Saturday, June 28, 2008

Have you read more than 6?

An important message/meme from another blog I sometimes read:

"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well let's see.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)"


1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible - Heck, I not only have over 6 books I have the first six and one of them is really a series of 7!
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - if not all a serious percentage.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - Didn't they just ask about the Chronicles of Narnia? Oh well, I've read them all dozens of times. Love them!
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - in English AND in French! Ooo La La!
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - Again, didn't we already cover this in the complete works of W.S?
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

This is a great list of books. Many of the ones on here that I have not read I didn't bother to italize because I want to read almost all of the ones I haven't. Amazingly enough, I seem to have read 49 of the books on this list, and I have a hunch it is actually more because there are a few that I can't seem to recall if I've read or not - Winnie the Pooh and the Secret Garden among them. It seems like I must have....but I just can't be sure. I think I'm going to try to sprinkle these books into my 50 book challenge this year in an attempt round out this list a bit more. It really irks me that I'm under 50% even if it is just by one book that I may or may not have read. I need to get back to some classics anyway. Anyway, since I am a highly in favor of reading as a hobby, intellectual stimulant and all-around mind expander it seemed fitting to participate in this meme and pass on the need to read, if not these 100 books then those that fit you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Where have all the recycling bins gone?

Ok, this is ridiculous. We live on a world of limited resources, and environmental issues are becoming more talked about. We are called to live green, to reduce our global footprint, limit use of fossil fuels, etc. So why is it so HARD to find a damn recycling bin out there. I can think of a least a half a dozen places that I used to be able to recycle things that I can't any more. The gas station for example. Or the gym. How many people use water bottles at the gym and not always the reusable ones? But I can't recycle at the gym any more. Or at the mall, the airport, and many other places.

I realize that have resusable bottles is best, but that doesn't always work when you are out an about. And what about the diet coke! Doesn't anyone think about the diet coke?!

Seriously, where did they all go. I kept them in a big pile in my car, and in the ultimate sense of injustice I went to recycle them at the apartment today and that recycler was gone too!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Curse you Google Reader!!!

Dear Google Reader,

As much as I love that you have streamlined my procrastinating blog reading during the day, please cool it with you suggestions. I naturally will look at them because I'm on lunch break and don't have any blog updates to read. But here is the thing, just because the majority of my blog friends are deep in the throes of infertility/fertility/baby-rearing/mommy-blogging and the like does not mean that I want to read infertility and mommy blogs all day long. (And yes, I am easily sucked in by a clever title and a weepy story about getting pregnant by accident after 45 IUIs and 20 IVFs and who knows what else.) But, nothing helps an already raging baby fever like the dual combo of:

1. It will be IMPOSSIBLE to get pregnant ever, in fact it is probably already too late for you, you should have started years ago.

and

2. Look at my beautiful pregnant belly, infant, toddler, etc.

Now I wish every infertile blogger in the world as many babies as they want, but I really can't read all of that everyday. It makes me anxious about something that isn't even on the table yet. I care a great deal about all my friends who have really struggled to get pregnant and I want nothing but the best for them and everyone they've met in the TTC world, but I can't get on an emotionally roller coaster for every blog that Google reader puts in front of me.

Same with kids. I adore my friends kids. They are the cutest and probably smartest kids around. But, I don't really need to get invested in every kid in blogland. I have 100+ kids here at church to get invested in too. And I'm already hyper-aware of not having any of my own. Just call me the crazy Aunt of blogland.

Perhaps I just need to find some thinking blogs out there but when everyone I know is busy "being fruitful" in one form or another, Google doesn't leave me a lot of other procrastination options!

(Because I am still paranoid - PLEASE know that I love reading all my friends blogs about babies, pregnancy, TTC and the like!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Patriotism of a Liberal Lady

So I dragged my sick self off the couch last night to go to my band concert. I have been playing trumpet for the a local community band this summer and it has been a nice outlet for some musical time. And as community bands go, they are really quite good. We have a concert about once a week at a variety of parks around the Twin Cities and it is nice to be outside, challenged by music and enjoying some classic band repertoire. And I was definitely challenged tonight because my cold kept me from rehearsal this week so I was sight reading about 7 songs in the concert today. We have an almost completely different pieces for each concert.

