What are we talking about today?

Normal topics suspended for the A to Z Challenge. It's all books from April 1-30.

If you're here from the A to Z Challenge hoping I'll comment back if you comment first: Sorry to disappoint, but that probably won't happen. I work full-time and I grad school full-time, so I can't give the time to blog commenting that I would like. I'll visit after the end of the semester, I hope.

31 March 2007

Saturday afternoon it is...

And I should SO be doing something else!

Only a couple of girls showed up last night, but we did our best to have fun! I think they were pretty bored, though. (Actually, one of them informed me that she was bored every five minutes, so I'm taking it as a sure thing.)

Anyway... so the Tulsa workshop came and went last weekend, and the gathering of a bunch of ex-aim people as well. I've heard it was brilliant. I've heard I really missed out. I'm sure both of those things are true.

I'm amazed, however, that this is also true: I thought I would be sad on the day of the event. I wasn't. I thought I would be bummed at reading everyone's blogs about it. I'm not. (In fact, I was so convinced that I would be sad, I've avoided everyone's blogs this week.) I still wish we could have been there. It would have been brilliant to see all those people. (And honestly, just "seeing" probably would have been enough for me to go home with my cup of joy full; I don't think I would even have needed that many conversations to have enjoyed myself!)

But as I've realised the past few weeks, our family is at South Plains now. Our ministry is there. And if I had been at aim-a-pa-looza (how do you spell it?), I would have been thinking, "Man, I wish ___ were here." (Rebecca, Trisha, Kathy, Lisa, Tammy... I could go on and on. Oh, and their families, too.) Because for some odd reason, my brain works that way. And even more oddly, it takes events like these for me to realise how much I love our "family".

I'm so glad everyone had a good time. And I'm sorry I missed it. Maybe next year. (I am assuming that those concerned are planning to make this a regular event, yes?) Perhaps we will even have children to introduce to everyone.

But don't be surprised if I show up with a South Plains directory in hand.

26 March 2007

Some nice things happened lately...

So we were watching Princess Diaries 2 during the slumber party, and at one point (I believe after the line, "I'm Lily. Official best friend. I don't like you.") one of the girls said, "Susan, Lily reminds me of you." I'm afraid I was quite flattered by this, and said, "Thank you so much! I really like her." Hehehe. If you haven't seen the movies and don't understand, well, perhaps you should.

So today at my lunch break I walked up the street to do the stairs at the hospital again. (Couldn't ride my bike today; had to get some high-intensity workout in.) There is a sign on the door to the stairwell which reads, "This door STAIRS." And some very clever person (not me) had added underneath, "@ U." I kind of wished I had thought of it myself, but since "stairs" is spelt correctly, I don't think it would have occurred to me. And obviously spelling is no object to the clever person who came by, pen in hand. Oh, well, it sounds the same if you say it out loud.

The sign on the other side of the door reads, "This way LOBBY" and there just isn't much that can be done with that. If the sign maker had put in a comma ("This way, Lobby") then I might be able to add, "I'll let her know when I see her," but that's about it. And I'm not much into vandalising signs, anyway.

This is why no one will sit next to me.

This amusing little interchange took place (of all times) during Bible class yesterday morning (Ken is the class teacher, there are three Bible bowl teachers (BBts) in our class, and two other former BBts besides myself and Chad):

Ken: So where do we first meet Barnabas?
I: (bit of a smart aleck) In Jerusalem. (Hey, somebody else said it, too!)
Ken: Okay, when in the Bible do we first hear about Barnabas?
I: Acts 4.
Ken: And what is he doing there?
I: He sold a field and brought the money to lay at the apostles' feet.
Ken: Right! (goes on to do some teaching that I do not hear, because...)
Bible Bowl teachers: (doing a lot of nudging one another and whispering, until one of them leans forward so that I can see her applauding me)
I: (turn brilliantly red and mutter) I'm so embarassed.
Ken: (Has the world's best hearing) What? What's going on?
I: (pointing at BBts) They are making faces at me so I'm kind of embarassed.
BBts: No, no! We are saying we should have known the answer.
Ken: (is confused)
I: (turn brighter red and try to hide behind my Bible)
Chad: (only just manages not to wet himself laughing at his wife)
Rest of class: (laughs a lot)
Ken: Okay, then, I'll give them the second half of the question. (Addresses BBts) What is Barnabas' other name?
I: (restrain myself from answering)
BBts: (look at each other)
Former BBt: Son of Encouragement.
Ken: Right! (tries to do some teaching, but the five of us are too far gone to come back right away)
BBt: Come on, Susan!
I: He said it was for you!
Another BBt: This is great, the two dropouts know the answers and we don't.
I: (turn red again)
Ken: I really didn't mean to start a Bible bowl war. Hey, guys, nobody is keeping score.
Former BBt's husband: Well, not this week, but for the next four weeks they will.
Class: (laughs)
I: Sorry!
Ken: (picks class back up and moves on)

