Monday, April 30, 2007

I know this is supposed to be a day of silence, but my sitemeters tell me I’m getting my usual visitors, so I’m going out on a limb and posting something I hope you’ll like. This was my March Loose Threads column:

Back in the old days, quilt patterns were named for everyday things that surrounded the folk artists who created them. Since almost all the working hours I spend at my day job are at the computer, and every so often my mind wanders a bit, I have a few ideas for some new quilt designs. I offer them to you along with a vague idea of what each one should look like.

The Web: This quilt will be made from a very captivating and time consuming pattern. Just when you think you have it finished, another shape or color will pop up and demand to be included. This quilt will command the undivided attention of any onlooker. Other responsibilities of the quilter, such as food, water, and rest, may suffer.

The Blog: This quilt will be an interesting conglomeration of darks on one side and lights on the other. Which side is up will depend on your mood.

The Address Bar: Very long and narrow, with ‘Magic Carpet’ capabilities. Being unable to determine the difference between what you said and what you meant to say, this one will take you exactly where you tell it to whether you really wanted to go there or not.

Email Inbox: The corner where you keep this work in progress will be filled to overflowing with scraps on days that you have little or no time to deal with it and completely empty on the days you are looking for something interesting to do.

The Ebay: This quilt will evoke images of lots of things you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. It will seem cheap at first, but once you get going on it, it gets more and more expensive.

The SPAM: This one is going to be ugly and consist of hundreds, possibly thousands of tiny, useless bits of fabric that you don’t want. Some of the fabrics may even be offensive, but the harder you try to get rid of them, the more they accumulate.

Windows: This quilt will look big enough, but it really won’t cover as much as you expected it to. It will always make sure you are made aware of all the expensive add-ons and downloads that are available to make it seem more complete.

Software: The Software quilt seems necessary at first, but once you get it done, it just sits in the corner. In some cases it’s free, but it only works for 30 days and then you have to either dump it or pay for it.

The Mouse: Small and slippery, this quilt will make small clicking noises at random intervals, causing lights to turn off and on or window shades to open and close. It’s usefulness will be called into question until the day it clicks on the minus sign and successfully minimizes a complaining spouse, causing him to disappear into cyber-limbo until you are ready to deal with him again.

The Dubya Dubya Dubya: Lots of Americana in this one.

The Crash: You don’t even want to go there. This quilt will disappear completely, without a moment’s notice and usually at the moment of your most critical need. It will take everything with it; leaving no trace of fabrics, pattern or even thread. The only way to restore it will be to start all over from scratch.

Sorry if I offended anyone by not being silent.

Meanwhile, I do pray that the healing continues for all those who are wounded emotionally, spiritually and physically by random acts of violence.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Random Friday Thoughts

The Elkhorn River just west of here is up a lot higher than usual. Bell Creek, just to the west of that has escaped the confines of its banks.
A Washington County History lesson: Bell Creek was named for one of the first settlers to cross it back in the late 1870s. His name was Bell (duh) and he and a group of men came out here from Illinois on foot to stake claims when they came to the creek. The story doesn’t say how they got across the Elkhorn without getting wet. They secured a rope across the little creek from a tree on the east side to a tree on the west side and hand over handed themselves across. When it was Mr. Bell’s turn, he lost his grip and fell in, so they named the little creek after him.

I went out blog browsing a little bit today and could only conclude that I am living a very sheltered life out here on the prairie. I didn’t realize that there was so much anger out there in the world and I found it to be a little scary. At first I thought, “Maybe it’s only in cyberspace,” but then I heard on the radio that at around 3:00 this morning, there was a road rage incident right here in Washington County, over in Ft. Calhoun. Two drivers, a man and woman were arrested – she for allegedly beating up him and his car and he for possession of drugs and paraphernalia. Apparently they had been playing a vicious version of “Betcha can’t pass me!” on Highway 75 and stopped in Calhoun to finish the fracas.
I’m glad I’m not usually out and about at 3:00 in the morning.

