Archive | October 2012

Fitness Friday: Week 8

I think I started this week out stronger than I finished it. I’ve been lax the past couple of days as Pete and I prepared for his mom to visit and for the abundance of yard work that will be happening this weekend. But then again, we’ll have an abundance of yard work to do, so it’s not like I won’t be making up for the slack.

This post is going to be really brief because I’m tired, but I thought it would be nice to leave you with an illustration of my P90X strength.

This is me picking up my friend, Amanda, at her birthday dinner a few weeks ago. (But no birthday spankings.) I also picked Pete up, but this just looks like I’m giving him the Heimlich.


The crush

In fourth grade, I had a crush on a boy named Cale. Not Kale like the cabbage, but Cale with a C. His real name was Garth Caleb, but maybe he heard too many Garth Brooks jokes and decided to shorten his middle name.

Whatever the reason, he had nice brown eyes and came from Canada, and foreign sounded interesting. His dad had once owned the Smokies baseball team, so his whole family was hot stuff, and this boy knew it.

When Valentine’s Day rolled around, our teachers encouraged us to hand out valentines to everyone in the class. I was super excited when I sifted through my pile and found Cale’s, a piece of red rectangular cardboard with those perforated edges to simplify the process of sharing your deepest love for someone. I imagined him feeling queasy as he signed his name to a revealing valentine sporting Michael Jordan dunking a basketball. No other valentine mattered.

Then I read the dialogue bubble above Michael’s head. “You’re cool,” it said. And underneath it, in Cale’s own handwriting, a blunt “I wish.” I hope his mom found out and gave him a good spanking. I told myself that Cale was a stupid name anyway.

Now fast forward 16 years or so to a few weeks ago when I had dinner with a good friend from elementary school. As she caught me up on everyone’s lives, I found out that Cale is now a professional baseball player with a wife and a little girl. He’s also Mormon. “Well that wouldn’t have worked,” I told her.

Our conversation got me thinking about other crushes I’ve had and how stupid many of them were. Like the one from kindergarten that I’ve mentioned on this blog before – the one I had on a boy named Will who was pudgy and curled his lip up like Elvis on picture day. He’s the one I drew the dinosaur picture for, even though I vehemently denied putting it in his cubby. Why didn’t I like the cute boy from church instead? (Who, incidentally, was the one who revealed me as artist of the full-page brontosaurus. I guess my name at the bottom gave it away.)

Then there was the double crush in first grade. There was Zach, the hyper one, and Scott, the strong silent type. They fought over me on the playground one day while my teacher watched, amused. All I remember is sitting on a bench while each of them brought me some token of their affection. Zach brought rocks; Scott brought flowers. I chose Zach because he was cuter, but then he went to a different school the next year and I was subject to mean looks from Scott until middle school.

In third grade, I liked a boy named Daniel who told me I looked pretty in my favorite green shirt. But that never progressed past the classroom, probably because I could only wear that shirt so many days out of the week.

In fifth grade, I was dealing with remnants of my unrequited love for Cale, and going to camp where he got to square dance with the pretty popular girl didn’t help. (I had to dance with a girl because we outnumbered the boys.)

But, eventually that passed and by sixth grade I had a handsome science teacher, also my first male teacher. I decided older men were better. His name was Mr. Hawkins and he taught Hunter’s Safety. How manly. He probably just felt sorry for me with my new braces and body wave.

The following year, I was at a different school and liked a boy named Phillip. I always tried to position myself in the hallway as he passed by, but nothing ever came of it and a few years later he ended up getting yelled at by Sarah B. in driver’s ed for staring at her too much.

In high school, I was inconsistent and liked boys who were preppy, punky, class clowns and jocks. One of the longest crushes I had was on a boy named B.J. who bought me a carnation on Friendship Friday and winked at me. Sometimes I wonder if it was a dare because he pretty much ignored me after that, even when I turned around in my seat in health class and tried to give him my page of doodles. He actually changed seats. Jerk. My friend Danny drew me a picture on my graphing calculator to make me feel better.

When I worked at the movie theatre later in high school, I had a crush on a boy named Cohan – actually his last name. He seemed like a good Christian guy, but told me he always spent Halloween praying, which didn’t sound as fun to me as dressing up for the annual AMC Halloween party like I had done the day he told me that. When I finally told him I liked him, tired of waiting around for him to do it first, he returned the feelings, but said he didn’t have money for a girlfriend. Lame excuse, I thought. Is he calling me expensive? He’s still single.

