Saturday, July 31, 2010

Random Thoughts Inspired by July


Goodbye July!

I've made it, 31 days in a row of blogging.



I love these kittens. I think they are looking out the window saying good-bye to July as it disappears making room for August.


A recap of July to bid it farewell.

We had lots of rain this July which kept everything green with no danger of fires. Very few, if any, tornadoes have torn through our area at all this year. You may know a line from the song "Oklahoma!" that goes "When the wind comes sweeipin' down the plain." Sweepin' isn't always the best description for the way the wind blows through the state of Oklahoma.

July is National Ice Cream Month and National Hot Dog Month. I ate a little bit of both of those. The 4th of July, also known as American Independence Day, is the only holiday we celebrate in July. Are there holidays in July that I don't know about? Hang out at the lake day? Thank God for air conditioning day?

It's been really hot the last weeks of July. It was 105 degrees Fahrenheit today. And I do thank God for air conditioning. What were the pioneers thinking when they came through here and decided to stay? Things must have been really bad on the east coast for them to prefer a mud house (no trees) and 100+ heat and the occasional tornado. Tough people.

My baby girl turned 28 July 22. How can it be that my kids are full grown adults?

Our llama, Jack, died this summer. He lived in the goat pen and protected them from dogs. I wasn't very fond of Jack. He wasn't very friendly, a little bit big and scary, and he'd spit like a camel. YUK! But I am sorry that he died. He was part of the family, likable or not.

I worked more hours than usual at the public library during July. My boss gave me a lot of extra hours. He is helping me with my quest to get all the money in the world. Craft day with teens was fun and Children's program day with 800 (give or take) kids was other worldly. The library is no longer a quiet place to read.

I started a new blog on July 12th. It's a 4 day a week Bible Study traveling through the Bible using the lectionary readings as our guide. I'm loving it. It is a good discipline to not only read the scriptures but write about them too.

My favorite thing about July 2010 was blogging every day at NaBloPoMo, reading some great blog posts and becoming friends with Heather and Maria. I'll be posting at NaBlo throughout the year to stay in touch with my new friends and to keep reading the interesting things that are going on around the world.

I wish you all an Awesome August!

.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Indiahoma Funerals

We don't have a lot in Indiahoma, Comanche County, Southwest Oklahoma. There's a lot of poverty and unemployment. There isn't much to do in Indiahoma besides hang out or go to church (we have 6 churches).

What goes on in an insignificant town like Indiahoma? Community. Everyone comes out to the ball games. You don't have to have a kid on the team to root for Indiahoma. School Board meetings are important events. We need the school to keep the town alive.

What impresses me most are the funerals. Everyone comes together to comfort a family in their time of grief. Cards, calls, visits, and food are lavished on those stricken with grief. We had another funeral today at the Baptist church. The choir had singers from the other churches and the pews were filled with members from every denomination in town. The pastors gave a personalized service because they know the deceased and his family. After the service are hugs, handshakes and words of encouragement.

Lunch is served to the family either before or after the funeral, depending on what time the funeral is held. Today's funeral was a morning funeral, so the family returned to the church after the cemetery and found dishes and plates and bowls of food piling high in the Baptist Fellowship Hall, cooked and delivered by the people of Indiahoma. The look, the smell, the taste all say, "We love you."

I've been on the receiving end of the Indiahoma style funeral and experienced how palpable the love and support of the community is. Are other places like this? Do you have different but equally meaningful funeral traditions?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sisters

My mom only had sisters, I only had sisters, my children only have sisters. That's a female legacy.

We're silly, we're funny, we like to laugh.
We're smart, we're witty, we like to learn.
We're adventurous, we try new things, we go new places.

Sheryl likes it hot, Susan's in the middle, I like it cool.
Susan has one daughter. I have two daughters. Sheryl has three nieces.

Susan and Sheryl were born in California. I was born in Kansas.
Susan and Sheryl live in California. I live in Oklahoma.
Susan and Sheryl are both blond. I have red hair.

We grew up together. We've celebrated together. We've grieved together.
We have the same mom, the same dad, the same family.

I've known my sisters all their lives. I'm the oldest.
Sheryl has known her sisters all of HER life. She's the youngest.
Susan is older than Sheryl but younger than me.

We're creative, artistic, with a flair for the unique.
Sheryl's a potter, Susan's art is in the garden, I blog.

Sydney, Susan, Sheryl...Sisters..................................................
I saw these coasters in Tuesday Morning and I thought I should get them for my sisters and me because our names all start with S. But I didn't. I got them because S is for Sisters.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Movies

Prompt for WED, July 28: Write a pitch for a movie that you wish someone would make.

Movies based on books usually disappoint. I was listening to SKIPPING CHRISTMAS on a trip to California with my daughter. It was dusk and snow was falling when the book got so funny and we were laughing so hard that we had to pull over to avoid an accident. I kept imagining that book as a movie as we listened to the CDs. Years later they made the movie, "Christmas with the Kranks." What a disappointment. But isn't that always the way? A good side effect of books made into movies is that people will often read the book after seeing the movie.

