Friday, August 22, 2008

5:00 Fridays

While you, dear readers, are reading today's post from the comfort of your own office, home, iPhone, I am on a cross country flight with a 3 and 5 year old. We're going to Disneyland! And to think, I didn't even run away from home, crash my car, rob a grocery store, or flip off president George.

wink wink to those get the Dada allusion.

Today's drink is in honor of a famous martini served in the lounges of the Magic Kingdom. Who knew there was liquor at Disney? I just might like this place.

Cue the Wonderful World of Disney theme music...

Blue Glow-tini

1 ounce Skyy Citrus Vodka (I prefer Absolut for a mixing vodka, but the recipe calls for Skyy.)
half ounce Bols Blue Curacao
half ounce Bols Peach Schnapps
1 ounce Sweet & Sour mix
half ounce pineapple juice (Why is it always sold in a damn can?!)

At Disney they toss in a Blue Glow Cube to make the thing light up. My mom has a set of these fun party tricks, but the kids messed with them long enough to make the things die, leaving a plastic cube floating in the glass. Not as festive as one that actually works.

Toss it all into the silver martini shaker that I know you've run out and purchased, with ice, shake, strain, and pour into a large martini glass with a sugared rim. Add the glow cube.

If you don't have a glow cube, it's just as festive to add some Mickey Mouse shaped ice cubes for fun.

Now sit back and bask in the wonder, glow, magic, and dreaminess of it the buzz that will befall you. Sprinkle liberally with pixie dust and fairy potion if you have some stashed in the pantry.


Oh, and if you hear screaming from up above, it's the pilot kicking us out of the plane without a parachute.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Church Quandary

I've been reluctant to post about religion because it is such a volatile subject matter. My friend Morningside Mom inspired me to take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and put my fingers to the keyboard and just write. Take a look here at what she wrote on the topic. She's way more eloquent than I.

Deep breath. Exhale. Blow it out now. Lather, rinse, repeat. Crunch of the knuckles. Ready to roll.

I wrote about my disdain for Sundays once before. Sunday is church day, only not for us. Since moving to North Carolina, I can't count how many people have asked if we've found our church family yet. WTF? I can barely stand dealing with the family I have so why do I need another one? Especially another one that has a gold medal in the guilt relay. And why is religion wracked with guilt in the first place?

I'm not going to wax on about various religions and pass judgment here. Well, I might pass judgment, but it's my prerogative. (Cue tune here. Tell me you don't think Bobby Brown any time you hear the word prerogative.). I'm no theologist, though I did take a whole mess of religion classes in college. Perhaps my searching started there.

My family is Hindu. I don't even know what that really means. I've read some of the stories and took some classes but I wasn't raised going to temple or anything. My mom had a little worship station in our house with little idols and stuff made out of ivory and marble. I used to cup those miniature deities in my hand and marvel at the smoothness of the stone when I was a kid. I waited patiently for her to say her prayers and make her offerings just so I could eat the sugar cube when she was done. That sugar was some sort of offering. Maybe I am indeed Hindu if the gods have such a sweet tooth.

I grew up going to mass with my friend Jenny's family after Saturday night sleepovers. I didn't really get much from it except for a headache from all that incense and a sore back from the constant kneeling and standing. I remember feeling so lost because I didn't understand the rituals and feeling a bit creeped out because the cacophony of all those voices saying prayers in unison sounded rote and lifeless. Plus, my kind of god isn't going to make me don nylons and heels just to worship. As I recall, her parents bitched a lot about changing out of comfy pajamas into a suit and tight high waisted skirt just for the one hour of mass. I'm pretty sure the god I believe in is at least a casual Friday kind of guy...or gal. And he (she?) is cool with me bringing in a cup of java to warm my body while the minister warms my soul.

Let me clear here. I do believe in god. The miracle of feeling those babies swim in my belly is testament to a power far higher than anything I can comprehend. And yes, I also believe in science. I get the whole sperm/egg thing that made those babies in the first place, but there must be something greater than that to have created the system in the first place, don't you think? Come on, god created babies as a result of sex! It could have just easily been from a high five, but god gave us mortals something really awesome instead. Rock on, god! Oh, and I realize I am not capitalizing "god" here. I believe in the concept of a god, just not a definitive one and only God. And is god Christian? Hindu? Neither? I dunno. I don't think I really care how god is categorized. Therein lies the problem.

And that's as far as I've gotten.

