Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And we're back

So I’m watching 24 last night.

I’m not big into tv, but this show holds my interest. Or maybe it’s just Keifer Sutherland.

Fresh from resolving a deadly hostage crisis at an airport, our hero is threatening to carve out the eyeballs of a traitor who is blackmailing the president. Nerve gas is missing and in the hands of Russian terrorists. Chaos abounds, but Jack Bauer is cool and in control as usual.

Suddenly, his phone rings.

“Do you still love me, Jack?” a voice quivers pleadingly on the line. It’s his ex-girlfriend who hated him, thought he was dead, discovered he was still alive and fell in love with him again – all in less than 10 minutes.

“Do you still love me?”

Jack is out SAVING the FREE WORLD.

And his ex is on the phone whining like a little bitch.

Knowing what he does for a living, knowing the shit he’s in, wouldn’t you feel just a little guilty even calling him? And she works for the president for Pete’s sake. She should know better.

Actually, what was more unbelievable was the fact that Jack didn’t rip her a new one and hang up on her.

“Hello? Do you realize what I’m doing here, you silly twat? I’m a little busy yanking the president’s head out of his ass. Could we talk about your love life over coffee sometime when I’m not in the middle of a deadly shit-storm?”

Unfortunately that scenario – as unbelievable as it is – is very true to life.

It’s just what we do.

I don’t dislike women. Seriously.

I am blessed with amazing friends who are some of the brightest, most compassionate and genuine women on the planet.

But let’s admit it, ladies. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies.

Most men don’t want to talk about love and feelings under normal circumstances, let alone during Top Secret Deadly Missions.

At the very worst and best moments, we’re hormonal and insecure and needy AND YOU BOUGHT THE WRONG FUCKING MAYONAISE, YOU ASSHOLE!!!”

There’s a true story behind that one, friends.

Jim will be happy to tell you how he still twitches with anxiety when buying mayonnaise, checking the label twice, because of a particularly brutal PMS crisis in our house five years ago.

Some folks say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Many women don’t even realize they do it and take great offense at the mere suggestion that PMS plays a role in how they act.

The sad thing is, I’ve admitted the problem and I still act like an emotional idiot on a fairly regular basis.

So c’mon, whaddaya say? Let’s do it now, for the men we know and love:

I, [state your name}, am a woman and therefore subject to wild mood swings, irrational speculations, and general bitchiness. There’s no way to prepare for or anticipate my moods. But I will try to be more aware of my hormone-induced behavior when it occurs and I will try not to take it out on you, [SO’s name here].

It’s a start, eh?
I am listening to: The State of the Union Address
I am reading: Newsweek
And I am: Relaxed

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Savior of Sorts: What I Believe Part 3

Please remember: this is what I believe.

It’s not meant to be offensive or inflammatory, it just is.
I learned quite a bit during my “Crazy Jesus Phase” as Jim so charmingly called it.

Most importantly, I learned that the life of Jesus Christ was much more miraculous than his death.

I’ll say it again because it is very important to me: The life of Jesus Christ was the true miracle, not his death.

Jesus said: Love others as yourself.

There were no exceptions.

Jesus did not say, “Love everyone except for those hell-bound homosexuals!”

Or “love everyone so long as they believe exactly what you believe.”

He meant everyone. Unconditional love. Have you tried it lately? It’s a tall order for sure.

But it is the single most important thing that Jesus said and did while he was alive.

“But HEATHER! Jesus DIED for our SINS!”

I don’t believe that.

If it’s hard reading it, I’m sorry, but I don’t believe it.

Jesus didn’t die to save us from sin. He died because he was a revolutionary who believed women and servants were equal to men. Think about it. The Middle East isn’t exactly an egalitarian hotbed today, how bad was it 2000 years ago? No wonder they killed him.

When I first discovered what the real Jesus was all about, I was PISSED OFF BEYOND BELIEF that I’d only heard the died-for-our-sins part of it. I was so infuriated that this amazing man’s message of unconditional love had been twisted into what I perceived to be a weak-minded, juvenile concept amounting to a giant do-over for humanity.