I recently saw "The A-Team" and loved it. I've already written a whole blog post about that. I might be able to promote a movie based on a TV show. What are some possibilities? Rockford Files would top my list but it's already been done, a movie made for TV this fall. And Hawaii Five O is back as a weekly TV show. Magnum PI, Mattlock, and Greatest American Hero would be possibilities for the same reason as Rockford Files. Each one has a fun, likable, interesting character that the show is built around.

Looking at a list of TV shows from the 60s, I'm amazed at how many have already been made into movies: Batman, The Flintstones, The Fugitive, Get Smart, I Spy, Mission Impossible, The Mod Squad, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Star Trek. What were your favorite shows from long ago? Would they make good movies?

How funny would this be, make a movie based on a TV show that was based on a book? I thought of two right off: Perry Mason and Nero Wolf. The old Perry Mason TV shows have been made into TV movies, still starring Raymond Burr. Isn't it time for a 21st Century Perry Mason big screen movie? The kids don't know who he is, and he's worth knowing.

Lastly, if I were in the movie promoting business, I'd promote the quicker release of the last two Harry Potter movies. It's not that I want them to be over. It's just that I have a feeling J.K. Rowling isn't going to publish her next book until the Harry Potter films have been released. And I'm kind of going into Rowling withdrawal. I need her next book.

Well, what do you think? Should I keep my day job as a librarian or branch out into the movie promotion biz?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Are Your Daily Reads?

My husband still reads the newspaper with his morning coffee. It's his routine. Then he tells me the important news.

Meanwhile, I'm at my computer checking email with my coffee. It's my routine. I see most of the big headlines when I open AOL. But it's the personal stuff I'm interested in. I read email from friends first then I go to my subscriptions. I share them with you here in hopes that one or more will be of interest and/or useful to you. I hope you'll share what you're reading with me.

Mystery Book Club You can sign up for just about any genre at Dear Reader. I read mysteries and it is great to start a new book every Monday morning. I read several chapters in my email during the week. If I want to finish it, I go to the library or bookstore to get it. It's somewhat of a social site too. You can leave comments about the book, send an email to the creator of Dear Reader (Suzanne Beecher), enter contests (once a year there's a writing contest) and click into subareas like authorbuzz.

CopyBlogger These emails are full of good writing tips. It is geared toward Business blogs but is applicable to any writing. It is usually funny and entertaining as well as informative.

HomeWord Devotionals HomeWord is a Christian family organization (with focus on teenagers and their youth leaders) started by my friend Jim Burns. Several people write the devotions which begin with a short scripture followed by an illuminating example and some comments. There are questions at the end for going deeper.

South Beach Diet Daily Dish is part of Everyday Health. You can sign up for a variety of health related daily emails from this link. Daily Dish provides information about foods (why eating fish is good for you), seasonal produce, recipes, etc. I lost 50 pounds following the South Beach diet. It's a no simple carb diet (sugar, refined flour) and very limited bad fat food. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is good, bacon is not.

A.Word.A.Day "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." --- Mark Twain A.Word.A.Day can help you learn that right word. The word comes with pronunciation, etymology, meaning and usage. There is also a daily quote, some are really good.

OK, it's your turn. What are your daily reads?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saved by Grace

I haven't shared my salvation story in a long time, never in a blog post. How could I not share it in a month with the theme: SAVED?

I grew up going to church and Sunday school. I took a communicants class and joined the church in junior high. Then high school - separating from the parents, thinking I was thinking on my own, reading material with different world views, growing, wondering and wandering. But that was just the beginning, college - party down, living "on my own," bombarded with new philosophies, new lifestyles, it was the 60's.

After spending my senior year at the University of Heidelberg, I came home to finish my degree at UC Irvine. I fell back into my friendship with my high school friend, Ann, who had become, as we called "them" then, a Jesus freak. I loved Ann and we had a great time together but she was always pestering me about Jesus and the Bible and eternal life. I decided to read the New Testament and explain to Ann all of its inconsistencies and show her how ridiculous she was being.

I started reading. I believe it was somewhere in "The Acts of the Apostles" when I put the Bible down and said, "Jesus, I want to receive this Holy Spirit that I am reading about." Poof, it was done, I was a Jesus freak too.

The Word of God is powerful. Read it and tell me how it affects you.

.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Wonderful Sunday

It started out like any Sunday, breakfast with Pa and Owen, Nick Jr. on TV while we got ready for church, drank coffee and checked email.

9:30 a.m., the day continued as expected, church began on time. It was a hot day in SW Oklahoma but cool and comfortable in the church. Singing, sharing, praying, a sermon about the prodigal son and worshiping the God we love.

There was a little snafu between church and Sunday school involving getting lunch ready but it was just enough to keep things interesting and unpredictable.

The Sunday school lesson was 2 Thessalonians 3:1-15 about God's Own Faithfulness. I liked the part about not being idle. "He who does not work should not eat." I can be a bit of a workaholic during the school year. But when your job is a mission for God, I'm sure that isn't a bad thing. Plus, I get to eat!

