Easter to the non-Christian. 7

It’s no secret that we talk a lot about religion in this house. Mainly because my kids get grilled about not being Christians by peers at school, but also because my kids – Nikki especially – finds it all so fascinating. Her new interest is that fact that there are still groups of people in the world who believe in multiple deities. She thought that was a “Olden Days” thing left behind with the Greeks. This came up when someone insisted to Wesley that there’s only ONE GOD! and he reminded this friend that there are religions who believe otherwise. Nikki said, “Well…they all believe in ONE God, right? But just that God might be different?” And I pointed out that no! Depending on how you define “deity” or “god” there are plenty of people in the world who have more than one in their religion. And again – this was one of the many times I wished I had a world religion scholar on my speed dial.

But lately the talk is about Easter and Zombie Jesus. I don’t mean that to be crass, but it’s VERY hard to explain to a non-Christian the spiritual aspect of the resurrection of Christ in the age of Zombies. When I was a kid, zombies were not part of pop-culture so it never occurred to me that someone “rising from the dead” was anything but spiritual. But nowadays, zombies are EVERYWHERE, so referencing someone rising from the dead has a connotation to it that has nothing to do with heaven or God.

Actually – let’s back up a second. Let me ALSO point out a difficult point I’ve had to explain recently: Jesus and Christ are the same person. Nikki still forgets this and doesn’t get it, and will often reference, “Jesus And Christ” when she’s talking about religion. Again – this is something that, growing up, never occurred to me as weird…that we used different names for Jesus and sometimes we put them together. He’s Jesus, He’s Christ, He’s Jesus Christ. That’s very hard to explain to an 8-year old. I’m sure there are theologic definitions explaining to when to use which one, but the average Christian uses them interchangeably, which confuses those of different faiths. She thought they were two different people and still thinks that sometimes.

Okay. Back to the Resurrection. It’s hard as hell to explain the spirituality of the Resurrection to a kid raised in the Zombie era. She has no problem with most of the Christian teachings, and sometimes talks about going to Church some day, but the Rising From The Dead thing as being something good is REALLY hard for her to grasp. No matter how much I explain the relation of Jesus to God, it’s hard because – in reality – even the bible sometimes wavers in it’s own text about when Jesus “became” God. And there’s TONS of theologic debate about that, did Jesus believe he was God? Did he become God with the resurrection or was he always God born as a man? Did he become God when he was baptized? Even the most devout of theologians can debate that, so explaining it to an 8-year old? Basically impossible. I tried to explain it in the different ways different parts of Christianity believe – but then it gets tricky because there are plenty of people on earth who don’t believe Jesus was anything more than a prophet.

So, yeah. Explaining Christmas is MUCH Easier.

One of these days I’m going to find me a World Religion Scholar and we are going to sit down and write kid’s books together explaining the World Religions in a way that makes sense to a kid in elementary school.

And maybe then…it will make sense to me. Because, god forbid she ask me to explain holidays observed in Judaism. I consult this wiki page constantly just so I can try to interpret Facebook statuses of my Jewish friends. I feel like an idiot that I can’t keep it all straight, considering how big of a religion Judaism is. Which is what I remind myself regarding my kids and their confusion re: Christianity. At least I was raised a Christian so that stuff I can explain, but damn, if we lived in a community where they had a high concentration of Jewish friends? I’d be screwed. I’m terribly uneducated in any religion but Christianity. And I’m often very ashamed of that. I do learn more each time she asks me hard-hitting questions, but the retension of information is minimal. I bet I’ve looked up the basic tenets of Hinduism 100 times and I still forget them whenever she asks.

Basically, she’s being taught by an idiot, so she’s screwed.

Anyway! I hope everyone has a great weekend, no matter how you celebrate it.

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I give up. 7

photo (8)
Today’s subtraction project prompt deals with your TV viewing habits which got me thinking about mine. Two things in the last year or so have had drastic impacts on my TV watching.

Turning Off The Cable

We disconnected our cable TV and turned in our DVRs several months ago. And in the big picture? This has not fazed me as much as I thought it would. I still have the same amount of problems finding something to watch when I’m in the mood to vegetate, which is: NOT OFTEN. There is still plenty of stuff to watch between Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Prime. And it’s still rare that I’m in the mood to veg, and I can’t find anything to veg out on. The thing is that now, when it happens? I don’t curse the 100 bucks or so I’m paying for cable and DVRs every month.

Now, the one real negative factor is that I’ve had to either A) Give up on watching some shows or B) Pay for them. So far, most of the shows we’ve given up on just fine. I’ve subtracted (see what I did there) almost all of my CBS shows because they’re not easily available on Hulu. Now, I can watch (most of them?) online, but the only one I’ve bothered to do that with is Good Wife (AND SO GLAD I DID – OMG). NCIS, NCIS LA, HIMYM – I just left those in the wayside this summer and haven’t really cared either way.

