I Got Nothin’

Memory Monday

Nope. Can’t remember anything . . . 

This picture's kinda freaky, but what do you expect when you google "public domain images of forgetting"?

This picture’s kinda freaky, but what do you expect when you google “public domain images of forgetting”?

A Sunday Post

Seeing as I never post on Sundays, there’s not even a category to put this post in, but it seemed appropriate to write it, all the same. You see, I woke up this morning, and all those side effects I told you about yesterday? Were gone. I mean, like, not even here a little bit. G-O-N-E, gone.

I still plan on visiting a few doctors in the near future, and I know, it could have happened like this even if nobody had prayed about it, but . . . personally, I don’t think it would have. So, if you prayed–thank you.

Duerer-Prayer

Something

Saturday Snippets

I haven’t written a “snippet” in so long you probably forgot about them, but I’ve been planning this one all week. It was going to be about make-up. Today I changed my mind. It’s going to be about cancer. ‘Cause . . . you know. Make-up. Cancer. Interchangeable.

Okay, maybe not.

My What’s a Jenn Story? page frankly tells you that once I had breast cancer. In 2008, to be exact. What it doesn’t tell you is that, while I was able to avoid (refuse) chemo, I agreed to take a hormone suppressant called Tamoxifen for five years. If you do the math (but don’t worry–you don’t have to–I don’t like math, either) you can guess that I’m almost done. During my five years, however, studies have shown that women taking Tamoxifen have even more benefits if they take it for 10 years! Woohoo!

Here it comes, to save the day?

Here it comes, to save the day?

What previous studies (and people’s lives, doubtless) have also shown, though, is that sometimes? Tamoxifen causes other kinds of cancer. Uterine, specifically.

No. I don’t have uterine cancer. At least, I am choosing to believe that at this moment, I don’t have uterine cancer. Or any other kind of cancer. But I am having side effects. I’ve had them before. The most debilitating ones were migraines, which we talked about last year, and which went away for a while, though they’ve come back. But they’re still not as bad as they were, and therefore, they are not what’s concerning me right now. What’s concerning me right now is “Aunt Flo”–also known here as “the monthly visitor”–who arrived two weeks early, has been visiting for two weeks now and doesn’t look anything like she usually does. (Please don’t make me spell out what I’m actually saying here. This is bad enough.) She’s freaking me out.

A while back I observed that “everybody’s going through something,” and offered to pray for you if you are. Now I’m asking you, if you’re a praying kind of person, to please pray for me. I’m not sure for what, exactly. Maybe that I just not be worried. I’m not really afraid of cancer–or of dying–but I still don’t want to have it, and I love my life and my husband and guess I just want to stick around a while.

Yes, I Can Can

Family Friday

I still make plans in the fall. Nowadays they’re usually more or less domestic. I thought this year they were going to be just that–plans, and nothing else, like the ones Shelley-Down-the-Street and I used to make when we were kids. This year my plan was to make our pile of rapidly softening tomatoes from the garden into salsa. I also had a hankering to make some rhubarb chutney. I have never made either of those two things, but I was planning on canning them, and I the first time I ever canned anything was last year when I made this really yummy green tomato relish, so I didn’t figure the recipe mattered as much as practicing canning did.

relish

We relished it. This is all that’s left.

What with work and studies, however, I couldn’t see how I was going to have time to do canning, too, which in any case can be time consuming, but particularly if you’ve only done it one other time and are still mostly clueless. I was gearing myself up to do a lot of juicing instead, but I feared even that wouldn’t get us through all the tomatoes before a bunch of them went bad.

We got home from our long weekend in the Middle of Nowhere, New Hampshire, around noon, and I decided I was just going to go for it. I went online to look for a can-able salsa recipe, picked up some supplementary canning supplies, and spent the next four or so hours roasting peppers (also from the garden), blanching tomatoes, peeling them, chopping everything, sterilising jars . . . But I made about seven pint-sized jars of the stuff, which processed nicely and are now sitting in our root-cellar-ish basement. I think in future I’d put in more cilantro and leave the cumin out altogether, but it’s still decent enough to munch with a bag of corn chips–and maybe some sour cream.