Lunch at Gran's was a little late because of the snafu, but it was worth the wait. This was Beth's Sunday birthday dinner (lunch). Her menu was meatloaf, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad and green beans with peaches and cantaloupe for dessert. (There was birthday cake, but since Beth's birthday was actually on Thursday, the cake was all gone by Sunday).

After the lunch dishes were in the dish washer and the kitchen was cleaned, we sat down to wait for our company, cousins Don and Donna from Oregon along with Cousin LaRae from Texas were on their way. Pa went back to our house to take a nap, Owen fell asleep on his mat in the dining room, Beth curled up on the couch and Gran nodded off in her chair. I was the only one awake when Don knocked on the door.

The company came in and everyone woke up (well, not Pa - we had to give him a wake up call). We told stories and laughed, reminisced and consulted family history books, looked at pictures and caught up with news about people not present. When it was time for them to head on, Don said, "We should be going and let you all get back to your regular life activities." My response was, "Oh, you don't have to do that. This is way more fun than what we normally do." They left anyway.

Pa went to the farm, Beth & Owen went home, and I headed down the street to my house. We left Gran talking on the phone to her sister in Michigan.

I enjoy my Sunday evenings. I got my Bible Blog done and checked my email. Finally back to normal! Mari & Shawn are home from their honeymoon cruise and back online. Five emails and one blog post from Mari. That is more like it.

I'm almost done with my NaBloPoMo daily blog post and then I will watch a TV show (I like Leverage) and read a little (I'm trying to finish John Grisham's children's book THEODORE BOONE: KID LAWYER).

It's been a pretty spectacular Sunday, a great start to the last week in July.

.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Harold's Birthday, a Celebration

At church last Sunday, Harold's niece whispered in my ear, "Surprise 80th birthday party for Harold next Saturday in Fellowship Hall." She didn't know what time.

My mother-in-law reminded me of the party during the week and supplied the missing information, the party is at 2:00. My daughter called me this morning with an interesting question, "Does the party start at 2:00 or is Harold showing up at 2:00? " I decided to go at 1:45 to be safe. My husband came in from mowing at 1:30 and told me the party started at 1:00 and there were cars all around the church. Really?

I walked down to church, it is just 1/2 block from my house, found Harold in the midst of a mob of people, and yelled "Surprise!" We hugged and Harold said, "Can you believe all this?" Then he was swept off into the next conversation. I put my card in the box overflowing with other birthday wishes and looked for a place to park myself.

I don't think I've ever seen that many people in Fellowship Hall before and there was enough food to feed twice as many. I ate a big lunch before I went so I could resist birthday cake. Who knew there'd be all that yummy regular food? I'm such a partier, I drank a class of water.

Harold is a precious man. He's our church treasurer and sings in the choir (our favorite song is "I'm Winging My Way Back Home" because Harold has a small solo part in it). He was once known as "Mr. Candy Man" on a local children's TV program back in the 60's. He sang and danced and showed cartoons from what I've been told. Since retiring from civil service, Harold has become a traveler, going on trips with his wife and her twin sister. Sometimes cousins and in-laws come along too, making it Harold and a gaggle of women. He is just that fun to be with.

A year ago Harold had a bout with lung cancer. It was a scary time for us all. Thank God the treatments worked and Harold won that fight. For his birthday he got an x-ray report, "NO CANCER." Hurray!

All I have left to say is, 80 doesn't seem that old anymore.

.

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Save or Not To Save

For me it is always "SAVE."

I always thought I was programmed to be a saver, having been raised by parents who survived the great depression. They saved everything.

My mom washed plastic sandwich bags, dried them on the dish drain and reused them. The backs of envelopes were our note paper. She used butter wrappers to grease cookie pans. She folded tissue paper and gift wrap from presents to reuse on a future gift that she would give. My mom darned socks over a light bulb. They make darning bulbs but she used a burned out light bulb to fix holes in our socks.

My dad saved broken things because he could usually fix them. Back then, a broken toaster could be fixed. He saved seeds from his vegetable and flowers to plant the following year. He saved and used anything in a bottle or jar (ketchup, salad dressing, shampoo, etc.) by adding water to get every last drop. He used a spatula to reach and clean out mayonnaise and peanut butter jars. Jars were washed and saved for reuse. He saved money in a savings account. He never bought a car on time. Instead he waited until he had saved enough money to buy a new (used) car and paid cash for it.

What chance did I have? I'm just like them. What do I save? Bits of fleece material from projects to use as dust cloths. Rain water to water my plants (I got this one from my dad). I also have receptacles under my window air conditioner to catch the water and use it to give my plants a drink. I save reusable items for crafts that I might do with my kids at school. I never throw away paper. It can be printed on the back or used as note paper or coloring pages or at the very least, recycled.

I also have collections of things that I save. I have a giraffe room that I am filling with all things giraffe. I love coffee and started a coffee mug collection. If I see one I like, I buy it. I often get them as gifts. When I go on vacation I try to bring a mug home as a souvenir. I also have a postcard collection. I buy too many postcards but what a beautiful and inexpensive way to remember trips and places. I keep every postcard that people send me. I made a scrap book once of the cards that I'd received. It was like going around the world with my friends. But I kept getting more cards. So now I keep them sorted by location and subject matter. I have a collection of bookmarks started by my friends at the public library. Whenever we go on vacation, we try to buy bookmarks for each other. It's fun looking for bookmarks to get for friends and it is also fun to add bookmarks to my collection when friends get back from vacation.

