Married to the Empire

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mid-Lenten Thoughts

Last year I participated in Lent for the first time ever.  I'm Southern Baptist, and it's just not a Baptist practice, although after my experience with it last year, I think it should be.  It just reiterated to me that I don't think any one denomination totally gets it right when it comes to Christianity.  It's a journey, regardless of what church we worship in and what practices we do or don't keep.  The one thing I know for sure is that it's a journey that's meant to be shared. 

I felt a bit up a creek this year, as pregnancy has thrown life into some degree of turmoil for me.  I feel lousy pretty much all the time, and I didn't feel as if I could commit to giving something up right now.  Frankly, I feel as if I've given up my life at the moment, as I'm too tired and nauseated to participate in much these days.  (It felt like a triumph that I not only made it to church this past Sunday morning, but I sang on the praise team, as well.  Then I taught the youth that night.  It was the first time in over a month that I'd made it to church both morning and evening.)  I certainly couldn't commit to giving up any foods, as who knows from day-to-day what my body will or won't allow me to eat?  I did contemplate giving up fiction for 40 days, but I'll confess that I found that thought too difficult.  Admittedly, I'm not yet willing to sacrifice anything too hard, which is pretty pathetic, but honest.  Ironically, though, I think I could have managed just fine, as I'm too tired lately to read at night anymore. 

So this year, I've just been reading through The Via Crucis, which my cousin was kind enough to pick up for me last year.  It's amazing to me how much of the story of the crucifixion seems new to me.  Usually, I've read or been taught in entire chunks, so I know the story well, but it's the tiny details that have been lost to me.  This book presents scripture in small snippets, and there have been many things I've never paid attention to before.  I may not be experiencing willing sacrifice of my own right now, but at least I'm seeing Christ's journey to the cross in a new light.  I figure that's something. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

All-Con 2011 Part 2

As I said in my previous post, I experienced very little of All-Con this year due to pregnancy woes.  The only things I attended were Imperial Gladiators, the Miss Star Wars contest, and the drawing for the droid hunt.  (I've had the job the past two years of writing numbers on a marker board when the stormtroopers call them out.) 

I was very pleased that our friend Erica won Miss Star Wars this year.  She was great in the competition.  Personality counts, and she certainly brought it!  I was cheering her on and hoping she'd win, so I was thrilled when she did!

Sorry for the dark, fuzzy picture.  I'd forgotten to bring my better camera with me to this competion.

Miss Star Wars 2011
Later that afternoon, the 501st Legion got together for their annual photo shoot.

And finally, something that absolutely cracked me up:

That would be complementary soap and a pre-pasted toothbrush, compliments of All-Con and handed out by a Klingon.  To put it delicately, not all con attendees are schooled in the basic social graces, so All-Con was kindly offering some things to remind them to wash and brush.  Because there is such a thing as Con Funk, and it's a very bad smell. 

Unfortunately, I failed to get photos of most everything else at All-Con this year, including the TWO Tardis replicas.  I'm a big Doctor Who fan, so I loved seeing a strong presence at All-Con this year. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

All-Con 2011

We spent last weekend at a hotel in Addison for All-Con 2011.  I didn't experience much of it this year due to pregnancy woes.  (I spent the majority of my weekend holed up in our hotel room.  But that's okay.  There was a Harry Potter marathon on some channel, and I ordered room service, so it was fine.) 

I did attend Imperial Gladiators the first day, which my husband runs.  For the uninitiated, these are stormtrooper games that always begin with the guys having to suit up as fast as possible.  That was followed by a shooting gallery, in which they had to be careful to shoot at the enemy only.  Capture the Princess was next, and Laser Maze was the final event.  If you were wondering what the cats were "helping" Steven work on last week, it was the laser maze. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Helpful Cats

Steven has been working on this year's Mystery Event for Imperial Gladiators (stormtrooper games) at All-Con, which is just 2 days away.  The cats have been very interested in this project of his, and because it involves yarn, they've felt the need to actually "help" for once. 

Look closely; there's a lightning-fast paw working at the yarn

Ninja inspects the yarn for quality control
This is the closest any of our pets have ever come to helping in any fashion.  And it still wasn't particularly helpful to Steven, but it sure was funny to watch!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Recap

I spent a fabulous Friday at a local mall with my family.  My parents were taking my nieces shopping for Easter dresses, and they invited me along.  (I love having my sister's family nearby!)  A fabulous lunch at The Cheesecake Factory followed.  My eating is pretty erratic these days due to feeling nauseous pretty much all the time, but I nearly cleaned my plate at lunch.  Blissfully good food! 

I was exhausted by the time I headed home.  I'm still not used to just how much energy it takes to grow a baby.  The littlest things wear me out.  I ended up with a headache and in need of a nap, and I wound up missing a movie night with our youth group.  Oops.  But it's a learning process.  If I spend the day doing something fun, I no longer have the energy left to do anything fun in the evening. 

Saturday was spent with my husband.  We ran some errands picking stuff up for Imperial Gladiators, which is coming up on Friday at All-Con.  Steven is always in charge of that event, so he's been busy building some stuff out in the garage.  As we were running around town, we passed a church having a garage sale.  We decided to stop in, and I'm so glad we did!  You could fill a box for $3, and we found several black backpacks to take to The Voice of the Martyrs.  They use them for bible drops in persecuted countries, and we're making a trip to Bartlesville, OK to spend some time at VOM next month.  We'll take the backpacks with us to give to them. 

