Thursday, June 26, 2008

O, lovely orange

Oh, yea! It's Hoopfest!

Oh, crap, it's Hoopfest.

This is the time of year when our thoughts extend to finances, taxes, the rising cost of living, inner city violence, and global warming. Yep, Spokane's own salute to the street ball tournament that honors the scrappy, the skilled, the wiley, and the willing to risk all for the chance to win-----a t-shirt.

I have a beautiful friend who gets great joy from watching her children play this game. They get a hotel room every year and wring every smidgeon of fun out of the entire weekend. I don't know how to do that.

When I'm downtown, I get completely distracted by wondering at all the young girls with half their clothes on, wanting to eat from every food booth I walk by, getting to the next game on time, remembering who has my cell phone and if I'm supposed to call someone with some important info, remembering where Starbucks is in proximity to my courts, seeing if my clothes are still clean enough to be in public since I'm supposed to be a grown-up, and straining to hit any store with the word "Clearance" or "Sale" visible from the sidewalk. In light of all this significant mental occupation, how am I supposed to concentrate on a game played by whining little girls who cry about getting shoved around in the 90-degree plus heat? And that's just the men's bracket.

This year I'm bringing my mp3 player, an umbrella, a loaded VISA card, and my camera--and I'm keeping my cell phone, thank you very much. Huck, dribble, drive, fake, screen, post up, block out, and use those boards--you are all this wonderful potential blog fodder.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thought Salad

  • Kev’s gone for the week and I’m in charge. WOOT!!! We have done almost nothing! I cannot seem for the life of me to crack the whip and make these kids complete the list of do’s that he created for them because as far as I’m concerned, summer break is Greek for “Let’s do squat and see how much fun we can eek from it!” (Isn’t “eek” a great word?!)
  • The basement smells kinda bad, a pot pourri of cat box, teenage boy, water leakage, and aging wood finish. Doesn’t that make you just want to come over and breathe deeply... No wonder this is the stuff I'm puttin' out...
  • Went to youth group tonight because the speaker was thought of highly by my kids and the youth pastor. Ryan nailed it: "He’s young, passionate, scripturally right on, and there’s definitely stuff you can take home." I think it’s funny that I enjoy youth group, so I don’t analyze it very much—I just go when I can. Ryan said I’m a high school girl at heart. I didn’t know whether to hug him for knowing me well, or to hit him for labeling me immature. As an aging mom, I’m really just glad to be noticed anymore, so thanks, Ry...
  • There’ve been so many gatherings lately—graduations, weddings, funerals, showers, and birthdays. What's with June that it makes us scramble?
  • Every time I turn around my daughter has my camera. When I go to take pictures half the time, I can’t because the batteries are too low. Then when I review the pics on my camera, they’re mostly of her. Why does she want so many pictures of herself? They’re in all these different effects—emo, sepia, color swap—all taken as if “someone else” was the photographer, and he just happened to come across this young girl in deep thought. Yeah, that... Guess I’m not supposed to notice that her arm is slung halfway into the frame, taking “candid shots.” That’s lovely. And so very clever. Mental note: Suggest to kids that they bleach the gene pool before proliferating...
  • Sarcasm isn’t what I thought it was. Always thought it meant clever in-your-faceness, but it’s more something of contempt and derision, not really my style. I mean, look at these definitions!
  1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
  2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
  3. 1579, from L.L. sarcasmos, from Gk. sarkasmos "a sneer, jest, taunt, mockery," from sarkazein "to speak bitterly, sneer," lit. "to strip off the flesh," from sarx (gen. sarkos) "flesh," prop. "piece of meat," from PIE base *twerk- "to cut" (cf. Avestan thwares "to cut").
    I just want to kind of make light of people, not shred them into a jillion tiny shards. I just like to play god, not God...
I hate giant dandelions, houndstongue (doesn't that just sound disgusting?!), knapweeds, and thistles. They reek of being the spawn of satan. I'm not even kidding a little bit. There's not a poison deadly enough to douse them with, but dang if I'm not trying. If I start exhibiting signs of severe mental deterioration, delusions of grandeur, or more paranoia than normal, you'll know it's the 2-4-D and not an organic mental disturbance. Just divvy up my jewelry amongst my little gerbils and tell 'em I loved 'em with the most Nazi-like affection. That'll make 'em think about me for the rest o' their lives.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good-bye, Grandma...

