Saturday, September 20, 2008

No-Wax Floors

No-wax floors are a lie perpetrated by flooring manufacturers. I have not been able to get the kitchen floor clean in the new house. We mop, and the next day it's filthy. Finally I decided to give it a few coats of floor wax. Y'know, the good old-fashioned kind that's supposed to go on tile. And suddenly it is so much easier to sweep the floor!

Blog Awards

Recently (spoken by a woman who is aging rapidly and thus time is flying past!) two friends included me in their lists of blog awards. At the time that Paula gave me the "I Love You This Much" award and when Jane gave me the "Brillante Weblog Premio" award, I was overwhelmed with stuff to do, couldn't think about hunting up people upon whom to bestow the award next, and couldn't remember how to cut-n-paste the pictures of the awards onto my blog. So my apologies to you for not keeping up with the program. Well, I decided that today was the day to say THANK YOU to them, and that I am most honored, and that you guys already pegged many of the people upon whom I would pass on the honor,
... and even though I tried, I still can't figure out how to put those pictures on my blog. All I get is this funny little flat rectangle that has a link to the pictures. So I gave up trying to print the award.  Oh well, I NEVER claimed to be technologically savvy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Psalm 31:3

For You are my rock and my fortress;
therefore, for Your name's sake,
lead me and guide me.

Think about that. Do rocks move? Isn't a fortress known for its stability? So what is this thing about THEREFORE lead me and guide me? Rocks and fortresses are not known for their ability to guide, but to sit in one place.

Our recent Bible stories are from Numbers. Yesterday's story was the instructions to follow where the pillar of fire/cloud went. Today's story told how the children of Israel finally left Sinai after their year camping there, to head out to the Promised Land. (We see in Numbers 10:11 how God let them hang around until the end of the belated Passover celebration for the guys who couldn't celebrate it with the rest of the nation due to their uncleanness.) So with all these stories about the Israelites' sojourn, combined with this weird line from Psalm 31, we have to look at 1 Corinthians 10: For they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. Jesus was with them in the wilderness. Likewise, He is with us, a rock to lead and guide us (however odd that imagery may be if'n we don't know our Old Testament stories).

Pastor had a different point this morning, however. He was comparing the Israelites' sojourn with ours. Jesus talked about taking up our cross and following him. We follow where He leads. (And notice that when the Israelites headed out, the standard, or ensign, of the tribe of Judah --the tribe of the Messiah-- was what went first. Led on their way by this triumphant sign, the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. Lift high the cross....)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oh, I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay...

Well, at least, I'm okay now.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up with every muscle in my body screaming, "You are too OLD for this! Old. OLD. Old. Middle-aged women on the downhill slope ought not be ought there playing lumberjack all day long!"

Andrew and I were the primary wielders of the chainsaw:
For some reason, I could not get the machine to start for me; it was hard to yank the starter-cord. But Andrew could make the machine work. He also figured out how to put the chain back when I knocked it off, and taught me how to fix the chain too. Impressive, eh?

Here is the poor naked plum tree. It looks pretty pitiful, and even worse in this photo than it looks in real life. You can see what it used to look like when it was full and lush. But the tree was so big that the plums couldn't be reached for harvest. And the tree was too lush, putting more energy into leaves than into fruit. So after years of neglect, it needed some serious pruning. I hope it lives through the trauma. If not, we plant some dwarf fruit trees in its place.
Off to the left, you can see part of the small stack of firewood that was salvaged from the brush pile.

And below we see the pile awaiting the nice man from the township who will be coming through with his chipper/mulcher machine in about five weeks. We have here the two hugely overgrown shrubs from the north end of the house, the top of the cherry tree that was pruned, the top of the plum tree, and the oddly-shaped red pine that Andrew took down a couple of weeks ago. Philip and Maggie did a whole lot of the branch-dragging and yard-raking to clean up the cutting messes the other two of us made.

My souvenir of the day is, well,... uh,... "freckles." After taking such large branches off the plum tree, I got out the aerosol can of pruning sealant. But for one spot, I had put the ladder in the exact wrong place. A downwind spot from where I was spraying. I now have speckled feet, speckled face, speckled neck, and speckled shirt. But my upper arms are a crack-up; I look like a heavily peppered piece o' roast. I done been tarred. (No feathers, though.) After bathing, I still am heavily speckled, but I must be somewhat cleaner since the bottom of the tub looked like it, too, had been well seasoned with ground black pepper!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cloudy Days

Henry IV, part 1.
Act 1, scene 2, lines 205-210.

Prince Hal is giving examples of how we have greater appreciation for blessings when we have to forego them temporarily and then can enjoy their reinstatement. And thus Shakespeare unknowingly commented on Seasonal Affective Disorder:

The sun doth permit the base contagious clouds
to smother up his beauty from the world,
that, when he please again to be himself,
being wanted, he may be more wondered at,
by breaking through the foul and ugly mists
of vapors that did seem to strangle him.

Although, honestly, I personally think it might be okay if I enjoyed the sun while taking it for granted, and not having to rejoice in its return because, after all, it'd been there all along.... Now, really, what would be so bad about that?

