Sep 29, 2006

Don't Call It A "Church" Service

Larry and I went to this church on Sunday night. Though you wouldn't really recognize it as "church." It was in a warehouse loft in an industrial park … the same loft where Pink Floyd used to rehearse. Like I said, you wouldn't really recognize it as church.

The buildings are in an industrial area of town. Near the train tracks. On the wrong side of them. You can't walk to the market, or even a 7-11 at night. As we walked up the stairs, Larry remembered Madeline Kahn walking up those decrepit warehouse stairs in What's Up Doc,
Howard? Ho-ha-Howard? Hey, those are Howard's rocks!"

Well we got into the building we didn't find thugs. Though a long-haired hippie type grilling tri-Tip might have been called a thug by the kind of church goers I grew up with. His name was Douggie Ray, and he was a damned good drummer. But we weren't thinking about his drumming. Larry had his eye on the tri-tip. Drooling.

The loft was huge and comfy. Bars set up to serve Pellegrino and cherry juice and lattes. There were clusters of couches and books, and in the center, the musician's stage, set up in the round, TV monitors showing arty montages. And in one corner, they'd set up canvasses and paints. In case anyone got the urge to paint their worship. I couldn’t channel paint during the sermon but I'd write words. But there was no sermon, the pastor played in the worship band. That was after we ate tri-tip and bleu cheese salad.

It was definitely unique. I could have used a little more focus to the evening. I didn't know any of the songs, and only one really 'took me in' to the moment. It was almost a little too "pomo" (post-modern) for me. But I liked the fact it wasn't passive: you didn't sit back consumer music or a sermon. IT was interactive; DIY (do it yourself): you sing the music, or not. Go paint what you're feeling if that's how you process beauty and the divine (way too pomo for me, but hey, it takes a village) How did I DIY my evening? Well for the first while I sat there feeling spiritually constipated. Stopped up with all my own cares and preoccupations. It took me a long time just to get quiet and let the crap of Self drain out of me.

At one point a woman got up and recited, in a PoMo of way, the scene where Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Now in the Bible story, Peter responds, "yeah, Jesus, of course I love you."

Me, when the first question came, Jesus asks: "Do you love me?"
I answered for myself. "No. I don't."

I didn't love him. Not if you took my actions to reveal my heart. I am all stopped up with Self. Sure I can talk about how the church is redundant and old and cliché, how I don't get anything out of it. Just that morning in the car I'd turned on the radio to some Christian station, hoping I could listen to a sermon and get something out of it. But it was so old and stale. It didn't matter what the pastor (a man of course) was saying. It was the same three-point sermon with some ice-breaker joke at the top. I turned it off and cried.

God I want so much to connect, I want to hear what you have to say. I want to love you. But this stuff on the radio, it's dead. Old dead and trite. Or I am. God help me.

SO that night when the question was asked, "Do you love me?" I knew the answer.

Sure I can talk about how the church needs to change. Or maybe the institution needs to die so something real and authentic can be born in its place. Or at least, I need something new. But I knew also that I talk such a great game. I'm sooooo aware and authentic and cool.

Gag me.

NO Jesus I don't love you.

In my imagination, I saw Jesus walk away from me and I chased after him, crying. "But I want to!"

I don't want to be deadened by the priorities of my culture, obsessed with money, fame and Brangelina. I don't want to be deadened by my Self. Or my self-righteousness. Because you can be self righteous about not being self-righteous too, you know.

I ran after Jesus, crying. He turned around, and said, "See, you do love me. You came after me."

But I don't love you enough."

That much was good enough for today.

I remembered I once sat listening to a sermon about Peter. That was back when I was 29 and I went to morning and evening services, when I felt alive and full of God, when my life was before me, and all the answers were "yes."

I sat there and saw, like a vision, the story of Peter as a movie. Peter looking back at his life with Jesus, all the ways he screwed up. The times he put his foot in his mouth, overreacted, behaved like a jackass. And of course Peter denied Jesus three times.
So in the end of this movie in my mind, Jesus has arisen and, in his own poetic irony, asks Peter, three times, if he loves him.
"Peter, Do you love me?"
Peter: "I like you."
But do you love me.
I have great affection for you.
But Peter, DO YOU LOVE ME?
You know everying. You know I denied you. How can I lie and tell you I love you?

Peter, I know you don't love me. But you will.

That’s what I saw as the movie title of the movie in my head:
"I know you don’t love me. But you will."

Back in the pink floyd loft the un-church service ended with communion. And when I took the elements, I prayed that I would love Jesus more.
And the answer seemed to be, "Don't worry, you will."

