We take Halloween very seriously too

I posted this three years ago. An update on what you will read: I still have not learned Latin (BAD SHAWNA!), and we still haven’t gone on the Haunted Chicago’s My Bloody Valentine Tour because it’s too damned cold! Tonight we will be having a romantic dinner at home: lasagna, salad, homemade bread, and sundaes, and we’ll watch The Olympics. May be we’ll get in a macabre movie or two over the weekend. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

You remember the TV show Freaks and Geeks? It had the tagline: “What High School was like for the rest of us?” This is what Valentine’s Day is for the rest of us, whose romantic tastes fall on the more….macabre and nerdy side of things.

I should preface this that for our first date My Then-Best-Friend-Morping-into-My-Boyfriend took me on The Haunted Chicago Tour (the first date weekend also included Neil Gaiman and Shaun of the Dead). It was perfect. Even if you’re not a believer of things that go bump in the night, The Haunted Chicago Tour is worth the money because of all of the weird, macabre, and gory Chicago history that you learn during this 2.5 hours. But I’m a believer of things that go bump in the night, so I was really hoping to see the monk ghosts who supposedly haunt Hull House. Everyone else was trying to see Demon Baby up in the second story window while I was wondering around the garden outside of the house praying to see monk ghosts. I should also mention the year before when My Best Friend was trying woo me, so he could become My Boyfriend, he lent me Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and American Gods to show me he was interested. Our first date fell around his birthday, so I brought along Anansi’s Boys for his present, then we went on The Haunted Chicago Tour (and watched Shaun of the Dead). That’s who we are.

February is one brutal month of Chicago, and I got my first taste when I flew up to spend one of the weekends around Valentine’s Day with The Boyfriend. The highs that weekend were two degrees. We’d just gotten together, and hadn’t seen each for over two weeks, so cuddling for warmth on the couch watching movies sounded romantic (and warm) for both of us. Did we watch Casablanca? Ever After? Sleepless in Seattle? Oh hell no. Here was our “romantic” movie line-up: Donnie Darko, Being John Malkovich, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Groudhog Day. We may have watched a couple of Pixar movies because we totally love Pixar. Knowing us: The Incredibles was also on the line-up. We did brave the frigid Chicago weather for a wonderful meal at Gioco’s. But that’s not what I remember. What I remember are airplane engines falling out of the sky, people taking over John Malkovich, and Bill Murphy committing suicide and taking Phil with him.

This picture was NOT taken in February

Then there was our first Valentine’s Day as Husband and Wife. Sometime before February (and yes the weather was brutal), we were watching Mythbusters, and Kari was wearing a shirt that said Geek. And Geek was written in Greek letters. I blew out one of The Hubby’s eardrums by jumping up and down on the couch and yelling and screeching: “I HAVE TO HAVE THAT SHIRT!” You see, being the total nerdy dork I am, Greek was my favorite subject in college, and I pursued an M.A. that was almost nothing but Greek and Hebrew. I’ve called myself a Greek Geek for years. I. HAD. TO. HAVE. THAT. TSHIRT. And guess what The Hubby gave me for Valentine’s Day? Yeah baby. (I don’t remember where we ate out at.)

Another Valentine’s Day I received a collection of books to teach myself Latin because a couple of weeks before I had mentioned that I love learning dead languages, and I wanted to add Latin to Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. The Hubby is my biggest supporter when it comes to learning more geeky subjects and becoming a bigger nerd. God, I love that man. (Don’t remember where we ate at.)

Tonight we’ll be staying in and watching Being Human and Castle. Because that’s just who we are. We’ll be going out to Gioco’s for dinner on Wednesday because we don’t want to deal with all the crowds (and next year I probably won’t remember where we ate at). It’s who we are. And may be next year we’ll go on Haunted Chicago’s My Bloody Valentine Tour (scroll down about half way down the page).

C’mon, you know you want to join us.

Now I am off to write a wonderfully macabre Valentine poem for my nerdy macabre Husband.

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In June I will be leading a workshop at the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus’ biannual meeting, The Gathering. I am now on the website listed as a presenter! At my first national conference! Thanks to marrying a man whose last name begins with an A, I am the second presenter listed here (not that I would’ve been much further down as my family name begins with a B).

I also want to apologize for not getting this week’s post on a spiritual practice up. Although I love the thunderstorms that happen when two masses of air that are very different temperatures collide, my head does not appreciate the 30 degree drop in temperature or the wacky things it does to the barometric pressure. So after enjoying a glorious thunderstorm Sunday night with lots of lightning over the lake, I had a two day migraine to begin the week. Then I slowly began playing catch up as my sinuses are still touchy. Next week we will be looking at the spiritual practice of lectio divina. As it looks like there is going to be a lot of pretty weather, at least in the USA (and a three day weekend to boot), those of you in America can try out last week’s spiritual discipline, contemplative walking on this long weekend, if you didn’t get a chance to practice it this week.