My fake grandma passed away yesterday. I called her Grandma, and my kids called her Baba. Mom called to give me the news, and even though she kept saying she just wanted me to know, she talked at length, and I think she needed to speak out some of those feelings and memories. Made me wonder if a person always has regrets after someone loved dies. Seems as if no matter what you did or how much you loved, it wasn't enough to make you absolutely sure you had no regrets... Surely some people have no regrets…? Guess personally, I would.

So many times during those years I thought my mom's head would split wide open and her blood pressure would make her whole body explode because of the intense aggravation. They're both opinionated, set in their ways, "right," and don't like being told what to do. So off they went into town at least twice/week, this hard of hearing, volatile, untamable Filipino, and a wiry, pushy, old Ukrainian moneybag in a big ol' Buick Park Avenue.

I’ll remember her for her great cooking, the lavish spreads she’d put on having cooked everything herself. From the shrimp cocktail to the beet borscht, then roast beef, ham, and sausages, the hearty side dishes of potatoes, cabbage, and simply dressed lettuces, to three kinds of desserts, including pies made with homegrown fruit inside a crust made with lard. The food in her home was greasy, fatty, bready, sugary, exotic, and unfamiliar anywhere else but there. There was always hard candy on the coffee table and in the summer, mulberries and raspberries to pick and eat off the branches.

This is the farm where I learned to drive a huge grain truck while everyone else hefted the shocks of wheat into the back. We spent birthdays and holidays there, and there was stability in knowing that’s what we did. They weren’t my real grandparents, but they were the closest thing I’ve ever had, and I’ll miss knowing she’s there. Does the world always seem a little dimmer when someone you love isn’t here anymore?

This is a relevant song in light of my last current event.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

weird grown-ups

My poor husband made an enemy of sorts the other day. He made an offer of advice and suggested something to think about, nothing terribly critical. He could not for the life of him understand why this woman reacted so defensively and her eyes glazed over while she just waited for him to be done talking.

"Timing is everything." That's what my friend Barb wants on her headstone. By offering help and suggestions this early in the game without benefit of any degree of friendship or right relationship established, her perception is that it was all criticism and thoroughly offensive. She's young, inexperienced, gave all the same answers Kev did as a new coach, and I have a gnawing feeling she was "warned" about Kev approaching her. She seemed ready with bottled responses.

He kicked himself for a while. He would've waited if he'd known it would go like this. Don't you hate being misunderstood? He was in the middle of still trying to get over it when Jylle said exactly the same words we heard from Ryan for four years, that she "hates me for some reason." That set him off all over again. Coach dislikes Dad, so she takes it out on the kid. She used the same adjectives Ryan did, and Jylle was never privvy to these conversations because they were need-to-know. They were words like invisible, nothing good to say to me, never says I do anything right, helps everyone but me. Both kids said this in newspaper tones--without emotion and like they were just stating the facts. They want to know what the coach wants so they can adjust and do it right. They're not rebels or whiners. They know they're not the greatest players, so they want to improve.

For now she'll stick it out and see how the summer goes. She'll be a C-squad or at best a JV player, so she'll have a different coach during the actual season. But she's not the one I'm concerned about at the moment. It's her father. Kids can shake off things and chalk them up to weird grown-ups. As a grown-up in a weird grown-up world, it's harder for Kev. He always wants them to be reasonable and get beyond their weirdness and bad habits and attitudes. Of course he's not blind to the fact that they deem him as weird and unreasonable, but that's beside the point because he's the one who's right!

Forget Kev. I don't know if I can take Kev trying to get through another child going through this... Daddy, help!


Leonardo chills like this all the time. In the middle of the kitchen floor, the hallway, the living room--wherever and whenever he wants. He is not inviting a tummy scratch. Try that and he'll draw blood. This is just his position of greatest comfort.

While this is kind of a goofy picture to illustrate this point, I find it endearing when anyone exposes underbelly--he makes himself weak and unprotected. It shows trust that I will not hurt and faith that I will care. That is a precious gift of right relationship with the people closest to me. I dearly hope I can care well for the ones He gives me.