If you want more info about the church that meets in Pink Floyd's loft, visit the Basileia website.

Sep 23, 2006

How To Read The Bible

Larry posted a list of 10 Book Questions, such as what book would you want on a desert island, what book do you wish was never written, etc. Larry gave us his answers, and freinds wrote in to give theirs.

My friend Allen read the blog and sent his answers to me. He didn't know if his answers would offend Larry. Because lots of Larry's friends included the Bible. And Allen did too: as the book he'd wished had never been written. I assured Allen that Larry would love his answers and post it.

I put down the Bible as my desert island book. I am grateful for the Bible. I'm grateful God prompted people to write the stories down. I'm grateful my ancestors passed on their faith to me. I'm grateful I grew up in a home that read the Bible.

But I'm NOT grateful for some of the ways that the church taught me to read it. Like believing that everything in it is literal (the universe was created in six days) Or thinking that you can take any scripture out of the Bible (and out of context) and apply it as God's word for you right at that very moment. Hmm, let's open at random! Malachai 2:3 ... "Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread excrement upon your faces."


Larry, his friend Doug and I have had a recent exchange about these sorts of questions. How literal is the Bible? What about evolution?

Larry blogged about it. I wrote this to Doug. ...

I recommend you read phycisists Sir John Polkinghorne and Hugh Ross. Christians who support evolution aren't saying that God wasn't involved at all. In fact, neither are the scientists. According to Polkinghorne, the leading physicists admit "the universe is a put-up job:” designed and manufactured by Someone. Polkinghorne is the President of Kings College Cambridge and was knighted for his work in physics. He’s not a nut job.

The second law of thermodynamics states that "matter left unattended moves toward disorder." Matter gets less complex and less durable over time. Mutations are less durable. A mutation compromises the organism's integrity and it will die off. So an amoeba (or a reptile mutating into a... bird?) can't mutate into something more complex, unless ... the matter was ATTENDED, being shaped by Something. That's the gist of Intelligent Design.

God took materials and built upon them, one by one. You see the record of that process when you look at the evolutionary record. You're watching things be created.

Genesis One is a poetic account of that process. Let there be light and darkness. Then there was water and dry land. Then there were plants, then animals and then ... Man. Interesting, the order of creation, as told from Day one to day Six, is the same order as we see in the fossil records.

I faith in God and evolution can be compatible. What's really no longer believable is for scientists to insist that it all happened without Outside Help. And it's no longer believable for fundamentalists to insist that the earth was created in seven days.

WAIT: the sun and moon weren't created until Day Four, then what were they using to count Days One Two and Three?

I was taught that everything was inspired by God, every jot and tiddle was right and correct and literally true. And if I didn't believe that, I wasn't a real Christian.

Funny, how had to believe it was all literal ... Except the Song of Solomon! that lurid, steamy sex poem that goes on for chapters and chapters!

"Uh, no it isn't REALLY about sex. It's about ... uh, it's about, the rapture we shall experience when we are united with Christ as his bride for forever."

So who decided one was literal and the other figurative?
Who was interpreting these answers?
Where was I getting my scholarship from?
Oakie Tent Revival preachers?

Reading Biblical Jewish texts from Baby Boomer Glasses

It was a rude awakening when I realized I was reading the Bible from a different POV than the age in which it was written. We have been influenced by the Enlightenment and the Age or Reason. Which are great. But why are we applying the Scientific Method to a piece of LITERATURE, and demanding that a poem or a prophet's vision stand up to a scientific proof? Would you try to prove an algebra problem with a psalm? You can’t read Beowulf and try to extrapolate a scientific formula or a news article out of it.

It was sobering when I realized my faith was influenced by 20th century Pentecostal Oakie literalists. And of course I'm influence by consumerism: eat up the Bible, digest it and get what I can out of it FOR ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

Well, how did people interpret scriptures 500 years ago? Or in Jesus' day? It was an eye opener when author Rob Bell explained that Genesis 1 is structured as a Hebrew poem. Any Hebrew scholar would recognize the structure as a poem, not as a factual account to report in a newspaper.

It's been hard to face, but I realize t my faith is made stronger by testing it. The Bible isn't a
math problem, where if one part of it is found to be off, the whole math problem is wrong. Instead, it's a story. Maybe the details get mixed or viewed different ways, but the story is still the same and still true. Did David kill thousands or tens of thousands? Or did the writer just mean A LOT? Did Eve tempt Adam with an apple, or was that a parable, created to
illustrate how we came to be separated from God? It doesn't matter to me.