Here is a story (except for the first sentence, totally fiction) I wrote for my column Loose Threads in Country Lanes Magazine:

I remain convinced that the advancements of humankind all began with a mother looking after the well-being of her family.
For instance, eons ago, our foremother was out hunting and gathering carrying a basket for her findings with a 2-year-old perched on her hip and another on the way. As you might guess, it didn’t take long for fatigue and backache to set in and she started looking for a way to lighten her load. She thought to herself, “If only I had something to push around that I could put my basket and toddler in, this would be a lot easier to do.” So she found a downed tree, sliced off a couple of narrow pieces from one end, made a hole at the center of each, ran a thin branch through them, attached her basket and a seat for the baby to the branch, added a handle and there it was: the first grocery cart – and the wheel.
Now it happened that her second baby was due to be born during the rainy season and while her campfire was adequate for warmth, she wanted to get in out of the weather for the blessed event. One day she was gazing across the river and spotted a cave in the bluff on the other side. From her point of view, she could see that it was dry inside, so she began to look around for a way to get over there. As she stood pondering a solution, a piece of driftwood floated by. She went back to the downed tree, hollowed out what was left of it and grabbed another branch and flattened out one end of it. She packed her baby, her husband and her grocery cart into the hollowed out log and floated across the river in her new canoe. And so she invented water transportation and established a permanent residence, just in time for the arrival of #2.
On another hunting and gathering expedition in the early summer, our Mom happened across a patch of wild strawberries and seeing how her toddler gobbled up the sweet treats, thought to herself, “There must be a way we can get these things to grow around home.” And so gardens were invented. Now her husband saw how well it worked with the little strawberry plants, so he decided to give it a go with apple trees and cherry trees, and before long they had a nice orchard going.
One day, this mom was doing her spring cleaning and ran across some old ears of corn they had gathered, but hadn’t eaten, so she handed them to her husband and said, “Go bury these someplace before they rot and start to smell.” So he did, and of course they sprouted and grew more corn. Thus began farming.
And, as winter began to roll in, she wanted to keep her little ones warm, so she took a couple of pieces of old skins, stuffed them with wool shaved off a sheep, stitched them together and wrapped it around her wee ones. So was born the art of quilting.
All thanks to our foremother.

Here is something interesting I found during my blog browsing. I’d never seen a picture of a Cedar of Lebanon before. Wow.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Family Tradition: The Methodist Kitchen

The Lyons Methodist Church that I grew up in owns and operates a café at the Burt County Fairgrounds in Oakland, NE. Every year in August, the ladies of the church pack up everything in the church kitchen: roasters, coffeepots, dishes, silverware, serving and cooking utensils and haul them the 7 miles to the little building at the west end of the fairgrounds. For the duration of the Burt County Fair, the tiny building would be a mass of activity. I can see it all in my mind: ladies pulling roasts out of the ovens, frying chickens, mashing boiled potatoes, stirring gravy or cutting up the homemade cakes and pies volunteers were bringing by the dozens. The men were stationed at the sinks washing dishes, peeling potatoes or slicing cucumbers for the ever-present bowl of vinegared cucumber/onion that sat at each table. I can see the fairgoers and “carnies” standing in the line that always ran the length of the building and sometimes spilled out the door into the Midway. And kids (like me) dashing around with trays to gather up the dishes, silverware and glasses and wipe down the tables. My friends and I made a game of seeing who could get their tables cleared off the fastest. We must have looked like vultures circling the diners, trying to spot who was going to be done next.
And the heat – it was ALWAYS hot and steamy in the place. Although it must have occasionally been cool and rainy in all the years we went there, it escapes my memory.
I’ll bet my sisters can add their memories of this particular family tradition to this posting.
One of the big rides – like the Tilt-a Whirl or the Octopus was always at our end and they blasted top 40s music constantly – to this day I can’t hear a Creedance Clearwater Revival song without remembering my days in the Methodist Kitchen.
When the crowd began to lull in the late evening, Mom would give me 50 cents or so and I was turned loose to go ride a few rides on the Midway before they shut down.
For as long as she was able, Mom did her time at the Methodist Kitchen. When my kids were small, we’d take them to that fair for one evening and stop in to eat supper with her.
I still eat at least one meal a year in the Methodist Kitchen, only now it’s with my husband’s family. We gather there on the last Sunday in July for a family potluck picnic. So some new memories are taking their place beside the old ones. One thing remains constant, though – it’s almost always HOT.