For all of those who died serving our country, Godde, we pray:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father [and Mother], in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give you thanks for all your servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them your mercy and the light of your presence; and give us such a lively sense of your righteous will, that the work which you have begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

 

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Hello Company Girls and RevGals! Although I don’t know where the summer went fall is my favorite time of the year, and I’m very happy it’s on our doorstep. At RevGals for the Friday Five kathrynzj asked: What are 5 things that the beginning of September mean to you?

  1. HALLOWEEN IS IN 32 DAYS!
  2. I get to dress up!
  3. Brilliant fall leaves
  4. The wild feel the wind gets in the fall.
  5. CREATIVITY: this is my most creative time of the year.

Not much has happened this week. I spent some down time after all the traveling we did in August. Maid service came in and gave the place a good scrubbing, and I am so happy everything is clean, and I feel like I can keep up now. The hot and muggy weather is back, so The Hubby and I decided to stay in this weekend. Plus we have plenty of projects to work on. I did buy hot dogs and we are ready to go on grilled dogs and burgers.

Happy Labor Day to those in the U. S., and I hope everyone has a good weekend.

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We had a great time in Vegas and saw some incredible magicians. There are no pictures of the performances because cameras and video weren’t allowed. We saw Joshua Jay’s show Unreal. He’s a wonderful storyteller, and has quite the story himself. Two years ago he was in a water skiing accident, broke his left arm in two places and seven bones in his wrist. He was told he’s never get full use of his hand back, which is a career ender for a magician. But he’s using his left hand, and his magic was flawless (My Magician Hubby may disagree with that: he knows what to look for. This laywoman doesn’t know better and doesn’t want to know better). If you get a chance to see him, go. He’s very talented, and he has some good takes on classic illusions.

The final night we saw Carnival of Wonders with Kalin and Jinger. So, so, so incredible. Made ever more incredible because they hadn’t done the show for over a year and pulled it all together in TWO MONTHS! How they did it, only Godde knows, but it was fun and magical and memorable. I loved it.

I also spent a lot of quality time at the pool. I finally had a mojito, and they are wonderful. It’s a nice light drink with refreshing mint–an almost perfect poolside pool drink. But my favorite poolside drink is the pina colada: it’s hard to beat coconut goodness on a hot sunny day. I got some work done Monday: wrote three pages on the novel then I went on vacation after that. I slept in, ate big breakfasts at one of the hotel restaurants (my favorite being the Courtyard Cafe, and their courtyard French Toast: a cinnamon sticky bun French Toast layered with strawberries, blueberries, and syrup.) Went to the pool where I swam, napped, watched people. Got all dressed up to go to shows at night. Didn’t have to cook or clean. It was wonderful.

I read an incredible novel on vacation: Lady Lazarus. It’s an urban fantasy (magic set in this world, normally in a city). The protagonist, Magdalena Lazarus is a Jewish witch, descended from the witch of Endor, living in Budapest in 1939, right before Hitler invades Poland and starts WW2. Magdalena’s sister has a vision foretelling Hitler’s atrocities, and Magdalena moves into action to find an ancient family volume that could stop Hitler. The oldest daughter of the Lazarus family also has a special talent: she can come back from the dead. I loved this book. It was a great story with very real and human characters. It combined my two great loves: the Bible and magic successfully, and I thought did justice to both of them. It turned out to be the perfect read for a theologian attending a magic conference.

And now the pictures:

The Hubby and I all dressed up for the opening festivities

 

The Magic Shop where magicians bought their wares

 

Our friend Gabe selling magical products. Gabe also writes books about magic.

 

Magic Magazine puts on Magic LIVE every other year

 

Magicians trading Magic Magazine cover cards like baseball cards

 

The Pool at the Orleans

 

The Spa/Whirlpool/Hot Tub

 

Me, poolside

 

We had a view of The Strip from our room

 

Room view at night

 

The couple on the right are magician legends, Nani & Mark Wilson. They were the first to bring magic into your living room with their show, Magic Land of Allakazam. I also got their autograph. They were so gracious and patient with all of us!

 

The crowd for the first show for Carnival of Wonders

I have coffee Company Girls, but need to go shopping, so not much else. Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

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Hello all! The Hubby and I are in Las Vegas on vacation. We’re hear for the Magic LIVE conference. The Hubby is attending most of the seminars and classes. I’m attending the performances, but I don’t want to know how anything is done, because I want it to be magic. Needless to say I’m staying far away from anything that might ruin my fantasy.

I have found a perfect spot by the pool to work and swim. And I do actually work! I spend 30 minutes writing then go swim for awhile. Write 30 more minutes, then more swimming. To be honest, it’s amazing how productive you can be that way! I wrote 3 pages in an hour of work yesterday, poolside with a pina colada (I ordered a mojito but the bar was out of fresh mint. To be honest: the mojito has a pretty tall order to fill to be a better poolside drink than the pina colada).

If you stay at the Orleans, you have to go to the Courtyard Cafe and order the strawberries and cream. It’s divine and makes the perfect breakfast.