Although my crushes rarely liked me back, there were the guys who liked me but who I didn’t like. Take a guy named Eric, for example. We were in fourth grade together and I got the feeling he was happy to have me as a dance partner in gym, but I thought he was immature because he pulled a toy car out of his pocket and made car noises while rolling it across the gym floor when he was supposed to be learning the dance formation. Why couldn’t I ever have a decent dance partner?

Or the scrawny guy on my bus in high school whose name escapes me. He thought he was the cat’s meow and always tried to strike up a conversation with me, probably because I was the only one who only slightly ignored him. He was socially awkward and funny looking, but walked around like he was an Abercrombie model. One day after school, I saw him out of the window by our front door. He was walking down the street shortly after we got home and pulled his shirt off as he passed our house, then looked toward the window. I gagged and went to my room. I hope he didn’t turn into one of those kids who was always overlooked and resorted to campus bomb threats. That would make me feel bad.

Then there was John in college who came along right after a breakup. I told him I didn’t want to date anyone and that I would be leaving soon to study abroad, but he made things weird for me anyway by telling his parents we were dating before we all met for dinner one evening. John was a gift guy and on multiple occasions gave me things I didn’t want, like an enormous stuffed dog for Valentine’s Day. It took up half of my closet, so I gave it to Goodwill and hoped he didn’t shop there. I eventually made him cry by calling him a baby for whining about my lack of attention – again, NOT dating – but then my conscience kicked in and I tried to be nice again.

My lists don’t include the few people I actually dated since this entry is just about crushes, but to end on a high note, I will make an exception and talk about the absolute biggest crush I ever had. It started five years ago on the steps of the International Students Office in a small farm town in Australia. His name was Peter. 🙂

God on Facebook

I don’t post a lot of heavy stuff on my blog, but I did have an interesting Facebook conversation yesterday that I wanted to share for anyone interested. It started when a friend of mine posted something about the existence of God. I refer to the people below by the first initial only, so M is the one who made the original post. And of course “Me” is yours truly.

: When you say somethings going wrong in your life people automatically tell you that “God” can help you get through it… They never actually do something themselves. No one does. It’s all about “Him” and they haven’t even seen or heard from him…
It’s like me saying Hey look you guise the tooth fairy will help you get through this rough patch in your life….. What if he won’t? What if no one really gave a crap about you or anything you’re going through?
Simply what if

: The entire god concept is just a coping mechanism for people who want to believe that there is a divine ever-vigilant father figure in the sky to watch over them. It’s up to us, not a god, to get through our life’s struggles and desires.

M: It’s as if we’re playing the sims in real life…

J: Hey i believe in God but i think we put in an effort so will he He help them whom help thier selfs.

S: J, when we help ourselves, we reap what we sow. Why is there any reason to believe that there is a divine dictator watching over us and expecting that? There’s not. It’s a security blanket, an unnecessary one.

M: Yeah I fully agree with S

P: God isn’t a Wizard nor a genie. It’s not that he grants you wishes and what you please. i ain’t gonna preach but God doesn’t do things for you completely. Just one thing, He opens the doors and you have the choice to go through them.

J: Maybe to you, but if it helps me get though the day so be it. I’ve believed in God for years and everytime i fully pray and ask him it comes my way. SO i’ll keep believin’ and ya’ll keep doin whatever it is ya’ll do. Have a good day.

S: P, we open our own doors. Life is a series of choices and decision that we, and we alone, make. Any and all opportunities are results of mere cause and effect. As cold as that sounds, the universe does not owe you purpose or reason. We have as much ‘reason’ for existing as a mountain does. You wouldn’t ask “why does that mountain exist?”, it’s just silly. We can explain how it exists through study and through scientific exploration. The only why is the result of time’s flow.
J, there are people in the world who believe wholeheartedly that there is a giant diamond buried in their backyard. They gather every Sunday to worship this diamond. There is no proof the diamond exists, because digging it up would be to encroach upon the divine. But the thought of this diamond helps people get through life; it helps them be happy. They state that they wouldn’t want to live in a world where there wasn’t a huge diamond buried in their backyard. And so they pray to the diamond to give them happiness and purpose. Just the thought of the diamond opens doors in their life. These people are living the cliche “ignorance is bliss”. Why do you really believe what you do? Because it makes you happy and content? Many things can help you feel this way; I wholeheartedly recommend finding one that does not demote your personal integrity to a life of servile, mental slavery.