Not enough to teach my children about spirituality. By the way, being spiritual is possible without being religious. I'm not a fan of organized religion. Mac Daddy and I actually joined the Unitarian Church in town and really enjoyed the services for a while. The minister was a fabulous raconteuse who was inspirational, funny, and honest. Her candor about her shortcomings made her so damn human. I felt like I was learning something and getting a sense of peace each week; I never felt preached to. I left feeling centered and happy, not confused and guilty. Then she moved away, and the subsequent ministers sucked. A bad minister can kill a service just like a great teacher can make math exciting (Thanks, Mrs. Kovatch!).

Mac Daddy and I left the church soon after we had kids. Contrary to common practice, I know. We've been on sort of a hunt ever since. Well, not really an active hunt. It's been more a passing conversation when all our friends are at church and can't go bike riding with us on Sunday mornings. We would like to equip our boys with a sense of spirituality and teach them about both Hindu and Christian principles. The thing is, we're not really into teaching about Jesus and the Bible. Well, unless it's thumbs up Jesus. That Jesus from Dogma was way cool.

There, I said it. Commence the stone throwing now.

Oh, and let me go ahead and offer full disclosure. We do go to church (Unitarian) at Christmas. I just love the tradition of Christmas and the peacefulness and giving that goes along with it. Yeah, I know it's all about Jesus. But hey, even in India, the birthplace of Buddhism, Christmas is celebrated, embraced even. But baking a birthday cake for Jesus? That's too far for me, even if I did bake.

My kids go to chapel at their preschool, and it's been a wonderful experience. They are learning about universal principles that transcend religion. I hate to break it to you, but Christianity does not own the principles of honesty, patience, honor, and virtue. Am I a heathen because I believe in ending this disastrous, shameful war, because I want to preserve the earth, because I believe in equal rights regardless of gender, race, religious, or sexuality? I think not. The ten commandments are pretty good rules to live by, Christian or otherwise. Likewise for karma. Does the saying "what comes around goes around" sound familiar? One more thing, Republicans don't own religion. Being progressive and being spiritual are not mutually exclusive, my friends. Since when did liberalism = paganism. Just because I'm a Democrat doesn't mean I need to be saved. Just save me from the Bible beaters who lurk in my neck of the woods! Separation of church and state, people!

So, Bird and Deal are starting to ask questions about God. At the beach the boys asked me who made the ocean. I confidently answered, "Nature. Nature invented the ocean." "Oh, you mean God?" remarked Bird. I was stumped and pointed out the baby seagulls pecking at the scattered Kix cereal on the beach as a distraction. Let it be known that Bird still thinks Jesus' name is Cheesus. He says he has a lot in common with Cheesus because he loves cheese too (chalk that up to his Wisconsinite father). Mac Daddy and I roar with laughter at this but are a tish embarrassed when he says this stuff in the hallways of school around the other church going parents. Lighten up, I say! Is it just me or do the church going ilk often have their panties in a tizzy?

We do, however, owe it to our children to teach them about religion and equip them to find their own path. In a way I am envious of people who blindly and unequivocally Believe. It's like Polar Express except with Jesus standing in as Santa. A whole different ball of wax that I'm not about delve into. Mac Daddy and I want Bird and Deal to have a spiritual upbringing. The question is how to do so without bringing Jesus into the picture? Can't we just teach the parables from multiple religions? My hunch is that there are more similar moral standards and shared stories than dogma that separate us all. Is it possible to teach spiritual religion without a deity to worship? We thought the Unitarian route was the answer so maybe we'll give it a go again.

In the mean time, I'm considering home churching.

Come on, if people can take the entire curricula of K-12 and teach it from home with total acceptance and accredidation, why can't I do Sunday school from home? I'll start with the lesson of love thy mother. Do I have any takers?
The Church QuandarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, August 18, 2008

Life's a Beach.

I'm off to the beach this morning with Bird and Deal. We'll see how it goes on our first adventure without Mac Daddy. On the surface it might seem that I'm the one getting a vacation, but really folks, dig a little deeper and you'll see that Mac Daddy is the one who'll have the whole house to himself for a few days. A whole quiet house.

No screaming, wrestling boys, no crumbs to sweep up after every meal, no beds to make (He'll make our bed the day we're coming home. I'm on to him.), no Lego wars to mediate, no chicken to cut up. Now that's a vacay. I've already heard him on the phone making happy hour plans.

Oh, but payback will come. We're all headed to LA and Disneyland the day after we get home from the beach. I'm thinking Mac Daddy might be sitting between the two boys on the plane while I sit five rows back with my new book.
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