As evidenced by the level at which this jar already is.

As evidenced by the level at which this jar already is. Half full? Half empty? You decide.

After that was all done, I looked up this rhubarb chutney recipe I had discovered before. It has ginger and rhubarb, both of which I like, and the woman’s blog is interesting . . . The chutney making was much quicker and easier than the salsa making; however, in the end, I was disappointed. The Hungry Tigress made a point of noting her dislike of many chutneys and that this one in particular did not have garlic in it. All the other recipes I had found for the stuff called for garlic, and some for turmeric as well. Without those two ingredients, the chutney tasted kind of like the mince filling of those tiny little mince pies you can buy in the shops in England at Christmas time, which is all right I guess, if you like that kind of thing.

(photo credit: BBC Food)

I used to love those little mince pies, but a) they’re little and b) I only ever “needed” to eat one. (photo credit: BBC Food)

I wasn’t sure what on earth I was going to do with seven jars of a substance with which neither my Paul and I were overly enamoured. Plus, three of the seven jars didn’t even seal for some reason. I decided I was going to bring them all to the Youth Group bake sale last Sunday and hope someone would pity us enough to buy them.

Who wouldn't want to buy this ambiguous-looking stuff?

Who wouldn’t want to buy this ambiguous-looking stuff?

But then Paul made roast chicken during the week. I took one of the jars of chutney which hadn’t sealed and dumped it in a pan. I crushed a clove of garlic into it, and put a small amount of powdered turmeric in and sizzled it all up together.

Yum. And so good for you, too!

Yum. And so good for you, too!

Then I put it on the chicken. The resulting taste was something like this Persian chicken I’ve had in restaurants in Europe, the name of which I do not know and and which I have never been able to find since. I was immediately won over.

So I guess next year I’ll make rhubarb chutney with garlic and turmeric. But I’m keeping the stuff I made this year, too. It’s not difficult to doctor up.

How the Pirate Brotherhood is Like the Church

Theology Thursday
On Thursdays I go to work and go to class, and since work is at church and class is at seminary, a whole lot of theology goes on today, but not any that I have time to blog about. Therefore, since I reblogged the Captain Jack Sparrow post from my old blog last week, I think it makes sense to reblog the sequel this week. Right? 

Keep in mind once again that this was written about six years ago. The Readership has changed significantly. My views are mainly the same, although I daresay I'd express some of them a little differently now. Or maybe I wouldn't.

This post goes with the Captain Jack Sparrow one, in spite of the fact that that one apparently scared the comments right out of everybody. I have no reason to reword the title this time, but I do have another disclaimer:

  • I love the Church. I doubt I love her well enough, but once again, with this post, I mean no disrespect. It is difficult for me to hear of Christians who do not take the Church of our Saviour seriously. But even I can see that she is often more than a little dysfunctional.

So, to the Pirate Brotherhood. In At World’s End, after two other movies where we watch Jack Sparrow and crew dealing more or less adeptly with otherworldly and interpersonal difficulties, we suddenly meet a host of other pirates we never imagined, not all of whom are “of the Caribbean.” It turns out that they all have to band together to triumph over their archnemesis, the East India Trading Company. You would think that a bunch of pirates couldn’t really be all that different from each other. They have one Pirate Code which they more or less try to follow, and they all seem to want essentially the same things. You would also think that any differences they had would be set aside in the face of a common enemy.

You would think.

As it turns out, though, not only is there individual bickering and jealousy and misunderstanding between individual pirates, but there is also a lot of deepseated mistrust and envy between pirate cultures. Each pirate captain wants to lord it over all the others, and they are hard-pressed to find an arbiter of peace. Sometimes even the Code doesn’t help, because there are so many ways to interpret it.

I think you can infer the similarities to which I am alluding. There are beautiful things about the Church–no doubt about it. There are instances where different denominations, while still acknowledging their distinctives, are working together because they recognise we do have a common enemy and it isn’t each other, and that demonstrating the love of Jesus is better than trying to lord it over people.

