What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

31 January 2007

Birds in the park

So I finally remembered to take the camera with me on a walk in the park! And actually, yesterday was the first day in a long time that I've been able to go to the park at lunch; I've been far too busy the last couple of months. But the major result is, I finally have pictures of the geese that decided I looked tasty.

So the geese you want to keep an eye on here are the white ones. I gave a wide berth to the entire group of geese here, not wanting to scare any of them (since we scared the geese on Saturday-- hate to make a habit of that) away from their, um, standing around. They were getting a serious amount of standing around done yesterday. So much, in fact, they were probably able to take today off from standing around and perhaps swim around a bit. Anyway, the white geese started out next to the shore, but as you can see, by the time I took this photo, they had advanced toward me quite a bit. The brown geese were more or less scattering at their approach.

So I did what any sensible human who has been chased by geese before would do: I retreated. I moved further away to a group of trees, thinking it would be a safe vantage point for taking pics of geese. Guess what: they followed me. I don't know for sure which one it was that had a death-grip on my trousers that fateful day, but apparently he told the others about the one that got away. And now they all want a go.

Although if I were to guess at which one likes me a bit too much, I would go with this fellow in front. My polite retreat didn't faze him in the slightest, as he only sped up to catch up with me. And I know already that he is capable of doing so. So after this shot I went on my merry way around the park, leaving the geese to get back to standing around. I peeked back a few times to see if they were still following me, and they did follow as far as the tree where I had been standing, and that's where they turned back. All I can suppose is that a) they want to scare me into bringing a snack with me when I step into their territory, kind of like a peace offering, or b) when they were goslings, their mothers warned them that humans eat geese, and they decided to get their revenge one day. And apparently I look like a potential target-- that's the problem with being short. To be quite honest, I am leaning more and more toward option (a), so if that is their objective, they are on the right track.

28 January 2007

That's what I get for praying...

Okay, I have gone totally crazy on this thing. You'd think I would have run out of things to blog about. Normally I would have done by now, but my brain has been going at illegal speeds this week, so I still have plenty to share on my little bit of the internet.

So, the title of this post was inspired by the sermon (Or homily, if you will; I do think I like the word homily better. No particular reason.) this morning and then our community group this evening. The sermon text was John 10:1-21, too long to post here, but well worth reading through if you have a minute or two (though it shouldn't take even that long!). The verse in particular that spoke to me was: When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. I've been praying for ears to hear God's voice over the sound of the TV, the radio, the advertisements for everything under the sun, the subtle cultural hints that following God is not only boring, but downright dumb. And here is the answer, hidden in John 10: the sheep follow him because they know his voice. In order to follow the voice of God, I must know the voice of God. Back to the Bible and prayer I go!!

So, on to community group I went, all unsuspecting that our text would be Matthew 5:17-26, from the Sermon on the Mount. I had dozens of thoughts as we went through these verses, quite a few of which I shared aloud (kind of a rare thing for me!). But we spent a lot of time talking about anger, and it turns out I am not the only person in the group with an anger management problem. Surprise, surprise. So I shared a little bit of my struggles in this area with the group and asked for prayers. The thing that struck me the most (as it has done many times before) is that reconciliation is my responsibility. Regardless of who is at fault, it is always required that I go to work things out with my brother/sister/enemy/whoever. We talked again about that which I already know: carrying around anger with me only hurts me. The cool thing about this topic is, I was already praying about my anger issues for the past couple of weeks. God has really led me to the right place today!

27 January 2007

Saturday in January

Well, I am totally liking the new Blogger! I've spent waaaaaay too much time playing with my template (templates, actually, since I have 3 blogs), and I think I'm liking it at the moment. And then I went back and added labels to all my old posts, good use of my time I know, so if you are wondering what I have to say about the weather in Lubbock, you have only to click on the label in the sidebar (as I understand it, since I've not tried it yet) and they all come up. Fun, fun, fun.

So Day 1 of the weight-loss challenge is going well-- we've managed to avoid overeating and even went for a walk in the cold. We went to the library, for two reasons: it makes a nice walk (about 3.5 miles), and Chad wanted to get a book. When we got there, though, we decided not to get a book because that meant we had to carry it home with us. So basically, we got really cold only for health reasons. :) Steaming cups of tea were in order when we returned home.