One of the few consistent things about each concert is the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of each concert, and a series of pieces including America the Beautiful, Stars and Stripes Forever, and a medley of the songs of the Armed Forces. These are classic patriotic tunes and it never fails to get the audience clapping. When we play the Armed Forces medley we encourage the men and women who served to stand for their branches song as well. Without fail I look out into the crowd during that piece and see mostly elderly men standing at attention for their songs and it moves me.

These summer experiences has me thinking about how to be patriotic in a time when the administration makes me decidedly not proud to be America, and where the term "Patriotic" brings to mind a thin reason that right wingers use to do whatever the hell they please. I realize that this is an extreme, but it does seem that those who express displeasure with the administration are quickly labeled un-patriotic. This is changing as the majority of the US is realizing that change (in either republican or democratic form) is necessary for the coming years, but for the last several I've struggled to figure out how to be a patriotic American in a world where I am not proud of the actions of our country.

When I went down to Argentina this Spring I was warned by the people who had gone before NOT to call myself American. The Argentines also thought of themselves as Americans. South American's but American's nonetheless. And really it just seems like a fitting idea of the US, we can be so arrogant as to think that we are American's when there are dozens of other countries for whom it also applies.

So what does it mean to be a patriotic citizen of the United States today? I am moved by the old soldiers standing for their songs, and I want to bring our current troops home, but I in no way condone the war we are in. I find it sad that there are people facing death daily to fight in a misguided attempt to beat the terrorists when the reality is we are increasing the hatred of the US worldwide. I love a good Sousa march with piccolo solos floating over a breeze on the fourth of July but a rousing rendition of "I'm proud to be an American" makes me want to say I'm Canadian.

Ultimately I think my own Patriotism is best revealed in my own efforts towards change, tolerance and peace. I am proud that the US has moved toward acceptance of all races, religions, genders and sexual orientations - even though some of those battles are more fully won than others. I'm proud that the US is starting to realize the real need to be stewards of the entire earth. I'm proud that I still have an option to say "I think President Bush is a pawn and an idiot" without a Gestapo knocking on my door.

But we have such a long way to go. I have friends staying in France for 2 months this summer. On one of their first notes from France they express amazement how old everything is over there. We are a young nation and while I feel like we are having some growing pains right now, I'm still confident that we can figure it out. And maybe that hope is what makes me patriotic despite it all.

So dear blogland, what is it that makes you patriotic? Or do you even want to be so anymore?

Derailed.

Well, VBS is over and I took yesterday and today off to take some time for myself. I looked forward to going back to the gym and getting some serious cleaning done and maybe read a book by the pool. Instead I came down with a cold on Sunday and am just emerging from a general crappy, fever, unable to do anything sickness. Granted it is quick moving and realistically I would rather get sick when I don't have any necessary plans but I was definately bummed to get sick when I had "for me" plans and not work plans.

I was already feeling derailed on food and exercise because of VBS and now it just seems that much further away from a reality for me. I need to get in the habit of the gym again and not just have it be a once a week thing like it has been lately. I just need to figure out how to work on my and still be productive in the other areas of my life too. Hopefully, I will be heading to the gym tomorrow to put the self improvement train by on track. *I think I can...?*

Sick Day Distractions

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Poll!

Hey everyone, please come answer my poll that I've added to my page. I'm trying to figure out how it is that people choose to attend a church, why they stay at a church and why they choose to leave. I wonder this for many reasons, particularly because I often get "blamed" if a family leaves the church despite the fact that the reasons they give are often another area entirely (worship, pastors, etc), but also I am trying to figure out what it really is that makes a church a good fit for people. Thanks for answering and please feel free to leave me some comments too! Thanks!

Friday, June 20, 2008

By the Grace of God

Vacation Bible School is over. The kids have gone home, and so have the leaders. The church is cleaned up, or rather, most of the church is cleaned up and the rest was unceremoniously dumped in my office for dealing with when I return to work next week. And I have to say, it was an AWESOME VBS this year. The energy level was high. My teachers were top notch. The set was outstanding, the skits funny. The weather was flawless and the injuries few and minor. If I can pat myself on the back a bit, I wasn't too bad either. None of those things are wholly in my control but this is the first year I really felt on top of most of what was going on, and the other part was stuff I had delegated away early and could still provide input in if necessary.

