The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Archive for the ‘Everything Else’ Category

I Feel a Bit of Craftiness Coming On

The first ten people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

– I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
– What I create will be just for you.
– It’ll be done this year (2009).
– You have no clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something over the internet. It may be a mixed CD. It may be a poem. It may be a mask or a pan of brownies or a sculpture made of melted crayons. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

Here’s the fine print:

You can respond even if you aren’t tagged.

In return, all you need to do is post this text into a note of your own and make 10 crafty things for 10 others.

Five things I’m grateful for today:

  • Atkinson Memorial Church (UU)
  • Naps
  • Good Dog Gwyneth meeting me at the back door
  • Diet Pepsi – lots of Diet Pepsi
  • The Beloved Jenny and the lunch I hope she is going to make me
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25 (truly) Random Things About Pat

Well, FINALLY someone won the contest. My birth date is readily available both on my blog and on my Facebook page but NOBODY (except for the ineligible) was able to figure it out. Until tonight. Pat probably looked up my records in the church files but so what, she wins. So, tonight, my random fact generator goes to work on Pat.

  1. Pat is the leader of Chrysalis, the women’s writing community in Clackamas County. So I know she is already getting out her blue pencil to find all the errors in my grammar and punctuation. Fortunately, I spell fairly well.
  2. Pat used to be a pirate. Really. Well, at least that’s what the arrest warrants say.
  3. She was actually with Greenpeace and chained herself to whaling vessels. Odd way to make a living but not the oddest I’ve heard. The oddest was probably beheading chickens.
  4. I found out about Pat’s pirate past when she offered me the name of a good criminal attorney in Peru. I was just going to go meet my daughter’s inlaws, I was not planning any major heists or even small sprees. I was just going to Peru to see ruins, speak bad Spanglish, and drink Pisco Sours with my daughter and her husband’s family. So I thought the offer of a good criminal attorney was a very odd thing.
  5. Pat has had three books published, all on weird factoids about the natural world of the Pacific Northwest. It took years, but she finally got a royalty check.
  6. Pat has probably, almost certainly, touched a slug on purpose.
  7. However, she did not know that slugs in the Oneonta Gorge have no predators so they don’t make your tongue numb if you lick them. No, I have not done this.
  8. Pat has a 14 year old daughter who is busy reminding the whole world that she will get her driver’s permit very, very soon. Pat is in denial about this. She needs to get over it. Car mitzvah is the only truly American rite of passage for young people.
  9. Pat has written a truly amazing book, sort of an environmental thriller, but she has yet to get it ready to make the rounds. Of course, I should not talk about this as I am even further behind than she is.
  10. Pat is an atheist, or maybe an agnostic. One of the those ‘A’ words. But she is a Unitarian Universalist evangelist and that is truly weird. Even oxymoronic.
  11. Pat is also the office administrator of the church. Go figure.
  12. She spends most of her day putting one person (usually me, I’m sure) on hold while other people call her. It’s a busy church.
  13. Pat is also a freelance editor. She and I both find many scholarly books just too precious for words.
  14. Letterboxing is one of Pat’s odder pursuits. If you don’t know what this is, I would consider Google.
  15. She has placed several letterboxes. I know where some of them are.
  16. Pat is tall and thin. I am short and fat. When she gave a sermon on her life as a pirate, we wore pirate garb. We looked quite strange and made the real minister, who was in the audience, quite worried. Until we took the pirate stuff off. We were dressed, appropriately I’ll have you know.
  17. Pat is a knitter or a crocheter or one of those handy yarn crafts. She comes to knitting group anyway.
  18. She likes to hike and carouse out of doors. Not that kind of carousing. She has a kid, after all. In fact, she carouses with the kid, out of doors.
  19. Pat HATES it when people use the same words over and over again. Since English has fewer than 1,000,000 words (1,177 words exactly), and since some of us talk and write a lot, it would seem that we would have to use words over again. However, she has been known to take notes AND take names.
  20. Pat probably just started making up new words just to decrease the likelihood that I will use the same word too often.
  21. I’m willing to bet that Pat knows what the word “flummoxed” means.
  22. Pat is very good at keeping a waddle of wordsmiths under control every Wednesday. I made that “waddle of wordsmiths” up just now. But I did not make up any of the words. Maybe I should have said a wordle of wordsmiths…..see, a new word. Beat to you it, Pat.
  23. Pat is not a lesbian although I have tried to convince her otherwise. As punishment, she has to read all my lesbian sex scenes out loud to the group. They make her blush. That’s the whole point in writing them.
  24. Pat retaliates. She is very creative about it. Yes, she retaliates for those sex scenes.
  25. Pat does not yet have a cell phone although her daughter has slowly been wearing her down. Like water on rock. Betcha once that kid has a driver’s license, there will be cell phones involved.
  26. Bonus random thing. Pat is a Girl Scout leader and extorts cookie money from everyone she knows during cookie season. Last I heard, her troop had something like  $900 coming from cookies this years. Maybe she needs a good criminal attorney here. I think extortion is still a crime in this country unless you are rich and powerful. Then it’s expected. But Pat is not rich, and her power is not the kind I’m talking about. But, I have to admit, for a straight woman, she is one powerful woman.

