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


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 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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Geeking out

I think I'm going to have to get myself to the bookstore tomorrow and get the "new" Tolkien book, "Children of Hurin".

I need a little light summer reading.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Road Trip Adventures

You know how genius type people with huge IQs can sometimes be deficient in day to day common sense, like the absent minded professor? Well, that's me, except for the genius part. Today on my way home from my parents house I let my car run out of gas. I planned to stop for gas and lunch. We did get lunch.

I learned two things today. One, my car can go roughly 200 miles on a quarter of a tank of gas. And two, if you stack a couple of McDonald's cups it makes a suitable potty chair and will support a four year old boy who is too scared to venture into the scary forest.

I also had to apologize to the two children with me in the car. Letting the car run out of gas is really bad parenting. On the other hand, thank God for AAA.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Pa

My favorite memory of my dad. Once when I was six or seven years old I asked my dad to draw a tree for me. In my memory that tree was a masterpiece. It even had a little swing in it. At some point I made it my life's goal to become an artist so that I could one day draw a tree as good as the one my dad drew.

My first memory of my dad on stage is seeing him play Bottom from "A Midsummer Night's Dream". It was cool, he wore a donkey head. Later, at about eight years old, I saw him in "Macbeth" as Macbeth himself. That was cool too. He got his head cut off and stuck on a stick. He still has that head in the computer room. I thought he was famous. I quit thinking he was famous or cool at about age thirteen and there were some pretty rough times in our family but we've more or less grown out of those and come to a comfortable compromise.

Tonight I will see my dad on stage again in Love's Labor's Lost in a small role. He is warming up his chops to play King Lear in the fall. I think he is cool again and he is famous in his own way, at least with his kids, grand kids and the local theater crowd in Lincoln.

Break a leg tonight dad!

And now my favorite Fathers day poem, from Looney Toons'
"A Bear For Punishment".

My Pa
When the nasty old bogeyman
Fills me with fears
And my little old pinafore
Is all wet with tears
And my cute little pug nose
Is all red for crying
Who is it that saves me
And keeps me from dying?
My Pa!
When my little pink cheeks
Are pale with fright
Who is it that lifts me
And holds me tight
And says, "There, there, little man
Everything is all right?"
My Pa

Friday, June 15, 2007

So, I guess this makes me Mary....

I believe that God has special plans for my oldest child, the seventeen year old. Sometimes I wonder where he came from because surely I couldn't have raised such a well rounded pre-adult. Then he goes and does something boneheaded like rack up a $800.00 phone bill and I think oh yeah, he's mine.

I have been privileged to watch him this week at VBS playing Jesus in the skits for the children. I call him Malibu Jesus because he sounds like a surfer dude. (How he picked that up living in Kansas I'll never know). In one skit they did the story of Jesus blessing the children and he got to lay his hands on them and bless them. I was quite moved. It wasn't that he is such a great actor, in fact, I think he had his lines taped to his arm. It was the physical act of him touching the children and saying the words bless you. Something happened in that little room that made it a holy moment. If you've ever been in a room full of children who are suddenly very quiet you know what I am talking about.

The VBS children, most of whom know my son, knew he wasn't Jesus. In fact in the drama room they would say "That's not Jesus that's (seventeen year old's name)" But, in the hallways and afterwards in the auditorium they would all yell "Look! it's Jesus" As they ran to tackle him or hang on him. Isn't that the kind of Jesus you would like to know? One who play with you and let you ride on his shoulders. Even let you dogpile on top of him with a bunch of your friends? I guess what I'm saying is that maybe that's how the story of Jesus played out. Not quietly or reverently in a room apart from the crowd but right in the middle of all the action with Jesus at the center.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You asked for it!

Not in so many words but I could tell you were just dying to see it and so here it is:

The World's Largest Bob Ross painting. The photograph just doesn't do it justice in either size or detail. This painting was done in eight 5' x 8' and eight 5' x 5' panels. The lion's share of the work was done by one woman with help here and there from several other of the older ladies around here who are painters. I don't know what else to say about this. I just felt it needed to be seen, and believe me, you've got to see it to believe it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Salvation vs Socks

Today when I picked up the four year old after VBS there was a mom all in a snit over some missing socks. Since I was thinking so clearly due to my just having had two hours to myself I said: "Please, these women have cared for your rugrat for three and one half hours, lovingly teaching her about Jesus and the Bible thereby encouraging her to make a decision one day that may grant her eternal life and you are worried about SOCKS!?!"

Well, I thought it anyway. You can't say that stuff out loud for goodness sakes. And who wears socks with sandals anyway?

Sweet sweet solitude

VBS officially started yesterday. Today I sing it's praises. VBS, where collectively there is more talent and wisdom gathered in one building than you will find in any institution of higher learning. Where there is more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control than you will find in a truckload of televangelists. And, where all the little children of the world who are precious in His sight meet and experience Jesus with skin on; all while enjoying a healthy snack and creating a one of a kind craft.

All of this so that I can slink off and enjoy two solid hours of time to myself with some coffee, a bagel and the newspaper.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

VBS time!

I put together a little slideshow of a painting I did for VBS. I wanted to do something other than the usual coloring book style painting so I decided to do something a little different and shock the older ladies in the process. I'm radical that way. Ahem.

