Renewed mercy

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends![b]
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

We see this part a lot. And yet, somehow the context isn’t there much. Have you noticed what comes before this? Makes the worst of what i’ve seen seem very trivial.

Here’s the start…

Lamentations 3

1 I am the one who has seen the afflictions
that come from the rod of the Lord’s anger.
2 He has led me into darkness,
shutting out all light.
3 He has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old.

He has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged and surrounded me
with anguish and distress.
6 He has buried me in a dark place,
like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
He has bound me in heavy chains.
8 And though I cry and shout,
he has shut out my prayers.
9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
he has made my road crooked.

10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
waiting to attack me.
11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
leaving me helpless and devastated.
12 He has drawn his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He shot his arrows
deep into my heart.
14 My own people laugh at me.
All day long they sing their mocking songs.
15 He has filled me with bitterness
and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.

16 He has made me chew on gravel.
He has rolled me in the dust.
17 Peace has been stripped away,
and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.[a]
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

And now we get to the oft quoted parts. same meaning either way really… but with much more power when you remember how low they were written.

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Sympathy and responsibility

I’m finding myself lacking in sympathy lately.

Here’s the deal. I have a brother and a half brother that both work for the same company… aircraft manufacturing.

This industry is known to be fickle. Always. Both of them have been previously laid off from other local aircraft companies… strikes happen every few years…. a few years ago even my stepdad was laid off from this exact same company where he had previously worked for around 2 decades.

So both of these brothers knew going into this job that it was fickle.

Why did they work there anyway? Because the industry has by far the best paying jobs in town. I wanna say the younger one started at something to the effect of 17 an hour.

Boeing strike. Not their company…. but their company sells its products to them. So they get cut down to 3 days a week on hours, and are told that even though the strike is over, it will stay that way until the end of the year while things get caught back up.

Yes, it sucks.

But… really? They knew strikes happen. They knew layoffs happen. They chose to work there anyway for the higher pay they have been enjoying. Both have bought houses in the past two years, and both have newer cars.

And I do respect my younger brother. He does what he needs to do… his house was a reasonable choice, in a reasonable neighborhood, at a reasonable price… and he has taken on a second job to make payments work while the days have been cut and he has two days a week free.

But when my mother starts this whole poor boys sympathy streak…. I’m just really not feeling it. And when she starts in on the older brother, even less so.

Yes, they have 4 kids. However, he is the one who has the house where we all went “how in the world did they qualify for that?”. Mom starts in with the sympathy on how expensive it is to drive all that far out there to their affluent suburb… and how expensive to heat a 4 level house where all 4 kids have their own rooms (plus a large play room). And how his take home pay is cut even more from the garnishment from a car he had repossessed a few years ago (about the 4th car he’s had repo’ed if you count the one my mom took over as hers when he was in trouble while still living at home).

The thing is, they have been getting help from mom since way before the strike. And before they even got the house for that matter. He hasn’t done anything during the strike to help himself. She works a couple of days a week as a waitress, but even that is a recent thing.

Yes, he is in trouble. Yes, he may lose the house and the cars. But… well…. he knew better. He’s been through the car thing before, and the job thing before. He took his risks, and it worked for a while. But to paint him as the poor unfortunate victim of the whole big bad economic collapse is really just giving him an excuse for not having made the responsible choices when he had the choice to make.

And what will he have to do? To have an older car…. like the rest of us. To live in a moderately sized rental home… like the rest of us. Is this really such an awful fate to pity him for? For the loss of overly costly items for the same practical choices he could have made in the first place and been better off?

To hear my mother go on, you’d think this fate would be the ultimate tragedy. I find myself wondering if she has completely forgotten some of the crappy places she has lived, and i have lived, and crappy cars we’ve driven, and the fact that we made it work and we survived and moved on. I don’t think the older brother has owned a crappy car in his life. Most of the places he has lived have had rent about double the highest my mother or I have ever paid. It’s not like his choices were made with the only available option he had in the situation and he’s still failing… he’s failing because he made choices that were more luxurious than the ones he could survive with.

I will be sad for the younger brother, who is actually trying, and does actually have a grip on reality, should he lose in the end. But I don’t think he will. I think he knows he may have some choices to make as far as cars and such in the near future if things don’t improve, and I think he will make them if he has to. He will recover.

But really…. I’m just not feeling the sympathy for the poor victims of their own risk-taking earlier choices, made knowing the possibility of the future holding what it has held. I know I probably should… but it just isn’t there. Yes, circumstances suck. Yes, other factors came into play.