S: When you god-lovers understand why you reject the gods of thousands of other religions, only then will you understand why we reject yours. We are the architects of our own lives. No god-concept will ever have power over that; it is merely a comforting idea, and I respect that, but gods were created to help our race through its infancy. It’s time to grow out of it and start thinking for ourselves. smile

Me: M, this is something a lot of people question and I’m glad you posted this. You guys have some good discussion going, which is awesome. I think discussing religion is always better than throwing out criticisms without bothering to hear other views. … So here’s my two cents: One reason I went to seminary is because I wanted to know WHY I believed what I believed. Did I just believe in God because my parents did or because that’s what the pastor said? And how do I know what I believe is right? Not only did seminary help me understand other religions and hear or read from people of different faiths, but it made my belief in God rock solid. We have SO much evidence for the existence of God that there’s no way my Facebook post is going to do it justice, but here are just two examples: 1 – Creation itself. How did all this get here? How is the universe so complex that even the tiniest difference in the Earth’s position would make life here impossible? Maybe there was a Big Bang, but how did THAT happen? Where did the particles that created the Big Bang come from? Something doesn’t come from nothing, so why couldn’t an all-powerful Being have created it? And 2 – Christ, who was God in human flesh. It’s not just the Bible that tells us He was real (if you don’t believe the Bible, that means nothing), but even historical records, non-Christian sources and eyewitness accounts preserved in thousands of manuscripts testify to His presence and His divinity. Christ is different from other religious teachers because He is the only one who died for us, defeated death and lives today.
Believing in God does give me peace, yes, but that’s not why I believe in Him. I believe in Him because there’s evidence. Science does not discredit God’s existence, but supports it. … One of the greatest things about God, though, is that He didn’t create us to be His slaves. He created us with minds and free will so we can choose. We can make decisions on our own. And we can accept God or reject Him. (Some people question why a supposedly loving God would send us to hell if we reject Him, but I think that’s the most loving thing He can do. He’s not forcing us to spend eternity in His presence; He’s giving us eternity without Him if that’s what we choose.)
This is getting long, but the existence of God is such an important topic. Yes, there is an element of faith, but it’s not blind faith; we can support it with reason. And on a more personal note, I’ve seen how different my life is with and without God, and although I thought I had more freedom without Him, I was sorely mistaken. No, being a Christian isn’t all fuzzy kittens and rainbows, but it’s a real relationship with Christ that has brought me absolute joy and freedom even in the tough times. I will always be imperfect, but I know I’m forgiven for all the things I’ve done wrong, that God loves me beyond comprehension and that He won’t leave me. He promises to be with me in the good times and bad, and I’ve personally witnessed that. I think we are all drawn to God, or at least the idea of Him, but it’s how we respond that makes the difference. When we sincerely seek Him, we find Him.
Thanks again for posting, and you know the writer is going to have problems with brevity. smile🙂

H: I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and here is just a thought, you can’t see the air you breathe but you BELIEVE it will be there when you take a breath. I cant see my GOD but i BELIEVE he is with me at all times. I hope that for the ones who aren’t saved would look into the BIBLE and JESUS a little more and open your mind and heart before your time on this side of eternity is over.

M: But what if he doesn’t exist?

Me: Why don’t you think He exists, M?

M: I never said he did or didn’t but what if we waste all of this time believing and hoping for a greater power only to be let down when we die.. Seems like a lot of Saturdays that could of been spent with the ones we care about the most

Me: Yes, that would be a letdown, and I have another friend who says the same thing. But what if you do seek God and find Him? Wouldn’t it be better to try so you know? It would also be a huge letdown to come to the end of life and realize He does exist but now it’s too late. … I think it’s great that you’re asking the questions; a lot of people don’t want to think about it.