25 Random Things

  1. I have no idea how to put a Facebook link in a blog post and need Lisa to help me.
  2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the only dog allowed in the British Parliament by order of Cavalier King Charles who is dead but the rule lives on.
  3. My daughter is in Peru right now. So is her husband. He is Peruvian which sort of explains why they are in Peru.
  4. I am two degrees of separation from several presidents and three degrees away from Barack Obama. I am one degree of separation away from Sally Struthers which puts me two away from a whole bunch of movie stars. However, I am not impressed with myself. I just need to put 25 random things down and those came to mind.
  5. My uncle had mafia connections. As in the Rat Pack. Really. It’s true. Just ask my sisters. OH! That puts me two degrees away from Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.!
  6. I write mysteries. The current one has the mafia in it. Also theology, sex, politics, lesbians, and guns. Did I mention sex?
  7. St. Paul was a feminist in his day. I know. Hard to believe. But true. Live with it.
  8. So was Mohammed. Really. And virgins may actually be olives…..
  9. Paraguay is a country in South America. I almost forgot that.
  10. Maize.  In elementary school social studies, the answer was almost always maize.
  11. That was before 42 was the answer.
  12. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected several dozen times over close to a decade.
  13. Then it won the Newberry Medal.
  14. It snowed in Portland today. I drove anyway because it was just pretend snow. The kind that happens when it’s 40 degrees out.
  15. I used to be a real live hippy. I’m still real and still alive. But I had kids and sort of grew up. Sort of.
  16. My daughter calls me her pothead mom because I smoked pot recently to see if it helped with the pain. It did. But I forgot how to smoke and choked. Not a nice experience.
  17. If I would agree to live in the car with her,  Good Dog Gwynth thinks that would be a very good thing. She loves the car almost as much as she loves Jenny.
  18. I have no idea how to spell my dog’s name. The Good Dog part I’m okay with. It’s the last part that baffles me. One n? Two n? Another y?
  19. When I was a kid I learned the vowels were a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y. They don’t teach w and y as vowels anymore. But I’m sure that the w and/or y in my dog’s name are vowels. At least I’m pretty sure. I may be missing something. No, they have to be. Because all the other things are definitely consonants. And there has to be a vowel. That’s another rule that lives on. Unless you are from another dimension or something. And actually, the dog’s name has two syllables which means there needs to be ANOTHER vowel and I don’t think wy counts as two vowels. Where does the other one go? This is going to keep me awake tonight.
  20. Cows can be tipped over and I’d like to try it. Despite what people think, I’m not particularly fond of cows. Just because I gave one talk on cow piety…….Strange the things you get standing ovations for…..
  21. This is the 21st random thing tonight. Four more to go.
  22. I learned a lot of new stuff today. I believe you should learn at least one new thing every day. I’m set until mid-May, 2010.
  23. My favorite podcast is Cast On. It’s about knitting. It’s funny. It’s in Wales. It’s by a lesbian. These are a few of my favorite things. (Although I still love all the straight women in my life, too!)
  24. It really is time to go to bed because a friend is coming over at 10 am to work on a service we’re doing this Sunday. It’s on Sabbath and about Sabbath. I’m preaching. Look out! Heresy alert!
  25. I just learned how to knit a moebius strip. Now I’ll have to learn how to quit knitting it. But there is no real stopping point so it may go on for awhile.

