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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Pleasant Surprise

Turns out the new commenter on my blog last week has a blog of her own and wasn't kidding about enjoying Star of Justice.

Remember how I said I wouldn't read my reviews? I meant it, not that I've been able to stick to that intention because people - coughGracecough- keep telling me about them.

So here's another review of Star of Justice that amazingly doesn't mention the off-color comments, extreme violence and slow opening. That's why I mention them now.

My favorite quote?

"It takes you to a world, shows you interesting questions and then gives you mind-blowing answers. And then gives you more answers that take your already-blown mind, throws the pieces up in the air and blows them again."

 Mwahahahahaha! ehem.

Anyway, Star of Justice as experienced by Katherine Coble.

Here's me reading her review.

Thanks, Katherine. You are my official favorite person of the week.

Now I have to go read her post about Twinkies and Magic Unicorn Sex 'cause who wouldn't? 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Hawk and the Sparrow

The promised blog post.

Last week, I'm walking the stairwell in the parking garage, talking to God about the van.

"You're gonna have to show me what to do there, Lord. I continue in my cluelessness."

I look up and spy a dead male sparrow on the landing. I pause.

"You know, Lord, in some Native American cultures, that's a sign. Finding a dead animal is a negative response to whatever I was just thinking about. If I didn't know better, I'd say the universe is out to get me where that van is concerned."

I picked up the sparrow - yes, with my bare hands - and kept walking. I'm not leaving a corpse in the stairwell to pass four times a day until someone callously kicks it over the side and it ends up rotting in the basement level. Call me crazy, but I can't live with that.

Three more steps up and I hear rustling. Another bird is trapped between the stair rail and the giant windows that form two walls of the stairwell. This is a common occurrence. I've rescued four trapped sparrows and one bat since I started walking this parking garage.

"That's a pigeon. A brown pigeon. A brown pigeon with a sharp beak. Holy cow, that's a hawk!"

Now I know what happened to the sparrow.

The hawk is not happy to see me and its fluttering efforts redouble as it seeks a way out of its confinement.

Leaving the dead sparrow and my purse on the step, I pull on my winter gloves - yes, I put on gloves. Hawks have beaks that rip through flesh - and approached. I've grabbed a few birds in my time and this wasn't any different, other than the size (try to grab around the widest part of the breast with the wings folded to avoid injury to either of you). I had to turn him sideways to get him out of his tight spot.

Unlike the sparrows I've rescued, this hawk never took his eyes off me. He didn't blink. He didn't cry or snap his beak. He just glared, with a look remarkably similar to my cat Skuttle.

You look delicious, mama.

A few steps to open air allowed the hawk to fly away almost as soon as I opened my hands. I went back for my purse and the dead sparrow, who is now resting in peace in my front yard.

Does it mean anything? A hawk chases a sparrow into a parking garage stairwell window, killing its meal and trapping itself.

Have I been the hawk and the sparrow my issues with the van? Am I the sparrow who escaped the hawk of my problems by dying to self and letting God take me out of there? Is the sparrow the van and I should just bury it? So many possibilities.

I'm just grateful I was there to offer aid to both. A hawk shouldn't be trapped in a stairwell, and a sparrow shouldn't be left to mummify. That's as much meaning as I'm willing to ascribe for the moment.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Unorthodox Orthodoxy?

I was going to title this "Unorthodox Solution" but even as I typed, I thought, "No, this is pure orthodoxy. I'm just applying it oddly." So I changed my mind. You can decide if I was right to do so.

This weekend was good in some ways and bad in others. The same cycle of anger, depression, irritability and apathy caught up with me eventually and lasted into the work week. That was unacceptable. Something had to change.

I've listened to Christian radio through all of this (American Family Radio, if you're curious), and whenever a sermon came on, I listened. David Jeremiah is preaching on forgiveness and "leading into temptation" as taught in The Lord's Prayer. The late Adrian Rogers spoke about how the mature Christian needs to suck it up and endure all hardship as God's best for us. I listened resentfully to that one. Michael Yousef had some things to say about forgiveness, too. Sensing a theme?

