Sunday, August 19, 2007

Theme and Variations

So yesterday, Kiddo decided to release his inner Billy Joel with a command performance of his hit Theme and Variations on Mary Had a Little Lamb. Which comes complete with a zen statement (everything is snow), a rockin' piano solo in the middle, and even a whispered bridge section for dramatic emphasis. And not long after he starts, he realizes that his sheet music is upside-down. =)


Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Five

Today's Friday Five:

Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.

1. vineyard
For a few seconds I thought about cheating on this one, doing some thinking and coming up with some deep, meaningful association between this word, the vine, the branches, my life and my faith.

But no, I will stick to the directions.

First thing I think of whenever I see or hear the word "vineyard" is the portion of the liturgy from LBW Setting 2, as the offering and elements are being brought forward (and it's always the Setting 2 version I hear in my head): "Let the FRUIT-FUL-LORD...and fill tothebrim our cup of BLESS-ING..." etc.

2. root
Root canal. No reason in particular--it's just the first thing I thought of.

3. rescue
Right now, my thoughts and my prayers are with the trapped miners and those trying to rescue them in Utah. Especially the families of the three rescuers who were killed last night in a cave-in while trying to search.

4. perseverance
Sweetie. She's persevering big time right now. Every night, she goes to bed knowing that when she wakes up she's going to feel extremely nauseated. Every morning at 4:45 she forces herself to eat something and takes a Zofran for the nausea. Then at 5:30 she has a little something else. Then she gets in the shower and gets ready for work, most often still fighting some nausea. She spends all day listening to other pregnant women complain (she's an RN at an OB-GYN office), comes home, rests, and gets ready to do it all over again.

She's so ready for this part of her pregnancy to be done. But in the meantime she perseveres.

5. divided
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." --Abraham Lincoln
True for nations, true for churches, true for congregations, true for families. Where does one draw the line between dispute and division? Not so sure I can define it, but I know it when I see it.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Kiddo the Magnificent!

This is actually from a couple of months ago--my grandmother was visiting from Maine, and Kiddo decided to show us all what an amazing magician he is. He made his toy rabbit disappear and reappear! (He may need to work a little on the whole "sleight of hand" thing, though...)

Yes, my son is a ham. Don't know where he gets it from. *ahem*


Kiddo captions

"Everyone likes ice cream, yes indeed they do! Everyone likes ice cream, I you? Search the whole world over, travel near and far...but everyone likes ice cream no matter who they are!"

Daddy says I have a flair for the dramatic...whatever could he possibly mean?!?!

That's right ladies...I have the world's longest eyelashes!!!


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pachelbel Bedtime

Earlier, I posted a link to a very funny rant about Palchelbel's Canon in D. Here's a take that's just as funny (especially if you're a parent), but also very touching. A dad wrote words to the tune of Canon in D about trying to get his kids to take a bath and go to bed.

Absolutely heartwarming and hilarious--enjoy!

(And many thanks to J for sending the link in the first place!)


Monday, August 13, 2007


For our weekly summertime "God at the Movies" I've been having at church, today we watched The Pursuit of Happyness. (And yes, the "y" is supposed to be in's part of the movie.)

At any rate, I had forgotten exactly how much that movie moved me. Sweetie and I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and today was my second viewing. Granted, I've never been homeless, and I pray I never find myself in that sort of situation. But there were a few things in that movie that just resonated with me:
  • Will Smith's character Chris was a smart guy. He was a good, decent person who made some bad choices and found himself in a hole most people would have forever despaired of digging out of. And the more he tried to do the right thing, the more it seemed life was against him. I remember that blank look on his face when yet another thing went wrong in his life, I remember the upbeat front he put on for those around him while inside he beat himself up, I remember the promises that he knew were empty that things were going to get better--just one break and he'd be able to get on his feet again...and waiting in vain as that break seemingly never came. I don't think I'm overdramatizing to say that I remember all of those emotions from my own life, a decade or so ago. It's the same reason why my interaction with Derek a couple of weeks ago moved me so much. I'm in such a different place now--but I'll never forget where I was.
  • One of the main things I took away from the movie was this: you never know if the guy you see in line at the soup kitchen is spending the day as a brokerage intern, and you never know if the brokerage intern at the office is spending his nights on the street. The movie is a stark reminder that we can't take for granted that the people we share time with during the day are in the same life situation we are. I'll never forget the anger and resentment I felt when I was working part time at a church as director of music--I played the organ and directed a voice choir and two bell choirs. At night I'd go home to a mattress on the floor in a roach infested apartment on the wrong side of town. I remember thinking to myself, "these people have no idea about the life I live." Just like the boss in the movie had no idea when he asked Will Smith's character to spot him 5 bucks for cab fare that he was sentencing him to a date with donating blood for money to make up the extra he needed for that day, the folks at my church had no idea about how I had every dollar in my budget accounted for by some necessity (and then some), and that the extra 5 or 10 bucks for this fundraiser or that outing was literally something I didn't have. They had no idea that the day my car came within hours of being reposessed was a Wednesday, and that it was a minor miracle I was able to conduct choir and bell rehearsal that night. Or the day I was reprimanded for wearing a sweatshirt to church to play organ for a Wednesday evening Lenten service, that was literally the only piece of clean laundry I had because I couldn't afford to go to the laundromat that week. But I know I've been guilty in my own life of some of the same behavior and making some of the same assumptions. The movie serves as an excellent reminder of what a mistake that is.
  • The last thing that really hit home in The Pursuit of Happyness was a line Will Smith's character had, which was something to the effect of "I remember when I'd get a good grade on a test in school, how I'd imagine all of the great things my good grades would allow me to be in the future. But I never became any of them." As a college graduate first driving a daycare van, then going into outbound telemarketing to make a little more money ($8 an hour versus $6), I remember thinking the same things. How the hell did I get where I was? How did this happen?

