Behind the Times

There were jingles, buzzes, dings and blips all day long.  

At my brother's house, every outlet had at least two adaptors, like so many black slithery snakes with silver tails.  There are at least two laptops sitting in the dining room and another one floating around the house somewhere else.  There's a couple of Razrs, a Blackberry, a Tilt, and landlines.  My one niece is on FaceBook, then picks up her phone to answer a text, gets back on the computer for a couple of IMs, intermittently answering my questions and talking to her mom.  All without missing a beat.

My other niece was studying for a test, you know, the old fashioned way, with a paper textbook and taking notes in long hand.  She was looking up sneakers on the web, checking out the latest fashion at MetroPark and texting some friends to make arrangements to see "Twilight."  This it not mentioning the "computer" room that has two flat-screen computers that aren't in use anymore because they're "too slow."

Oh, and somewhere in between there, the younger one upstairs called her older sister on the cell, who was texting/googling/talking live downstairs. 

I have to admit that HH and I are still in the 90's technologically speaking.  I just got a flat screen and a dvd player just about two months ago.  It's an interesting view from behind, looking ahead to today.



Why I Love Thanksgiving

I realized this year for the first time how much I love Thanksgiving. What's it got going for it? It is truly all about being together as family, thankful for all that we have in this land of ours. What it doesn't have is the emotional and financial stresses associated with presents.

So, here I am in New England, staying with one of my brothers and his family. It is latish in the evening. We've shared a nice dinner. He and I are now sitting together at the dining room table . . . each of us staring into our own laptop screens.



Gobble the Claw

As I think about driving to New England for Thanksgiving, I realize how much I like this holiday. As an immigrant family, we had to first decipher, then get used to the customs of this land:
  • Jesus rose from the dead, so eat chocolate. And put tacky decorations in your yard.
  • It's Jesus birthday, so kill a tree. And put tacky decorations in your yard.
  • Wear disgusting costumes in October and beg for candy door to door. And put tacky decorations in your yard.
OK, that was meant to be funny. But you can see it from a foreigner's point of view, can't you?

My mother tried her best. She really did. She was a terrific, creative cook and a wonderful host. For Thanksgiving, she made all sorts of wonderful stuffings (dressings) for the turkey. She dutifully adopted the custom of rising early in the morning, and going through all the motions of creating an American holiday for us all.

I remember when I was in college, my older brothers driving long distances to get home. We were laying around talking and one of us, I don't remember who, said, "You know, I don't really like turkey."


It was like a dam broke.
"OH MY GOSH! I don't LIKE TURKEY EITHER!!" My poor mom. I think back all these years later and wonder how she felt. Not that we hate it, but you know, it's kinda dry and flavorless, back then before oven bags and learning about deep-frying. So, we always lunged for the dark meat. Then somehow, we came up with the idea of having lobster instead. Fortunately, one of my brothers lived in the Boston area, and for several years after that, we had lobster for Thanksgiving.

So in honor of our family, this is what Boo will wear this Thursday for our Thanksgiving meal.

Of turkey. Cuz, you know, what's Thanksgiving without turkey?

click --->



This is a Real Ad

Four Wood Chairs, two Tea cups, a Sucking cup - $30
Date: 2008-11-22, 11:17 PM EST

Four wood chairs for sale, brand new, in very good condition. I ask for
$30 for 4 chairs.
Two sets of tea cups, new in box,never use,ask for $25 for both of them.
A set sucking cup, new in box,never use, ask for $10
I'm thinking "sucking" cup? do they mean a "sippy" cup? what is that? Intrigued, (or nosy) I went to the accompanying photo:

I kid you not.

I have a mind to contact them and spell "S-A-K-E."

You know, that stuff can S-U-C-K the consciousness right outta you.



Easy For You to Say

From Fox Chase Cancer Center website, and other breast cancer sites:

Women who have had a lumpectomy, in which only a segment of the
breast is removed, usually do not need reconstructive surgery.

