Thursday, September 30, 2004

And I have half his genes!

Talked to both mom & dad on the phone Tuesday night. They were in Lexington, KY, on the way home from the first vacation of their retirement. Mom had called while Dad was inside checking them into the hotel, then had given him the phone while she parked the car. After I've talked to him for awhile (and had already talked to mom for a good bit), he and I had the following conversation:
Me: Has mom parked the car by now?
Him: Oh, do you want to talk to her again?
Me: No, I was just thinking it was probably time for me to go, but I wanted to be sure you were in the hotel.
Him: Just a sec, and I'll get her.
Me: No dad, that's OK.
Him (muffled): Your daughter wants to talk to you again.
Me: Really dad, I don't need to talk to her.
Mom: Hi, babe!
Me: Hi, mom.

Now granted, Mom wanted to tell me a couple of things, so maybe she made him give her the phone, but it was still just weird. Of course, that's not particularly atypical for my father.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

If you're not worried, you're not paying attention

There's legislation pending in the House that would exclude suspected terrorists from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. You can view details here. I don't mean to sound bossy, but this is really something you should write your representative about. (via Body and Soul)


Just now, coming back from lunch, I stopped short in the stairwell at work. Pukka, being close behind me, crashed into me. "Be careful," he said.

Me: Why?
Him: Because if you don't, I might spill Diet Coke all over you.
Me: Then I'd be really, really angry.
Him: And you'd have only yourself to blame.
Me: No I wouldn't because you're right here with me.

Monday, September 27, 2004

What I learned today at church

As I mentioned Saturday, this week's sermon dealt with Jehovah asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. If you'd like to read the story, you can find it here. Go ahead and read it, we'll wait for you to come back.

Ok, so anyway, what did I get out of this? To be honest, I'm not really sure yet. I still don't like the story. All explanations aside, I have a problem with a God that would ask a person to sacrifice their child, regardless of whether or not it ultimately comes to pass.

I give up. I have nothing for you. I've started this next paragraph at least three times now, trying to come up with some conclusion for you all, but I've got nothing. It's just too horrific to wrap my mind around and come out with any kind of life lesson.

Before I post this though, I want to share with you a beautiful song that we sang in service. You can see the lyrics here, although the MIDI doesn't seem to be working. It's too bad really, because as much as I like the words, the tune really adds a lot to the overall effect.

In any case, the part that got to me was this:

Men have dreams, men have died
To make a bright tomorrow
And their vision remains in our hearts.
Now the torch must be passed
With hope and not in sorrow,
And a promise to make a new start.

Pukka and I struggle sometimes with whether or not to have kids. There's a variety of reasons for that, but one is that the world just seems to be such a hostile place lately. But basing our decision on that always seems like giving up to me. So the song really spoke to me.

Yep, so there it is. No clue what I learned, but at least you get a pretty song out of the bargain.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

An explanation

When I was younger, I was obsessed with church. It bothered me that the rest of my family seemed to be less committed than I was. So at Sunday dinner, I started posing a question to the rest of the table, "What did you learn at church today?"

Yes, that's precisely the kind of brat I was then. But it did serve its intended purpose. Knowing that they were going to be asked this question, my younger sibs started paying more attention in services. (Although one of them admitted to me later that she really only listened long enough to latch onto an idea that she knew would appease me. After that, she was back to spacing out.)

That was many years ago now. Since then I've left the church I was raised in, and now I make my home at Peoples Church, a Unitarian Universalist congregation.

For the past year at Peoples, we've had an interim minister. I was busy with the wedding and I kind of dropped out for awhile. Starting last week, I recommitted myself to being there on a weekly basis. Our new minister is now here, and so far he seems to be fitting in nicely.

Last week while he was speaking, I had a thought that appealed to me so much that I wanted to be sure to write it down. So I came home and plopped it into the blog. At the time, I didn't connect it with my old dinner time pestering, but in the days since, I've come to see the irony.

But, since it's still as good for me as it was ever for them, I'll be doing my best to come up with something I've learned for you all each Sunday. Tomorrow we'll be talking about Jehovah asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, a story that's always disgusted me, so I'm sure there are insights aplenty in store.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Sometimes I forget I'm at work

. . . and I start singing along out loud.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Whenever I see roadkill, I think of my husband

You see, whenever Pukka sees a dead animal or stranded motorist on the side of the road, he kisses the pentacle he always wears around his neck. It was one of the first things I loved about him. When we're in the car together, I frequently cry out, "Kiss it!" if I see something warranting intervention that I think he hasn't noticed. But when I'm in the car alone, or with someone else, every dead animal is just a reminder that he's not there with me.

So yeah, maybe when our kids ask me why I married him, I'll say: "Because I just couldn't handle all the roadkill without him."

Monday, September 20, 2004

Things I learned from my grandpa

  • How to sharpen a pencil with a knife (did this today and I think it freaked some people out)
  • Sometimes, as human beings, we make the call on what lives and dies, and as such we need to step up to the plate and not be squeamish about our responsibilities.
  • You shouldn't poke a possum with a stick, even though it looks really dead.
  • Raccoons are not cute.
  • A thousand and one ways to know when it's going to rain.
  • My brother and sister don't have the sense God gave a chicken to come out of the rain.
  • How to play cards.
  • How to win at cards.
  • How to stay married for 50+ years and still be in love.
  • How to tell a good story.
  • Any errand might include a stop for ice cream.
  • Follow your dream, even when it means building a landing strip on your farm.
  • A man in a bowtie is always dapper.

And approximately a thousand other things that I'm probably forgetting. It just started with the pencil . . .

Sunday, September 19, 2004

What I learned today at church

God may be beyond our comprehension,
but God is not beyond our imagination.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Who knew?

Today's blurb courtesy of Merriam-Webster:

The real "white elephant" (the kind with a trunk) is a pale pachyderm that has long been an object of veneration in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar. Too revered to be a beast of burden, the white elephant earned a reputation as a burdensome beast, one that required constant care and feeding but never brought a single cent (or paisa or satang or pya) to its owner. One story has it that the kings of Siam (the old name for Thailand) gave white elephants as gifts to those they wished to ruin, hoping that the cost of maintaining the voracious but sacred mammal would drive its new owner to the poorhouse.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Fun with Words

Encountered a strange little corner of the internet recently: According to themselves, "WordCountâ„¢ is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonality."

Interesting enough in and of itself, but it became even more interesting when I asked for the 1000th most common word. Right next to it, at 1001 was January.

Now this could be interesting. I had already seen "one", "two" and "first" in my wanderings, but by virtue of their meaning, you would expect "one" to appear more often than "two", "first" more often than "second", etc. But the months of the year should be virtually identical. Would they be? Of course not!

Here's my results from most common to least common, omitting March and May, since they're homonyms, which screws them up:
April 668
June 674
July 834
October 954
September 985
January 1001
November 1089
December 1091
February 1228
August 1288

It makes a strange kind of intuitive sense to me that the winter months should be less popular, but I\'m not sure why August is such a black sheep.

This led to a few more fun comparisons, like things you shouldn't talk about: sex (1236), politics (1388) and religion (2295). Death is 454th, but birth is 1964th.

For whatever it's worth, there it is.