There were a few scary moments. Today one of our peanut allergy kids "joked" with the leader about having an M&M instead of the peanut-free Skittle on their snack today. After the parent was called and the Epi pen brought did she finally say she was joking. Her mom is not at all pleased with her, and I'm sure she won't do that again soon. But really there was no harm done and she is four and probably testing her boundaries some.

There were some volunteers who thought they were in charge from time to time, as well as some fellow staff members. But for the most part, when I had an opinion on something the acquiesed to me. And really, one of the things that made the most difference this year is that I'm getting so much better at asking people to do things that they could do well. I worked on having some volunteer options this year and not just randoming filling in people desperate to find teachers.

This afternoon after cleanup, my SIL came up to the cities and we did a post-VBS tradition of lunch and shoe shopping. It was just the kind of laid-back afternoon I needed to keep me on a normal schedule after such a crazy busy week. It is now late and I'm about to go to bed. I know that tomorrow there will be laundry and cleaning by the bucketful, but their will also be golf with my husband and a real meal cooked at home. There will be the knowledge that I led the families of my church to raise over $600 this week to help a mission to Ethiopia. There is the knowledge that 90+ kids, not to mention the confirmation kids, high schoolers and adults had a wonderful, safe, meaningful and fun week at church.

I AM tired. Exhausted. It is almost more than I can do to think in complete sentences, but I am also renewed. Renewed in hope that God's grace can cover us in times where we don't think we have more to give. That God's message can come from imperfect and sometimes petty people. I'm renewed that there are children in the church ready and willing to learn about God and parents willing to take them to a church for a week.

It has been a good week. I'm feeling really blessed to be in this position, at least today. It is bittersweet to see weeks, and really months of work torn down in 2 short hours this afternoon, but I know this week has built things in kids far more solid than foam beakers. And I am grateful for the chance to be a part of it. Now I just need to remember this feeling when I start it all again for next year!

P.S. I giant thank you also goes out to the grace of Mr. Goat. I wasn't as stressed this year, but I still had my moments. So thanks Mr. Goat! I'm sorry our anniversary always seems to fall during VBS prep but I'm so glad for the 5 years we've been married and look forward to many more anniversaries with you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

VBS Photos

I have been remiss on the VBS stories so far. The week is going as smoothly as can be expected. We have one day left and I hope that we'll end on as high a note as we started with. I did want to share some pictures with you all because I was particularly proud of the set this year. I spent a huge portion of last week on it - in addition to finalizing volunteers, class lists, supplies, decorations in the rest of the church, schedules, crafts, etc. I don't think I've had more that 5-6 hours of sleep in two weeks, which is mostly fine except that I function best on about 10!

Much of the set is made up of sheets of 1.5 in. foam found at Home Depot. My hot knife and I spent a LOT of time cutting things out. I had help with painting and other stuff but I didn't want to hand off the sharp object capable of third degree burns to confirmation students! (Or even the few adults who came to help too).

Set up in progress - I had to cut out each of those shelves myselfTwo of our skit characters hamming it up

The Brad-O Matic 3000 - Transmogrifyer extrodinare


The wide shot of the Fellowship Hall. It is just cool this year!


The Beaker is our way of keeping track of our mission - each balloon is $1. Blue is for boys, Pink is for girls, Silver is for leaders. So far we have over 450 and still a day to go - we went well outside of the Beaker. But notice you don't see much silver!

It is boys against girls (against leaders). This causes more heartache than I imagined, particularly among the 4 and 5 year olds for whom winning is EVERYTHING. My plan is to rig a tie tomorrow after all is said and done (yes I will contribute the missing amount to make it official). Still, the kids have responded to the mission more than ever before, so I don't know what the right answer is.


Here the screen is on too - we are a full multimedia event!


A close up of the Brad-O-Matic, but the lights aren't on. The splatter on the walls is from experiments "gone wrong." Each day our Einstein character (thing Igor but taller) goes into it and gets transmogrified into something different. It has a few bugs to work out! Today it was upgraded to the Brad-O Matic 4000, will that help tomorrow? We'll see! (Ok, actually it will help and we will change Einstein back to his original form and learn that we can tell others about God just the way we are. Awwww. A touching learning moment of VBS fun!)