I think the line has to be drawn when people want to throw out the entire Bible as allegory or poetry. Clearly parts of the Bible are accounts of the history of the Jews. I & II Kings, Samuel, etc. The Epistles were written to churches, they were Paul’s opinions of how the new churches needed to clean up their acts. Paul argued with some of the apostles, they had different opinions and such. He wasn't God, he was just one guy.

I knew a woman whose church refused to allow musical instruments because they weren't mentioned in the Epistles. Forgetting that, uh, the Epistles were written to address PROBLEMS! Maybe the music was just fine.

Imagine how Paul feels now, because people made all sorts of extrapolations on what he wrote. Forget Paul, Imagine how Jesus feels.

I realize that we can go to the extreme and discount the entire Bible as poetry or story telling, and then get out of any repsonsibility we have to its content.

But I undersand just a little why my friend Allen wished the Bible had never been written.

I'll never go that far. But there are a few christian theologians I wished I'd never been influenced by.

Sep 17, 2006

I'm NOT Jealous of My Cat!

It's the little foxes that spoil the grapes, so the proverb goes. It's the little negligible things that can sneak up and steal the joy out of the big things in life.

Like the fact I am at my second café in one morning searching for good coffee, wi-fi and peace to write. The first café had good coffee, and it was peaceful. Because they have NO wi-fi whatsoever. I was the only person in the place. I give them six months before they get wi-fi or go out of business.

So I went down the street to Synergy. Where they offer "free" wi-fi, but they just posted a sign asking you to purchase $7 of food each hour. Hey, even at the stingy Circus Circus hotel, they gave you a full 24 hours for $10. And now they're playing the radio REALLY LOUD. So loud I can't think. And they're on Satellite radio, which specializes in crazy niche markets. Today the radio is turned to Cubano dance music. Cut rate Buena Vista Social Club stuff. Over and over. They did throw in one Mark Anthony song, which was meant to be a relief, and then went back to the Desilu maramba.

The women working behind the counter are two Latinas in their forties. They're wearing thick makeup and pencil thin eyebrows. Maybe they're related to Tito Puente. I should feel OK asking them to turn the music down un poquito solamente, por favor. But I only bought a $4 latte, not a $7 one. But, wait. That gives me 40 minutes of a say around here. I look up at their delicate pencil-thin eyebrows, and it gives them anything but an approachable demeanor.

I cut my losses and leave. One coffee with no wi-fi, a second with Tito Puente gone to 11, means I just spent $8 and got no writing done.

Yeah, Larry and I haven't blogged in goodness almost a week. Which would make an avid reader worry: either things are really BAD chez Wilsons, or really REALLY good.

It's neither/nor. Don't get me wrong, we are REALLY enjoying our newfound connubial state. Everything from the great sex to the automatic coffee maker (thanks, Julie and Paul!), and the mini barbecue grill (thank you Bonnie! Larry passed out with joy). And the fact I've got a 24/7 conversation partner and lover and friend and leader whom I admire and enjoy. I love being married. Thank GOD I married the right guy.

But it is a huge adjustment. Much harder for Larry I am sure, because he's the one who left his neighborhood and moved into my place. And my place is small. This is temporary, but you only live in the moment. we're doing really well, but we've had some challenges too. Ones I would never have expected. Take, for example ...

My Cat

Larry's not a cat person. And I have one. I love my cat. The last man I dated hated cats. He hated everyone and everything, that should have been my first clue. But that jerk bullied me into considering giving my cat away. I vowed I would never date someone who didn't like cats. And like I said, Larry's not a cat person.

But Larry liked Honey almost immediately. And now that he's moved in, Honey has transferred all her affections to Larry. She goes to Larry for everything. If we are on the couch, she'll choose his lap over mine. When she jumps up on the bed, she goes to his side of the bed. And he loves it. Oh sure, he mock-complains when she weasels her way onto his lap. But he doesn't move her. He takes her in under his arm, remarking at her flexibility, her cute poses. Her manipulative meows she does just to get her to like him. She'll milk it for all it's worth, then cuddle up into his lap and purr and smirk at me as if to say, "Larry loves me more than you do." Or worse: maybe she's saying, "Larry loves me more than he loves you."

I've been officially replaced by my cat. Maybe by my husband.