In my own defence, most Sundays I am quite content to just sit there and let other people answer, but apparently I had my know-it-all shoes on yesterday. And, just for the record, the answer I restrained myself from giving is Joseph, since that was Barnabas' actual name, and "Son of Encouragement" is the translation of Barnabas. Good thing I didn't go there, I suppose. And in case there is any confusion, Bible bowl is studying Acts this year, hence the reason the BBts should have known the answer.

Actually, they have a good point. Now I'm kind of worried...

24 March 2007

I survived!

The middle-school girls have come and gone, and my flat is still in one piece. Although I have found a couple of Snickers bars laying around. :)

All in all, we had a very good evening; junk food was consumed, Kool-Ade was spilt on my floor (the tile, fortunately, and not the carpet), movies were watched, and everyone got along. We really had a great group of girls here last night. AND, everyone got a hair wrap. So I think they all went home happy. Of course, we did have to have a plan in mind in case of bad weather, but it turned out the only person disturbed by the storm was me.

Next week: Fifth-grade girls! I'm going to need a LOT of prayer.

22 March 2007

6 AM is a good time of day

We had our first women's prayer group this morning!

I don't remember if I've blogged about this, so here's the RD version: The men in our Bible class have had a prayer group for years, I got a bit jealous and said the women also needed one, someone said I should just start one then!, I started to explain that I have all the personality of dead grass and that me starting things usually does not work out, and the person sitting next to me (Kathy) said, "We'll do it!"

So, that was almost three weeks ago. This week I harassed everyone via e-mail (with more harassment to come... hehehe... I love this part), with the result that there were five of us gathered at 6 AM for fellowship and prayer. Now, this is more than double the two (Kathy and myself) that I thought we would have, so I was delighted. And the other women there were quite enthusiastic, so I have high hopes that we will go on, grow, and continue to meet for a long time.

And in other news... I need to get my house ready for the convergence of middle-school girls tomorrow evening. Can't wait.

17 March 2007

Okaaaaay... where were we?

Camp Adventure! So, that was fun. We missed aim graduation for the first time (for me) in ten years. Well, I guess I also missed that one year that I was in Scotland. Anyway.

So we go to the evening events every year, have a good time, and go on our way encouraged. This year it was Chad, not me, who said, "Sometimes I wish we were more involved with aim." Sometimes I wish that, too, especially after being around them for a couple of days. But the only way that is going to happen is if South Plains becomes an area church. I also have some pictures from Wednesday at Camp Adventure.

Speaking of aim and South Plains, I really want to go to the gathering of ex-aimers happening in Tulsa on Friday. I said this aloud to Chad, who said, "Let's go!" And we probably could; we would have to take a couple of days off work, scrouge up some gas money, find a place to stay, etc. But just as I was going over all this in my head, I remembered that we are having a slumber party for the sixth-grade Bible bowl girls on Friday night. Bummer.

But not really; this is, after all, why I went to aim in the first place. (Yes, I do aim in lowercase. It's too much trouble to hit caps lock every time.) Now I admit that I was not sitting around ten years ago thinking, "Gee, I hope in ten years I am still living in Lubbock and giving slumber parties for girls who are only babies right now!" But it is the giving of my time and energy to other people, because of the Lord, that brought me to aim. And that brought Chad to LCU, and both of us to South Plains. And it is what keeps us doing what we are doing now.

And that's why we aren't more involved with aim. (Or going to Tulsa.)

16 March 2007

Red Nose Day!

Well, this doesn't quite fit, does it? I'm trying to fix it. Until then, enjoy:










15 March 2007

Perhaps I need a foghorn?

I have long suspected that there is a "bad driving" vibe, or aura, or something, that radiates out from Wal-Mart and extends to a mile in all directions. This vibe causes normal, sane people who ordinarily are not poor drivers to suddenly forget which parts of the car are which. But besides these four centres of death and destruction, there is one more in Lubbock: the intersection of 22nd Street and Nashville Avenue.

