Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Quote Review

I thought with only 4 more days left in this year it was probably safe to go ahead and post my annual quote review. So here they are, my favorite quotes from 2007:

First, the silly stuff:

  • So, if you want to get some salt water fish, I could go take a bath in your bathtub. ~ Velma
  • I'll take it any way I can get it from you... I meant in regard to cookies. ~ me
  • I hate Pine trees because you can’t run barefoot in the yard. They have all those needles and they stab you in the foot and I take it personally. ~ me
  • I have this thing that I don’t do and it’s, like, tell the truth. ~ Velma
  • Everything’s pointy when you’re naked. ~ Cuthbert
  • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Calvin Klein Obsession. ~ Cuthbert
  • If I ever get indignant at your house I’m going to put my hands in my pockets and go, “Poof, poof, poof!” ~ Cuthbert
  • And some days, I get drop kicked. ~ Mia
  • Wait! I’m gonna protest you killing me. I’m gonna write my congressman! ~ Cuthbert
  • Aren’t those the healthy cigarettes? ~ Dana
  • I think it was C.S. Lewis. No, maybe it was Oprah. ~ me
  • You’ll have to pee by the light of the shower. I think Meat Loaf had a song about that. ~ Cuthbert
  • I thought about being a mountain climber today and moving to a place that has mountains because I really like mountain climbing... apparel. ~ Velma
  • There’s no place like rehab! There’s no place like rehab! ~ I don’t know who said this, but it was during the passaround story with Britney Spears’ golden I-don’t-give-a-fuck scissors!
  • When something tragic happens… or butter. ~ Mia
  • Even at an early age I knew what it was like not to have a star on my belly. ~ me
  • She really wasn’t down with me spitting in her mouth. ~ Velma
  • Nobody drop kicks my sister! ~ my 5 year old nephew

Then, the serious stuff:

  • There is no such thing as a happy ending. I never met a single one to equal ‘Once upon a time’. Endings are heartless. Ending is just another word for goodbye. ~ Stephen King; The Dark Tower
  • I never want to have something that’s just mine. ~ Mia
  • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of more stuff. ~ Cuthbert’s rant on consumerism
  • It made him feel very small, and he supposed there was nothing wrong with that. In the scheme of things, he was very small. ~ Stephen King; The Waste Lands
  • I’m just waiting for the church to die so that church can happen. ~ Cuthbert
  • Does not man, perhaps, love something besides well being? Perhaps he is just as fond of suffering. Perhaps suffering is just as great a benefit to him as well being? Man is sometimes, extraordinarily, passionately in love with suffering, and that is a fact. ~ Dostoyevsky; Notes From Underground
  • Storytelling always changes time. At least it does in my world. ~ Stephen King; Wizard and Glass
  • Church is where you can capitalize on Jesus’ admonission to love, fuckin love. ~ Cuthbert
  • I write not to stop my mind from thinking, but because I can’t stop it. Writing at least produces some fruit from the labor of compulsive thinking. ~ Brian McLaren
  • If I have a choice between the kind of trouble that comes from too much passion or the kind that comes from too little, my choice will be easy ~ Brian McLaren
  • One of the most tragic things ever to happen to the gospel was the emergence of the message that Jesus takes us somewhere else if we believe in him. ~ Rob Bell; Velvet Elvis
  • If you can control your emotions, chances are you don’t have too many. ~ Douglas Coupland; JPod
  • Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that, because the world needs people who have come alive. ~ Relevant Mag
  • Maybe the Bible’s not the final word. Maybe God’s not done speaking to humanity. ~ Cuthbert
  • One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up. ~ C.S. Lewis
  • The more one respects Jesus, the more one must be brokenhearted, embarrassed, furious, or some combination thereof when one considers what we Christians have done with Jesus. ~ Brian McLaren; A Generous Orthodoxy
  • Having guests and visitors, if we do it right, is not an imposition, because we are not meant to rearrange our lives for our guests – we are meant to invite our guests to enter into our lives as they are. ~ Lauren Winner; Mudhouse Sabbath
  • Excess is its own punishment. ~ Douglas Coupland; Polaroids From the Dead
  • It is not so much the suffering but the senselessness of it that is unendurable. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
  • You rarely defend the things you love. You enjoy them and tell others about them and invite others to enjoy them with you. ~ Rob Bell; Velvet Elvis
  • We are not just called to be candles. We are called to be fire. ~ Shane Claiborne; The Irresistible Revolution

Feel free to grab these quotes and use them whenever appropriate... or, er, I guess some of them won't ever be exactly appropriate.... but you know what I mean, right? Hopefully 2008 will hold many more great quotations! I look forward to discovering them with you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Trees & Orange Prison Jumpsuits

This weekend my family went to pick out Christmas trees. I say ‘trees’, as in ‘more than one tree’, because this sort of excursion involves multiple households now that my sister and myself are on our own. What was once a short family excursion to find one perfect tree* has now turned into a three ring circus with five or more of us running around like crazy trying to figure out how many trees we need, how we will ever locate this number of perfect trees, and how we are going to load them all up on the same truck so that they don’t fall off into the road on the way home and so that we are able to remember whose tree is whose by the time we get home.