S: Tiffany: The law of conservation of energy states that no energy is created nor destroyed, it merely changes form. A zero-energy universe theory states that the total amount of energy in the universe is exactly zero. That is the only kind of universe that could come from nothing, assuming such a zero-energy universe is, already, nothing.[6][7] Such a universe needs to be flat, a state which does not contradict current observations that the Universe is flat with a 0.5% margin of error.[8] Our universe did, technically, come from nothing.
I concede to the fact that science has many gaps that still need to be filled in to complete our understanding of the universe, but there is no reason to fill those gaps in with a god(s) simply because of the human desire for instant understanding. We don’t have the answers yet, but someday, we will, and the evidence is building up against a divine creator. Other than a lack of full understanding, do you have any factual data that supports a god?
H, explain to me how belief, without evidence, is beneficial to the human race.
I can give you an example of how it’s detrimental: Those airline hijackers that made a suicide dive into the world trade centers, remember them? They were men of perfect faith, faith without evidence. Their god ordered them to commit atrocities in his name, as he isn’t even as horrible as the judeo-christian god.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
After reading your bible, how can you even want to associate with such a god?

Me: If our universe contains mass, space and time, it must have been created by a causal agent that transcends mass, space and time. … And the hijackers who crashed into the Trade Center did not believe in the God I’m speaking of, the God of the Bible. It’s tragic that they and thousands of others lost their lives that way. … I’m not sure where some of the adjectives you mentioned come from, but the God of the OT is often misunderstood. If you read the OT, you see a God who is merciful, giving people multiple opportunities to do what’s right, a God who provides clothing, shelter and food for His people in the desert, a God who upholds justice and doesn’t put up with evil, and a God who forgives and forgives and forgives. The Bible does indeed say He is jealous, but jealous in the sense that He is protective of His people and loves us so much that He yearns for us to love Him, too — not because He needs it, but because of His bond with us. I had questions about the “vindictive” God I thought was portrayed in the OT until I read it for myself, twice.

S: Tiffany: By your logic, if something that transcends mass, space, and time created the universe, something must have also created that entity, being as it is over greater complexity than the universe itself. And something must have also created that entity, by your logic. Where does that loop end? That’s what we call circular logic, and it does not work.
“It must have been…” is a gap-filler. It isn’t evidence; it is opinion.
Your god, their god, and all other gods are all relevant to my point. They all demand blind faith, and that faith leads to actions without a solid base in evidence. These acts can and have become more malevolent and heinous than most things any sane human being would ever do without this blind faith.

Me: You’re right, S, circular logic doesn’t work. You would have to have an infinite regress of gods or some other entity, and that doesn’t work. When I say God, I’m talking about the omnipotent God who was not created but who has always existed. He is transcendent, unlimited. … I have to disagree that all gods are the same, though. The God of the Bible doesn’t demand blind faith, and I gave reasons for that in an earlier post. … It sounds like the issue you are taking is more about some of the atrocities credited to religion. Yes, religion has been at the center of countless conflicts, wars, killings, crimes against humanity, etc. But that’s not because of God. That’s because of people, some who are rebelling against God or who have a serious misconception or definition of God. That is not how God intended us to act.

S: “That is not how God intended us to act.” is one religions interpretation of god’s will. Most religions disagree with each other, and that leads to these atrocities. But let’s get back to your point. The type of god you describe in incapable of existing and also has no proof of existing. If you disagree with this statement, show me your proof. I’ve read through every religious doctrine, and I’ve seen none. Perhaps you found something I missed? If so, please share it. smile🙂

The conversation continued for a while after that, but I didn’t post anything else because he didn’t seem to be open to my arguments. I wish I had asked S to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I didn’t think of it until today. I think I can guess his answer anyway. At least it didn’t get nasty.
I also sent M a message today (not a public post) saying that I enjoyed the challenging discussion and that I’m always open if he wants to discuss it further.

Dear next door neighbor

Dear next door neighbor,

Despite my appearance this morning … and most mornings you see me, … I promise I own nice clothes. I realize that the pink and purple pajama pants didn’t match my yellow shirt and orange hoodie this AM, and that my white socks with old black dress shoes aren’t exactly in style, but when the dog has to go, she has to go. Just like yesterday when I finally gave into her whining at the door whilst wearing my red bathrobe and fuzzy black slippers. (Fortunately for me, I didn’t yet have my contacts in, so I’m not sure what kind of look you had on your face when you looked over into our yard.)

