Thursday, August 31, 2006

Of Washing-machine Woes

I know I should be sleeping right now.  It’s been a long day, and I need to get up and moving in the morning.  But I’m having washing machine problems.  

When we moved to our new home, we purchased a Kenmore Elite Calypso washer.   We were very impressed by the model with its unique washing action, the promise of using less water and soap, and the design which was supposed to be easier on our clothes.

Well, all of that may be true, but it’s had its share of problems.  Like the time I came back downstairs after just starting a load of clothes to find the kitchen (and of course half the laundry room) an inch deep in water.  Another time we went through a whole series of error codes before finally calling a technician to come out and check on it (I don’t remember exactly what was wrong).  That’s what it seems to be doing again.  I’m on at least the fourth or fifth time through, and I’m about ready to give up and call the tech again tomorrow.

(Oh yeah, and the washer also stinks.  Literally.  You don’t want to leave clothes in there longer than it takes to wash them.)

In my research tonight looking for the meaning behind the error codes, I learned there’s a class action against Sears as a result of all the trouble people have had with this type of washer.  I’ll definitely be checking that out tomorrow!

Shouted From the Housetops!

Two thousand years ago Jesus said, “whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3).  It’s still true today.

Kyra Phillips, a CNN news anchor, learned it the hard way.  Due to a number of errors, her wireless microphone was left on as she took a break, and her words were transmitted on the air, at one of the worst possible times:  on top of the speech President Bush was giving in New Orleans!  Apparently she was giving an analysis of men in general and her husband and brother in particular (I take it she has a rather dim view of most men but a much higher opinion of her husband).  You can read more about it here.  Oh yes, and did I say all this was from CNN’s women’s restroom?!

The most comical aspect of it all is that Ms. Phillips is a host of the program “Live From...”  I’m sure the show’s producers never dreamed that their host would give an impromptu commentary “live from” the women’s restroom!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shoes: Take 2

Several months ago, I wrote that the perfect shoe does not exist. I would like to rescind that statement. Hold your hats ladies and gentleman…they exist and I’m the proud owner of them! Now for those of you that are really into fashion, these may not be for you. But if you are fashion forward, as I of course am :), and into comfort, which I totally am, you will love them! What are they you ask? How can I find a pair? Well, I’m not going to give that away just yet. Stay tuned…I’m going to see if I can negotiate an advertising bonus for giving them such a great review.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tagged II

I’ve been tagged by Alaina. (By the way, I do know what "one" means – I just overlooked it most of the time :) So here are my answers! Also please note: As did Catherine, I am presuming that the questions mean "other than the Bible," which for most of them would be my first answer.

1. One book that changed your life: Christianity and Culture (actually an address by J. Gresham Machen, which you can read here); Messiah the Prince, by William Symington; Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham; Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper (link is to online version of book).

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: I love to reread good books. As a child, I read one of my favorites, Star Eye, easily a dozen times (the story of a pioneer boy taken captive by and raised by Indians) and God is My Copilot (an early account of the Flying Tigers) a half-dozen. More recently, I’ve read The Bourne Identity (my favorite of the series; I don’t think the sequels have the depth or originality) at least twice and portions of it more than that (yes, I also rereread favorite parts); ditto for John Grisham’s The Testament, The Runaway Jury, and The Firm. I’ve also read Don’t Waste Your Life multiple times.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: I like the ideas of Alaina’s Escape 101, Catherine’s The Idiot's Guide To Getting The Heck Off A Desert Island, and Jeremiah’s How to Build A Boat Out of One Tree in Ten Days, because to be honest, while sometimes I think I would love to be marooned on a desert isle (provided I have the other life essentials) with a good stock of books, eventually I’m going to run out and want more to read. And because I’m not as fond of boating as flying, I’d want to have: The Complete Illustrated History of Aviation, Aircraft and Their Applications, Both Civil and Military, From The First Attempts of Man to Fly Using Feathers to the Wright Brothers to Today, Including Complete and Detailed Instructions for Building Human Powered Aircraft From Basically Nothing (you see, I’d want something interesting to read at night after a hard day’s work building my aircraft, and it’s a subject that has always fascinated me) (sorry – no link; Amazon.com doesn’t seem to have it).

4. One book that made you laugh: Catch Me if You Can and Calvin and Hobbes (this is one of my favorite books to read on outings to Barnes & Noble, but one which is nearly banned by my wife, embarrassed by my frequent and occasionally loud laughter).