I'm glad those days are behind me. But I'm glad I went through them. They helped make me the person I am now.

And they helped make The Pursuit of Happyness that much more meaningful to me.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Back from the lock-in...

Lock-in went excellently.

LH is in dire need of sleep.

Been up continuously since 4:45 Friday morning.

Coming up on 31 hours.

Will nap afer lunch.



Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Five Stress Busting Edition

From the RevGals:

1. First, and before we start busting stress, what causes you the most stress, is it big things or the small stuff ?
Definitely the big things. In fact, I probably ought to stress more over the "small stuff" than I do--I'm one of those big picture folks who doesn't miss the forest for the trees--I miss the trees for the forest. =)

2. Exercise or chocolate for stress busting ( or maybe something else)?
Between the two, definitely chocolate. In fact, the thought of exercise stresses me, which I know as time goes on will need to change in order for me to continue to take care of myself

3.What is your favourite music to chill out to?
James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, Joshua Radin, and Sonya Kitchell are my top four. Acoustic guitar playing singer-songwriter types. Soul healing stuff, it is. Puts my mind right at ease.

4. Where do you go to chill?
On my couch with a book, a glass of wine, and some soft music playing in the background.

5. Extrovert or introvert, do you relax at a party, or do you prefer a solitary walk?
Introvert to the Nth degree. One of the best ways I've heard to distinguish introversion and extroversion is asking the question, where does my energy come from? From being alone or from being with people? I enjoy people, but it sucks my energy to be around people for too long--like, for example, on a Sunday morning. In fact, according to this particular Myers-Briggs online test, I scored 100% introvert! (Not a common trait, methinks, in your average church youth director...) Gimme the solitary walk.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Safari Smackdown

Wow. Cape buffalo vs. lion vs. crocodile. You can't make this stuff up. The video's a little over 8 minutes long, but well worth the watch. Keep the sound up too--it's fun to listen to the tourists watching the Battle Royale unfold before their eyes.

Methinks there are more than one buffalo version of Molly Weasley in this particular herd...

Watch and enjoy! Now excuse me while I go sing The Circle of Life.

You know, there's only one proper way to respond to such a dramatic nature video.

That's right...with Dramatic Chipmunk!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Can't Stop Laughing...

Okay, two things today, neither of which I can take credit for, but both of which have had me belly-laughing for a good part of the morning:

First, a blog that I discovered for the first time today...Philosophy Over Coffee. The blogger, a UCC pastor, wrote an abso-freakin-lutely hilarious bit called "Children's Sermons That TextWeek Rejected." The link to that particular post is here. For anyone who's ever prepared a children's message, or has ever sat through a particularly excruciating one, it's pure gold.

(note: for the uninitiated, TextWeek is a site that compiles resources each week for worship and preaching. It's especially helpful for churches that use the Recised Common Lectionary, and includes commentaries, sample sermons, children's sermons, and links to art and hymn ideas. I've got a link to it on the left hand side of my page under the heading "Church Related Links.")

Second is a five second long clip that I had run across on YouTube in the past, but had forgotten about until I ran across it again over at Philosophy Over Coffee. I defy you to watch this clip entitled Dramatic Chipmunk and not laugh or smile. Make sure your sound is up, BTW. (And ignore the fact that the animal in question is most definitely not a chipmunk. Because that's beside the point.)