I was stunned when I met my husband's parents who are from the same generation as my parents, only his parents were much poorer, and yet they did not save stuff. They throw out a jelly jar with enough jelly left to make a sandwich. One Sunday at my mother-in-law's house, she asked me to get her another roll of aluminum foil. She handed me the empty one. Only it wasn't empty. It had a foot or more left in it. You guessed it, I took it home with me.

It must not be the Great Depression after all. I guess it's just in my genes. And I've passed it on at least to one of my children. Beth told me today that she took a shower at my house and pumped what she thought was shampoo into her hand only to find out it was conditioner. She scooped it into a cup to use later and found the shampoo. Proof that she's related to me.

My house gets cluttered because I save everything. I admire people who live in a minimalist fashion and sometimes try to move towards that lifestyle but end up only rearranging.

Is there any hope for a person who saves?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to Beth!

My baby is 28-years old.

They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy Birthday to ya!
---The Beatles

Birthdays always make me sing that song. Another favorite is "Put Another Candle" from a childhood TV show called "Sheriff John." It's kind of long. If you'd like, you can read it here.

Another Sheriff John song that I love even more than the birthday song is "Laugh and be Happy."
Laugh and be happy with a merry melody.
A smile can make a hat rack look like a Christmas tree.
When you're in a hurry, don't you worry, chase those blues away.
Just laugh and be happy all the live long day.
Words to live by.

And of course, no birthday musical would be complete without the birthday song (Happy Birthday to You). We know it in German too (Zum Geburtstag viel Gluck).

It's Beth's birthday. She was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead... She didn't want to go to Kindergarten but then, 12 years later, graduated valedictorian of her class. She worked at McDonalds to help pay for college at Southwestern Oklahoma State University where she got a Bachelors Degree in Education and elementary/early childhood certification. She's the mom of my only grandchild, the joy of our lives. Beth is one of my amazing family members. I am so blessed by the people God chose to put in my family and glad my husband had the good sense to want to have kids.

Happy Birthday Beth, I love you!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Funeral

I attended a somewhat unusual funeral recently. It was held at the local Baptist church, performed by a former pastor and the current one. Friends and family gathered in the church. There was music and praying, tears and laughter.

The unusual part was the scripture that the former pastor used to bring comfort to the family, the Book of Jonah. To refresh your memory or give you a first time synopsis: God calls Jonah and tells him to go preach to the people in Nineveh. Jonah promptly gets up and runs away from God. He tries to escape on a ship. God creates a storm that scares the daylights out of the other passengers, so much so that they throw Jonah overboard. God provides a fish to swallow Jonah. Is this a great story or what?! Jonah has time to think about things, sitting at the bottom of the sea in the belly of a fish. Jonah makes amends with God and the fish vomits Jonah out on dry land. God gives Jonah another chance to do what he is supposed to do, go preach to the people of Nineveh. This time Jonah does as he is told and does such a great job that the people of Nineveh repent and are saved.

There are all kinds of wonderful messages in this scripture, but maybe you are like I was, wondering how it would apply to a funeral.

The funeral honoree was Mike. He was born into a strong Baptist family 55 years ago. He heard the word of God from a very young age. But when he was able, Mike ran from the Lord. We agreed with the preacher when he said, "You know you'll be running into a storm whenever you run away from God." Mike's life was always stormy. He wasn't a hard core criminal, but he got into a lot of trouble. His mom and dad prayed for him throughout the years.

Earlier this year Mike's daughter almost died in childbirth. It was a wake up call, maybe like being thrown out to sea. The fish God sent to swallow Mike was pancreatic cancer. Faced with his own mortality, unable to work or do much of anything, Mike had time to think and listen. God gave Mike a second chance and he took it. The hospital staff who got to know Mike, told his family that he was a blessing to them. He made them feel like they were in the presence of God. I guess Mike's Nineveh was Memorial Hospital.

Mike's family is grieving but they also rejoice because they know for sure where Mike is. I will think of Mike, and smile, every time I hear the story of Jonah.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Loving Language

When I was at the University of California at Irvine working on a degree in German, I met my first true love: linguistics. I chose linguistics over literature as an emphasis and my life was changed forever.

I've always loved language and its structure. I was the kid in class who loved diagramming sentences. At Cal State Fullerton, while working on a masters degree in linguistics, I took a class about the deep structure of language. More diagramming of a different type. It's like solving a puzzle and it's fun (to me anyway).

As part of my masters degree, I went to the University of Oklahoma (OU) Summer Institute of Linguistics. 12 credit hours of intense classes on language acquisition, structure and phonology. Our example languages were Chinese dialects that have meaning determined by pitch and Comanche (more Comanche Indians live in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the world and OU has done most of the scholarly work on their language). The teen choir from my California church was on summer tour and I got to hear them sing at the Methodist church near campus, which led to meeting my future husband.

