August 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
I miss lakes. Lakes were a big part of my childhood, when I think about it. I learned how to swim in a lake (Silver Lake, right?…Gina, Emily, Abby, Stephanie, remember the crazy-painful hot metal slide we played on? Is it still there?), had T-ball practice next to lakes, learned how to make loon-calls on lakes (North Star Lake), how to fish in lakes, how to ice-skate on frozen lakes, went to church baptisms at lakes, steered boats on lakes (White Bear Lake), fell fully clothed into lakes (several lakes)…
…and then I moved to southern California. No lakes for seventeen years. In terms of me and lakes, these were the years of the Babylonian Captivity. (What about the ocean, you say? Me and the ocean is a whole different story.)
Then I moved to Arkansas. Hey, there’s quite a few lakes here! But seven years later, I’ve been to more lakes in other countries (in desert regions!) than I have in Arkansas.
Time to have a lake day. With fishing. And loons.
Loons really add a special something. A lake without loons is almost no lake at all. I miss getting out on a boat just before the sun rises, weaving through the mist still crawling over the water, and talking to the loons…
March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
Don’t have a photo for this TBT, but here goes.
As the Shepherd’s Conference is in full swing today, I am reminded of how set-up went in the old days! For years, my mom would begin our homeschool year two weeks early in Autumn, JUST so that we could spend one week helping with setup and the second week serving during the conference. I LOVED being a “go-fer” running hither, thither, and yon for all manner of errands.
We learned about sacrificing our time to make a big event happen. We learned about doing whatever was asked of us as well and quickly as we could. We learned how to interact with guests from foreign lands, some of whom barely spoke English. And so much more!
–In the room across from the kitchen (the kitchen by the Fireside Room), we spent a whole day walking around and around a huge square of tables, collating all the attendees’ conference materials for the week into massive blue 3-ring binders.
–Used a paper-cutter to turn stacks of paper into all of the individual name-tags!
–Put hours and hours into sliding each name-tag into a plastic holder with a pin on the back, while trying not to seriously puncture a finger.
–Served sit-down dinners in the gymnasium; way back when ALL the visiting pastors FIT in the gym, even sitting around tables! (And I tripped on the blue floor-covering and dumped an entire plate of spaghetti *splat!* into the lap of a German church leader. Zum Glück war er sehr nett!)
–The Master’s Chorale would sing and I would sit enraptured, hoping beyond hope that I could sing in that group someday. (A wish that came true!) This hasn’t really changed. =}
–One year on a day during setup week, I was sent from the kitchen up to Dr. MacArthur’s office with his lunch, not realizing I’d forgotten to include any cutlery. He said, rather tentatively as I turned to go, “Thanks! Hey Elizabeth could uh, could I please have a fork?” Oops.
Lastly, in March of 1999 when the attendance had doubled since the years of my childhoood, I was baptized at the Shepherd’s Conference. They always have an extra-long baptism service, and it’s a wonderful, solemn, yet joyful time. Typically the women go first, and then all the men. But I’d been tagged onto the schedule at the last minute, and was set to go at the very end after the men (because Dr. MacArthur was going to step out of the water and my dad, who was on pastoral staff at the time, was to come baptize me).
Unfortunately, John . . . forgot.
He baptized the last guy, and began winding down toward a final prayer. There dad and I are, literally waiting in the wings in our fluffy white robes, and dad quietly says “Psssst, John. John!” He stopped mid-sentence and turned around, not-so-mild surprise on his face. Then turns back to the mic, jovially saying:
“I’m so sorry, we have one more!”
So at the tender age of 14 and not much keen on public speaking, I walked out there to the sound of ~4,000 men belly-laughing . . .
February 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
Some of these are not strictly Southern, but here is a smattering of traditions, terms, and foods I’ve been tickled to learn about since coming to Arkansas six and a half years ago.
1) A “Pounding”
When new folks are moving to a home in your area from out of state/country, such as a new pastor or a new position at the office, the community helps out by signing up to buy a grocery staple (in many cases a pound, thus the name) and bring it to a party or to move-in day. All at once the newcomers are blessed with a full pantry in their new home. What a GREAT idea.
2) The “Groom’s Cake”
Oddly enough the first wedding I attended in Arkansas was that of a friend from college (in California). She was from the church we moved to in Little Rock, and had a beautiful wedding on New Year’s Day, 2008. But I was in for a surprise at the reception: two cakes?? I mean, another cake is always a good thing, but having an official bride’s cake and groom’s cake was a totally foreign concept. I love it though! It’s an entertaining way for the groom’s personality to have a platform at what is so often a bride-centered event. In the six years since then I’ve seen Darth Vader cakes, cakes made in the exact shape and detail of a soundboard, and my personal favorites: simply huge chocolate cakes loaded with chocolate icing. Yum!