In addition to the backpacks, I found several books:

Board books are expensive.  They're my standard baby gift for others (although I don't give used ones at baby showers, of course!).  But now that we're having our own baby, it's time to start building our own library.  Little Women isn't for the baby, though.  That's for my niece who reads voraciously. 

Steven also threw about a billion candles in the box.  I mentioned once that candles are expensive to replace when they get burned down (although I was referring to my nice decorative candles).  He remembered that, and as he's on a bit of a survivalist kick, he loaded up the box with candles.  (I'd take a photo of all the candles and backpacks, but I don't know where he put them.) 

When we got to the checkout, because they were ready to shut down the sale, they told us our box was only $1!  So, all those backpacks, books, and candles were only a buck total!  However, I gave them a larger bill and told them to keep the change.  They were raising money for their day school, so I didn't feel the need for change.  It was all still a deal. 

And while we were running all those errands, the PVC pipes that Steven bought at Lowe's knocked my cup of water over and into my purse.  So this is currently how my living room floor looks as the contents of my purse dry out:

Still, water is better than cat urine, which was Calvin's last parting gift to me.  On his last day, he peed in my purse.  I had to throw out my purse and my leather wallet.  *sigh*  So now I'm using an old wallet, which is kind of throwing off my system.  Eventually I'll get around to shopping for a new one. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Life or Something Like It

I'll be honest; I'm not enjoying pregnancy.  I have a sorority sister who gushed endlessly years ago about how wonderful pregnancy is and how much she loved every single aspect of it.

I kind of now think she's crazy.  Nice girl, but a little off. 

Maybe I would feel differently if this had been planned or if we'd been desperately trying for years and it finally happened.  But none of that was the case for us.  This took us completely by surprise, and now the accompanying symptoms are more surprises, and very unpleasant ones, at that.  I've found myself wondering pretty much every day just how anyone manages to have more than one child.  (But I'm glad they do because I wouldn't be here if my mom called it quits after my sister, and I love all four of my sister's children dearly!)  

Because I'm tired and nauseated pretty much all the time, I fear that this may become the permanent state of my house:

Even cooking has fallen to the wayside.  I'm amazed my husband is able to find anything to eat these days.  *sigh*  I am eating; it's just that after I eat something, I pretty much never want it again.  And I can't be around raw meat at the moment.  Pregnancy really does some freaky weird things to a woman. 

On the catly side of life, Ninja is fitting in nicely with our little family.  He and Doogie have started playing games of chase together, which thrilled me to no end when I first witnessed it.  I even caught them doing this the other night:

We've begun Ninja's training in earnest.  He arrived the with the most abysmal manners.  We use a bicycle horn for the worst offenses.  Stops a cat in his tracks.  Unfortunately, it also terrifies poor Doogie, who has fabulous manners.  All we have to do is pick up the horn, and Doogie takes off like a shot.  Meanwhile, Ninja is still being naughty.  He'll learn.  Eventually.  The goal is for Doogie not to have a heart attack in the process!  I suppose I should try a squirt bottle.  Doogie was never smart enough to understand the squirt bottle, which is why we now use a horn.  But Ninja seems fairly bright, so maybe a redirecting tool that doesn't punish Doogie in the process is in order. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Even Bigger News

The month of February was pretty crazy for us.  We lost our beloved cat of nearly 13 years.  We adopted another cat.  And we found out that I'm pregnant. 

Yes, you read that right.  Pregnant

Valentine's Day 2011 was truly unforgettable.  I made the final decision that morning that it was time to give Calvin back to God.  Then I took a pregnancy test that afternoon. 

Let me just say that if you ever suspect you're pregnant, do not seek confirmation on the same day that you decide to have your beloved pet put down.  I was so distressed and distraught over Calvin, and having a positive pregnancy test seemed like a cruel joke. 

To say we were shocked is an understatement.  I've never really gone into details here because 1) I didn't think it anyone's business, and 2) I didn't want people feeling sorry for me.  I was told by a doctor back when I was in college and having some womanly troubles that it was unlikely I'd ever get pregnant.  And I was okay with that.  I hated babysitting when I was teenager.  I always preferred animals to babies.  Steven and I have been very happy without children.  But most people have babies and truly don't understand that those of us without them truly can be okay with that, so I typically just didn't talk about it. 

We've been married twelve-and-a-half years, and we'd never gotten pregnant in all that time.  Not that we've tried; we just haven't prevented.  All this time it looked like that doctor was right.  And we were okay with that. 

But I guess God decided we needed a new challenge in life.  Leading a group of teens at church isn't enough, apparently.  So now, we're expecting a baby. 

And we're okay with that

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Uh, Meet Ninja Instead

I posted the other day about our sweet new kitty, Alice.  I took Alice to the vet yesterday for a check-up and was informed that she is a he.  Alice is a boy!  We were told by the cat rescue that we were getting a girl, all the paperwork we came home with is for a girl, yet we have a boy.  How do you screw up that badly?! 

Regardless, we like him, so we're keeping him.  The girl we thought we got was adopted by another family, and they like her and want to keep her, so we all just need to coordinate and exchange paperwork. 

Alice is now named Ninja, due to his mad ninja skills.  This cat has the power to disappear in the blink of an eye.  Even the vet and vet tech were impressed with his skills when he disappeared twice in a tiny exam room.  He's truly a wonder! 

Ninja and Doogie are starting to get along just fine.  They aren't playing together yet, but they've taken to sharing the sunshine from the same window.  They can be together without any hissing or growling or moaning from Doogie.  It's progress!