Monday, December 31, 2007

One more for 07

Summing up the year the cheap way, with a meme. Answers in blue.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? Witnessed the Jayhawks beat the living snot out of the Huskers.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't even remember making a resolution last year. This year I resolve not to forget my resolution. My resolution is not to buy any more shirts that are too small for my freakishly long body and even more freakishly wide shoulders and long arms, just because they are on clearance.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Just missed this. My baby sister had a baby last New Year's Eve. Happy B-day baby C!

4. Did anyone close to you die? My Grandma.

5. What countries did you visit? Marioland, Babyland, Christamas land, Lava land, Spongebob land, Ad infinitum. All courtesy of a four year old's imagination. Oh, and Texas (for real).

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? More energy

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Mural painting.

8. What was your biggest failure? I wish I would have stood up stronger to a certain jerk of a human. Oh and I wish I were more forgiving.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nope

10. What was the best thing you bought? My French press.

11. Where did most of your money go? With three teens in the house, food.

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The season premier of Heroes. How pathetic.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer? a) happier. b)the same. c)poorer, we are paying for insurance for two teen boy drivers.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of? Dating my husband. Getting my bible study done daily instead of cramming it all in on the last day of the week (I am getting better at this). Actively participating in the four year old's games. Spending time alone with each of my kids. Non computer artwork.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying.

16. What was the best book you read? This was a year of reading books so I could read them before the movie. More often than not I never make it to the movie. I just finished reading Atonement. I has really gotten under my skin. I was often frustrated while reading this book because it requires a level of attention that I'm barely capable of at the moment. I'm also not quite sure I agree that there was any actual "atonement" made in the plot. I can't get the story out of my mind though. I think it was written beautifully in sometimes agonizing detail and self reflection. It contains the most fantastically accurate description of a migraine that I have ever read. I'm undecided about seeing the movie. I'll probably rent it.

17. What did you want and get? A tall table for my kitchen

18. What did you want and not get? A vacation in San Diego.

19. What kept you sane? Prayer, my own and others. Breathing. Smiling.

20. Who did you miss? I really missed my Grandma at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Happy New Year Interwebs!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Breaking News

I'm poking my head in from all the Christmas merriment to bring you this breaking news alert. Peter Jackson to produce The Hobbit movies! Yes, not one, but two movies. And, while I still haven't really gotten over what he did to Faramir and the fact that he brought Frodo and Sam to Osgiliath, this is fantastic news to me. I now have something to look forward to again, cinematically speaking. The release date is planned for 2010 so the four year old will be in school all day and I can slink off to the local theater on opening day. I'm not geeky enough to sit in line, dressed in character for the midnight show but I do like to see the first show on opening day with all the other fringe geeks.

OK , back to your regularly scheduled merriment.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Iceman Cometh

Apologies to Eugene O'neill.

What is it with KC. Nine times out of ten our "big" winter storms come in the form of ice. I remember coming to KC to pick up my brother from the Art Institute one year, I noticed that the forested areas off the interstate looked like someone had inserted giant toothpicks randomly throughout. I later came to realize that those were tree trunks snapped like twigs as a result of heavy ice.

Our forecasters are predicting the second ice age tonight, that is, if (big if), the temperature stays below 32 degrees. Bring it on. It can't be worse than the "Storm of 02" That was the storm that showed me what a big baby I am. Five days without power. Five days! I worry for our trees though. One more branch off the gum tree in back and it's surely a goner. Oh well, more free fire wood. Bundle up and stay warm people. I'm off to shop for provisions.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

If the Angels Created a Metal Band

I think it would sound pretty much like Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It is a commonly known fact, as any fan of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure can tell you, that symphonic music + metal = eargasm. Sorry to be indelicate but there it is. My magnificent husband surprised me one day (in October) with tickets to this year's concert. If you are unfamiliar with their music perhaps you have seen this video that made the rounds last year, or the year before. The music is TSO's Wizards in Winter. Honestly, I prefer to feel my Christmas Carols. Feel them as a driving beat in my gut. Look, I know this doesn't really wash with my attitude from a few posts back about mall music but let me back pedal a little bit. It's all about the venue. Loud music while shopping? bad. Loud music in a 15,000 seat auditorium? good. And lights, lots and lots of lights. Strobe, laser, spot, pyrotechnics and spewing flames, all good.

Here is a crudcam photo of me and my husband in our awesome seats. We got bumped from our back of the auditorium seats to the floor, twelve rows back center stage. Insane.
Here is a crudcam video of the finale. Note the bald head right in front of me reflecting the breathtaking lightshow.

video

If they are ever in your neighborhood it is a show well worth the price of a ticket.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Fun

Or what passes for it at our house.


See how the front end feels about it?


Don't feel to sad for him, he got a piece of cheese out of the deal.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I know I'm not the boss of you,

but I really think you should go check this out at my favorite blog.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Retail Hell

The number one thing on my "Things I dread" list?

Shopping.

Except Target, I love a nice stroll around the local Target. No, I'm talking Mall shopping. Leave it to me to have a daughter that lives to shop. For her birthday we've taken to giving her a gift card to our friendly neighborhood mall and she just couldn't be happier. Everyone is happy, till it comes time to take her to said mall.

This week I had to suck it up, hold my breath and dive on in seeing as she has NOTHING to wear and no one else to take her shopping. The store of choice for this visit was Hollister. And I allow it because, one, it's her money (technically) and two, they don't advertise with p0rn0gr@phy. (cough, Abercrombie & Fitch, cough) Still, I have some advice for Hollister management. Really, what retailer isn't just dying to get advice from a fashion challenged forty something stay at home mom.

First of all, turn down the music!!!* Trust me on this; it will surely save a lawsuit down the line when your youthful sales staff grow up and realize they have premature hearing loss. And if you don't turn it down, I shall be forced to get out the comfy chairs you so kindly provide (thank you from all parents-of-teens-that-don't-yet-drive) and dance with the four year old. I don't think anyone wants to see that.

On second thought, probably no one would see me dancing. Which brings me to my second piece of advice which is: turn on some lights already.

My final piece of advice, and the only one directly impacting the merchandise is: how about you take some of the extra fabric from those saggy boy jeans and add it on to the nothing left to the imagination girl jeans. Give a mother a break. Please.

Oh yeah, like that's gonna fly. Oh well, at least I got it off my chest.

*and while you're at it, get off the lawn!

Right on Top of Things (a [bad] poem)

As usual.

This morning in the shower I thought up the greatest, greatest come back.

For a situation that happened about two years ago.

No, I'm not going to tell you what it was,

you had to be there.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Me and my crazy ideas

I have a crazy idea. Really nutty. With the added bonus that it would probably never work. So to get it out of my system and avoid embarrassment I confess it here where it won't hurt anyone.

On a couple of occasions our church has bought out an auditorium to watch a movie. We did it with The Passion of the Christ and again with Narnia. It was cool and everything. I was thinking though. What if we went as a church to see The Golden Compass. I've been listening to the controversy and reading my email warnings and such and I just thought; the world is going to expect us, (right winger, religious, conservative Christian, evangelistic, soccer mom, add your own label here ________ ) to react to this movie a certain way. What if we made like George Constanza and did the complete opposite? Instead of boycotting the movie, all of us could run out to see the movie and engage the world in some dialog about what this story is trying to say. I've read the trilogy and really there are some valid points for discussion. Yes, the author is an atheist and yes, he is a little preachy in this aspect of his books. But there are some legitimate grievances in there regarding organized religion. Could we all sit down and talk civilly. Or would it just go all Jerry Springer?

Like I said, Crazy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh Mom!

Yesterday I established that I am the type of parent that lets the TV babysit my child. Another day, another revelation. Now is the part where I tell you that I let my two boys drive to the same school every morning. Separately. Trust me, I have my reasons. I'm sure they're really good reasons too.