But what ever happened to a concept of responsibility for risks knowingly taken?

Still sick

Ok… so it’s official. I’ve given up my denial tactic.

As much as I don;t want to admit it, I’m still sick.

I’ve been blaming the flushed face and the hot and cold spells on the steroid pills they had me on for dealing with the allergic reaction… but i’ve been off of those for 2 days now.

The original allergy symptoms vanished in the massive meds i was given to kill the allergic reaction to the antibiotics. But.. not only have they come back, but the coughing has gotten worse.

So i’m thinking the sinus infection that followed the allergy issues never went away. because, well, i only took less than half of the antibiotics before the whole mess happened… and in the aftermath, it was the least of the issues to remember that if i wasnt taking them anymore, then they weren’t killing anything anymore.

and yet…. i really dont want to go back to the dr again. and i’m still slightly scared at this point of taking anything else until i’m really sure all of the other meds have completely cleared out.

maybe if i pretend it isnt there it will go away again. lol

Secretly taco chili

Ok… so someone I read linked a week or so back to a southern cooking blog. Who? Not a clue… I’ve long since forgotten how I got there! lol!

But as with most cooking blogs I end up subscribing to, I spent some hours going through the older posts on google reader and using my star button to mark some (use the list view to scroll later if you do this through! lol). And so, with the weather turning colder, when I made my grocery lists this week, I included the stuff for this taco soup.

Kiddo quickly declared she wouldn’t eat it, so this evening I made a batch of it to take for my lunches this week.

As I’m scooping it into the bowls, she comes over and declares…. “that’s not taco soup, that’s chili”.

I argued, telling her what was in it…. for about 10 seconds. And…. suddenly…. it hit me. Um…. yup! Looks like chili that needs a bit more liquid.

The only difference between taco soup and the way I make chili is a few less tomatoes, and replacing chili seasoning with taco and ranch. And we don’t serve chili with sour cream… although the corn chips we do use work with both.

I had to crack up laughing…. not just because it’s mostly chili, but because I completely failed to notice this at all until she pointed it out. You would think that somewhere in the process it would have seemed a bit familiar! And yet, here I had it entirely made and halfway scooped out… tonight I do not win any prizes for being observant!

Its good either way. And will make a good lunch this week either way. But I may end up grinning like a dork every time I warm up my taco chili.

…to which I said :-P with a doublesized P

Ok…. that entire last post? Start laughing now.

So we got to Tulsa uneventfully. Got to hotel easily, and that’s as far as the good news goes! lol!

Hotel at first claimed they didn’t have a reservation. I provided them with the reservation number.

Now they see a reservation, but told me the special rate I got was only good for people with stays over that time period, not those who made reservations during that time period.

At this point I get out my laptop, and pull up their hotel chain reservation website to show that it lists my reservation, at this night, at this price. (Why my email didn’t list this specifically, I don’t know… I suppose they assumed their managers would be familiar with the program)

Ok, so now they are willing to give me the rate… and they start the check in process, however, they show the reservation as not being paid for. The promotion required immediate payment… so of course I had pre-paid.

I got on the phone with the toll free number at this point. While they agreed with me, they said they couldn’t do anything about it until after I’d already been charged twice…

I’m not a confrontational person at all. This was already way beyond my comfort level… I gave up and left. I’ll write a nice unfriendly hotel review of my experience with the major hotel review sites as my thanks… in addition to the call I made to dispute the earlier charges on my credit card.

Speaking of which, during that reservation thing? Apparently they had already swiped my card through twice… putting a hold of twice their normal room amount on my card… which was the only one I had along and has a low enough limit for travel stuff anyway that this would prevent a 4th hotel room price for this night from being charged on it.

So in addition to the extra room expense, this turned into a cash only excursion…. two nights before payday. Which was pulled off… but I can remember other trips and other times recently that would have killed me.

So anyway, we’re on a cash basis, and looking for a new hotel. I drive back and forth on a few streets I know, and find nothing at all. So I regroup… found a carls jr still open with a play area, bought some drinks and sent the kiddo into the kinda eerily dark tubes to play for a bit while I dug out my laptop (have I mentioned I love my wireless card?) and made some calls.

Found a best western that would take cash payment… about 5 miles from where we were. Made it over there easily in spite of not having a clue where I was really going or even where the suburb was it was located in.

This was just your basic best western off of a highway in a suburb around the town. Nothing fancy, but well kept. Nice older grandma type running the desk. But for some reason seemed a feeling of peace about the place…. that I distinctly remember thinking about as I fell asleep.

