Friday, February 1, 2019

Philosophies, Theories, And Cheese Dip So Good That Eating It Once A Year Is Enough

This is what I celebrate instead of the Super Bowl. In fact, the Super Bowl is, in my opinion, the one real excuse to make and eat Ro-Tel/Velveeta cheese dip. I will make it and then take a small bowl of it and hide somewhere in the house and eat it while everyone else is eating the rest of it and watching what I presume is a football game.
I won't really hide. I will eat it with pride and with relish. Not pickle relish. You know, the other kind of relish which means enjoyment.
Glad I straightened that out.

So. Publix encounter #2 of the week. On my way into the store a nice looking older man wearing an Army cap walked in and said "Hello," and I said, "Hello," and he said, "How ya doin'?" and I said, "Fine thank-you, how are you?"
"Better than a kid on Christmas morning!" he said with real enthusiasm.
"Really?" I asked. "What happened?"
"I turned 74 and every day is like Christmas!"
I grabbed my cart and said to him, "That's wonderful! Thank you for sharing that with me!"
And I meant it. His joie de vivre was as evident as his grin and every bit as contagious.
And then he proceeded to tell me that he'd been around the world four times, all due to the Army and joining it was the best thing he'd ever done and he'd lived in Germany for seventeen years with his family and he could speak German and Vietnamese and Norwegian and Russian.
And I believe him. He just charmed me to pieces.
For some reason I said, "Well, I'm not going to ask you what you think about Putin and Trump."
He looked around to make sure no one was listening and said, "Putin ate Trump for lunch and spit him out."
He then went on to tell me a few things about Putin and about Trump and about following orders in the Army (it's easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission) and what he thinks about Trump and his foreign policies, specifically his withdrawal from NATO.
Let me just say, he's not a fan.
He was cool. I could have talked to him all day long. As it was, we blocked the area in front of the avocado display for quite awhile.

I have had a good day generally. I've taken everything slowly and just enjoyed it all, even the cleaning out of the hen house. My neighbor came over to return a book. I've been recommending and giving him books to read from my library and that's been a joy. First I gave him Keith Richard's Life which he loved, and then Tara Westover's Educated which he also loved. "You want another one?" I asked him.
"Yes!" he said.
I sent him home with a copy of Lonesome Dove which he'd never read before. I told him I was jealous of him getting to read it for the first time.
And I am.

I finished up Ms. Maggie's dress.

I hope she likes it. As with almost everything I sew, at least it's soft. I bought a jar of buttons at Wag The Dog a few months ago and in it were about twenty ladybug buttons. Four got used on this dress. Three on the front and one in back to fasten it. 

As I sewed, I listened to three more episodes of Mormon Stories podcast. Yes. I still listen to those. Still have no real idea why but I figure there must be a reason. The episodes I listened to today were interviews with a historian who has studied the authenticity of not only the Book of Mormon but also of the Bible. 
Did you know that there never were men named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John who wrote the books attributed to them in the New Testament? 
I mean, I suspected as much but he, as a scholar and historian slayed the argument for them. But here's the funny thing- even though he is quite certain that whoever wrote the Book of Mormon was someone with a Bible living in the early 1800's, he is still a believer! Not in Mormonism, per se, but in an offshoot of that church called Community of Christ. 
Just goes to show. 
But he talked a lot about the First People (as he calls them) who lived here before white guys got here and how amazing and advanced their cultures were and how many people lived on this continent before they got wiped out by disease and violence. I'm not going to go into the whole thing but he gave me some new knowledge and perspectives about how even I view Native American culture and their place here before the whites came over. He spoke of the mound builders and that was a timely coincidence. 
I am fascinated by religion. Let's just face it. If I had it all to do over again I might have become an anthropologist with my main focus on religions. Or maybe an evolutionary theorist like the guy I heard on another podcast two days ago, Bret Weinstein. He was on Dax Shephard's podcast, "Armchair Expert" and he gave me enough to think about for the rest of my life. I, too, have always loved to try and figure out behavior via an evolutionary standpoint and he not only verified some of my own theories, he offered more. He talked about everything from sex (which is probably the most frequently discussed topic on Armchair Expert) to religion. His take on the subject is that religions, although verifiably untrue, must carry something which is quite valuable to humans because it has been such a persistent and strong force in human society throughout history. 
I have been pondering this ever since, as you might imagine. I can think of a lot of reasons people get into religions (and I'm including all religions here from Catholicism to cults to Hinduism). To have a community, of course. There's something so very human in the need to be able to identify and gather with like-minded people. And then there's always the fact that religion has traditionally given us answers to the Big Questions like Where do I go when I die? and What is my purpose here on Earth?" Plus, it's a great way to control people. And gain power. And money. And sex.
But I digress. 
In yet another podcast I listened to recently, John Delihn, the founder and host of the Mormon Stories podcast, playing the devil's advocate, asked a different historical scholar who no longer believes in any god how life can make sense without God in it. 
"It all makes sense until you put God in it," the scholar historian said. 
Which made all the sense in the world to me and Delihn, who has been excommunicated from the Mormon church, chuckled. 