5. One book that made you cry: The Rescue, by Nicholas Sparks (both with joy and grief).

6. One book that you wish HAD been written: How to Read and Drive Safely at the Same Time (not on Amazon.com either, obviously).

7. One book that you wish had NEVER been written: Many books that have greatly deluded people with false and destructive world views.

8. One book you’re currently reading: The Revolt, by Susan Wise Bauer (you can buy it for a penny, plus shipping, at the link!); Classical Education, by Gene Edward Veith, and The New Glass House.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: parenting books, John Adams (actually started a while back), Three Weeks With My Brother, The Afghan Campaign, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and The Teeth of the Tiger (actually, this is my tentative reading list for our trip overseas).

10. Now tag 5 people: I tag Kevin, Tom, Josh, Peter, and Michael, as well as anyone else who wants to respond (if you don’t have a blog, you can do it in the comments below)!

11. One book do you wish YOU had written (or, more applicably, would like to write):
· Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Dangers and High Cost of an Increasingly Lawsuit-Happy People, and What to Do About It
· Stolen v. Squatted: The History and Future of Adverse Possession
· Natural Law: A Layman’s Guide to What It Is and What It’s Good For
· Out of the Christian Ghetto: Toward Excellence in Television, Film, Literature and Law (the title, not to mention the contents, is still a work in progress)
· The Idiot’s Guide to Designing and Building Your Own Home: Everything You Need to Know to Design the House of Your Dreams and Have It Built (with an architect and a general contractor who I have in mind but with whom I have not yet discussed the book)

Note: All my original titles above are or soon will be copywrited!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Other Blog

Hey, just wanted to let you all know that we have another blog that we started for our adoption travels and updates until then.  You can check it out here.  These past few weeks have been some of the most difficult and discouraging throughout this entire process.  We appreciate your prayers as we await our travel.  

Update

Well, for those of you following our progress…we’ve been delayed again.  It looks the earliest we will travel is next weekend (Sept. 8 or 9).  We are very disappointed and struggling with discouragement.  It feels like we will never be allowed to go.  Please pray for us and that God will preserve our children and that the judge will allow us to bring them both home.  We both have concerns in these areas.  We trust God knows when we should go, the # of children we are to bring home, and who they are.   Thanks!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Of Citizenship Tests

Do you have the knowledge to become a U.S. Citizen?  A friend sent me this quiz recently.  How well can you do?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tagged!

I’ve been tagged by Catherine. So here are my answers!

  1. One book that changed your life: The Practice of Godliness by: Jerry Bridges

  2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Anne of Green Gables (I’m a big fan of the books & movies – except the newest movie which only has the same characters and has nothing to do with the books)

  3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Escape 101

  4. One book that made you laugh: Marley & Me

  5. One book that made you cry: Marley & Me (an excellent book – highly recommend it!)

  6. One book that you wish had been written: How to Succeed at Origami (it probably wouldn’t help me….I’m pretty much helpless with this art form)

  7. One book that you wish had never been written: You can write what you like, I just might not read it. I guess if I had to choose one thing, it would be the Koran or other literature of it's type from other religious groups.

  8. One book you’re currently reading: Raising Adopted Children (somewhat helpful but not great)

  9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: More parenting books.

  10. Now tag 5 people: I tag Jen M., Andrew, Steph, Jeremiah, & Margaret and anyone else who wants to respond!

  11. Here’s my own addition – what book do you wish YOU had written: How to Become a Millionaire: An Autobiography

Bad News for T-Rac's Victim

First, a disclaimer: T-Rac and his exploits are not the most important things in our lives right now. Nor is it all that we are ever going to write about again. No, we’re not considering renaming our blog “The T-Rac Reporter.” It’s just that it’s easy, fun, and relaxing to write about T-Rac’s exploits. And hopefully this will be the last post on the issue (unless something really good comes up tomorrow, or whenever).

All that said, the latest news is not so funny. The innocent victim in all this is Adrian McPherson. The really bad news is that he has been unable to fully extend his right leg since the accident. It was originally diagnosed as a deep bruise on the knee. A second trip to a specialist and an MRI revealed that McPherson has a bruised bursar sac in his knee. This is terrible timing as McPherson tries to keep his spot on the team. As one writer notes, the injury is “so far removed from his control that coming to grips with how he got hurt might be more of a challenge than the injury itself.”

McPherson has an interesting background, as you can learn in greater detail in the linked story. His is one of those stories that would make a great movie – if it somehow had a happy ending. That hasn’t happened yet.