Honey does come to me for one thing: Food. Larry gets the love, and I'm the dispenser of food. And discipline. By discipline I mean I move her out of the room when she's grooming. I can't stand it when she grooms with me in the room. Okay you're thinking I deserve to be rejected by my own cat. But honey doesn't just groom. she licks and picks and spits into her fur to chew it. And she does it ALL THE TIME. I've even watched her try to groom herself while she's dozing. And right now she's got some flea bites so she's been incessantly licking and picking, spitting and chewing. If she wants to chew her skin raw, okay. But please, I'd like to be able to talk to someone or watch a movie or relax without the image of her head bobbing up and down like a bungee jump, licking and picking and spitting and chewing. Of course a cat needs to groom. But please, in the other room, HOney.

So I move her. I lovingly move her into the other room, set her on the bed or the couch, pet her and tell her I love her. She usually defies me, comes right back and jumps on Larry's lap. and he doesn't move her.

Even Larry said it "It's the Good Cop/Bad Cop thing."
"Well, you try being the bad cop," I countered.

No, I am NOT jealous of my own cat. I just don't think this is cool.

Earlier this week, after Larry and I got into bed later than either of us liked, Honey jumped up on the bed. Larry's side of course. Parked her ass on his corner. After a few failed attempts to bungee jump groom, I stopped her and she lay down. Larry reached down to pet her.

I sighed: "You realize if she stays there, there ain't gonna be no action tonight. This is a small bed and there ain't enough room for the three of us."

Larry laughed. But he didn't move her. We fell asleep mumbling about the stresses of adjusting to a life together.

At four in the morning I was awakened by the sound of a motorcycle. Or so I thought until I gained full consciousness. I realized I was gripping the far edge of the bed, Larry was lying down the middle, and Honey was leisurely stretched out under the crook of his right arm. Larry was awake petting her, and Honey was purring like a Harley.

I sat up, grabbed the cat and croaked, "Okay Larry. It's either her or me."

I took Honey to the front door and put her outside. I think I heard Larry behind me, "is it the purring or cuz the bed is too small?

I think I answered, "that's part of it."

That next morning I fired off an email to him:

Larry, I can't go on sleeping like this! The bed is too small, it's too soft, I'm gripping the edge, the cat is grooming herself and causing a tsunami. I know we wanted to wait to buy our bed after we move but if I don't get a good night's sleep, we won't be moving anywhere! Not together! Well, maybe YOU AND HONEY WILL ..."

No, I didn't write that last line. But I could have. No way, I am NOT JEALOUS OF MY CAT! It was the stress of a new life, a tiny apartment, a tiny old bed. And of course a fickle hearted cat.

Larry went out and looked at beds that afternoon. That's beccause he's a guy, he's a problem solver. He doesn't quite fully grasp the female need to vent. In fact, I slept fine the next night. For one, there was no cat on the bed.

The problem wasn't quite solved. For one thing, it wasn't quite out in the open. But then Friday came. We went to a party, and there were cat lovers there. Our recent restless night came up in conversation. I tattled on Larry for petting Honey in the middle of the night.

Larry laughed, "Well you don't sleep under the crook of my arm."
"You never put me there!" I countered.
We chuckled a little.

And when we got home, I had to admit it to myself: I'm jealous. Jealous of my own cat! For years it's been just me and her. Now there's someone else. And she has in part, for now, transferred her affections to him. And maybe he deserves them. Maybe I don't give her enough time or attention. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten used to how cute she is when she sneaks onto my lap. Maybe I need to improve my cat mothering.

Then I had to admit it to Larry. He smiled and nodded. He didn't try to psychoanalyze it. Maybe he moved the cat off his lap to hug me, I don't remember. But he understood. And maybe he's getting the hang of it that when women talk, men don't necessarily have to go out and solve it (like buy a new bed NOW!) Just listen.

That night Honey jumped up, Larry kindly moved her off. The next day Larry fed her. Uh, after I showed him where the food was and how to feed her. (That would have been a good idea right from the start). The next morning when Honey jumped up to greet us (and ask for food) I wasn't threatened.

The great thing about problems is, I can talk to Larry about it. And the hugeness of the problem kinda goes away.

We're adjusting, and getting back into the things we liked doing together. This weekend we went swimming, biking, mastered the barbecue, and Larry finally took a yoga class with me.

Larry and I got back into reading out loud together. We started in on The Gospel of Mark, and Brian McLaren's book, The Secret Message of Jesus. Honey jumped up on Larry's lap, but later she parked herself between us, sure to have her back touching one of us and her paw touching the other.

Yeah, I can feel jealous of my cat. But there are some thigns she'll never get from Larry.

I sneer at her and say, "hey you can love your master, just don't LOOOOVE your master."

Sep 11, 2006

More Wedding Blooper Pics

Larry launches "The Groomsmen" CD release party at his wedding

Only guitarist Doug Perkins (far right) questions the idea

Bridal Party learns of how the groom put himself through college.

