The anniversary that wasn’t

24 January 2011

Yesterday was my wife Nina’s and my twelfth wedding anniversary.  Nowadays, it seems like spending twelve years married to the same person without committing a homicide is fairly rare, and considering some of the problems we’ve had to work through over that time (internal and external), we do rather feel we’ve beaten the odds.  So it’s kind of a big deal, certainly worthy of a celebration.

And what did we do yesterday to commemorate such a momentous occasion?  Well … pretty much nothing.

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Picking things up, letting things go

12 July 2010

I had two clear spiritual experiences today.  One I knew was such when it was happening.  The other, it just hit me that it was one a few minutes ago.  (There were probably some others that I missed; we’re going to focus on just the two right now.)

And both of them seemed to show that my life is turning (or, I should say, being turned) onto a new section of the path God has called me to.  So I thought it would be worth sharing.

All right, Ray, enough teasing — what happened?!?

To quote Isaac Asimov, “I hasten, dear reader, I hasten …”

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It was twelve years ago today …

19 June 2010

I find alternative history to be fascinating.  If you’re not familiar with what that term means, “alternative history” refers to exploring what could have occurred if a particular historical event had turned out differently, extrapolating from that change how subsequent events might have changed as well.  What if the South had won the Civil War, or the Germans had stayed with the Schlieffen Plan in World War I, or major league baseball had become fully integrated in the 1880s instead of the 1950s.  (All of which came close to happening.)  A lot of great books of recent years have been based on this concept, including Military History Quarterly’s What If? series and Michael Chabon’s award-winning novel The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.

Playing the “what-if” game is an interesting exercise when dealing with key historical moments – and maybe even more so when dealing with key personal ones.  Think of the movies Sliding Doors, The Family Man, 13 Going on 30 and The Butterfly Effect, all of which hinge on how the protagonists’ lives are affected by a single decision.  (I guess you could throw It’s A Wonderful Life in there as well.)  Or think of your own (hopefully) wonderful life, and how different choices might have changed it.  What if I had stuck with my high school sweetheart instead of meeting someone new at college?  What if I’d applied for that job instead of this one?  What if I’d gone to the club with my friends rather than staying home and watching Seinfeld reruns?  What if I hadn’t taken a swing at that cop? For good or ill, our decisions shape our future.

My point, you may ask?  (Yes, I have one.)  Well, Peabody, let’s set the Wayback Machine to June 19, 1998 – twelve years ago – and the rock concert I didn’t attend …

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This post is about race mixing. I’m in favor of it.

29 April 2010

This is an idea I’ve had rattling around my noodle for a few years now, and while I may be doing the conversational equivalent of licking my finger and sticking it in a light socket, I’m going to take a chance and toss it out there …

A lot of people in the past – and some in the present – object to the idea of “race mixing” – i.e.,  people marrying/having kids with other people of different ethnic backgrounds.  At times, it has been referred to as miscegenation or “mongrelization” – great term, that one; makes it sound like you’re trying to breed prize cocker spaniels or something.

At least in North America, the objectors to relationships across racial lines have usually been Caucasian, which makes no sense to me.  What’s so spectacular about having pale skin? (Mine is pale, and I find it rather boring, to be frank.)  If anything, it strikes me that other races should object to marrying us, just because we don’t look as good.  But I digress.

Here’s where I’m going with this: what if so-called “race mixing” is actually a good idea, for the human species?  In fact, what if it actually brings us closer to God’s ideal?
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A journey from stress into Love

6 August 2009

So I’ve been pretty stressed lately.  There was already a foundation for being stressed — being unemployed, trying to find a publisher for my novel, figuring out what to do with my time, overweight, on the outside of the institutional church.  When I had a little three-week temp job for the local bus utility, they had one of those posters in the office that listed different stressful events and how many “Life Change Units” they contained; if you had 300 LCUs in the previous twelve months, you qualified as “highly stressed.”  Back then, I was at 293, just shy of the top level.

Since then (and you can read all of this in my previous entries, if you really want all the details), I’ve added some minor health troubles: bad ankles getting worse, intestinal troubles, bifocals that I’m still getting used to.  Then I began finding more about my mom’s health problems, which barring a drastic change look like they’ll be fatal in the fairly short term.  At the same time, what little relationship I have with my dad got even worse, which I would previously have said was impossible.  And it’s summer, so the Supermodel and I are both home most of the time, getting in each other’s hair and on each other’s nerves — not trying too, it’s just too much personality in too little space for too many hours.

I don’t know how many Life Change Units I’ve piled up at this point — something in the thousands, I guess.  I’m holding it together, not acting out or screaming at people … much.  I’m doing the best I can, but I desperately need a success at this stage.  So what do you figure happens next?

Try having a child falling seriously ill.  AND car trouble, too.

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Managing the lawn: a life lesson

31 July 2009

Gardening is like doing a jigsaw.  A pointless way of passing time until you die. – Jeremy Clarkson, The Times (London)

Yesterday, the Supermodel and the kids were off in the San Jose area, visiting my in-laws (“Grandma G.” and “Guy,” as the kids call them).  Having a little extra time on my hands and the weather being agreeable, I chose to spend a couple good chunks of the day catching up on the yard work — specifically mowing the back lawn.

One of the reasons we moved to this house over five years ago was that it had lawns, front and back, and we wanted our children (our daughter was 2½ at the time, our son was actually born a week before the move) to have their own space of grass to play in.  Previously we had been renting part of the first floor of a drafty old Victorian that was surrounded by fruit trees and rose bushes in various states of repair, but no real open space to speak of.  Our current locale has a substantial back yard with some trees (oak, almond, olive and one we can’t identify), and a front yard with plots of grass broken up by cememnt walkways.  Plenty of soft green for the little ones to gambol.

Of course, in this fallen world everything has a downside.  The downside with a lawn is that you have to take care of it, or pretty soon you don’t have a lawn, you have a weedy patch of dirt.

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I’m not making this up, it actually happened!

14 July 2009

I had an experience yesterday that was so out-of-the-blue strange that I have to share it with you.  I’m still parsing out the meaning of it all, and I hope you’ll forgive me if this sounds like some horrible “prosperity gospel” testimonial — WHICH IT ISN’T — but to paraphrase Jim Bouton, “This actually took place, Doctor.”

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