He was a backup quarterback at Florida State in 2001 and began starting halfway through the 2002 season. But when he stole and cashed a blank check, he was kicked off the team. He was accused of gambling on college and pro football games. He was denied admission to two Division I-AA schools. Then he was convicted on the check fraud charges and pleaded no contest to the gambling charges, receiving a 90-day prison work detail sentence.

Then things started looking up. He joined the Indiana Firebirds – yes, he played right here in Indianapolis – as the youngest person to ever play in the Arena Football League. He played very well, throwing for 2,965 yards and 56 touchdowns in 14 games. He was drafted by the Saints. And then he was hit by a raccoon . . .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

waiting...

Well, we are still waiting for our travel dates. We've been told the 1 st of Sept., but aren't holding our breath and can't buy tickets yet. We covet your prayers as we continue this journey...it is far from over. The time in the country will be good but we know challenging. Please pray that we will find favor in the sight of the judge and everyone we come in contact with. You can also pray for patience...these last few weeks have been especially tough.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Good News for T-Rac

For an update on T-Rac’s accident, click here. Neither the Titans nor T-Rac will face discipline or penalties. Apparently the league didn’t add any credibility to the hit-man theory espoused (at least suggested) in the cartoon mentioned Tuesday :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Of Reading Restrictions

     Last night as I removed books from our old bookcases to make way for the new, I pulled out a few here and there that I thought looked like good ones to take for reading material on our trip to Kazakhstan.  After just a short time I had a pretty good sized pile, far more than I could realistically take.  

     With that in mind, I had to laugh as I read the list of items allowed on board one carrier in addition to one’s carryons: “Reasonable amount of reading material for the flight.”  Even if they allowed for the fact that reasonable people could have different definitions of “reasonable,” I doubt my stack would make the cut!

“Sir, that is far too many books to carry on.”

“But, but, I read fast, and this is a long flight, and…”
     
“Sir, I’m sorry, but you’re just going to have to limit it to four books.  No more.”

“But only four is certainly not reasonable for a 14-hour, trans-world flight…”

Please sir, you’re holding up the line.  Now quickly just pick four and leave the rest with me.  I’ll make sure you get them when you deplane.”  (Yeah, right.)

“But…!”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

Of Mascots and Injuries

“Adrian McPherson got a bruise. He got ran over by the mascot so I don't know what to do. We go to play the Titans . . . we shouldn't have to worry about the mascot and the other stuff going on.”

-- Saints head coach Sean Payton in his post game press conference. I haven’t seen footage of the incident, but apparently the Tennessee Titans' raccoon-like mascot, T-Rac, hit McPherson with a golf cart as the Saints’ backup-quarterback walked onto the field for the second half! Apparently T-Rac was driving the golf cart while simultaneously throwing items into the stands.

After reading the quote above, I wanted to learn more about the incident, but especially T-Rac. Details on the former are limited; I couldn’t find much more than I related above. But I found a number of interesting photos of T-Rac (a stuffed version
here, and T-Rac in his chariot in the photo to the right; surely this isn’t the “golf-cart” he was driving?), as well as a fascinating “biography.” I wonder how much of this is based on fact! (You can read more here):

Acquired: T-Rac’s path to become the mascot for the Tennessee Titans has taken some interesting and crazy turns. His parents, who are from the Great Smokey Mountains, moved to Centennial park in Nashville when they heard the Titans were coming to town. T-Rac was born in the Parthenon and he grew up hunting ravens and jaguars along the Cumberland River while watching the Coliseum being built. T-Rac’s dream was to live and play in the Coliseum. His dream almost didn’t come true when he was run over by the Titans Bus saving his sister while he was on his way to the first ever scrimmage at the Coliseum. The burly T-Rac escaped with only a broken claw and a smooshed fluffy tail. T-Rac and Titans owner Bud Adams became friends almost immediately. He was offered a job changing the light bulbs in the big red things above the Coliseum because T-Rac was the only one fearless and crazy enough to take the job. Eventually the Titans wanted a mascot to represent the team and state. The Raccoon, after all, is the official state animal of Tennessee and T-Rac’s goofy and energetic antics made him the perfect fit. When he was offered a three figure signing bonus he accepted, was delivered to the stadium with much fanfare, and the rest is history.

Platform: To stop hit and runs on all Raccoons and get Raccoon crossings at all major highways and Interstates (especially near the Coliseum)

Offseason: Pizza delivery (until he got fired for delivering only empty boxes). He now does appearances for his many fans throughout the Mid-South.