Which makes Bride wonder how Groom came up with that extra wedding cash...

After explaining that he was playing touch football for the Baptists,
the Bride was relieved that no dancing was involved.

The Groom launches his "Freewheelin' 2006" CD release party at the reception.

Wedding Blooper Pictures

Larry posted his Wedding Blooper Pictures, Part One and Part Two. Hysterical.
In the spirit of matrimonial competition, here's my submission.

Catheryn remains unaware of Lizzie's "Data Mining"

Niece and nephew Emily and Jonathan, grow tired of picture-taking.

Larry Pretents to Hate Eating Cake Carbs

a) Come on, swallow the whole bite!

b) Admit it, you liked it, didn't you?

c) WHOA! He ate the rest while I wasn't looking!

Sep 7, 2006

Home, Love!

Larry and I finally got this evening. We had a great time but we were both eager to start real life, as husband and wife. After weeks together 24/7, Larry in the other room blogging seems as normal as life. Only better.

We weren't the only ones glad to be home. No sooner had Larry opened his laptop, but he found another machine on his lap. The "Pet Me" machine.

After obliging her, Honey agreed to being moved to the sofa.

As long as she could stay close.

Sep 6, 2006

Honeymoon in Reno

Larry and I capped off our honeymoon segment in Oregon. We had one last barbecue with Larry's mom Joy, and the Repaskys: Larry's sister Dianna, her husband Tony and their son Joe.

The whole Repasky family was dreading Wednesday, when Joe had to go back to school. Dianna, because she's got to be the human alarm clock. Joe doesn't wake easily. Joe is a talented, budding writer and filmmaker, and he has a hard time shutting his mind off to go to sleep. Which is fine when you're 25 and you can make your own schedule. But as Joe's dad reminded him, Joe is STILL 15 years old.

Larry's mother Joy came for dinner. She treated me to loads of pictures of Larry; pics of him as a baby, school kid, teenager, ans posing as a missionary. I've got plenty of great shots for bragging, bribing and blackmailing. Joy gave us some great jewelry too. Larry has a diamond earring. Now he's got this sexy pirate look that's a bit distracting when I'm trying to write.

The next day we left and drove all day and hit Reno at around 9pm. Larry saw a Days Inn off the freeway. "Only $35 a night!" But I ssaw "Circus Circus" in neon blinking on a hi-rise in the distance. Larry crowed: "Only the best for my bride!"

Nothing says "honeymoon" like walking a casino floor on a Tuesday night. The cheap drinks, the Nicotine contact high, the retired ladies gambling their pensions away, one dollar-coin at a time. Starbucks are really popular in Casinos. I guess the caffeine keeps them gambling.

We got out of the casino and walked down the main drag, to take in the neon and the warm night air. The air afoul with the weekend trash. The desperate looking people going from pawn shop to casino. Whatever fun we thought we might have in the way of kitsch and camp quickly evaporated.

I hate gambling towns. The first time I drove through one we were on our way to Utah to ski. I was in 7th grade. I remember ladies playing slots at the supermarket; a bum stumbling in the winter morning light as if he'd been startled awake.

Well, we got back to Circus Circus, enjoyed the carnival games, took the monorail 50 yards from Circus Circus East Tower to Circus Circus West Tower (hey ... It saved us a walk through the Corridor of Slots). We got to our room and blogged. No wait, we didn't. Only one of us could log on at a time. Forget that.

We woke up early, drove an hour to Lake Tahoe, and have been enjoying a peaceful, relaxing day and evening on the South Shore. Where there is no gambling. We did drive a mile back across the Nevada State line for dinner and a view of the Lake.

I love the smell of California mountains. I grew up going to Bible camp and summer trips to Big Bear or Forest Falls and Idyllwild. Even a few trips to Tahoe. That smell of dry air and pine and salt water. Just the best.

It's back to Los Angeles and OUR home. Hopefully Larry and I will do a lot of traveling and blogging in the future. And so far he's the perfect traveling blogging companion. With benefits.

Sep 4, 2006

Honeymoon Week

Larry and I have been in Oregon. I met Larry's mother Joy, who couldn't come down to the wedding. We've been hosted by his sister Dianna, her husband Tony, and their son Joe, who graciously gave up his room for "the evil lair." At first I thought Joe meant he was giving up his room for "the Evil Lar" ... his uncle Larry. But then I saw their den was painted red, and had a flying cow with evil red eyes. The Red Den was the Evil Lair. Not his uncle.

