Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 2.14 - Oh, my head.

I stayed home from work today.  I had a migraine a good portion of yesterday, and it had not abated by this morning--in fact, it had gotten worse and was continuing to do so.  Dear Husband took one look at me this morning and told me to call in and go back to bed, which I did.

So I slept for a while this morning, got up, ate something, graded, then went back to bed.  The migraine is doing its lurking thing now, but I hope that it will go away soon.  Usually, when weather comes through, the headache disappears, but since we seem to be the only part of Texas that didn't get inundated with severe weather last night, I still have it.  Better a migraine than a tornado, though. 

Most of the time, I'll suck it up and go to work anyway--of course, those are the days that I can medicate with a couple of Excedrin Migraine and a pot of coffee (and Advil if necessary)--not really an option right now, when a couple of Tylenol and one Ale-8 is all I dare do.  It got worse because this one settled in behind my eyes, which made things look weird.  I definitely had no business driving.  I thought for a while this afternoon that I was going to also lose everything I'd eaten today, but it all stayed down.

But like I said, it has gone back to lurking.  One loud noise would bring it back, so the TV has stayed off.  Proof that I've not felt well--my furry children have not left me unattended all day. 

But I did manage to finish off giving feedback for my student papers--I'd already done most of it this weekend, and I only had a bit to do today, so I got that finished.  Also got an email from the dean to let me know that my plagiarism appeal student had abandoned the appeal process--which I'd guessed when I'd gotten the email from DH's office that said student had dropped the course (which rendered all of this a moot point).   I suppose discretion (or dropping the course) is the better part of valor and/or not getting a more severe punishment handed down by the college.  That is at least one thing off my plate for this week--thank goodness!

Last week was more of the same slog through the end of the semester, but we're getting there.  I was mistaken about getting an ultrasound--I probably won't have another with my regular OB for a month or so, but I should have another one at maternal/fetal medicine in about three or four weeks.  My appointment went well.  She told me to try to stay hydrated and not get over-heated, as that's been partly to blame for the light-headedness and dizziness, and no, don't stand up for long periods of time if that's what causes it.  In other interesting news, I've also lost weight--I actually weigh less now than I did before I got pregnant.  This was concerning DH and I a bit, but she says that as long as I'm not spilling ketones (which would indicate that my body was cannibalizing muscle tissue) and that the weight loss is not rapid (which it is not), then she wasn't worried about it.  Apparently, some women do this and end up weighing less after they give birth than they did when they started.

(The cats are changing shifts.  Cat has left the couch for the chair, and Bergie is taking up his post.)

Eczema has been driving me nuts, admittedly, but there's not a lot that can be done about that, other than using plenty of lotion and staying hydrated, which I'm trying to do.  It's coming up on my fingers again, which is irritating in the extreme.  Again, normal pregnancy stuff.  Apparently, I look gigantic, though, for only five months, but Mom said that she went through the same thing when she was pregnant with me--at five months, people were assuming she was due any day.  (I had a lady at church say the same thing to me yesterday.  When she found out I was due in September, I could see her cringe.)  I'm going to be enormous by the time September rolls around.

But I am feeling the little one move more and more.  She started moving about in church yesterday again--once that organ starts, so does she.  A couple of times, I feel like I'm taking a foot to an internal organ.  One of my students, who's dual-credit and in high school, and so about sixteen, asked me a few weeks ago, "Dr. Stewart?  Is it, like, weird being pregnant and having something inside you?"  I laughed and said "Yes.  Yes, it's very weird."

(My father is sending me text messages with bad crossword puzzle puns.  I got this one - "Navel buildup?" Answer: Lint.  He said to give Dusty a drink of Ale-8 for a reward.)

I picked up another class for summer--a two-night a week night class at the Northwest Center.  It's not very far from actual campus, and having a bit of extra money will come in handy with the baby on the way.  That will run from the beginning of July through the second week of August, and then school starts again two weeks later, I think.  So I'll have lots to do this summer and lots to keep me busy.

But for right now, I'm waiting for this semester to be over.  Two more weeks of classes and one of finals, and then I am happily, blissfully off work for three weeks.  Just got to get there.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 2.13...the week that would never end. (But did so pretty happily.)

Guys, I've got news for you.  Last week was kind of rough.

It was rough in the way that a day spent outside in mosquito country is rough.  A hundred little things that all line up to make you miserable. 