This intersection is in the heart of the Medical District, and is one I use regardless of which vehicle I am using. I have lost count of the number of times I have almost been hit by a careless motorist while cycling there (although I am sure it is in the double digits by now); this morning was one of those times. What is truly strange about this is: cyclists are not an uncommon sight in the Medical District. There are quite a few of us, actually.

So I don't know what the problem is.

13 March 2007

I'm obsessive about my compulsiveness... or is it the other way round?

I had this conversation with a coworker today:

Coworker: Susana, what are you doing?
I: I'm going through the paper clip jar and taking out the ones I like.
Coworker: (laughs) Isn't that called obsessive-compulsive behaviour?
I: (brightly) Yes!
Coworker: (still laughing) Okay.

12 March 2007

Singing-- or not-- in the rain

I thought going for a walk in the rain was a good idea.

It wasn't.

We've had more or less continual rain in Lubbock since sometime early Sunday morning, which delights me to no end. But today at lunch, I was a bit disgruntled because not only had the rain precluded my cycling to work this morning, but also my noon walk. So, I decided to walk up the street to the hospital and climb the stairs again. When I left the office, it was a light drizzle; but naturally, once I was a block or so away, it picked up to a regular downpour again. People stared at me once I arrived at the hospital.

Not that this discouraged me in any way; I went all the way up the stairs to the 10th floor. Then, because I really did have three days of sore muscles last week, I took the elevator back down. I've decided small steps are probably better. I was starting to dry out a bit (that's a relative term), so I had hope of not dripping all over the office once I got back.

A vain hope, indeed! The downpour was showing no signs of slacking as I walked home in it. It is times like these that I am indeed grateful that my co-workers are used to me. After all, these are the people who were horrified by my bike accident, and who laughed at my landing on my face at the company Christmas party, and so by the time I got round to sewing my finger, they barely even blinked. And the same holds true for me walking in the door with the contents of an entire raincloud on my person.

10 March 2007

Balcony + Vertigo = Oh, dear

(This post has been inspired by a comment I made a few days ago on another blog.)

On Sunday mornings, we generally sit on the front row of the balcony, on the right-hand side. We do this to keep Chad away, as much as possible, from the perfume and cologne that apparently are required in large amounts when one goes to church. (I personally have never received this memo.) I enjoy sitting there, though, because I can see just about everyone, and I get to watch them worship. It is brilliant to see other people worshipping. Seriously.

Anyway, we do have one worry about this vantage point: I might fall over one of these days. The wall in the front is sufficiently high to protect normal people from toppling over the edge. Lucky them. I, however, am plagued with vertigo (not to mention the sense of balance and grace of your average one-year-old), and I have a recurring fear that one Sunday morning I will be suddenly struck with dizziness and will wake up in the emergency room with various broken bits.

Chad and I have kept this possibility between ourselves, for the very good reason that other people already have enough reasons to make fun of me. But I am afraid I have given myself away to some extent: I have been told by at least three different people that they always know when I am dizzy in church, because they see me sway and then grab the wall. So much for subtlety.

Let's save some daylight!

Another time change is upon us.

I grew up in Indiana, which was one of the three states (Arizona and Hawaii, I know someone was wondering) that did not observe daylight saving time. As a result, when I moved to Texas I spent many hours grumbling about the stupidity of messing around with the clocks twice a year. For me, the gaining of an hour in the autumn in no way compensated for the week's worth of stumbling about that ensued for me each spring. A six-hour time change hardly affects me at all; give me one hour of difference, and I spend a few days impersonating a drunk.

And in Indiana we had such lovely early mornings; I loved the sunrise at 5 AM; it was a small price to pay for a short evening. My parents live in a small house outside town that is surrounded by fields on all sides, and it was such a treat to wake up to the sound of farm machinery in the summer. We had no air conditioning, so we slept with the windows open (and, not infrequently, the curtains, too), which meant the fresh air, sunshine, and sounds of tractors could come right in. It was brilliant. This is why June has long been my favourite month. I realise I'm waxing nostalgic here; it was just as likely that we would wake up to rain, or the smell of freshly killed skunk, as the nicer things I've mentioned. However, with that kind of awakening all summer long, it is a small wonder that I was huffy about daylight saving time.

For someone, somewhere, decided that daylight should not be just for those of us who like fresh air at 5 AM. "We should save it for later in the day, when normal people are awake!" I'm sure they said. "Save it from being chopped to bits by farm equipment! Save it from bizarre Hoosier teenagers who don't know they are meant to sleep until noon!" And, the final convincing argument: "Think of all the money people would save if they didn't have to turn on their lights for another hour each evening!" So, what we have here is money saving time, not daylight saving. And, if all the statistics in the newspaper are to be believed, lives are also saved because people have more daylight in the evenings to drive in.