The B&W aerial photo is the farm where my family lived from 1957 to 1964 or so. It’s north of Lyons, Nebraska about 2 miles.

The color pic is where I live now. It’s sort of in the middle of nowhere – not the end of the world, but you can see it from here…

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This came in an email.

Loved the music.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

VT Tragedy
There aren’t enough words in the human language to express the sorrow we all feel for the lives lost at Virginia Tech. (As in Romans 8:26 “…We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”)
We have enough laws and regulations regarding firearms. As far as I know, it’s always been illegal to carry a weapon into a classroom, whether you were planning to use it or not. We have no way of knowing how many weapons the current background checks and other laws have kept out of the hands of people with evil intent, but I’ll bet it has worked more often than not. I don’t own a gun and I don’t want one right now; but I don’t want to ever give up my right to be able to get one to protect myself if necessary.
People who commit these horrific mass shootings have murder in their hearts and will find a way to commit it one way or the other. The Boston Strangler never used a gun and neither did Jack the Ripper or the Hillside Strangler, Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. And the hijackers of 9/11 used boxcutters and various items which were easily and legally obtained.
It isn’t the presence of weapons that brings about these crimes, rather it is the presence of evil in this world. And it rears its ugly, destructive head when people choose to fulfill their own sick, twisted desires instead of looking outside themselves for the Source of true fulfillment – a personal relationship with the Creator through the Risen Savior.
Commuter “Sounding”

Rain pounding on the tin roof of the lean-to where I park my pickup gave me a round of applause. No one was looking, so I took a bow.

Monday, April 23, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth
I read it, as promised, and once I got past the first several pages of Mr. Gore giving himself credit for advances in environmental issues and placing blame on President Bush for a variety of ills, I now see that global warming is happening. I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination (neither is Al Gore) however, I have some questions.
I found the two most convincing evidences of global warming he presents are the melting glaciers and the evaporation of Lake Chad in Africa. If humans and their machines are causing global warming, why do glaciers melt when they exist in areas where human population is sparse? And science has been declaring for centuries that without interference, naturally occurring phenomena tend toward decay, so why wouldn’t glaciers melt anyway? Maybe we are in the midst of a cosmic hot flash.
How did CO2 cause the evaporation of Lake Chad when the auto-human ratio in that area is something like 20 people to every car, while in the US, where the auto-human ratio is pretty much 1-1, most of our naturally occurring bodies of water remain at a constant level?
Mr. Gore quotes his college professor’s findings of rising CO2 levels which he tracked through several years over Hawaii, but why wouldn’t the CO2 levels be on the rise over Hawaii since the entire collection of islands is made up of volcanoes in various stages of activity?
If you hold to Evolutionary theory, the earth is millions of years old. If you are a Creationist, the earth is about 6,000 years old. Climatology has only been around for the past 400 years or so and accurate records of climate changes and meteorological phenomena are even younger. Ice cores and tree rings (dendroclimatology) can give clues as to what climate changes have taken place, but can not give us the reasons for those climate fluctuations. Given the large scale studies needed and the long time periods required to scientifically prove cause and effect in climatology, it is at best, a stochastic process and should be studied as such.
Dr. D. James Kennedy (who holds nine PhD.’s) said that only about 3% of the scientists in the world have the skills, knowledge and experience to fully study and understand the issue. They need to examine all the possible causes in order to determine the truth. Studies of Galactic Cosmic Rays hold some interest in the effects of sunspot activities on climate fluctuations.
In the meantime, the “what you can do to help” section is old news. I’ve been doing most of it since the 1980s, except for the curly-que light bulbs, which are new. I will continue to do so.
And I close this rant with Haggai 2:4-5 “And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So DO NOT BE AFRAID.” (Emphasis mine.)
Whew! My banishment from the blogosphere was truly a remarkably unsettling week for me. I did manage to visit all my pals and family blogs briefly, but could not take the time to respond.
It never ceases to amaze me how much I have in common with you all - just as it never ceases to amaze me how opposite my opinion is on so many things. That being said, in an effort to "not let any unwholesome talk come out my mouth" I will just say that I am content to live here in the USA under the current administration.
More opinionated postings will follow.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Going to Grand Island to bowl state tournament this weekend. Bowling reminds me of
my aunts Grace & Katheryn. When I first started bowling in Lyons, Aunt Grace's team
was the best. They were all "older ladies" (probably in their 50's). They did not
wear jeans. They wore skirts and nylons with seams up the back. Occasionally one
of them would have a bra strap slip down their arm and have to pull it back up. One
of my "younger" teammates called them the "straps & seams team." Nothing disrespectful, just something that stood out about them. For a few years after
Katheryn moved back from Colorado, she would ride from Oakland to Lyons with me
to bowl. Bowling was one of the last things she gave up. She stayed with it as
long as she could take the 2 or 3 steps and roll the ball down the alley.
Katheryn is gone now and Aunt Grace has moved to an assisted living facility. She is
about 93 years young and her favorite activity is playing bridge. When her doctor
told her to try to get a little more exercise, she said she would have to move a little faster from one table to the other. Her children and grandchildren are her
pride and joy. She has always follows their lives very closely especially their
sports activities.
Christmas day was always spent at Grace's. She fixed the turkey and everyone brought
something. We always hoped for snow so we could go sleigh riding. If their was no
snow, we might get to ride their horse, Ribbon. Mom might play some carols on the
piano while we all stood around her and sang. No one cared if I couldn't carry a
tune in a bucket. It seems like there might have been some football games on TV
for the men to watch or maybe the adults would play pinocle or some bridge.
Grace and John (or "Smith" as we used to call him) lived on the same farm as long as
I can remember. They moved to a home in Lyons when retiring. Besides farming,
Grandpa and John raised and trained race horses.
Kathryn & Roland lived in Oakland then Omaha and Colorado and back to Oakland.
They had a cafe in beutiful downtown Oakland. Roland worked for Aksarben in Omaha.
I really don't remember what he did in Colorado. Kathryn taught school until she
was unable because of her health.
Aunt Grace is the only one that keeps us from being the Older Generation.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Good Monday!
I was looking forward to posting about what a nice weekend I had, but my computer is having internet "issues" so it will have to wait. I may be out of touch for a few days, but keep blogging! I'll find a way to check in somehow! I'm at the Fremont Library at this moment, but my time limit is almost up.
Take care!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Here is a true story.