Also today, I made the first move toward making our home child-friendly for adoption: I moved some furniture out of the extra room, which will be the childrens' room, and even started a "Craft Box" for the children. Really, it was my old craft box, but it has not been in use since I got one of those nice wheeled 3-drawer cart things for my craft stuff. Today, however, I pulled out the child-friendly stuff from my cart and put them into the box. That's about it in terms of a child-friendly house, except we do have outlet covers in most of our outlets. We'll have to get some more for the rest.

26 January 2007

Little bit of everything

So this post is going to be a random collection of my thoughts/observations from the last week or so, and I'm sure it will turn into a rant here or there, so be warned.

Chad and I enrolled in a weight-loss challenge offered by one of the local hospitals, apparently similar to "The Biggest Loser", with nifty prizes to the person who loses the greatest percentage of body weight. We have six weeks to get ourselves thin! Also, if anyone in/around Lubbock wants to join in, you still can on Saturday at the Lifestyle Centre at Covenant. Free T-shirt! Cool prizes!! Fun incentive to be healthy!!!

So since I've already mentioned a TV show, I think I'll move on to the "rant" portion of my blog post. (WARNING: If "American Idol" is your favourite show ever, skip ahead a few paragraphs.) So "American Idol" has started up again. Well, whoop-dee-doo. I would be so very neutral in feeling toward this little development, if not for the irritating fact that ignoring this show is not a simple matter of not watching it. No, because every morning show on the radio talks about it the next day (and also every other day, seemingly-- I don't even know what night it is actually on, because the radio talks about it so much), everyone at work is nattering on about it, my family watches it and they always want to talk about it, and, as a final blow, even the little children at church want to discuss it with me. Aaaaaaargh!!!

Now my beef is not with this show. There are lots of shows on TV that I don't care for. Here's my problem with this show: I go to church on Sunday and people are talking about it. I go to small group and people are talking about it. I go on Wednesday night and people are talking about it. I meet up with Christians at other times during the week (including at work) and they are STILL TALKING ABOUT IT. Is there nothing else going on in the world? No good works we could be doing? No people to pray for? Nothing? Have we nothing better to do than watch a show with the word "Idol" in its name??? The last time I checked my Bible, we were still supposed to be avoiding idols, correct? Yet it seems to me that Christians have grown so dull to the world around us that we don't even blink when a TV show blatantly claims to produce that to which our Lord is very much opposed! Not only do we not complain, but we watch it in droves. We are so in step with our culture we don't even see it-- this culture in which we are supposed to be different from everyone else. Where we are meant to be salt and light. And when I point this out to other Christians, their reactions (thus far) have ranged from laughing it off, to telling me I am overreacting.

And perhaps I am. Maybe the title of a TV show with a few years' run isn't worth getting upset about. Maybe its star will fade in a couple more seasons, as all TV shows seem to do eventually. Maybe I need to go hunt up those good works and do them myself, while everyone else is tied to their TVs. But what comes next? "Book of Daniel" came and went, thankfully short-lived. But what is the next TV project that defies God, and his people, to answer? For years, Satan has used Hollywood to his own purposes, subtly mocking God in shows ranging from "Star Trek" to "The Simpsons". And even when God is not out-and-out made a mockery, the lifestyles of your average TV character are anything but godly. "Everyone's doing it" is whispered-- or screamed-- out of our TV sets on a daily basis, and we let it happen. Maybe I'm overreacting, or maybe it's time to get rid of the TV and actually be different.

Okay, rant over! You can all wake up now! Stop cursing my name!

So now that the snow has melted, Lubbock has returned to as normal as we can be. A friend who works in a grocery store here in town told us about a woman who said, by way of explanation for buying enough food to see her family through until summer, "Well, even if the storm doesn't hit here, the trucks may not get through to make deliveries!" Yes, that's right, because everyone knows the grocery delivery trucks stop all deliveries north of the Mason-Dixon line from mid-November to mid-March-- and now they may include Lubbock in that embargo as well! Good heavens! In case you missed it, that was some pretty thick irony there. Being the daughter of a truck driver myself, I can tell you those people are as dedicated as the US Postal service when it comes to snow, sleet, and dead of night. If they can't make deliveries, their families don't eat, either, because they don't get paid. Also, tendency to jackknife aside, those trucks have huge wheels which generally can deal with 12 inches of snow, without too much difficulty. So much for the deliveries. Now if there had been enough snow to keep us at home (which there technically was, since Chad's work closed on Saturday and both of our jobs closed early Friday), Chad and I would have still gone to the store. It's only three blocks away. Our tiny little car may not be able to navigate more than a few inches of white stuff, but our feet can. And that, in fact, is exactly what we did on Saturday afternoon, just for the sake of getting out of the house for a while.