More set closeups - I love the giant blue beaker, the smoke spells VBS even though you can't see it well.


There was so much foam to cut out last week but it was worth it, the set turned out great.

That is just a taste of our VBS. The volunteers have been great so far and it really has been my most successful year so far. I just hope tonight's ice cream social and tomorrow's finale go well too and then I can take a nap!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An important reminder

"Twitchy-cide is not an acceptable VBS game"

"Twitchy-cide is not an acceptable VBS game"

"Twitchy-cide is not an acceptable VBS game"

"Twitchy-cide is not an acceptable VBS game"


To clarify - Twitchy is one of my helpful and yet unhelpful volunteers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I am alive

Just a quick late night note: Still alive. VBS going well. Pictures and details soon, hopefully tomorrow. Looking forward to regaining a life but loving all the kids around church. Sleep now. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Edition 3


Thirteen Things ways to be a HELPFUL church volunteer

I don't mean to be ungrateful...but sometimes some volunteers really annoy me. I have two volunteers in particular, lets call them Itchy and Twitchy, who are at once immensely helpful and maddeningly unhelpful at the same time. Nine times out of ten the helpful trumps the unhelpful, but there are days where they just push all my buttons at once. And when VBS rolls into town and stress and the amount of work escalates, well it can drive me more than a little insane. So in honor of Itchy and Twitchy here is my Thursday Thirteen today!

1. DO volunteer because you truly want to help and not because you've been guilted into it. If you aren't really wanting to do it it will show to the kids.

2. DON'T say to the support staff "I'm talking to X about this, this isn't right" I've almost always cleared that decision with my support staff already and they are doing what they've been told to. It isn't their fault. Do come to me if you have concerns but don't give them the attitude.

3. DO ask "What can I do to help?" and then really listen to the response given.

4. DON'T say "You were too busy to ask so I did X, Y, or Z" and then expect praise especially when it wasn't something that needed doing in the first place.

5. DO reply to a call or email in a timely manner.

6. DON'T agree to do something time sensitive and then drop off the face of the planet or go on an unannounced vacation.

7. DO tell me if you plans change and you can no longer volunteer. I will appreciate hearing it from you as soon as you know rather than discovering it when you don't show up at the given time.

8. DO come to the training session, particularly when you get a postcard reminder about it in the mail. DON'T assume that just because you have done it before that you can skip the training sessions. If you can't make it just let me know and I'll typically do an abbreviated training for you at a time that works.

9. DON'T branch away from the lessons into your own personal theology - particularly if it includes the words: Hell, Salvation, Personal Savior. (Please NOTE: Fill in your own denominational words here. For Lutherans these words are unnecessary for theological discovery).

10. DO come to me if you have a problem with discipline or the way something is scheduled or organized.

11. DON'T complain about how things are being run to others but deny having any problems when I ask about it. Also, give your opinion freely when I ask for it.

12. DO take control when I give you freedom to do something specific, I do not want to micromanage every aspect of the ministry.

13. DON'T come to an event with your own agenda and constantly change my decisions without discussing it with me. Contrary to common beliefs I do know what I am doing and have specific goals for this ministry in mind.

So thanks for reading an please remember this the next time a Pastor, Christian Ed Director or someone else asks you to volunteer in the church. We are really and truly grateful for the work you are willing to put in for the church and for us, but we also want to remain in control of the finish product. But thank you for volunteering. And if you follow these helpful tips we'll probably call you again, but you can always say NO, really you can, but we love it when you don't.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Could it be?

I'm amazed. It is still 4+ days away from VBS and I *think* that I have found all of my teachers and helpers. If VBS was tomorrow I could actually run the thing! WOOHOO!

Whew! I'm always amazed how it works out after it seems like it comes down to the wire each and every year. And yet God always provides for things. With this puzzle piece in place I am that much closer to a good VBS and the rest is mostly dependent on me doing the work, and THAT I can handle!

Bring on the Power Lab!

