Jun 26, 2008

Real Estate Haiku...

Cheyenne househunting
All thought, effort devoted
To the task at hand

Much to write about
Friend visits, 'caches with me
Protects me from snakes

Frozen blueberries
Chocolate covered strawberries
Summer fruits rule all

Tired body, fried brain
Houses prancing through the mind
Decision time looms

Real posts resume soon...

Jun 24, 2008

Funny Mom...

My mom is debatably nuts, which is where I get it, but she can be quite funny at the most random and surprising moments.

Sometime back, she decided that she would call His Highness her "Puffin." I thought it was kind of a random pet name, and at the time I didn't even know what a puffin was. I now know it's a type of bird, and if I remember right it was actually a pretty interesting bird, but now I can't remember what was interesting about it. Anyway, I'm not big on the name, but she's the grandma so she can call him whatever she wants (when he's older he'll decide if he wants to answer to it).

Well, since then I've discovered where she likely got the term. I was watching "Girls Next Door" (Yes I have watched it. Shut up.), and Holly called Hef her "Puffin." Hmmmm...then, come to think of it, I remembered seeing mom flipping around between "Girls Next Door" and Joel Osteen, so it's entirely plausible that's where she got the name. Nice.

Of course, she vehemently denies the source of the name. Our conversation last night:

Mom (to His Highness): How's my Puffin?

Me: He's sleeping. I know where you got that name, by the way. It's what Holly calls Hef.

Mom: No!

Me: Then where'd you get it?

Mom: I came up with it on my own.

Me: You gave my son the same nickname as a porn king!

Mom: I don't know "Girls Next Door!"

Me: I've seen you watching it!

Mom: I don't know anything about Holly, Bridget or Kendra!

...OK, that was funny. I had to give her credit for that one...

Jun 19, 2008

Yep, I Really Said It...

While cleaning out the backpack--

"Please be a craisin and not something alive."

It was a craisin, thank goodness...

Jun 17, 2008

Stuff Christians Like...

I decided that it needed its own little entry. Got this one from the T's, who share my love for Christians poking fun at ourselves. It is similar to, but not exactly like LarkNews, and is just as funny. And it's a blog, so you get updates roughly daily, sometimes more. After reading half an entry, and with giddy, shaking hands, I added it to my Fabulous Finds list over there on the right. That's the stuff of life, I tell ya.

The only problem is now where am I going to post my poking-fun rants??

Oh, By the Way...

Seems kind of anti-climactic since it's been, like, 2 months, but at least now you've seen my fabulous green purse. I determined that its color is somewhere between wasabi and avocadro.

If you are really into bags & such, you can click the picture and see the giant version--which shows the texture of the leather--in all its stunning glory.

I love it, even when it doesn't match what I'm wearing...

Jun 15, 2008

Today in a Nutshell: Really, Really Fun...

The T's...outlets...Jamba...Chipotle...Barnes & Noble...the Christian bookstore...The Underachiever's Manifesto...Stuff Christians Like...Cassandra & her half-a$$ed guidance...talking about Jesus, church, religion, boob jobs & tummy tucks, kiddos, why I need to try on running clothes, and mysterious store entrance alarms ringing...sober-calling friends & family...

Jun 14, 2008

Why I Really Need a 10 pm Bedtime...

1. His Highness wakes up for the day between 6 & 7. Being in bed by 10 pm will ensure darn close to 8 hrs of sleep for me on most nights. And we're all happier when I get adequate sleep.

2. Motivation to get my butt off the computer and get my chores & stuff done by a decent hour.

3. Avoid the craziness that is Robot Chicken.

3. I won't be up at 11pm on a Friday night, reading a blog post about a Dumbo octopus, and in the course of trying to figure out if the Dumbo octopus is the same as a flapjack octopus, which is what Nemo's little friend Pearl was, stumble upon a website dedicated to saving the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

Jun 13, 2008

Portrait of a Lazy Friday Morning...

Checking email & blogroll, watching PBS Sprout...

--His Highness is hungry, brings in the cornflakes, and begins to eat them out of the box.

--Go get a bowl, pour cornflakes into bowl so we can both eat them dry.

--Get engrossed in a fellow blogger's comment threads (thanks for nothing John Shore!)

--Out of the corner of eye, watch His Highness pour some cornflakes from the bowl onto the coffee table, then pour some onto the floor, then dump crumbs and all.