While on the subject, I would also like to mention that I went to the grocery store again last night, one week after the fateful evening of the store selling out of almost everything, people fighting over loaves of bread and gallons of milk, and customers waiting 30-45 minutes in line to pay. This time around, it was blessedly empty, only a few shoppers to be seen, the shelves were well-stocked, and I got right to the register and out! While there, I did take the opportunity to peruse the poultry section, and was enlightened (and also puzzled) to see that there is a sign advertising "Natural Chicken". Now I'm sure there is a healthy, organic, and otherwise expensive explanation to what the difference is, but I spent the rest of the evening pondering, Are the rest of the chickens "unnatural"? Are they all claymation chickens? Was Chicken Run correct in its depiction? If so, that should give the conspiracy theorists something to cluck about for some time to come-- this movie was not a children's film at all, but a cleverly disguised expose of the chicken industry!! We've all been bamboozled into eating unnatural chickens for years! No wonder the whole country is fat! Someone new to sue! Hip, hip, hooray!!!

Our Mission Fare last Sunday was quite a success, we felt rewarded for the amount of time we had poured into it! Not only ourselves, of course, but also every other booth coordinator, as well as the people running the whole show, and everyone else who helped out to one degree or another. I've wondered how many combined hours were spent on this project, but I'm not sure I want to know! It was a lot of fun, and quite a bit of money was raised for the youth group trip to Casa de la Esperanza this summer.

Okay, I've run out of hot air for this particular edition of the insane wanderings of Susan's unnatural brain (it has been hanging about with those chickens). Stay tuned!

20 January 2007

It's snowing!

So the city of Lubbock is virtually shut down, paralyzed by the 12+ inches of snow that have fallen in the last 24 hours, expecting more to come. Freezing or starving are beginning to look like possibilities for many families across the city...

If you believed any of that, come closer so I can bop you on the head. We started hearing about our impending doom by snow earlier this week-- on Wednesday at work I heard everything from 4 inches expected, to 15. Now at 4 PM on Saturday, we've received about an inch. And yet, all the movie theatres are shut down, sporting events have been called off, and Chad had the day unexpectedly off work because the restaurant closed early this morning. Not to mention that a few dozen churches have cancelled services for tomorrow morning.

Perhaps the funniest bit of all this is that yesterday morning, the Lubbock school district cancelled school. Now on Friday morning, NOTHING had happened yet. No snow, no ice, no freezing rain. Now some sleet did start up-- after the time when school would have started, anyway. Yet they cancelled school based on an unfavourable weather report. I just would like to say: would that I had grown up here.

But alas, I did not. Instead I grew up in Indiana, where on a day like today, everyone goes on with life. No cancellations, no days off work, no wringing one's hands in woe, and especially-- and this is important-- no packing the shops the day before the expected arrival of the storm, stocking up as if for a seige. We had to go shopping on Thursday evening, we had no choice, because we had no food in the house. It was so packed, people were waiting 30 minutes or more at the checkout. Fortunately, we only had a few things, because we just wanted supper, so we only had a 15 minute or so wait in the express lane.

So, enough of that! My finger is healed up just fine from last Sunday's sewing experience, with the exception of some soreness. I was hesitant to have the doctor look at it on Monday, knowing that a fair amount of teasing from my coworkers was to be expected. On the other hand, I had so much fun telling the story over and over again, it was worth it to be made fun of a bit.

So I have a (mostly) free day, and here I am spending it in front of my computer instead of doing all the other stuff that actually needs to be done. Not exactly something new for me.

15 January 2007

This sounds worse than it was...

This story that I am about to share with you may be both the funniest and freakiest thing that has ever happened to me. Seriously.