The bones are there. I have a problem with someone. I feel betrayed. I'm not getting anywhere with being upset about it. It's time to forgive.

I have Biblical backing for this decision, as all those pastors will attest. Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy times seven times the brother who sins against him and repents. Jesus said when you're bringing your gift to the alter and remember you have something against your brother (or he has something against you), go and be reconciled and then return to make your offering. Jesus prayed, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."

Can you tell I'm at the gospel portion of my chronological Bible reading?

OK. Forgiveness. That's not about feeling. It's about will. I must make up my mind to forgive and then do it.

So I did. I sat down with God and told Him I forgive Him and I want to move on. We went back quite a ways, too. All the slights I've held onto for the past 10 years or so. I forgave Him for all of them.

Now, how can I forgive the source of all forgiveness when He's the reason I'm upset? (I'm going to set aside for this moment the question of whether I should be upset with God. The fact is I was and it was getting me nowhere.) Good question. Here's my thinking. By forgiving Him, I remove the barrier that has prevented me from leaning on Him for the grace I've been missing. By practicing His teaching, I'm putting myself back into His will. A stretch? Maybe. Blasphemous? I hope not.

All I can say is a difference appears to have been made. My mantra when those old recriminations surface is "I forgave that" and we move on. My mood is lighter. The change was so noticeable my Best Friend who saw me before and after asked, "Are you really happy or are you faking?" Trust me, I don't "fake" that well.

Unorthodox? Only in the subject matter. The process is absolutely what's He's told me to do.

I have made an appointment to see a doctor and be sure I don't have something chemical happening, too, but the mind leads the body and my mind has been in a very dark place. I'm finally seeing a light. Its Jesus-shaped. 

Oh, and while I was going to keep this to myself because of the oddness of the application, Mom heard a sermon this week about how God breaks us so that we can "share" with others. So I'm sharing. My apologies if it offends. Please forgive me.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Long Weekend

I've had a love/hate relationship with weekends for a while. On the one hand, I deal with people constantly at work and my introvert nature needs some time alone to recoup (as if I could be alone in a house with six cats and a dog). On the other hand, being alone and scheduleless when you're depressed isn't always the best thing. Douglas Adams' Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul starts early on Saturday instead of mid-afternoon Sunday in the Turtle household of late.

TT: Wow, has Douglas Adams been on my mind or what? Must be the depression. 

However, last weekend had the potential to go very badly and instead went rather well. I have similar hopes for this weekend as some bathroom fixing-up takes place. I have a toilet kit in my car to prove it. Oooh, need to buy "thank you" steak. Remind me, will you?

Mom has a car guy friend who has a friend who's willing to tinker on the van a bit. I'm willing to let anyone tinker on the van a bit, and I'm not drawing the line at a two-year old with a hammer. It's not like they can make it worse, and better would mean I keep it and start saving for the next vehicle that will break my sanity. So that transfer should happen this weekend, too.

Starting last night, I have a house guest, Simon the Fox Terrier, who is settling in nicely. He's an 8 year old rescue whose momma for the last four months is away this weekend offering respite for another friend with a husband dying of cancer (once again, what am I depressed about? my life is perfect!). Three cats have been brave enough to face him so far. The rest may spend the weekend in the basement. Shouldn't hurt them a bit.

TT: Even as I write this, Skamper has ventured upstairs and watches from his perch atop the microwave. That makes four. Or three and a half. 

Funny thing. Simon the Fox Terrier was running around the house all nervous, so I decided to keep him on his leash this morning until he gets used to things. He's calmed way down and is currently lying down next to me. Good idea, I guess.

One more happy thing happened yesterday. I had an idea for Price of Justice. A direction. Something that would/should happen next and the inclination to write it down. I've been waiting for that to come for a while, as you know, and I'm as thrilled as my herbally smoothed out self can be. Here's hoping I'll have a little time this weekend to try it out.