Last night we went to this incredible magic performance. It was a magic show for the blind! We were all blindfolded and led into the parlor. The magic was done by touch and listening. It was fabulous. And to hold objects in your hands then have the magic happen when nothing has left your hand, and you’ve just followed instructions is just mind-blowing. Tonight is more close-up magic plus the Magic Museum. It’s so much fun.

I do have an announcement to make. The 12th Century B.C.E. Career Woman was featured in September’s Biblical Studies Carnival, hosted at Exploring Our Matrix, the blog of Dr. James McGrath. My post is under the Textbooks and Literature section. I haven’t had time to read who else was chosen for the Carnival, and I doubt I’ll make it over this week. If you see anything there you’d think I’d like, let me know in the comments.

I hope everyone is having a good week, and I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures:

The Hubby and I at Sunday night's opening festivities

We have a lovely view of The Strip from a room

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Good morning Company Girls and RevGals! The Hubby and I are getting ready to leave for Las Vegas tomorrow for the Magic LIVE conference. There are classes and lots of performances. I plan on going to the performance, but I don’t want to be at anything where I might learn secrets. I don’t want to know how it’s done because I want what I see to be magic. We’re staying at the Orleans, which has a beautiful pool. When I’m not attending magic performances, you will find me poolside with a book and the notebook I’m writing my novel in, and an alcoholic beverage might be beside me as well. I’ve been saying for the last few months I plan on being poolside with a book and a mojito. But I’ve never had a mojito. Mojito is just fun to say: Mo-heeee-toe. So next week, I am going to see if I actually like mojitos, and if that would be my poolside, book reading beverage of choice.

This has been a great week. I’ve gotten a lot done. For three weeks in a row I posted to my blog, so I’m back to regular posting! Whoo-hoo! This week’s post is on Jesus and Syrio-Phoenician woman. For churches that follow the lectionary, this is the Gospel Reading, and I thought one of my takes and a friend’s take on the passage might help some pastors who want to preach the Gospel reading. I also wrote seven pages on the novel! And started translating Colossians for the upcoming editorial meeting I have with The Christian Godde Project. Plus there was all the shopping and glamming up to go to Vegas: I got a haircut and my brows done. Tonight I need to paint my fingernails. The toes still look great from the pedicure I got while we were in Nebraska.

Today I need to make a Target run to get the last few things we need and clean the house, so the cat sitter doesn’t have to walk into a mess (and I don’t have to come home to a mess). I want to write a few more pages on the novel today too, since I didn’t work on it yesterday.

Here is the reason why I thought today would be a good day for the Company Girls and the RevGals to get together. Terri made gratitude the RevGal Friday Five this week. She shared this powerful May Oliver poem then issued a challenge:

The Place I Want To Get Back To

is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let’s see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts bestowed,
can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named
Gratitude.

(Mary Oliver, “Thirst”, Beacon Press, 2006)

For this Friday Five I invite you to offer five gratitudes you recognize in your life.

Here are my five:

  1. We get to take a vacation this year! (It’s been 2 years.)
  2. The migraines are under control.
  3. I’m back to writing and I have some great creative mojo flowing through me.
  4. My husband: I waited a long time to get married, and he was worth every second of the wait. I am his ezer cenegdo: the power equal to him.
  5. The gorgeous weather we’ve been having Chicago and getting out and enjoying it.

I have a favor to ask: if you have sometime this weekend, could you read my post on Martha: The New Testament Church: Built by homemakers like Martha? I’d love to get some feedback on it. Thank you.

What are you grateful for?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Kathryn writes about vacations and staycations:

I’m wrapping up a two week vacation that has taken me from beach to basement.

WHAT?

It’s true, I took a week off of work to clean out the basement. Sadly, to look at a before/after photo would not make it look like my time had been used wisely. Just about everything is still down there, it’s just in a different pile. BUT… our church rummage sale this year is going to be very, very blessed.

I’m wondering if anyone else out there takes a week off of work to do a different kind of work:

1) Have you ever ‘staycationed’ in order to work on a project? If no, would you?

Yes. In fact, a couple of years ago I took the week between Christmas and New Year in order to clean out the office and other odd jobs that needed to be done but never got done.

2) What project did you or would you tackle first?

The office needs to be shoveled out and organized again. It’s the place where we throw everything that doesn’t have a home.

3) Any other projects?

I would also like to clean out the cupboards in the kitchen and get some things arranged in a more natural order of how I use it. Oh and filing–the mountains of filing that need to be done. Oomph.

4) What are the pitfalls of a staycation for you?

I don’t work on the projects, I use it as an excuse to watch TV and movies.

5) Never mind this staying at home business, where do you want to go and what do you want to do there?

I want to go to Ireland, rent a place and stay for three or four months. Living, writing, and exploring. In fact that is my long term game plan: to pick a region and go there live there for a few months then come back home. Ireland is just a the top of the list.

You can see what projects other RevGals are up to here.

 

 

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