So, Sunday night I am sitting in my really cold house, working on a quilt. (Chad was at work, which is the reason he does not come into this story at all.) I was adjusting my fabric as it went through my sewing machine, trying to get a reasonably straight line and so forth. Suddenly, a sharp pain in my finger makes me both gasp and immediately stop the machine. Once the machine stops, I look at my left hand, and my middle finger is-- I am not kidding-- impaled on the needle. My finger got too close to the needle while feeding the fabric through, and the needle went through it and into my fabric. After a few seconds of astonished staring at my finger, I turn the wheel backwards to get the needle out of my finger, then start to pull my hand away from the machine to go clean it up. Can't do that, though-- because I have managed to sew my finger to the quilt and it is still attached via a couple of pieces of thread. Now I'm starting to panic a bit, because I don't want blood on my quilt. So I grab my scissors, cut myself free, and run to the bathroom, where my finger proceeds to bleed A LOT. Firstly (according to our head nurse), there are a lot of little blood vessels in your fingers, and secondly, I have two wounds for the blood to come out of. (Or one long wound, if you prefer to look at it that way.)

So I start washing my finger off, realise I still have two bits of thread stuck through it, pull those out, then look around for something with which to apply pressure and stop the bleeding. I wrap my finger in a towel long enough to get our first-aid kit out of the closet, pull out a gauze pad, rip open the package and wrap the pad around my finger. Meanwhile, I am alternating in thought between "Ow, ow, ow, ow" and "Who should I call to ask about this?". I work at a wound care centre, so I had plenty of options, and by the time I had my finger wrapped up I had decided on our nurse practitioner. But, of course, her number is not sitting next to my phone in case I decide to sew my finger to something. So instead I call our office, get the head nurse's number off the voice mail, and call her. Now that I have someone else to talk to, I start to lose it a bit-- but fortunately, she is one calm woman, so she said it would be fine, to put a band-aid on it and they would have a look at it at the office on Monday morning. So I put the band-aid on, go to investigate my quilt for blood (there wasn't any), finish the line I had been working on, and decide I was done sewing for one day.

So that's my story-- except that everyone at work today wanted to have a look at my finger. And that I have no pictures of this event, because I had neither a camera nearby nor the presence of mind to use it had it been sitting there. And I certainly wasn't going to pick up the entire sewing machine and carry it through the house just to get a photo of my impaled finger.

10 January 2007

Time to update...

Or people may think I've fallen off the face of the earth! I do live on the upper storey of our apartment, but I am still gravity-bound, alas.

Anyway! My life is completely consumed at the moment with the upcoming Mission Fare at church (I'm "running", if you would call it that, the England booth. Only because that's the only booth at which I can serve hot tea and talk about football (not the daft American version) and it make sense.), the sheer tonnage of paperwork that CPS has very kindly sent us so that we can be on our merry way to fostering and adopting children, the half-a-dozen craft projects I have going at the moment (two quilts, one crocheted baby blanket, one crocheted curling-up-in blanket, and a couple of cross-stitches-- wow, that really is half a dozen), typing up some senior Bible bowl questions, reading Acts myself while I'm at it, oh and I'm still going to work every day. So when I started that list I thought I didn't have a lot going on, but having typed through it all, I'm thinking I need to stop typing and go do something else.

So. This is why no one has heard from me in a while. :) I'm really excited that we're doing Acts for Bible bowl this year actually, it's a great book to read (not that the others aren't, but I think everyone reading this knows what I mean). And I'm even more excited that my participation this year will be limited to what I do for senior Bible bowl. Don't get me wrong, I've loved doing it with the younger kids, but four years of helping with Bible bowl when we don't even have children in the program has taken its toll on my already unstable sanity. I was at the meeting for about 10 minutes tonight, when someone brought to my attention that an adult who actually needed to be at the meeting was instead supervising some kids watching a movie down the hall, so I switched places with her. And that 10 minutes was enough for me, really, to remember that it is probably just as much fun to participate on the fringes as on the inside. So we'll see.

Well, this has turned into a Bible bowl post, but I was so inspired by my brother's Bible bowl post that I had to talk about it. His group is doing 1 & 2 Corinthians-- can't say that I envy him at the moment. :)