There’s too much irresponsibility in this world today as it is without people using Christ to wipe the slate clean for them. The pain and trouble we cause others is real and doesn’t vanish in a poof of frankincense and myrrh. I will write about the much more logical and rational Jewish concept of repentance (the 3 r’s) in another episode.

The world would be a much more loving place if Christians (especially the Jesus Freaks) would focus more on the life of Christ rather than his so-called miraculous death. It makes me sad when I hear high-profile Christians like Pat Robertson using hate language – ironically, the very opposite of what Christ was all about. It makes me angry when born again Christians use Christ as an excuse to divide people rather than unite them.

Wherever he is now, I believe with all my heart that Jesus is grieving, seriously grieving, at all the things “Christians” are doing and saying on his behalf.

Love others as yourself.

When I got that, when I figured that part out, it blew my mind. It changed how I looked at everyone.

Of course, trying to offer unconditional love to others can be a challenge when the other person happens to be a Fucking Idiot Who’s Driving Too Slow in the Fast Lane.

This is what I struggle with every day.

And this is how I know that Jesus Christ was special, he was God, he was a Savior of Sorts.
As a corollary, here’s a little more regarding what I believe:
  • Everything in the Universe is connected and that force (like The Force in Star Wars) is the true essence of God
  • Jesus was referring to that force when he said love others as yourself – because we truly are One
  • Anyone can tap into the force if they try
  • Call it Karma, the Golden Rule, or the pagan Rule of Three – what goes around surely comes around
  • If it harms none, do what you will
  • Everyone chooses the life they will lead – how and where they are born and everything that follows
  • Every life has a core lesson; every person has a purpose
  • Our souls reincarnate until we learn all the lessons we’re supposed to learn
  • The concept of Heaven as a place where everything is perfect sounds very boring
  • The concept of Hell where souls suffer because of misdeeds sounds very accurate
  • God has a great sense of humor
  • We should worship both the feminine and masculine aspects of God
  • There isn’t just one path to God; enlightenment can come in a variety of ways
  • That said, we should not judge others for what they believe, what works for some will not work for others.
Remember, this is what I believe and it works for me. Blessed be.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Friday!

It's been a crazy-ass week for sure and I for one am so ready to chill out for a bit. Work is extremely busy and I'm loving every minute of it. Every day I wake up and just can't wait to get in the office in the morning because there's so much great work to be done.

Jim just got home from a long week in California for his company's sales kick-off meeting. While he was out there, he got some truly excellent news from his new boss. This puts both of us in probably the best place we've ever been professionally; we're both feeling very needed and appreciated. It's nice to see that hard work is recognized.

What have you got going on for the weekend, hm?

We've got a whole lotta nothin', thankfully. Maybe look at new carpeting for the living room, maybe do a little cleaning/straightening, but that's about it. It's pizza and movie night at home on Saturday and that's the only firm thing on the agenda.

Life is pretty goddamn good right now.

Oh, and speaking of goddamn, I'll publish the final entry in the Jesus Series this weekend. Some of you, I'm told, will be very relieved when it's finally all put to rest and we can get back to talking about important things like doughnuts and shit.

Love and hugs to everyone!

I am listening to: Living Things - Bom Bom Bom
I am reading: People magazine (ack!)
I am: Relaxed

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Press Hit for Heather


I was mentioned in my favorite writer's column today! His name is Neil Steinberg and he writes for the Chicago Sun-Times. Check it out here:


Yay for me!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What I Believe Part 2: Awakening

It’s trite, but one of the things I believe more than anything is that everything happens for a reason.

The other key theme that has bubbled up throughout my adult life is to seek multiple levels of meaning – you can take something for what it is or you can search for a deeper understanding of the things that people say and do.

So on a very basic (and rather humorous) level, God was in fact telling me to live alone.

But on a much deeper level, living with all those whacky Christians led me to try and figure out what this Jesus Christ person was really about and why he had such profound and varying effects on so many people.

My first impression of Jesus wasn’t all that great, to be honest.

Think about it. What’s the most common image of Christ, especially in a Catholic church?

Scary, emaciated, half-naked bleeding man, hanging half-dead on a cross.

