Friday, June 29, 2007

the modern world

I have my own cell phone now. With my own phone number. We have entered the modern world. We figured with me being out of the home next year and moving from class to class (not sitting in an office somewhere) it would be good for me to have a cell phone. But Paul wouldn't want to be without one. It's how we do long distance. And he goes slogging through marshes on birdwatching adventures. I want him to have the phone with him. So now we have two. Mine is pink. We played with them for an hour last night: taking pictues of each other; making vocal recording to use as ringtones (Paul's has his voice saying "PICK UP THE PHONE!" It's pretty funny); spending a half an hour trying to get Paul's phone OFF speaker phone; calling each other (free mobile to mobile minutes!). It was worth the hour I spent in the alltel store with three children, trying to convince them we didn't need a cell phone that looked like a car and revved its engine when you opened it.

The only problem is no one will take my phone calls on the new phone. I let Paul hve the old number and I got a new one. That was stupid. Paul can't remember his own name but he could tell you every phone number he ever had or every address. I could tell you what I wore on the first day of school my freshman year of high school and the name of every girl who lived on my dorm floor but I don't know what 7x9 is. I wasnt' thinking straight when I had the guy assign the new number to the pink ($9.99!) phone and the old one to the silver ($9.99!) phone.

Maybe I'm rambling. We got home from the pool and I made myself a rum and coke. It was stronger than I intended. Our father's day gift to Paul was a stocked bar. And I mean STOCKED. The kids didn't exactly understand what the gift was. I told them it would be like buying me eggs and flour and sugar. I could make almost anything with that--so it is with all these bottles--Papa can make any drink he wants.

And I'm out.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blog Tag. I'm it.

Apparently I've been tagged. "Tagged?" you say? Why, yes. Jill got tagged to answer a question on her blog and she tagged me so I guess I'm it. Apparently it's my job to answer the same said question. So, here goes:
Five Things I Dig About Jesus
1. He became a baby
At a party over the weekend we were discussing getting older and how we aren't as freaked out about being in our 30's as we supposed we would. In fact, I really like being 32 and wouldn't go back to 22 if you paid me. To be so unsure of myself and my future? To be in my first year of marriage and not my 11th? To see my whole life looming before me and thinking every decision would hurl me down a path I couldn't turn back from? Yikes.
And then there is the God of the Universe who chose to be born a baby. To go from Lord of all Creation to having a teen-aged mother birth you in a barn and change your diaper. To be dirty and hungry and sick. To be dependant on people for everything. We think of the cross as a sacrifice, but just being born was one as well.
2. He put up with the bonehead disciples
In the past few years I have come to view the disciples as lovable dopes. I know I have the luxury of a couple thousands of years of hindsight, perspective and collective knowledge and I'm still a complete moron when it comes to most spiritual matters, but those The parables are tricky to even the cleverest of folks, but even the most black and white stuff, with Jesus sitting right there in front of them, they just didn't get it. How could they understand what they were in the middle of? I love those guys. I love that those were Christ's guys--the boneheads.
3. Jesus is for Losers
The poor, the weak, women, the unclean, lepers, tax collectors, children, prostitutes--Jesus didn't care who you were. Still doesn't. The last are first. The meek inherit the earth. Thank goodness.
4. He took the crazy stuff in stride and didn't care what people thought
I taught high school Sunday school a few weeks ago. I always try to get them to read scripture as if they have never heard it before. You would think this would not be hard, considering many of them haven never heard it before. But they think it's all the same old stuff. We were reading the story about Jesus reclineing at the table of a Pharisee when a prostitute came in wailing, crying all over Jesus' feet and wiping them with her hair. Say what? I just kept saying, "Isn't that crazy?!? A HOOKER is wiping her hair and tears on his feet in the middle of a dinner party!" And Jesus was just like, "Alright. See how happy she is to be forgiven? Simmer down you disapproving Pharisee."
5. Grace

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Finally! Finally, finally, finally! After...let's see...about 14 years of eligibility, my name was finally pulled up for jury duty. I'm on notice for Sept 1-Feb 29. I could have opted out as I am now a full-time student, but how could I? This is democracy at work, folks.

Everyone keeps saying that I'm too eager and they'll never pick me. Come on! I'll be a great juror. My fingers are crossed.

PS. This blog passed the one year mark on June 15. Crazy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Joy Luck Club--Amy Tan (booke group)
Persuation--Jane Austen
Middle March--George Elliot (second try this year, still didn't finish but got further)
Deliver Us From Normal--Kate Klise (book group)
A Prayer For Owen Meany--John Irving (book group and my all time fave, maybe the eighth--and most profound--reading)
The Last Battle--C.S. Lewis (finished the series with the kids)
Holes--Louis Sachar (read aloud with kids--they are loving it)
Some North African Cookbooks for Dinner & Movie "Casablanca"

Room With a View
The Sandlot
Shaun of the Dead
28 Days Later
The American Girls: Molly (Phoebe got the dvd with the book set, but we wouldn't let her watch until she'd read all six. Molly Ringwald played Molly's mom. I cried in the end, of course)
The Piano
Half Nelson
The French Connection
Night at the Museum
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Entourage (on dvd)
Hell's Kitchen (gracious me--it was a moment of weakness, working on a sewing project with no one home...and I liked it)
Last Comic Standing (or rather I tried to tape the premier last night to no avail, but I like this show and will watch it next week)
Freaks & Geeks (on dvd while I walk on the treamill)

all Pierce Pettis tracks on shuffle
all Mark Erelli tracks on shuffle
The Police Greatist Hits
The Cars Greatest Hits

And you?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bible School Rock Star

Would someone make me a t-shirt with that on it?

