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summer lovin’

Those of you who know me in real life (IRL), know that the K fam has recently been soooo excited to announce that Frank is now flying out of a Milwaukee base instead of an Atlanta base.  Milwaukee (MKE) is roughly 1 1/2 to 2 hours away from our home, whereas Atlanta requires a 45 minute drive plus a 2 1/2 hour flight.  And, if that isn’t fun enough, Frank had to allow three or four flight options, just in case he got bumped or a flight was canceled.  On his way home, he would often be running from concourse to concourse trying to find an open flight – and that was often after an 8-10+ hour day of flying.  Sometimes he wouldn’t roll into our driveway until after 1 a.m. after starting his day at 6 a.m.  With travel to and from Atlanta factored in, Frank was averaging 6-7 full days home per month.  Needless to say, it was rough, but we made it work.

Actually, I look at it as a little feather in our cap that we made it work so well.  For all that we’ve been going through while he’s been commuting to Atlanta for the last year or so, including fertility treatments and a miscarriage, the fact that we are still so in love is a blessing from God.

TOOT TOOT. (that’s me, tooting our collective horn)

While I was prepared to continue having a long-distance marriage for a while longer, we were soooo blessed when Frank won the bid for the Milwaukee base earlier this summer.  Thanks to this new base, Frank was in training to fly a new aircraft which resulted in him being home on WEEKENDS!!  This is a rare occurrence, indeed.  As a result, we hosted a dessert and cocktail party this summer, we had a holiday together (4th of July!-note – because of his seniority, we do not usually expect to have any holidays together), we went to Summerfest AND the Wisconsin State Fair (two of our favorite things) and generally did weekend-type couple-y things.  I LOVED every minute of it.  Frank is almost done with training – he is finishing up initial operating experience, which basically means he is flying with a very experienced captain who will later sign off that he is a capable pilot and set him free for regular flying.

So it has been a good summer in the K house this year.  We have felt abundantly blessed with this new base and look forward to more time together this fall!

long distance love

So… Frank is a Pilot.  This means he is gone for days and days.  It also means that we experience much of our relationship over the phone.

Example conversation:

Emily (E): Sooo, what else is new?

Frank (F): HMmmmmm.

Long pause.  You have to be ok with long pauses when carrying on a marriage via phone.  You have to give the other person a chance to “buffer”.  Buffering is when their brain catches up with their mouth.  The reason that their brain and mouth get out of sync is because they are playing Bejeweled Blitz online.  (Darn you, Mother, for showing us that game!)

E: Yeah?

F: So, yeah, well, I’m still listening to that zombie book on CD.

Background info: Frank has a love/hate relationship with zombies movies/stories.  While he hates, hates, HATES being scared, he can’t help himself when it comes to Zombies.  He’s like Bubba from Forest Gump, “There are zombies that run fast, zombies that run slow, zombies that swim, zombies that dance and zombies that can be frozen and thawed…” and an hour later, I’m drooling on myself, stabbing myself in the face with a pencil and wondering if I, myself, am a zombie…

E: aaaaaaahhhhhrrrrrggghhhh.

F: Whatever. So anyway, zombies –

E: No, that was me gagging at you.

F: Oh, so you weren’t making a zombie noise to scare me?

E: No!  I was groaning that we are STILL talking about zombies.

F: Well, cuz zombies make that moaning noise, so I thought you were trying to scare me.  Well anyway –

And he’s off and running on to his next part of the zombie adventure.  Something about under water zombies that getcha when you’re swimming.  Which, unbeknown to Frank, gives me a whole new arsenal of things I can terrify him with…

Not only is this a zombie, but it's also what I look like when I'm listening to Frank talk about zombies...

a new love affair

I have a new obsession.  A new love.  I think about it all the time.

No, it’s not Bejeweled Blitz (a terribly addicting game on Facebook).  It’s this:

Whole Foods.

I love it there.

The produce is beautiful and delicious.  The meat counter – Heavens to Betsy! – is unrivaled by our local grocery chain.  The cheese stand – oh, if only cheese did not wreck havoc on my digestive system – I would’ve eaten the whole stand. The. Whole. Stand. The gelato isn’t just gelato – it’s sexy gelato.  This gelato romances me from across the bakery, glowing all hot and sultry-like.  This gelato says, “Emily, please, just take a look.  Just a little look.