*The idea of the perfect tree differs from person to person. While everyone else wants a nice, tall, full tree I always feel sorry for the straggly, Charlie Brown looking trees off in the corner being peed on by wild animals. For this reason, and because of my choice of pets who tend to have, uh, how do you say, some challenges, my husband has forbidden me from adopting any children, as he is afraid I would choose one whose medical issues would put us into bankruptcy or whose behavioral issues would leave us with yellow crime scene tape fencing off our house from the public. He is probably right. I’m such a sucker, even for sad looking trees.

This year the entourage consisted of my dad, my mom, my sister Velma, my husband D, and myself. We were looking for 4 trees – one for my parents’ house, one for Velma’s house, one for my house, and one for my mother-in-law, who couldn’t join us but was brave enough to trust our judgment in tree purchasing.

In order to get these trees, we headed out to a tree farm that we have frequented for many years. Tree farms are awesome because you can cut your tree down yourself and haul it away. This makes us sedentary Americans who lock ourselves indoors 22 hours a day feel like we are actually participating in nature, even if all we are doing is chopping down a tree with a 4 inch diameter trunk, thus inflating our carbon footprints for the sake of tradition. Also, these trees were $7. Yep, $7. You can’t beat that.

We all gathered at my parents’ house to head out for our annual tree excursion. I walked down to the basement to pick up some things I had left at my parents’ house a few weeks ago. I look up, and my dad is standing on the basement stairs. Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.

Did you read that? Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.

A few questions come to mind. First, where did my dad get a prison jumpsuit? Most people don’t just have one lying around. I certainly don’t. And it’s not like you can just go down to the prison jumpsuit store and pick up a few when the urge strikes you. Secondly, why is he wearing the jumpsuit? Even if one landed on my doorstep I would not wear one. Does he think it makes him look more outdoorsy? Maybe he’s worried about hunters not being able to see him (not that I’ve ever seen a hunter at the tree farm). Maybe he fancies that the jumpsuit has a slimming effect? No idea. I have no freakin clue what possessed my dad to don an orange prison jumpsuit, but there he is, standing on the basement stairs, wearing one.

I raise my eyebrows and make eye contact with Velma. She looks at me and suppresses a giggle.

After a long search for the saw (you can’t go tree hunting without a saw, after all) we head out. My parents drive their truck and the rest of us follow in my little Jetta that I’ve named Rollie (pron. Raww-lee). Go, Rollie, go! We keep a camera in the front seat just in case my parents get pulled over. If an officer makes my dad get out of the truck with that orange prison jumpsuit on, we want a picture.

We make small talk on the trip up to the tree farm. My husband laments that there might not be enough trees, as last year the tree supply was severely depleted. He says:

“Watch, we’ll get up there, and there will only be 2 trees.”

To which Velma replies, “Good, we can each have one!”

Um, not sure what kind of math you’re doing, Velma, but last time I checked we were looking for 4 trees to split between 6 people. This frightens me deeply, as Velma works for a Credit Union (not telling you which one!).

We arrive at the tree farm to find that the tree supply is pretty depleted, but there are more than 2 trees. This makes picking out a tree relatively easy, as there aren’t a whole lot to choose from. My dad hikes around in his orange prison jumpsuit. My husband studiously analyzes each tree, keeping tabs on their every characteristic with the Excel spreadsheet that’s going in his head. I look for the weak stragglers, knowing full well that no one is going to let me take them home. Poor little unloved trees.

As Velma begins her hunt for the perfect tree, my husband begins to lecture her on how to make a good tree choice. He tells her you have to look for the 3 T’s of Christmas tree choosing. Um, the 3 T’s? Has anyone ever heard of the 3 T's? I sure haven't, and it takes me about 4 seconds to figure that D is full of shit, and just made that up on the spot because he likes the way it sounds. But, you've got to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, so I ask what the 3 T’s are.

D: “Triangular shape, tightness…”

Me: “Tightness??”

D: “Of the branches” (with a look that says, “of course it’s of the branches, but I don’t expect you to know that”)

Me: “What’s the third T?”

D: “It’s um, uh,… well, um,… (triumphantly) Non-Tipping!!”


That’s not even a word. Oh, and it doesn’t begin with a T – which kind of throws off the whole ‘3 T’s’, theme, but hey, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. It occurs to me to mention that any tree that isn’t currently lying on the ground could be classified as non-tipping, seeing as how it is still standing upright, but then D would accuse me of not having holiday cheer. Whatever. He is having fun, Velma is doing a great job picking out her tree even without perfect alliteration, and overall everything is going well.

Anyhow, we cut down 4 trees. My dad and D haul them back to the truck. My dad looks like he is doing hard labor in a prison camp and D looks like an oversized 5 year old on Christmas morning, practically skipping with his tree in hand (did I mention they were very small trees?). He gets way too excited about the holidays for my taste, but I guess if it makes him happy I’m alright with it. We hauled the trees home without any of them falling out of the truck. My parents didn’t get pulled over and my dad didn’t get mistaken for an escaped convict. We were even able to remember which tree belonged to who when we returned. Overall, it was a successful tree-chopping trip! I’ve even managed to put my tree up and decorate it.

Now, if we could just figure out how to get rid of that orange prison jumpsuit…