Friday, May 20, 2011

It's the End!!

So Shay over at BGIM reminded me that today is the day before the last day.  I am cracking up just typing that.  

I've seen the billboards while driving but I really just didn't care enough to investigate who was behind them.  Why?

This Harold Camping guy put me through a lot of shit already back in 1994.  I was getting ready to enter the 7th grade and this dude had me straight convinced that the world was most definitely coming to an end.  I'd listen to his call in show every night on Family Radio (one of the few radio stations that my parents sanctioned) before bed and hear this crazy nut case rant and rave about how according to his calculations, the world was coming to an end in September.  Right before the new school year started. 

Oh, to be sure, I was on my p's and q's.  I was praying.  Reading my Bible.  Fasting.  Getting right with the Lord.  Doing anything and everything I could to make sure that when Christ returned and the roll was called up yonder, I would be there.  I was worried, ya'll.  Stressed because despite knowing (or hoping with all my heart) that I was saved, I wasn't completely sure and what about everyone else?

My mom tried to reassure me.  Telling me that Christ would come back as a thief in the night and that no one knoweth the time nor the hour but boy, that Camping sure was convincing.  And I was impressionable.  

Look, man, I don't know why this dude is still on the air and why after the first prediction did not come true, they'd give this guy the platform to make another wrong prediction?  Who really cares if the world is ending tomorrow?  What can you do about that?  Who knows if the world will end at all?  They say all things come to an end but they also say that God has always existed and will always exist.  I mean, the whole thing is just so outside of our cognitive reach as human beings, does it really make sense to contemplate it?  

I certainly have better things to do with my last 24 hours.  

One thing I really loved when I was trodding RastafarI and I really like about Buddhism is the concept that judgment is not some impending thing.  Your judgment is already taking place the very moment you commit an act.  So I'm not worried in the least bit.  Let the cards fall where they may.   And I hope that on May 22, 2011, they finally kick this dude off the air.  Stop polluting our airwaves and giving people agita.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Comparing my Travel Mugs

So, yes, this is another post about hot beverages.  What can I say?  I like to drink hot things.  Even in summer.  An avowed tea lover must travel with her tea and so in this post, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite things:  travel mugs.  I have two insulated travel mugs which I love dearly.  Each of them has qualities that I really like. 

The first travel mug I ever purchased was the Contigo 16-Ounce Double Wall Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler.  (I have the green one, green being my favorite color.)  The best thing about this mug is that you absolutely cannot spill it (it doesn't leak at all) and having two young children, this is a seriously good thing.  It keeps tea warm for about 2 hours although it claims to keep hot drinks hot for four hours and cold beverages cold for 12 (but granted I have never tried a cold drink in it). Two hours is not bad but it's not great either.  Really, the only problem with this mug is that it's terribly difficult to clean the lid.  It's one solid piece so no matter what I do, it won't get totally clean.  The best I can do for it it so soak it in warm, soapy water.  I avoid putting coffee or other strongly flavored hot beverages (like the instant ginger tea I sometimes have) in it because I can't get rid of the taste.  

Now, just to show you how serious I am about my hot tea . . . 
One Saturday, I left my Contigo mug at work.  Not being able to imagine going a whole week without my mug, I went back to my workplace on Sunday to try to retrieve it.  Now, if you know me, you know I hate to drive but I was willing to make the trip for my mug.  As luck would have it, the building I work in was locked and I couldn't get in so there I was.  Stuck.  With no mug.  I decided to head over to Target and see if I could get something comparable.  I would have been happy with another Contigo but I was open because I was not completely satisfied with it.  