So what does one do with a masters degree in linguistics? I married a lawyer and moved to Oklahoma where I became a school librarian. That's a word story too. Oklahoma passed a law that all schools had to have a library, so Indiahoma School was looking for one. The principal knew I had a degree in something that sounded like library. Well, it starts with the same letter and I wanted to get a degree in library science but the counselor advised against it because there were lots of librarians in California at the time but no jobs. So I got a degree in linguistics instead. Like there are jobs in linguistics? How does that make sense? Oh well, it worked out in the end.

Living in Oklahoma provides me with all kinds of fun colloquial expressions. My absolute favorite is "I ustacould." [derived from English, meaning: I used to be able to] I use it whenever possible. It makes me smile. Another good one is "fixinta." Usage: We're fixinta go. Meaning: We are about ready to leave. One that doesn't make sense, that must be an error in pronunciation, is "What do you like?" The first time my husband asked me that, I answered him, "What? What do I like? I like chocolate and Thursdays and Siamese cats." He explained, "No, how much more do you have to do before you'll be ready to leave?" Oh, he meant, what do I lack. Why didn't he just say so?

I thought my kids would find this interesting (because I did), but no, it just annoyed them. People in Oklahoma pronounce "data" differently than I do. I didn't realize you could pronounce it with an "a" like in dash. I now know that there are people all over the country who pronounce it like that. Have you never seen Star Trek, the Next Generation? The android, Data, is pronounced with an "a" like in date. Star Trek wouldn't get it wrong. I started to notice how people on TV said data. My hypothesis was date data was the California pronunciation and most people in television are Californians. Are you starting to understand why this annoyed my children? To end this conversation, let me just say that Merriam-Webster Online lists the first pronunciation of data my way. It lists "also" the other pronunciation, an alternative to the original one.

As a librarian, I promote lifelong learning. I listen to Great Courses on CD (The Teaching Company) as one way to do this. My public library has these courses for check out, maybe yours does too. One of the courses is called "Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft." Twelve hours of lectures (24 lectures at 30 minutes each) devoted exclusively to the sentence. The professor is fond of long sentences using punctuation other than periods to keep multiple parts of an idea united in a single sentence. It's a fun exercise trying to write really long sentences. But short sentences and short paragraphs keep readers attention, so use the long sentence sparingly.

Are you aware of National Punctuation Day? This American holiday will be celebrated this year on September 24. You can google it and find some interesting and funny stuff about punctuation and its holiday.

I got the idea for this post from A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg. As the name implies, I get a new word in email Monday-Friday. They are usually related with a theme. This week's theme is words that look like one part of speech but are really another. Like "invite." It looks like a verb, doesn't it? Until someone uses it to ask, "Did you receive my invite?" There's a controversy over "invite" as a noun that you can check out at IsInviteaNoun.com. I wonder if these same people object to the use of google and facebook as verbs.

One of the wonderful things about language is how it grows and changes. We try to keep it static but it has a life of its own and will not be contained. Have you got any stories about language to share?

.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Honeymoon

I miss my daughter. She lives in New York City and I live in Oklahoma. But that's not why I miss her. I miss her because she is gone on a honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean. Is the Caribbean farther from Oklahoma than New York City? I'd have to check a map. It isn't the distance that makes me lonely for her, it's the lack of technology.

On a normal day I get at least one email from her, usually more. She blogs most days and I subscribe to her blog so I get a dose of what she's doing that way too. She comments on my blog, posts pictures on her website, we both write about the books we are reading on GoodReads, and
there's an occasional phone call or text message. But Mari and Shawn declared a moratorium on technology and have shut down all digital communication while they enjoy a romantic adventure on the open seas.

That's great for them, but what about me? OK, I'm just kidding. I am happy beyond words that they found each other, are building a life together and are finally able to spend quality time together without distraction (AKA: honeymoon). I'm just having difficulty dealing with the online withdrawal symptoms.

This has opened my eyes to the power of online relationships. The Internet gets a lot of bad press about people choosing to spend time online instead of with actual people. But what about the times you can't be with the actual people? The Internet rocks! It keeps friends and families connected all around the world. And have you ever been on a virtual vacation with someone? They email daily with the tales of their travel or maybe even create a web site to host their pictures and stories. It may not be as good as a real vacation, but it is enjoyable in its own way.

And let's not forget social networks. Facebook is about as common as the telephone for communication. I feel like I'm staying connected with everyone I ever knew via facebook, but I would never call all those people. Another great thing about social networks is meeting new people. Scary!?! Not really. For example, NaBloPoMo provides a place for bloggers to meet, an online coffee house where people read, write, comment and get to know each other. I've met some fascinating people at NaBloPoMo. It may be that bloggers are just naturally fabulous. But I imagine people on other social networks are meeting interesting people too.

Email, facebook, blogging, Google, Flickr, YouTube...our lives are enriched by technology and yet it is probably a good idea to occasionally take time off. Play a board game, take a walk, sit on the porch, enjoy conversation. Even so, I can't wait until Saturday when Mari and Shawn will be back at their computers!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mary and Martha

Luke 10:38-42


This is one of my favorite scriptures and was the inspiration for today’s sermon, “A Messy World.” You can plan and plan and plan (like Martha) but things don’t always turn out the way we plan. If you’re like Mary and have discovered the One Important Thing, then when plans go awry, it doesn’t matter. You still have your joy and your focus.