The shows I watch on cable channels are another story – I miss Warehouse 13 and Being Human and Lost Girl and Psych. However, I’ve not been spoiled on any of those shows so! I can always watch them on DVD when the seasons come out or on Amazon Prime when they’re released there. Either way – I’m not watching them now – but it’s not stressing me out as much as I thought it would.

There are a FEW shows we can’t watch now that we ARE paying for – usually on Amazon Prime – the next day one at a time. Donnie does that with Walking Dead and I think another show. He also watches some stuff on HBO with his brother. I never got into the Paid Channel type shows so missing those isn’t a huge deal. We were paying for Doctor Who the next day through Amazon Prime and I’m hoping we can do that with Orphan Black when it starts back tonight. We BETTER be able to because I’ll pitch a fit about missing that show.

But – overall? No issues that are making us regret the decision whatsoever. It’s saving us about $100 a month with all of the extras we were using. And while we thought about just getting smaller cable packages, in reality? The things we loved about having cable? Were the things that made it pricey, so the minimal packages weren’t worth it.

Valuing The Investment Of Time…but Not Too Much

I guess some people were irritated with the HIMYM series finale. But, what I took away from all of that commentary was something I believe Linda Holmes from NPR referenced. She basically called it something like “The Lost Effect” – the tendency for people to stick with a program they aren’t really enjoying JUST for the endgame payoff. JUST so they can be part of the culture of that show when it finally has the HOPEFULLY brilliant ending everyone wants.

But – like Lost and dozens of shows before it – the endings tend to fizzle flat and you find yourself saying, “Why did I keep watching that show?”

I’ve given up on a bunch of shows for that reason. My love for Scandal has dropped as the rest of the world’s seemed to have picked up. While I’m really curious how this world proceeds, I’m not enjoying the individual episodes enough to invest my time in it. I don’t like what they’ve done with some of my favorite characters, I’m having trouble with the whole “suspension of disbelief” thing, and they’ve killed off some people I liked. So? IT HAS BEEN SUBTRACTED. Officially, now. It was unofficially before, but I’m removing it from my “favorites” list on HULU now so it won’t even show up for me.

Other shows I’ve kinda stopped watching and will be officially giving up on them now? Parenthood and Vampire Diaries. That’s hard for me because I’ve really loved both of those shows, but I feel like I’m doing the whole Lost Effect thing…I’m sticking with them because I feel like I need to see it through to the end. But I’m no longer enjoying the individual episodes. Haven’t actually watched either of them all season, but they keep showing up in my Favorites. So today? THEY’RE OFFICIALLY OUT OF HERE.

Still A TV Junkie

Overall, I’m still a TV Junkie. I just like having it on in the background while I work. I still love a lot of TV. I’m totally pumped about Orphan Black and I’ve gone back to watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because everyone said it was getting good. (THEY WERE RIGHT!) I still love Arrow and I’m looking forward to next season’s Flash. I still adore my sitcoms: Parks & Recreation and Modern Family and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. And I’m still sticking with my two crime dramas: Castle and Bones, mainly because they don’t take themselves too seriously. I also love watching Jimmy Fallon now that he has The Tonight Show. So, yeah…still PLENTY of TV watching going on here, but I’m not going to waste the time with the shows that don’t bring me joy, JUST BECAUSE I feel like I should stick with them until the end. Nope. Did that with LOST long after I stopped enjoying it, I won’t make THAT mistake again!

Have you given up anything?

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Focusing On Something Other Than Easter Candy 0

It’s that time of year again where I’m surrounded by piles of used tissues and speaking with my sexy smoker voice of years past. I only suffer from bad allergies for a few weeks in early Spring every year, but man…DO I SUFFER. I do better if I keep a constant supply of Zyrtec in my system…but “better” is so relative.

But I’m kinda sick of feeling crappy. And that goes beyond the last week of allergies. It goes to the last three weeks of stress with this new challenge we now face in our lives, now that Donnie has decided not to try to move with his company, and instead look for a local job for the summer after this office closes. I’ve been wallowing in ice cream and potato chips and Easter candy for the last three weeks.

Every day, I keep doing it, coping with my anxiety in potato chips and allergy medicine…because part of me seeks comfort in the eating of all of the desserts. Or all of the fast food. Or all of the pizza. You know, whatever is there.

That’s why I keep doing it even though much later I feel much worse…the immediate comfort of sticking 3 Cadbury Creme eggs in my piehole is irresistible.

And that’s why, whenever I get in a conversation about food/diet/weightloss with people I always say: “My only probablem is my inability to process emotion without food.”

Because it is! I exercise! I make good decisions when I’m not emotional! I don’t keep junk around the house! But man…one negative stimulus in my life (or several, as is the case right now)…and I toss out all good decisions and behaviors for the comfort of an extra large order of french fries from Wendy’s.

