Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rachel's Place

We're exiting the highway. Matt & Rachel's apartment is just a couple of blocks away from here.

This is the little lawn for the three buildings surrounding the space. Rachel and Matt's basement windows are alongside this green-space.

That's Maggie peaking out of the window.

Looking down the street.

This was taken near their front door, looking at the stairs into the lawn and the downstairs entryway into the apartment.

The living room on moving day. It's in the basement.

The spiral staircase, much loved by Rachel and the kitties, and gingerly navigated by her mother and mother-in-law.

Rachel's kitchen after having had a couple of months to settle in.

Today's Laugh

A woman finds herself in dire financial trouble. Desperate, she goes to church and begins to pray. "God, please help me. I've lost my business and I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lottery."

Lottery night comes, and she is devastated when someone else wins.

She prays again. "God, please let me win the lottery. I've lost my business, my house, and I'm going to lose my car as well."

Lottery night comes, and once again she has no luck.

Once again, she prays. "God, I've lost my business, my house, and my car. Please just let me win the lottery this one time so I can get my life back in order."

Suddenly, the heavens open. There is a blinding flash of light and a voice echoes through the church. "Work with me here, my child. Buy a ticket."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rachel and Matt's Move

So, I'm none-too-fast about posting pictures.

Plenty of friends, Matt's family, and Rachel's family came to assist.

Easier to send a lot of the smaller items out the window rather than around corners, through a door, down the hallway, through a door, through a short hallway, through a door, through the entryway, through a door, and across the lawn.

I loved seeing the two pictures standing up against the grate to the left of the open window: a Transformers poster and a complete copy of Macbeth. It's a happy couple like unto the owners of the artwork.

The U-Haul people don't think that's a zebra. They think it's some prehistoric mammal. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Mary, Matt's mom, brought the picnic food and LOTS of drinks for after we'd loaded the truck and before we headed out to drive to Chicago and then unload. She is a wonderful woman! I was so thankful.

This Week

Monday: The Wisconsin contingent moved furniture, cleaned house, and tried to make space. The Texas contingent (mostly Nathan, with his mom's help) loaded a moving van on a very hot day.

Tuesday: The Wisconsin contingent ran lots of overdue errands and caught up on laundry. The Texas contingent drove from 7 a.m. till after 11 p.m.

Wednesday: The Wisconsin contingent continued moving furniture, clearing shelves and cupboard space, etc. The Texas contingent drove from southern Illinois to Wisconsin, arriving about 4:30 p.m. Gary came home from work and then turned around to leave for church as he was preaching. The rest of us unloaded the moving van. Nathan and Katie began unpacking.

Thursday: More unpacking. Nathan went to a job fair. Nathan, Katie, and 4 teenage guys from church unloaded a bunch of stuff into storage into the garage of some friends from church. Andrew stayed at their house for some game-playing, while Nathan, Katie, and Maggie returned home.

Friday: Katie drove to Chicago to adopt-out their kitty to Rachel & Matt. Nathan continued to unpack and to fix a computer that did not fare well through the move. Maggie and Susan mowed the lawn, washed laundry, and harvested berries and tomatoes. Gary was interviewed for a promotion at work. Maggie left for a slumber party. Andrew did not come home from his slumber party; the weather was nasty for driving.

Saturday: Both kids will arrive home. Gary is going to Greenfield to substitute preach. While there, he and Nathan will put another load of stuff into storage at another friend's house.

My house is not child-proofed.

I should can more salsa. I will want it in the cold winter months. Right now, I don't want the boiling water in the kitchen. Decisions, decisions. :-)

We have a bug jar and a cage for toads and lots of books about trucks. And Brio! Alia is okay with that!

Today's Laugh

A man always carried an umbrella. One by one, as the months passed, he broke each one until six useless ones were in his umbrella stand.

One morning, he took the umbrellas into the city and left them at a repair shop. He rode the bus home. As he was about to disembark, out of pure habit, he picked up the umbrella next to him; it belonged to the woman sitting on the same bus-seat.

She yelled, "Stop, thief." Completely embarrassed, he gave her back the umbrella.

The next week, he picked up his six umbrellas at the repair shop. When he got on the bus with them, he happened to sit next to the same woman. He didn't recognize her, but she sure recognized him.

Giving him an icy stare, she said, "I see you've had a good day, huh?"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wheel-Girl's Arrival

"I finally have my bike back!"

She rode in a TRUCK!

A book about trains!

A tractor to play with. (But Woody is posted especially for Karin and Anna.)

And the firetruck. (Mom, do you remember this set of magnets?)

Homeschooling PI-1206 for Wisconsin

Homeschoolers in Wisconsin: The DPI is switching this year from paper forms to online electronic forms. If you filed the 1206 last year, you should be receiving notification of the switch in how forms are submitted. As in previous years, you must not submit the form until after the third Friday in September (the 17th, this year) and must submit it prior to October 15.