That’s how it was for me anyway, the first time I set foot in St. Peter’s in Mount Clemens, probably around the age of three or four. Da will have to verify that.

I remember thinking, who is this guy? He must’ve done something pretty terrible to be hanging up there like that.

I know, I know, I know. It’s supposed to be a reminder that he died for our sins.

But something about that explanation never quite cut it for me. I wanted to know the real story.

So in 1993 I started reading. I read everything I could get my hands on about Christ and Christianity and the history of religion. Here’s a partial reading list:

The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler
The Gospel According to Jesus by Stephen Mitchell
The Nag Hammadi Library by James Robinson
Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism by John Shelby Spong
The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus by Marvin Meyer
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu
The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra

I know what you’re thinking: You can’t believe everything you read, you silly girl.

I know that. That’s why I read so much. I figured the more I read on the subject, the easier it was to figure out who was full of shit and who actually came close to the truth.

And lemme guess, you’re also thinking: Just read the Bible, all the answers are in there.

I did read the Bible – everything that was referenced in those other books, I looked up myself to get a better understanding of their reasoning. Some of it I agreed with, some of it I didn’t.

The fact is, we’re all guilty of interpreting things the way we want to see the world. 20 different people could read the exact same passage from any book, including the Bible, and get 20 different meanings from it.

Here was my approach: I wanted an understanding of Jesus that was logical and historical, not personal, and certainly not emotional. I wanted to know who he was as a person, not what he means to people who follow him. I figured that was the only way to really understand why he had such an amazing impact on the world.

It took about a year until I was satisfied.

Next Episode: What I Believe Today

Monday, January 23, 2006

A program note

This is NOT a religious blog; religion happens to be the topic of the next few entries. For you heathens, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming soon.

Also, I have new socks on today -- a Christmas present from Mom & Da -- and they are fabulous!

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Story of What I Believe (In Three Parts)

Part One: Confusion

When I went away to college way back in 1985, I knew just one of the four roommates I was assigned. It was close quarters for sure – five people sharing a two bedroom/one bath suite, but we worked it out most of the time.

One of those roommates happened to be a born again Christian.

Sometimes referred to as Evangelicals – these Christians are non-denominational, believe in a very literal interpretation of the Bible and are profoundly devoted to Christ. Central to being born again is the concept of “accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior” which often occurs during a personal crisis of some nature.

President Bush is a good example – he became a born again Christian after realizing he had a serious problem with alcohol.

Please understand that not all born again Christians become believers at a moment of crisis. However, the very nature of this type of faith – the concept of having all your sins washed away in a moment of accepting Christ – draws a large number of people that, how can I put this delicately, have lead pretty fucked up lives for the most part.

The other key aspect to the born again crowd is the concept of witnessing – spreading the “good news” to everyone. It’s important that they share their personal experience with Christ with as many people as possible.

Having grown up Catholic, I had never heard of this kind of Christianity and it was fascinating to me, these people who believed they had found The Truth.

From 1985 to 1992 I moved around quite a bit and had a lot of roommates. And somehow I always ended up with at least one born again Christian.

You could put them in two categories: The Quiet Believers and The Jesus Freaks.

The QB’s were easy to be around – confident in their faith and devout without shouting. They would answer your questions if you were curious, but didn’t throw it in your face all the time.


The best Christian roommate I had was AJ. She once said, “Even if what I believe isn’t true, even if Jesus didn't die for my sins, I am living a good life. These are good principles to follow.”

I liked that. AJ was the one who explained to me that these new Christians weren’t interested in the ceremony and rhetoric that organized religions offer; they follow a more direct path to salvation by fostering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I really didn’t get the whole personal relationship with Christ thing, but the concept of having a spiritual existence without religion struck a chord with me as I had never once felt close to God in a church (I felt mostly just scared and out of place.)

Sadly, the majority of new Christians I encountered were Jesus Freaks and their blind faith could be disturbing and frightening at times.

“Ever since college, somehow I’ve always had Christian roommates,” I told Lori, a huge Jesus Freak and the last roommate I ever had.

“Maybe God is trying to tell you something,” she replied.


God was telling me to live alone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pat Robertson

is a fucking idiot.

He’s the type of “Christian” who gives Christians a bad name.

