Thursday, June 30, 2011

Church Hunting

I really hate church hunting. Part of it is because I'm such a weird person. I like pipe organs, hymns, and Sunday School. Finding a church that has any of those three things can be difficult in our postmodern, contemporary age. Another reason why I hate it is because I feel so lost. You know how people talk about having a "church home" or making a church your home? Well, that means if you don't have a church your homeless. So right now I'm homeless.

Now I'm going to awkwardly segue to something that seems different, but stay with me, it relates. I don't get "homesick" or "miss people". That probably seems really strange and makes me seem like an awful person, but I'm a very out of sight, out of mind sort of person. I think I developed this as a reaction to moving so many times. My friends who read this, that doesn't mean I don't love you and don't want to talk to you. But I'm not pining. Which is good. I think.

So, I don't get homesick. And I've been puttering around Albuquerque, trying to find a church. We're all on the same page now.

So this past Sunday, I went to this one church. I won't name it, because that's not fair to them. They were a good church, just not the church for me. Anyway, I went to the 8:30 AM service because they advertised online that it was their "classic worship" service. In my mind that translated to hymns and organs. Perfect for me, right? Wrong.

Let me tell you, if that was their "classic" worship, I don't want to know what their non-classic worship was like. Sure they had a little string group, but we did not sing a single song that was written before the year 2005. (I looked, because churches always the credits on the song powerpoints, if you know where to look. Normally, I wouldn't do such a thing, but I was trying to see if I was crazy and maybe it was just a hymn I didn't recognize. No such luck.)

Anyway, halfway through the worship portion of the service, I just started crying. Not because I was so moved by the music or convicted by God, but because I missed my church.

I missed the organ that was loud enough to drown out my singing.

I missed having a hymnal in my hand and not having to awkwardly try to see over all the people in front of me in order to read the screen they post the words on.

I missed the awesome orchestra and choir that could sing so awesome they gave me goosebumps.

I missed sitting next to people who knew me and my weirdness and liked me anyway.

I missed being recognized and loved.

I missed my church home.

Luckily, no one noticed I was crying because the kept the church dark like a theater, except for the stage. There were also no windows to let in outside light. Come to think of it, it was a very strange sanctuary. contemporary churches call them sanctuaries? Whatever. It was the room where the musical worship and preaching happened.

I'm praying that I will find a good church home. It doesn't have to meet my checklist of what I prefer exactly, but it has to be warm, comfortable, a home. This Sunday is pretty much useless from a church searching standpoint, you can't ever judge a church properly by their holiday Sundays, and July 3rd is going to be all about America. But soon, I hope, I'll be able to find one.

Anyone else out there searching for a church? Any crazy stories?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


When I mention the word "chile" what do you think of? Possibly you think of llamas and alpacas, but I don't mean the country. I mean what sort of food do you think of? I've spent most of my life living on the east coast and both of my parents are east coasters, so I immediately think of Texas Chile. You know, beef, kidney beans, basically meat soup. Well, here in New Mexico, that's not what people think of. I had a conversation the other day that went like this.

Woman: My daughter doesn't like Chile.
Me: I don't blame here, I don't either.
Woman: And my son will only eat green chile.
Me: Oh, you mean red or green chile. Sorry. I agree with your son. I
like red chile but not green chile, it's too chunky. I thought you
meant, you know, real chile. You know, meat soup. I don't like that.
Woman: Real chile? Honey, that's not real chile. That's Texas Chile.
Me: Oops. Sorry. *confused*

In my world, supposed "Texas" Chile is real chile. It's the only chile I had ever heard of until I moved here. For those of you who don't know about New Mexican food, red and green chile are essentially sauces that go on your New Mexican food. If you go to any New Mexican restaurant and order anything they'll ask you if you want red or green chile on that. Red chile is essentially a red sauce. Green chile is chunkier, with vegetables. But to me, these are sauces. Chile is a meal in itself. But red or green chile is not. It's like ketchup: good, but not by itself.

Now, if I was living in another country, I would expect weird things like this to happen. I just find it strange that small culture shock events like this can happen within the same country. Theoretically we all speak the same language and have the same culture, but that simply isn't true.

So that's the purpose of these Western Wednesday posts. I'm a southern girl living in a Western, New Mexican world. I've only been here a month and its already strange to discover how different New Mexico is. It's also strange to experience people's prejudices against the south. So on Wednesday, I'll share what I experience in this dry, desert, so different from my native humid forests.