3) “Dirty Santa”
In California and lots of other places, it’s called “White Elephant”: the gift-giving game where you bring something to a Christmas party and everyone opens one and steals them from each other and has a general riot. Most of the time it’s up to the host whether you are supposed to bring something nice enough to keep, or total rubbish. Sometimes the distinction is not made, and the gifts comprise a little of both. (This would explain why I received an old Linksys router at my boss’s house this year.) I suppose it’s the rubbish-version of the game for which calling it Dirty Santa makes sense. Some people I have asked say that it’s Dirty Santa when you’re supposed to bring clutter, and it’s White Elephant when the gifts are to be “nice”. Alrighty then.
4) “Chocolate Gravy”
Similar to sausage gravy (or what the South calls “Biscuits and Gravy”), this extremely odd dish is just…chocolate gravy. On biscuits. Runny chocolate-ish “gravy” on plain dry biscuits. Great if you grew up with it I suppose, but this one I’m afraid I will never understand. (I did taste it.)
5) “Bridal Portraits” . . . weeks before the wedding.
This one really threw me for a loop. I felt pretty dumb. At that same New Year’s Day wedding there was a large, gorgeous framed photograph of the bride on a stand by the doorway to the reception. She looked exactly as she did in the service she’d just walked out of, but I couldn’t think how that photo could have possibly made it into that frame in the short space of time since her morning toilette. It was a morning wedding, after all. Did somebody take the photo and immediately have it rushed out to be developed, then get it in the frame and back to the church just in time? I was impressed. Mentioning this to the next person in line, I was informed of the tradition that is “Bridal Portraits.” Of course it wasn’t all done in a jiffy that morning. The photo had been taken weeks ago when the bride got all gussied up just like she would for the actual ceremony and went out for an official photo-shoot. Leaves more time for couples shots on the wedding day, and less stress for all. Huh.
6) “Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”
I couldn’t do a post like this without including at least one colloquialism. This is *so* my favorite, but I have yet to encounter the, uh, appropriate moment to use it…
June 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
I just read an article wherein the author told me that if I am “of a certain age” I probably remember The Great Mouse Detective. Seriously?!
“Elementary” is a travesty and “Sherlock” is pure genius. The End.
(For the definition of ‘travesty’ see the 2004 film The Phantom of the Opera or the last few installments of the Harry Potter film series.)
Remember on ‘The West Wing’ when Josh Lyman said “I’m so sick of Congress I could vomit.” Yeah.
(Though he be a liberal and yea verily though he be fictional, I stand with Josh on that one.)
One of the retired Facebook features that I miss is the ability to throw sheep at my friends.
You don’t really know what kind of person you are until you have “Magnetic Poetry” on your refrigerator and observe the kind of *insert adjective* sentences you come up with. (Then you forget about them and have friends over and suddenly those friends know too.)
When you open the kitchen cupboard and a roach falls down onto the counter in front of you and you don’t even flinch, you might not be winning the battle.
It’s interesting to me that Dr. Sheldon Cooper is pretty much human selfishness and pride personified, yet he’s still such a popular character. Anybody else out there willing to admit that it might be because he simply says about himself most of the things we all think about ourselves, in the privacy of our own little sin-sick hearts? His relatability should tell us something. (I informed you thusly.)
And in other news . . . I just bought a ticket to go far, far away. Canada, gird your loins!
February 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
Today I had an errand in the Facilities office. Of the six desks in the room all were vacant. At least, there were no humans in there. But one chair was filled by a very large – and by very large I mean life size – green stuffed bear. Noticing a FamilyLife name badge hung on his left shoulder, I looked closer, thinking someone had put their own badge or that of a former employee on it just for fun. But no. The picture on the tag was the same smiling, green, fuzzy face. The name underneath was Boz. This didn’t concern me, until I saw the name plate on the desk. Boz.
Sunday evening as I walked from my car to the church door I overheard, and joined, one of those conversations that reminds me I live in Arkansas. Jim had already made it halfway to the building but his 14-ish yr. old son was still standing by their car, barefoot.
Son: Should I just wear the socks then, and not the shoes?
Jim: They’re dry?
Son: Well, they’re . . . less wet than the shoes.
Me to Jim: Do I wanna know?
Jim: He wanted to go fishing earlier.
January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
Ten pages into the book My Dearest Friend, a collection of 289 letters sent between John and Abigail Adams, both tears and laughter already abound. Oh to write like this! The following is John’s jovial description of his and his brother’s preparation for the smallpox vaccination, which involved taking Ipichac (an emetic) before they were actually given the disease.
Sunday morning, April 8, 1764, at half past 10.