Mary and Martha: two sisters, two personalities, both serving one Lord. Martha had their home warm and welcoming for Jesus when he arrived. I wonder if Mary helped. Jesus entered their house and Mary sat down with him. She spent time with him. Martha carried on preparing the meal without the help of her sister. Martha got annoyed. I know the feeling. Thanksgiving Day: women in the kitchen, busy cooking abundant food of every variety, putting leaves in the table, bringing in extra chairs, setting a beautiful table, pouring drinks, putting food in serving dishes, bringing the food to the table and when it’s time to eat, the men, who have been relaxing and watching football on TV, are called to come and enjoy the meal. Have the men discovered the important thing? Apparently, because it gets them out of doing the dishes too.


But back to Mary and Martha. Jesus appreciated Mary’s presence and her attention to what he had to say. That’s why he came to see them, to be with them. He wasn’t really upset with Martha when she asked for Mary’s help. THE MESSAGE puts it this way, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing.” This is the Jesus I know. When I’m doing something that does not please him, he doesn’t turn me into a pillar of salt but gently turns me in the right direction. And he’s very patient.


I used to wonder what they would’ve eaten if Martha hadn’t busied herself getting the meal ready. But the dinner isn’t important. The fact that Jesus is at their house is important. And it’s the same with any visitor. People don’t come over to eat your food and inspect your house, they come to see you and spend time with you. If Martha didn’t get a meal prepared, they could’ve ordered a pizza or eaten crackers out of the box. You know what I mean.


Martha missed out on being with Jesus. Jesus was in her house and she chose to work instead. There’s a lesson here for us. I wonder if your lesson is the same as mine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

From the Center of the Universe to Toilet Seats

I used to think I was the center of the library universe. My Boss told me that I could work the third Saturday of every month and the rest of the librarians would rotate around me. I felt like the sun in a galaxy of books. Then the other librarians figured out that working the same Saturday each month has benefits. You can make plans far into the future. Example: My friend asks, "Would you like to meet for lunch the first Saturday in March, 2012?" I answer, " Sure, I only work on the third Saturday." Also it isn't so confusing. You always know when you are supposed to be at work. So everyone claimed a Saturday and someone suggested we rotate the fifth Saturday, taking turns working it. I knew right away I couldn't handle that. I'd be a bundle of nerves wondering if this is a month with a fifth Saturday, and if so, is it my turn to work it? So I volunteered to work all of them. This also helps with my quest to get all the money in the world.

I worked at the public library today because every July has a third Saturday. This year also has a fifth Saturday in July so I'll be back again in two weeks. That's fine with me because I really do enjoy this job for many reasons.

However, if I could change one thing about this job, it would be the public bathroom. The best improvement would be building an employees bathroom. The super best solution would be a private bathroom for every employee, but that ain't happening any more than a new all employees bathroom.

So what's so bad about our bathroom? EVERYONE uses it. On Wednesdays, 800 kids come for the two programs and that's not counting the kids who are in the library but don't go to a program. I think every one of them makes use of our bathroom at some point in their stay at the library. And most of those are in the women's bathroom. The kids go to the bathrooms with their moms or female daycare workers. Very few dads are at these programs. There are also all the women patrons who are not there for the children's program. They all have to use the bathroom too. You know how we women are. And the people getting on and off the bus have to come in for a quick pee. You can imagine how disgusting it can get by the end of the day.

And we don't even have toilet seat covers, or Nixon campaign hats as we used to call them in the 60's. It was funny back then. I think it still is. Toilet seat covers haven't really caught on in Oklahoma. You almost never see them. I don't know about you, but I've got to keep something between me and the toilet seat. There's no telling who all has been there before me. I have never perfected draping toilet paper over the seat. It just does not want to stay. Some people have told me they don't sit down, they sort of hover over the seat. That is no easy task either. Maybe I could crochet portable toilet seat covers with Velcro to hold them on. Maybe I could sell them (all the money in the world getting closer) or give them as Christmas gifts. I think I'll look for a pattern the next time I'm at the public library.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pets

I've been listening to a book called "Why My Next Husband Will be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman" by Lisa Scottoline. She loves animals. There's a chapter where she sees a chicken coop in a catalog and it's so cute (like the houses in monopoly) that she's gotta get one. And what's a chicken coop without chickens? She orders a dozen chicks, all girls. This book reads like blog posts and is funny and entertaining.

But back to the chickens. I just found out that my NaBloPoMo friend, Heather, has chickens on her farm. She has graciously written a blog post for me about her chickens complete with photos and a website about chickens.

My inspiration for chickens started a few years ago when my neighbor behind me had some beautiful chickens. They visited my house often and ate our bugs. I was forever grateful. That's the way I like having chickens, they're around eating bugs but I don't have to take care of them.

My neighbor's chickens are gone now. Maybe they moved to Muskogee with my neighbor when she got married and moved there herself. It looks like if I want chickens to eat my bugs, I'll have to get some of my own.