--Think "Well, I guess we'll need to vacuum before the jog."

--His Highness sits down and begins putting cornflakes back into the bowl. Zoe comes along to help clean up the cornflakes.

--Think "Maybe we won't need to vacuum after all?" Peer over coffee table onto floor. "No, we'll still need to vacuum."

--Sign off, finish breakfast, go get the vacuum, clean up, and go jogging already...

Jun 11, 2008


A lady named Candace shared about her conversion experience over at Suddenly Christian. In a word, it could be described as, well, sudden. How appropriate.

Here's what she prayed in the moment, although she described it more as "babbling nonsensically to God"...later she wrote it down and called it the Cynic's Prayer--

OK, God, I give up. I’m Yours if You want me.
I don’t care how awkward I might feel talking to You, or about You.
I don’t care how much trouble I have accepting some of the teachings.
I don’t care that my entire former self-image was wrapped up in the “party girl” persona.
I don’t care if some Christian music is treacle and the lyrics contrived.
I don’t care what havoc may have been wrought in Your name in the past, or what may be in the future.
I don’t care if some of Your flock seem hypocritical or self-righteous or sanctimonious.
I don’t care if there are times when I can’t feel Your presence.
I don’t care if loving You means I have to at least attempt to love myself.
I don’t care if friends roll their eyes and laugh at my conversion.
I don’t care if I feel like a faker sometimes, and I don’t care if it’s harder to do Your will than it would be to follow my own desires, and I don’t care if I’m less than perfect at it.
None of that matters. I give up. I want You. And I’m Yours, if You want me.

Pretty powerful. You can read the whole story here.

Jun 7, 2008

Competitive Hygiene...

We got to the end of the toothpaste tube this week. For some strange reason, I decided to keep it going as long as I good. Even after the point where ordinarily I'd declare the remaining amount trivial and throw it out, I squeezed & squeezed every bit I could. The Cat Daddy even commented with a chuckle, asking how long I was going to keep the tube going. I said as long as I could, but secretly I knew he would toss it when he'd had enough.

We'll he didn't exactly toss the tube, but this morning I saw that he had started a new one. I figured that was pretty much the same thing as giving in, so I went ahead & tossed the old one. I had thought I was just having fun seeing how long I could make the toothpaste last, but even though neither of us ever declared a toothpaste competition, for some reason I feel quite victorious...

Jun 6, 2008

Fisher Price, Not the Roloffs...

We got a fantastic Little People garage from our neighbors. It only came with the tow truck and mechanic, so I hopped online to see what I could find as far as extra cars & people. I didn't need anything shiny & new--just a few additional pieces for His Highness to vroom-vroom around with--and I found a little lot of 3 cars and about 5 people for a buck. A buck!

That said, the shipping for this $.99 toy cost me $8. Ya gotta be alert about the cost of shipping because it is where some sellers try to gouge their customers...but according to the postal label, the actual shipping cost for my package was very nearly $8, so I thought that was fair.

While I was searching for these Little People toys what did I come upon, but vintage Little People toys. The memories flooded my mind, and the nostalgia got to me so I set about seeing if I could find some sweet deals. The Cat Daddy caught me searching and I thought I was busted, but once he found out what I was looking at he said "Oh, the castle was the best; if you find a castle you can get it."

So I've been looking at listings, staking out my bidding plans. Well, when it comes to the vintage items some sellers totally know what they're talking about, but others are either uninformed or trying to practice deception and/or trickery (I prefer to think uninformed, but whatever), so I've been reading up, and have found all sorts of info on this type of thing--how to date some of the toys, what pieces they originally came with, and even how to do cleaning & repairs.

I haven't found the castle I want yet, but I got a great deal on a barn/silo (the one that moos) with many of the people, animals, and such that originally came with it. His Highness really doesn't care if we get all the pieces, or whether or not they're in mint condition, so I can afford to make some concessions in that regard...and I can always go pack and piecemeal missing parts if I choose. You can find anything online.

Adding to the fun are budget realities; namely that as cool as they toys are, we are choosing not to include them in our discretionary budget. The Cat Daddy feels that we should use all of my allowance to buy toys and fun stuff (ostensibly for His Highness). At that suggestion I replied that instead we should use all of his allowance to buy toys & fun stuff. Obviously the happy medium is for us each to use our own when we want to buy something.