I love Larry's family. They're fun to be around, so generous, and they've made me feel so welcome and comfortable. We've had a great time together. We went to the State Fair. Most state fairs are the same: you've got displays of local livestock, plants and crafts; deep fried food, and thrill rides to throw it up onto. But we had fun hanging out together. Dianna and Tony know how to laugh.

We drove out to farmland to the local fruit stands.
We drove up to Portland to Saturday Market, where local hippies sell their stuff.
We went to Powell's bookstore, an entire city block of books.
Nothing says nerd love like a bookstore and coffee.

Except for a wi-fi joint and coffee. Which Larry and I did the next day.

Larry's looking a little like Hugh Laurie when he blogs.

I think I scored.

Like I said, we've been having a great time. But last night when Tony asked us what the rest of our honeymoon looked like, Larry said, "We'll leave here Tuesday morning and maybe get back to LA by Wednesday night."

I pulled Larry into Joe's room and sat him down. "Larry, when you planned our honeymoon, what were you envisioning it to be?"

Larry sighed. "I know I didn't plan this well. We needed more time alone."
"Well it's not over. But you're thinking we'll leave Tuesday and blitz drive down to LA in a day and a half?"

That's just one possibility," he stammered.

As the words emerged on his lips he realized how bad that sounded. If that was the first possibility, what could he say to make up for it?

When people go on honeymoons, they go off and be alone. They go to Hawaii. They stay in nice hotels and get room service and go snorkeling. They don't spend a week in their nephew's bedroom with his bowling ball.

So I took Larry's hand and smiled, "I love your family. They are great. But in addition to this, we ALSO need a honeymoon.

Larry closed his eyes, upset at himself for not planning better. To Larry's credit, he had originally reserved a hotel in Lake Tahoe over Labor Day weekend, but then I booked a movie and had to work the first two days after our wedding. Larry was a good sport. He even came to the set and played an extra all day. But it pushed our honeymoon back a couple of days, and thus we found ourselves in Oregon a couple extra days waiting for the Labor Day traffic to die down. All understandable.

But when I heard Larry say we were maybe going to get home in a day and a half, I had visions of a marathon drive, and numb backside to show for it; a concave matress at the Truckee Motel 6. That's not a honeymoon. That's a quick drive to Annullment.

However, a honeymoon jaccuzzi or a hike around Lake Tahoe could fix that. Which Larry promptly arranged.

So Larry drove me back to Portland today. We walked along the Willamette River Bank, through Chinatown. We saw a Craft Fair. We went up to Washington Park, the Rose Garden.

Tomorrow we're taking off toward California. Our goal is Lake Tahoe. But if we find something we want to do along the way, we'll do that. Larry mentioned watching the salmon run, Mount Hood, and Yosemite. So who knows where we'll end up tomorrow night. We just won't be rushing to get there.

I just love that guy. How can you not love a man who loves you like no one has ever done before? I realized the other day that not only did I hit the jackpot. Larry and I are each other's jackpot. But we are no one else's jackpot. How convenient for us.

Sep 2, 2006

Oregon Trail

Greetings from the Honeymoon Trail

No jokes about blogging on our Bliss Trip. We are in bliss, and that includes Blogging.

The day after my wedding, I started work on an indie film Change Your Life. Not your typical honeymoon kick off, but we had a blast.

Then we took off Tuesday morning, reached the Oregon border by Wednesday morning, and got to Larry's sister's place by Wednesday evening. Here's our attempt at self-portrait above. The "Welcome to Oregon picture obscured by our silly blissful faces.

In two days of driving, I never got tired or bored. We watched the scenery, prayed out loud, laughed out loud, I read a book out loud. We pointed out interesting images along the highway (like the Indian restaurant next to the truck stop), listened to Eddie Izzard, and created our own soundtrack with our duelling iPods.

The only sketchy event was taking a lesser-traveled route from the 5 interstate to Eureka on the coast. Starting at dusk. We should have reconsidered when the yellow triangle said, "windy road, next 140 miles." It was gorgeous the first hour when there was light, more challenging the second hour when the sky went dark. And more so when the road lost its yellow stripe, and deer and opossums darted out in front of us. Fortunately the deer were a safe distance ahead. But Larry had to brake suddenly to miss the opossum, and eventually had to honk at it and yell, "okay guy, pick a lane!"

But there were wonderful moments on that road as well. Like listening to Enya and "Crown Him With Many Crowns" and "Funeral for A Friend." At one point Larry pulled off, and we got out to gaze at the star-glutted sky.

This is one thing I miss in a big city. The stars. The stars, the stars! The Milky Way and the planets and the constellations. It was so clear you could spot the satellites as they beeped and glided slowly across the sky. Gorgeous.