In response to the NaBloPoMo prompt: "If you could have ANY animal as a pet, what would it be?" I would like to ask, is the same person who will grant me the pet of my dreams also going to set up the chicken coop and buy the chicken feed?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

IN 15 WORDS, MY NOW IS

Originally found on MandyThompson.com, my daughter shared her list of 15 words that describe her now.

These 15 words describe my now, my right now, my in the moment and present now. It isn't as easy as you might think to make a list of 15 single words that describe now. But it's fun. Try it and leave the link to your blog post in a comment.

hot
summer
home
Indiahoma
coffee
computer
reading
writing
quiet
alone
AC
fans
blogs
email
content*

*When I wrote this word I meant with the meaning "satisfied with what one has" but it could also mean "subject matter" of this post.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blogging

I've been writing all of my life. I kept a diary in elementary school recording the important daily events for posterity. I continued diary writing through high school when I also wrote dark and dreary poems and bad song lyrics. In college I found out I liked to write papers. Research was fun. During grad school I was also an intern at the church I attended. I learned from the youth pastor to keep a thank diary. I highly recommend this. Being consciously aware of and purposefully looking for the good things in your life is the best mental health medicine there is.

Meeting people and moving around gave me opportunity to become a good letter writer. That's what people did before email. I read about a poet who had correspondence with hundreds of people. I thought that was the most amazing thing. I tried to be like him but never even came close to my first 100 pen pals. When I got married I kept a file of the letters I received and prayed daily for the people to whom I owed letters. I told my friends about the file, letting them know that the sooner they wrote back, the sooner they'd be on my prayer list again. My mom and I wrote to each other every week for decades. I miss those letters.

Then somehow, sometime, technology hit. I learned to send email. My first account was with Juno. What fun! Then again, somehow I learned to make web pages with Dreamweaver. Writing on the Internet. I was hooked on technology and I'm still a bit of a junkie. Somewhere along the line I became a newsletter mogul, first doing a weekly school newsletter during the school year only, then adding a monthly year round newsletter at the public library and finally a weekly newsletter for my church. The writing I do for all of these newsletters is primarily dispensing information. I love it. I get paid to write and everyone appreciates what I do because they're glad they don't have to do it. Works for me.

Then another stroke of technology genius, the blog. My daughter created a blog for her nephew and invited me (his grandma) and her sister (his mom) to contribute to the blog. We've kept it private, an adoring history of his life. He loves to look at his blog and has even helped create part of it. He's five-years-old. It hooked me on blogging. I started a school library blog that lays dormant during the summer. I blog with my students on classblogmeister.com. They don't enjoy writing, unless it's in a text message. I was sure I could impart my passion for writing, but so far they are just humoring me.

Then I created my own personal blog. I didn't know what I was doing or where I was going with it. It's somewhat of an online diary, but not nearly as disclosing as the old diary with a lock and key. I like to share funny episodes and be inspiring when I can. This month I am blogging daily and reposting on NaBloPoMo. It's a wonderful site for bloggers. I have met some fabulous people there. The first person I met on Nablo is a school librarian who lives in Oklahoma. We have a few things in common. On the other side of that coin is my new friend from Ireland who lives with her husband in India. We share a surname, "Perry." Last but not least is Heather who writes the funniest comments. My life is richer because of all of you.

I've been mulling over blogging lately and wondering what more I could do with it. Max Lucado wrote that God gives us talents and He wants us to use those talents to do His work. We usually enjoy the things we are good at, or get good at the things we enjoy. So working for God shouldn't be treacherous work, it should be fun. How could I blog for God? I write a couple of times a week on our church blog, created by my daughter and mostly maintained by me. I wanted to do a blog with a more specific focus and I wanted to see what wordpress is like so I created "A Walk Through the Bible" on wordpress in which we will read the whole Bible in four years. What else are you going to be doing for the next four years? I've only posted three times. Take a look if you want to. I'd like to journey through the Bible together.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Saving Stuff: A Theme Post

One day, a long time ago, April 17, 2007 to be precise, I mailed a package to my niece in New York City.

The package and I have a history even older than that. It was a birthday gift that I ordered for Lisa's birthday in January. When it arrived at my house, it was a little bit broken. I called the company and told them about my broken gift. They had no more in stock and would not be getting any more so they told me to just keep it and they refunded my money. I can't be sure what I did about an alternate gift for Lisa. Let's say I sent her a check and told her about the broken gift.

So now I had this slightly broken gift that cost me nothing. It was too broken for its intended use, but maybe still cool enough to keep around. I told Lisa about it and asked if she'd like to have it. She said yes, so I mailed it to her.

Lisa was on vacation when the package arrived at her apartment in Manhattan. Her doorman kept it around for awhile but then sent it back to the post office. It arrived back on my doorstep on May 11 of the same year. (If you're amazed at my memory for dates, don't be. It's all written on the box.) Lisa and I talked about it and I was going to resend it to her. But instead I put it in a corner and piled my crafts on top of it. And there it sat for over 3 years, until yesterday.