After I picked up some containers to keep the Little People in (the new ones; the old ones are stored in the barn), and some glue to repair the silo, and looked up info on Naval Jelly (ew) to take the rust off the metal bits, it dawned on me that this is either a phase I'm going through or a new hobby altogether.

Either way, it's really fun, and I'll post more info after I get thru a couple of key auctions...gotta keep those on the down low just in case you're hunting for the same things I am...

Jun 5, 2008

Rah Rah Rah Rah Rah...

It's not a chant or a cheer...you'll see what I mean when you click here.

(Be patient; it might take a few seconds for the visuals to catch up and no, you don't have to pay for it unless you want to use it somewhere. I think.)

Hey! I'm a poet and I didn't know it.

Interestingly enough, the Christian station here in Lompoc (the one that isn't K-Love) runs Radio U, and some of the songs sound a whole lot like this.

Kudos to Mrs. Bee for the link.

06/06/08--Editor's note: as a response to the first comment below, Pastor T first sent the link to Mrs. Bee, so it's entirely possible he's thinking that very thing...

Jun 2, 2008

Church Hunting--Fourth Time's a Charm...

Yesterday we ventured up to Santa Maria for church. I had resisted leaving Lompoc city limits for church, since I really dislike having to drive more than 15 minutes to church--too easy to use the drive as an excuse to stay home. But we'd seen a church in passing that looked interesting, if nothing else. It was situated in an old storefront (or some sort of pre-existing, non-church building), with its name displayed prominently in the front, and more or less graffiti'd in the upper corner of a part of the building which looked like a warehouse (I never did find out what's in that part of the building, come to think of it--nothing we saw indoors looked at all warehouse-y). At first, when I saw it out of the corner of my eye I thought "Oh man, can't people at least respect a church and leave it alone with the graffiti," but then I looked closer and realized it was put there on purpose. Only then did I contemplate the unlikelihood that taggers would go to the trouble to access the top corner of a building. I'm smart that way.

Having seen the church from the outside, we looked it up online and thought "This church is either right up our alley or totally lame." It looked promising enough that we were leaning toward the former, though, so we decided to give it a shot.

I've always thought of myself as fairly traditional when it comes to a lot of things, but you know what I realized? I can tolerate and even appreciate more traditional church settings, but when it comes to my own church I really prefer the non-churchy feel. I've always known I like casual, but doggone it if I'm not almost Emergent in my church-atmosphere preferences. Take that with a grain of salt though, because I'm still figuring out exactly what Emergent means. I don't like different merely for different's sake, and I don't like entertaining the congregation in order to fill the seats as a goal. I do like wearing jeans and not getting any guff about it, and I don't like having to revert to my Christianese and code-words (even better if people'll tell me to knock it off when I do it without realizing), and I really, really enjoy rowdy, rock-y music. Don't get me wrong, I like hymns and quiet songs too, and even many of the traditional stand-bys you can hear pretty much anywhere. I'm a drummer though, so there's gotta be some livelies in there. And it has to be quality music. I'll take well done hymns over fast crap any day. And there don't have to be drums in every song either...a time & place for everything. And I like hearing messages about Jesus and God, rather than motivational/how-to lectures on how I can try harder and get better results (tried that already; it doesn't work).

Oh, and something else I found, which I thought was a bit odd of me. I'm not into tattoos or piercings beyond my ears, but when I see that a certain percentage of the congregation has visible or even prominent tattoos, it puts me at ease. None of this "well you have tattoos but we'll let you in anyway." More like "Oh, you have tattoos? We didn't even notice. You should talk to so-and-so, (s)he's really into the body art." That's probably weird on my part, but whatever.

And don't even get me started about the pastors. I like to think I'm flexible when it comes to personality and speaking style, but (s)he must have a normal-person vibe and a willingness to say "this is what I struggle with right now," as opposed to "I used to struggle, but now I don't because I'm fixed now. Completely. And you can be like me someday if you do this and that!" Bonus points for occasional snarkiness and/or an extensive knowledge of silly camp songs.

Anyway, I'm sure I've blogged about this sort of thing before, but every time I church hunt it gets dragged out again, and I end up re-evaluating to see what I still feel the same about, what's changed, and whatnot.