The next day we ate at a local omelette house and drove north along the Oregon Coast. You can roll the window down and breathe clean air.

I'm having a great time hanging out with Larry and his family: sister Dianna, brother-in-law Tony and nephew Joe. It's been fun bonding, learning more about Larry's dark past, and visiting his old haunts. Last night my new brother-in-law Tony and I discovered we both had Norwegian mothers, and fathers from Pittsburgh.

Today we went to Portland, Larry's home town. We saw the homes he grew up in, visited the Saturday market and Powell's Bookstore. Larry and I decided if we left LA, Portland would be the place to be. Powell's is according to the Lar, the biggest bookstore in the US. A full city block. You could spend all day there.

It's been nice just hanging and having no agenda.

I knew Larry was the right man for me, but I didn't expect things to be so different. But it is. You really do become one with another person. Of course that is going to take a lifetime to really play out, that thing of becoming one with someone. And of course yes, Larry's still a guy. He's going to annoy me, hurt me, upset me, as I will do to him. We've still got to live real life with jobs and bills and too-small apartments.

That all being said ... I really found a soul mate, a partner to go through life with. I spent my childhood unknown in my own family, so it's remarkable to have someone get me, love me, and cherish me. I feel a level of peace, contentment and joy that I never felt before.

Grow old along with me
the best is yet to be
God bless our love

My Wedding Tribute to Larry

Larry and I wrote letters to each other and read them as part of the ceremony. You can read Larry's Letter here. I' ve included the text of mine below:

I’m a writer, but when I sat down to write what I wanted to say, I couldn’t find the words. We’d said so many already, and on this day, what could I say that was new? I had to cut and paste a lot from things I’ve already written.

But I will say, the fact that so many people are here today, is a testament to hope, to finding love, and to the miracle that ‘wow, weird, old people can fall in love too.”

I honestly didn’t expect to find you. For years my friends would say, “it’s because you’re so unique.” I think they were trying to stall for God. I didn’t buy it.

But just a year ago, when Peter Jennings died, and he was my idea of a man with mojo. So I decided to write a list of what I wanted in a man, what gave him mojo:

A Man Who

Loves Jesus, is spiritually mature, But NOT "churchy"
Great Wit, Intelligent, Irreverent
Knows Who He Is
Creative, Visionary
Warm, Likes People (unlike my last Boyfriend)
Wants to Be Of Service
My Age or Older (unlike my last boyfriends)
We make each other laugh
I Respect, I Trust
Inspires Me
Thinks I'm A Catch

Larry, you had all of that. But not only that, you: loved the Beatles, Monty Python, Bob Dylan. And you even knew “Fantasy on a Theme of Thomas Tallis” which was really freaky.

In the first two weeks when we met online, we shared a lot of stories about ourselves. But these were the words that really caught me:

I've spent my entire career working for Christian organizations, and I've finally come to realize that Christians get really weird whenever they get organized. I've witnessed so much crap thrown around in Jesus' name that I'm often surprised that my faith survived. I'm thankful for the few people I've met who really do resonate God. People who've helped me recognize that God isn't often recognizable in churches, but he is very present in the world through simple people who have grasped what love and grace are all about.

Like me, you’d gone through a spiritual crisis and disillusionment. But you’d come out the other side. Your faith was still solid.

I know people talk about the spiritual life as a journey. Well, mine seemed more like a hike up Mount Everest. With no parka, or Sherpa. I wondered if God was involved any more. If he ever was.

In the last year, my hike up this mountain started to show some purpose. Maybe my friendships and writing and work were all connected in a way: to help others up the mountain. People that the church wouldn’t touch. Getting us all up this mountain. The of the Lord. That's what I knew I was supposed to do.

So I’m walking up this mountain, and I reach a plateau, and who should be there, sitting under a tree, but this man. A man with wild hair and an earring and glints of danger in his blue eyes.

"Where are you going?" he asks.
"I don't know. I just know it's up the mountain." I tell him.
"The Mountain of God?"
"Yes! That’s it. Is He up there?
"He's up there alright."
"How do you know, Have you made it to the top?!" I ask him, scared and excited.
"I've been a ways up the hill already."
"Why'd you come back down?"
"To wait."
"Wait for what?"
" You mean, 'wait for whom.' There's a big rock up the hill, you can only get over it if you have a partner. I was waiting for someone to walk with."

"How long have you been waiting?" I ask.
"A long time. Not many people climb up this far."