This morning the older boy called me from his car (big no-no) to ask if I was watching the news and did I know why there were police at every intersection on the road he takes to school. No, I didn't know but I immediately disconnected in a panic so I could call son number two (Also a big no-no). Why? One, to make sure he was still alive, and two, to make sure that the police activity did not involve him in any way. I could hear his eyes rolling over the phone. Big sigh! he was still alive and not under arrest. Turns out it was some kind of manhunt. I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I'll catch up on the news tonight.

Sometimes, as a parent, I give in to my impulses to OVER react to situations. I know I am doing it, and I am powerless to stop myself. I know chances are that it will turn out to be nothing. I can predict my children's reaction to my behavior, and yet, I can not stop myself. It is then that my cup overflows with understanding and I thank God that my parents are still alive so that I can call them up and say, I get it. I finally get it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Easily Entertained

Sometimes I notice things. Insignificant things that wouldn't matter to anyone else, but none the less bring a little joy into my day.

I'm sitting here retouching photos of my son the senior, trying to come up with a decent and not cheap looking senior photo. It's tedious work. I've got the television on Noggin in an effort to keep the Four year old entertained while I work. Well, it keeps me entertained too. Anyway, a song came on. It's one of those little bumpers they play in between shows since there are no commercials. It was a fun little song which is why I looked up from my work in the first place. What I noticed was, the lead singer for the band playing this song was none other than, Steve. The Steve formerly of Blues Clues. Completely bald. Wearing squirrel ears. And me smiling from ear to ear. Good to see he's still working.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Zoo News

First of all, can anyone tell me how it got to be Thursday already?

And now for something completely different.

The four year old and I visited the Kansas City Zoo on Monday. Our zoo gets a bad rap. It doesn't help that the almighty Omaha zoo is just down the interstate for contrast and comparison. Unfair! I say. True, you have to walk for what seems like miles and often the animals are out of sight. I just think that for the animals, our zoo is great. Dare I say it, I think it's better than the Omaha zoo. They have lots and lots of room to roam in most sections and I don't mind a little extra footwork for that. Having said that, though, I think our new zoo director is working to amend some of the flaws in the zoo's design to make it more human friendly. Already there is a shortcut that knocks at least fifteen minutes off the hike to the Africa section. I'm pulling for our zoo and I think the competition with the Omaha zoo will only make it better. In the mean time, go visit the zoo on a nice cool fall day and hopefully you will see lots and lots of animal activity like we did last Monday. Here are a few of the photos we were able to get and really, the photos took themselves.

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DSC_0090

DSC_0143

DSC_0095

DSC_0052

DSC_0115
Awwww, "Come and see me", he says.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

One insecurity down......

Is there anyone out there who can introduce me to an artist that isn't completely, inherently, deeply, fundamentally, insecure about their work. We are all able to "sell it" I know. But does anyone really, Really, believe in what they are doing? Sorry, my cynicism is showing.

I'm working on a job right now that I have absolutely no confidence in. In fact I turned it down at first because it really isn't my style or strength but in time I was talked into taking it. I think the person offering it to me is a little desperate. Plus, the money before Christmas ain't bad. I am preparing myself constantly to lose this job, though, and it's a very distinct possibility for several reasons. Reasons which don't even have that much to do with competence but in the end that's where I end up, feeling completely incompetent. I was really letting it get to me. But then Nebraska lost the football game to Kansas on Saturday and I was watching Coach Callahan try to explain his team and suddenly my little anxieties didn't stack up. I transferred my anxieties in empathy for the coach and his team. Oddly enough, it really helped. It gave me enough distance so I could put it in a new perspective. Oh I'm still nervous and all, but it gave an opportunity to allow me to let God have my anxiety. I have to constantly remind myself to give it up but it reminds me that no matter where I end up with this job, with it or without it, competent or not, that is where God wants me to be. I'm trying to see the bigger picture.

Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Does Not Compute.


As a Nebraska ex-Pat who attended KU there was really no way I could lose on this one. Or was it no way I could win? Whatever. This one takes a little getting used to.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Day After

The Four year old's Jack-o-Lantern.

Brains a little fried.
Eyes a little sunken.
Lights out on the inside.
I'd say that pretty well describes me, except I'm chubbier.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Fickle Mind

Today I took the four year old to school for the Halloween Parade. While we were there we visited some old friends in the Library and took a peek at the kindergarten room where he will probably be a student next year. Where has the time gone, sigh.

But that's not where I'm going with this.

There was a time not so long ago...... OK, it was a long time ago. It was BK (before kids). Is there any parent so knowledgeable as the parent without children? Let me answer that for you. No. I had it my mind that my children would never celebrate the Satanic holiday of Halloween. Probably not even a "harvest celebration" because that just seemed like a lame imitation. Yeah right. Fast forward to the parent of a dinosaur obsessed three year old and Presto! all my convictions crumble like a house of cards. From there the pendulum swung to the most opposite extreme. Long sleepless nights making costumes so that my little powerranger/princess/mario/fireman/ladybug/ninja/ad infinitum would stand out from the crowd, thus proving that I loved my kid more than the parents who settled for the store bought costume. Then came a day when my children dared to refuse my costume ideas. I felt lighter, like a burden had suddenly been lifted off my shoulders. Again, my convictions crumbled.

Tonight, my older kids will throw together costumes five minutes before leaving for a trunk or treat our youth group is hosting. I will walk the neighborhood with the Four year old in his Mario costume: overalls, a red shirt and a red hat, bought at Wal-Mart. To complete the look I'll stick a piece of electrical tape under his nose for a mustache. When we get home, I'll steal all his M&M's.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The abbreviated version

The memorial service was a gathering of the usual suspects. Together now only for weddings and funerals. Since Grandma was the common denominator for many of us there are some I imagine I won't see again. That is life I guess. There was one insanely inappropriate moment of hilarity at the interment. There is no way I could do it justice, though, because it was one of those "you had to be there" moments. Here is the photograph. Direct your attention to the man on the ground. He is attempting to lower the cement case containing the ashes into the ground. The hilarity ensues between the top of his pants and the bottom (no pun intended) of his jacket/shirt.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

I was back in Nebraska this weekend for my Grandma's memorial service. I'd like to write about it tomorrow so I'm mentioning it here to hold myself accountable.

Meanwhile I'm going to edit some photos of my eldest and watch Nightmare Before Halloween for the umptybillionth time. Somehow it never gets old.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Survivor: Missouri

Well, I survived. God granted us mercy, thank you a million times over for the prayers. I rate the weekend at one out of five gray hairs. That means that aside from some hilarious hormones on parade, it was pretty much event free. According to my daughter the drama was at an all time low. Not only that, but the MS youth group edged ever so slightly closer to the Kingdom of Heaven. I just need to say this, is there anything more entertaining in the world than a bunch of high schoolers trying to be an example to a bunch of middle schoolers. No, I don't think so.

On a somewhat related note, we had a visitor to our house last night. A young guy who is a junior at my older boys high school came by our house in a state of distress at about 10:00 p.m. He was so upset that I jumped to my usual dire conclusion and imagined someone had been ax murdered. Hey, it's not completely outside the realm of possibility. There was that thing a couple years ago.....different family though. So anyway, it was just a family fight that got out of hand and his step father had locked him out of the house. He just needed a place to catch his breath and give his step father time to cool off. After awhile he left to walk it off. It was all a little unsettling. It kind of reminded me of a time or two, (or two hundred) at my own home growing up. My kids were a little taken aback, though, because I don't think they'd ever considered the possibility that a parent would go to such extremes. I hope that means we're doing something right. I saw that he was back in his house by 11:00 by the time signature on his facebook so that's good, but I'd like to make sure that everything is ok. If anyone knows how I might do that without looking like a complete busybody please, by all means, share it with me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

In Case I Don't Make it Back

Pray for me. I'm off to spend the weekend with, youth, energy and our best hope for a bright future. Middle School Retreat time. Seriously people, pray for me.