Personal: T-Rac is single and resides in Nashville inside the Coliseum's North Scoreboard. He can be reached for appearances by calling (615) 565-TRAC (8722)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Of Painting Progress (indoors)

     Clear back in February (see entries for Feb. 17 & 18), Alaina wrote about an HSN purchase, a new bedspread for our room.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to use it until we repainted our room.  (What?  You think the blue and brown of the bedspread go just perfectly with our light green/dark green colors?  Sorry – you’re outvoted by those who really matter to the decision.)
     Well, today while the bookcase parts were being painted outside (see below), Alaina was painting the walls of our room a beautiful chocolate brown and a light blue (with just a little help from yours truly).  Now with over half the room done, it looks amazing and so much better (and brighter!) than before.  We can’t wait to finish and use our new bedspread!  (And yes, we’ll try to post before and after pictures if possible!)

Of Bookcase Progress

     I’ve been meaning to write about the great time and great progress we have had building our fence this summer.  Like last year when several family members and the young people in our Bible Study helped us build our deck, this year we had at least ten different people help us with our fence.  But that topic needs an entry all of its own, and those helping deserve a huge thank-you!
     This evening I’m thankful for help with another project – our built-in bookcases.  As I wrote some time ago, we’re building built-in bookcases to help relieve the pressure on our overflowing bookcases.  I made a lot of progress on the new ’cases when I first started, but with everything else the project has languished, especially this last stage: painting and assembling them.
     Today, however, my folks came down and helped me paint.  Applying lessons my mom learned working with my brother as he finished furniture and my dad’s painting skill, we spent about six hours or so painting the various parts of the ’cases.  
     Tonight the floor of our garage is hidden by drying shelves and side panels, but almost all the painting is complete.  Hopefully some night next week we’ll be able to start assembly!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Of Science Stories

     I have recently read two interesting science-related stories.  The first grabbed my attention with the headline, “Your Purse Could Be Making You Sick.”  My initial reaction was, I don’t have a purse, thank you very much.  But Alaina does.  So do many other people I’m around on a regular basis (yes, they’re all women).  So maybe I should be concerned.
     Why would one’s purse cause sickness?  You’ll have to read the story for yourself, but it makes sense.  The study reveals that hundreds of thousands of germs, if not millions, collect on the bottom of purses, which can then spread to the purse’s owner (and to other unsuspecting people, of course, like me!)  Yuck.  Don’t put your purse on the table!  Maybe I don’t mind Alaina getting a new purse every once in a while.

     The second story is a real eye opener.  In Jodi Picoult’s The Tenth Circle, the father and his daughter always played a game in which they’d ask the other, “Which superpower would you most like to have?”  My pick would always be invisibility.  Ever since I’ve been a child, I have thought it would be so cool if I could make myself invisible :)
     Well, scientists (yes, scientists! not science fiction authors) think that invisibility could be possible!  You can read all about it here, and it’s quite interesting.  And of course, the possibilities are eye-popping!
We are excited to be posting here and starting this blog! We plan to use it for you, our family and friends, to keep up with us while we are overseas. This is the most exciting journey we can think of as we add to our family. We are so thankful for all your love, support, and prayers.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Of Interesting (Judicial) Opinions

     Today I was doing some research and came across the quotation at the end of this post.  (Caveat: The lawyers who read this blog may appreciate this post a little more than the rest of you, but I honestly believe most of you will enjoy it! :)  
     Before you read it, you should be aware that there are different types of judges: some write in the most boring, drab, uninteresting style; they have no creativity and no imagination, and you fall asleep reading their opinions.  Other judges are fascinating and entertaining to read; you still might not read their opinions for fun (though a few you might) but at least if you have to read them you find some enjoyment or amusement.  Most opinions fall somewhere in the middle.  As I do my research, it is always a joy to come across an opinion drafted by a judge in that second group, such as the following gem:
In tragedy, the dénouement “should arise out of the plot itself····” Poetics at 242. And so it does here: the sanctions imposed by this court on Mr. Messina arise naturally from his own errors of judgment. Like the ultimate fate of the great figures of literature, the spectacle of an experienced attorney brought so low by his own actions serves as a cautionary tale to others, and inspires the cathartic emotions of fear and pity recognized by Aristotle as the hallmarks of tragedy.  
If you want to read the rest of the case (which probably isn’t quite as interesting – I didn’t read the whole thing), you can find it at this citation:  Grove Fresh Distributors, Inc. v. John Labatt Ltd., 888 F.Supp. 1427, 1452 (N.D. Ill. 1995) (Zagel, J.).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Of Forbidden Steps

This afternoon I wanted to get out of the office for a little bit. I tried to go to the coffee shop in our building, but was closed. So I sat down on the nearest level spot other than the floor – some steps. It was nice and out of the way – nobody uses that section of the steps, as there is plenty of width and this particular stretch doesn’t really go anywhere.