And then there’s the nut butter.  Fresh ground nut butter.  Nut butter the way that God intended.  Pure, unadulturated nut butter.

Heaven help me.

And let me tell you – this is true love.  I know a few of Whole Food’s faults already.  I know it is pricey.  I know the take-and-bake pizza is terrible.  I know that Annie’s Rice Pasta and Cheddar Mac & Cheese is nothing like Kraft’s.  Nothing.  Not even in the same ballpark.  It is sacrilege that they put this Mac & Cheese in a blue box as if to suggest that they are comparable to Kraft’s neon orange bliss.  Consider yourselves warned.

But these few faults are like finding out your husband is leaves the seat up.  You still love him, you just know to check before you sit in the middle of the night.

::burp::

Picture this:

Frank and I are sitting on the couch, watching old DVR’d Saturday Night Live episodes.  He’s leaning against me while I am trying to master this terrible game called Bejeweled Blitz.  My mother is addicted to the game, so if I ever want to relate to her again, I need to learn this game.

ANYWAY.  We’re sitting here and I burped through my nose.

You know, the polite way to burp.

But as Frank has explained to me on several occasions, this does not “descent” the burp.

So anyway, I polite burped and blew it out my nose – and onto Frank.

A few seconds later.

“Oh… ohh… EM! Seriously?? Did you just burp? What was that?  Seriously – that is nasty – really?  It’s not funny.  Stop laughing. It’s gross. I’ve told you before that is gross.  Why would you do that?  Why?  Seriously.  No, stop laughing.  You knew it was wrong.  Why?”

“Frank, c’mon, I mean, I didn’t realize it would be THAT bad.”  Although, admittedly, we just finished ravioli with pesto sauce and bread with chunks of garlic cloves in it. So yeah, I guess I kind of knew in the back of my head that it could get ugly.

Frank moves over to the other side of the couch.

“I gotta put this on the blog.”

“Don’t put it on the blog.”

“I have to.  I am trying to authentically document our life together.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

Frank shakes his head is clearly disgusted.  “You are the grossest wife EVER.”

A few minutes later, Frank is watching Community and giggling to himself.

“Oh, hey, Em, I realized today that I owe you an apology for something.”  I look over at him, surprised.  A rare moment indeed!

“Really? For what?”

Joy of joys!

Realization passes over Frank’s face.

“Yeah, but I’m not going to tell you.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, seriously.  Oh man, the look on your face…” [insert uncontrollable laughter] “… it’s like that thing from Star Trek 2 that Kahn puts in the guy’s head to make him go crazy.  Blog that!”

And so I did.

belief

I read a book called Lamb over the weekend.  The author, Christopher Moore, put together a hilarious take on Christ’s life as told by Christ’s best friend, Biff.  It was gritty and colorful (both in its telling and in its language – read: lots of swearing and sexual situations).

I loved that the story was gritty because I believe that life is gritty and raw.  I believe that more often than not, life is messy.  Life is change and evolution and growth and development and loss and loosely controlled chaos.

We are all on the verge of being tagged out of this great game of life – and yet we mostly live our lives with a somewhat misguided belief that we are immortal.  That’s why we’re shocked when something bad happens.

Sure, there are some of us who are better at faking the control.  There are some who might say, “aw, Em, cute – but I have this all wrapped up!”

But I believe for the rest of us, despite our best efforts, we often find ourselves putting out more fires during the day than checking things off of our “to do” lists – and that’s ok.  My dad liked to quote a Beetle (or someone) who said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

So I loved the grittiness of Lamb.

And I loved that Jesus had a sense of humor in the story.  Yes, the book still portrayed him as innocent, but I loved that his best friend taught him sarcasm (which he used very moderately in the book).  The Bible is great at telling us a lot about Jesus – what he did, his virtues and character – but I kind of wonder about his sense of humor.  Was he playful?  Did he ever play pranks on the disciples?  I wonder if he ever short sheeted Peter’s bedroll or teepeed John’s tent.  Did Jesus spend time on the banks of the Jordan, hanging out with his friends and pondering some of the great mysteries, like: if Elijah and Moses were in a cage match – who would win?