Have any of you experienced culture shock in America? I would love to hear your stories!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"No Inorganic Metals"

A few weeks ago I went on a business trip to Boulder, CO. (*Pause.* That's right. I just said I went on a business trip. I'm like a real person now! Woohoo! *Resume.*) While we were there, we were provided with locally bottled water. Now, in many ways this water was like any other bottled water: funny tasting and expensive. However, the label for this water made me do a double take. This bottle of water listed the reasons why this water was awesome:
  • 100% Natural Glacier Fed Alpine Springwater
  • Naturally Highly Oxygenated
  • Neutral pH
  • Helps your body flush toxins
  • High in natural vitality
  • Aids absorption of nutrients within cells
  • No Inorganic Metals
Now, there are many things wrong with this label, but the one that immediately struck me was the last one. "No Inorganic Metals."

Wait? What?

No Inorganic Metals? What does that mean? What does that even begin to mean?

Some of you reading this may be confused. You're not engineers or chemists, and high school chemistry was a long time ago (or hasn't happened yet), so I understand that you might be baffled by why this statement baffles me. So let me provide the definition of inorganic as provided by

1. not having the structure or organization characteristic of living bodies.
2. not characterized by vital processes
3. Chemistry. noting or pertaining to compound that are not hydrocarbons or their derivatives.

Let's treat those three definitions like a checklist. Are metals inorganic? Well do they have the structure or organization characteristic of living bodies? Umm, no, last I checked metals didn't. Because they're not alive. Are metals characterized by vital processes? Once again, no. They're not alive. Do metals involve hydrocarbons or their derivatives? Well, then they wouldn't be metals. So yes, metals are indeed inorganic.

Then what does it mean? Contains no inorganic metals? There is NO SUCH THING as an organic metal. Metals are by definition inorganic. Does that mean the bottle is simply saying it contains no metals? Because it can't mean anything else. Why not then just say it contains no metals? Why add all this confusion?

The answer to that is most people have no idea what the words inorganic and organic mean. That's why someone can say they just bought "organic milk." Listen to me, friends. There is no possible way to make milk inorganic. Even if you make it in a lab and a cow is not involved at all, it's still organic. It still contains hydrocarbons. Organic does not mean natural. Inorganic does not mean unnatural. Metals are very natural. And they're very inorganic.

But then again this water was also "high in natural vitality." Consider that vitality means:

1. exuberant physical strength or mental vigor
2. capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence
3. power to live or grow

I'm very concerned by this water. I don't ever want to drink water that is high in natural vitality. I'm pretty sure that means my water is alive.

So combining those two points alone, possibly means the water contains living metals.

Run away, humanity. Destroy this water whenever you can. I'm pretty sure its alien life that is going to take over the world. Living metals have to be extraterrestrial. They don't exist on earth. So basically, run*.

*Yes, that's a Doctor Who quote. I'm a nerd. I can't help myself. But if there are living metals in that water, then we need the Doctor to come help us. Humanity is in peril.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Today is our first official writing Monday, so I'm going to talk about something that's been plaguing me, as a writer.

I'm working on this new story, The Descent of Chris Chappell. Well, it's a new old story. Remember? It's the one I had the sudden shock of inspiration for? The one I offered up for critique at Miss Snark's First Victim?

In summary of those two posts, there is this story that's been in my head for a long time. Then last March I suddenly changed the main character POV and wrote 10,000 words in one sitting. I submitted part of it for critique and got rave reviews. It was fantastic. But the story hasn't progressed much since then. It's stuck at 20,000 words and has been for a while.

Originally I was writing the story from a female character's POV, and for some reason I really struggled with this. When I switched to the male character's POV, everything was just easier. For some reason, I found Chris's voice, even though he is a crazy, slightly evil character. But Marilla? The girl who is like me in many ways? Her I just can't figure out.

Yes, I switched to a mainly Chris POV, but I need to keep Marilla's perspective as well, simply because a lot of the story happens from her perspective. There are plot points that Chris can't see. And it's a Marilla chapter I'm currently stuck in. I can't get past it.

I plan on taking Brandon Sanderson's sage advice and just plowing through it. I can't remember the post or tweet exactly, but Mr. Sanderson essentially advised to write even when you don't feel like writing. Sure, it might be complete crap, but you can go back and fix that, whether through a revision or a complete rewrite. So that's my plan. Starting today, I'm just going to hack through this awful chapter.

I have no idea why I find it so hard to write Marilla. I understand her completely. I know everything about her from her motivations to her future. Perhaps Marilla is too similar to me, perhaps that is what makes her hard to write. Strange that I can find a psychopath male's voice but not one that is similar to my own.

Anyone out there have advice for what you do when you're blocked? Or when you're really struggling with a character?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I know, I know

I said I was back and then I didn't post anything. That's a heinous breach in protocol, I know. But I'm still getting adjusted to my new life. I'm sorry about that. This week I will post. I promise.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm back!

Sorry for disappearing for like a month but that's what happens when you move and don't have internet. But I now have internet and a fancy new computer. Woohoo!

So posting in the pre-explained schedule shall begin tomorrow. :)