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The best sandwich ever? Maybe...

I know, I know, there's so many sandwich places out there, so many different styles and types and tastes...

...but for my money, M&N Sandwich Shop makes the best sandwiches I've ever had. Bar none.

The place is a hole-in the wall. A dive. That's actually something it's got going for it, as far as I'm concerned. Norm, the owner, is almost always the one behind the counter, and in the world he lives in, anything that doesn't directly contribute to the making of a great sandwich is adiaphora.

Restaurant decor? Does that make the sandwich taste better? No? Then who needs it?

Tables? Chairs? Yes and yes. They help you enjoy a sandwich. Nice looking tables or chairs? Superfluous. Unnecessary.

Clothes? Well, the restaurant commission says you need to wear them in order to remain open. As far as Norm's concerned, old tennis shoes, sweatpants that are too short and a ratty t-shirt ought to do the trick. They're only gonna get dirty by the end of the day anyway, right?

Credit cards? You don't buy sandwiches on credit. That's for fancy-schmancy places that serve things like pate and creme brulee. Sandwiches are a cash food. Plus, the 3% or so merchant fees the credit card companies would sock the restaurant with is money that could be spent buying better sandwich ingredients. And as far as the prices go, they aren't rock-bottom--quality does have a price, after all--but they're still very reasonable. Norm isn't in this to be a millionaire. Or even to live particularly comfortably. He just wants to be able to stay in business so that he can make more sandwiches.

Customer service? Well, time spent idly chit-chatting is time spent not making or eating a sandwich. Norm won't make eye contact with you as he rattles off question after question concerning how you want your sandwich made. He's not abrasive in a "Soup Nazi" kind of way--again, time spent yelling is time spent not making or eating sandwiches. But he has very little to offer in the way of traditional "customer service."

That is, unless you count the ultimate customer service as that moment when he hands you the best freakin' sandwich you've ever eaten. Which for me today was pastrami with cheese and all the fixin's, heated and melted and blended into a masterpiece of sandwich delight.
A slice of heaven, with a slice of pickle on the side.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Happy Songs

There are songs out there that, for me at least, are...well, transporting isn't the right word but it's the closest I can come. They take me somewhere else. It's a feeling of happiness, I'm ready to begin a long summer road trip.

Without a doubt the #1 song that does that for me is "I Got A Name" by Jim Croce. (The English major in me cringes typing the incorrect grammar in the title, but a title's a title!) There's something about the lyrics, the running guitar and soaring of my favorite songs ever. Here's a clip:

Are there any songs that take you to a "happy place?"


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wow, I didn't realize I was such a hick...

(EDIT: after some thought, I've decided to quote the entire article by T.J. Simers in my post--feel free to still click on the link if you'd like, but I don't want the LA Times site to get any more free "clicks" from the petty and amateurish article Simers wrote.) this article by sportswriter T.J. Simers, we Nebraskans are given quite the verbal beatdown. Too bad there's not a single original thought in there--the whole piece is a series of overdone, worn out cliches. Frankly, I think the guy's a hack.

Here's the text of the article:

Nebraska fans, lend him your ears -- and more
Simers wants to experience the run-up to the USC game with Cornhuskers fans, if any are willing to show him what their lives are like.
July 31 2007

I am writing this now to give the overland stage time to get it there.USC will be playing in Nebraska on Sept. 15, and I will be joining the greatest football team ever assembled as they strike out into the wilderness.

If possible, I'd like to spend time boarding with some corn cobs, maybe getting a smell of what it's like to be around livestock — then leaving Lincoln to move around the state and spend a few days here and there.

A stop in Wahoo at the Wigwam Café is probably a good start, but I was thinking it'd be interesting to stay with a real-live-boring Cornhuskers family somewhere out on the prairie so I can feel what it's like to have nothing to look forward to in my life other than a Saturday afternoon football game.

I'll be going to Nebraska early in the football week, and while I'm not sure what corn cob hospitality is like, I'd like to remind folks that when they came to L.A., I tried to help.

Remember when the Cornhuskers came to the big city to lose in the Rose Bowl? Everyone here knows there are no individual seats — just long benches for the skinny people who live here.

I was looking out for the corn-fed porkers, of course, including all their big-butted women, when I told them that if everyone sat down after the anthem, there were going to be people falling atop each other at the end of each row.

A number of corn cobs e-mailed to say they were unhappy with Page 2 but thrilled now to have their very own Internet machines.

