I’m a huge fan of Stargate. I like the movie, and I love the TV shows (Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis). Everyone has their guilty pleasures, I guess, and this is mine. In fact, if I only watch 2 hours of TV a week (which happens only at Young Life camp, where I don’t have access to a TV for that long), this is what I watch. And if my parents didn’t have Tivo and I didn’t know they were saving the weekly episodes for me, I’d actually bother to record them on my VCR.

This is a geeky thing about me, I realize. Science fiction fans tend to be a rare breed, anyway, especially those who become convinced that the characters and storylines are real life. And I don’t know that I would even classify myself as a science fiction fan, because (1) the only other sci-fi thing I get into is Star Trek (and not even all of those) and (2) Stargate is arguably not science fiction, since it takes place in current time. (Any sci-fi fans out there, I realize this is a lame and probably wholly inaccurate argument).

I say this as proof that I’m not extreme – I don’t go to Stargate conventions, I don’t own a Star Trek uniform (though I do know someone who does), and I am very aware that this stuff isn’t real life. Still, every time I see Christoper Chulack’s credit as an executive producer for E.R., I’m reminding of Stargate, because actor Christopher Judge plays one of the lead characters, Teal’c, and Teal’c (the character) is from a planet called Chulak. That’s weird.

And to prove this is somehow genetic? My 15-year-old brother swore for the longest time that our nephew’s first word was “naquadah”.

There, my inner geekiness exposed. Though given that this is about as bad as it gets, I can handle that.

Word Vomit

There’s a scene in Mean Girls where Lindsey Lohan’s character experiences one of those moments when words just seem to come out of your mouth on their own accord. She calls it word vomit. The term is disgusting, but I think the idea is accurate.

There are times that I’ve valued this in my life – not necessarily the words I say or my inability to control them, but rather that I’m with people with whom I may do this. Dinah Mulock wrote a great poem about this idea, called "Friendship":

Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out - chaff and grain together - certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

There are also times when I’ve longed to do this on a personal, private level, when things are too overwhelming or I’m just too tired to think through things clearly. Times when I just need to write, to express what I’m thinking, in whatever form that takes. Sometimes it looks like a journal entry, sometimes it looks more like a to-do list, and sometimes, like tonight, it looks like some kind of planning/evaluation sheet.

Really, what it amounts to, is that I’m stopping and taking time to identify a problem. This, at least in my problem-solving mind, leads me to consider the real causes of the problem, and possible solutions.

I’m tired tonight, and this has been a very busy week. And, next week is not going to get much better. It seems that every spare moment is filled with things to which I’ve already committed, so there’s not even much I can do to lessen the load – I just need to ride it out, and hold on to every possible second of sleep I can grab.

In the midst of this, my house is a mess – a fact that alone is responsible for no small bit of stress. So, I’m trying to identify (in a detailed way) the problems, and consider solutions. I have several ideas – everything from routines, to habits, to organizational products I need to buy. I just need to prioritize them among all the other things on my to-do lists.

Baby Name Voyager

This is great:

Baby Name Voyager

Search on your name to see its popularity over the years. Mine peaked in my birth decade, which I guess means that my parents just followed the trend. My sister is following in their footsteps - Jacob's name was the most popular in the year he was born.


Interesting conversation

I had an interesting conversation last night.

I was sharing about some of my planned purchases with my tax refund, as well as some other money that's come in this month. Right now, the dining set is on the top of my list, and I think a laptop is rapidly taking second place. (This would make tracking finances a lot easier, but that's another story).

At any rate, I was talking about these purchases with a few friends, all of whom are a little older than me, and married with three kids. And, for whatever reason, as I was talking about these larger purchases, I felt the need to explain myself. (Why, I don't know, but that's another whole topic).

So, I explained that I was getting a "large" refund. I think, really, compared to the rest of America, it's not that big. But it feels huge to me. Anyway, they asked about the size of my refund, which didn't bother me. But what did bother me was the general attitude when they said that they each were getting a much larger refund, but were using the money for bills. I almost felt guilty.

I shouldn't feel guilty, just because I have been doing a good job of managing my money. But I did.


One of my brother's friends just found out he has thyroid cancer. He's 16 years old.

I suppose he's doing well, all things considered. The cancer hasn't spread beyond the thyroid, and they took his thyroid out yesterday. The doctor is confident they got everything, and now David and his family wait for a week to find out what they do next - monitoring, radiation, all that stuff.

So, good news in the circumstances, I guess. But I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that one of my brother's friends has cancer. It's such a dirty, horrible, ugly, scary word. I know people live through cancer, I even know some who have, but there's still a definite mental association with death in my mind. Probably because both of my dad's parents died from different forms of it.

David's older sister Jennifer is out of state at college, and truthfully, this is probably the hardest thing for me to deal with. I know realistically there's nothing she can do, that this is a waiting game that will take a while, and that she can't just drop everything for the long process this will be. I also know that different people react different ways to situations like this, and I have no idea if she wants to come, doesn't feel she can, her parents won't let her, or whatever.

Still, I keep replaying this scenario in my head, with me away at school in Indiana or living in Chicago (before I moved back to MD). If I had gotten a phone call that either of my sisters or brother had cancer, I don't think anything would have stopped me from throwing clothes in a bag and heading to the airport.

The benefits of being responsible

It's funny how posting about internal debates seems to help me make a decision.

The other day, I detailed my tax refund dilemma, and decided after re-reading it the next day that I was going to stick to my original plan - 1/3 to savings, 1/3 to HELOC, and 1/3 to smart purchases.

And last night, guess what was in my mailbox? A refund check from my previous mortgage company, with the balance of my escrow account (used to pay property taxes only). And since I refinanced just before taxes were due, it's a large amount of money.

Interesting timing - draw your own conclusions.