P.S. Naturally, during my busiest two weeks at work, 4 library books that I have been on waiting lists for months and months come in to the library for me. Sigh. I maybe be able to get through one of them before they are all due!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Countdown

10 ~ hours minimum work days for the next week.
9 ~ mental VBS breakdowns daily.
8 ~ cases of diet coke to get me through.
7 ~ rooms left to decorate.
6 ~ extra hands that I wish I had to help finish everything.
5 ~ packages still needed from UPS
4 ~ days straight of headaches.
3 ~ volunteers still needed to make VBS work...minimum
2 ~ bossy volunteers trying to tell me what to do.
1 ~ ONE WEEK LEFT TO GET IT ALL DONE!

P.S.
I hope that none of you minded all that cheese and "whine" talk last week.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A long history...


I'm sitting on the couch at 10pm this evening. I'm full and content and yet discontented. I'm content because I came home early to get the car safely hidden from the incoming storms and hail threats and Mr. Goat and I made dinner. We made baked mac and cheese. Not the healthiest meal by any means but we had it on hand and as the storm raged it seemed like a delicious option. I'm discontented because now it is 10pm, I'm still stuffed to the gills full of cheese and I have not been to the gym. Normally on a Thursday I will go directly to the gym after dinner and eat with Mr. Goat after the workout. But instead in an effort to avoid the storms I shifted my plan around. My plan didn't count on a pound of cheese and elbow noodles however.

In retrospect, mac and cheese was not a wise move with the intentions of going to the gym, but when given the option my love of cheese wins through. Oh, I can make jokes about being a WI girl at heart, or justify it by my intense workout yesterday but the bottom line is I was lazy and let my stomach make the decisions. It turns out that I have a long history of this.

There is a story that my mother tells about leaving me home with a babysitter when I was still an infant. My mother said to the sitter "Now when she gets hungry just give her the bottle and she'll let you know when she's done." That worked I guess, until 3 bottles later I had thrown up all over my sitter.

There is another story about the first word I ever read. We were in the car and I was 2-3 and I read PIZZA! off of a road sign. My mother claims she knew I read it because it wasn't a chain where I could recognize an image, nor was their a picture of a pizza on the sign. No, I knew PIZZA and I loved it, and I have loved it since.

These stories are funny but they worry me too. I have always been somewhat (who am I kidding...TOTALLY) obessed with food. I am constantly making snap judgement decisions about the food I want to eat and they are always the bad ones - foods loaded with cheese, fat, calories. And there is guilt about all that food. There is judgement and excuses and rationalizing it all. But the bottom line is that my stomach makes the choice and my head learns how to make me feel bad about it or justify it.

And I HATE this about myself but it is so ingrained in me that I don't know how to change it. I go to restaurants with good intentions and plan to day X and out comes a double cheeseburger with bacon. I feel like the dog in the Beggin' Strips commercial. Even the hint of fake bacon makes him loose all rational thought, but for me it is bacon, and cheese, and ice cream and...well you get the idea.

Whenever I try to change my lifestyle I commit to the gym and try to change my diet. I try total deprival of those foods. I try smaller portions. I try breakfast and stocking the house with only good things, and i always go back to the knee-jerk response of BACON!

I know I need to change this. I have to. I feel myself starting to derail from this latest attempt. The pounds seem to creep up and not down and I just can't work up the energy to start ALL over again. I need to do it now! I feel so broken by food. I think about it too much and still nothing changes. I try to plan it out and conviently "forget" my lunch or make the wrong choices again. My mother often said it was like I was born without an off switch and I wonder if she is right. But without the internal controls I feel like I need a straight jacket to keep from eating everything in sight.

I don't have the answers and I know that this week and the next are going to be crazy times to fix all my problems. But I can't give up just yet. So I sit her pondering with a stomach full of cheese wondering what to do about this and feeling rather awful about the whole thing. You have to eat to live and I feel like I could live so much more freely if I didn't have to eat.

Thursday Thirteen - Edition 2


Thirteen Fictional men that Liz would really like to meet.

1. The Tenth Doctor ~ Dr. Who ~ Oh the Doctor. Doctor Who is currently on the top of my favorite current show list. He is cute, and noble and loves to learn new things. And of course, the fact that he is played by the adorably cute David Tenant works too! The ninth doctor was good, the tenth is better!

2. Jean Luc Picard ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation ~ Of all the Star Trek Captains he is by far my favorite. There is something very alluring about his character and of course being played by Patrick Stewart is wonderful. I saw Patrick Stewart do some Shakespeare last year and man, he knows his stuff. Plus I liked that the Captain was NOT the womanizer for once in a Star Trek episode!