Step Away From the Camera

The problem with being the family photographer, aside from never getting your picture taken, is that you are always so busy "capturing the moment" that you rarely get to experience the moment. The pressure is something awful. What if, at the end of the day, you didn't capture the perfect photograph that brings the entire day together in one comprehensive image. You've lost it for all eternity. Then what will you look at in your waning years? It's almost tragic.

But what if, at the photo op, you get out the camera and horror of horrors, the battery is dead, or worse yet, you forgot your camera entirely.

I've experienced both these scenarios in the past two weeks. Honestly, at the time I didn't know if I'd make it. The panic attack that threatened almost overwhelmed me. Then the strangest thing happened. I started to enjoy myself. I stood less than five feet away from my family and interacted with them. Like the proverbial bike I realized that I hadn't forgotten how to have fun. I won't say I don't have regrets because the little shutterbug sitting on my shoulder won't let it go. I'm just saying sometimes it's ok to let it go. To build real memories instead of poorly framed, overexposed, out of focus memories.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

There is no place like.......

I sort of have this feeling today that the return of Tom Osborne to Nebraska football is being hailed as the second coming in my hometown. I'm sure my dad would be happy to confirm this if I were to call him. Stupid football. I love it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fifty Percent Chance of Smiting

I've played sidekicks to a host of characters portrayed by my four year old: Luigi to his Mario, Tails to his Sonic, Black Spiderman to his Spiderman, and on and on. Today is a new one on me. Today we are playing God and Jesus. Is that even legal?

Legalities aside, the four year old is playing Jesus and I have been assigned the role of God. Our job is making people. I have been given the additional job of making bugs. You may be wondering to yourself why the four year old would give lead role, God, to me. Here's the thing, I don't think he did. In his mind I think Jesus is the lead. It makes sense if you think about it from the perspective of a four year old. Or, for a forty four year old for that matter. The bulk of bible class time is about Jesus. Jesus was "real", accessible. God is..... out there. It's something I'd thought about before but this sort of brings it into focus. How do I make God more real. To the four year old, to myself. Maybe the answer comes through Jesus. I guess I've got my work cut out for me.

Here are a couple of side notes of interest that I learned today. Apparently the business of making people is a messy one that requires the use of safety goggles. Also, did you know that there are no tootsie rolls in heaven?

One of our "creations"

*Edit* Ok, I know the Trinity should get equal billing. Notice that the Holy Spirit was left on the cutting room floor of my little scenario. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. That's one of those things I haven't figured out yet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stepping out of the nest.

My oldest is off with his father today to visit a university. I am suddenly struck with the realization that this is our last October with him. We already spent our last September with him. Honestly, most days are just like any other but sometimes I look at him through different eyes and marvel at how time has passed. I make it entirely clear to him that we would fully support and even encourage him to stay at home and go to junior college for a year or more till he is completely sure of his direction in life. Generally this makes for great motivation to get him to write his college essays or do some other college related preparations.

What will he be when he grows up? I haven't a clue. The kid is a blank slate. I think that is why he needs to get out of the house. There is only so much you can learn about yourself under your parent's roof and I think he needs to get out there and "find himself". I refuse to be sad about this. Sometimes I wonder why. Is something wrong with me? Maybe it's because our house is so crowded. More likely it is because I remember the excitement and thrill I had when leaving home. I did it completely wrong. I was way too young, instead of easing my way out I bolted and I was nowhere near ready. But I did it and I figured it out. Mostly. I'm still figuring some things out. It works, though, it's the way God made us. Eventually we all want to leave our parents. So when the time comes I am prepared to shed tears but I will do so in the spirit of celebration.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grandma

My Grandma died three weeks ago on September 21st 2007 at age ninety six. It still hasn't sunk in, even though we all knew it was coming. I guess I just took it for granted that she would always be around. She intended to be around, I think. Last I heard she was planning to match her sister's one hundred years. In the end I believe she just kind of tired of living and let go. She died around 12:15 A.M. and I can't get it out of my head that she waited till after midnight on purpose. September 20 is my birthday. Grandma was like that, she never wanted to be inconvenient in any way.

Some of my favorite memories:

I think my poor Grandma used to hold herself responsible for the success or failure of the many sporting teams she supported, but none more than the Huskers during football season. I'll never forget the time I called home during a game and my dad informed me that Grandma was hiding behind the fridge because the Huskers were losing. That still cracks me up.

When I was little my hair was very long and very fine but I had a LOT of it and it was always in tangles. I would throw a fit when my mom tried to brush it because it hurt so bad. My Grandma had the touch. On our visits to her house I looked forward to her sitting beside me and gently working through my hair till it was untangled and she could brush through it pain free. It was magical.

My Grandma had one sister and one brother. I never met her brother. When talking about her sister Grandma would often insinuate that her sister was the "good" girl and she was the "bad" girl. One afternoon my dad and I took Grandma on a drive through the small towns in eastern Nebraska where she grew up. She pointed out many landmarks to us including the spot where she and Grandad used to spend time "sparking" when they were dating. TMI Grandma.
After 9/11 I called my Grandma to get perspective on things. Among the things we discussed were Pearl Harbor, World War Two in general and the assassination of JFK. Perspective is a wonderful and healing thing. I am so thankful to have had access to it.

There are a lot of things I hope I will inherit from my Grandma eventually. Her selflessness. Her attitudes of tolerance and acceptance. Her love of family. Her love of reading; I still have stacks of books that she gave me. Her patronage of the Arts.

As I said before it hasn't really sunk in yet that she is gone but grief has a way of sneaking up on me. A week ago at church I was sitting there with a rotten attitude and not wanting to sing. Someone sat down behind me with a beautiful singing voice and my attitude did a one-eighty. Slowly, my thoughts drifted to my Grandma. I never heard her sing but everyone said what a beautiful Alto voice she had and out of nowhere I was fighting back tears. I was well on my way to some serious sobbing so I left and got control of myself. I think little things like that will creep up on me till we have time to grieve her as a family at her memorial service.

Above all, I am thankful for the time I got to spend with her and for the fact that she was able to meet all my children.

Rest in peace Grandma.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Birthday Angst

I've got a couple of posts in me that I need to get out. One is for our sixteen year old son, formerly known as the Fifteen year old. That's what you get today.

You know how your parents said to you, when you had worn out their last nerve, "Just wait till you have children of your own."? For me the Sixteen year old is that child. I see in him what I used to be and every day I fight the urge to call my parents and apologize. He is not a bad kid. It's just, well, for one thing, nothing is ever his fault. EVER. Not only that, but, the world is conspiring to make life even more difficult for him. And, by world I mean, mainly, his sister. For me it was my brothers. Oh yes, I remember. There is a word for it. Teenage angst. I cannot change his perception of the world, that is his battle. I can understand where he is coming from, though, and that's where I think he has an advantage over me at his age.

Now I will tell a story that would embarrass the snot out of him. How's that for understanding. As a baby he was the most affectionate of all my children. When he was nursing or just sitting in my arms, he used to take my hair in his chubby little hand and hold it like a security blanky. These days he tends to hold things in and let the tension get to him, but, he is still my most affectionate child in his own way. I can always tell when the tension has broken because he will sneak up behind me and start "fixing" my hair. It's my little sign that things will be OK with him. Things may be difficult, of his own making or maybe the world really is out to get him. He has a foundation of faith, though, that I trust he can always return to no matter where life takes him.

With that and with a massive dose of prayer for his survival on the streets (drivers licence) I wish him a blessed seventeenth year of life.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Things are looking up.