But let’s face it, there’s still a lot of division out there. And in here. Before I went to Wheaton the other week [for the one writer’s conference I have ever attended, in 2007], I had an accidental run-in with some good friends because of a miscommunication around some of our specific theological differences. Sometimes even when both sides try to reach out and band together, it backfires like a cannon full of forks. Then we wonder why people who are not part of the “brotherhood” (or the “priesthood of believers“) aren’t that enthusiastic about becoming pirates–I mean Christians–too. I think it’s worth it for them. I just kind of understand why sometimes they might not agree.

The pirates at World’s End seem to get in each other’s way, but all the same, there are glimpses there of nobility, love, and commitment to their people and common cause. In the end, through a series of nearly miraculous events (aided in large part by Sparrow), the pirates–who we are all routing for because in this movie-world, the bumbling sea-bandits are the good guys–do triumph. It might seem far-fetched to some people to imagine the sometimes difficult, sometimes dangerous, sometimes unsavoury Christ-followers being good guys, too. Or triumphing. But motley band that we are, there is, thank God, still nobility, and love, and commitment. Jesus is still here, and Jesus is coming back, and one of these days, because of Him and in spite of all of us, He Himself will triumph–and He’ll bring His people with Him. It is, one might say,wonderful.

Friends from Then Church, in 2006. We didn't usually dress like that, but most of us probably still act like it.

Friends from Then Church, in 2006. We didn’t usually dress like that, but most of us probably still act like it.

P.S. Did they ever tell us–or did I miss it–why there were nine Pieces of Eight?

Well, This Is Embarrassing . . .

Wordy Wednesday

I don’t mean, like, really embarrassing? Just “you’ve been blogging for how long and you still don’t know how to do that?” embarrassing.

Some of you–many of you, I would say–have a really nice sidebar feature which depicts either your blog followers or the blogs you follow, by avatar. Pastor Ron thinks I’m computer-savvy because I know how to send someone a private message on Facebook (he’s in his 70’s–give him a break), but we all know the truth. I have to google how to take a screen shot every time I want to take one. Like five minutes ago:

This one's from Charles Yallowicz's Legends of Windemere blog, because it was the first one I could think of that had this feature, and because right now he has an awesome dragon picture on his front page.

This one’s from Charles Yallowicz’s Legends of Windemere blog, because it was the first one I could think of that had this feature, and because right now he has an awesome dragon picture on his front page.

Adding this attractive way of publicising the blogs one visits seems like it shouldn’t be difficult, but for some reason I can’t find that appropriate widget. Help, anyone?

revis and matticus save the kingdom chapter 3

The Tuesday Reblog

I’ve been waiting impatiently for approximately 24 hours to reblog this post! This is the chapter of Revis and Matticuspreviously mentioned, whimsical adventure story in which I, Jenn with 2 n’s, make a characteristically snarky appearance. For someone who doesn’t know me very well, I think Revis pretty well nailed it. You’ll have to search on your own for chapter 2 to see what led to this state of affairs.

The Matticus Kingdom

It didn’t take very long for Revis and Matticus to get back to the beach. It was the one place they knew how to get to. When they arrived, they were greeted by a smiling Goldfish. “Hello,” she said. “My name is Goldfish. Who are you two?”

Revis, who had been prepared to yell at the mermaid, was not ready for that response. He looked over at Matticus to confirm that he had heard it right, but the Jester merely shrugged. It was the exact same thing she said the first time she had met them. “I’m Revis. This is Matticus. We were just here two days ago.”

Shaking her head, Goldfish stated, “I think I would remember something like that.”

Insulted that they had questioned her, Goldfish dove underwater in a huff, leaving Revis perplexed on the beach. “You will have to forgive Goldfish,” came a voice from the…

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Making Plans in the Fall

Memory Monday

When I was eight years old, my family returned to the United States from Honduras. Mom and Dad were going to start a church in New England. We lived with The Rhode Island Grandparents for a few months, while my parents decided what kind of house they were going to build and where they wanted to build it. It was about ready to move into, in October of 1980, and so we did.

