Tuesday, July 24, 2007

daddy issues

For all of us with "dead dads" - that one's for you Jill : ) - who still miss them, and still wish they were here to fix stuff from plumbing issues to family crisis', this is for you. (Thanks to Post Secret for the post card above.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

simply canadian

I've been following the trial and subsequent conviction of Conrad Black. Have you? I thought not. I'm not surprised, even though it's been front page news in both the Washington Post and NY Times. You see, Black is Canadian. Or at least he used to be Canadian, and it's the used to be part that has become so significant over the past few months.

To give you a (very) concise background on Black, he's what they call a publishing & financing mogul in the biz. He's married to Barbara Amiel, also Canadian, a prominent journalist - (it's okay, I know you've never heard of her either). Amiel has been an outspoken critic of the Liberal party (our last Prime Minister was leader of the Liberal party - you're really lost here aren't you?) for years. Powerful & wealthy, living extravagant lifestyles, they've been big news. He's been suspected shady dealings in the past, even brought to court by some, and has made quite a name and fortune for himself on both sides of the border.

Here's where it gets complicated. Black was convicted - in Chicago (some of the business dealings he's been involved in over the years involve newspaper conglomerates here in the US) on 4 of the 12 counts he was tried for - he'll potentially serve 35 years. Adding insult to injury, Black announced he's now seeking to get his Canadian citizenship back. Now. He wants it back. Why at this point? you may ask. Don't worry, we did too. Turns out, his convictions carry significantly lower penalties in Canada, making him eligible for parole much sooner. Hmmm...

We Canadians are an tolerant people. Cultural generalizations are dangerous, but I think it's safe to say that we are very accepting of both culture and lifestyle whoever & whatever you are. Canadians are open minded - we're more of a "mixing bowl" than a "melting pot" - individual cultures are embraced but not necessarily assimilated. We don't have the tension in race relations the US struggles with, ours is an English/French thing that, like race relations, goes back many years, in our case, to the days of Upper and Lower Canada before we were even a country, so we ocassionally feel superior.

However, some things are an affront to us. We balk at hubris. Black personified this in ways few other Canadians have. I know, there's Celine Dion, but she defies explantion on so many levels I need a chart and laser pointer. You see, Black denounced his Candian citizenship to accept the title "Lord" from the Queen. He turned his back on being a Canadian. He's not the first, won't be the last, but his flagrant dismissal of it as something so trivial that it could be tossed in the bin isn't something quickly forgotten, or forgiven. As a nation we are often enamored by all things British, but we like that they're over there & we're on our side of the pond over here.

Black's treatment of his Canadian citizenship is a little like being a "starter wife". We we're good enough to get him set and on his way, but suddenly were't sophisticated enough. A little shabby - nouveau riche if you please. "Lord" gave him credibility as well as a title, and tied him to the Establishment with hundreds of years of power & authority. Consequently, there is little compassion for him in Canada. How the mighty have fallen. Certainly Amiel's past criticism of the government has not endeared them to the powers that be, and many of the shareholders most hurt by Black's dealings have been Canadian. We're a young country with a long memory.

It's unlikely that citizenship will be granted any time soon. Even if the current Prime Minister, Steven Harper, wanted to, he lacks the power to single-handedly restore citizenship to a convicted felon. Our Immigration policies aren't that "open door", thank you.

Black's sentence will be handed down in November by the court in Illinois. I'll be watching this story as it continues to unfold. This should be interesting...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

17 years

So I got away for my 17th wedding anniversary. We were married on Friday the 13th, 1990. I KNOW - most of you reading my blog were in utero at the time - SHUT UP! "Friday the 13th!" you say. "Aren't you worried about bad luck?" Nope. I'm far more afraid of Independant Baptists and they were a far bigger pain in my nether regions than an unlucky date on the calendar. Although, we did lose our reception location, the beading fell off my dress, the photographer eneded up in the hospital and the videographer got in a car wreck on the way to the reception... but I digress. Another blog for another day.

We really weren't planning anything since we -(okay I'm) having mini strokes every time I think about the fact I'm only 4 years away from having a college freshman for a daughter - so we weren't planning to spend money. Hence, we've been a little more concious of what we're spending - not necessarily more responsible - just more aware. oops. How it is possible C is 14 and will be a 9th grader in a few weeks is beyond me. I know that's what all parents say, but I'll save that for another blog.