So, today was much better. Mainly due to the fact that a headache kept me in bed and out of trouble for a sizable chunk of the day. I got to feeling better, though, thanks to copious amounts of Excedrin and by afternoon I was feeling well enough to go on an actual date with my actual husband. We saw 3:10 to Yuma. Here's my review. It was totally awesome, go see it. Be careful leaving the theater though. You may have the feeling that there are bad guys with guns behind every car in the parking lot.

And oh yeah, Go KU!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Terriblehorriblenogoodverybad Day

I couldn't make any sense, I made an idiot of myself, I said all the wrong things, and to top it all off I think I just brushed my teeth with an ant.

Is it tomorrow yet?

Things to remember not to do.

#1. Quit saying naughty words (out loud) in front of the four year old. This is going to get me in some serious trouble, and soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mars and Venus

My daughter's birthday has got me thinking about how good it has been good for my sanity to have a girl in the family. I remember one Thanksgiving I was giving my husband the silent treatment as we drove to the in-laws. I don't remember why I was mad, some imagined slight I'm sure, but I was shooting my silent arrows from the passenger seat to the drivers seat. My husband, blissfully unaware of his transgressions drove on. Then, from the back seat I heard a little voice, "Mom, are you mad about something". Either my aim was really off or my daughter inherited the mind reading gene. From the back seat she picked up on the anger that had bounced right off my husband. It was quite a lesson, and I'd like to say I learned it but that would be a lie. I still attempt the silent treatment from time to time, seeing how it is so effective and all, I just try to do it when the kids are not around. OK, that's a lie too. I am a horrible example to my daughter, the most I can manage is a feeble "do as I say not as I do". And what I say is, "men can NOT read your mind". I add that to my mothers advice, "you can NOT change a man", and hopefully one of these generations we will get it right. Actually I did take my mom's advice because there is nothing about my husband that I wish to change, unless you count the fact that I wish he could read my mind. In the mean time, it's nice to have my daughter and fellow mind reader here with me.

Happy (and now belated) Birthday

(I actually started this on the 23rd of September)

Fourteen years ago today, three days after my thirtieth birthday, we welcomed a new baby into our family. After two boys, out popped a dark haired baby girl.

She is fourteen years old today. Somehow that round little baby has transformed into a beautiful, sweet hearted, athletic, young lady. She is so beautiful. In one post I mentioned that my mom looked like Snow White. My daughter resembles Pocahontas, with blue eyes. I am bracketed by Disney princesses.

I would say that I am so proud of who she is becoming except that I feel like so much of my child raising has been out of my control. I just try not to get in the way, with varying degrees of success.

People warned me about age thirteen and, indeed, I remembered myself at age thirteen. I spent the better half of last year in fear, waiting for the monster to emerge. Apparently she is a different animal though, and I am blessed. So, my birthday wish for her is one of continued innocence. I pray that she could hold the cynicism of life at bay. I know it cannot be forever but let it be as long as possible. Her older brother jokes about training her to toughen her up because she screams at spiders and such. What boys and brothers don't realize is that girls and sisters become tough in ways that they can not even imagine. It is needed, I suppose, but hopefully not before it's time.

Happy birthday my little girl. Thank you for fourteen fantastic fun-filled years.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Nothing will come of nothing: speak again"

I've been deep in thought the last few days. Deep. But I'm done I think. Done thinking, that is, and with not much to show for it, so instead, here is an accounting of my weekend.

Last weekend the whole family, the WHOLE family, spent the weekend in Nebraska. We accomplished three things, well more than that but three major things.

First we took a trip to the campus of UNL to catch some of the pre-USC game festivities. Mainly we wanted to catch the marching band rehearsal and let the kids hang out at the stadium. I wanted some of what I had as a kid to rub off on them because, while I never attended the University of Nebraska, I spent many a happy time at the football stadium. It really is an awesome atmosphere. Ironically the only one I've managed to get to an actual game is my daughter (and the four year old in utero) And now, just to mess with the video button which I haven't done yet, here is a video of the marching huskers!

video

Originally the main purpose for this trip was to see my Dad performing in King Lear with the Flatwater Shakespeare Company. I had a hard time enjoying the play because my crazy dad who, I swear is as mad as King Lear, spent the last three months or so complaining about how he'd never be able to remember all those lines and how his body is in such bad shape he might just fall apart on stage. He did fine. Eventually I was able to relax and enjoy the show. Well, enjoy it as much as you can enjoy a show in which everybody dies in the end. Look, here is a picture of "the King". As you can see, he left the building. Ha Ha.



The third reason we all came to town and what became the main reason is that my Grandma is not doing at all well. My kids are so blessed to have known her while she was still herself. She still is, of course, but she is a little difficult to find these days. She is pretty unresponsive due to age and medication. My little brother and I spent a good long time just holding her hand and looking into her eyes. Talking a little bit, but not much, really. Every once in awhile a little bit of Grandma would bubble up to the surface and make an appearance. I was thankful for that because I had a very strong feeling that I was saying good-bye to her. I was very happy that my three older kids, all independently, expressed a desire to go visit her. I am proud of them because it was not expected to be a happy visit. It wasn't happy but it was very touching as they all kissed and hugged her goodbye at the end. Now, so I don't leave you with such sad thoughts and to continue with the visuals, I leave you with this photo of my Grandma and my little brother in earlier days. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An update.

I asked for prayers for Maxine Bullard last week and they have been answered. Unfortunately the answer was no to the ovarian cancer study because apparently her cancer is at to advanced a stage. What is fascinating to me is the bright and witty emails she sends out with what seems like such dire news. I am taking her advice and praying for a small miracle every day till she is healed. It is fascinating to me to see how she does not face this alone. Not alone in the physical realm and not alone in the spiritual realm. It is easy to see the many people who go phisically along side her through this illness but just as visible to me are those who go alongside her in spirit. It is so obvious through her words and actions. That is how I, as an outside observer mostly via the internet, see it. I pray that I would live my life that way.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fun Times

One of my and my husband's favorite pastimes is discussing with our kids, in detail and with anatomically correct language, what some of the songs our kids listen to actually mean. And when I say listen I mean, hear accidentally because my kids would never listen to that stuff. *cough, cough* Trust me when I say that they have just as fun as we do during these little dialogues. Oh yeah. Our latest adventure in music is titled Cr@nk D@t S0ulj@ B0y. (characters, so I don't get googled)

You know, it's not the ones I understand about that worry me, It's the ones I don't.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Long Live Bob

I just ate a tomato the size of my head. I had to, you see. It was starting to get soft. The tomato, not my head.

Later on tonight we will make about eight jars of salsa.

Just call me couch tomato.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Habit forming

I read a blog called The Secret Life of Kat. I lurk there quite often. It's awesome, go check it out! She has issued a challenge to her readers to develop a new habit on the assumption that it takes 21 days for a routine to take root and genuinely become a habit. I haven't "officially" joined the challenge because I can't handle that much accountability, but I am striking out on my own. I figure here I'm only accountable to a handful of people. I won't spill the details yet but depending on how well I do with it I'll elaborate later. Small steps. It's a simple thing that I am trying to do and something most people probably do without thinking, just not me. Not with a capital N.

Now go check out that blog.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

May I be so bold as to ask,

would you pray for someone for me? Her name is Maxine Bullard. She is a remarkable woman in many ways but the one of the ways that has stuck with me is her ability to make 1st and 2nd Kings not only interesting but fascinating to third thru sixth grade children. I mean superhero fascinating. I don't mention this to imply that she is more worthy of prayer than anyone else, I just thought you should know, that's all.

Specifics:
She is trying to get accepted into a program in Chicago that treats advanced Ovarian Cancer.
She is a widowed parent to two grown children and one in his first year in college. (Her husband passed away one year ago after a sudden, severe heart attack.)

I thank you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Like I need more grey hair.