And he’s one of the main reasons why I hesitate to call myself a Christian – for fear of being lumped in with all the other right wing lunatics who just don’t get what Christ was all about.

Take a deep breath. C’mon.

In. Out. Relax.

If you were offended by what I just said, before you pass judgment (Matthew 7.1 - 5) read a little more and see if I’m so far out of line.

Pat Robertson said the U.S. somehow deserved what happened on 9/11.

Translation: Don’t blame the psychotic nut-jobs driving those planes or the worldwide terrorist organization that funded, trained and supported them. Blame it on law-abiding, tax paying homosexuals. Right.

Pat Robertson said we should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Translation: Forget what Christ said about turning the other cheek (Matthew 5.39) and loving others as yourself, there are certain people who just need to die. So Pat Robertson is pro-life but only when it comes to the people he thinks should be allowed to live. Very nice.

Pat Robertson said that God smote (great word!) Ariel Sharon for relinquishing Gaza to the Palestinians.

Translation: Evangelicals love, love, love the Jews – when they do what they’re supposed to do. According to the Bible, the end times will be precipitated by Jewish rule over all of Israel. Apparently Sharon didn’t get the memo, forgot to be a good little Jew and do what those crazy Christians want, and now he’s in a serious state of smote. Personally, I think Robertson is just pissed off that he had to put his Rapture Party Pants in mothballs for another 20 years.

Smote. I really love that word. Doesn’t it sound like something that would taste good on a sandwich?

“I’ll have the ham on rye with extra smote, please!”

I digress.

“HEATHER! You don’t call yourself a Christian?!?! For shame!!”

Calm down. Try not to freak out. It’s probably not any more likely that I’m going to hell than you are, so relax.

And I’ll begin explaining it all in the next episode.

I am listening to: Man With a Gun by Jerry Harrison
I am reading: Marketing Budget + Plan 2006
And I am: Great!

Monday, January 16, 2006

St. Patrick's

Went to the Old Church today for lunch. It’s been a while, too long. It was a beautiful day for walking in the city – didn’t even have to button my coat.

I wasn’t expecting much in the way of a message for some reason – more than anything I just wanted to sit quietly and chill for a bit in the middle of a pretty hectic Monday.

Damn, that place is good for meditation. Even at home, it takes me a good 10 minutes to make my feet disappear and there, it’s instantaneous.

Today’s reading was a conversation between Samuel and some other Biblical shmo regarding consistency between the different sects. One sect fasts. But Jesus’ followers don’t. So somebody calls him on it: Hey, why do we have to fast and your guys don’t?

Then the priest went off on a tangent about putting new wine in an old container.

Here’s what I got: Jesus represents the new wine, a new message. But you can’t drink the new wine (believe the new message) if you’re still carrying around an old bottle of Boone’s Farm all the time. Don’t fast. Don’t burn sacrifices. Jesus said God doesn’t care about that shit anymore.

The priest then took it one step further: If you make a decision to change, it has to be profound. It can’t be cosmetic, you have to change the source, or the internal part, as well.

I remember reading something from the Gospel of Thomas (ever heard of it? It’s part of the Bible that got left out for political reasons. It’s fascinating. Look it up.) where Jesus said “Why do you wash the outside of the bowl if you do not wash the inside?”

Same thing. You can SAY you’re gonna be a good person. You can SAY you’re gonna treat others like yourself.

But you have to do it. You have to live it. Every day.
On the other hand, there’s this: I’m walking to church, past the train station.

And a guy rushes up to me and says, “Excuse me, miss, but I’m just 75 cents short of a bus ride home.”

What did I do? What would you do? If you’re me, walking to church on your lunch break?


I frowned and said “NO!”


Because, working in the city every day, you learn the tricks. These people aren’t 75 cents short of anything but their next bag of crack. They’re liars who prey on people they perceive to be friendly.

I might look friendly, but I’m not a moron. And I sure as hell ain’t Jesus, either.
Quote: "People who claim they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us. It's the people who claim they're good, or any better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of." - Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Doughnut Incident

So it’s Friday morning and you’re standing in line at the little sundry shop in your office building.

