Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!


This is Kevin with his kindergarten teacher during their Halloween party. I was afraid the other parents would think that Kevin's "Relief Worker" costume is part of an agenda by his parents, but the comments that I received were quite positive, both because of the idea itself and because of how easy it looked to prepare (which it was!)
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New 'do

This is not the most flattering picture of me or my hair but I have an ultimate (frisbee) game to get to so I don't have time to properly fix either. So, here is my new hairdo. I hope that the recipient of my hair gets some good use out of it and feels better about him/herself for it.


And yes, I do intend to refrain from highlighting the scar on my forehead the next time I style my hair.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I was right

I was right. I love my computer.

I installed a second hard drive and additional memory last night. I went from a single 40GB drive to a 40GB drive plus a 160GB drive and from 512MB of RAM to 2.5GB of RAM.

Yes, I've gone off the deep end. But it sure is fast in here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

No award for this, but recognition

My grandmother celebrated her 103rd birthday last week. She is now officially the oldest resident in her community. I feel that my parents have seen a lot in their lives and that I have, to some extent (I remember the first Apple computer! :-) But think about what life was like when Grandma was born in 1904... she's seen more than I can imagine!

Growing up I never appreciated this grandmother very much. She wasn't as warm and nurturing as my other grandmother. But as I got older (and wiser, I hope) I came to realize how amazing she is.

My grandmother worked full-time. She was a teacher, but she kept teaching even after she had kids. She hired a nanny to take care of my dad and his sister. Speaking of the kids, my grandmother had her first child at age 34. Her second, my dad, was born when she was 40. That's not an oddity now, but it was rare to start having children so late back then. I'd say it was because her husband was younger than she, but Pop-pop wasn't that much younger - just enough to buck the stereotype.

I remember thinking that my grandparents were SO OLD back when we'd get together for holiday meals and I'd see my grandmother carrying the huge Thanksgiving turkey on a silver platter. I always expected to see her rickety legs fold beneath her and the turkey roll away, dragging her behind it. That was 25 years ago - I had nothing to worry about as she was still a spring chicken.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bye bye

On Halloween, I'm donating my hair. It's been too long for too long.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beautiful Fall Day

THIS is what a fall day should be like - a visit to the farm with the sun warm but not hot with red, yellow and orange leaves floating on the breeze.

A chainsaw carving at the entrance of the Red Barn

Kevin picking out the perfect gourd

Kevin in the hay maze

A llama nearing my too-close-for-comfort zone

My two pumpkin faces
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Friday, October 26, 2007

Anticipating computer love

My computer has some problems. Take, for instance, that last sentence. I made a mistake and had to backspace and re-type the end of the sentence and the computer couldn't keep up with me. I was typing blind. Not a problem, but quite an annoyance. And that's just a simple example. It also disk thrashes so much that I have to reboot it regularly or it will come to a screeching halt entirely.

I'm not one who likes to tinker with things and build my own computers but my officemate has convinced me that I can install a second hard-drive (the first one is almost full and is likely causing most of the problems) and additional memory (you can never go wrong with more memory and with a full disk I'm sure the half a meg I have now doesn't go very far.)

My officemate always waits with much excitement (well, as much excitement as he ever seems to muster) for packages from to arrive and now I understand why.

Now that I've placed my order, each bit of lag only makes me that much more annoyed because I know HELP IS ON THE WAY! And I suspect I'll love my computer after it arrives. Please, newegg - please ship it today!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

From a journal

I don't journal often but this morning I found this excerpt from 2002:

My feet are stuck because I'm afraid to move forward alone, mostly because I have only questions with no answers, so I don't even know where to go. But, I can't return to the "comforts" of my God from the past few years, because my mind has moved beyond that point and the comforts of having answers, disciplines, succinct theories and a body of friends who believe the same things are no longer comforting and can no longer satisfy me. I'm stuck - as if I'm on that stairway to cross the Potomac River into Harper's Ferry - too afraid to move up or down because any change in balance causes a wave of nausea and vertigo - thoughts of plunging to the ground far away - falling through the sky, the unknown, only to be smacked by the very real, very solid rocks below. Is God there in the rocks, waiting to smack me because I let go? or because I went up the stairs in the first place? Is God in the unknown, the sky, a feeling of exhilaration due to fear and fun all at once? Do I need to wear a safety harness?

