Monday, December 19, 2011

Wow. What a week I have had. On Monday, things looked so great. I woke up with energy! That was, well, abnormal and amazing. So, thanking the Lord for the temporary power boost, I put it to good use. Twelve hours later, things took turns for the worse…. I think the word they typically use to describe it is “flu”. The fact is, I’d never had it before. At least, not like this. It would be much better described with a title like “The Wretched Anguish”, or “The Despondent Misery,” or “The Wannabe Black Death". Having been hit hard, all I can really articulate is that Monday night = Worst night, physically, that I’ve ever had. Ever. Severe back pain set in a bit later, because clearly my muscles aren’t used to working for eight hours straight that hard….. So the next twelve to eighteen hours were spent half conscious on the couch, with a heating pad, moaning and groaning and pretty much only aware of misery. You’ve been there, I’m sure. Next day? similar, just less pain, and less sleep. (not that what I was getting could really be called “sleep”) I start to think I’m fine, then I sit up. Pass out, sit up again. Ringing in the ears, more moaning and groaning, then as things go more gradually black, ending up on the floor and wondering if someone will bring me ice water.
Three days later, I went somewhere. And ate real food. Yes. That is how pathetic it’s gotten. What’s more, I was actually excited to do that. *sigh*. Having lost more weight than I planned on or wanted, I’m quite ready for, oh, a steak or two. And a giant, triple or quadruple shot, extra hot, extra foam, extra caramel macchiato by tomorrow.
There are benefits that come out of it. I shudder to say those words in connection with the WBD, but it’s true. First off, you are reminded in a very real, in your face way, to pray for friends who suffer from chronic illnesses. I spent time in between bouts of sickness praying for a friend who has a bad stomach thing going on, for the last year, and the doctors don’t know what it is or how to fix it. Also time praying for a couple different people I know who have severe back pain. It’s terrible, and there’s nothing so fervent as prayers born of empathy. Always, I feel sympathetic, but when you are suffering, even temporarily, from a similar malady, you are much more stirred to approach the throne of Grace on behalf of others who have no respite in sight.
Anyway. After (mostly) recovering from that, I had a pretty busy weekend. Christmas parties are fantastic on Friday nights, and I had a grand time with the people from Emmanuel. Saturday morning the kids were here. Even though I’m convinced they are the reason I got sick, I was still happy to see them. Gabriel is becoming quite the conversationalist lately, and I’ve found that philosophizing with a three year old can be scarily on my level. Rebecca came up with this-- “Hey Emilie Edwards, do you believe in Santa Clause?” Carefully, I asked, “What do your parents say?” She frowned, and held out her hands, “Well, I don’t think they do… But I think I do. I mean (punctuated with a frown and shrug), he’s Santa Clause.” I left that one alone….
Zoo lights: new experience. I would love to do it sometime again if 1) I had no time constraint {we did it on a Saturday night, and that’s never the best time for me} and 2) on a weekday when there are less people. Lots of lights, some animals. Cold.
Scrooge the Musical: Amazing and well done. Negatives first: This sounds terrible, but the only things I didn’t like about it were the few small attempts at Christian-ization. Gasp! It was put on by a church, but it’s the sort of church that is more prosperity, Jesus-lives-to-make-you-happy-so-let-him-in-your-heart kind of thing. Near the end, after an emotional build up and song about “changing”, they paused in the production to have all three giant screens light up with a video plea from the pastor to “pray this prayer” and welcome Jesus to your world. Oh goodness. I had never actually seen that sort of thing in action before. Honestly, it was horrifying. I felt like it should’ve been called “How to mislead hundreds of people about salvation in two easy steps.” Literally, he had them repeat after him. And yes, at the end when he wanted everyone to stand up and shout “Merry Christmas”, I was the only one in the audience who was still sitting. It’s not that I don’t like to have fun and relax—I mean, I’ll yell with the best of them when a tractor pops a wheelie at the Enumclaw Christmas parade—it’s just that I can’t bring myself to shout phrases after someone who earlier who had tried to talk everyone into saying a canned prayer that had absolutely nothing to do with the gospel, repentance, sin, or any of the essential facets of Scripture. My mother was horrified… “Really. You didn’t even stand up with the entire rest of the auditorium?” My dad, however, would’ve been the second person to stay seated. At least I didn’t say anything, though I wanted to. Phrases like “Over my dead body, you heretic” were running through my mind.. . . 
Positives: Some fantastic songs were thrown in, and one in particular was sung very well by a man and woman who I could’ve listened to for quite a while. Plenty of dancing is fun to watch, and the costumes were good. So many lovely dresses! They did a phenomenal job with the orchestration aspects of it as well. Several french horns, trombones, trumpets, and pianos. What they didn’t have in strings, they made up for with around 5 keyboards. One man running two keyboards provided lots of good string ensemble background music for the creepy parts. Snowfall, random pyrotechnics, beautiful set —Fun evening!
Anyway. I am exhausted from all these random fun things, and Christmas isn’t even over yet. Hopefully I’ll be rejuvenated enough to enjoy the Christmas coffee hour this Sunday, and maybe even get up extra early on Christmas day! Optimistic thoughts indeed.

Friday, December 02, 2011

So this is Christmas…

It’s come to our home! Take out several bins of mysterious looking lights, bright colors, glass ornaments, frosted ribbons, and this is what comes out of it…..


Every year, I love to be up in the middle of the night, while the rest of the household sleeps, and sit cozily in a living room only lit up by the Christmas lights. There’s a peacefulness in the atmosphere that can’t be reproduced by a bedside lamp or flashlight. If I happen to have cocoa and marshmallows, that’s an added bonus…


Those were from the living room. Our kitchen, however, is a tribute to….

Santa Clause. Shocking, I know. Living room attempts to stay elegant and relaxed. But the kitchen becomes one giant whim of fancifulness. A wreath with Starbucks ornaments, lots of peppermint colors, bright green glittered signs of “Merry Christmas”, and a giant sign that says “Believe!” Unfortunately, the face of Santa clause is directly behind the sign. I’m not sure what we are lobbying for….

And everywhere, there are lights. Last night alone, we blew a fuse three times. This Christmas season is going to alternate between twinkling, glittering brightness, and the pitch black punctuated by someone yelling “It’s pitch black in here! Somebody go reset the fuse!”




But the best addition to the decorations this year is one that will stay all year ‘round. Something I’ve waited for a long time, and might be enough to keep me living in my parents house for way too long….


Yes. It came. Last night we got the call… “We’re on our way with your piano, and it’d be great if there was a latte waiting.” For that, I’d buy a thousand lattes! (I might anyway, at the rate I’m going).

Baldwin, 5’2”. An original Baldwin, in quite decent condition. Model M.  AH! Real ivory keys, true sostenuto…. Having already spent hours playing on them, yes, I can tell a difference. It surprised me, but there is definitely a better feel to them. You have more control, your fingers don’t slip at all, and therefore you can be more accurate, especially while playing faster.

Anyway. Mom and I spent quite a while laughing and giggling like maniacs last night, just looking at it. It still weirds me out to see a grand piano in our living room. I love it. I cannot remember the last thing we got that was so exciting! I’d say this makes for a good December. And playing on the church piano is going to be absolute murder now….