We are on the cusp of initiating another driver into the family. The fifteen year old turns sixteen at the end of this month. He is doing as well as can be expected. This afternoon he got it into his head that he wanted to drive the stick shift home when I picked him up from xc practice. I haven't had the pleasure yet of driving that particular car with him so I decided to live dangerously and handed over the steering wheel. I think his main concern was coolness points for driving off in front of his friends still awaiting rides. He managed to get away without killing the car. Then he killed it a couple of times at an intersection with a car behind him. ***ADVICE TANGENT*** Mothers, before letting your teen get behind the wheel for the first time, it might behoove you to review all that Lamaze breathing you learned during pregnancy. ***TANGENT OVER*** He actually did a great job and we made it two thirds of the way home at which point he let me take the wheel back when faced with a traffic backup. On a hill. In heavy construction. It's good to know your limits.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Secular Sins

Christians are judgemental, no? That has got to be one of the top ten complaints about Christians. It doesn't help that we, as Christians, are so eager to prove it true. Quibble all you want to about the meaning of Matthew 7:1-2 but you know you do it. I do it, you do it, all God's children do it. I'm doing it right now. But, let's not be too hasty. Christians don't have the only corner on that market. Tune in to a morning news show some time, or maybe Oprah and see if you don't come away feeling as guilty as sin. There are any number of speakers, authors or "experts" only too happy to tell us how to live our lives and woe be it to the individual trying to keep up with these ever changing commandments.

In the spirit of fair play I thought I'd spend some time in confession. I want to confess my sins of commission or omission in the secular realm. I was thinking of beginning this "forgive me AlGore for I have sinned", but that would be going to far, don't you think?

My sins:

1. Recycling. Look, I recycle, I really do. I am a child of the seventies after all. I even remember the original little ecology symbol. It's just, sometimes, when I am overwhelmed by cramming six people's worth of junk into a house meant for four, I might, in a fit of cleaning frenzy, might, actually, throw away a newspaper....or a soda can.


1a. I, overuse, commas.

2. Sunscreen. For one thing, I have been known to use less than 50 spf. For another thing, I don't reapply after one hour. And lastly, if we are going out after 3:00 I don't bother. And for the kids, I would just hit the high spots: shoulders, face, back, chest and arms. Oh, and the tops of their ears, that can be nasty. Try rubbing three children down completely with sunscreen and see if you even make it out of the house before midnight. On the beach, however, we mind our sunscreen p's and q's. Going to the beach is treated like a visit to the sunscreen pope or something. We learned that lesson the hard way. If we are anywhere near the beach everyone takes a bath in sunscreen every hour on the hour. King Sol shows no mercy.

3. Trans fats. Once or twice, Ok, probably dozens of times, I allowed my children to take Lunchables to school for field trip lunches. I have also given in to the hue and cry for Oreos.

4. Christmas. I wish random people a Merry Christmas*. Actually I don't think this is nearly as big a deal as the media makes it out to be. Maybe for a vocal minority. Though maybe, being in the majority, I don't get it. That's always a possibility. No one has wished me a Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa yet but if they did, would I be offended? No.

5. Edumacation. I believe five minutes worth of Entertainment Tonight viewing bears this one out. I believe, contrary to what our teachers told us, there ARE stupid questions.


Ok, enough of that. While written with tongue firmly in cheek, some of these I really would like to improve on. Not the Christmas one though. I'm kind of unrepentant on that one. I know if I were to do a little more soul searching that these five would just be the tip of the iceberg. This is all I can manage to do penance for at the moment. Meanwhile, let's all cut each other some slack.

* During the Christmas season.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The best things in life

Yesterday while my husband and I were sitting with the rest of the soccer parents during daughters practice, our four year old made a new friend. Forsaking the sparkly new playground the two of them beelined for the best plaything life has to offer. A giant pile of dirt. As we watched the two of them we reminisced about dirt piles from our past. Doesn't everyone have a dirt pile in their past?


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"There is no dark side of the moon really.

Matter of fact it's all dark."

After the initial snag, the day of fasting went well. I remember once upon a time when fasting included vast amounts of quiet reflection. I could ROCK the quiet reflection. Last night there was a total lunar eclipse. If ever there was a moment crying out for quiet reflection that would be it. Picture if you will: sitting peacefully in the wee small hours of the morning before the world awakens, gazing up at the glowing white orb as, slowly, a shadow creeps across the surface taking an ever enlarging bite till, at totality, an eerie orange glow lingers until the shadow begins to recede and once again the moon is full, faintly lit in the light of sunrise.

The reality:

Fussing with a camera that is smarter than you. Children of various sizes roaming in and out of the house at four in the morning. Husband standing in the driveway, in his boxers, wondering when you're coming back to bed. A telescope that is also, apparently, smarter than you. Dog pooping in the neighbors yard. Thirteen year old daughter frightened by the paper delivery guy. Retrieving the blind cat every time she wandered out the open door. The street light that only seems to work when we are attempting to observe celestial events. Chasing the moon through the neighborhood from one gap in the trees to another. And last but not least, mosquitoes.

You know what? The reality is better. I am blessed to have children that are willing to create memories together. God reached down into our family and knit us together in the chaos of that night time viewing.

Here, I'll throw in a photo. Since I don't have an adequate telephoto lens I was working on a series of shots that would show the progression of the eclipse. Then my daughter moved the camera. That was the end of that idea. All I ended up with was a handful of random shots of a speck of white in a field of black. So I went out at around six o'clock by myself and took this shot of the moon before it dipped below tree level.


If you'd like to see some quality photos head over to flickr and do a search using the keyword "lunar eclipse"

Monday, August 27, 2007

...do NOT exasperate your children...

I was supposed to fast today in order to pray about the search for our new youth minister. I was all set for it. Then I promised the four year old a donut at Krispy Kreme and low and behold I forgot all about the fast. I didn't "conveniently" forget either. I really forgot.

Do over.

It will be oh so much more meaningful now with the leftover donuts calling to me from the kitchen. I need to find a place to hide those because the kids are fasting too. They can't handle that kind of pressure. It could be fun though. When I did my forty day fast the kids found it amusing to wave things under my nose, like pizza, and make a great show of enjoying their food. If I weren't so mature I could get some great pay back. I am though. Mature.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

How to deal

I am trying to come to terms with how to deal with a situation as a Christian. I'm leaving the details out, which probably isn't fair but I am sick of rehashing this experience.

In brief the situation entails me and my daughter being attacked verbally at church. The attacker is not a member of our church.

I feel that we have the complete support of the church leadership in taking the position that we were the victims in this situation which I very much appreciate. But how do I choose to respond?

I kind of think I know how I should respond as a Christian but my heart is not there. The best I can manage at this point is to endeavor not to harbor anger. I should not even say that I am managing that because I'm not. I am only able to ask God to manage it for me. Interestingly every time my radio station is tuned to Christian radio someone is discussing how to deal with anger, both in yourself and in others. My exact situation.

I am hanging on to Proverbs 15:1
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
and

Proverbs 29:11
11 A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control.
I am also taking a stab a dealing with it using humor. It would have been entirely appropriate to state at the height of this man's ranting, "I wasn't expecting a kind of Spanish Inquisition."

Sadly I have very little hope of any positive resolution but stay tuned. If God deems it useful to provide some sort of miracle I will shout it from the blogosphere, and every other sphere.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Well that was fun

Ok, I'm back.

I've been working on a mural project for a new daycare. So while I was taking a break from "Drawing on the wall" I was actually drawing on a wall. Ironic, no? It was a nice change of pace. More often than not my work, volunteer or otherwise, involves hours and hours of isolation in front of the computer screen. During this project I got to interact with actual people. It was also nice to get my hands dirty again. I love graphic work in all it's forms but there is something so satisfying about becoming physically involved in the work. It does my brain good to make creative decisions that can't be erased with the click of a button and that I don't have to "save" every five minutes or risk losing it for all eternity. Fantastic. Let's face it, it's also nice to have someone believe you are worthy to be paid for your work. That never ceases to amaze me, you want to pay me for this?!