A few summers ago I worked the weekend night shift as a cashier at No Frills Supermarket in Blair. 10 PM – 7 AM Friday & Saturday. There is a whole different race of human beings out there in the world and if you’ve never worked nights in a public place, you may not have met them.
Around 3:30 one Sunday morning, when the staff was down to just me and my manager, a group of four young men swaggered in. They were pierced and wearing silver or gold rings in absolutely every place you could think of piercing without causing brain damage: necks, noses, tongues, cheeks (I mean the ones on their faces – I didn’t ask about the others), ears, eyebrows. They were tattooed all up and down their arms with skull & crossbones, barbed wire “bracelets”, serpents, dragons, swords and so on. Only two of them had hair: one wore an orange Mohawk and the other had shaved his entire head except for a l-o-o-o-ng braid down his back.
Anyway, they bought some food at the deli and sat down on the bagging counter and ate talking in low voices. I strained to hear what they were saying, but couldn’t understand a word, though I imagined I heard “I’ll go first,” and “make a run for it,” and “we’ll be in KC by 6.” I kept glancing at them and they kept glancing at me and my manager. Then I’d glance at my watch and try to watch them out of the corner of my eye.
Before long, my manager went to the back of the store for something and I was left alone with this motley looking crew. I tried to keep myself busy straightening out the gum and candy in my check-out aisle and when I looked up, the bald one with the braid was coming toward me, holding something in his hand, keeping it down at his right hip. He was looking right at me, his face expressionless. My mouth went dry and I nearly yelled out my manager’s name in a cry for help, when he brought his hand up, showed me a bag of trash from their meal and said, “Do you have someplace I could throw this away?”
I nearly collapsed with relief.

Have good weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Your attention, please.