Sunday: We'd just gotten back from San Antonio, where we'd had a blast.  We went to bed, only to be woken a few hours later by what was perhaps the single most frightening (non-tornadic) thunderstorm I've ever been in.  The lightning was incredibly intense, and the wind just buffeted the house.  Dear Husband got up, unplugged the computers, came back to bed, rolled over, and went back to sleep.  I, on the other hand, laid there awake for an hour while it stormed.

Monday: I got to my office to an email from one of my students.  This student has had a very, very difficult time this semester, and is one of the ones that I've been constantly remembering in my prayers.  Life just got a bit more difficult for her.  Say a prayer for her. 

I went to see maternal-fetal medicine, and the doctor was incredibly...un-reassuring?  Certainly, he was not someone whose bedside manner was one that I appreciated it, and I was very grateful that he, at least, will not be delivering this baby! 
But I got to see Mogo, which was awesome.  This was the anatomy scans, so I got to watch her for almost forty-five minutes while they took almost a hundred pictures.  She kept her little hands in front of her face most of the time, but I could see them flex (and count all five fingers), and she already has big feet.  (That's Mommy's girl.)

Tuesday: I had to confront a student over a plagiarism case.   This is the second instance with this particular student, and said student was quite angry with me for the zero I gave the paper.  After all, unlike the first time, there was no copy/pasted material from elsewhere.  However, there were no in-text citations, and given that this was the second time? 

Tuesday also saw an email to the entire faculty list-serv from a disgruntled (former) student that I would really, really, love to parse down for you, but which I really can't.  Suffice it to say that I feel jaws were dropping all over campus, and it's possible someone may end up getting sued for libel.

Furthermore, Tuesday had another horrible storm that morning.  This flooded the garage again, despite the "fix" of a gutter that the landlord installed on the back of the house.  That's how hard it was raining, but it also managed to be raining sideways.  I ended up excusing absences for all of my students who couldn't make it to class, as the weather was that bad in spots (and I had students emailing me that they were flooded in, complete with picture documentation.)

Also, Tuesday let me know that we were going to have to register the Jeep in Texas...and therefore pay taxes on it.   Again.

Tuesday also saw me with another student who is having some issues.  I spent more than two hours with him in my office, in retention, and in counseling.  It was difficult.

Wednesday: We discovered that the garage had flooded.  I also had a terrible batch of papers turned in and many of them did not pass, which is always disheartening--but most of those that didn't pass didn't pass because they didn't follow the instructions.  (Thursday, I was informed by one of my students that he never gets on Canvas for anything.  I wanted to bang my head against the wall.)

Thursday: Plagiarism student informs me that he is intending to appeal his grade, and then spends the rest of the week pestering me for information about how to do so.  *pulls hair out*  Student has until tomorrow to get it in, as five business days are the limit. 

I also had a meeting Thursday afternoon, which went just fine, but I've come to the conclusion that people do not need to state the obvious.  Yes, I'm getting more and more pregnant by the day.  That does not mean that you need to draw attention to my expanding waistline in a room full of my colleagues.  

A new teaser for the new Star Wars movie dropped Thursday, which made me feel better.

Friday: I slept in.  I just gave up and slept, which believe me, I needed.  I finally dragged my butt out of bed about eleven-thirty, and that was when my week *really* got better.  I'd just finished eating something when my Gran called me to tell me that she and Bud were in San Antonio and would be in Corpus in about three hours.  (She said she'd called then to surprise me to make sure I wouldn't rush about doing things to get ready for them.  I ended up just managing to do all of that in a shorter amount of time.)

So Gran and Bud came by, which was the highlight of the week.  They've been on one of their adventures across the country, so they came in, Bud played with the kitties, they got some grapefruit off the tree.  The neighbor came over--because I know he just couldn't stand it that someone was over here and he didn't know who they were--and mistook Bud for my daddy.  Also, Mama, I've sent your Alamo magnets home with Gran. 

Gran and Bud had also brought six cartons of Ale-8, just in case they made it down here (they weren't sure that they would), so I now have 144 cans of Ale-8 left, as of today.  That ought--with any luck--run me through to the end of my pregnancy.  We went out to eat at Harrison's Landing, which had been recommended to me by a student, and is right by the Corpus Christi Yacht Club out in the marina.  It was very nice!  I had a summer salad that was to *die* for--I've never had feta that was that good.  DH had amberjack fish, which was interesting.  It was pretty firm, which I like better than a flaky fish.  (And Gran and Bud were there, so there's proof that I tried it.)  Gran had shrimp.  There were four on the plate, and that was all you needed.  These shrimp were almost the size of salad plates.  And Bud had fish and chips (only with onion rings)--fried catfish, which he said was also good.