Now, I arrive home to a mountain of laundry and find that I have somehow become the parent of a senior in High School. Ok, so when did that happen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

To those of you with real jobs.....

I salute you.

How do you do it? I'm working on a real job right now. Well, it's a paying job anyway. In any case between that and the start of school the blog visits are nil, which is sad because major things have been happening. Major to me, that is. I'll be back soon. My deadline is the middle of next week. Maybe by then I will have processed "things" enough to make sense of them in writing.

Till next week.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I'm not a gardener....

...but I play one on T.V.

In spite of the high temperatures that are catching up to us here we have been blessed (or cursed if you have a leaky basement) with plenty of rain. My tomatoes are going great guns. The peppers are freaking out now that I've protected them from the bunnies. Watermelons and pumpkins are coming along nicely. So can anyone explain these cucumbers?

One measly pickle and a mutant. That's all I could produce. I thought cucumbers were no-brainers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Move along people, it's just a dream.

I know how it's boring to listen to people talk about their dreams and all so just move on and let me work through this on my own.

I have three reoccurring nightmares. One is tornadoes. Another is Nuclear explosions. The third is Earth ending Apocalypse's. I suppose they are three varieties of the same dream, really.

This morning was the Apocalypse variety. The sun went out. No supernova, it just burned out. I was speaking on the phone with my mom while watching it happened and I was trying to get off without being rude and hanging up on her so I could spend my last moments with my family. After I got off the phone I turned on CNN. Then I woke up before things could get too tragic.

Analysis? Could be the end of summer. Could be the one hundred plus temps we're expecting. Could be I watch too much cable news.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Did you know you have a snake in your mouth?

I found that out last Sunday. I've got one too.

Occasionally I have a very bad attitude problem. Generally I don’t like going to church while on vacation. In the small town Churches of Christ you don’t really know what you are going to get. My experience with small town churches has been ummm…..less than stimulating. Since we were on vacation with my in laws and they attend church, no questions asked, every Sunday, I braced for the worst. To my shame I prayed that God would somehow prevent our attendance. Well, He didn’t prevent us from attending, but the church we ended up at? Wow!

My in laws had a church in mind that they were looking for but were unable to find it. Their break lights would light up every time they passed a Church of Christ but in the end they would pass by. Then came the church that they didn’t pass by. I don’t know why they stopped, but really, I do. Know what I mean? I could see it immediately. How do I put this? We were the only white people in the entire building right down to the enormous African American Jesus mural that covered one of the walls. I turned to my Fifteen Year old and said, “Now this could be fun.” And it was. I think I will have to wait many a week before I find a service as uplifting as this one was

Now, how to integrate that worship experience into my own repressed style……that is the challenge.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Surreal Life

Last night, at 12:30 A.M., from the depths of my Nyquil assisted slumber I awakened to the shrill tones of the phone in my bedroom. I climbed over my still sleeping husband to answer the phone and heard the voice of my seventeen year old who informed me that his car had stranded him at the Quiktrip on the way home from work. After prodding my husband awake and sending him off to rescue our baby my head hit the pillow once more. Only to be awakened minutes later by my fifteen year old asking me to explain the plot of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five. I think I came up with some sort of answer. Now that I think of it the Nyquil probably didn't hurt a bit and may even have helped. I drifted in and out while visions of schlachthof funf danced through my head and eventually the fifteen year old gave up on me and my husband ended up back in bed.

At least the four year old slept through the night.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Woman's place

So, no sooner had I written my last post when some friends called us to invite us to dinner. Their purpose was to inform us that they plan to find a new church home. They are leaving over because they have been struggling for several months over the role of women in our church. Basically, they feel women have to much power. It's unfair of me to characterize their reason so simply but I'm trying to boil it down for the sake of space. I disagree with their reasons but I consider them to be adults and so my husband and I said goodbye to them with our blessing. The sad and tragic thing is they are taking their kids with them and their kids are great friends with our kids. In fact, I was hoping we could arrange some marriages between them. Well, at least they are not leaving town. And, there is still facebook.

It's got me all thoughtful though. Our church is really in transition right now and I need to be constantly in prayer because I believe changes are on the horizon. Great changes. I also believe we have rattled Satan's cage and are in for some upheaval. I believe Satan's greatest victory would be if he could keep us at status quo, keep us from making any changes at all. Or I could be wrong.

I wish I could put everything I feel about this issue into word's but it's a dark and stormy morning here. I've got a stupid summer cold and PMS so I need to quit right here before I let my emotions get the better of me. I'll weigh my thoughts and perhaps I'll get back to it some time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Way to worship (dude)

As I am avoiding serious work, I will now write a second post for today.

Last Sunday as my husband, the four year old and I were eating lunch after church, a fellow church member came in with a friend whom I didn't recognize. Turns out it was a visitor to our church. How did I find this out? Well, like any well trained mother of teens would, I eavesdropped. Actually, I was enjoying some time alone at my table appreciating the fact that it was my husband and not I who was in the bathroom with the four year old. Ah, life's little pleasures. While alone I could not help but overhear.

The gist of their conversation was what he thought of our church. The one thing that bothered him was the amount of singing. Singing? I have heard this sentiment before but it never ceases to surprise me. His reasoning was that normal people sitting around having a conversation don't suddenly break out into song so why should we in Church. Interesting. I believe this is the same reason people give for not liking musicals. I was reminded, via an outsiders point of view, that not all of us experience worship in the same way. Is there a right way?

The church our family attends only sings acapella. In fact that is all they allow. They have scriptural reasons for doing this but, here's a little secret, I disagree. Here is another little secret. I love it! acapella singing, that is. I married into this church coming from a church that was very organ heavy. In college I attended a bible study group, non-denominational, that wouldn't sing anything if the guitar player wasn't there, or couldn't play a particular song. It was an eye opener, to say the least, when I attended my husbands somewhat small church and nearly got blown out the door with the power and sincerity of the singing and not an instrument in sight. They even harmonized. My goal is to see past my own opinion, e.g. not allowing instruments is a silly rule, and try to see the beauty in the reality. I can be comfortable in many worship scenarios, although I might have difficulty handling snakes. I have always felt that it was my job to seek God not to be entertained or catered to. With apologies to Mr. Kennedy: Ask not what the church can do for you - ask what you can do for the church.

Not everyone agrees with me. Big surprise. And I find myself in the interesting position of being intolerant of those whom I deem intolerant. So I, like *98% of the known world, am a hypocrite.

The fact that any church comes together in any kind of cohesive unit is a miracle. If you read the book of Acts it's a miracle that the church even survived the first century. These days there are so many opinions on what is and isn't worship. I'm not well versed enough to comment on the validity of any of these worship styles but I maintain that If God were not at the center, holding us all together (albeit loosely) we'd all be flinging out of control into the nether lands. Yes, we should continually seek God's will for community worship but I kinda believe that there is a lot of leeway there.

Back to work.

*an actual made up fact.

Blind cat's bluff

This morning I was entertained by the blind kitty. She found a little toy which she wrestled with and batted around for the better part of an hour. Problem was she kept batting it out of reach. Can you see how this would be a problem for a blind cat? I watched as she pawed around her immediate area briefly then she wandered, nose and whiskers down in a meandering spiral till she bumped into her prey and then the fun would begin again. I purposefully held myself back from retrieving it for her to see if she would be able to find it. She did, everytime.

I need to think on this. There must be a lesson in there somewhere.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Again with dad

My dad has been on my mind a lot this summer what with Father's Day and his birthday. I'm still thinking about him so I'm going with it. I may have things to come to terms with regarding my dad and this is as good a place as any to work it out.