One of the most sensitive and meaningful areas of my body might become mangled and disfigured. But reconstruction is "not needed." Very sensitive and meaningful of you, O Cancer Center.



Forever Mom

Boo has been having some behavior "issues" lately. OK, he's been bad. Ba-aad to the bone. So I was splainin that he's not 4 anymore; that he's six and a half and should act like it. "Boo, in six months, you'll be seven!"

After a moment's pause, he said "When I'm seven, will you still be my mom?"



Festive Friday

I awoke to Boo crying "Oma, it's like Christmas!!!"



Get Off the Phone!

When you have good news, when you have bad news, who is the first person you tell? Your mom? Husband? Best friend? Who do you rely on? I am the first one to get on the phone to "share" with someone. Lately though, I've actually stopped myself. For two minutes. Then I get on the phone.

I've been reminding myself with this (uncredited) little ditty:

"Go to the Throne, not the phone."



Wordless Wednesday by my Fireman

I know this is supposed to be Wordless, but I just want to point out the man on the top of the church - Boo says that's Jesus. :-)


Happiness is a Crime

Apparently it is.

Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I protected him too much. But he's only 6 years old. And he's an Only. Had he siblings, he may have faced these trials earlier. Might he have had name calling and rejection and trickery earlier at home?

He is such a happy child. If you've seen pictures of him on previous posts, you can see it. I am not boasting when I say that his smile radiates.

Somehow, his naivete, his trust, his inner joy seems to bother certain boys in his class. I know Boo's not perfect! He annoys me every day! And I know kids can be cruel. I didn't know they could be this cruel. They not only reject him, but they conspire to reject him as a group. They pretend to befriend him to watch him "fall" for it. And this they find enjoyable.

How do I keep myself from beating up those six year olds??



Good Hair

I have good hair.

It's strong. Shiny. Black. OK, so I have a handful of white hair, but what do you expect at 48?

I have tried to compartmentalize my thoughts, since my recent health news. There's hardly anything more boring than someone going on and on about their health problems. I promise I won't. But I can't help but let potential scenarios float into my consciousness.

If, and I emphasize if, I end up having to go through treatments, I will inevitably lose my hair. And that is how I came to realize how vain I am about my hair. "Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting," God tells us in Proverbs. If I haven't been exactly vain in the classic sense, swinging my hair about like a Breck girl, I certainly have grown attached to my hair and don't want to have to sport a Mr. Clean look! Isn't there a saying that you don't know what you've got til it's gone? (Sing it, Joni!)

I figure, it's always good to rid oneself of vices. So I shall contemplate my newly discovered vanity and try to grow from it.

What's your secret vice?




After reading a blog about Veteran's Day, I remembered, in fact, that it was Veteran's Day this past Tuesday.

I totally overlooked it. My son did not have a day off, neither did my husband, and being a Stay at Home, my schedule wasn't affected. I saw no parade. I saw no lines at the Cemetaries. No older men in uniform.

I get an inkling of the fear that must pervade them in battle. As I feel my sadness, I get an inkling of the sadness at their departure from home. I am rightfully ashamed that I overlooked this very important holiday. What is Holloween that we make such a fuss? What is Labor Day to us, really, except to mark the end of summer and the beginning of lower Shore rates??

So here, in my small way, I lift up a prayer to you. I honor you for serving us, doing your duty. I cry for you who came home damaged and never got over it. I honor you.




Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken
- Psalm 55:22 (NAS)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
- Psalm 34:18 (Thanks, Carla.)



I was lead by the pretty young tech into a soothingly darkened room. Everyone had been lovely. Efficient, kind and on time.

It was a different town, a different place. Eight years had passed. As I lay down on the gurney next to that machine, I didn't look but saw in my mind the bottle of gel, the computer screen, the little tracking ball and the wand. My heart remembered. That last time, the tech got very quiet as she wanded my belly over and over. She said the ominous words, "I'll call the doctor in." There was no heartbeat. My husband and I sat in the car in the parking lot and cried.