Happy Friday, dear readers.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Old Van, New Worldview and Douglas Adams

The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything may be 42, but, as Arthur Dent learned, that doesn't help if you don't know the question.

Read more about my search for answers over at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Tuesday

Aside from it being Election Day in America, it's also the day after that miserable rainy Monday that I survived without emotional mishap. I was even pleasant to people on the phone, something that hasn't been as common as I would like lately. The St. John's Wort isn't so much pumping me up as smoothing out the wrinkles. Maybe filling the deeper potholes. Something like that. Anyway, one pill in the morning is doing the trick at the moment.

On the recommendation of a friend who's been there, I'm taking "5-HTP" in the evening to see if that helps, too. Got it from the Health Food Store, along with a B-complex vitamin. I don't eat a lot of wheat generally, but I've backed off completely for now and pulled my Blood Type Diet grocery list out of my purse when I'm at the store. Last night's dinner was gluten-free pretzels and Portuguese Green Soup (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach in chicken broth). I even made the soup. 

I'm also trying to keep moving when I'm up. No naps (if what I've been doing could count as napping) until I can sleep through the night again. I've shredded leaves and weeded. Big Brother and Little Sister are coming this weekend to remodel my bathroom in anticipation of Grace's visit. (No worries, Grace. I've wanted to do this stuff for a long time.)

Still looking into a solution on the van issue. Since the Suzuki runs, I'm driving it until my chemicals are balanced, and I can talk about it without crying. I get closer every day.

Haven't yet managed to get back to my WIP, but it may be I can't write trauma while I'm living it. It's OK. That will return, too.

Happy Tuesday, dear readers. I encourage you all to practice responsible citizenship and vote your values. God will sort out the rest. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Diluting the Drama

Last night I dreamed I sat in the passenger side of a driverless car speeding through traffic during a supercell thunderstorm and couldn't free my feet to reach the brake pedal.

My brain is telling me something.

I don't want to finish Day Three of the van drama. I come off looking all rational and whatnot, but the fact remains, I'm a mess. Part of it, I think, is a depression that's been building for some time and has chosen this stress moment to truly erupt.

I am in the one place I strive never to be: at the mess-end of a big-assed mistake with no idea how to correct it.

What do I do? Do I spend another $60 to try the "fix" my boss found for the van? That seems rational, until it doesn't work and I'm stranded somewhere worse than my driveway. It also doesn't take into account the PTSD reaction that worsens every time I get into the van. I don't know what has to happen for me to overcome that white-gripped adrenaline rush that has me creeping through the parking garage at 2 mph or parking in the back 40 at the store so the tow truck will have access. I guess if it is fixed and I can't "get over it," I can then sell it with a clear conscience. If it isn't fixed, I'm only $60 poorer.

Do I spend $5K to rebuild the Suzuki engine? This is stupid, I've been told by six men, except I've already been $5K worth of stupid trying something else that six men recommended. I don't have that many $5K mistake cards to play. At least I know the Suzuki. It also leaves me with the unreliable van that my conscience says I should sell to a scrap yard so it doesn't crush the hopes and dreams of the next idiot who doesn't understand what it means to buy a used car.

Do I trade in both vehicles and spend X amount of dollars on a completely different car with a completely different set of problems? I don't mind this solution, except I'm back at square one with "what am I looking for" with the only answer now being "something that runs." I don't even have the option "whatever God wants me to have," because it still appears crystal clear that God wanted me to have Lavender Squeak and that's the thought that has tipped me over the edge so I don't think about it anymore.

Whatever option I choose will be wrong. This should take the pressure off, but if you understand how concerned as I am about doing the "right" thing all the time, it just makes me want to lie down and let the Matmos drown me. 

I'm willing to hear opinions on this. I am completely out of my depth and so far what I've gotten for advice are terse "act like a grown-up and deal with it" pronouncements or pitying "wow, that's a problem" condolences. Please stop assuming I can see whatever path is so brilliantly lit to your eyes. I've never been here before. I don't know what "act like a grown-up" means in this context, or I would be doing it. 

