Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the GREAT great pumpkin

I've grown up being a Charlie Brown fan.  I read the comic strips and faithfully watched "Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".  Many of you have too, I imagine.  As a grown up I greatly favor the Christmas special over the halloween one.  This isn't because of any great conviction about halloween being satan's holiday or anything like that.  I just think the storyline is more smooth and connected in the Christmas special than the halloween one  (why are we watching Snoopy fly an airplane for 10 minutes???).  But it occured to me this year why Charles Schultz is a genius (and possibly why I am as dull as dirt that I didn't understand this much earlier).  I don't remember why I was thinking about the Great Pumpkin in the spring but just know that my thoughts are as random as the lottery numbers each week.  Forgive me if I insult your intelligence with my bit of enlightenment.  You might have figured this out long before but just rejoice that I finally caught on.  :)  Charles "freakin' genius" Schultz made a Santa Claus type character for Halloween.  Then proceeded to prove its illegitimacy.  AAAAND he did this without insulting any hardcore Santa people.  Let me explain.  The Great Pumpkin (GP) is a bit of lore that Linus clung to with admirable dedication.  GP brought presents to little boys and girls who believed him and were "good".  Linus stayed all night in the pumpkin patch, foregoing the pleasures of the season--trick-or-treating, costumes, candy--to please the GP.  The non-existent GP obviously doesn't show.  Mr. Schultz could never be as obvious about his views of  Santa Claus and had a successful cartoon.  People would hate him for it.  People love using Santa Claus at Christmas.  So, he was subtle.  He was slick.  He made it harmless yet he made it.  We see Linus' misplaced devotion.  We see his struggle with whether or not he was good enough to receive the approval of GP.  Ahhhh.  Hats off to you, Charles Schultz.  Well played!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

let me teach you about a concept known as 'taste aversion'

If there is ever a food or beverage that you would like to eradicate from your diet than be sure to eat it then have a very uncomfortable time afterwards throwing it up.  Have you ever known anyone who drank too much tequila, got sick, and swore off tequila for life?  They developed a taste aversion to it.  All of us have had these experiences (not necessarily with liquor).  My husband got sick after eating at one of my favorite burger joints.  Now he won't go back.  Taste Aversion is such a neat survival mechanism.  In the wild, when an animal eats something bad for them and get sick they will avoid it the next time they come across it.  In fact, sheep farmers will use this to their advantage.  They will coat the sheep's wool with a chemical that will cause vomiting if ingested.  All it takes after that is for one sheep to die for all the coyotes or wolves to avoid that farmer's other sheep. 

Five years ago I made a beautiful roast with vegetables in my new crockpot.  It was my first time using a crockpot that was a wedding present from our wedding two or so months earlier.  I ate some of it for dinner and around 11pm, lots of yuckiness ensued.  I'll spare the details but just know it wasn't just vomiting--yeah, are you with me?  On top of all that ickiness, I was having a panic attack. 


Haven't touched the crockpot since then.

Until yesterday.  Five years later, I make my attempt to use the crockpot and rid myself of this taste aversion.   For a few years, if I even looked at the crockpot I would feel sick.  The association between that crockpot (and the stewed roast) was far too strong.  I couldn't eat anything that looked like what I cooked that night too.  So, many moons later I am able to look at the crockpot and use it.  Mind you, I made my debut with a recipe that looked very different from roast and veggies.  I made a white chili that involved chicken instead of beef.  I made it.  I ate it.  I didn't get sick.  Phew!

What do you have a taste aversion to?

Monday, October 10, 2011

one of the scariest moments of my life

The scene:  Esther's home in Monroe

Back story:  David and I took the boys down to Monroe because David's longtime friend was getting hitched in Ruston.  David was a groomsman.  Friday night after the rehearsal dinner he intended to hang back while Mrs. Hogue and I (and the baby) left so that he could get some hang out time with his old friend at a coffee shop.  David planned to be home (Esther's, that is) by 12:30.  I planned to be in dreamland with both boys.

At 2a.m. I awoke.  Not so strange for a mother to wake up with young children but neither child had stirred and so I wasn't sure why I woke up.  As I settled myself back down to sleep I realized that I didn't know what time it was but thought, "David is probably back and asleep."  At the last minute, I decided to lift my lazy head up to see if he was indeed home.  I did.  And he wasn't.  No reason to panic.  I didn't know what time it was.  Afterall, I could have been asleep for merely 15 minutes.  I got up to look at the clock-- 2:05am.  I decided to see if David decided to sleep on the couch since little David was stretched out on the bed.  Not there.  I checked to see if the van was here and perhaps he was locked out and didn't want to wake anyone--nope.  As I walked by Mrs. Hogue and Esther's room, Mrs. Hogue whispered out my name.  She asked if David was home and I informed her he wasn't and it was late.  She reports that her phone rang with a number she didn't recognize but no one replied.  That was 15 minutes earlier.  Esther, Mrs. Hogue and I were all up.  All the boys (including Jim) continued to sleep. 

