Monday, November 30, 2009

And people were actually surprised that Chicago lost its Olympic bid.

Monday, November 23, 2009

There are times when I have the free time to write but no ideas to provide inspiration. Then, there are times when I have so much that I could write about that my mind must resemble a trampoline full of children, all jumping madly, shoving and jostling and accidentally sinking their teeth into each others scalps. When this plethora of ideas occurs it usually corresponds with a time when I am unable to write (in the car), or have more important things (small people, actually) demanding my attention.

People reading my last post might have been left scratching their heads in confusion and thinking that I must be slightly insane. I can only apologize and explain that I have no idea why where I live affects me so strongly, just that it does. At one point my husband and I, together with our firstborn (less than a year old at the time) were sharing a home with a friend of his in a nice little corner of suburbia. After a period of time I began to feel as if my soul were being stifled or drowned. One day while driving I heard the song "Soul Meets Body" and I burst into tears. Now, some people would just chalk this up to being female and prone to things like mood swings and crying - but my family and others that know me would probably recognize just how odd an occurrence that is coming from me.

I have many theories as to the cause, ranging from the plausible to the fanciful: a variant form of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). A deficiency of vitamin D caused by spending almost six months hiding from the sun and the heat. A Traveler somewhere in my ancestry causing a dislike for regular society and feet that itch to wander.

The one I find to be more plausible - which would probably seem the most fanciful to some - is that to me, cities seem to have an almost palpable spiritual miasma that blights and withers and destroys. I cannot help but believe that people were not meant to live this way and that it adversely affects people to be living in such close proximity to each other and to be surrounded by ugliness, decay and filth instead of the beautiful handiwork of God. Cities are full of distractions, brimming with easily accessible entertainments and vices.

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

It is a lot easier to ignore the invisible attributes of our Creator when we are busy looking at what man has created, instead.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I have returned! (She says, as the tumbleweeds blow past and a lone cricket chirps)

I spent just over ten days with my family members that live in Tennessee. I told my husband he was lucky I love him, or I wouldn't have come back! It was so depressing to return to Florida and to know that my twenty-year exile here is going to continue indefinitely. Have I mentioned that I hate Florida? Probably not, but I'll mention it now - I hate Florida. I really, really hate Florida. Sure, the beaches are beautiful, but I live in the center of the state and have not been to a beach in years. The heat and body-crushing humidity present for at least half the year manage to be outstripped by the soul-crushing, year-round power of the ugliness of most of the populated areas of the state, and at this point, the populated areas cover a significant portion of the state. There are areas here in which you could drive for two hours and the only way to tell you are not in the same city where you started are the signs declaring your passage through a chain of towns - towns that are built not for beauty but for commercial interest, where the ugliness reaches the level of a visual assault. I am 'lucky' enough to live in an area surrounded by low-population agricultural and commercial areas - a chain of pastures and phosphate mines. Here the scenery is not ugly, merely tediously tame. Most of Florida is quite flat and thus offers no intrigue, no mystery - there is no wondering what scene might unfold as you reach the crown of the hill, or what might lie beyond the next curve, because there are no hills.

Have I mentioned that I'm stuck here? (I sure am being a grumbly, grumpy, discontented whiner today) I am though - stuck like the rat in the trap. My husband has lived most of his life here and has, in the past, shown a great reluctance toward relocating elsewhere. I think he would do so if he found a good job elsewhere, or at least one in a field that interested him, but in today's economy finding any job, let alone one worth relocating for, is a dim possibility. The other, much stronger, chain holding us here are his parents. My mother has seven children and seven grandchildren (not including a handful of children and grandchildren related via marriage rather than blood). As her youngest child is only eight, it will be several years yet before her nest is likely to empty.

My husband, on the other hand, is his mother's only child and our children are her only grandchildren. When my husband responded to my comment about only coming back to Florida because I loved him, it was to say wryly that we would drive his parents into an early grave if we left. I wish this were only a joke, but I am uncomfortably aware that in his mother's case, this is probably quite true. His mother is the flower unlucky enough to have grown in a crack in the pavement, blossoming despite the careless tread of passersby and the withering glare of the sun. Should the little bit of soil nourishing her roots ever be depleted she would become a desiccated shell ready to crumble under the first accidental brush of a foot.

My mother, aware of my feelings of uncomfortable obligation toward my husband's mother, said that she would pray that my in-laws would desire to change locations and move away from Florida. For a moment, baseless hope struggled forth from its cocoon and began to slowly spread its wings in preparation for flight... only to be crushed underfoot later that day by careless remarks from my father-in-law, blissfully unaware of my hatred for Florida. He mentioned how one of his sisters has tried to convince him, for years, to return to New Hampshire but that he loves the Southern climate. This was discouraging, but not an insurmountable barrier, as Tennessee's climate is quite mild in comparison to New England. The real crushing blow was delivered later, when he mentioned that his wife needs to teach for another nine years in the county they reside in before she can retire with full benefits.

Nine years!?!

Nine years.

Hope died.

I've been wandering, parched and footsore, in this desert for twenty years and I fear that God will leave me here for another twenty. Not my will, but Thine, even though my stifled spirit grieves within me and physical tears threaten to spill past the boundaries of my eyelids. Oh Father! Have mercy on me and teach me to be content and joyful regardless of where I dwell. This burden is small and laughably light compared to the burdens that others are given to carry and I feel ashamed of the fact that it feels so heavy.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

For those few of you that visit regularly, or semi-regularly, and make my soap box less lonely - I'm going to be on vacation for a couple of weeks and unlikely to have much, if any, time on the internet.

I'm afraid I have no cat to post a picture of for the duration of my absence, so here's a selection of pictures I had on my computer (including one of someone else's cats!):

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Need a laugh? Wes had me laughing out loud with the following post about men wearing earrings. Enjoy!