Now get out of the kitchen, cat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

ah'm down wi'dat

With Ryan going off to college this fall, I am going to be even further out of the hip loop than ever. He was my pulse point. Jylle fills me in some, but most of her talk is peppered with the friend dramas that go on like small fires all around girls her age.

Fortunately, there's the Internet! I was looking for some hip term for "all dolled up" and came across a slang dictionary. Some of the stuff is funny, some plain mean, and some just make clever, wry sense.

Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message '404 Not Found' meaning that the requested web page could not be located.
Note: I actually tagged this onto my myspace name 2 years ago, and no one knew what I was talking about. Who hasn't hit a 404 Not Found page?!

The process by which people seem to absorb success and advancement by
sucking up to the boss rather than working hard.

A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: 'Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa! Aa! Aa!'.

When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on. (This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)

The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

A deeply unattractive person.

Yo, peace out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

when a princess is bummed

Jylle had an exceptionally difficult weekend, and she was so tired and bummed yesterday. I wanted to cheer her up, and I thought What better way to do that than to have her get all dolled up? And take pictures of her?!

It was fun. She went from pretty bummed and mildly annoying to upbeat and mildly annoying. Still, an improvement. Gotta love that girl.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Every day I think of you and pray for you.

Every day I thank the Lord for His tremendous gift of provision and grace in His design for you to be my father.

Every day I try to live up to a standard that would make you proud of me.

Every day when I see the faces of my kids, I thank the Lord for “the fervent prayers of a righteous man.”

Every day that I have to shave my legs I think of you. ;o)

Every day I am proud of who you are—for your service in the military, your devotion to my mom, and your faithfulness to our God, whom you taught me to love.

Every day I look at the American flag and know that the great respect I have for it and our country I learned from you.

Every day at some point I laugh, and I think of all the times you’ve made me smile and laugh out loud.

And every time Father’s Day rolls around, I get out my simple pencil and try for the life of me to make a mere card explain what my heart can’t even command. I can only hope to love you well every day and to thank you once again for the gift of loving me so well. Through the years you’ve sacrificed & cared for, taught, disciplined, given generously to, befriended, counseled, driven, prayed for, and loved me oh-so-very-well. Trust that these words are sincere and offered in humblest gratitude.

You are the truest friend and the priceless reflection of my Heavenly Father. You are the reason I can trust Him, because you showed me that a father is trustworthy. You are the reason I can love & be loved by Him, because you showed me that I can love & be loved. I am blessed because of you. I love you, Dad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

birds that crash

"Can I crash at your place?"

Ryan & I were standing in the driveway when suddenly he exclaimed (don't you love the retro-ness of that word?), "Did you see that?!" I whirled around to see what he was running to, and he busted out laughing when he saw it.

"It just fell out of the sky! He either had a heart attack or just flew himself exhausted. He did a nose dive right into the ground!"

Can that happen?

It's not a very pretty picture, but the way he's all splayed out was just the sick pick-me-up that makes a teenage boy bust out laughing. Works for me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

sunsets and more

No matter how many times I see a beautiful sunset, it feels like the first time. A more beautiful one doesn't come to mind. I am in the moment, in the beauty of the spectacular that makes me wish I didn't have to blink because I don't want to stop taking it in. It reminds me to live life in the righthererightnow. While we're here, life is an inexhaustible well. Even in this fallen world, we get gifts of captivating sunrises and sunsets; we never run out. So cool to think that there is more where those come from--the so much more of Him!

Monday, June 09, 2008

no cheap seats here

Ryan worked his tush off to become the valedictorian of his class. While I did marinate in that for a good long while, for the life of me, when we walked into the gym all I thought of was, "Cool--we get great seats!" The god of comfort and convenience rears its pointy little head.

Kev & I played musical chairs a couple times so I could have the aisle s
eat to get some pics and video. I tried to keep out of the way of the official videographer right next to me, but I did forget he was there sometimes, so proud parents just might receive a DVD with a big blue flowered wall that side-steps into the picture now and then.

Ryan gave a shout-out to our family when he got to the podium. With smiles that wrapped all the way around our heads, we wanted to stand and chest-thump a big, "That's MY boy!"