I left my phone in Mrs. Hogue's car so I went looking for it.  In the meantime,  Mrs. Hogue and Esther were trying to find the number on her iPhone of the call that came in about 20 or so minutes earlier.  I found my phone easily but--no calls.  The last time I talked to David he told me his phone was about to die.  (I happened to call him from Esther's phone because, again, my phone was in Mrs. Hogue's car--this is important).  I tried his number anyway and was sent immediately to voicemail--his phone died.  Mrs. Hogue poured me some wine because I was starting to panic.  Where was he?  What is wrong?  What if he is hurt?  Or worse? 

Our next plan was to try to contact his friend, the groom.  I didn't have his number but I was his facebook friend.  He is also someone who happened to put his number on his facebook page (forever grateful for that!).  I called (yes, poor guy is getting a call from me at 2:30am the night before his wedding) and no answer.  I called again and this time left a msg.  He called back.  I asked him when they left the coffee shop in Ruston and he says that they left 5 min. to midnight.  Take a half-hour out for traveling back to Monroe and he should have been home at 12:30 or so.  Something is wrong!  Now I'm visibly upset.

Mrs. Hogue suggested calling the local hospital and police station to see if there was any news that way.  Do you know how scary that is?  I didn't want there to be any news that way yet I wanted to know where he was.  No news after calling both and I'm still left without peace.  Just because he isn't in a hospital doesn't mean he isn't hurt.  The images that were flashing through my mind were terrifying me.  I prayed.  I prayed in phrases.  "Lord, bring him home."/"Mind, body, and soul safe"/"Give him wisdom"/"Keep him safe."  Pacing the floor as the calls were being made.

Images of David's car crashed on the side of the road unseen or him stranded somewhere circled.  Then I am seeing David held at gunpoint or beaten or carjacked.  I'm so scared that he is hurt.  Or worse.  Pacing.  Praying.

Esther starts getting dressed to get in the car looking for him.  I tell her that I want to go but she says I should stay in case the kids wake up and she knows Monroe better than I do.  I couldn't argue with that but I longed to get out and look for him.  As she is getting dressed, my cell rings.  A number I don't know.  I answer.  "Hello?" On the other end:  "Oh, thank the Lord."  He is alive!!  It took me a moment to recognize his voice--perhaps because his voice was tired and strained.  I was also probably half-expecting it to be someone else giving me news (bad news) of my husband.  I gave the phone to Esther so that she could give him directions and I crumbled.  I lost all control of my emotions and cried my eyes out. 

Here is what happened:  David got to Monroe--even Esther's neighborhood but could not remember the street name and could not find the house.  His phone was dead so he could not call directly.  He stopped at a gas station but their phone line was not working right because he would get an operator everytime he dialed my number (wouldn't have reached me anyway because at that time my phone was in the car).  He didn't know his sister's or mother's number by heart.  No such luck.  Poor guy was getting angrier and angrier at his circumstances.  He prayed and grumbled.  Can you imagine circling around so early in the morning?  I hated that for him (but glad it was that and not pain or death).  He then ended up at a hotel where they warily let him use their phone.  I had mine.  He assumed my phone was dead because I called from Esther's earlier that evening.  He was surprised when I picked up.  Thankful that my phone wasn't dead and that I picked up, but sad that he knew that meant that I was worried--he explained his evening.  He never called Mrs. Hogue.  So what of that random caller from a number that she could not find record of in her phone afterwards?--I believe a stellar move from our Lord who woke her up.  The Lord also woke me up to discover that my husband was missing and needing prayer.  I also needed to get my phone from the car so that I could be there to receive his call.  The Lord heard my husband's prayers (and grumblings) and worked it out for him to come home.  Otherwise, he would have stayed at the hotel and I would have been worried beyond all reason.  When he finally got home, I ran out to the car and cried my eyes out again.  I couldn't help it.  He felt so bad that we were so worried.  We offered him some liquid consolation to help de-stress him. 

He was safe and home.  Yet, I could not sleep that night.  My body was still coursing with adrenaline and, at that point, anxiety.  It would take awhile for my body to catch up with my mind and figure out that it was ok to rest.  The fear of losing my husband was less terrifying to me than the idea that my husband, that I love, was hurt, afraid, or suffering.  I could hardly stand the thought of him in pain.  It was definitely one of those moments that revealed to me just how much David means to me.  He is absolutely the love of my life.  I'm writing this a week later because I could not allow myself to think about those moments.  It was high on the scale of awful moments.  It was intense and scary plus I was helpless but for prayer.  I hope to never be in that place again.  But if and when I am I know that the Lord is watching over us.  I'm so thankful for His involvement.  Also thankful for Esther and Mrs. Hogue for walking beside me in those dark moments for me.  I'm thankful that it was a relatively short period of time.