Oh, and about that time with the raincoat and flashlight, I promise I had shorts on underneath. I doubt my walking the fence line at dawn in said attire is the first thing you want to see over a cup of Folgers, but I assure you, it was less fun for me.

In the future, next door neighbor, how ’bout we make a deal? If you promise not to look over before I leave for work in the morning, or after, say, 9 p.m., I’ll try my best to ignore your three dogs’ incessant yipping. After all, if you can’t count on a neighbor to ignore you once in a while, who can you count on?


The one in the bathrobe

Fitness Friday: Week 7

I can’t believe I’m on week 7 of P90X! Only 6 more weeks to go. … Hm, that sounds a lot longer now that I type it.

This week, I discovered that I’m getting faster at swing kicks. I also discovered that I still hate “crunchy frog.” Anja still accompanies me on a couple of my exercises, but this week, Zoey was the one interrupting my push-ups by nibbling on my wrists.

I’m a little disappointed that I’m not sporting super muscular calves or a six-pack yet, but like I said, 6 more weeks to go!

Fun in Wally World

Sara and I made a run to Walmart last night and spent a third of our trip in the hair aisle. What started as Sara looking for a new hairdryer turned into me frantically looking for a piece of paper to write down some of our quotes. Here’s a peek into our shopping experience:

Sara: “What’s the difference in these hairdryers? This one has frizz control, but this one says it dries fast. This one has smoothing agents.”
Me: “Do you talk to yourself when you shop alone? … Cuz you seem like that kind of person.”

Sara: “Why are there so many brushes? There should be just one choice. This one is geloious.”
Me: “It’s not geloious; it’s ‘gelous,’ but that’s not really a word.”
Sara: “Ooh, this matches my wall! How do I know which one to get? This is too hard!”
Me: “How do you ever make decisions?”

Sara: “If I were dry shampoo, where would I be? … My leggings are sagging.”

Sara: “Can we go now?”
Me: “No, I gotta write down your quote.”
Sara: “Oh my gosh, can’t you just start carrying around a recorder? No wait, that would be dangerous. … Are you ready? This is taking a long time.”
Me: “Um, excuse me, none of the things in the cart are mine.”

Here are some of our best finds:

A hairdryer with “mineral conditioning crystals.” What does that even mean? And how do they get them in there?

A two-in-one headband and necklace. I think this was invented by someone whose headband slipped off the head and said person thought, “Hey, I’ll make a lot of money by pretending this is cool.”

A lotion applicator for those hard-to-reach places. This can also be used for sunscreen and topical analgesics. Honestly not a terrible idea.

A satin slumber cap. I thought only the characters in the book “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” wore these.

And my favorite, the Wav Enforcer. I know I’m white, but I really want to know what this would do to my hair. Can white people have a fade? Or is that just called balding?

Fitness Friday: Week 6

Yikes, it’s 11:33! I almost didn’t make this post on Friday.

This week has been somewhat of a whirlwind. I was in Knoxville Sunday through Thursday for training, so again I faced the hotel workout. “Where can I put my computer so I can see the DVD clearly?” … “What can I use for weights?” … “Ugh, I really don’t want to do yoga after that big meal.” (And I didn’t, either. That was my resting day.)

Today, my legs are super sore. I’ve been bending down very slowly, and it makes me feel like an elderly woman trying to tend her garden or feed the cats. This is all due to the legs and back DVD. My skinny calves haven’t changed much, but at least I know I’m using them more. As fearless P90X leader Tony Horton says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your body.”

This P90X thing has come at a good time. I’m filling out my health survey before our annual health screenings next week, and right now, I’m able to say I exercise an average of 6 days a week. 🙂 I’m not doing so hot on my daily fruit and vegetable intake, though. (Does anyone out there really eat the daily fruit and veggie recommendation? That’s 3-5 servings of vegetables a day and 2-4 servings of fruit. I pat myself on the back when I have time to cut up the apple in my lunch box.)

Thankfully, the survey does not ask how many chocolate chip cookies ended up in my belly when I was baking.

(Side note/observation of the day: It’s awfully hard to be healthy when work functions include doughnuts, bagels and pastries. Who decided a pastry is breakfast food? … My female co-workers were pretty entertaining after all the sugar, though.)