Football, A Theological Perspective

I spent the day with friends today and we watched football.

I hate football. I don’t understand football. Here’s what I know about football.

Nothing.

My history with football started in high school. I never missed a football game. I was there to watch the cheerleaders and smoke under the bleachers. I was there to go to the dance after the game. I was there to get out of the house. I was not there to watch football. I knew the object of the game was to carry the ball down the field to the goal place and that other people tried to knock the person with the ball down. Mud was part of the game. As was rain which caused the mud. But, from the bleachers, I could never find the ball. Never. Once in awhile, I would see some guy run down the field, chased by other guys, and I assumed he had the ball. Then he would end up in the mud and the cheerleaders would yell this:

“First in ten, do it again, we like it.” Huh? But they were cute when they did it and I was there, after all, to watch them. Did I mention I’m a lesbian? So when the cheerleaders said it, so did I.

(At basketball games they said “Get it on the rebound, rebound, rebound” and I knew what that meant. But “First in ten, do it again, we like it?” WTF were they talking about?)

Aside:  I graduated from high school in 1969. When I was twelve I went through confirmation classes in the Episcopal Church. I knew that the fact I would graduate in 1969 was funny for some reason but had no idea why.  What I learned in confirmation classes was this:

  • Parts of the prayer book did not really exist (The 39 articles. Have you ever seen them? I thought not.)
  • The Holy Spirit would descend on me when I was confirmed.
  • After that I could eat the body and blood of Christ which was actually fish food and wine.

So I get confirmed. Bishop Carmen had some sort of palsy and when he laid his hands on your head it felt like you were being attacked by a blender on high. Your whole head shook and then you were confirmed. For a long time I thought the Holy Spirit was part kitchen appliance, part bird. Then, after he finished shaking all our heads, he gave us a verse. The point of the verse was this: When we saw him, we were to say the verse and he would know which year he had confirmed us. (Stay with me. We will get back to football after this brief half-time show).

Now, remember this. We are twelve, so sixth grade. The girls had brand new breasts, the boys were still short, we were all, basically, morons. We already know there is something funny about the fact that we will graduate in 1969 but we have no idea what and our older siblings and friends refuse to tell us.  And Bishop Carmen gives us this verse: “Whatsoever he saith unto you do it.” But, he wants to make it easy and tells us we just have to come up to him and say, “Do it, Bishop Carmen.” Although we are not quite sure about the mechanics, we do know that “Do it” means sex. We also suspect that 1969 has something to do with sex and we find this quite funny. We spend the next several years looking for excuses to tell the bishop “Do it, Bishop Carmen.” Hell, we were twelve, we amused easily, especially if it had to do with sex, which we only understood in a clinical 5th grade health class sort of way.

Now back to football. By the time I was in high school I had a better idea about the whole concept of “doing it” and I even had an inkling about what made 1969 so dang funny. And there are the cheerleaders, for no reason I can understand, yelling “First in ten, do it again, we like it.” One of them is my next door neighbor whom I have had a crush on for years. She was four years older than I was, a senior when I was freshman, and beautiful. She moved like the dancer she was (she went pro with SF Ballet) and I have always had a thing for dancers.  So, between smoking under the bleachers and watching the cheerleaders, I’m pretty sure this particular cheer has something to do with sex. That whole “First in ten” thing is a freaking mystery and remains so for my entire high school career. But I was sort of getting behind the whole sex idea and if it involved the cheerleader next door, I was all for it. So I was pretty sincere on the whole “Do it again, we like it” although at that point I had no idea if I would like it or not.

