Thursday, December 30, 2010


I spent several hours adding and re-adding, and checking, and double checking, and reprinting reports on numbers that made no sense. I told my boss they made no sense and he shrugged and said he didn't know what to tell me, but I needed to balance that statement...
I asked him if he's sure he gave me the right statement.
He's sure.
Back to work for another couple hours and I call some guy and have him fax me, like twenty invoices their statement isn't showing and he is super annoyed, becuase, really, who wants to fax 20 invoices??? I wait for the invoices and I am getting frustrated with how long this thing is taking and why it doesn't make sense... and my boss comes up to my office and hands me a document...
"I think this is the correct statement, the one I gave you earlier (Oh, you mean the one i had been working off of for the past several hours and couldn't make sense of?!?!) is wrong. Oops."
And he leaves.
I seriously want to cry. And punch someone.
Opps?!?! REALLY?!?!?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Funny (for me) but not fair.

Last night I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Z was skeptical because he finds meatballs wildly offensive (he doesn't enjoy a ball of meat he has to bite into... so i either have to break his up or make... tiny ones just for him. And because I've the maturity of a 13 yr old boy... I had a good time giving him a hard time about his tiny balls... heh heh. But I digress...) These meatballs were subject to extra skepticism because they were also made from ground turkey, instead of his meat of choice: beef.
He ate a healthy serving of spaghetti and tiny balls (heh) and then told me... "This was really good". (Note the missing word 'actually'? It wasn't 'actually really good' it was just 'really good'. Success. Men can be trained.) then he asked if I wanted to go get my new Christmas toy set up... and I said, "Yeah, but we need to clean up dinner first..." As I was reaching into the freezer for a pint of Haagen Dazs. Noting the icecream in my hand Z asked if that means he had to clean the kitchen by himself, and I said "No, not neccessa-- (wait, what am I saying?!?!?!?!) Yeah. I guess so, Z." And I plopped myself onto the couch with my ice cream to enjoy what was about to happen.
Z is laughing uncertainly about tackling dinner cleanup and i am giggling with glee wondering how this had actually happened! And then... he spills something. And FREAKS out. And of course the spill is entirely my fault because why would I leave a half-empty open bottle sitting out like that (Please note: Z has never left a half consumed container of ANYTHING sitting open ANYWHERE in the entire 27 years of his existence, so you can understand why my over sight is an unfathomable offense... Did you get through that without laughing? Yeah, me neither) So he's in the kitchen all flustered and hacked off and telling me I am in charge of cleaning up the floor since the spill is my fault-- and I am pretty sure he is serious, but the whole thing, and the drama of it all is making me giggle as he is arguing the 'fairness' of him having to clean up after me...
Ah... there we are. I honestly don't think that he really wants 'fairness' in our home... because i am pretty sure life as he knows it would change drastically-- no more homemade meals, dish washing, laundry, or grocery shopping from Mrs. P. If we are being 'fair' he can probably do those for himself.
Buuuut... we don't really want fairness and keeping score and not helping each other in our house. No one would be happy then. However I did enjoy that just for a few moments he experienced my daily frustration of being expected to by myself clean a mess that was made by someone else or for the benefit of someone else (food and dishes anyone?). I'm a little bit glad he experienced the 'unfairness' of it all. But to be honest, I don't really desire that anyone experience that for too long...
So I went in to help. I did make him clean up the unfair spill on his own.
And... don't tell anyone, but as much as I relished the moment sitting on the couch with my Haagen Dazs while Z was busy working... I actually much preferred the later moments with him in the kitchen laughing at each other, dumping the trash, and putting our dishes in the dishwasher.
I don't want to be fair-- just together.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Hangover