If I get killed in an auto accident on the highway or a horse wreck on a road someplace, please don’t put up one of those wooden crosses in memory of me. I drive past several of these in my travels to and from town, and I have to tell you, they are starting to give me the creeps. They all started out pretty enough – white, standing up straight and respectfully, bedecked with flowers, but it doesn’t take long for them to start leaning drunkenly to one side. The flowers fade or blow away and the paint chips off leaving the wood exposed to the elements to turn grey and sad-looking.
This being the small community that it is, I knew most of the people who died in each of those places and their families have my deepest sympathy, but the wooden crosses only remind me of the sad circumstances of their deaths and I’d rather have reasons to remember the person’s life instead.
With that in mind, when I die, please don’t memorialize my death. If you want to give to a memorial for me, do one of my favorite things:
Go make a memory with your kids or grandkids and take lots of pictures of them.
Call in sick to work and go horseback riding. (You can borrow Bubba & Lucy if they outlive me.)
If my fabric stash survives me, take it home and make a quilt.
Try a new recipe – something elegant from a Martha Stewart book. Or get my Dutch oven and cook a pot of stew over a campfire.
Write something for your blog. If you don’t have a blog, start one.
Go camping for a weekend.
Go to the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha.
Do something you’ve been putting off for a long time, like have coffee (or tea) with an old friend. Or clean out a long neglected closet – it will make you feel better.
Call someone who has moved away and talk to them for no less than one hour.
Write a handwritten letter to each one of your children and grandchildren and tell them how much each one of them means to you and be sure to include the thing you love about them the most.
If you don’t have children, write the above letter to your parents and/or grandparents.
Go dancing.
Go to church the following Sunday and sing the hymns as loudly as you can. In 4 parts if you can read music.
Read the Bible from cover to cover (you can have a whole year to get this done.)
Go shopping for something unnecessarily beautiful at Victoria’s Secret with your daughter. If you don’t have a daughter, you can borrow Emily.
Sit quietly by a window in the pre-dawn darkness and watch the sun come up.
Get some new cowboy boots and a hat.
Sit in the window of a hay mow and watch a thunderstorm.
Write a poem.
Re-read your favorite book.
Have a snifter of brandy with supper.
Go to a Toastmasters meeting and join.
The next time you think of berating yourself for something, replace that thought with this one: “Janell loved me.”
Open a door for an elderly person.
See if you can get a baby in the grocery store to laugh.
Go to the Arlington Country Market at noon on a Friday and have the pan-fried chicken special.
Listen to the radio instead of watching tv for a week.
Sit quietly by a window and watch the sun go down.

Whatever you do, please remember my life and not my death.
I love you all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bubba & Lucy

More extended family

This is Webber
She is Goldie’s best friend – they play and wrestle each other just like kittens and when they chase each other up and down the stairs, it sounds like bowling balls bouncing around.
When I lay me down to sleep, (usually on my right side) Webber makes herself a nest right behind my knees.
In this pic, she is sitting in the flower bed at the front of our house. The horseshoe border was installed by the previous occupant who is a farrier.
Okay, so not such an interesting post today, but it’s gloomy, raining and cold and I want to go home!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Extended Family

This is Goldie. He came to us two years ago in the dead of winter, not long after we moved into the place. We guessed he was about a year old at that time. He’s very friendly and seemed to like us, but like any tomcat, he was prone to wandering. He’d stay with us for several days and then be gone for several days. At one point he stayed away for three weeks in the bitter cold and we thought we’d seen the last of him. One morning I found him in the barn looking forlorn, bedraggled and thin, but his eyes brightened up when he saw me and he gave a weak little meow in greeting. I reached out to pet him and then I saw his right front leg – it was swollen to at least three times its normal size. So now what to do? It’s one thing to feed a friendly stray, but running up a vet bill on him didn’t seem like a good idea. We decided to give him a couple of days to recover on his own and see what happened.
Well he got thinner and his leg got bigger. It looked bleak for Goldie and I didn’t like the idea of just watching him die, so Emily took him to the vet, who threatened amputation, neutered him, vaccinated him, hospitalized him and got control of whatever infection had gotten into his leg. When Goldie came back to our place, we had to keep him locked in the garage, away from other cats and give him medicine daily for three weeks. I figured after a couple of days of sitting all alone in a cold garage, he’d be darting for the door whenever it opened and take off in a dash for freedom. But to my amazement, whenever someone went to see him, he immediately started his lawnmower-like purr, strolled across the floor, meowed a couple times and did the cat rub around our legs. A very likable fellow, but we already had three housecats and I declared that was two too many and no way was Goldie going to become a housecat!
One last check up at the vet and $202.00 later, Goldie’s confinement was over. We opened the garage door wide and he sauntered out. And promptly disappeared for a week. When he finally turned up in the barn again one frosty morning, he became the 4th housecat.
well, my goodness, you can't just let a 202 dollar cat wander off, can you?
Commuter Sightings:

In the alfalfa field, the last snowdrift of the season clings to life on the shady side of the terrace.