3. Dumbledore ~ Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling ~ Who doesn't want to know Dumbledore and have that twinkling eye cast upon them? A great eccentric, loving, brilliant Grandfather, Dumbledore really helps cast the morality and tone of the whole series, even as the tale is really about Harry Potter.

4. Gandalf ~Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien ~ I guess I have a thing for grandfatherly wizards. They can kick butt when they are mad, but can laugh and love and see wonderful potential in even the smallest of God's creatures.

5. The Hobbits ~ Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien ~ I'd particularly like to meet Bilbo and Sam but really all of them have places in my heart. I'm always amazed how you can truly come to love characters from books and movies. To know them and love them and cry for them when they experience loss. The hobbits in the LOTR seem to embody the human qualities I love best - loyalty, love, bravery, love of food *grin*, and a willingness to do what it takes to ensure their way of life. They exceed everyone's expectations of what is possible and that is exactly how I'd like to be.

6. Harry Potter ~ Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling ~ I would love to meet Harry Potter. In fictional years he would be about my age and it would be so interesting to hear about being the "chosen" one directly from him. To hear about Voldemort and the love of his friends. I'd love to meet the whole set of characters really but Harry choose to do good even when all seemed lost.

7. Mr. Darcy ~ Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen ~ Yum! It takes a strong woman to be able to turn down Mr. Darcy. At least he didn't give up on Lizzy!

8. Han Solo ~ Star Wars ~ The ultimate bad-boy goes good. He may seem like a scoundrel but deep down you know there is so much more.

9. Daniel Jackson ~ Stargate SG-1 ~ The uber-geek meets action adventure. Sure he needs saving sometimes because he isn't as good with the guns and stuff, but who else can translate languages at the drop of a hat and takes time to philosophize about the nature of the universe while being chased by aliens.

10. Peter and Edmund Pevensie ~ The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis ~ To know and defend Narnia sounds wonderful. They are loyal and yet still bicker. There is sibling rivalry but still they know what is most important. Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia. Does that mean if I married one of them I'd get to be a Queen of Narnia too? :)

11. Indiana Jones ~ Indiana Jones ~ The hat! The whip! The archeology! Who can go wrong!

12. Mr. Big ~ Sex and the City ~ Yes, he may not be the most upstanding guy, but he still has a big heart and if I were Carrie I'd still choose him every time!

13. Aragorn ~ Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien ~ The rightful king of Gondor disguised as a lowley ranger. Protector of hobbits and lover of elves, Aragorn is the hope of humanity. He singlehandedly decides not to let man simply to be barbarians siding on with evil but brings the nobility back to us. Plus he's good with a sword.

Honorable mentions: Legolas, and Elrond ~ LOTR, Data and Wesley Crusher ~ Star Trek:TNG, Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi ~ Star Wars, Captain Jack Sparrow ~ Pirates of the Carribean, and probably lots lots more!



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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Random Thoughts on Politics while Procrastinating

* Is it a good move to even consider Clinton as a VP candidate for Obama. I'm not sure it is a "unity" ticket as I think Clinton's supporters may be more upset that she is "carrying" Obama into the office. I do think that the democratic party needs to back Obama 100% to win in November but I'm not sure having Hillary as VP makes that happen. I really think that she should have admitted defeat last night, it would have made the part of her speech about "supporting the party" that much more real.

* Amazingly, several known republicans in my life have said that they would consider voting for Obama if Clinton were not VP.

* I still like the idea of Bill Richardson as VP, particularly for his foreign relations experience, but I have doubts that it will happen. I think there are people out there who can grudgingly tolerate either an African-American, or a woman, or a Latino but more than one might cause them to blow a gasket. And that is a real shame.

* I do wonder if he'll pick a woman other than Clinton to try to cement the "woman's" vote. Possibly Kathleen Sebelius?