This time, the wand searched further up, but in no less of a meaningful place for me as a woman. The lump had been there for several weeks, but seemed to be getting bigger. The tech stepped out to have the images read and she returned with the doctor in tow.

"Uh oh. I don't think I want to see you," I joked to the kind Radiologist. "Biopsy," he said. "There are benign traits, but we want to be sure," he said. I sat in the car in the parking lot and cried. This time, alone. Suddenly, for the first time, I wanted to wear one of those pink ribbons.

God is still God, but I am, nontheless, Ultra Sad.



My Heart Longs

My heart has been dark these days. Sometimes, I look up from my self-absorbed, comfortable life and, as if the scales have fallen from my eyes, I see pain. I see hatred. I see sadness. And I cannot let it go.

I know of a pastor in this area from the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you haven't heard about the atrocities there, you can read about it here. His family - mom, dad, sibling, friends. . . are trapped. They are afraid of the bullets, afraid of the cholera from the refugee camps.

There are . . . have been death threats on the President-elect.

One of Boo's little friends from Nursery school was diagnosed with leukemia on Friday. It's the "better" kind of leukemia to have. He started chemo right away. This 6 year old boy has an 80% chance. 80%. That's not good enough for his mom and dad. His grandparents. Aunts, uncles, friends.

Hatred snarls, teeth bared, mouth foaming, and roams the earth. Tears brim my eyes and drip into the dark cavity in my chest. I look up to my left, up to the right, the enemies hover the land. I have but two choices: despair or trust. Despair or Trust.

My heart despairs, but the Spirit within me Trusts Him who reigns:

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son,
but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give
us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It
is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than
that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding
for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship
or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - from Romans 8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. - Psalm 143:8

I pray for the people across the sea, across the savanna in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sudan and Uganda as war and cholera rage. I pray for this country. What kind of a country would assassinate their own president?! I pray for the little boy up the street, his mom, his dad.

I know You are True. . .I need You to be True.
Where else do we turn?



A Calling

I am an architect. But don't ask me about your curtains. I've actually had people ask me to help them pick curtains. OK, maybe because architects are supposed to have good taste? I don't know how to break to them that I dislike curtains.

I digress. (Please hold the 'so what's new' comments!)

The projects I've worked on are "institutional," meaning public schools, hospitals, civic work. I've been a part of some fabulous work. One was featured in our profession's national journal. I spoke about it at a national conference in Atlanta. Others were highly complex, multi-phased internal renovations of hospitals requiring no 'down time.'

They are fascinating to me, but those are not my favorite projects. I have two. One is lovely to look at, one is not; both are beautiful in spirit.

The first is an elementary school located in the quaint town of Brookville in northern Pennsylvania. Originally designed in 1939 by the firm I worked for, it was innovative in its use of steel in combination with wood. It is a lovely neo-Classical structure anchored by a clock tower. Literally, generations walked to that school, first as the high school, then an elementary school. The days of walking to school are all but gone. Most school are mega-schools, supposedly to save on costs. I don't think anyone figured out the social and emotional cost of losing the neighborhood school. This school almost met a similar fate, but the school board changed its mind and we were privileged to be able to convert it to current standards. Today, parents who walked to that school walk their own children there to school. And the clock works.

The second is also an elementary school. It is in the declined post-industrial city of Johnstown. The plan was to abandon this ugly, windowless building in a questionable neighborhood and build a new building elsewhere. There was so much opposition to the new site that the Board was backed into keeping the 1970's building. Although unspoken, everyone knows some ugly whites didn't want some little black children in their neighborhood. We were given this ugly building. We couldn't give them windows, but we gave them all the benefits that other kids in nice neighborhoods have. Because, why shouldn't they?


Growth Spurt Much?