The little house . . . a season later.

The little house . . . a season later.

The house was a little grey one on an almost-dirt road (not to be confused with the actual dirt roads in the Middle of Nowhere, New Hampshire, or even in Our Fair City–but still pretty much in the middle of nowhere) with only four houses on it, all of which were on the same side of the road. At the time we moved into that house, only our house and one of the other ones had any children in it. That one had three (and soon after, four). Shelley-Down-the-Street was a year older than I was, and Katie-Down-the-Street was a year older than TheBro. They were the ones who commented on my wearing a dress to come over and play. We didn’t have a whole lot in common, really, except that we all lived in the same sparsely-populated neighbourhood, so we played together a lot.

Shelley-Down-the-Street and I, both being oldest children, had definite opinions about things, but we also both had Ideas. It was kind of interesting trying to merge our Ideas into something to play, since we had such different perspectives on life, even as children, but we usually managed to come up with something. It was from Shelley that I learned that sometimes men found women’s legs attractive. This was news to me, and seemed laughable and arbitrary at the time, innocent that I was. We played with some grass skirts that she and Katie got as souvenirs from a relative’s Hawaiian trip and I laughed about the legs thing to my parents, who seemed worried, but, as it turns out, they needn’t have.

Before all that, though, Shelley and I decided to created a Haunted Woods walk in the woods around our houses for Hallowe’en. We got out spiral notebooks and pencils and tromped around the woods where we thought we wanted the route to go, and imagined what gruesome things we would put at strategic locations. This whole idea was probably Shelley’s as well, considering the one time I ever went to a haunted house, the year before in Honduras at a classmate’s house, I was so overwhelmingly frightened I cried my head off and had to go home early.

Anyway, even the planning was really only playing. We never actually had the haunted walk. Or the acting school. Or the fancy autumn dinner for which we picked hemlock branches as centrepieces. A few years down the line, it occurred to me that we only ever had these grandiose ideas as the air started getting colder and the leaves started turning at the end of summer. Something about the crisp in the air got the creative juices flowing like apple cider or something (not the hard kind–obviously). I pointed this out. Making plans in the fall, I called it. And so it was.

It just LOOKS more creative

It just LOOKS more creative.

The Divine in Captain Jack Sparrow

Theology Thursday
Something happened to me on Tuesday which I thought I was going to blog about today, and then it turned out that maybe not all was as it seemed in that situation, so I haven't figured out how or even if to write about it. Then I remembered: Today is Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day! So in honour of pirates, I'm pirating my own post from my old blog. It was written during a decade where I kind of had some major issues with God, but I think I probably still agree with most of it.

You all think I’m going to talk about how much I like Johnny Depp, don’t you? Well I do. But I’m not. What I really mean is something like, “How Relating to Captain Jack Sparrow Might Be Like Relating to God.”

johnny-depp-pirates-of-the-caribbean2

Savvy?

Such a proposition necessitates a lot of disclaimers, probably too many to enumerate here. But these are some of them:

  1. I don’t think Jack Sparrow (or Johnny Depp) is God.
  2. I don’t think God is a rather lascivious alcoholic pirate with multiple personalities. (I do believe He exists in multiple Persons: three, to be exact. But I digress.)
  3. I don’t think that any of the Pirates movies resemble allegory or analogy to Scriptural history in any point-by-point or intentional way. [2013 Note: I have not seen the fourth of these movies, so cannot speak to any parallels–or overturning of the parallels I mention here–in that one.]
  4. I mean no disrespect.

But hear me out. Here we have this enigmatic character who polarises people. He also polarises reactions within the same person. All of Jack Sparrow’s friends seem both to love him and to hate him. Not to mention that said friends seem to be on rather an unequal footing. He demands attention and respect, but we aren’t always sure he deserves it. Sometimes he seems absent. Sometimes he seems in control. Sometimes he seems to have completely lost it. Often, he seems crafty and clever. At least as often, he seems a complete buffoon.

