay as long as the current pastor is still here.

More next time on a new project I'm taking on. It's a good one... so come back soon!

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