* Ok, can I say how mad the idea of a "woman's" vote makes me. Can the world stop assuming that just because I am a woman that I must want to vote for a woman? It is just like being in Seminary and everyone (professors, pastors and random churchies) asked why I wasn't studying feminist theology, just because I was a woman. I don't particularly care for feminist theology as a field of study. It has some interesting points but doesn't grab me. But there are many theologians out there that assume that to be a woman and a theologian means I must be a feminist theologian. Grrr. (Stepping off the soapbox now)

* Oh and one last thing. How come everyone says that if so-and-so become president (or whatever) that they are moving to Canada? I have even said this myself - sometime in Nov '04. But I have changed my mind. I don't want to move to Canada. I'm thinking more along the lines of St. Martin. Or Barbados? Ooo. Or Tahiti? Yes, that is much better. If McCain wins I may just have to move to Tahiti!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Ruling

So I went to my networking dinner. I had yummy D'Amicos and I chatted with people who do the same thing I do. People who know exactly the issues I deal with. The issues with parents, or pastors or personell committees. And it was wonderful. We were able to pass on the various info about different churches. We were able to commiserate and laugh together and enjoy yummy food.

(On a completely different note I did NOT make it to the gym today and had a HORRIBLE *yummy* day of eating. Oops! I really need to get better on that, but i had an impromtu lunch date with my husband and a networking dinner so I suppose it is a little ok)

I did try to get into the Excel after the dinner. Barak had not yet spoken, but when I got downtown it was clear that there were thousands of people watching from outside the X so I went home. I heard part of his speech in the car and caught most of the rest back at home. While it would have been cool to be there it was neat even to be near the event. I'm very pleased with Obama winning the nomination and I thought his speech was excellent. It had hints of Lincoln, Martin Luther King and some of the best orators of our day. He was gracious to his opponents - both Clinton and McCain and didn't talk too much about himself. I think it is going to be a great campaign and I hope the democrats band together in support of him. I has been an awful 8 years but I'm left feeling hopeful that things can change. Yay!

History in the making or just a big hassle?

Anyone out there today blogland? I need some advice. Do I figure out a way to get to Downtown St. Paul and go to the Barak Obama rally tonight - on the day he probably will clinch the presidential nomination?

OR

Do I go to a networking dinner with other people who do the same job as I do and also head toward St. Paul but not be in the crazy rally zone?

OR

Do I go to the gym, watch the speech on TV and de-stress from VBS prep?

Your thoughts blogland?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sheesh

It turns out that the opposite of VBS insomnia is VBS "I'm so tired that I completely sleep through my alarms and wake up two hours later and don't get into work until 11am and thank goodness I am a salary person and I'll be working 60 hours this week anyway"

Let the fun begin. We kick off in:




But who's counting...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

What a tasteless wafer and crappy wine can do.

It has been begun - VBS insomnia is here. It has happened twice already this week (including last night). I have been kept up by those mind-gnawing lists of what needs doing in the next two weeks. In many ways it is like planning a week long wedding - where you have 40 in the bridal party and the guests are all children. There is just lots to do - plus a magical world to create. I found out that one of my teachers is in the hospital on Friday - bleeding ulcers and a mass that they need to biopsy. I don't know yet whether she'll be around to teach in two weeks or not. I'm still a few teachers down anyway.

And really, I'm not too worried about it. It is just stressful and there are lots and lots of things that still need to be done. But anyway - I slept poorly and woke up feeling lousy. Mr. Goat and I didn't get moving fast enough to go to the early traditional service - so we went to the later contemporary version of church this morning.

This is not the service I would choose but being an employee it is important I go to many different services and know the majority of the congregation so away we went this morning. And really it was a struggle. I was tired and stressed and a little resentful of the clappy-go-lucky songs we were singing. The sermon made me annoyed rather than inspired and I was just not having any of it today.

But then it came time for communion and there were familiar words. This is my body, this is my blood...given for you...Do this in remembrance of me. And I know that it is given when I need most to remember God's grace and mercy and love. It is given to me in my funky bad mood. It is given in a dry tasteless wafer, and some acidic really awful wine - but it is given freely and without reservation. It is given to ME. And it made me feel better.

The lists and the stress and the desire to get it all right - these are because I care about my kids, and the church, and the Capital C Church too. And I care that kids will grow up to know of God's grace for them. The reason I stress is because it is important work I'm doing here and I should know better that to let a restless night and a praise band get the better of it.

I'll never like praise music. I'll never go into VBS stress free. But I can acknowledge God's gifts in my life and that makes today a lot better.