And, sad to say, Indiana also caved a couple of years ago. Which created a whole new slate of problems for them: people who lived on the edges of the state had been time changing along with Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan for years, to the point that Indiana has long been split into two time zones. (By the way, there was an amusing episode of The West Wing that factored in Indiana's strange relationship with time; told you there is a TWW episode for every aspect of my life.) I don't know how they finally resolved this; since I do not live there, I find it hard to care what, in the words of my grandmother, "this idiot new governor" is doing. And she is probably right; after all, you never saw Senator Bayh messing around with the time when he was governor. If he ever runs for president, I may vote for him based on that alone.

So the point of all this is, I have come round. I am happy that the time change is coming early this year, because I no longer wake up at 5 AM because of a tractor across the street. (On the contrary, I wake up at all hours of the night because of sirens all over the place.) I like the longer evenings. I am a bit distressed about going to work in the dark for a few weeks, but again, it is but a small price to pay. And if all the government says is true, I am looking forward to a lower electricity bill.

One final thought: It is dayling saving time, not savings. There is no sale on daylight. Sorry.

08 March 2007

Hope triumphs once again!

I've agreed-- and this is one of those "moments of madness" that plague my life like so many, I don't know, gnats?-- to teach a children's Bible class on Wednesday nights.

Now, for someone who has taught many, many children's classes in her lifetime, quite a few of them right here at South Plains, you might not call this madness. And it isn't, actually; not to announce myself with trumpets or anything, but I have volunteered my services out of kindness. And also the triumph of hope over experience, so I have not always had the most smashing success with children's class.

In a couple of weeks, the Bible bowl class will finish the "teaching" portion of the class and move into "reviewing." Because of the way the children's classes are set up, the teachers would have to run the reviews with children who actually intend to participate in Bible bowl, as well as the other children who are there because their parents dragged them to church and sent them to class. And some other kids who are neither happy nor angry to be present. So I volunteered to take the children who do not intend to go to competitions into a separate class on Wednesday nights.

My plan for this class is to go over, by means of discussion, songs, crafts, and possibly push-ups if the children do not behave, things that (IMO) they ought to know by now. (It is possible that I am condemning myself to singing the books of the Old Testament on a weekly basis by taking this approach.) So far, the topics floating around in my head are: God Cares about You, Obey Your Parents, This Little Light of Mine is More than Just a Song, and Why We Have the Church. There are more in there, but they seem to be hiding behind some random neurons or something. My thoughts at the moment are consumed with how we will go over the first topic, that God cares about them. I admit that I was having my doubts about this topic, until a few minutes ago when I happened across a blog in which the writer mentioned that people have to be reminded-- a lot-- that God loves them. So be it, I thought; if adults have trouble with this, I'm betting their children do, too.

So if anyone has any suggestions on good topics for 4th & 5th graders, I would be overjoyed to hear them.

07 March 2007

Getting to know you

So we just got back from church, and tonight was one of those special all-together-in-one-class evenings that we have from time to time. And I really enjoyed it. The topic of the evening was individualism v. community, and at one point the speaker mentioned that people often will push others away, even while trying to get closer to them. And I thought, Wow, did he know I was coming? I love being around other people, I love getting to know them, and yet there is something within me that stops short of actually getting to know people. What is it about me that causes this?


In a completely unrelated, and certainly less important, subject, yesterday I rode my bike to and from work, and during lunch I walked down the street to the hospital to "do the stairs". As a result, I now have sore, stiff, swollen calves. I really hope this little problem resolves itself by tomorrow. Going down stairs has been torture all day, to the point that I considered sliding down our banister to get to the car earlier-- but that might cause me to kill myself and would most certainly cause me to injure myself further.

Also this evening, we got a really nice note from someone at church, and not for the first time I wondered, Is it appropriate to send a thank-you note in response to a thank-you note?

06 March 2007

What if I smile while not working out?

I was thinking about fasting today.

Not thinking about fasting in a "planning to fast, so I'm thinking about it" kind of way, just thinking about the whole idea. Jesus gave us instructions not to appear in public looking wan and peaked when fasting, just so everyone who sees you can think, "Wow, look how awful he looks! He must be fasting!", but instead to appear as you normally would. And so to avoid announcing my fasting before my coworkers, I usually manage to avoid (or downright dodge) questions about what I am doing for lunch, or what I ate, etc.