Why does it matter if Jesus had a sense of humor?  I dunno.  I guess I just like the idea of knowing the person of Jesus – I like to imagine what it would be like if Jesus walked in the door and said hello.  Would he have a booming voice or a quiet disposition?  Would he shake my hand or give me a big hug?

I loved that Lamb painted a picture of Jesus that was so much richer than what I am able to glean from the Bible because so much of the Bible gets lost in cultural translation.  Perhaps there ARE elements of Jesus’ sense of humor embedded in the stories about Him – but humor in each culture is so subtle, it’s hard to pick up just by reading without studying the culture further.  And we all know that when you have to explain the joke, it really becomes less funny anway.  I am sure “That’s what she said” would be completely lost on ancient Jews.  And I can only imagine how future generations will interpret our jokes.

But I also felt convicted while reading Lamb.

Not because I was reading a story that was an irreverent and somewhat scandalous telling of Jesus’ life, but because as I read this story,  I was struck by Biff’s unbelief.  I don’t want to ruin the story in the case that you decide to read it, but generally speaking, I was surprised that this character Biff could literally WALK with Jesus for practically of his life and so miss the point on so many occasions.  It reminded me that I often miss the point.  It reminded me that I so frequently forget who Jesus is and get distracted by my own selfish desires.

I don’t know if the author intended for this result – I think the author wrote this book to provide a humorous explanation for what happened to Jesus between the ages of 6 and 32.  And perhaps the author knew enough Christians to know how many of us often spend all of this time learning about Jesus and God and MISSING THE POINT; there are so many of us who KNOW much, but BELIEVE little.

The disciples didn’t always understand what Jesus meant, but they believed in Him.  They were willing to stake it all on Him.  They believed He was who He said He was.

So yeah – I liked Lamb. It’s not for everyone, but it’s great satire.

Please do not judge me for these three things.

Pretty, pretty please.

So these are the three things that happened when I finally got home tonight.

1.  What died in here??

Frank and I have had a few cases of smellasitis.  Basically, it’s when something wreaks to high heaven.  The source of this odoriferous offense?  About 99% of the time it is the garbage and of the times it’s the garbage, about 90% of the time, it’s because I tossed old flowers in there.  When will I learn? When??  I nearly passed out when I walked in the door and knew instantly it was the smell of rotting flowers.  Oh, and did I mention that TODAY was garbage day?  Guess I won’t be using the garage for the rest of the week… yikes!

2. Mail Call.

So, I hate getting the mail. I think there are two experiences that turned me off to the whole “getting the mail” adventure.  First, there was the time that my friend mailed me friendship bread batter.  In a zip lock bag, in a manila envelope.  I’m surprised, quite frankly, that the batter didn’t explode a long time prior to making it to my mailbox.  Or maybe it did explode, but our friendly postal carrier simply didn’t care.  Regardless, I reached in for the mail one day and pulled out… a hand full of soggy batter.  Of course, initially I didn’t know that the white clumpy goo covering my hand was soggy friendship bread batter.  My initial thought was that someone threw up in my mailbox.

Second, there have been reoccurring incidents of spiders.  I do not like bugs.  If you are a bug, I am sorry, but I do not like you.  It’s a blanket statement, but it is 100% true 100% of the time.  Even butterflies sort of creep me out.  I know bugs do lots of great things and I am grateful for their service, but I do not like them.  Anyway, spiders have taken up residence in our mailbox.  I live in fear that when I pull out the mail, I will be greeted by a big black hairy spider.  In my worst nightmares, this spider is spewing friendship bread batter.  I know.  It’s rough being me.

All of this means that I am hesitant to get the mail.  Which means that mail sometimes piles up in our mailbox.  Which probably therefore means that our mail carrier curses when she gets to our mailbox, not knowing if she can jam another piece of mail in there. By the way, she/he does an excellent job – sometimes I have to put my foot on the post of the mailbox and pull really hard to get all of the mail out of there.