2 bags of instant oatmeal

Morning Snack:
2 breakfast bars

Mac n Cheese with 1 hot dog
1/2 bell pepper
6 baby carrots
1/2 c yogurt with peaches

Afternoon Snack:
1 c. yogurt with strawberries and blueberries
8 bites of left-over mushu and rice

Turkey bacon BLT
1 c. peaches with yogurt and honey

This is what Boo ate yesterday. He's 6-1/2.



Six-year old Boo and I are sharing a bottle of water in the car, on the way home from school.

You moms, I know what you're thinking. And you're right - ewwwwww. Cuz we all know how boys drink from bottles, especially little six-year old boys, right?

I ask for a drink, and when I get the bottle, there are a hundreds of little things floating in it!! YUK! I said "BOO! WHAT in the world is in the water??"

"Black pepper."

Black pepper? And sure enough, the things floating in the water are uniform and black and grey in color. He had one of those fast-food packets of pepper from our last trip through Wendy's. He said,
"I'm doing an expewiment to see if it will dissolve."
I'm not sure whether to be proud of him or totally grossed out.



Keeping Perspective

To use a word, know the definition of it before bantying it about. Or questioning someone's patriotism with it. Like "socialism."

Americans, with our 3 cars, 4 TVs, closetful of comfort, should really get a perspective on what persecution and cruel government are, before accusing either Democrats or Republicans.

Yer really pissin me off.


Our God Reigns

God is as much God today as He was yesterday. At 8:00 pm EST and 11:00 pm EST.

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are his. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings;" -Daniel 2:20-21

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." -Romans 13:1

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." -1 Timothy 2:1-2



A Matter of Choice

It may have been easy for you to decide who to vote for, but not for me. I am still struggling with my decision. Here are two incredible men - either would do our country proud - and I am grateful for that. There have been other presidential elections when I felt it was the "lesser of two evils" kinda choice. There have been years I have cringed to see our president on the world stage.

Obama, whose ideals in many arenas I passionately embrace, a catapaulting symbol. A Christian man, to boot. But who sees abortion as a "choice."
McCain, who is the only Republican I'd ever vote for, who is against abortion. But. Who seems to have withered a bit over the years. I wish he had become president 8 years ago, in his prime. And then his VP "choice," a sad choice.

Do I swallow a bitter pill or throw the baby out with the bath water??

I will head to the polls in an hour, praying all the while, glad that He is in charge of all things.



Big Yearly Sigh

I always breathe a sigh of relief the day after Halloween. No more goblin displays at the stores. No more scary ads and movies on TV. Each year I wonder if this is the year Boo will realize that everybody else does something different. Because, we don't "do" Halloween. Or Santa. No bunnies leave trails of plastic grass and no fairies drop coins on beds.

Kill joy?
Stick in the mud?

It's just that I think the TRUTH is so much more interesting and fascinating to me than the made-up stuff. This made-up American stuff. That Jesus is victorious over evil even now. That God came down in the form of a baby. That He died on the cross, was laid in the tomb . . . but, but, was He there? NO! He is risen! And when Boo lost his first baby tooth, we talked about how God made our bodies to heal itself and grow newer and bigger.

Isn't that Amazing Grace?


Power of Positive Thinking, Part 2

My friend over at Musings of a Housewife wrote a terrific essay about a "God-Attitude," something I've been thinking about, too.

A God-Attitude; different than a good-attitude. And it seems to me this is where Norman Vincent Peale went off course. What a terrific, revolutionary idea to help those struggling on the path of righteousness! To help unburden the old baggage and heal the wounds! But. Jungian, Freudian, whateverarian are NOT Christ-ian. Having a God-Attitude goes to the Source - changed, reborn, new, alive, cleansed. Having a good-attitude is just struggling in the same muck. Don't get me wrong, I believe strongly that therapy can help you find your way. Just as a friend or pastor or mom or dad can help you find your way, a therapist can be a trusted guide, helping you see the lighted path.

Instead of therapy being a tool, therapy became a dilutant of the pure milk. The Power of Positive Thinking lost The Power from The Positive Thinker.