The recent rains combined with the March snowmelt have created some temporary ponds out in the fields of the low lying areas. Today, driving past one of them I saw some Mallards swimming back and forth in one of these ponds. They swim for a few moments, peering into the water in front of them and then stick their heads in and all you can see are wiggling tailfeathers. It looks for all the world like they come up smiling. Then they go on swimming , watching and repeat the whole routine.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Communter Sighting: Dust billowed up behind the old blue Ford pickup and disappeared into the howling prairie wind.
(I'm going to start putting them here as a new post, instead of a sidebar. The sidbar is getting messy looking.)
Old farmers and lunch

Mealtimes in my neighborhood are as follows: breakfast around 7 in the morning, coffee time around 10 AM; dinner at noon; lunch around 4 and supper after dark. There’s no such thing as brunch. Brunch is for people who are too lazy to get up in time for breakfast.
Retired farmers tend to congregate around the time they used to break for afternoon lunch. They used to gather at the General store, around a pot belly stove and when the old mercantiles started to give way to specialty shops – like grocery stores, Post Offices, feed stores, fabric shops and furniture stores, they had to find someplace else. Some of them started landing at barber shops, and still do. Some of them found their way to a local café that stays open past the dinner hour. Here, they might find a piece of pie leftover from the noon rush. Any place that owned a working coffeemaker and a few chairs. And in little towns like Nickerson, where there is nothing but a mini-mart/gas station, they gather there.
Discussion is much the same at every table; the weather, the price of corn, the weather, “How much rain didja git?” who moved to town, the weather, whose funeral is next Monday, and so on. If you dozed off at a table in the mini-mart in Nickerson and woke up at the café in Tekamah, you wouldn’t know the difference. Even the weather beaten faces peeking out from under the bills of seedcorn caps and the gnarled hands folded around the coffee mug seem to be interchangeable.
Here are some phrases you are sure to hear no matter where you some across this group:
“I tell you what, it wasn’t like that when I was a kid!”
“We never had it that easy!”
“Kids, nowadays…”
“I never woulda got away with anything like that.”
“Boy, they sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore.”
I think that the conversations are probably timeless. Every generation making the same declarations about the next one, for as long as there have been families.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

‘Tis the Season…

…for the Creeping Crud. My home has become filled with the sounds of sneezing, sniffling, coughing, hacking, moaning and the oft repeated question: “Where’d you put the Kleenexes?”
It all started a few weeks ago with Jack coming down with a bad case of upper respiratory flu. He bounced back pretty well, but I don’t think I’d ever seen him quite that sick. Randy came down with it last week and without bothering to recover from that, he transitioned into his allergies; same symptoms without the fever.
Then Jack’s allergies started flaring up.
Three days ago, Emily began to resemble a melting ice cube as the same fever crept into her system, one symptom at a time. She hasn’t been able to shake it, so I drove her to the Dr. this morning. It’s a virus, so he gave her a Rx for the symptoms and told her (like I’ve been telling them all along) to drink lots of water.

Our weather has taken a sudden u-turn back into winter temps – daytime highs in the low 40s and night time lows in the 20s. More snow expected tonight and a low of 17 for Friday night. And we’re two weeks into Spring. I think this year’s Easter Egg hunting attire will include stocking hats, woolen scarves and mittens.

Every time – and do mean EVERY time I type the word Friday, I type Firday. I’ve set the computer to auto-fix it, and I’ve tried to watch out for it, but I’ve done it wrong so many times, it’s as if I’ve practiced making that mistake. Anyway, Fridays are always good, but tomorrow is Good Friday – the day Christians observe the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Did you know the Crucifixion scene is the most often painted scene in all of art history? I think the most moving depiction of it is in the Mel Gibson movie Passion of the Christ. In the movie, when Jesus says, “It is finished.” we are taken to God’s point of view, from far above the cross and a giant tear falls to earth. It showed me how much it broke God’s heart to let His only Son die on the cross for the sins of mankind, but He did it so we could understand how much he loves us. Because His great heart was also breaking for lack of fellowship with each and every one of us and this was how He chose to restore that fellowship.
I think they should call it GREAT Friday. (I did it again. “Firday”).