It’s your turn, but you’re not quite ready to check out for whatever reason so you let the guy behind you go ahead.

Quite unexpectedly, the shopkeeper plucks the last doughnut from the tray – the very doughnut you planned on purchasing – and places it in a bag for the guy you just let go ahead of you.

What do you do?

1) Assume this is God’s little way of telling you that your ass is getting Quite Large and that you should have a banana instead, or
2) Freak Out and start screaming at the top of your lungs at the shopkeeper and the Alleged Doughnut Thief.

If you’re a relatively rational human being, you choose #1. On the other hand, if you’re an Angry Stupid Fat Woman, you choose #2.

This story is true. It happened Friday, was relayed to me by my co-worker (the Alleged Doughnut Thief) and corroborated by the shopkeeper.

It made me think of 9/11. Remember?

After 9/11, all of us with our flags posted proudly in our cars, all of us United Against the Bad Guys, all of US with a capital U and a capital S, were just a little bit nicer to each other for a while.

9/11 made us think twice about cursing the person who cut us off in traffic. It made us more patient with the person ahead of us scrambling for the correct change in the checkout line.

And we certainly wouldn’t scream over the loss of a doughnut, right?
On the other hand, here’s this:

He’s leaving me. 18 years. Three kids. And I put his lazy ass through grad school. Now he’s leaving me for that skinny-bitch-whore-homewrecker. I won’t cry. Not today. I won’t cry. But it’s pretty bad when the best thing that’s gonna happen to me today is that doughnut sitting right there, on the tray.

It’s pretty bad.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Life is So Good

Have you noticed there is a time for certain books?

If you’re a reader like me, a book might be sitting on your shelf for years and years and then one day, you pick it up and it’s just what you needed to read at that time in your life.

That’s how it was with a book I read during my vacation: Life is So Good by George Dawson.

Life is so good.

Makes you think it’s all about some lucky guy who had this amazing, easy life filled with every good thing imaginable, doesn’t it?

It’s not.

It was written by a grandson of freed slaves who worked his ass off his entire life, endured the institutional racism of the Deep South, outlived four wives, and finally learned to read at the age of 98.

This book is filled with great bits of wisdom. Here’s an example (and I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have the book in front of me now): when he learned of what happened at Columbine high school, he said “These days, the problem is people are growing kids, not raising them. Kids need your time, guidance and discipline.”

What’s most amazing about his story is Dawson’s profound gratitude for a life that mostly was filled with hardship and discrimination.

So back to the timing thing.

Here’s me, reading this book while sitting on a beach in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. If he thought his life was so good, what the hell do I ever have to complain about, really?

It’s true. Life is so good. Please read this book.

I am listening to: Bob Schneider – The World Exploded Into Love
I am reading: A Beautiful Mind (still, it’s a long book)
And I’m: Relaxed

Monday, January 09, 2006

When Nothing Works, Do Nothing

I can’t seem to write just yet. Nothing flows.

So here’s a note to say that life is so good, the vacation was lovely and for today, I’m just gonna be.

I’m reading: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
I’m listening to: Bob Schneider – The World Exploded Into Love
And I’m: Peaceful

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Year of Traveling Lightly

I'm off to St. Martin tomorrow when Tony Orlando gets up (at the crack of Dawn). :)

I certainly hope this little slice of the Internet will not become Hedy's Health Report, but I am happy to report that I (finally) figured out the reason for my most recent malady.

Everything Happens for a Reason, I always say.

On a very basic level, this whole "rib out" thing was due to the fact that I was carrying too much to/from work in my backpack. Gods bless my chiropractor.

But as I was packing for St. Martin this morning, I realized the Larger Lesson from the pain (lotta pain) of the past two weeks.

I've been carrying around way too much of everything in the past year: physically, mentally and spiritually.

Besides the aforementioned backpack, I've also been lugging a lot of other baggage -- I've let so many of the things that happened in 2005 weigh me down mentally and spiritually.

So 2006 will be the Year of Traveling Lightly. Anything that isn't useful is being left behind.

And I feel better already.

I'll try to update while I'm on vacation, otherwise you'll hear from me again on January 8.

Best wishes to all for the coming year.