Today's Laugh

A photon and an ion went to the airport. When they got there, the other passengers were surprised to see the ion handed his ticket without paying, and the photon get waved through security.

"What gives?" an irate passenger asked. "Why does the photon get to go through security?"

"Oh," said the man behind the desk. "We know he's traveling light."

"And the ion?"

"He was charged earlier."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today's Laugh

A guy buys a brand-new Lamborghini and is so excited he calls his friend the priest and asks him to bless it. The priest says, "I'd be happy to bless it, but tell me first, what's a Lamborghini?"

The guys gets upset and decides if his friend doesn't know what a Lamborghini is, he'd rather call his friend the rabbi. The rabbi says he'd be more than willing to give the blessing, but also asks, "What a Lamborghini?" to which the guy says, "Never mind." and hangs up.

Finally he calls another friend, the minister at the Unitarian church. When he asks the minister to bless his Lamborghini, the minister says, "Wow! A Lamborghini? That's amazing. What color is it? How much horsepower? Will you let me drive it?" To which the guy answers the questions and then adds, "You know, you still haven't said whether you'll bless it."

The minister replies, "Sure, I'll be happy to bless it. That's a very worthy cause, but I just have one question ... Ahhh, what's a blessing?"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To Be a Clueless Idiot

We were sorting through cupboards, cleaning off shelves, re-arranging closets all day -- and in the midst of the day's work I found one of these scrub puffs. It is now hanging in the shower to use with shower gel I received as a gift. I betcha I can figure out how to do it. I hope.

You see, technology and I are not exactly compatible. I've mastered the cruise control on the car. I can make a DVD play, but if I want to pause or rewind, it takes some pondering and trial-and-error. Not a clue how to work the little iPod knock-off Julie gave me; Andrew will help me with it later. But c'mon, doncha think I should be able to advance beyond washcloths all the way up to scrub puffs???

Now I look back at the Christmas present I bought for my sister-in-law one year and am mortified. Because of our financial situation, Christmas gifts are few and small. That year we were trying to keep expenses to $10-20 or less for other families on our list. I'd thought of making my own gift baskets of soaps and lotions and all that jazz. #1 clue it was doomed to failure -- I just don't do pretty. I can try, but it flops. Making a gift basket really is about "pretty." But then there was #2 reason. Because we'd chosen some other gifts for my brother's family, I started to cut back on the idea of the gift basket, y'know, needing to cut out a couple of items.

I knew those scrubbie-guys were in all the soap/lotion gift baskets at the store. They seemed pretty exotic to me, a person who uses boring old washcloths for bathing, for house-cleaning, for wiping babies' bottoms, etc etc. So I ended up buying just a scrubbie-puff for my sister-in-law's present. Poor Tina! She was so kind. Her eyes showed a bit of confusion. But dumb me -- I didn't understand. Now that my girls have grown up and learned a few things (from other people! not me!) about the ways of the feminine world, I see that Tina must have been thinking the scrub puff was a joke present, or maybe that there was something I'd forgotten to include in the package. But she was kind and gracious and said thank you, for what was essentially just a "washcloth."

I wonder if there will ever come a day when seeing those scrub-puffs hanging in a shower doesn't remind me of what a clueless idiot I was in that situation, and how gently Tina put up with it.

Today's Laugh

A computer crashes in a lawyer's office, so she calls a programmer.

The programmer arrives, unpacks his case, does mysterious things for a while, and hands her a bill for $600.

"This is ridiculous. I don't even make that much as a lawyer."

"Neither did I when I was a lawyer," says the programmer.

Monday, August 09, 2010


It's very hard to obtain a job in an area where you don't live. But nobody will rent to you or give you a mortgage unless you have a job to pay the bills.

So let's say you solve that dilemma by moving in with family temporarily. How do you prove residency? Because of 911, when you open a bank account, they want to see your drivers license. You can't get a drivers license or license plates until you can prove residency with a paycheck stub or a utility/housing bill or a bank account statement more than a month old. But if you're living with somebody else, you don't have a mortgage or a gas bill. And you don't have the job yet. And what if you want to vote in next month's election? Good luck with that!

It looks like it may be more complicated than I'd thought for Katie and Nathan to become official Wisconsin residents. And the next question is whether one of them getting hired and receiving a paycheck will prove residency for both of them.

Planning or Worrying

When Gabriel came to Mary to tell her she'd have a baby, she responded in faith, "Let it be to me according to your word." When Jesus suffered and died for our sins, He patiently endured whatever the Sanhedrin and the Romans threw at Him. "Into Your hands I commit My Spirit."

