Saturday, June 21, 2008

You Will Not Be Sorry

Last night we watched "King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters." This is the best movie I have seen in a long, long time. You may know that Paul and I both are big fans of the mockumentary genre: "Wating for Guffman," "Spinal Tap," "Best in Show," etc. Imagine our delight to find a documentary--a straight documentary--that was every bit as funny and engaging as a Christopher Guest film. I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat--literally. I was.

Apparently the narrative feature film version of the documentary is now being written--I'm sure it will be fantastic and they will go nuts recreating the 80's hair and clothes and whatnot--but please, please see the original. No one can possibly play Billy Mitchell, Donkey Kong World Champion as villianously and hilariously as Billy Mitchell himself. No one could play underdog and all around good guy Steve Weibe better than Steve Weibe. If you just see the feature film you will think they made up the Video Game Score Keeper who practices transcendental meditation. Rent it. You will not be sorry.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The World Famous Dunbars

The Dunbar clan tends to monopolize the front page of the Hastings Tribune. This is our third cover this year. What can I say? We go where the action is and the photographers gravitate toward cute kiddos. Ollie is not pictured (he was to theright of Paul), but Mo's friend Trev is beside him (Ollie took that in stride--he's a trooper). The pic will link to the article.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

dinner time prayer

Dear God,
Thank you for curry sauce with chick peas and rice.
Thank you for Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone.
Thank you for Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortuneate Events.
Thank you for The Magic Treehouse and Captain Underpants.
Thank you that we get to go see "Kung Fu Panda."
And thank you for Jesus.

beautiful day

We woke up around 8:30 or 9. Paul was already out birding. The kids and I took our books and breakfast to the patio. When we had finished eating and reading (me: Middlemarch, Ollie: Magic Treehouse Christmas in Camelot, Moses: 100 Things You Should Know About Arms and Armor, Phoebe: Harry Potter & the Sorceror's Stone) we made a bouquet. I handed out clippers and sent them each off in search of various cuttings from the yard: Phoebe, bring me a white peony. Moses, I need seven daisies. Oliver, get four springs of mint. We put it in a beautfiul vase made for me by Angela for my birthday last year. Then, we planted some grass seed and watered the plants. Next, we took a walk.

Paul came home and we all ate lunch and drove to the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island. The kids had been there on field trips (one of which I chaperoned). Paul had never been, but he's officiating a wedding in the rose garden there in a couple of weeks. We got a map from the main building (where Ollie caused a traffic jam by reading aloud the sign that said "Sturh Museum Foundation." I wasn't really paying attention and it wouldn't have struck me if I had been, but all the docents freaked out that Ollie fluently read the sign. I forget sometimes that most five year olds don't do that) and headed to the 1898 railroad town.

It's a whole town set circa 1898 (I accidentally typed 1989--that would be kind of fu too, though). In each building there is a docent or "interpreter" in period dress who walks you around, explains and answers questions. We toured homes--the kids were fascinated by the stoves, the box grand piano and a dumb waiter. In one house the interpreter was so shy and akward that I felt like we had actually just walked into her house. At the next house a young woman walked out onto the porch to greet us and said to the kids "I'm so glad you are here! I need your help!" and she marched them to the backyard to take the laundry off the line. It was fantatstic. We went to the mill, the tin smith (the kids made a tin icicle), the post office, railway station, jail, etc. The kids wanted to know about everything and kept saying things that made my heart glad like, "Marilla Cuthbert has that in her kitchen!" or "Laura Ingalls probably used one of those."

Just before 5:00 we went to the early bird dinner at Red Lobster. I know, Red Lobster. But even in the big town of Grand Island our choices are Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday, Whiskey Creek, Perkins and Red Lobster. You know what? It was delicious. I had the grilled harbor platter (shrimp and lobster), Paul had a big ole plate of crab legs and the kids had popcorn shrimp. Our stuffed bellies suprisingly had ice-cream shaped holes in them (this is our standard joke when the kids CAN'T eat their vegetables because they are SO FULL, but then ask for desert) so we went to Cold Stone Creamery and headed home. Paul got pulled over on 281, but got off with a warning.

Monday was a good day.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Catch Up

Tonight is our Vacation Bible School picnic. For the fifth or sixth year I have done VBS music. As my musicianship has improved so has the VBS music. Tonight we will be singing "Oh, How I Love Jesus" and "Softly and Tenderly" accompanied by the accordion (note the 3/4 time on those--perfect for the oooom-pah-pah), which most of the kids had never seen before, and "Alleluia to the Lamb" and "Big House" accompanied by the pink Daisy Rock electric guitar. Of course the acoustic would have been just fine, but the kids got really really jazzed about plugging in. After the picnic several other mom/helpers will go to Murphy's for our annual post-VBS beer. I love my church.

Paul bought a 23-pound turkey. The desire for a giant turkey must have just struck him while at the grocery store. I started defrosting it--it took forever--and realized I was running out of dinners at which to serve a giant turkey. Tonight is the picnic, tomorrow is Phoebe's birthday party and Sunday we'll be in Iowa. So, I got up early and put that bad boy in the oven. We had roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy for lunch today...June 6..for no good reason. It was great. While Paul was carving I drove to the gas station and bought big-gulpy giant Cokes to go with our giant turkey. Yum.

Phoebe's ninth birthday party is tomorrow. Six girls are coming over. We're roasting hotdogs over a fire in the back yard and having s'mores in lieue of cake. Did I put an extra "e" in lieue?

I'm missing a camp reunion right now. I'm trying to think about it. I could be in Monett chillin' at the Garretts' house and visiting the greatest man I've ever known, Heno Head, who is old and quite ill and requested we have a reunion so that he could see us all, his camp children, again. I just couldn't swing it. JVB even offered to meet me at the Iowa/Nebraska border and drive me down. :(

JVB lives astonishinly close to John & Hope, but almost everytime I go visit John and Hope JVB goes out of town. I think we'll get to see him this time on our way home, though. Hooray!

My parents brought us a Wii. There's loads of fake tennis and fake boxing etc going on around here. I'm sad to say, my initial Wii fitness age was 79. Say what?

My mother-in-law in Indiana called me at seven this morning. My mother in St. Louis called me at eight. Both had heard on the news, or heard from someone who heard on the news that Hastings was hit by tornados. Not true. Wednesday night the sirens went off at 1 am and we hauled the kids to the basement, but there was no rotation. Last Thursday there were loads of tornados throughout the state, but none in Hastings. Last night, there was nothing.

I'm taking a one-credit class by arrangement this summer. The chair of the English department, another English professor, my friend/co-worker J and I are reading George Eliot's Middlemarch. We get together on Wednesday nights at the chair's home and discuss. It's like my dream book group. I get college credit for this. Reading and talking and drinking ginger tea.

Speaking of ginger--vodka ginger lemonade--my new summer drink of choice. Mix one cup sugar, one cup water and 2 tsp ground ginger. Boil for a couple minutes until slightly syruppy. Let cool. Then pour syrup into a pitcher with 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1-1/4 cup vodka and a 750 ml bottle of sparkling water. Serve over ice. Say hello to summer.

Because of my nutty new life with a job and graduate school I didn't teach Sunday School at all this year until the past three weeks. Why is it so easy to forget how much I love something? What a ridiculous notion--to forget a thing like that. I love those kids. It was great to discuss spiritual matters and theology with teenagers and try and get them to really think and not just recite and try and break big ideas down into smaller pieces, not too small--not pat-answers--but manageable pieces. Good stuff.