Sunday, October 31, 2010

For Fun's Sake

This week, a horrifying conclusion revealed itself to me: the only thing I do for pure fun is go out to eat and/or drink with friends. The movies I see, the books I read, the projects I undertake... they all have an element of striving to be a better, smarter, more informed, neater, cleaner, more patient, more educated, more compassionate or more emotionally mature person. Some of them might be fun, but they are not ONLY fun. The world of "fun only" belongs to eating and drinking. No wonder it's how I socialize, recreate, relax and/or energize!

Two things happened this week that make me think about fun... and how I might allow myself to try something else just for that feeling.

One, we got a mandolin. John strives to be multi-instrumental, and so far, is an accomplished piano player and a goofball guitar player. So he asked me if I'd prefer a banjo, a bass guitar or a mandolin... and the mandolin won. It's beautiful, and tiny, and not intimidating with its four (albeit double) strings - one for each finger on the fret. John bought a chord chart and I've hesitatingly picked it up. It takes confidence to make music; I don't have it. Yet. But for the first time, I think I could.

Two, at church this morning there was a smattering of costumes, and after the benediction, the organist started the postlude... in a black and red vampire cape... Bach's toccata and fugue in D minor. You know it, it's this one. It got a huge laugh, and he played the length piece to the end, finishing with a bow to the congregation and a flip of the cape with great vampiric flair. It was for no other reason than fun, and church illustrates a lot of things for me, but I never thought it would illustrate fun. That's a takeaway to set the tone for the week!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Small Pieces.

I read a book once written by a father, about his daughter who died from cystic fibrosis at age 9. She was born a year after one in which the census was taken, and died before the next one was taken, ten years later. He noted the pain it caused him that she was never counted in our great once-a-decade accounting of everyone living in America - minor or adult, legal or undocumented.

Amidst all the election headaches in my life (and maybe - likely! - yours, too, right now), I like to think the following observations express the tiniest, smallest, absolute-most-miniscule possible pieces of heart the government has… and as small as they are, I like 'em.

First, when filing to go from being a greencard holder to becoming a citizen (aka, naturalizing), you must list your marriage history and your parental history. You may list a child as "missing" or "dead". And while I'd never wish a missing or dead child on anyone, there is something about such a full accounting of a life that I like.

(And yes… I AM choosing to ignore the possibility this exists for security purposes. The polling data and talking heads have got me down this week [month], and so I’m focusing on the positive today, no matter what!)

Second and third... on much lighter notes... the same naturalization form contains (and other forms, I presume) choices for hair and eye color. Hair color choices include "bald" and eye color choices include "pink".

It warms my heart that the United States Immigration policy writers have kept an eye out for all the albino emigres in the world, heading to American shores!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Married Money

The journey to FEEL like my money is John's, and John's money is mine, is a long, slow one. My family of origin handed down some real gems when it comes to beliefs about money, the value of work inside and outside the home, gender and what is worth spending disposable income on.

That said, John is much farther along in the "it's all ours" belief than I am... but much farther along should make you laugh when he told me where his 401(k) is at. I was delighted that he has saved and matched such a wonderful start to retirement, and said, "Well, mine's not quite as much." (Given that I've had benefits for about 8 months and he has had them for over four years.)

He responded, "Oh baby, all that money is ours."

Me: "Aww, that's sweet."

Him: "Well mentally it is. But also legally!"

Aaaand, goodnight!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


What if someone walked up to you on the street tomorrow, and gave you a $100 bill? What would you say? Would you explain how you're going to spend it, would you put them in your prayers of gratitude that night? Here in Portland, a woman is giving away $100 every day for the month of October, as a way to honor the unexpected inheritance she received from her mother's retirement account, upon said mother's death. I am eager, each day, to read her blog post about it... and I hope you are, too. Check it out here. If you want to read it along with me, maybe we can talk further about it next time we hang out?