So there I was, lost in my thoughts, thinking and staring out the window. I thought nothing of it when a security guard came up the elevator. She smiled and asked if I was waiting for someone. I smiled back and said I was just thinking.

She said, “Management doesn’t want people sitting on the steps.” I thought she was joking.

She was not joking. “But there are some nice chairs downstairs, right there,” she said, pointing. I didn’t want to sit on some wooden chairs next to a bunch of tables; I wanted to be more out of the way.

So I moved on, but I couldn’t believe it. A guy can’t sit on some steps for five minutes without being ordered off? What kind of building do I work in? I don’t think I look like a drug dealer or terrorist. I certainly wasn’t causing traffic problems – there was no one in sight, except the security guard. Bewildering.

It’s not every day one is evicted from (apparently) Forbidden Steps . . .

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cha-Ching

Yesterday I saved our family $27.86.  $27.86 in unnecessary, uncalled-for expense.  It may not seem like much but to me it was a huge amount.  How did I do it?  (C’mon, you know you were going to ask!)  I stood up for myself!  This is an accomplishment in and of itself…I’m usually non-confrontational and too embarassed to make my voice heard.  I think it’s been since my birthday in June...my life has just been different, I must be getting older.  I’m no longer afraid of others and what they think of me (okay, to an extent)…especially people who don’t know me and probably will never see me again (I’ll make sure of that :)).  Here are the two stories from yesterday:

Story 1:  KINKOS
We had our passport pictures taken for our visas a couple of weeks ago.  They were rejected because the people taking them evidently don’t understand the purpose of the lines, size, and general requirements for the pictures.  They asked me if they were okay when we first went in and I said they were fine IF they fit the requirements.  (Side note: don’t advertise a service you can’t provide)  I was furious…this is the 2nd time I’ve had this happen (CVS was the 1st).  

Yesterday, I walked into the same Kinkos store and the conversation went something like this:

Me:  My husband and I had passport pictures taken here a week or 2 ago and they were rejected.  I’m very upset because we are trying to get visas and this is very stressful.  They did not send the pictures back so I have nothing to show you.  I need someone to re-take them that know what they are doing…I cannot come back for this again.  (the clerk that initially helped was looking at me like I was the biggest you-know-what)

C1:  (Silence looks over to C2)

C2:  I’ll take them myself.

Me:  Thank you.

C2:  Come on over here. (I followed her and scared C1 came along shortly)

C1:  Do you have the receipt from before?

Me:  No.  I can come back with it.

C2:  (looked at C1)  It’s okay, I remember them.  It’s fine.

Me:  Thank you.

C2 took the picture (twice!) and Andrew’s picture (he walked in after the drama) and thanked us for our patience.  No charge!   For the record, I did not remember the lady but the guy who had done such a bad job before walked up to the passport area and said… “You came back for more?”  Me, “They didn’t work last time.”  He didn’t say another word.  :)  And for the record, I thanked them very kindly for making it right!  

Story 2: WAL-MART

I picked up 2 boxes fresh raspberries for $1.98 each.  They rang up at $2.98 instead and the conversation went like this.

Me:  Those were $1.98.

C:  Um…do you want a price check?

Me:  Yes, I do.  The shelf said $1.98 and I don’t want them if they are $2.98.

C:  (looked around)  I’ll do it myself.

Me:  Thanks.

Several minutes elapse.

C:  They are $2.98, the sign is wrong.  (she takes them off my bill)

Me:  The sign said $1.98 so you will give to me for that price right?

C:  No.

Me:  Your sign was wrong, so I think you need to give them to me for the advertised price.

C:  Do you want me to check with my manager?

Me:  Yes, I do.

Everyone behind me in line was really happy with me as the cashier left again.  She returned a minute later and silently put in $1.98 for each. :)  She should have known her manager would make her…my theory is, she didn’t think I would push it. :)   Come on, how are they going to charge you more than what the sign says…she should know better.

That’s all for now folks, I’m on a roll.  Yah best not mess with me! :)