They also wanted to tell me about their wonderful lives, kids and the modern facilities being built right down there by the creek. Well, there's nothing like a Wal-Mart coming to town to excite the locals, so I was thrilled for them. But for some reason that didn't come across in our correspondence, and there might still be some hard feelings.

I got to thinking last summer, though, as I drove the family-that-I-used-to-love across Nebraska in a RV what it must be like to actually live there most every day of your life. I can't remember for sure if it was Nebraska or Kansas where I saw a tree, but it just seemed as if there wasn't much there.That's why the corn cobs love their football. It's all they have, everyone wearing red, and sitting there like plump, ripe tomatoes with corncobs stuck to their heads, singing, "There is no place like Nebraska."

Hard to argue. There's not a 7-Eleven in the entire state, thousands of people never once tasting a Slurpee, which got me wondering whether I could live that way for a whole week.

I know there aren't a whole lot of cities in Nebraska, but I'm willing to spend a few days out yonder with a family if someone would like to show me what it's like to live without DirecTV and not ask me to kill a chicken for dinner.

I can play checkers if forced, though, or make a run to the Feed Store. Right now I'm willing to go wherever the corn cobs tell me to go, and while several have already done that, I'd like to see for myself they're not talking about some place in Nebraska.

Here's the link to the LA Times site if you want to see the actual article.

If you want to read someone who beats Simers at his own game, read this rebuttal post over at Huskerpedia. Same type of writing, only done much better. And I don't think it's just because it's directed at someone other than me.

Ah--feel the love. Feel the love.

Well, I'd better get back to my "real-life boring Cornhuskers family somewhere out on the prairie with nothing to look forward to in our lives other than a Saturday afternoon football game." Gotta go.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

The "Oh #&%^!" Moment of the Week

Yesterday, I was driving through my neighborhood, and noticed a homemade cardboard sign stuck to a tree by the curb.

(As a note to help drive home the emphasis of what the sign said, yesterday was garbage collection day.)

In big, black letters, the sign said: "PLEASE RETURN OUR DRESSER. WE ARE MOVING."

As of this afternoon, the sign was still there.



Friday, August 03, 2007

Simpsonize Me!

Taking a break from the Friday Five today to instead let you know about a website I found. You upload a close-up picture of your head, and it spits back what you would look like if you were a character on the Simpsons! Afterwards, you have the opportunity to do some tweaking if you wish.

Anyway, here's a link to the site: Simpsonize Me!

And, FWIW, here's your friendly neighborhood LutheranHusker as a Simpsons character:


Thursday, August 02, 2007


Well, we went in to see Sweetie's OB doc today so she could get an exam and have an ultrasound done. Kiddo came with us and sat in on the ultrasound part of the appointment. Normally they don't allow kids in for the ultrasound, but since Sweetie is one of the nurses in that office, they made an exception for us. And Kiddo's proven that he can be a good boy, sit still and pay attention when he needs to. He's been excited for a few days now about getting to see pictures of his little brother or sister. I had warned him this morning that the pictures he was going to see weren't going to look like the baby photographs he was probably expecting, and he was fine with that.

From what we could see on the ultrasound, everything's going well. Good, strong heartbeat--that's the first thing I looked for when the image came up on the monitor. As long as I could see that little heart beating, everything else was just icing on the cake. And there it was, at 171 beats per minute. And there were the arm buds, and the leg buds, and the head. Lookin' good.

Kiddo was mesmerized. He didn't take his eyes off that monitor until everything was finished. The ultrasound tech printed off a couple of pics for us, with the standard "Hi, Mom and Dad" typed across the bottom. She printed off one for Kiddo, too, that said "Hi Big Brother!" When she handed it to him, you could tell that Kiddo just thought he was the bee's knees. We walked around the office after the appointment to talk with some of Sweetie's coworkers, and Kiddo made sure everyone we talked to got to see his picture of his little brother or sister.

Okay, maybe I'm just emotional because it's late as I type, but I'm getting all weepy-eyed right now thinking about how proud Kiddo was. He's going to be an incredible big brother.

The baby's official due date has been pegged as March 7th. Since Sweetie's already had a cesearean, that means this delivery will be via c-section too, which means we get to pick the date. Usually, they'd do a scheduled c-section on the weekday closest to 39 weeks.

We looked at the calendar. Thanks to 2008 being a leap year, that would put it on February 29th.

Not gonna do that. Nope. No way.

So unless something happens on its own earlier, our new addition should be arriving on Thursday, February 28, 2008.

02-28-08. Cool. I like the symmetry of it.