But what about planning? Noah certainly followed plans and worked that they come about. When Paul got himself into trouble (repeatedly) for preaching Jesus, his Christian brothers came up with plots either to sneak Paul to safety or to go to the authorities and rat out the assassins. When Paul knew he was going up to Jerusalem (possibly to his death) he met with the Ephesian pastors and gave them farewell instructions about tending the flock. None of these plans were worrying.

But SO many of my plans are indeed worrying. Why? What's good planning and what's worrisome planning?

And here's what I think. It's all about faith and contentment. We plan what we plan not for our own protection, not for our own comfort, but for the sake of the neighbor. We plan so that we might do good to those around us. Faithful planning also believes (I mean, really believes, not just a verbal assent to a theological concept) that God may have different plans, and that "what God ordains is always good" -- even when my plans are frustrated. If I plan to save money and it all disappears in bad economic times, what God ordains is always good. If I plan to take care of my health and it fails, what God ordains is always good. If I plan to tend a garden and God sees fit to allow fungus on my tomatoes, somehow He is working good for my soul and my trust in Him.

Our plans turn to worry when we think we have some control. Our plans turn to worry when we are more concerned with temporal blessings than with eternal realities. Our plans turn to worry when our priority is my comfort instead of my brother's needs.

So, "Stop Worrying!" right? Nope. Trying to stop worrying never stopped anybody from worrying. Worry fades away when our eyes are fixed on Jesus and His mercy, knowing that He will care for my soul and that nothing can harm me and draw me from His love, and also that He uses my planning to care for my neighbor's soul/life, in His own way, in His own time.

Today's Laugh

Many years ago, my father visited America, from Europe, for the very first time. He wanted to go with me to the supermarket, so off we went.

Going up and down the aisles with me, he asked questions about things he saw. "Vas diss?? Powdered orange juice??" he asked.

I said, "Yes, Dad, you just add a little water, and you have orange juice."

A few minutes later, in a different aisle, he blurted out, "Und vas dis?? Powdered milk?"

I said, "Yes, Dad, you just add a little water, and you have fresh milk!"

A few minutes later, in a different aisle, he yelled out, "Und give a look here!! Baby powder!! Vat a country, vat a country!"

Sunday, August 08, 2010

General Update

Maggie, Andrew, and I traveled to Fort Wayne this past week for a retreat. Lots of friends. Lord's Supper every day, daily prayer offices. A dance. Lots of friends. Great catechesis and workshops and discussions. Lots of friends.

Gary and Andrew shuffled the basement all around so that we can have both a dining room and a bedroom space down there. There's still more to do to empty Andrew's upstairs bedroom and some shelf/cupboard space so that Katie's gang will have places to put their stuff when they arrive midweek.

Yesterday was Zoo Day for Gary's company. It's very different to wander the zoo when you don't have a little person with you. It's still enjoyable, but in a different way: not so educational, but more like a relaxed walk with different scenery than what you find in your neighborhood.

Is there a hole in a window screen here? The flies have been terrible the last two days! But hey, they're a whole lot easier to swat and eliminate than the mosquitoes outside!

Cheri asked this morning about my green drink. My cough is still going after nearly six weeks; not sure if it's allergies or viral. Interestingly, though, the cough started only a few weeks after I began to be forgetful about my daily green drink. I am going to remember my green drink! Yes, I am! I am going to! (I hope....)

Andrew applied for a job at the Noodles where Paul used to work. But it took forever to get an interview. The boss said he'd call and let Andrew know, and he didn't. When Andrew inquired, the person on the phone said the boss hadn't been in for the previous two days. We don't know what's going on there. But Andrew saw a sign at Tony Maronni's (the most awesome pizza joint in the area!!!!) a week and a half ago, applied, went in for an interview, and was hired today. Yee haw! He starts on the 17th. It's local, between church and library. They're only open until 8:00 on weekdays. Andrew forgot to ask how many hours to expect each week. This is exciting!

Today's Laugh

A very successful lawyer parked his brand-new Lexus in front of his office, ready to show it off to his colleagues. As he got out, a truck passed too close and completely tore off the door on the driver side. The lawyer immediately grabbed his cell phone, dialed 911, and within minutes a policeman pulled up.

Before the officer had a chance to ask any questions, the lawyer started screaming hysterically. His Lexus, which he had just picked up the day before, was now completely ruined and would never be the same, no matter what the body shop did to it.

When the lawyer finally wound down from his ranting and raving, the officer shook his head in disgust and disbelief. "I can't believe how materialistic you lawyers are," he said. "You are so focused on your possessions that you don't notice anything else."

"How can you say such a thing?" asked the lawyer.

The cop replied, "Don't you know that your left arm is missing from the elbow down? It must have been torn off when the truck hit you."

"Oh, no!" screamed the lawyer. "Where's my Rolex?"