Fast forward. I never went to a single game in college because I was too busy being a hippy and doing that whole sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll thing. Yes, I did it. And I liked it. After college, I went to a New Year’s Day party some college friends still hold today, some 30 years later, and we played an annual game of flag football. However, since these were mixed teams, flag meant the guys tackled the girls into the mud. Sort of as if we were still in sixth grade only in our late 20s. Morons. Some guy on my team tackled me. You read that right. ON MY TEAM. And my glasses broke so I had to sit out. I am blind without them. That is the only time I ever played football, I was tackled in the first 30 seconds, and couldn’t even see the rest of the game. If I remember correctly, there was a bong involved.

Another fast forward. I meet the beloved Jenny who actually likes football. I make it clear that I will not watch football with her and she decides that she will watch only the Super Bowl. Or maybe the Rose Bowl. I get those two mixed up. So once a year she goes butch on me, watches a football game complete with yelling at the TV which I patiently explain cannot hear her, and I go in the office and do something else.  For about 13 years this works just fine. Then our kid, the Divine Miss M, decides to be a cheerleader. She makes the squad freshman year and by senior year is star of the show and team captain. Suddenly I have to go to football games. All the time.

I no longer smoke, you can’t get under the bleachers anyway, and I’m still there to watch the cheerleaders. There is no bong involved although I wish there was. But Jenny is determined to teach me to like football. So start the endless repetition of the FACTS OF FOOTBALL, listed below:

  • There are two teams.
  • The home team wears white. This means that if we are at home, we’re the white guys, if we are not at home we are the blue guys. Except Maggie’s school always wears blue so one of my certainties flies right out the window.
  • Each team has two lineups, one for offense, one for defense (finally I know why there are always so many guys just standing around)
  • On the far side of the field, the one I can’t see because I am blind, are two, or maybe three or four, guys with orange numbers on sticks.
  • The number guys move around depending on where the ball lands and they flip the numbers to figure out many yards the ball went. This has something to do with the white lines on the ground if it isn’t too muddy.
  • There is still something called “First in ten” and I still don’t know what it means. Or maybe it’s “First and ten.” Either way it’s meaningless to me. Jenny explains it every game. And every game I forget. Did I mention the brain injury?
  • The game still consists of about 20 minutes of action and three and a half hours of standing around.

Every week she explains this (or something close to it) and every week I have no clue. (You have to know that one of my daughters played soccer year round for almost two decades and I never understood offsides either) (and, I find out, football has offsides as well but I have no idea what that means either) (However, I’m pretty sure that football offsides and soccer offsides are not the same but it doesn’t matter because I don’t understand either.) I watch the cheerleaders.

(Note: I am no longer interested in the cheerleaders in that way because they are now young enough to be my children. In fact, the one they keep tossing in the air is my child.  And that would be, well,  icky. Not too mention illegal. And I am married (although apparently that is not legal either since I’m married to a butch-wannabee named Jenny.) And, in case you forgot, my name is Susan which means we are both women. That whole lesbian thing. And don’t ask me which one of us the guy, you moron. The whole point: NO GUY!)

However, today I learned something about the mysteries of football. One problem with live football is that they run, they fall down, the stick guys move, and everybody huddles, slaps asses, and then they stand around until they do it again. Like I said, little action, lots of standing around. But in televised football they can fill the “standing around” time with instant replays. Endless instant replays. Endless instant replays of instant replays. So you can’t even figure out where the game ends and the replays begin. Makes it all so much clearer to me.

PS. The Divine Miss M is trying out for the PSU cheer squad in April. She will probably make it. I will have a few more years of chances to understand football. I just hope the cheerleaders are still cute.

First Things First

I just want to state, for those of you who care, that it’s only been 11 days between posts this time. I’m getting better.

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