They managed to get out of Corpus before the storms came through.  We spent part of that evening with a tornado watch down here and some nasty storms.  There were some weak tornadoes, but they all either went north of us, right between Corpus and Victoria, which was where they were staying, and one south of us.  They had to evacuate the Fiesta de la Flor festival downtown - this was a big festival celebrating the life and music of Selena, the pop star.  She was from Corpus Christi and was murdered here as well.

Saturday, DH spent the day cleaning out the Saturn, in preparation for selling it. He and his boss are taking it to the mechanic tomorrow to get it checked out.  Trust me, cleaning out that car was going above and beyond the call of duty. 

Sunday, we overslept and didn't make it to church, and given the week we'd had, I don't know that you can blame us!  But Sunday was also my parents' 31st wedding anniversary.

And today, I had so much to do, I didn't get this blog entry out in the morning.  But I can say that I am, for about five minutes, caught up with my grading, and I have a journal interested in an article I'm working on, so I have until July 15th to send it in.  I imagine that this is going to end up with me spending a day at TAMUCC using their library, since Del Mar doesn't have a lot of library resources (we're tiny---comparatively speaking--and you don't have a lot of really serious research going on here). 

So that has been the past week.  I'm really hoping that it calms down this week.  I see my regular OB tomorrow (and I should have even more new baby pictures, as they told me at the beginning that I would have a 20 week ultrasound--with video!--and believe it or not--I'm 19 weeks along.)  I have two and a half weeks of school left before I finally get a break, and believe me....after this week, I could use one.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 2.12 - Hanging around by the Alamo...

Friday at lunch, my husband was apparently wandering around the internet when he discovered that our favorite podcast, Welcome to Night Vale, was hosting a live show in San Antonio on Saturday night, and what was more important--there were tickets left.  (Given that this show typically sells out within hours of tickets being posted, this was nothing less than a small miracle.  Apparently, though, the show in San Antonio did not sell out, which says something, I think, about Texas.  More on that in a second.)  I'd already been horribly jealous of the BFF and her husband, who had gotten to see the show in Nashville last week. 

So I bought tickets, made some hotel reservations, and when DH got home, we packed up and headed for San Antonio, which is about two and a half hours away.  Mostly, this was to see the show, but I'd also always wanted to see the Alamo, and San Antonio has some very nice things to do, including a zoo and aquarium, and the river walk, so Saturday morning, we got up and headed into downtown.

The first thing we did, naturally,was visit the Alamo.  My mother had always told me that the Alamo was somewhat underwhelming, and I begin to understand what she meant.  The Alamo is literally in downtown San Antonio, on a fairly small plot of land.  That said, we were there during a very interesting exhibit about firearms, which delighted DH to no end.  Also, Santa Anna was a bastard, but I wonder if Travis could have made some better decisions himself.

One thing did irritate me a lot at the Alamo, and that had nothing to do with the Alamo itself, but everything to do with the anti-abortion protestors who showed up as we were leaving, with signs and rather descriptive shouting that turned my stomach. (There were children there at the Alamo.  I pity the parents that had to explain why these people thought Boko Haram and abortion clinics were the same.)  DH pointed out that engaging with them only meant that they won, but I was very angry.  (Again, asking myself What Would Jesus Do? I was reminded that flipping tables was not outside the realm of possibility.)  Passing judgment on passers-by and declaring that no one there wanted to repent (I assume they also meant me, the very obviously pregnant woman) also irritated me beyond belief.  I am against abortion--any one who knows me knows this.  But I also know that there are a lot of women out there who feel they have no other choice, and until you've made it so these women don't have to make that choice, you need to lay off.  What I wanted to do was to go up to them and ask them, point blank, what they were doing to help women in circumstances where they might be thinking about an abortion.  

