T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

Quote

via T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was two weeks afore Christmas and all through Eff Bee
not a creature was stirring – not a she, he, or me
We were prostrate and spent from the holiday bustle
not a twitch could be seen from the teeniest muscle.

We lay all unblinking in our respective beds
while visions of gift-wrapping swirled through our heads
And clad in our jammies and our way cool madcaps
we had the vague hopeful hope our bodies would take naps.

Holiday jangles and jingles pinged through our brains –
Presley, Crosby, and Mathis taking us down memory lanes –
and would we remember every member to be gifted?
We mentally went through our lists, hoping none were omitted

There were homes to be decorated and cards to be sent
parties, caroling, and cookie-making, and we hadn’t made a dent.
But with a collective sigh we remembered there and then
that it’s really about good will to all creatures, women, and men.

And so our thoughts finally settled and our bodies relaxed
as we thought of those we love and a world festooned in pax.
With our hearts wrapped in kindness and the world as our ‘hood
We’re all brethren and sistren – and verily, It’s all good!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

green shoes Christmas

Christmas Peace

In the Kitchen with Karen

First, I will don my way cool apron that my friend from Canada sent me, and that has the Canadian word “Eh?” written on it in really flamboyant letters.  Of course, putting on the apron isn’t going to actually keep me from having flour all over me by the end of my culinary adventure – but I think I look sort of cute in it. And that’s the important thing.048

Next I will haul the turkey out of the fridge, where it’s been thawing since Sunday. I will dice home-grown onion and garlic, apples from our orchard (yes, apples – using apples in turkey stuffing is a Karen tradition – because I, traditionally and invariably, FORGET TO BUY CELERY!!! and then I find myself scrambling around the kitchen, looking for something crunchy I can throw in the dressing… and… yeah… well… apples …and, true to tradition, I just realized that I, once again, FORGOT THE CELERY!!!), and toasted Dave’s Killer Whole Grain Bread (the bread will be toasted, not Dave).  I’ll sprinkle sage and rosemary over everything that’s within arm’s reach (this includes the dog, the cats, and the sons). Then I will yank out the turkey’s innerds, and replace it with toasted Dave, and put the whole shebang in a pre-heated 325 degree oven.

Pie-making comes next. I love making pies. There’s something kind of comforting about pie-making. I especially love making pies when there’s rain pounding against the windows, and a fire in the woodstove – the rain adds a certain ambiance, and it looks like we might be getting a lot of ambiance today.  I’ll combine the flour (2 cups), and butter (2 tbs, plus 2/3 cup) and water (6 tbs) in a bowl, and then grab half of it and roll it out on a floured cutting board, and lay it in the bottom of my glass pie plate. The bottom crust will be a picture of perfection – it will be seamless and smooth. Next, I’ll put the frozen blackberries that I picked last summer into the pie shell. I’ll add 4 or 5 tbs of flour, and 6 tbs of sugar, and loosely mix the pie’s filling.  Now it’s time to roll out the top crust and place it on top of the pie. The top crust is the crust that everyone will see. It will have holes and tears in it. That is another Karen tradition. Once I’ve got my holey crust attached to the pie, I’ll lightly sprinkle sugar over the top, to make the pie look sort of sparkly when it’s done.

By the time we sit down for our feast, our plates will be full of turkey, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon, and cranberry sauce, and we’ll be half-way through dinner before someone – probably one of the sons – will ask me about the dinner rolls. And they will either be burning in the oven, or still sitting in the cupboard. It is another Karen tradition.

May your holidays be filled with a feast of love and laughter.  And don’t forget the dinner rolls.

– Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

Adventures in Flying

I used to love to fly. I used to love to strap myself into a seat on an airplane headed to places I’d never been before – Boston, Denver, Arizona, Chicago, New York, Europe, San Francisco. Back in the olden days (the 1980s) I’d maybe call a travel agent, or call an airline directly, and book passage to adventure. In those days getting on a passenger plane was a lot more simple. I know this might be hard to imagine, but in those days you didn’t have to take your shoes off, fit your cosmetics and contact lens cleaner in a little plastic bag, or stand your body in front of a scanner thing. And when you exited the plane on your return trip, your loved ones could wait for you right where you got off the plane. It was very cool.