SO--Element Christian Church. Yep, I liked it so much I'm revealing the name. Here's a link, even.

I tried to give a quick rundown but it just can't be done. So I'll just give my personal highlights.

--When we were greeted at the front, we asked where the nursery was. We were shown to the nursery and told, "you can take your son in now, or you can keep him with you for the first few songs, or you can keep him with you the whole time." Which I haven't done since he was about 3 weeks old, but I get put off by anything other than a full welcoming of kids into the service. If they are disruptive, a parent should absolutely take them out, but even though I'm pretty sure the intention is good I just have trouble with "children are expected to go to the provided programs," and other such phrases. Too close to a rule for my tastes, and I'll decide where I want my kid to spend his church time, thanks, and if you don't let them in now, what's going to make them want to come to big-church when they're older?

We provided the required contact info, and dropped him off then since he was quite content to play with the nice ladies and cool toys. Actually he cried some, but it was also right around naptime, so that's that. Main point: my kid was welcome anywhere I was, and I appreciated it.

--The music was along the lines of what we did at our church in Mass. Band, vocals, blah blah blah. A matter of taste; that's all. And there was a chick guitarist who was really good. Which again is not a make or break thing. It was just really, really cool. It was good music. And solid music. No fluffy "you are the clouds" stuff that is hovering around out in the world of contemporary Christian music. And singable by the masses, which worship leaders can forget to consider sometimes. Out of the 5 songs or so, I was familiar with 3-4 of them, so that was nice

--I felt welcomed, yet not stalked. "Oh look, visitors! Quick, everyone converge on them!" Nothing like that. No connect flaps to eschew, although we provided all of our contact info to the nursery, "in case there's an earthquake," which may well be their method of information gathering. Come on, earthquake? What kind of lame excuse--oh wait. That's not a bad idea. So dual purposes--protect my kid, have the ability to recruit me for potluck duty. Fair enough.

--I really liked the message. I even took notes, and I never take notes. It helped that the topic was on "straining gnats to swallow camels," which I've been reading and contemplating about lately. The pastor was oh-so-casual in his jeans and lightweight sweater. I couldn't have picked him out of a crowd, except for the wireless mic clipped to his shirt. My only complaint was that he came across as a little disjointed in his speaking. What he had to say was fantastic; he could've done it with fewer rabbit trails, that's all. And he was too punny. Funny = good. Too punny = trying too hard.

--They did communion. I like when churches do communion more than once a quarter or once a month, even. They had several communion stations about the room, and during the communion song people got up and helped themselves. And they had wine and grape juice, which I've never encountered but thought was kind of cool.

Here's the thing though. For all the puns, & rabbit trails, and a smattering of Greek thrown in, and all the other externals I noticed, the pastor said some key things I really liked:

  • Worship is more about what happens outside of the church than inside it.
  • As Christians we take God's grace & hope, and give it to others.
  • Scripture is not about religion; it is about becoming who God made us to be.

And he backed all of that up with talk about the various ministries they are forming or getting involved in within the community (and abroad). There was a prominent "we're all in this together and everyone has something to contribute" feel there. I liked that.

See? Good stuff there!

Afterward we hung around for a little bit--mostly to let His Highness run off some steam and endear himself to everyone he met--and then we headed home. I think the Cat Daddy agreed that this is by far our favorite. Whatever it is we were missing at the other three places...I think we might have found here. And I think the difference is the churchiness. The Foursquare and Calvary churches, in my opinion, had an awkwardness about them, almost as if each wasn't quite comfortable in its own identity as a church. Even the Nazarene church, which was a lot more comfortable and friendly, and had halfway decent music...none was a bad church, but they were all still churchy church to some degree.

Tragically, for all my excitement and gushing, I don't see us plugging in and immersing ourselves in the Element community. We like it enough that I'm sure we'll go back, but the reality of our short tenure is staring us in the face. We are now past the halfway point, and one major focus in the next two and a half months will be getting from Lompoc to Cheyenne, and all the logistics involved with that. Bummer.

It's still encouraging though. The mere fact of Element's existence gives me hope for the hunt for church in WY. If I can figure out the pastor's name I might even ask about Element's story, and if he knows anything about Wyoming and/or churches there. You never know...

2001: A Space Odyssey...

Dude. What the--was Stanley Kubrick on something? That was messed up...