All of these questions have answers in my old paradigm, but I've jumped ship and even if I jumped back on board, I would not stop hearing the call of the sea to jump back in. My arms need to pull, my feet need to kick, my lungs need to expand with breath to hold me afloat.

Do I end this time with prayer? That seems hypocritical. Or is it just faithfulness at a time when true faith really shines... at a time when there is no answer? Is my desire for prayer due to habit or true yearning for my creator? Have I been created by anything more than Contingency, Law and Deep Time? I think that I hope so.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An open mind

Our church installed a labyrinth this year and dedicated it to our founding pastor and his family. It's purpose is to provide a meditative/contemplative exercise to the user. I've never used a labyrinth and I've never learned much about them except for hearing one person's experience with it.

This morning I visited the labyrinth. I am glad that I haven't read much about them because each idea I had for how to do it was new and my own (rather, from God.) Here's how it went...

I prayed before stepping onto the paver stones that I would be able to clearly hear God if He had anything to say to me. That's it. I had no lofty expectations or goals for my time in the labyrinth. I stepped onto the bricks and prayed again, clearing my mind and asking only to have my thoughts be God's thoughts.

I walked in sets of 10 steps. After each 10 steps, I paused. I did my best not to find words to offer up thanks to God for the birds that were singing their praises in the fields around me or for the tickling breeze on my bare skin or for the happy, fluffy clouds in the sky as I looked up to feel God's face gazing on mine. I felt thankful but did not clutter my mind by putting words to my feelings.

Each time my stomach leapt because I thought I'd walked on the wrong path (hard to do when there's only one, but the path is separated from its own curves by just a row of different colored pavers) I immediately told myself it didn't matter even if I was on the wrong path and to let it go.

As I neared the center, I felt the urge to take off my shoes and socks to stand barefoot directly on the stones. I thought that was a little weird, especially since I knew people in the parking lot could see me as they arrived for the bible study group I was about to attend. Then I realized God was telling me not to be embarrassed and to just do it, so I did. I stood barefoot in the center for a minute or two, then picked my shoes up and walked slowly but continuously out the path, feeling the cold stone and the occasional piece of gravel digging into the soles of my feet.

I had no earth-shattering experience while in the labyrinth, but I did feel extremely at peace and completely open to hearing Him, which was my only hope for the exercise.

I plan to try it again sometime soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Farm Tough

On Friday, I went to Sears to pick up Andy's chainsaw that was in for repair. That model had been recalled so they gave us a replacement. Unfortunately for them, they no longer make a comparable chainsaw, so they had to give us a Husqvarna 455 Rancher model - 20" bar, 56cc engine, commercial-grade.

I almost had to sleep in the guest bed Friday night so that Andy had room for his new chainsaw in our bed.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Missed an important anniversary!

With all that's going on around us, we completely flaked on the anniversary of Kevin becoming part of our family. It was on October 2, 2004, that we first met him (and he us) and it was on October 6, 2004, that he first stepped foot into our (and his new) home.

He started out as a quiet and shy kid, overwhelmed by his new experiences. Three years later, he's now 5 1/2 years old and a popular, although not precocious, member of the kindergarten class at our local elementary school.

We'll have to come up with some way to commemorate the missed anniversary. I'm guessing we'll eat out at a restaurant not because that's how everyone seems to celebrate everything but because it's Kevin's most favorite thing in the world to do. Hey, if I don't have to cook or clean up, I'm game!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Good Cry

I never believed I'd ever experience a "good cry" as I'd heard other people describe one. Like most people, when given the choice, I prefer not to cry. I couldn't imagine what would ever be good about doing it. Some people are more ok with crying than others and some people talk about needing "a good cry" to feel better about something. I had never understood that but I think I experienced one on Sunday.

It was with trepidation that I went to church on Sunday because of the situation in the life of a close friend of mine. When I sat down, a lot of pent-up emotion came out and I cried - I wasn't able to stop it but I was able to curb it a little. I wasn't embarrassed by it, I guess because I had a really good reason to be crying.

I suspect I needed to release the emotion that had built up and that's why it felt ok, and even good, to cry. Even now, I don't have bad memories of it and I don't wish that it won't happen again.

I'm learning a lot about myself through my friend's devastating experience. Maybe the next time someone in my life faces something difficult, I'll be better equipped to support them.