I calmed down when we went to visit the river walk and got away from them.  The river winds its way through the city, and walking along it is very pleasant.  There are tons of restaurants--we had lunch at an Irish pub, and it was rather lovely.  We stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe and got me the requisite T-shirt.  I used to have quite a collection in college--I could go almost two weeks and wear a different Hard Rock shirt every day until I eventually wore them out and made them into a quilt.  Most of the river walk--at least on the river level itself, was restaurants, but there are some kitschy shops.  The Five and Dime amused me the most, though, because it was where I found an entire kiosk selling sequined hats. Naturally, I thought of my Mamaw Loretta and her sequined hats, so I took a photo and sent it to Dad, which he liked.  I had one of those sudden waves of--not grief, exactly--but of definitely missing her when I saw them. 

We saw some other interesting things, including this massive glass sculpture in an art glass store, which I promptly took a picture of for Mom. We passed by it again on our way out, as by about 1:30, we had walked several miles.  At that point, I was exhausted, my feet were swelling, and it was starting to rain (which incidentally chased away the anti-abortion protesters, and I'll let you make your own joke there), so we went back to the hotel for a while, and I promptly fell asleep.  Afterward, we indulged in the free dinner from the hotel, then headed back out to the show. 

The experience of the show was odd.  And I mean that in a way that was odd for me, not the normal oddity that is Welcome to Night Vale (which, if you're unfamiliar with it, is a podcast that basically combines NPR with H.P. Lovecraft and is delightful).  I had, naturally, brought my Night Vale t-shirt that my in-laws bought for me last year, so I was ready for the show in my "All Hail the Glow Cloud" t-shirt. My geek colors were flying, and I've never had a problem with that before, so why would I now?

At the same time, I've never had the experience of getting to a geek event...and being the most normal person there.  I am a person who goes to Star Trek conventions in uniform.  We got into line to get into the theater, and I realized that DH and I were the oldest non-chaperoning people there.  There were a lot of teeny boppers, usually with strange hair-dos, and drawn on third eyes and tattoos (which only makes sense if you've been part of the online fandom of Night Vale, and even if you are--as I have been--is still somewhat irritating).  One girl came in with a Glow Cloud umbrella, and half the audience called out "ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD" in unison.  I had on my Glow Cloud t-shirt, and had people pointing at me and calling "All Hail" at me, which was somewhat disconcerting (particularly since I was not the only person there with this t-shirt).  We felt quite out-numbered.  Welcome to fandom after 30, I suppose.

The show itself was excellent.  It's neat to be able to put faces to the voices I've been hearing for all this time, and it was very entertaining to be, somewhat, part of a Night Vale story.  The musical guest was not terrific--DH kept cringing.  The baby, who had danced halfway to San Antonio to the music her daddy was playing (and singing along with), moved once during the entire musical performance, and was apparently equally unimpressed.

We'd thought about going to the zoo today, but I was sore and tired when I woke up and it was pouring the rain, so we came on home, which was fine.  San Antonio is close enough that you can make a day trip to the zoo if you want, so we may do that at another time.  We got home, and I promptly fell asleep--so soundly that when DH came to try to wake me up, I was completely unresponsive and he decided just to let me sleep.  I overdid this weekend, but we had a lot of fun.

I have an appointment with maternal-fetal medicine tomorrow to have the anatomy scan for the baby, to ensure that everything's okay.  I'm more than a little nervous about this, so say a prayer that everything is just fine, and that I don't completely freak out between now and then.  (This was probably a good weekend for a trip, as it kept my mind off things.)  Other than that, I have quite a bit of grading to do that I would have (maybe) done this weekend, and a meeting on Thursday.   The semester is drawing to a close--thank goodness--because I am definitely looking forward to some time off.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Week 2.11 - An actual update

The baby wants pineapple again.

This is problematic only because I have to pace myself.  I love pineapple, but if I eat too much of it, I'll give myself mouth sores.  But I'll let you guess what I just had as an afternoon snack.

(Also, sausage balls may be the perfect food.  Protein, dairy, and carbs, all wrapped up into one.  And so delicious.)

Anyway, in what has actually happened this week, versus a post that is me complaining about my neighbor.  I finished conferences with my 1301 students last week, so conferencing is finally done this semester (yay!)  I have no idea what I'm going to do about conferences for next semester, except perhaps have them when I get back to catch up with my students. 

My Brit Lit students have done Milton the last few class sessions, which has been great fun and in which I've been able to show off a bit.  We're getting into the realm of literature that is my expertise.  This class runs through the long 18th century, which is one of my areas, so from here on out, I should be able to do a lot with the material.  Certainly, I won't have to prep so much.  (Though we're doing Dryden tomorrow, and that I will have to bone up on a little.)