Silently, I thanked God a hundred times for raising this guy Himself, for taking hold of his disposition and wending it along His narrow path. This is the child I freaked o
ver, curling up in the fetal position and sobbing, "I can't do this. I can't be a mother to him. I don't know how. I just don't know what to do." Now he has not only achieved some lofty goals, but he further captured my heart with these words: Mama, I was thinking about you. I thought, "O' daMoms [don't ask] has never lived by herself. Wives usually outlive their husbands, so you'll probably live with me. I can take care of you."

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. ~Ps. 16:6

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Shack

When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!
Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology,
Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

Don’t miss this! If there’s a better book out there capturing God’s engaging nature and his ability to crawl into our darkest nightmare with his love, light and healing, I’ve not seen it. For the most ardent believer or newest spiritual seeker, The Shack is a must-read.
Wayne Jacobsen, Author of So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore

My biggest disappointment with Christian books is that almost all of them seem to say the same things in the same way. Not so with The Shack! It reads like no other book and tells a story I guarantee you have not heard before. Enjoy the adventure!
Bart Campolo, Founder of Mission Year

My own review: Mackenzie Phillips has borne "The Great Sadness" for several years after a horrific tragedy plunges him into spiritual and emotional darkness. What he encounters one weekend opens his eyes, enlarges his soul, and deepens him as a human being searching for some kind of sense in this broken world. The writing, while not literary excellence, draws the reader in well enough to envision the truth of a God who is holy, all-loving, and grossly maligned today. Definitely a worthwhile read.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

every day this week

There is something going on every single day this week as it leads up to Ryan's graduation this Saturday. Poor guy is exhausted! He was up until 4 a.m. Fri & Sat nights, 2 on Sunday night, and he's still hauling it toward the finish line with a pencil in one hand, an essay in the other, and a cell phone between his teeth.

Meanwhile, I've been making grad preparations for announcements, two parties, and all the (ah, yuck) work in & around the house that "must" be done for guests. The most fun has been putting together the PowerPoint that we'll loop during party #1, the one for friends. Reliving the moments of his babyhood and seeing him grow slide by slide--there must be some laser accurate words I can't think of to describe what it feels like for time to have moved so seemingly slow in the moments of those years--but at the speed of light in my right-now.

Baccalaureate is tonight. The grads wear their gowns, and Ryan is speaking, although he hadn't written the speech as of this morning when he walked out the door. The Senior Tea is tomorrow, and I'm doing all the shopping on Thursday.

Friday is the first party, the biggie I always get so stressed about because I can't plan a shindig to save my life. I see the trees, not the forest, so there are all these great little details I've worked out in my mind, but no one from the committee in my head has a clue about how to summon them all together to make a lovely gathering. But whatever, it'll all happen, and it'll be fine. My friends, Sandy and Debbie, will be there, and they can throw a party like nobody's business. God will probably put them in charge of the wedding feast. Yeah, so there, worries-that-haunt-my-peace!

I should be cleaning something instead of feeding my blog addiction. Off to don my French maid outfit and wield my feather duster. Minus the outfit.

Monday, June 02, 2008


There's a talk show I watch, and the host is into what I'd consider New Age thinking for the most part--what good you do for yourself and others improves yourself and the world. I was listening to a couple of recent guests who promote this topic, and I lost count of the number of references to I, I, I and then you, you, you. One is an author who wrote a book about quantum changes--what you do for yourself affects others and the world at large. I am not a quick thinker and an even worse analyzer, but even I noticed the constant references to self. The consistent thread with these guests is all these admonitions to be a kinder person, to do random acts of kindness, statements to the effect of "showing kindness is not something you do--it's something you are," and "when you show even the smallest kindness toward someone, it makes you feel better about yourself." In the end, eating healthy, being kind, exercising, being positive, all these betterment techniques--the focus is on self. If I do something for you, it'll make me feel better, and it'll make the world a better place, which will make me feel better about myself because I contributed to that, which makes me a better person.

So really, what you're saying is that it really IS all about me!

It all fell so flat for me and was so utterly empty. I felt sad for them, which reminded me of a line from a song, "Break my heart for what breaks Yours," (Hillsong United). No matter WHAT I do, if it originates from my flesh, it is of no lasting value. The world does not acknowledge knowing and enjoying the God of Jesus Christ as the chief end of man and will always strive to fill that God-shaped hole with anything that promises to make it feel better, and they set self on a throne of sand and mist.

I pray for this talk show host, but now I pray with a greater sense of urgency in light of world events (my new most-used phrase).