I worked for a small charter airplane place for a while. Every now and then a pilot would invite me to go up with him for a free ride. One time a pilot-friend invited me to go up for a ride in a Cessna 152 aerobat – the kinds of planes that can perform stunts. Once we got in the air my friend asked me if I’d like to do a loop. No, not really, I told him. But he looked so disappointed that I agreed to let him loop-dee-loop me. And ohmygosh! It was so fun! The earth became the sky and the sky became the earth, and my face did that thing where the gravity made my skin flap. Now THAT was a plane ride!

A couple of times I got coupons for free introductory flying lessons – and of course I had to use the coupons, right? You can’t let those things go to waste.  So I got to fly a little bit on my own while the pilot sat next to me to make sure I didn’t fly his plane into the ground. I enjoyed those free lessons. I never got up the gumption to go beyond the introductory lessons, though.

My first plane ride was a flight around Mount Rainier in a little plane owned and flown by the legendary pilot, Jimmy Beech  – who had been a friend of my dad’s.  I still remember the excitement of that first plane ride – how Jimmy brought us low over the glaciers and meadows of Rainier.

But before I ever got into a plane I was having flying dreams. In my dreams I’d spread my arms like a bird spreads its wings, and then I’d push off from my toes and soar over our backyard. Those dreams were the best.

***

In the last ten years or so I’ve developed a dread of flying. I dread being told to take off my shoes; remove all metal from my pockets; put the laptop in a separate container; make sure the cellphone doesn’t come through the scanner with me; put all my cosmetics and contact lens stuff in the plastic bag; and stand in front of the machine that checks our bodies for whatever it is that it checks our bodies for.  I dread loading and unloading myself and my stuff from the plane.

Last weekend my husband and I flew from Seattle to Missoula for a wedding. Given my experiences with flying since 9-11 I had some trepidation. But the flights to and from proved to be a miracle of simplicity for us! It was like going back to the days before 2001. For some reason that we still don’t understand, our boarding passes had “pre-check” written on them. This meant we could keep our shoes on, keep our laptops in our backpacks, avoid the machine that checks our bodies, and walk through the metal detector right to our boarding gate. It was awesome.

Once we were on the Alaska Airlines turbo-prop in Seattle there was a little delay because there appeared to be an extra passenger on the plane. But we all had fun with that. I joked, “Well, that can’t be good.” A fellow sitting kitty corner in front of me turned around, grinning, and looked back my direction. I said, “It’s you, isn’t it?” He started cracking up then. Eventually, the flight attendants got it all sorted out and we took off for Montana.

My husband and I were in the very last seats in the plane. We were back where the flight attendants hang out during the flight, and we got to chat with them about hikes around Missoula and so forth. When it came time to serve us our drinks, we were the first people they served. And when the plane landed in Missoula, my husband and I were able to quickly retrieve our bags, and were the first people to exit from the rear of the plane. This, my friends, is what hassle-free flying looks like.

On the way back from Missoula there were nine TSA agents waiting at the security checkpoint and my husband and I were the only people in line – so, with our “pre-check” boarding passes, we zipped through security in record time. I looked over at one of the agents and said, “You’re all here just for me, right?” He started laughing and said, “Yes. We’ve all been waiting for you!”

We had another nice flight back to Seattle – this time on a small jet. It only took 40 minutes for the return trip!

***

I think I may have re-discovered my love of flying.  I’m telling you – “pre-check” rocks!

Long Live Humoristianity!

On August 20, 2007, Karen says:
I’ve decided to create a new religion. People belonging to this religion will call themselves “Humoristians.” Here are the 5 tenets:
1) You must be able to laugh at yourself.
2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others.
3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe.
4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those).
5) You must enjoy the humor of Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Tom Lehrer, and Jerry Seinfeld (if you’re a Jerry Lewis kind of guy, you might want to think about starting your own religion – although we wish you nothing but good).