I woke up roughly 4 hours later at 3am…. with the back part of my toungue so swollen that I could barely swallow.

Now, I’d had allergy issues going on for the past two weeks… and I’d given up and gone into the doctor about 4 days before to get meds. So just before bed I had taken the 3rd day of a pack of zithromax…. an antibiotic I’ve taken several different times in the past.

Um… yeah… apparently out of the blue I’m now allergic to it. Which is only halfway surprising, as kiddo had a major reaction to it when she was just under a year old…. but still…. I’ve taken it repeatedly before, and this was day 3 of this particular round with no other issues so far.

So I sat. Yes, rather than rush off to go find where a hospital would be in relation to where I wasn’t even sure precisely where I was, I sat. I’m aware this was a stupid decision, but I felt safe doing it… a thing I will blame on that whole feeling from earlier.

So the rest of my toungue catches up with the back… and develops a bright red streak down the middle. It’s now pressing on both the top and bottom of my mouth at once. But after about 530 or so, it seems stable… so I go back to sleep. (Again, yes, I realize this was stupid).

Kiddo woke up around 930… waking me up. No change. So I got her dressed and ready to go.

Around 1030, as we are leaving, I grab her coat and I notice a little sign on the dresser near it… that they consider this hotel first a ministry and second a business, and if there is any way that can help you to let them know, and so forth. I’m blaming the peaceful feeling on this… even though I didn’t see the sign until we were leaving. lol!

So we spend the rest of the morning and the early afternoon getting shots and such at an urgent care clinic I happened to have seen the night before during my round of driving known streets looking for a new hotel. I got the impression that they felt I should have gone to the er rather than there, but they dealt with it… and were all motherly… and had a much cheaper copay than the er had I even known where to find a hospital.

As it happened, a walgreens also happened to be on a street I knew (out of maybe 5 or 6 streets in tulsa that I happen to know), so armed with more meds, fortunately for my cash budget being cheap meds, we made our way to the gathering I was hosting… pretty much right on time from what I was aiming for originally. (no apple store or melting pot… again… lol!)

Gathering went ok… except I felt like a dork…. because I had 16 people confirm they would be there, and a party of 4 that was possible but never got back to me. So they had made a table for 20 for us. Well, for the majority of the gathering there was only 5 of us… with a group of 4 coming in so late they were only able to do drinks.

Which in a way was nice, because as it happened that meant I was able to do passes to all of the people showing up instead of having to run my contest for them.

But actually, from there on, things went ok. Concert was great. We made it home. My toungue is still swollen some, but not enough to be an annoyance. And wow… did those shots completely obliterate the earlier allergy issues that had started the whole mess to begin with! lol!

But gotta love the random eventfulness with what should be a smooth and issue free trip. Ya know, with this pattern, I’m starting to get the impression that the forces of the world don’t like me going to these shows much!

The do-over trip

So we leave tonight for Tulsa.

Normally Tulsa is a one night there and back in the same day thing, as downtown is usually about 2 hours from where we live.

But some time ago, super 8 was running a birthday special where a limited number of rooms a night were 8.88 a night. So, I ended up doing a king suite with hot tub for less than 10 bucks… and I figured we would go down the night before.

Also, they have both a melting pot, where i’ve really wanted to take the kiddo cuz she loves fondue and anything dipped really, and an apple store. So I figured we would hit those before the show.

Sound familiar? Like almost exactly like the Houston plan? um…. yup. That’s cuz it is. It made me laugh when I realized exactly how similar…. both places are one’s I actually even had made maps to in Houston, before the storm and our king suite with hot tub no longer had power.

So, we’re trying again.

And, the person we were supposed to meet for lunch on the last leg of the trip back from houston but things came up, we will be meeting before the show. lol

But, there’s a second element. Remember the show in Michigan that got cancelled a few songs in due to power issues with the show itself? Same artists together at this show.

So it’s a do over on the show itself as well.

Which makes me notice…. both the houston issues and the michigan issues, the two most recent shows… power issues have caused me grief. rather odd. i’m not sure if i should read anything into that connection or not. lol

Reading… nothing.

As this condition becomes more fully established, you will be gradually freed from the tiresome business of providing Pleasures as temptations. As the uneasiness and his reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures of vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo (for that is what habit fortunately does to a pleasure) you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention. You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday’s paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but in conversations with those he cares nothing about on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, “I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked”. The Christians describe the Enemy as one “without whom Nothing is strong”. And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

from the screwtape letters by cs lewis. but can we say internet?