So, I got the mail today.  It was only 1/2 full of mail.  Only one bill, one magazine, one catalog and no spiders.  Brilliant!

Speaking of mail: Nordstrom is having their anniversary sale until August 2nd. Are you there Nordstrom?  It’s me, Emily…

3. It’s electric.

Our front hall light switch has always been a little tough to flip.  It catches a little bit when you flip it on.  Then one day it really got stuck, so I just pushed it over anyway … and heard a loud snap.  Since then, that light switch just loosely flaps in the wind and sometimes I am able to turn the light on, but mostly not.  The new development tonight is that if you slam the garage door, the light turns on.  So, that’s fun.

I think it’s about time we have an electrician stop by…

framing

I had some posters in college that I bought at hole-in-the-wall poster store on Belmont near the El stop.  We liked to go in this store to just poke around and find funny or interesting artwork or kitschy posters.  It was the kind of store where they let you sift through their posters for hours and never bothered you about it.  Just a few shops west of the poster store is the locally (perhaps nationally?) famous restaurant Ann Sathers (yuummmmy cinnamon rolls!) and across the street is Igor’s Dungeon (tawdry sex and drug paraphernalia).  While I was in school, I bought 4 posters from this poster store.  The posters were Romeo and Juliet, Jack Vettriano’s the Singing Butler, the VJ Day Kiss and another with a couple hugging at the train station.  These pictures hung frame-less on the walls of my apartments in college for several years before I moved home after graduation.

When I was moving home, Mom asked me if I had any artwork that I might want framed.  I hesitated when she asked and had to think about it before I remembered these four posters – I guess I hadn’t thought much about framing the posters.  I mean, they were the posters that I sticky-tacked up to the wall in my college apartment.  They were the posters that were part of a bigger wall-collage of sorority paddles and random pictures with friends and inspirational quotes.  I had never thought about these posters as art, but when my mom asked me if I had any artwork, I thought, “yeah, I guess I do!”

My mom does an excellent job decorating, but I was still surprised at what an awesome job she did picking out frames for the posters.  While I would have done something more ordinary (and well, lets’ be real – plain) – she picked out these gorgeous ornate frames.  The pictures that I looked at for years on my apartment wall looked COMPLETELY different in the frames she picked out.  They went from being college dorm-room blah to grown-up chic in less than five minutes.  I smile whenever I look at them because they reminded me of something very important:

How an image is framed changes how you see that image.  We talk about this concept in our culture a lot using phrases like “Perception is reality” and “Attitude is everything.”  The way the pictures were framed changed how I interacted with the pictures, where I place them in my current home and how others saw them.  Artists play with this concept by taking ordinary objects and “framing” those objects differently so that the ordinary objects are perceived as art.

I talked in my previous post about the different themes running through my life right now and that definition is one of those themes.  When I think about how I am defined, I realize that the context is just as important as the content.  I am well aware that the same word in different contexts can mean so many different things.  The question, “Why?” can be insulting, intriguing, lamenting, fatiguing and energizing, all dependent on how the question is asked.

I have a lot of different contexts that I exist in.  Sure, I am a wife and a family member and a friend and a coworker, but what kind of person do I want to be in each of these contexts?  I mean, yes, there are things that will be consistent in each area – I am a Christian in all of these areas.  But what kind of wife, family member, friend and worker do I want to be?  And how do I feel about how each of these categories is shaping up?

I like to say “yes” to everything.  It has been an epic battle for me to say “no” more often.  I think when I was younger, it was probably wise to say yes to a lot of things so that I could have a wider experience, but perhaps it is time to become more selective, picking the projects and paths that are of more interest to me.

I lamented the other day that there was nothing that I am passionate about.  I feel that have spent so much time trying lots of different things that I never really specialized in one area.  Today I was thinking on this topic a little bit more and a few patterns of behavior are emerging that give me a few clues about more dominant personality/skill areas that I could work on.

So yeah.  I know I started rambling, but I guess in a nutshell: I’ve got a lot to work on.  And I will probably write more on this because I feel like I didn’t say everything I wanted to.  But it is late and if I don’t go to sleep my context tomorrow will be viewed through sleep deprived eyes…