Mogo did her jumping about thing in church again Sunday, though more so, and I suspect it had something to do with the brass quintet we had for Easter.  I think the organ, and the brass (and her daddy's voice) resonate at a frequency that she can hear, and she gets very excited.  Of course, that meant I was once again trying not to laugh through the homily.  But Easter service was very nice--the church was packed, and I hope our priests took a well-deserved post-Holy Week day off yesterday.

Of other interest has been a continuing argument that's been going on on the Victoria listserv, centering around a manifesto put forth by something known as the V21 Collective.  If any members of the V21 Collective are on the listserv, they've been curiously quiet as their manifesto has been--well, not torn to shreds...Victorians seem to absorb some of the manners of the era...but certainly debated strenuously.  With the exception of a email at the beginning of the argument (which I really didn't say much in), I've stayed out of it and just watched as scholars far more important than myself have been debating this for the last two weeks.  It's been quite an eye-opener, and it is very interesting that not many are jumping to defend this manifesto. 

I've also sent a paper abstract out to a journal with an eye for their special issue.  Wish me luck.

I've mentioned that I'm on the program review committee for the department, and that has continued to be an enlightening experience.  My section is fairly easy, as it deals with curriculum mobility and integration--basically, how do our classes fit in to other programs at the college and across the state and can people transfer to a 4-year university easily and with minimal loss of credit (the answer is yes, as Texas has a state-mandated core curriculum, and all but one of our classes have been approved as core courses.)  My other colleagues have been dealing with trickier issues, like cost-effectiveness and personnel management.  It's been interesting to hear their reports about how our program is running--which it's running just fine--but it really gives you an inside look at how the nuts and bolts of this stuff really work.  Most faculty, I don't think, ever give much consideration to the actual dispersal of funds and where they go (other than to perhaps complain about funds going places we think they ought not go).  So learning how the finances of not just the department but the college itself has been very enlightening.  I'm not sure I ever want to be an administrator, but it's good to know these things.  The more knowledge the better, and certainly, the more the faculty knows about these sort of things, the better we can support our faculty administrators (like department chairs).

(I just realized how very academic-sounding that last sentence was.)

I have an appointment with maternal fetal medicine on Monday to do the anatomy scan for the baby, so say a prayer that everything continues as it has gone--just fine.  I have been feeling dizzy and weak here and there--standing for too long can really make the room swim--so it's something I want to discuss, but my reading says that it's not uncommon for that to happen in the second trimester, particularly for women who have low blood pressure (which I always have), because your blood pressure actually lowers in pregnancy (because you have to make more and sometimes it doesn't keep up, etc.).  Anyway, I'm now trying to keep a snack and some water with me at all times, so if it's a blood sugar thing, I can spike it back up, and if it's a dehydration thing, I'm combating that constantly--and that's all I can do.  But I should have new pictures of Mogo on Monday.

There was also no joy in Mudville this week--or I should say, couches were set on fire in Lexington when my Wildcats lost, and we were quite upset here.  (Duke winning the championship only added insult to injury, though Dear Husband said that if we had to lose, better to Wisconsin than Duke, and I think he's right.)  In any case, it's now baseball season, and my Reds won their first game yesterday, and I get MLB at Bat free through T-Mobile, so I can listen to all the games--and listen to them from WLW, so I'm getting Marty and Jeff (and listening to the same commentary that my daddy is).  And baseball is so calming after the excitement of basketball season.  (Some would say boring, but they don't know what they're talking about.)

So now you see why yesterday's post was cut in two.  It hasn't seemed eventful, but looking back, a lot seems to have happened.  But since it's Tuesday when I'm writing this, maybe next week's will be shorter?  (I doubt it.)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 2.11 - Won't you be my neighbor?

If good fences make good neighbors, I think I need a wall.

Dear Husband lived on top of a mountain most of his life, so he likes being away from other people, and I begin to understand where he's coming from.  Despite the fact that I have lived most of my life in one subdivision or another, I think I've been very fortunate that most of our neighbors have left us the hell alone.  We certainly got spoiled in Murfreesboro, when we lived next to the local NPR station director, who always said hi when he saw us, occasionally engaged in conversation (and God bless his heart, mowed the whole yard for the duplex).  I rarely saw his wife, but she was always pleasant when I did speak to her.