So here is where I ran into a snag in my thinking. I am physically active every day, even if that is limited to going for a walk at lunch. But I often ride my bike to/from work, or hop on the treadmill for a few minutes, or whatever I can fit into my day. On days that I fast, though, I do none of those things; my reason being, I don't want to burn off calories when I am not taking any in, and end up so hungry that at the end of the day I am focused on food, and not God. But now I'm wondering, is forgoing those things really going about my day as normal? Am I tipping off everyone around me by acting strangely on days that I fast? Am I over-thinking this?

I imagine that I am over-thinking it. But I do wonder. Any thoughts?

05 March 2007

Hot Air

Well, I suppose I've reveled in my 100-post glory long enough. Time for 101, eh?

So, thanks to Lubbock Daily Photo I've gotten used to carrying my camera around with me, and stopping at strange moments to take pictures of strange things. On Sunday morning I reached for the camera before I left, then thought to myself, "I'm going to church, I'm not going to need my camera." And, therefore, on my way to church I saw two hot-air balloons sailing over Lubbock. Oops.

I had a very enjoyable Sunday. Most Sundays are good, of course, and I think I've expressed before that Sunday has been my favourite day of the week for many years, but yesterday was extra good. Can't really put my finger on why. I was sad, though, that my house group did not meet. I have gone from being skeptical about this group to absolutely loving it. It is possible that I annoy the other group members with my continual need to share-- I have a comment on just about every topic going-- but that's okay. I have to annoy someone, may as well be people who already like me.

03 March 2007

100!

This is my 100th post! If only I had some confetti to throw into the air!

So I finished this blanket, for another new baby, to be delivered tomorrow. (The blanket, that is, not the baby. He arrived a couple of months ago.) This armchair, as it turns out, is an excellent place to drape blankets for photographing. And my wee teddy bear is getting very good at posing with blankets.

The mind wanders...

I am so tantalisingly close to having 100 posts on this thing...

My quilts from a few days ago have still not been delivered to their new owners. Why? Because the new owners refuse to answer my e-mails. Okay, not really, actually it is because they left church rather quickly on Wednesday whilst I dawdled about and did not try to catch them quickly enough! So I suppose I will deliver them tomorrow. :)

And in other crafting news, I have nearly finished a crocheted blanket for a two-month-old, which with some luck, will also be delivered tomorrow. Yes, that's me, Santa Su. Bringing joy to small children all over-- well, South Plains church of Christ. And also bringing laundry to their mothers. (Although I have yet to hear any mothers complain about this side effect.)

And I'd just like to take a few moments to extol the virtues of my bicycle. I'm very fond of it, possibly more fond of it than I am my car (possibly because my bicycle does not require insurance, petrol, or a monthly payment). Seriously, cycling is so liberating. I do not know why more people don't do it. The benefits in terms of health, money, and effect upon the environment are enormous-- and the time spent is but a small price to pay, to my way of thinking. I was listening to Dave Barry's book Dave Barry is not Taking This Sitting Down yesterday, and at one point he discusses how Americans like to spend time, money, and effort on exercise that has no point whatsoever. We'll drive to a gym to run on a treadmill, but we would never just run to the gym. Which I, naturally, thought was a good point. So why not invest that same time and effort into cycling, jogging, or something else outside, that does actually have some use and benefit? Plus, you get to keep the money you would have spent on the gym membership.

Okay, so I was actually talking about my bicycle. I rode it to the store yesterday, which is much faster than walking and (due to the close proximity of the store and the lack of space in the car park) about the same time commitment as driving. And while I was there, I took this photo of my nice bicycle taking a wee rest. This reminded me of one day last summer, when I had gone to the store on my bike and had to chain it to a tree (different supermarket). An elderly couple was sitting close by, enjoying a soda, and after I had secured the bicycle, the gentleman asked me, "Got your horse all tied up?" I laughed and told him I didn't want it running away while I was inside.

Speaking of good places to keep bicycles, Wal-Mart has installed a bike rack. I nearly fell over when I saw this a few weeks ago. I have frequently contemplated starting one of those grass-roots efforts to get more bike racks in more places (I am everlastingly tired of chaining my bike to a cart corral), but due to my own laziness and commitment to more important causes I have never bothered. But if Wal-Mart is doing it, I have hope for everyone else.

And I need to call my supervisor this morning to tell her about a mistake I made yesterday, thus allowing her to shout at me over the phone instead of waiting to hear it in person on Monday morning. When is the proper time to call one's supervisor on a Saturday, I wonder?

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