I feel like this about God a lot. I think it might even be permissable to say that the Bible presents Him similarly on occasion. Of course He’s majestic and holy and just and wise and all those “omni-” things. He is. (I wouldn’t say the same of Jack Sparrow.) But He’s also presented as affected by our actions, emotional, ranting, and sometimes a little bit crazy. Who would come down here and sacrifice His life for us hopeless excuses for the Divine Image if he wasn’t somehow insane? Although foolishness is spoken against in the Bible, there’s also a holy foolishness (picked up on sometimes powerfully in literature) that it might be dangerous to forget about.

Here are some other interesting points of comparison. In movie number 2 (admittedly the worst of the bunch), Captain Jack does (albeit a little unwillingly) sacrifice his life for his comrades, having been betrayed by one of them . . . with a kiss. I find it hard to imagine that these parallels to Jesus’ experience were really intentional, just like I don’t think Jesus needed His disciples help to rise from the dead the way Sparrow needed his friends’ help to bring him back. Still, it does seem a detail worth noting.

Also, the major question underlying all three of the movies (besides, “Why is all the rum gone?”) seems to be “Can we trust him?”

Even as the audience, we never really know the answer to this question. (Usually the answer to the rum one is a lot clearer.) People are constantly surprised when an action apparently completely self-destructive ends up turning things around and saving the day. In a fictional (and not so fictional) world where every character seems to put his or her own interests first, none seems to do it more or better than Jack. But without him, none of them would have survived past the first half of the first movie, and if they had, their lives would likely have had both little adventure and little purpose. (Either way, there would only have been one movie. And few people would have bothered to see it.)

At one point in this last film [as of the writing of this post–1 June 2007], young William Turner (Orlando Bloom), whose own relationship with Sparrow has become strained, defends a strategy by telling the older pirate something like, “I tried to think like you would think. I thought, ‘How would Jack do it?’ I thought this was what you would do.” (What Would Jesus Do, anyone?) Sparrow mocks him lightly and then casts the poor boy, one might say, adrift. By doing so, however, he sets in motion a chain of events which saves the entire Pirate Brotherhood.

We, along with the rest of the characters, wonder if Sparrow really knows what’s going to happen? “Does,” as one of his opponents asks, “he plan it all out or just make it up as he goes along?” Is he just lucky? How does he know everybody so well? How does he turn even their antipathy towards him into something redemptive? Does he really care about everybody as much as he says he . . . doesn’t?

This Place Rocks!

Wordy Wednesday

So, as I said, my Paul and I took our belated Labor Day holiday last weekend. Apparently it’s becoming tradition (if twice counts as tradition) to go to a remote part of New England with the dogs for a few days, and hike. My Paul has a colleague who owns a little cabin up in the Middle-of-Nowhere, New Hampshire, and he offered us to stay in it if we ever wanted to get away. Did we ever want to get away. And because I am in seminary full-time and Alicia has now started college as well, a free stay in a rustic cabin sounded like a great plan. In any case, as we both kept telling each other, “It’s better than a tent!” Which is what we would have been staying in otherwise.

Better than a tent.

Better than a tent.

It was actually kind of cute–although some elements of camping were still there, like trying to make a bonfire out of completely soaked wood, or trying to wash dishes in a bathroom sink (they’re doing some work on the house and the kitchen sink is currently disconnected). Also, we were completely bereft of internet. It was awesome. We went on two hikes and a long walk over the course of our three-ish days there, and both we and the dogs were happy.

P1030256

Let it be known that the Middle-of-Nowhere, New Hampshire, makes the town I refer to as Boondocks, New England, seem like a thriving metropolis. My Paul says it makes it seem like the Bronx. He is not wrong. Also, They weren’t messing around when They nicknamed New Hampshire The Granite State.

Granite

Granite

Also, granite.

Also, granite.

Oh, did I mention granite?

Oh, did I mention granite?

After a while, you just start to take it for granite.

After a while, you just start to take it for granite.

Oh yeah. I went there.

****

For more funny wordness, can any of you see why this sign, in a town we drove through on the way home, made my Paul and me laugh our heads off?

P1030403

*****

For more of what we saw, feel free to browse.