Okay, okay. Enough of that. 

It's Friday night. The church is banging tonight. It's gently and softly drizzling. If it's not raining tomorrow I think I'll go to Gibson's soccer game which is at the reasonable hour of 11:00. And then maybe I'll bring those grands over here for some Mer playtime. I miss my big boys and my little girl. Meanwhile, I'm content and glad to be exactly where I am with my husband in this sweet old house that wraps its arms around my life and opens to receive the ones I love anytime I ask. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Beautiful, educational and entertaining post! I got jealous for a minute regarding Maggie’s dress and then remembered I’m 62! Joanne

  2. Such a beautiful dress you made for Maggie! I have enjoyed your contemplations here on the nature of humans in society with one another. I’m fascinated by your fascination with religion.

    1. I wonder where this fascination springs from? Perhaps it is so alien to me that it's like wondering about a completely different culture. Or many of them. Who knows?

  3. I love Maggie's dress -- and those buttons! I think you'd like Elaine Pagels -- she's a religion scholar and has a new memoir out called "Why Not Religion." She's incredibly cool and knowledgeable and very, very interesting.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I have just made note of that book and will definitely look for it in the library. I want to read it. The Washington Post review of it makes me very curious.

  4. You and I must have 'that face' that people want to talk to. Years ago I ran into an older (than me) gentleman who had been estranged from his daughter for years, but their reconciliation brought about an upcoming visit. He asked me what a 28-year-old woman and a six-year-old granddaughter he'd never met liked to eat. We walked several aisles together then split off. Several months later I saw him again. He said he'd come in twice hoping to run into me. He was moving to Texas to live with his daughter! We still exchange Christmas cards. As for the dress, Maggie is one lucky girl!!!

    1. Oh my goodness, Catrina! Your story reminds me so much of a story I just listened to by Emma Donoghue. What a curious coincidence! The story is in a collection called "Touchy Subjects" and I highly recommend it.

  5. religion is a fascinating topic. I was very interested in it and more, the history and evolution of it, for years back when I was younger. did lots of reading about how religion evolves or one takes over from another...demonize the previous gods/goddesses, take over and rename the holidays (turns out most people don't care what you call it as long as they still get to celebrate it), kill those who won't convert. and the so called creation or god stories/myths. they are all so old, like the dead and risen god...very old, ancient before christianity story that appears over and over in religions. what I came away with was that the true purpose of religion is to control the population. I reject religion in general and the Abrahamic big daddy in the sky theology in particular. I read an article recently that some scientist has proposed that the universe is conscious which makes way more sense to me.

    1. Wow! The universe is conscious! Now that really gives me more to ponder. Do you remember the article?
      You and I have so much in common. Except of course, I am NO artist and will never be. Sadness.