On my last short trip home, as I rounded the corner taking a left at the Sapp Bros watertower I heard my father's voice coming out of the radio. It's not as unusual as it might seem. He is a voice over artist in my hometown and I had managed to tune in to a hometown station. It was a bank commercial. The interesting thing about my dad's voice over work is the work he does for Back to the Bible which is headquartered in my hometown. My dad does a considerable amount of work for them and it always strikes me as odd because my dad is not a Christian. That's not judgement on my part that is his own admission. His beliefs are complex but that's a very different subject. I don't generally listen to Back to the Bible stuff. Honestly it seems kind of old fashioned to me.(Now that's a judgement) Occasionally, though, if I'm tuned in to the local Christian radio station (You know the station that got saved) (sorry lame joke) Ok, where was I. Oh yeah, if my car is tuned in to one of the local Christian radio stations, sometimes a Back to the Bible show will be on when I turn on the car. And, sometimes, as I'm reaching to change the station my finger will pause midair as I hear my dad's voice. Then I listen a little longer. There is one piece he did for them, a very long monologue in which he played the character of God. In it he recites a message from God about his son Jesus. A lot of it, as you would expect, comes straight from the bible. Three things struck me simultaneously listening to this particular broadcast. One, was the strange unfamiliarity of my dad's voice speaking in such glowing terms about Jesus, salvation, and a whole host of other Christian buzzwords. Two, was the fact that thinking of my dad as a Christian probably should not be such a impossible possibility in my mind. Not that he might be saved even though he professes not to be, but, that he might be saved some day. Some day wayyyyyyy in the future maybe, but the point is, I should not just write him off. And third, it is entirely possible that my dad "non christian" has reached more people for Christ than I have. Now that one kind of blows me away.

One more story because it kind of fits.

When I was in the hospital four years ago with my newborn baby, up in the middle of the night, I had the television on with the volume turned way down to barely audible. Out of the darkness and through my sleepy fog my ears perked up. It was my father's voice. I snapped out of my fog, looked up and turned up the volume. It was indeed my dad, doing a commercial promoting Nebraska golf courses. I was so familiar with my father's voice that even in my new mommy, middle of the night delirium I was able to tune into it. It was a very emotional moment for me, well, you know how emotional new moms can be. I also had a very strong indication, at that point, about how familiar I should become to the voice of my Father in heaven. I should be so familiar with his voice that I can hear it when I least expect it.

So, that's it for this weeks episode of theology with dad, both earthly and heavenly. Tune in next week when I'll probably prove once again how I fail to listen to my own lessons.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Midnight Bike Ride

bike crowdLast night our thirteen year old daughter joined my husband, the four year old, and I for a Midnight Bike Ride in our community. She has done this event with one or both of us, plus various brothers, for five years now . The bike ride is a blast. It is a ride not a race so it attracts all sorts. In other words, you don't have to be a fanatic bike rider. Oh, the fanatics are there, they just begin in front and finish the 12+ mile route in about ten minutes. There are also whole families riding together, Grandmas and Grandpas, big people little people, not quite sober people, and herds of tweens. Roads are closed on the bike route and the businesses turn on their sprinklers for us to ride through. It is really a great time.

The thirteen year old
Our night was nearly derailed by one of those "what kind of parents" moments. As in, "What kind of parents would bring their four year old out on a bike ride at midnight?" with my husband and I in the role of "those parents". The four year old started out asleep but woke up about fifty feet down the road in complete meltdown and could not be consoled. Not even with goldfish. We stopped and a comedy of errors ensued as a couple of police people on bikes approached to try and assist us. My husband had the idea that the four year old might just have to go potty and wanted to take him behind a tree. With the bike police there? I don't think so. I could tell he was fighting every instinct to tell the bike police to move along and help those who were really in need. In one of my rash motherly instinct moments I decided that the thing to do was for me to turn around with the four year old in the bike trailer and take him home leaving our daughter and my husband to finish the ride without us. Then I tried to pull him out of the trailer, without releasing the seat restraints. Oh yeah, that helped a lot. When I finally got him out my shirt got snagged on my handle bars and we both nearly toppled over. My husband could have helped but he was too busy stewing about the police harassing us. Then came the "I WANT MOMMY" screaming as I handed him to my husband so I could dismount my bike without falling. Finally, as we got him settled back in so I could turn around and be escorted back to my car by the bike police, he stopped crying and started eating goldfish. So I exercised my womanly prerogative to change my mind and decided to continue with the ride. To which the bike police replied, "whatever you want". So we began anew, in dead last. Meaning that almost the entire field of riders was witness to our family crisis on the side of the road.

pre meltdownThe four year old pre-meltdown

We made pretty good progress even with me now pulling the trailer. My big strong husband normally gets that privilege. The four year old, now being fully awake enjoyed the ride very much and was looking forward to the ride through the caves. In the Kansas City area there are several areas in which entire business parks are carved out of limestone caves. Our route took us through one of those caves. It is always a refreshing break from the heat and humidity that hangs in the air even at that late hour. Outside the cave I gave back trailer duty to my husband because it is quite a climb back up to the main road and I had already exhausted my aerobic threshold on the hills up to that point. We made good progress after that and didn't finish last after all.

In the caveIn the caves


Me and hubby

At the conclusion of the ride we got to eat Chris Cakes. Nothing like pancakes and sausage at 2:30 A.M.

This morning my daughter got on the bus to join her brothers at camp. Next year it may be just my husband and I and the four year old, (who will be five by then). Hopefully we can switch him to a tandem bike. One thing is certain, we will make sure he is awake before we start.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Contradiction

I've been burning up Interstate 29 all summer. The latest circuit involved picking up two of my kids who were visiting cousins that are staying with my parents for a while. Today two of them leave for a church camp for the week. Tomorrow the third one leaves and it's just my husband, the four year old and I for the week. I am feeling it. I am fortunate to have the four year old the cat and the dog to care for and keep me from locking myself in my bedroom for the week and sleeping it off. Although, the truth is, the way I've been sleeping lately, I could use about a week's worth of sleep. I've really grown weary of saying goodbye to my kids and/or husband this summer. Every time I turn around another one is leaving. And yet I crave a little bit of time alllllll to myself.

Life is just full of paradoxes isn't it.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

My new addiction

Like I need one...

http://flickrvision.com/

My little mermaid

Oh to be four years old again. Unencumbered by gender specific role play the four year old has become, in the last month or so, Spiderman, Superman, Mario, Sonic, Yoshi, Knuckles (think video games), little Barbie and a mermaid. His last incarnation is the mermaid, I believe, brought on by his swimming lessons. Occasionally one of the family will prompt him, asking if he is really a merman or Spongebob character Mermaid Man, but no, he insists he is just a mermaid. He also insists that I make him a mermaid costume. In an effort to stall his persistent demands I asked him to do a sketch for me of what he wanted.

Seems simple enough, although, I'm not sure where I will get the curly hair.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

New camera!

When I am trying to work thorough something I often dream about it at night. Lately I've been dreaming about F-stops and shutter speeds trying to figure out our new digital SLR. Woohoo! In defense of our purchase we consider it a long term investment to reduce the cost of taking senior portraits. Oh. My. Word. Are they expensive. Now we will take them ourselves. Or, rather, my sister the photographer will take them using our camera, because, you know, just because you get a fancy schmancy new camera does not automatically make you a great photographer. I'm working on it though. Here is a photo from last night's fireworks.

Focal length 38mm
Exposure 15 secs
Aperture F-16

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Boom my brain has exploded,

I sneaked off for a couple of minutes with the computer this morning. I've got a mixed bag that I need to air out.