Boys' News

Philip had an oops with the razor Monday. The attachment on the end of the beard-trimmer was not the one he thought it was. Once you cut a hole in your beard, the rest of it kinda sorta has to go. So he is currently naked-chinned. He also had a job interview for something that sounds really good; he'll hear about the hiring decision within a week.

Paul took his math CLEP and passed with an impressive 58! (On a test-scale of 20 to 80, fifty is enough to get college credit.) Much rejoicing commenced when we found that message on the answering machine. He has now met his college math requirements and earned 3 more credits. I luv luv luv the math book we use for Algebra 2. Hooray for Paul's hard work in math this summer!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Long Day

Gone 12 hours. Twelve good hours. But still tiring.

Gary took a day off to go with us to see Henry IV. We were happy to hear that Henry V will be playing next summer.
David was surprised by how much Maggie had grown since last summer.

Some interesting things came up in the talk-back about how APT doesn't like to play the plays to tell you what to think about the conclusion. David was saying how it's so easy to force a viewpoint on the audience, and that most companies choose to go that route. But APT likes to leave things more open-ended, so that you get something out of the play that is unique to you and your perspective. Maybe that's why I like their renditions of Shakespeare so much more than other companies' versions; and maybe that's why their plays seem so "Lutheran" to me.

Rachel, did you know Tracy is pregnant? She looks smaller than Katie, but is due sooner. Hey, I guess that's what height does for you. :)

We stopped on the way home and ate the special-of-the-month at Olive Garden. I loved the caprese and Mr Birthday-Boy loved the asiago-garlic alfredo.

The southwest corner of Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful places in the world. If only there were a church nearby that I wanted to attend, it would be a dream place to live.

On the drive over to Spring Green, we passed the Radisson that we stayed at last year (compliments of many dear friends) so that we could shower when we were without our septic system. Seeing the building reminded me of all those loved ones who were so encouraging and supportive during that time.

As thought-provoking as the play was, as lovely as the weather was, as great as the day was, it made me and Gary realize how much we miss being together, and how seldom we see each other and spend time together like we did today. That's the difficult part of the fun-times; it always makes us long for more. More time with each other. Or more time with Tammy's family. More time with Erin's family. More time with Kathy and Laura, or Mom and Dad, or the folks in Indiana. But life just keeps getting in the way of our socializing!

On the way back home, we made a quick stop at the Madison Woodmans. Can't hardly drive by a Woodmans without stopping to pick up a few (or many!) items. We also stopped at Target and picked up a 26" bike for Maggie. The one we chose at the local Target was not quiiite well-constructed, and I wanted to visit a store in another town to buy one that was well-built. So we have high hopes that she will now be able to keep up more easily when we ride to town.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mamma Mia

With Rachel working at a theatre, we get occasional $1 passes, and thus have been seeing a lot more movies than at any time before in our married life ... even though finding the time to get to a theatre is even harder than paying for it. Anyway, with rain preventing Gary from working on the deck, and with soon-to-expire $1 passes, last week we went to see the Abba-music movie.

It was a cheery and energetic movie. It had Abba songs that I remember enjoying from long ago. But somehow it just wasn't a happy movie. The plot is basically that the mom and daughter were eeking out a living together without the dad. Mom didn't know which man the dad was. Daughter invited all three possible dads to her wedding so that she could figure out which man was her dad. Somehow, as we made our way through the movie, I thought the point was that it was not okay to be raised without your dad, and that the daughter wanted to know her dad, AND to have something better for her own children. One dad didn't want the girl wasting her life and her talents by settling down with a husband. The mom didn't want that either: the daughter had better things to do.

The movie concluded with all parties resolving that it's just fine if we don't know who her dad is, and all the men will just share the dad-ness. And like in Titanic, another conclusion was that the one dad had never been happy with his wife because he was always pining over the girl of his dreams (the mom in this story). And another conclusion was that one of the dads discovered he was actually gay. AND another revolting conclusion was that the girl finally came to her senses, called off the wedding, and decided to just shack up with her honey while they traveled the world.

Okay, you youngsters who liked this movie for the music... WHY does this plot not make you want to throw rotten tomatoes at the screen? Why can the fun music be strong enough to accept this wretched plot?

I think this proves me to be an old fogey.
But I want my 20-something Christian friends to be old-fogeyish that way too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yom Kippur

It's late this year. Still weeks away. Usually it's in the second half of September. I'm thinking about this because our Bible story for Friday was Leviticus 16, the Day of Atonement.

Pastor preached in chapel on Friday how the priests pointed to the coming of Jesus, and how the priestly garments pointed to Jesus, and how the mercy seat showed the Old Testament believers something about Jesus, and how the tabernacle foreshadowed Jesus, and how the altar and the sacrifices all pointed to Jesus. All those things find their fulfillment in the cross of Christ. None of them was the real thing, the ultimate thing, in itself. And that's why atonement had to be made, not only for the people and their sins, but also for the altar and the Holy Place.

And that's why I find it lusciously interesting that the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14) is celebrated right about the same time of year as Yom Kippur was.