Friday, April 22, 2011

THAT Is What I'm Talkin' 'Bout!

I just stumbled across these folks while checking out Frozen Music Studios' Facebook page.

Their mission moves me.

Please, go check them out and spread the word!

Frozen Music Studios isn't payin' me. She probably has no clue I called her out right here in public. Unseen Ministries has no clue who I am ... yet. Y'all keep yer panties unwadded; ain't no consideration bein' handed over by nobody, no how. Word.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Unexpected Beauty

Heather over at Dooce raved about this, and I thought she was maybe on the loony juice, but alas—I stand corrected.

Sheer beauty.

That sigh you just heard was me, because by the end of the clip, I realized I was holding my breath. And that hug at the end? That was a REAL hug; none of this bro-hug bullshit. Gorgeous. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dance to something beautiful and unexpected.

(Heather? Since I so presumptuously used your first name here, you are welcome to just unceremoniously start using MY first name should we ever meet.)  

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's A Small World, After All

A recent conversation with a friend examined what we decided is the outright coolness of being alive in this time and space. (HI, CHRIS!)

He described having a moment of realization as he simultaneously ordered coffee from Africa, ate a banana from South America and talked, delay free, with a friend thousands of miles away on a device smaller than his hand. He said that moment struck him as amazing and thinking about how effortless it is now, what the founding fathers would think.

I’d have to concur.

I just had a moment of my own.

Sitting in my recliner, I was struck with a craving for apple crumble. Never having made something like this, it used to be I’d spend at least an hour combing through my recipe book collection before following a reasonable candidate word-for-word.

The web has changed that, though.

I can’t remember the last time I cracked open a book for cooking advice.

Now, I visit P'Dub's Tasty Kitchen and All Recipes online, search for their two or three highest-rated offerings, scan the reviews and tweaks readers have submitted, and in ten minutes I’m in the kitchen—creating an amalgamation of ideas from around the world right here in Fargo, ND.

The apple crumble turned into an apple-blueberry crumble, and next time we’ll use more flour and less butter.

Despite these needed adjustments, though, I think even Martha Washington would have asked for seconds. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back In Black

Thankfully, I’m not actually wearing black. It’s just the song that popped to mind when I reached around for a post title indicating my return to the flooded upper Midwest.

Dad is better. Lots better, in fact. He’s home now and improving daily. I won’t tell you anymore; because he’d be mortified to find out I’m talking about him to anyone, much less in a public forum online.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and love over the last ten days. I encountered so much of these that at times I was overwhelmed. I know darned good and well there are people I didn’t get back to who wrote notes, email and texted, but I have to tell you …. I practically needed a PBX system to keep up. I apologize if you’re one of the un-returned. I can’t thank everyone enough.

Re-entry into “real” life has been odd.

I spent ten days at the hospital in the desert, at my father’s house and showing the BoyRD around one of the towns I grew up in.

At one point, I realized he and I were having lunch in the very same restaurant in which I first met the folks I almost gave him up to for adoption. I probably looked like I got hit with a 2x4 upside the head. Lord knows I felt like it.

Other ghosts stomped around that town, that county, that part of the world in general.

All the times I ever drove up to Hoover Dam find solace in its massive concrete presence.

Any of the evenings I spent hanging out on the beach at Harrah’s in Laughlin with friends, solving the world’s problems.

The afternoons spent tromping around the Hualapai Mountains, escaping the heat or just getting closer to God.

The hours and hours spent futzing around the wash near our house as an elementary student.

The hospital my Dad was in is the same my son was born in. The same his father died in.

It was sobering.

Sobering to not only visit the same old places, but to finally put the feelings I had assigned them into order. I didn’t like myself when I lived there so many years ago, and my impression of that area mimicked my memories. The sobering, or clearing of my own mind, allowed me to finally put those things in the past, where they belong.

And like me, those places and things have changed, too.

Hoover now has a giant bridge over it, bypassing the Dam for those who need to get where they’re goin’ instead of braking for pedestrians, or more to the point—saving wear and tear on an extraordinary national monument.

Harrah’s feel has changed, as has the skyline we used to stare at while lying in a beach chair. I don’t know how to describe that one. Maybe it’s just because my perspective has changed.

The Hualapai’s aren’t as big as I remembered. And the park I used to drive to is now behind a fence you’ve got to pay to get into. Once I got over my initial shock, I was impressed with what they’ve done with the area. Even the teepees they erected (HA! I said, “erected”) are cool.

That old wash’s path has changed. The giant bush I used to play inside of (no, really … it had “rooms”) might just be dead. There aren’t as many rocks. There is more debris.

The hospital has added on and has an amazing VCICU staff and doctors. I’m still stunned by how impressed I was by them. That’s a thank-you note in the making, I tell ya.

I got to introduce adult BoyRD to folks who were there before I even guessed I’d have an RD to brag about, were there when he was born, and, and even after his birth as I struggled to discover and become Me.

There were texts from people far away who knew me back when. There were calls and emails from people who only know me from Fargo. All full of love. All like gifts from God himself.

And now I’m back in Fargo.

The snow is gone, replaced instead by floodwaters. Our basement is wet (nothing new; it happens every time the water table gets ridiculously high) and Amos is still a butthead.

The love carries forward, though. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Proof of His Absence

As the date of Dad's heart surgery approaches, we girls are staying at his home.

It's beyond odd to be here without him.

The lack of his physical presence is always at the forefront. We’re here because he’s in the hospital; it’s not like it’s something we forget.

Recent days have a hodge-podged, temporary sense of normalcy to them. It’s like my brain seizes upon things from everyday life which run parallel to the happenings of now and clutches them tightly—a link, however tiny or mundane, to it all being okay. I have coffee at home every day, so the sheer act of making coffee every day here in my father’s home, even without him joining me, ensures that all will be well. If I hear a song I know he’d like, I fill in everyone around me, “Dad would love this.” No moment passes where his presence is not somehow inserted.  

It's as though just speaking his name heals his body, strengthening his heart and acting as a substitute until he can be here in person. A reassurance or promise of a return to real normalcy. 

Then there are the things that jump out in seemingly innocuous moments, insisting on being noticed: proof of his absence.

The change from his pocket, still lying on his dresser.

His pipe, cold and singular on the kitchen counter.

The jeans and shirt he would have put on when returning from work.

His truck, with his favorite radio station tuned in and waiting, engine cold, devoid of its driver. (My little sister insists I point out the dirt and bugs are NOT how Dad left it; she drove it down to see Mom and is going to return it to the shape Dad insists on keeping it in before she heads home.)

Or George, who just doesn’t understand where Dad could be hiding.

George has had enough of his Dad being gone, and will tell anyone who listens of his insistence that Dad be returned immediately. So things can return to normal. 

Amen, brother George. Preach on.