So, have I told you about the time I started my own religion? After I’d been on the Amazon religion discussion forum for a month or so I woke up one morning with the voice of God (or something) in my head, telling me it was time to, yea and verily, start my own religion and stuff. I had not been on the forum long, but I had been on long enough to realize that the one thing that seemed to be desperately needed was the opportunity to laugh at ourselves. It seemed to me that some people were taking themselves and their beliefs waaay too seriously.

I started a thread called “Humoristians” and was soon joined by some of my favorite characters on the forum – atheists and agnostics, a pantheist, several Buddhists, a Lutheran, a Methodist or two, a self-avowed sophist, a couple of people with Mormon roots, a Discordian, and a host of other personalities from a wide array of beliefs, backgrounds, and geographic locations.

And ohmygosh, it was fun!

Our fledgling little church grew rapidly and reached people around the globe. One of the highlights, for me, was when we heard from a soldier in Afghanistan who told us she’d found our thread when she was recovering from an illness and our nonsensical little dialogue totally cheered her up.

Eventually we all drifted off the forum and the Humoristian temple there closed its doors. But we met up again with each other on Facebook, and Humoristianity continues to live – although in a different form. (The founding and history of the Humoristian church can be found in our book, The Humoristian Chronicles.)

I have a difficult time relating to people who can’t laugh at themselves, or let me laugh at myself. And I have a difficult time relating to people who feel the need to “correct” my thought, manage me, fix me, or “pray” for me without being asked by me to do so.

I have found that sermonizing bossy britches busybodies can be found amongst pretty much every group of people – both religious and non-religious. I tend to avoid sermonizing bossy britches busybodies – even the Christian Scientist ones. Maybe especially the Christian Scientist ones. This may sound weird, but I really have very little in common with those Christian Scientists who can’t occasionally laugh at themselves and their circumstances. We may all believe that God is “Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love” (the synonyms given by Mary Baker Eddy in the Christian Science textbook), and we may all believe that God heals, but if a Christian Scientist can’t laugh at herself then her approach to life and its challenges is going to be very different from mine. I believe I actually have more in common with, say, an atheist Humoristian than I do with a Christian Scientist non-Humoristian.

Just as Bossybritches Busybodies can be found in pretty much every group of people, Humoristians can, too. I count amongst my friends Jewish Humoristians, atheist Humoristians, Christian Scientist Humoristians, and Buddhist, Catholic, and Methodist Humoristians, among others.

There are times when, if I were to be asked what religion I affiliate myself with, I think I might actually be inclined to answer “Humoristianity”. A sense of humor about life, and about themselves, is the one thing the people I feel a kinship with all have in common – whether they call themselves atheists, Catholics, Christian Scientists, Buddhists, pantheists, Lutherans, Methodists, or Mormons.

Long live Humoristianity! Long may we don her Groucho glasses and play her kazoos!
– excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New

307

 

Youngest Son

So the youngest son got to decide what CD to put into the player as we’re driving through Seattle. He picked one out of my collection and plopped it into the player with a big grin on his face. Mamma Mia. Yup. So there we are sitting at a busy stoplight in Seattle – cars jammed all around us. “Slipping Through My Fingers” comes on. He cranks up the volume to, like, the loudest loud (an “11” on the Spinal Tap scale), rolls down the window, and rests his tattooed arm on the top of the window frame. Then he starts beating his hand to the beat of ABBA and nodding his head up and down to the song – like he’s really into it – and I am just dying with embarrassment and laughter – cringing and laughing so hard I have tears pouring down my face. The kid cracks me up. I cannot imagine being part of a family with no sense of humor.

Wikipedia Dad

The other day I had to take care of some business on behalf of my dad. At one point I needed to know his birthday – I can never seem to remember when Dad’s birthday is – it’s either this day in June or the next day in June – and I was ready to give him a call to find out, when I realized all I needed to do was go to Wikipedia.

Whoaaaah…. right?

“I don’t have any serious shoes.”

Lots of errands with Moz today – doctor’s appointment, supermarket, veterinarian’s. We’re sitting at the doctor’s office and Moz says, “We have a lot of appointments today. See? I wore my serious clothes.”

To which I reply, “Your shoes belie that.”

To which she replies, “I don’t have any serious shoes.”

mozs-shoes