Last night my husband and I went to see a movie, The Fantastic Four. It was entertaining. I had to get up at one point and walk down several rows to ask some teens if they wouldn't mind not talking so loud. I made a point to look them straight in the eye. They did quiet down. I walked back to my seat feeling all, yay for me! After the movie my husband asked me what I said to them, so I told him, and he asked me if they did stop talking. You see, he never even heard them talking in the first place. This, my friends, illustrates the difference between the female and the male brain. Now I understand why, half the time, he has no idea I've been talking to him. For fifteen minutes.

Today is the fourth of July. Hooray for explosions! We were never allowed to have fireworks of any kind as children. My dad was dead set against them. This from a man who fought bottle rocket wars in his youth. The only person this ban had any effect on was me and probably my baby sister when she was older. We were the good children in the family.......My brothers all managed to get their hands on fireworks one way or another and lived to tell the tale.

My most memorable fourth of July was spent at World's of Fun, our local amusement park. It was one of those freeze frame moments in my life that stopped the passage of time for a breath or two. My middle son, now the fifteen year old, and I ran to catch the last ride of the night on the Orient Express, a looping roller coaster that is no longer in existence. On the long slow climb to the top, before the "big drop" we watched a 360 degree panorama of firework displays going off all over the city, as far as the eye could see. There were big city displays, huge and loud, along side little neighbor hood shows, probable illegal. Something about the moment was breathtaking. And just like that the moment was over and away we went over the drop and looped our way to the end. The park display was kind of a let down after that.

Yesterday was my Dad's (the firework police's) birthday. I was in that freeze frame of mind and I remembered the time my dad stood up to a crazy neighbor who was angry at my brother for some indiscretion. My dad was, judging by his appearance, a bit of a Hippie. He was somewhat on the older edge of that movement, being in his thirties, but he hung out with the theater crowd. Our neighbor was high and tight with a haircut to match. His son was a royal terror. One day he came, fuming, over to our house to settle the score over whatever it was that my brother had done. He banged on the door and my dad, bearded and long haired, probably wearing his dashiki, answered cutting him off in short order and telling him off in no uncertain terms. In my memory the neighbor went home with his tail tucked between his legs and my dad rose several degrees in my estimation. I was sort of intimidated to tell the truth. Then on some weird level the whole incident influenced my views on the Vietnam War. At age seven. That's a whole other entry, though. And now my brain is tired.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tut tut it looks like rain

I am in a timeless state of mind today. It's the steady rains. The sameness and greyness of the day lulls me into a stupor and pretty soon it's dinner time when I thought it was 11:00 A.M.

I have been irritated at the rain all week because it has interfered with the four year old's swimming lessons at a time when temperatures would normally be nearing the one hundred degree mark with pool temps in the 90's. Instead, the poor little level one swimmers stand shivering in the pool under sprinkly skies with purple lips. None of that matters to the four year old, he has proven himself, like his older brothers, mostly fearless in the water in regard to temps. My daughter and I have braved the cold waters too since I far prefer swimming to running in terms of a workout, and because the cold temps keep the swimming pool freed up for actually swimming laps.

I am also delighted by the rain. My tomato plants are nearly eye level. Now if I could just fix the squirrel problem. I've caught them red-pawed. Yesterday one of them taunted me by sitting on a branch right outside the dining room, green tomato in paw. I turned to my dog asking what use was he to let this take place right in his own yard. He rolled over licking a paw and fell back to sleep. Useless. The blind cat is quite good a catching critters but isn't allowed outside. If I bought them a bunch of cardboard tomatoes at the grocery store and made them an offering I wonder if they'd fall for it. I've never been good at outsmarting the squirrels.

So here, have a pointless game.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

s-u-m-m-e-r

The other night three of us attended a party at a local Lake/Park. The wind was light, the sunset beautiful, the moon was bright and lit the billowing clouds dramatically and the fireflies were plentiful. It was late when we drove home and we were treated to a lightning show that only the midwest could provide. The four year old fell asleep on the way home and I laid him in bed smelling of sunshine and bugspray.

I heart summer.

Genesis 8:22

22 "As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease."


Friday, June 22, 2007

Crisis of Conscience

In this post I intend to:
1. Go on a rant about a certain cosmetics company. (I won't mention names but it's initials are MK.)
2. Question my motives.
3. Backtrack somewhat
4. Ask for wisdom.
5. Possibly delete the whole thing without posting

So, Thursday night I attended and MK function with my sister in law (whom I sincerely hope never, ever, ever comes anywhere near this post). It was fun and all but it totally creeped me out. I don't think it was only about being outside my comfort zone either. The only other time I recall feeling quite so creeped out was when a male stripper showed up at a bridal shower I attended. I have always had an extremely bad body image but as for my face and aging I have always been ok with it. I use lotions because my skin is so stinkin' dry and sunscreen to prevent cancer but I don't have much problem with normal aging and have no driving desire to forestall it. My mom didn't wear much makeup so I didn't have that paradigm. Of course my mom looked like Snow White, she didn't need enhancement. I also loved my grandma's face and still do to this day. Her wrinkles tell the story of her life. To me cosmetics are more about telling women that they are not good enough than they are about beauty. My husband totally gets this. One Christmas a consultant railroaded him into getting me some concealer, or something, that I had showed a little interest in, convincing him that it was something I would really appreciate as opposed to whatever inferior gift he could think up on his own. My favorite gift that year was a computer game, Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time, from my husband, who thought it up all on his own. He knows what I really want, that's why I love the guy.

So back to this meeting.

It was like a recruiting session In fact, now that I think about it, that's exactly what it was. I kept picturing Plankton telling Spongebob, "isn't it great to have the things you desire". The consultants, directors and the, umm, uber-director were all very enthusiastic and only slightly plastic looking. I was promised cars, cash , friendship, fellowship, diamonds, and trips to Switzerland all for a measly one hundred dollar starter kit and the cost of inventory. And, ninety percent of it is refundable. What kind of idiot would I be to pass up an offer like that. I was a total failure at this meeting. I did not write down the names of five of my friends that could be contacted at a later time, even though I was offered tickets for each name I wrote down. Tickets for a drawing at the end of the evening in which I could win..............you guessed it, beauty products. I did not answer the question on my survey indicating what I thought would be the best thing about selling beauty products. I did not believe the uber-director when she gushed about how fabulous my skin looked because according to my celebrity look-alike query I am a fifty eight percent match to Bob Marley. Not that Bob Marley didn't have fabulous skin.

Ok, now that I've got that out of my system. I actually know quite a few people who have had some success at selling these so-called beauty products and in one case is just this side of life saving. I may not like the tactics or the message but what right do I have to be so judgemental? And yet, is this the message I want my daughter to receive?

And now the part where I admit that I actually bought some stuff. After all is said and done, I am a girl and most girls like pretty shiny things. I occasionally wear make up. I try to get up early enough to wear it on Sunday mornings. I also like to play dress up when my husband and I go on grown up dates. Add to this the fact that my "consultant" is my sister in law and in spite of what the uber-director said about consolation purchases, I made a consolation purchase. It's more than I usually spend on my drug store cosmetics but it won't go to waste and it helps a worthy cause, my sister in laws family without the uncomfortableness of an handout. Even though, I hesitate to add, she didn't buy a wreath this year from my son the boy scout. But, nevermind that. I love my sister in law and in a warped way I view this as a chance to get a little closer to her. Neither of us is what you would call warm and fuzzy in social situations so if this is what it takes to spend more time with her I'm willing.

But I do ask for wisdom. Am I just kidding myself? Should I be honest and state my feelings clearly to my sister in law, then trust God to show me another way? Is this a hill to die on? I read today that we, as a nation spend eighteen billion dollars annually on make up and that it would only take nineteen billion to meet the basic nutritional needs of the world’s poorest children. This is probably not my most unnecessary purchase in any given year. I'm sure a LOT of fat could be trimmed off here and there, and there, and there too. God grant me wisdom.

Now I should probably just delete this but I think I'll leave it here a few days and then take it down. I may revisit it occasionally to see how well it's digesting.