I did not drink too much on Christmas day. But I woke up the day after feel as though I had. The alarm went off and I cracked my eyes open to blinding brightness. Too bright-- i wanted to pull the covers over my head but had to pee so bad I thought was was going to burst. My feet hit the floor and I had to make a concerted effort to stay upright for the about six steps to the bathroom. My head was pounding and causing a disorienting dizzy sensation and every muscle in my body was yelling at me as I tried to wake up. I stumbled back to my bed... and my husband was mumbling that he didn't want to get up... and I pulled the covers over my head to enjoy the warmth, comfort, and darkness of my bed for just a few... more...
And then I woke up three hours later.
And there was no husband next to me.
Wrapped a blanket around myself and ran down the stairs-- Zachary!
Who... just laughed at me and said, "I guess you aren't making it to church today." Yeah, I guess not.
I then realized that I was still nauseous and my head still hurt and I lay down on the stairs right there, and whimpered until Z made me get up and shower... drink some water... take a few ibuprofen... There, that's better. Did he slip something in my drink yesterday? No, he maintains his innocence.
We decided it must be a Christmas Hangover. After weeks of preparing, stressing, cleaning, sewing, rehearsing, baking, and making sure everything was (mostly) perfect... the day came and went in one big WHOOSH and the aftermath left an exhausted Valerie.
But you know what the perfect cure for a Christmas Hangover is? An Egg-nog shake purchased for you by your husband at Sheridans. And if you are suffering similarly of a Christmas Hangover, you are in luck because (for the time being...) Sheridans still has them on their menu...

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her Iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Ev'ry valley shall be exalted, and ev'ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
(Isaiah 40 : 1-5)

Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts; Yet once a little while and I will shake the heav'ns and the earth, the sea and the dry land: And I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come.
(Haggai 2 : 6-7)

The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
(Malachi 3 :1-3)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, GOD WITH US.
(Isaiah 7 : 14; Matthew 1 : 23)

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God! O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
(Isaiah 40 : 9; Isaiah 60 : 1)

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
(Isaiah 60 : 2-3)

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
(Isaiah 9 : 2)

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9 : 6)

There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying:
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men.

(Luke 2 : 8-14)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hot Mess Christmas

If you have spoken to me recently for any amount of time... you probably noticed I seemed a little flustered. A little bit out of sorts. Not... really all put together. A bit of a mess.
B keeps calling me a 'hot mess' and while I know she says it with love in her heart... the truth stings a little. I AM a mess. I can't get it together, you guys! I used to be a pretty level-headed person of average sanity. Excitable, yes, but generally in control of myself in most situations.
These days... there is no control whatsoever.
My house is a mess, I can't keep it clean, laundry and dishes have taken over. I am over-committed, and I am bored with not enough to do. I am frustrated and restless and unfulfilled. My job is frustrating. My husband is frustrating-- and try as I might I just can't figure him out, or figure out how we can peacefully and happily live under the same roof. And here's the kicker-- I rarely see the man! We have approximately 1.5 hours a day together and still can't figure out how to communicate our needs and expectations in a way the other can understand. I don't feel like I am necessary or appreciated at work. Not feeling necessary or effective at my church. Things I think are important that I attempt to make happen just kind of fall apart. Don't know if that's ALL my fault, or other forces or what... but it seems everything I touch is a mess. My whole life just feels like a train wreck right now. It's a complete and utter mess I can't sort out.
And for the past three or four months, that phrase has come to define my life and dominate my thoughts-- I can't shake it-- MY LIFE IS A MESS.

So then I am at church on Sunday and D is talking about Christmas cards and how we like the pretty ones with pictures of the holy family looking clean and happy, maybe with a soft halo and a sprinkle of glitter on their snow white garments... pretty, uncomplicated, clean. That's how I like my Christmas cards, how I like my Christmas decor, and how I would really appreciate my life... So I am nodding along as D is talking because I like where I think this is headed... we are going to hear about the peace and simplicity of the season... and my mind is drifting thinking that yeah, I need to hear this...
But that's not what he was talking about at all, he says "...when in actuality, that first Christmas was MESSY. For everyone involved."
WAIT--What? But my focus zeroed in immediately. It doesn't seem incredibly profound but just hearing those words I loathe that have become a description of myself being used to describe the greatest miracle to ever happen to mankind? Give me a moment to process--
But he plowed ahead describing what mess a young man Joseph was in because of it-- the hurt, the scandal, the shame and ridicule and whispers. Same thing for a young woman named Mary who finds herself pregnant, and knows she could be put to death, or best case scenario will be a single mother forced to prostitution just to keep herself and her child alive. And... a baby who is actually the all powerful God who created the universe that chose to come to us with all the power of an infant, born in a nasty smelly barn, and grow up a boy of questionable parentage, facing ridicule and whispers... and eventually the most shameful and painful death anyone could come up with.
Let me give you a moment to take that in--