Fast forward to Corpus Christi.  Our neighbor was over the very next day after I moved in, which was fine.  I can understand wanting to know who has moved into your neighborhood, though it took me fifteen minutes to extricate myself from the conversation.  But over the last seven months, he has slowly started to drive me crazy, because he has stepped over the line from tactless to rude.

Example the first:  He is constantly inviting us to church with him.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I have expressed (as has DH) that we have a home church in town and that we are quite happy with it.  Despite this, the invitations have continued to the point of being annoying.  Yes, I understand that he likes his church a lot (which is odd, as he's in his fifties and the church is for people thirty and under--which DH and I are coming up on the edge of), but at some point, don't you have to stop?  I've tried being as polite as I can in turning him down, but I feel my patience wearing thin.  I did look in to his church--I did.  But I have no intention of rejoining an evangelical church any time soon, and honestly, it would just give him more opportunity to poke into our lives.  I've thought about inviting him to church with us every time he invites us to his, but I'm afraid he might take me up on it.  (Yes, I am a horrible person, and I'm not acting very Christ-like.  We'll get to that.)

Example the second: Any conversation with him takes at least five minutes to extricate yourself from.  I think we all know people like that.

Example the third:  I came home from work last week and he stopped me on my way into the house to inform me that he's getting a divorce.  (In seven months, I've met his wife once.)  I expressed my sorrow over the situation--it's not something you want anyone to ever have to go through--and that was my mistake, as I got the entire tale about how his wife has apparently been lying to him for the last twenty-some years.  (Again, I've met his wife once.)  He seems to have moved down to Corpus to stay for a while, while she stays on their ranch in Austin, and he's got the oldest boy with him right now. 

Example the fourth:  This is the one that has sent me on this not so short rant.  This morning, I was in the car and backing out of my driveway when he appeared out of my passenger blind spot and motioned for me to roll down the mirror.  (I am on my way to work at 7:20 in the morning.  I work at the college, which he well knows, and given traffic in this town, could have made me late, despite my early start.)  He asked if we had sold the Saturn yet, as he has a buddy who is looking for a car.  We've already promised it to the daughter of DH's boss, and I let him know that, thanking him for looking out for us.

This is when he asked, "Well, how much did you get for it?"

I beg your pardon.

I said, "We haven't made any solid deals yet, as we're waiting on the title." (Which we are, but it got processed today, so it should be here soon.)

He returned, "Well, like approximately."

I smiled as best I could for having been out of the bed fifteen minutes and said, "I really don't talk about these things."  Which is true.  The only people who get that info are a) members of my family and b) my very bestest best friend in the whole wide world (our favorite Snarky Writer), and he fits into neither of those categories!  (This is also why we paid through the nose to have HR Block do our taxes this year, rather than asking him, the only CPA we know down here to do it, because we knew good and well that as soon as he got that return, our financial information would be all over the neighborhood.)

He seemed to take the hint that I was done talking, which was good, because if he hadn't, he was in serious danger of getting his foot run over if he didn't stop leaning on my BRAND NEW CAR.  DH just sighed and shook his head when I told him about it at lunch today.  (I am really, really just hoping that he does not see DH come home tonight and go, "Hey, you all are from Kentucky, right?  How about that game?"  I don't have the money to bail my husband out of jail.)

Which brings me back to the point I had mentioned from earlier--this is all not very Christ-like of me (though in thinking about What Would Jesus Do?, I am reminded that flipping tables and chasing people about with a whip is not outside the realm of possibility).

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and during the Easter Sunday service, as a congregation, we renew our baptismal vows, much like we do on Sundays when someone is baptized or confirmed.  The priest asks: "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?"

It's one of several profound statements in the baptismal vows, and in my irritation today with my neighbor (and the cashier at Walmart, who didn't say so much as a word to me), those words have come back to haunt me.  How do you love someone who is, at least to you, so very unlovable?  The answer, of course, is in the congregation's response to the question: "I will, with God's help."  I am, myself, often loud, abrasive, and irritating to be around.  I am often grumpy and/or cranky, occasionally mercurial, can hold a hell of a grudge, and am far too lazy for my own good (or that of anyone else's).  And yet, that's the whole message of Easter, isn't it?  That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Sometimes, though, you just want to throw a stink bomb into his garage.  Apparently, I have a long way to go.

This has hardly been the highlight of my week, but as this post has already grown far too long...more tomorrow (that might actually recap the last week).