So I went to to Target and headed over to that section.  They had lots of options but I wasn't really familiar with the other brands (or they were lined with plastic which is a total no-go for something that will be used exclusively to hold hot beverages).  I ended up picking the Thermos Sipp 16-Ounce Stainless Steel Travel Tumbler.  I expected to pay about $25 for it but when the cashier scanned it, it rang up as being $12.  Far be it from me to argue.  I skipped out of there with my new mug thinking I couldn't go wrong with a $12 Thermos brand mug.  And I was right!  Heck, I would happily have paid full price for it.  It keeps my tea hot--really hot--for hours and hours and hours.  Even if I leave some hot tea in it overnight, it will still have some warmth to it in the morning.  I love the way the thing looks and since you can take apart the lid completely, it's very easy to clean.  When it's properly closed, it does not spill or leak--not even a little bit.  And that's perhaps the only drawback: you can spill it and I have a few times.  To drink, you have to depress a button at the top.   There have been times I've forgotten to press the button to close it again and the way the button is, it's difficult to tell sometimes if the top is open or closed.  Also, there are two slits on either side that you can drink from so you have to actually look at the top to make sure you're putting your mouth on the right place or else you can spill it on yourself.  Oh, and then there was that time I forgot to put the lid back together before screwing it onto the top of the mug and hot tea spilled all over the contents of my bag but that's hardly Thermos' fault.  So all-in-all, I have to be a bit more mindful when using the Thermos mug but I think I prefer it to the Contigo just because it works so well at keeping tea hot.  This helps me tremendously because I really like hot tea.  It makes me have to slow down and savor the drink which means that I am less likely to drink more tea which is good because I like to put a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of French vanilla coconut milk creamer in every 16 ounce cup of tea I drink and that adds up in terms of Weight Watchers points.  Also, drinking tea keeps me from mindlessly eating.

So yes, in the contest between the travel mugs I currently own, Thermos wins but I recommend both of them.  

On another note, yesterday at the thrift store, I found a French press.  Now, before my coffee maker's decanter broke, I would not have had the faintest idea of what a French press does but since I had to do research on appliance-free ways to make tea, I discovered it.  It's the Shin Bistro by Bodum and I bought it for $4.99.  This morning I used it for the first time and we had the best tasting coffee ever!  I'm sold!  :)

Yay for hot beverages!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Review: The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

I wasn't sure if I should read The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan after just finishing The Road.  I thought it might be too much sorrow and suffering but surprisingly, it was the perfect book.  I mean, I really enjoyed reading it.  It was uplifting and so full of . . . love.  My spirit felt buoyed after reading it.

Ms. Corrigan was diagnosed with breast cancer and this book chronicles her journey.  But honestly, the cancer was a backdrop to the wonderful story of her life:  a life where family (both the family you're born into or create and the one you build made up of friends) is pivotal and is, at the end of the day, all that really matters.

I don't have much to say about The Middle Place except that it was such an enjoyable read.  I thought at times that Ms. Corrigan didn't take the cancer seriously enough but I know that's not true having read her other book Lift.  I thought, in a weird, twisted way, that she was fortunate that her father (and you can feel the love and devotion she has for him) had cancer while she had cancer because it forced her to not be hyper-focused on her own suffering.  I think that made all the difference in the energy that permeates her story.

I mean, the book touched me.  I think Ms. Corrigan is an engaging person--someone I'd like to be friends with.  She's had an interesting life and so much of how she approached the whole thing is how I would have approached it.  She's not particularly faith-filled (though she was raised by two people with unshakeable faith in God like me) and yet, she made it through something as harrowing as cancer.  Also, in that time before she knew it was cancer, she had the horrible thought that maybe she wanted to have cancer just to see how she'd perform.  Now, my life has had some bumps and bruised but I've never been tested to that extent.  It's kind of a sick admission . . . I was relieved to see that that I'm not the only one who has ever thought those kind of thoughts.  And then there's the children issue:  how she knew all her life that she wanted to have lots and lots of children and how she was faced with the possibility that it might not happen.   And how irritating it can be when people say, "You should just be grateful for your two" because it's not that you're not grateful for what you have.  It's not that at all.  It's that you're so grateful for the experience of meeting these wonderful small people--flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood--you want to meet as many of them as you can.  

So, yes, I identified strongly with Ms. Corrigan and I'm so happy to have read her book at this point in my life.  I've had it for a while (picked it up at the thrift store some time ago).  It was nice to read a book without feeling the pressure of a due date.  And I need all the low-pressure uplift I can get.
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