I'm somewhat pleased with the end product given the timeline, my circumstances and the materials we had to work with. Jesus ended up looking a little to "gentile" but I'm going to blame the source material for that. In the end this is just a copy of a sunday school print but I tried to add a little of myself to it and have some fun. I hope the kids like looking at it. The canvas is 5' x 5'. In a few days I'll get a photo up of the "World's Largest Bob Ross Painting, which I had nothing to do with.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Against the wind

I woke up today at 4:30 because of the wind.

Many years ago I had a out of body experience on top of a mountain that has left me with an unnatural anger at windy days. Riding my bike through the campus at KU with a portfolio acting as a wind barrier only reinforced my position.

My experience was on top of Mt. Gould in Glacier National Park the year I worked at Many Glacier Hotel for the summer. I was talked into climbing a mountain* that I really didn't want to climb. It didn't help my attitude that we (the employees) were all in danger of being evacuated due to fires in the area. The guy that talked me in to it was a real mountain goat and I was grumpy and tired at the time but agreed to go. We were literally blown up the mountain. On top of the mountain I can't say exactly what happened but I was suddenly very disoriented; east became west and I was completely out of my mind. My words cannot do it justice. It didn't help that I looked up from my altered state and there, not more than ten feet away, stood a real mountain goat. Not the aforementioned friend, a real one. In my state of mind that goat could have asked me to pass the butter or something and it would have seemed perfectly normal. Anyway, it was weird.

Here's where the wind figures into the story. At the top of that mountain the wind was picking up some pretty good sized boulders and flinging them off the side to the depths below and so I was thinking, how long before that wind is strong enough to start flinging people off the mountain. I developed a healthy respect for nature at that point. We high tailed it off the mountain and let me tell you something you may not know. Going down a mountain is more difficult than going up even in the best of circumstances. With the wind hindering our progress it was all the more difficult. When we made it down the mountain we were informed that the rangers had shut down the mountain shortly after we started up because of dangerous winds. Did you know you could shut down a mountain?

Though my words are so hopelessly inadequate to describe how difficult it was for me to "conquer"that mountain, you'll just have to take my word for it that it was. In fact when the time came for me to have my first baby I used the mental picture I had of that experience to help get me through labor. If I could climb that mountain on that day I could do anything. Four kids later with no epidurals, I'm telling you giving birth was easier than climbing that mountain.

So, to this day I am still angry at the wind. It's pointless, I know. It's the most pointless anger in the world. And yet there I am at 4:30 in the morning unable to sleep, cursing at the wind.

*In the spirit of full disclosure and because the photo (Thank you Randy Williams whoever you are) of the mountain makes it look so intimidating I need to let you know that we climbed the back or west side of the mountain. The front side would be one heck of a technical climb that I don't think they even allow in Glacier because the rock is so weathered and brittle.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Off the deep end.

If this week is any indication of how life will be when my kids leave home I'm going to have to duct tape them to the walls and never let them out of my sight.

This theory doesn't really hold water, though, because, strictly speaking, we still have one at home. And, he is the cause of the most recent drama. Yesterday the four year old took a dive in the deep end of the pool. Literally. Do you ever have that dream where you are trying to run and scream but your feet won't move and you can't make a sound? That's how it played out in real life.

Here's how it happened. After a brief rest at the side of the pool we decided to get back in. The four year got out ahead of me far enough that he couldn't hear my cautioning yell not to run. Since he's so small apparently he escaped the notice of the lifeguards. Well, instead of stopping at the ladder to the shallow end, where he had been jumping in, he continued on to the ladder at the deep end. And jumped. Lots of things happened then, not all of which I was aware of. I had cut across the pool because at some point I could sense what was going to happen but it's hard to walk very fast through water, you know. When I saw what I thought was going to happen, actually happen, I proceeded to run and then to dive, thinking that to swim to him was the faster course of action. At some point between my frantic run/dive the lifeguards must have taken notice and blown the airhorn signaling trouble. Well, I beat the lifeguards to him but when I got there he wasn't floating under the water as I had feared but had made it to the ladder and was climbing out all by himself, panicked but completely conscious. Shortly after I came up out of the water I was surrounded by lifeguards and the pool was empty. What a weird, surreal feeling.

Egads! I don't want to relive that one. I was super proud of him for having made it to the ladder and basically saving himself but, Oh man, the space between going under and getting out felt like a lifetime. I'll bet it shaved a few years off my life, and as an older parent I can't really afford that.

Now I have a few (probably unnecessary) comments to add. The whole time leading up to and during this incident I had my eyes glued to the four year old. Glued I tell you. And yet I was constantly observing behaviour by the kids playing near him that demonstrated clearly that their parent or caregiver was otherwise occupied. Playing the what if game, as I am wont to do, what if I had been otherwise engaged at that crucial moment. Ugh, I can't bear the thought. Just makes me think.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Say a prayer

for the Kelsey Smith family. Kelsey was seen on video tape being abducted from our local Target store. I visit this store between 5 and 5,000 times a week and to drive in today and see the command post set up in the back parking lot was very sobering. Please lift up this family and everyone out there involved in this search. And, in case you missed it above here is a link to the story.

Why do these things happen??

Monday, June 4, 2007

Here we go.

The summer roller coaster ride has begun.


It's been a flurry of activity around here and then.............peace. Half my family is gone. The two older boys are counselors at our church's summer camp and my daughter is on the middle school mission trip. I miss them like crazy, so much so that I spent the day in bed with a migraine. Well, half the day. The first half I spent wondering what was wrong with me. (When will I learn.)

Now I have to spend tomorrow making up for the fact that I let the four year old play Nintendo for about two hours. Migraines make horrible parenting decisions.