I know many of you have listened to the songs I have up on myspace and are aware that my super stardom is eminent. But before I go global, I have had a taste of celebrity here at home with Vacation Bible School.

Every year, the week before VBS starts, I think "I'm not doing this next year!" I'm a procrastinator, so on Saturday I end up scrambling to get my songs a) selected b) arranged c) lyrics organized for power point projection d) chords written out for my fellow guitarist Phil e) copyright & licensing info for songs researched and confirmed. These things are not that fun.

I completely forget that on Monday morning at 9:10 75 pre-school through second graders will file into the sanctuary. I will get to stand up in front with my guitar, teach them some fun songs with great content that reinforces the lessons for the day/week, and we will sing sing sing. And then at 11:00 75 third through sixth graders will file in for more of the same.

And while Monday is rough, especially with the little guys, for whom learning is slow going (the inability to read is a hindrance in this department) by Wednesday we are rocking. They know the songs well enough to lay off the teaching part, but it's new enough that they aren't bored yet.

Then Friday night is the picnic. We head to Chautauqua Park for games and food and then the program. The program is usually the recitation of memory verses, a few words about the week and then the songs. This year our sound guy didn't show so the program was music-only. We didn't need a sound system. There were 175 kids plus their high school aged leaders on the risers before me. They listened to me when I gave them instructions. They sang loud and clear. They KNEW those songs.

We had power point all week--very helpful, but also like a crutch--so come Friday night I was unsure how well they knew their stuff. But they sang out lyrics like "we are pressed but not crushed, perplexed but don't despair, we are persecuted but not abandoned" as if they were singing the ABC's it was great.

It was great because I felt like I did a good job. It was great because everyone seemed to have a fun week. And it was great because I worked hard to pick songs with great content--and thanks to the work Holy Spirit, I succeed;they learned all the words and; they will remember them, I'm sure.

Now when I go to the water park or Walmart or the library I am mobbed by kids. And usually I don't know who these kids are because I saw them 100 at a time, but they know me. I'm a Bible School Rock Star.

And is it any coincidence that the Monday after Bible school I get a call do do a gig at a nursing home? I don't think so. Rock star.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

work in progress

Our first mix of two songs here.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

oh, so funny

The use of the word "things" pushes me over the edge everytime. Enjoy.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Last fall I attended the Nebraska Library Association annual convention at the Qwest Center in Omaha. I'm on the Hastings Public Library board of trustees and this is the second year in a row I've gone to the convention.

This year the keynote speaker was a guy from Dynix. Dynix provides the catalogue software our library uses. He was fascinating. His main point was to get the middle-aged librarians to embrace technology and understand the younger technosavvy generation.

He called the kiddos native-internet users. They have always had the internet. Like a native English speaker I was never taught to conjugate the verb "walk." I was immersed in English speaking culture and when I was able to speak I said, "I walk but he walks." That's how kids are with computers and the net. Nobody taught them (in a way they will ever remember) how to move a mouse and left click or right click. They've always done it.

I wish I had recorded the whole thing because I think about it a lot and would love to hear it again. The one thing that struck me as a parent was this: He said that it has been a trend for educational-minded parents to keep their kids away from video games, but at this point in history, parents who do that are actually doing a disservice to their children. Children will need internet/gaming skills to operate effectively in this world we are creating for them.


He's got a point there. I use the internet for everything. It is my main source of information, of correspondence, shopping, whathaveyou. And website are only going to have more and more graphics and game-like interfaces.

My mom sent each of my kids a Webkinz. They are stuffed animals--cute, normal stuffed animals. BUT they come with a secret code. You log onto the Webkins site, punch in your secret code and adopt your cyber pet--the online counterpoint to your stuffie. At first this sounded like WAAAAY more trouble than it would be worth to get the kids hooked into this.

Then I remembered the Dynix guy. And I thought of what the world will look like when these guys are in highschool. And I remembered the bank of computers at the library.

Last week we rode bikes to the library and they each adopted their pets (and found a cockatiel on the way home). It was laborious. It took a long time for each of them to sign up, establish a profile, come up with usernames and passwords--all for ME to remember. But we did it.

Last night I called the library and reserved a computer for each of them at 9:30. It's been raining all day, which made it perfect. Their computers were all in a row. After I got Phoebe logged on she didn't need any help--reading is a magical thing--she could figure it all out. I got Mo and Ollie logged on and pulled up a chair between them.

They spent an hour playing games to earn Webkinz Cash, which they'd use at the W Store to buy food, furniture, clothes, wallpaper, whatever for their Webkin. They gave their virtual pets baths, which was pretty cute. They did a mining game where if they found diamonds they had to decide if they wanted to keep the diamond or sell it for Webkinz cash.

The games were pretty silly--some Webkinz versions of Pong and Tetris. But I just kept thinking about how even if the games are un-educational, the computer-literacy gained is huge. Now Ollie knows that to close out of a screen or a dialogue box you hit the X or "okay." Moses knows that if you click on the rectangle with a little arrow you get a drop down menu then you click what you want to do. Phoebe knows if she gets to a screen she doesn't want she can always hit the "back" button. And they didn't even know they were learning anything. They've played games on the computer before, but this is the first web-based game exposure.

I questioned the money-focus of the games. It seemed a little iffy to me to have the point of everything be to earn cash and buy stuff. But it was all about choices. Am I going to buy wallpaper or food for my pet? Am I going to buy the $2000 bed that looks like a rocket or the $300 wood frame bed?

So, this will be one of our weekly summer activities. Webkinz. Who knew?