I feel calm now. I feel good and clean and strong. As if God is smiling on me for getting here, and he’s saying, keep walking. I don't feel so tired.

The man under the tree jumps to his feet. He's lean and wiry and wild, like he seems dangerous. Dangerous in the best kind of way. Like he's got a secret you need to know. He seems familiar, like I already know him.

"It's time. Are you coming with me?"
I hesitate."You can't go up much further alone."
"I don’t know you."
"You know me," he answers.

His mouth is straight and grave but his eyes are wild and alive with that dangerous secret. And I realize why he looks so familiar. I know him from every dream I've had about walking up this mountain. I recognize his face, the way I know I'll recognize the face of God when I see Him.

"Well, but do YOU know ME?" I press him.
"Yes I do. You're the one I was waiting for."

And he holds out his hand. I look down and I see, there's a trail under my feet. Very faint, as if maybe only one or two people have walked it. I think this man has. I think I'll go with him.

Pictures of Our Wedding Superstars

Here are some pics of the SUPERSTARS who helped at my wedding. Jane Anderson, Christopher Myers, and Rebecca Corwin. Jane Anderson helped with flowers and coffee. sted him, made fabulous coffee, and who has a special place in my heart as we share the same birthday.

Michael and Rebecca Corwin offered to help on the day. But from what I hear, they did everything from flowers to food to decorating tables, and Michael got to haul buckets of flowers back to my house.

Chris flew out from New York to do the flowers. You can't see how wonderful they are in the above picture, but they were glorious.

Chris took this picture of me right before the wedding.
The bridal bouquet was made of hydrangea, white roses, eucalyptus, and those rose-looking flowers I don't know the name of them.

Jeannie Noth-Gaffigan took charge and transformed the parish hall into a beautiful reception. And she did it with her 8 month old Jack in tow!

"Levels," she said. Putting the food on different levels, was the key to the look. She shoved a box and a towel under the tablecloth to put the bowl o' nuts on a pedestal. Which is lovely, and distracts from the mismatched putty and gray filing cabinet in the background.

Martin and Debbie Garcia. gave us their time and their ears for the last three months. Martin married us, and Debbie coordinated our wedding.

She walked us through every detail, talked us out of unrealistic ideas. And let me tell you, you want someone to keep you from going nuts. Like when the church's "Meals on Wheels" people locked our refrigerator the day before the wedding, and the church didn't want to come and unlock it because it was "their day off."

Doug Perkins hosted our planning sessions, and kept Larry filled with barbecue pork every week. He took one of his vacation weeks off the week before our wedding. He hosted our rehearsal dinner, played in our wedding, hauled an entire sound system from the church to the reception hall and back to the church. He dressed tables in the reception hall, he helped clean up after we left. And he didn't tag our car with "Just Married" cans.

He also never publicly embarrassed me for razzing on him in an earlier blog because of his infernal attention to detail.

Although in my defense, I was not the only one who went nuts with Doug's attention to detail.

Witnesseth Exhibit A: My beloved bridesmaid Catheryn Brockett, massaging her temples:

If you took any pictures and want to send them, please email me!
suz at susanisaacs dot net

Sep 1, 2006

More Wedding Pics

I'm going to post some pictures from our wedding weekend on my website, but until then, here are a few I've received from friends.

Here's Martin and Debbie Garcia, and their daughters: Tristyn, Briana and Brisa. Martin married us, Debbie coordinated our whole wedding. We could NOT have done this without them!

The night before the wedding, we had our rehearsal dinner barbecue.
Briana and Brisa turned daddy into a hobby horse, but he took it all in stride, even if he had to cringe a little.

Larry's friend Buzz brought his wife Shirley and daughter Julie.
Buzz and Larry are pub buddies at Moose's in Pasadena. They talk politics, religion, sports, and well, girls once I came into Larry's life. So Buzz has had a vested interest in our dating life.

Buzz lives in Indiana but comes out to visit his son and daughter who live here in LA.

My dear freind Chris Myers flew out from Los Angeles to do our flowers.

Chris and I met at the Vineyard in 1988. We've been freinds ever since. When I moved out to New York in 1998, I stayed at his place in Amagansett. He was there to prop me up when I got my heart broken a few years ago. And I was visiting Chris in New York this past February when things with Larry were starting to get interesting.
I told Chris at the time that I thought Larry had potential, but I just couldn't tell how interested Larry was. "Just enjoy it," Chris told me. "Enjoy the moment." Okay, I thought. Larry called me from LA a few minutes later.
"See?" Chris smiled. Just go with it.

It was great that Larry and Chris got to hang out at the beach a couple days before the wedding.