So Happy GREAT FRIDAY to everyone tomorrow! I won’t see you then, but I’ll Blog with you then!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Confess

It’s time I come clean with a full confession: I have found a TV show that I love. It’s Dancing With the Stars – the ballroom dance competition that pairs a star (and they do use the term loosely) with a professional ballroom dance partner. Viewers watch the competition on Monday night, call in their votes and then watch again to see the results on Tuesday night. One couple is eliminated each week until only one remains at the end of 11 or 12 weeks. I understand it’s a clone of a show in the UK and we even have two of the same judges they use.
Anyway, I am usually away from home on Monday and Tuesday nights, until the very last 10 minutes or so of the show, so I have to videotape it and watch it later. That’s okay, because I can fast forward through the MANY MANY commercials. It turns out that it only takes about 70 minutes to watch a 120 minute program.
My favorite stars this year are Apolo Ono, a speed skater, and Heather Mills, whom they identify as a professional activist, but her better known claim to fame is as Paul McCartney’s ex-wife. She has an artificial leg, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing her down much. She still does better shimmies, grinds, jumps, kicks and twirls than Leeza Gibbons and Laila Ali.
Apolo Ono is partnered with the youngest professional dancer to ever participate. She’s 18 and her name is Julianna something and besides dancing their hearts out every time, they make the CUTEST couple in the bunch.
The music is live; the costumes are sparkling, flowing and brilliant. The close-up vignettes of each couple between each dance are humorous. I find it all elegant and charming – what’s not to like?
Another reason I like this show is that it is so completely opposite of what is usually on in our house. My family likes the shows that involve crime solving so, in the course of an average week, we have a least 15 rapes, beatings, robberies, and/or murders and their subsequent autopsies taking place in our living room. Sometimes they switch over to the supernatural side of things where we have vampires, demons and ghosts with slayers and mediums to sort it all out.
I prefer dancing.

Do you have a favorite TV show?
If you are a Dancing With the Stars fan, who is your pick for this year?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Time Zones and Other Marital Challenges

It should come as no surprise at all to any married person reading this that the families we were raised in often bring unanticipated challenges to the marriage.
For instance, Mary, a friend of mine, tells the story of how she, as a newlywed, told her husband one morning, “I think I’ll make goulash for supper tonight.” He thought that sounded good, he allowed as to how he liked goulash. So Mary made a batch of goulash that she pronounced every bit as good as her own mother’s. When she and her groom sat down to eat that evening, he beheld his plate and a look of thinly veiled disgust flashed across his face and he said, “What is THIS?!”
Mary, who thought she had made a darn good supper for him, said, “Well, what did goulash look like at your house?” And that question became their I.D. tag anytime they were confronted by familial differences. It’s served them well; I think they’ve been married for over 40 years.
In my paternal family, my siblings and I are dedicated to being on time. And by on time, I mean, I feel like I’m late if I don’t arrive at least 5 minutes early. I think it is an inherited trait, because of what I observed when we hosted our first big semi-annual family reunion for the Descendants of Joel and Almina Gatewood. It was to be potluck at noon. At 11:45 cars filled with Gatewood descendants (I think the final tally was over a hundred attended) began to pull in. By 12:15, everyone who was coming had arrived, the food was set out and we were all in line filling our plates. Now observe my husband’s side of the family: the Carson picnic is held on the same Sunday every year, set for potluck at noon. I think most of them don’t even leave home until 12:30. In 30 years, I’ve never known them to start the food line any earlier than 1:30. I don’t intend this to be a complaint, it just illustrates that each of these families has its own Time Zone. I’ll bet there’s an allele for it in our DNA.
Somehow, it all gets sorted out and husbands and wives tend to find a middle ground somewhere in the midst of all their differences. Our children grow up in this middle ground and take their own preferences and traditions out into the world, where they will undoubtedly clash with some else’s.
So what did goulash look like at your house?