  6. that's the nacho dip i make for my students- although they've asked me to make it without tomatoes so i'll be using spicy v8 and a can of green chilies.

    love the dress!


    1. Huh! Does that work with the spicy V8? Never heard of that.

  7. That dress is wonderful. I would have loved it when I was little. I had a train dress when I was five or six. It was blue and along the hem were train cars, each car a pocket. I loved it.

    I just read an article about Europeans arriving in North American and causing the deaths of some 56 million Native Americans which apparently caused trees to start growing where agricultural land had once been, which sucked a lot of the CO2 out of the air and caused a mini ice age in the 1600's. 56 million people dead which would made it the largest genocide by far. Fucking hell people suck.

    I studied Eastern religions at University as one of my options, loved it. I'm not a fan of formal religion but I do believe in the soul and the divine. Perhaps it just gives me some comfort while I'm here. I don't know.

    Enjoy your dip:)

    1. Yes! This guy talked about how we have always been taught that when the Europeans got here, this was just one big mostly empty continent which obviously god had provided for them to explore and fill when in fact, before the Native people were wiped out, it was quite populated.
      And yeah, people suck. I shouldn't say this but the beige people especially.

  8. The dress turned out great! I'm so glad you got to use the thrift-store buttons.

    Religion is a puzzle to me, too. I went to church every Sunday growing up, and though it was OK socially it never made much sense on a spiritual level. I quit in high school and never looked back. I think I'm just missing the part of my personality that in some people that asks those big questions -- "Why are we here?" Well, why NOT? I mean, does there have to be a reason? I've never been able to make sense of God, certainly not in any embodied form or conscious entity.

    I think this is why I gravitated to Zen, because that's a very human practice based on an appreciation for what we're IN in any given moment. No worry about heaven or, indeed, even about tomorrow. No praying. Just silence, and being.

    1. Oh, and Mormonism! Have you ever read John Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven"? FASCINATING. (I feel like we might have talked about this before...)

    2. I swear, Steve- they're going to find a gene which determines who believes in religion and who doesn't. You did not get the gene. Nor did I. But yes, I can see how a Zen practice could have a very practical and meaningful influence on one's life. I have not read Krakauer's book but I think it's probably time I did.

  9. I read this last night. It was so "filling" I went to bed.I was a dutiful church goer until I was 18, and took a dear friend to church with me one Sunday. It never crossed my mind that her blackness would offend most of the congregation. It was 1961, for heaven's sake. I lived in an integrated neighborhood; you had to distinguish between going to black Wagner's for the afternoon, or white Wagner's. So the next Sunday I stood and resigned because I was ashamed of the bigotry, and that was my last time in a Christian church. Then my youngest daughter was proselytized into the Mormon church. Her husband was gay, it turned out, but they had four children, nevertheless, as he undertook conversion therapy. Of course it all went to hell; they divorced, he was excommunicated. The church broke its commitment to her and the children; they were not looked after. And I raised three more children while their mother tried to find her way. In the last twenty odd years, I think I learned more of Mormonism than my daughter ever did. Ah, life.
    I either had to go to bed last night, or go buy a block of plastic cheese.
    Pretty little dress. All your grandchildren are fortunate little spirits.

    1. Religion may have benefits in some cases but the number of lives it has destroyed far outweigh them in my opinion. Mormonism has traditionally held no place for anyone who acts, thinks, or IS outside of their white bread, traditional, cis-gendered little world. I'm so sorry that happened to your daughter AND her husband, truthfully. And you, of course, who had to clean up the damn mess the church made in their lives. Ugh.
      Plastic cheese! Yes! And it melts so beautifully!
      I think my grandkids are fortunate little spirits. And big spirits, too!

  10. What a divine little dress...Maggie is certainly a lucky kid. Does August still wear his?

    1. I don't think he's worn it in awhile. When he saw this newest dress of Maggie's he wanted one too. I think I'll make him a pair of pants though as he'll probably get more use out of them.


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