And, frankly, the next person who tells me "it's Satan" is gonna get bitch-slapped. Satan can't do anything God doesn't allow, so let's put the power where it belongs, shall we? It's the only way I'm going to find a real answer to why this is happening to me, even if it's as stupid as "it was time."

Huh. Maybe that's the reason. I think I could live with that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day Three

I don't intend to continue numbering the days, but there's an appealing ease to those titles. Here's your promised van drama update.

The van didn't start yesterday. Again. Here's why: Chrysler Town & Country Difficulty Starting. You'll have to scroll down a little for the comments. They become more alarming the farther you go.

Yes, Lavender Squeak did exactly that. I tried alarming and unalarming it with the keyfob in between the shut offs, but that made no difference. I sat in a van anti-thefting me, its owner, and stared at the back of my other car that does work but isn't licensed and was blocked into the driveway by the not-working van.

Summation: I have paid to date $4909 on an unreliable, unrepairable vehicle that does not, as far as I can tell, fall under Kansas' Lemon Law. I am not getting that money back. I may as well have set it on fire and roasted marshmallows over it, except I don't like marshmallows.

Four days ago that realization would have sent me screaming down Kansas Avenue to join the homeless, because not-working vans are the least of their problems, but the St. John's Wort kicked in.

I have to sell this van. The last 32 days have taught me I don't have the emotional stamina to do it myself, so I'll have to buy another vehicle from a dealer and trade it in for whatever I can get for it. I wonder if dealers will take two vehicles on trade-in?

I made some phone calls: to my second dad for advice, to a used car dealer that has recently come to my attention, and to the office to explain that I didn't know when I would be back to work because I had to go - for the third time - to the DMV and have my heart ripped out and handed back to me as I tried to license my Suzuki, something I'd tried unsuccessfully to do twice before. During all of these calls, I heard the faint sobbing of a little girl, but I have my own problems so I ignored it as best I could with all my St. John's Wort-induced rationality.

The little girl almost broke free twice at the DMV and twice after those honest-to-God wonderful ladies at the courthouse, Bobbie and Nikki, took me by the hand and made everything OK with the Suzuki. I honestly want God to bless them both with a million dollars for their kindness.

I was able to go back to work, not that much work got done. My boss, upon hearing my van woes and being the kind of person who doesn't take "unfixable" for an answer, found some Internet folk who had success solving this problem by "re-soldering the joints in the circuit board for $60." Of course, an equal number of people on the same site had no success with that same fix.

I took a second St. John's Wort when I got home because the Bad Thoughts and the Sobbing Girl showed up around 7 PM. They remain with me this morning, not as loud as they have been, but louder than I would like.

The tale isn't over, but this post is over-long and I have to get ready for work. For those who are interested, I'll continue the tale tomorrow. For those who aren't, why on Earth have you read this far?

Happy Friday, dear readers.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day Two

While a bunch of crazy writer folk are diving into the insanity of NaNoWriMo, I focus on getting my emotions back in sync.

Yesterday was a success. Not saying I'm cured, not saying the St. John's Wort worked, just saying I had a good attitude and kept moving from sunrise to bedtime and slept through the night for the most part.

I also strained my left wrist using my Leaf Hog, so today I have a muscle tremor that makes it imperative I not hold anything breakable in that hand. It's making typing a little difficult, truth be told.

Today begins the journey of selling the Suzuki. I thought I had a buyer, but he backed out so it's back to Craig's List for me. It may also be a trip back to the DMV, but I am willing to hire someone to do that. I can't face "Angie" again.

Today is also the last bit of homemade German's Chocolate birthday cake for breakfast. I'm sad to see it go but I need to lay off the wheat, so it's a good thing.

I have some litter boxes to clean before work, so have a good day and don't eat too much candy. Your children will notice.

Happy Thursday.