I had a hard time finding an anniversary worthy (read decent & not scary and unclean) hotel room and was reminded by my good friend D, "Don't worry, hotel sex is hotel sex". Good point. We spent a wonderful Friday evening walking around downtown Charlottesville and took our time coming back Saturday, stopping at a couple of wineries and famers markets wandering around - really just enjoying being together. It was nice to be together and be just another random couple. Just being anonymous is SO refreshing. The ministry we're in is the most low-key & the least demanding of any ministry we have ever worked in as far as what is expected of "A Pastor & His Family, Vol 1", but I am always concious of being "a Pastor's wife". When someone is rude & I'm tempted to explain to them that rude people make babies Jesus cry, the little voice in my head reminds me. Not that I come anywhere close to being the poster child, but at least I'm aware. Think of what I'd be without that voice. Yikes. Poor R.

Anyway, just the most refeshing 24 hours I've had in a long time.
After a perfectly lovely evening and day that followed, we came home to an amazing surprise. Our daughters had made a beautiful anniversary dinner for us. Canon in D was playing when we walked in the front door (from our wedding - like everyone else ever married in a Baptist church), and the girls were dressed up and ready to host our evening. They had prepared the dining room with candles and soft lighting, set the table with my best china and crystal, and prepared a wonderful dinner complete with menus. They had even laid out a suit for my husband and a dress for me so we'd be sophisticated enough for the "restaurant". They served appetizers & salad, a choice of 2 pasta dishes for dinner, and even choices for dessert. They wrote us poems and sang (hilarious thank you!) - it was the most Cleaver family moment I have ever been a part of. If you know me, you know I'm more Sharon Osborne than June Cleaver - so fun. I spent my last anniversry recovering from surgery & providing my own night light after radiation, so the bar wasn't set very high this year. It got an E (all my fellow Harry Potter nerds will know what I mean) far surpassing anything I hoped for. I've had anniversaries where we've spent more more, done bigger trips, given each other gifts, or spent more time alone, but this one will stand out no matter what comes down the road.

Now I ask you - What is your favorite anniversary memory?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

a new low blow

I just finished reading my friend B's blog and was struck once again by how similar our situations are with our in-laws. in fact, it may be one of the reasons we first became friends. We both hear the tap of cloven hooves every time our MIL's approach.

I too have never "measured up". I was told days before my marriage that she already had 2 daughters and that was enough. Hubby was told he was marrying beneath him. For years this bothered me. She was my MIL for heaven's sake - my husbands mother, someone part of my family. I knew all the MIL jokes, but naively expected that it really couldn't be that bad. HA! We're rebellious, (rather I am and am dragging him down with me), selfish, materialistic - all things they perceive us to be, which if you knew us is not true. We have our moments where any of that could be true, but certainly not as a lifestyle. Last summer things hit a new low when they made my kids feel inadequate. One daughter was embarrassed in front of a group for not having a real Bible, & the other was sent bad to change because she was dressed inappropriately.

Then, this week , we stumbled into a new low. She called to ask if we went to church Sunday. Did we go to church Sunday? R is a Pastor for crying out loud! At first I laughed because it was such a ridiculous question. Was she serious? Sadly, yes. Then, I started to simmer. I have an amazing husband who has poured himself unselfishly into every aspect of his life, including ministry. He works so hard! He is the most unselfish person I know, and serves the Lord with a passion I admire and envy. He's just so darn good, if I didn't love him, I'd find him hard to take. : ) He serves wholeheartedly, not because it's his job but because it's who he is. But, because our ministry model is so different from theirs, to them, it isn't ministry at all. For them to disparage what he does offends me at my core.

I long ago came to grips with their attitude toward me. Whatever. But, when the criticism moves to my husband - their son - or my kids - their grandkids - we've crossed a line. It's really more of a moat than a line actually.

I realize I'm venting. I just read my friend J's blog about why we blog in the first place. This has definately been a therapy blog. It's ceratinly not to impress you with my literary stylings or my quick wit. In fact, it's likely filled with typos, run-on sentences & too much personal information since I'm typing late at night in a bad mood. There's been so much to blog about this week like the SIL who in the 17 history of my marriage has never been to my house to visit, but now that I live outside a "cool" city, is going to house sit for us the week we're OUT OF TOWN. Are you frigging kidding? (A little Canadianism for you there.) The list could go on, but you'd think was making it up.

Argh! Enough. I'm going to spend time with my husband and kids WHO ARE AWESOME and make myself get into a better mood.

Oh. Happy 4th. >: )