Mmmm…french fries…

Anyway! Today I’m going to try to do better! Which – honestly – is how I wake up every day. And then the stress or the sadness or the anxiety hits and BAM! MY FACE IS IN MY FOURTH BOWL OF CEREAL.

But Today! Today will be different. The weather is better so I’m going to try to take my laptop outside and get some work done while soaking up some Vitamin D. I’m going to try to center myself more today around my work, my life, and my upcoming Stage Race. Focus on getting my body clean and ready for 3 days of running…focus on my work…on my family…and try my BEST to focus today on processing the anxiety in more positive ways. And maybe steer clear of the Easter Candy aisle when I run to get groceries later.

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Zoot v15.6 8


In a recent Tyler Oakley video (I have a whole entry planned on why I think his videos appeal to people from all walks of life) about his new vision board, he said something that really jumped out at me.

There is no final version of myself.
- Tyler Oakley

It struck me first as a parent of a son off at college. He is having a completely different college experience than the one I expected…getting involved in groups I never thought would have appealed to him. But then, I thought back to my own college experience and acknowledged I did the same thing. And then I stopped a minute…pushed “FAST FORWARD” on the last 20 years of my life and thought Holy Shit. There have been a lot of MEs in the last 20 years. And thank GOD none of them were the final version of myself. If I think back to Middle School Zoot, probably the first Zoot that tried to define herself in any way, there have been at least 15 full version changes since then. And then slight modifications of those versions along the way. I’m probably working on Zoot v15.6 now. I’m expecting the 15.7 release to be a small one in early 2015 that has me finally achieving the Grand Slam goal I’ve been dreaming about.

Sidenote: Middle School Zoot totally identified herself as the girl who Reads A Lot And Makes The Best Friendship Bracelets And Also Knows How To Do Crazy Frenchbraids. Those were my three defining characteristics. At least my self-defining characteristics. The horribly cruel boys at my summer day care would have called me Zoot Who Has Terrible Acne, Wears A Headgear, And Only Has Four Sets Of Clothes And Therefore Must Repeat At Least One Outfit Every Week.

It’s crazy to think about…isn’t it? How the person you might be today would blow the MIND of you of the past? I remember when I got pregnant at 18, I kept thinking back to the high school me who was NOT far behind. I kept thinking, “If she could see me now, with a BABY, she would FREAK OUT.”

But this concept…that there’s no final version of ourselves…is BRILLIANT. I love it. Because I can look at certain versions of myself in the past and know for a FACT that the version of Zoot back then, would not have believed today’s Zoot is possible. And do you know what that means? It means that maybe there’s a future version of Zoot that might shock the Me of Today.

In a good way, of course. I have no desire to take up the life of a Ramblin Gamblin Willie when I turn 40.

I mean…look at that reference right there. Ramblin Gamblin Willie is a folk song that Bob Dylan recorded in the early 60s. I used to be a total Bob Dylan hipster and would brag about knowing the music of his that the casual fans didn’t know. I took E to see him in concert when he was 3 or 4 and he was on my shoulders screaming, “Play the Willie Song!” and I was so proud because everyone else wanted him to play All Along the Watchtower but my preschool kid was wanting the folk tune he covered 40 years prior.

Bob Dylan Hipster Zoot had NO IDEA that Ultra Running Zoot was in her future. And there were a lot of Zoots along the way that might have been as much of a shock. Obsessed With Harry Potter Zoot is the only one that probably would have shocked no past version of myself. Those books were basically written for me. Even 2-year old, Poops On The Floor Zoot would have predicted that.

And as crazy as it is to think about how shocked I would be at the me of today, it’s so EXCITING to think about how it relates to the next 15 years. I didn’t even consider that Ultra Running Zoot was a possibility. Hell, running a 5K in 2006 nearly killed me. There is no way in HELL the girl who ran 52 miles in one day was in my future. That was 8 years ago. This transformation started 3 years ago. So, basically in a span of 5 years I found a path to be a Zoot that 2006 Zoot would not have believed existed.

This concept really gives me some silver lining to focus on with the recent news of Donnie’s company relocating and the risk we’re taking not to move with the company and hoping, instead, to find another job here. We could have seen him with that company forever if it hadn’t moved, he loved it there and he loved the work, and now? We have no idea what the future looks like after this summer. We have no idea what versions of ourselves are looming ahead. And I’m choosing to see this as the potential for awesome.

So, today I’m going to celebrate the fact that there is NO FINAL VERSION OF ME. At no age or time does today’s Zoot have to be the last version of Zoot. And – even more exciting – is the fact that I might not even be able to FATHOM what tomorrow’s Zoot will be like. I wake up every day with tiny sparks of ideas of things I want to do or try and I will remind myself that following those sparks like, Maybe I’ll sign up for this boot camp people are talking about…, can sometimes plant the seed for a new version of myself that I wasn’t even expecting. Because no version of me is the final version.

There is a lot of liberty in that idea, and I choose to celebrate that.

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