“The people all gone to Meeting but myself, and companion, who are enjoying a pipe in great tranquility after the operation of our Ipichac. Did you ever see two persons in one room Iphichacuana’d together? (I hope I have not spelled that ineffable word amiss!) I assure you they make merry diversion. We took turns to be sick and to laugh. When my companion was sick I laughed at him, and when I was sick he laughed at me. Once however and only once we were both sick together, and then all laughter and good humor deserted the room. Upon my word we both felt very sober. But all is now easy and agreeable, we have had a breakfast of Pottage without salt, or spice, or butter, as the doctors would have it, and are seated to our pipes and our books, as happily as mortals, preparing for the small pox, can desire.”
November 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
Everyday garden variety injuries don’t seem to be my cup of tea. I’ve done a few normal things like sprained an arm, broken some toes, gotten stung by a wasp and sustained vehicle air-bag injuries. It’s my sister who has the very long and interesting list of broken bones. For some reason the things I’ve done are pretty wacky.
The list is as follows (not in age order):
-cut the cornea of my eye with my fingernail (serious pain)
-bent the cartilage of my nose with my knees while falling off of a playground trolley
-blood blister and deep cut in the palm of my left hand, from volleyball-net pole (nice scar)
-got hot battery acid in my eye (more serious pain)
-dropped a small knife which landed point down, sticking up out of my foot
-stepped on a large nail, lost quite a bit of blood
-stepped on a scorpion in my bedroom
-middle finger bitten badly by a horse
-forehead struck and cut by a canoe, under water after capsizing
-burned my stomach on the edge of my iron…twice
-spent 24 of my 72 hours in Berlin isolated in a nice fourth floor attic room with a nasty flu (Becca got it the next day, up-chucking just as we came out of Checkpoint Charlie)
-viral meningitis as an infant
-swine flu while house-sitting, all alone and no medicine 😦 until a week later when it was time to go home
What crazy things have happened to you?
May 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
Co-worker told me about this. Enjoy!
CPU: Monitor, display this document, ok?
Monitor: No prob, boss.
CPU: Okay, now it looks like Mouse is moving around so, Monitor, will you move the pointer icon accordingly?
Monitor: Anything you ask, boss.
CPU: Great, great. Okay, Mouse, where are you going now?
Mouse: Over to the icon panel, sir.
CPU: Hmm, let me know if he clicks anything, Okay?
Mouse: Of course.
Keyboard: S ir, he’s pressed control and P simultaneously.
Monitor: Oh crap, here we go.
CPU: *sighs* Printer, are you there?
CPU: Please, Printer. I know you’re there.
Printer: NO! I’m not here! Leave me alone!
CPU: Look, you really nee…
Mouse: Sir, he’s clicked on the printer icon.
CPU: Printer, now you have to print it twice.
Printer: NO! NO! NO! I don’t want to! I hate you! I hate printing! I’m turning off!
CPU: Printer, you know you can’t turn yourself off. Just print the document twice and we’ll leave you alone.
Printer: NO! That’s what you always say! I hate you! I’m out of ink!
CPU: You’re not out of in…
Printer: I’M OUT OF INK!
CPU: *Sighs* Monitor, please show a low ink level alert.
Monitor: But sir, he has plen…
CPU: Just do it!
Monitor: Yes sir.
Keyboard: AHHH! He’s hitting me!
CPU: Stay calm, he’ll stop soon. Stay calm, old friend.
Keyboard: He’s pressing everything. Oh no, I don’t know, he’s just pressing everything!
CPU: PRINTER! Are you happy now?! Do you see what you’ve done?!
Printer: HA! that’s what you get for trying to get me to do work. Next time, hey…hey…HEY! He’s trying to open me! HELP! HELP! He’s torn out my cartridge! HELP! Please! ERROR!
Monitor: Sir, maybe we should help him?
CPU: No. He did this to himself.
Ain’t it the truth?! =]
May 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
This astounding trio let loose quite a performance as I left the building after Bible study tonight. I listened for a long time and caught the last 50 seconds for you, enjoy!
March 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
As St. Patrick’s Day approaches…
This is a little story I came across last year, I hope it makes you laugh =)
An Irishman, an Englishman and a beautiful girl are riding together in a train, with the beautiful girl in the middle.The train goes through a tunnel and it gets completely dark. Suddenly there is a kissing sound and then a slap!
The train comes out of the tunnel. The woman and the Irishman are sitting there looking perplexed. The Englishman is bent over holding his face which is red from an apparent slap.
The Englishman is thinking “Damn it, that Mick must have tried to kiss the girl, she thought it was me and slapped me.”
The girl is thinking, “That Englishman must have moved to kiss me, and kissed the Irishman instead and got slapped.”
The Irishman is thinking, “If this train goes through another tunnel, I could make another kissing sound and slap that Englishman again!!”