You good? Great, moving on...
And I thought MY life was a wreck. And I know, I know, maybe you've heard the story, and the gruesome details before and this is not shocking to you. I am pretty sure I have-- but it just hit me HARD this season. I just kept thinking-- WHY? Why? why? I don't get it. I believe the story to be true, but why would it happen like that? Why did all powerful God of the universe choose to come in all the dirt and mess one situation could possibly contain? It makes no sense.
But it does... because we were told about him, before he ever came:
The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us'). Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
Hmmmm... Immanuel: God with us. Not God made us, God likes us, or God knows all about us (which are all true... you know) But God with us. He chose to be with us-- one of us-- messy like us. All powerful God chose to enter our mess to be with us... so that he could go through what we do, experience our pain, hurt, confusion, frustration, anger, embarrassment, shame, hunger, communication issues, excitement, happiness... MESSINESS. He got into the mess of humanity because he loved us enough to experience life with us. The good, bad, and ugly parts of it.
Back to that question of why? Because he loves us. And chose to redeem us from the mess we've created at the cost of his own life.
God is with me, on my journey (like how I tie that in?), even on the messy days when my journey is taking me in circles. He didn't ask me to come to him, he came to me. To be with me. To endure the pain, hurt, confusion, frustration, anger, embarrassment, shame, hunger, communication issues, excitement, happiness and messiness with me.
Because he loves me. Even though I am a hot mess.
To be honest... I have spent a couple days chewing on this message. I didn't immediately make sense of it and make peace with it-- so to speak. I don't know if it was what D was trying to get across. I am not really eloquent, and I don't know if what I shared makes sense... but i have found a bit of peace in my train wreck of a life knowing that I have a God who understands, because he chose to be a part of it so he could love me through it... yes?
Hallelujah that we have a God that got messy with us on Christmas day two thousand-ish years ago, and continues to love and redeem our messes today. That's what I am celebrating this season...
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another Anniversary

I had a babysitter who regularly performed hearing and eye tests on each of us. Usually over lunch. I remember sitting at the table and being told to cover my left eye, and having to peek through my fingers to see for the eye test. The other kids accused me of cheating. The next time i was asked to cover my left eye I joked-- hey! Who turned out the lights?-- not knowing that it was not at all a funny joke but a symptom of something very wrong.
Donna, my babysitter, convinced my parents I needed my eyes checked. They had the school nurse do an eye check and she told my parents there was nothing wrong with me and my eyes were fine-- that my babysitter was crazy. My parents were satisfied after the school nurse's exam... but Donna persisted. There was something wrong.
So more as a last resort to appease the babysitter than anything... my parents took me to the physician... who sent us to an ophthalmologist... who sent us to an oncologist and a surgeon. Turns out Donna was right-- there was something wrong. I was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina, on December 19, 1990. The doctors told my parents to go home and have a normal Christmas... I had surgery 8 days later to remove my right eye. The cancer was entirely contained within the retina, and the surgery was successful in completely removing the cancer from my body...
So today finds me nearly 20 years cancer free... and that is exciting to share! Were it not for the persistence of our dear friend and babysitter, it could be a very different ending to this story. I have been blessed with many such people throughout my life-- who have been the right person at the right moment to (sometimes very literally, see above) save my life. It seems there is really no appropriate way to express gratitude to those people...
Anyway... Happy Anniversary. 20 years I guess that quite an accomplishment, of sorts. Makes me feel old. :)
Buuuuut... Z and I busted out the fancy glasses and had ourselves a little celebration and a toast "To the defeat of evil!" (his words). Feel free to celebrate with us as you see fit!

(in case you were curious... HERE is what I had to say about it last year...)