I bought some plastic tubs at Walmart to straighten up my craft corner. They are huge and were a really good deal. Yarn in one tub, material in another. When I got to the bottom of the pile, there was this mysterious box. When I saw Lisa's address on the box, I remembered the story but had no idea what was in it. Later, daughter Beth saw it and thought it was a cookie jar. How did she remember that? "Open it and let's see," she said.

It was a box inside a box. Packing peanuts flew everywhere. One last box to open and it took both of us to do it. Voila! Beth was right. A cookie jar, and a cool one at that. It doesn't even look broken until you take the top off. Probably wouldn't want to keep cookies in that jar, but you could fill it with spare change, a collection of something that you didn't want visible to guests, the possibilities are endless.











So Lisa, send me your new address and I'll get this cookie jar in the mail to you, again. Or I'll just box it up and save it in one of my new Walmart tubs.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Broadway

One thing that's been on my "To Do Before I Die List" since high school is to see a Broadway musical. My friend, Anne, and I (Anne, where are you?) loved to go to Broadway Musical movies. Funny Girl, Jesus Christ Super Star, West Side Story, The Music Man, The Sound of Music... We'd go see them at the drive-in. That was probably as much fun as sitting in a Broadway theater.

I had a hard time envisioning how I'd ever pull off a trip to New York City. The expense, the trauma of being in such a large city, having to travel by subway, the distance to get there, where to stay... And then my daughter made the whole thing happen. She got married and moved to Manhattan with her husband. All I had to do was buy a plane ticket. She met me at the airport, transported me back to their apartment in the east village, got reasonable theater tickets through her husband's job, took me by the hand as we rode the subway to the theater and enjoyed the experience with me.

I checked "See a Broadway Musical" off of my list in June of this year. We saw West Side Story and Billy Elliot. My favorite part of musical theater has always been the end, applauding and giving standing ovations and the actors taking their bows. It's just all so very happy. Billy Elliott had a really neat encore presentation with dancing and the cast still in character. A new favorite part for me was walking out of the theater at 11:00 at night and feeling like it was daytime. Bright lights, crowds of people having a good time, music, activity, and fun fun fun.

I actually saw West Side Story with my younger daughter and Billy Elliott with both daughters. My New York City daughter is moving to Baton Rouge in August. I wonder if there are any time share apartments in Time Square.

I always wear my pearls to the theater. My sister-in-law, Lee Ann, gave them to me. And I like to post a picture of me wearing them to show her that I always have a good time when I'm wearing my pearls.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm an Official Okie

I grew up in California, ages 4-29. I married a born and bred Okie when I was 29 and have been living in Oklahoma ever since (which is slightly more than 29 years). My husband's Oklahoma charm is what first attracted me to him. Slow the pace of the language and hear the southern drawl as you read, "Ah wuz wanderin' if ah could talk ya out uh summa ya speh tahm." (Translation if you need it: I was wondering if I could talk you out of some of your spare time.") I was a goner. Not everything he does is quite that charming. Like, when we had a hail storm and a baseball sized rock of ice blew a hole in our skylight, Daryl fixed it by putting a sponge in the hole and a towel on the ground below it. Temporary fix? No. We couldn't replace the skylight as long as it was storming. And when the sun came out and the weather was lovely, it was no longer an urgent problem.

That was a year ago. In the meantime, I became a big fan of duct tape. When we had a break between recent storms, I went upstairs to inspect the hole in the skylight. It was still there. The sponge was limp, the towel soaked and the carpet wet. I climbed up on a step stool (not brave enough to go out on the roof) and covered the hole with duct tape. It has rained and poured three times since I took charge of the problem and my duct tape looks as good as the day I put it up. I'd call that Okie ingenuity. And I guess that makes me an Okie too!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

NaBloPoMo Writing Prompts

I read back over the reading prompts provided on the National Blog Posting Month web site and I was intrigued by many. I wish I had written about some. And I thought, "I could answer that in a sentence or less." I'm going with the last one. It reminded me of those "forms" you receive occasionally in email. You get to read what your friend's favorite color is, where they were born and any number of other interesting trivia. Then you get to fill it out and send it back to your friend and to all the people in your address book.

Here are my short answers to a few of the writing prompts. You can leave your answers for me in a comment and we won't bother anybody in your address book.

July 6, 2010: Name one famous movie you've never seen. Why not?
Titanic. I like movies with a happy ending.

July 5, 2010: What's one thing you think it's worth spending money on?
Coffee.
What's one thing you always cheap out on?
Clothes, I always buy off season clothes on clearance sale. That way I have a new wardrobe when that season roles around again, and I'm never in style.

July 2, 2010: Take a random book, open it to a random page, and then post the passage that begins at the top left. If you want to go further, tell us if the passage you posted sheds any light on your life at present.
GIFTS OF PASSAGE by Amy Hollingsworth. I opened the book at random and the left hand page was blank.

June 28, 2010: Tell us everything you know about the day you were born.
My mom was knocked out/put to sleep/given drugs/feeling no pain and my dad was in the waiting room. This all happened in Great Bend, Kansas.

June 25, 2010: How do you feel about the name given to you at birth?
I did not like my name when I was younger. In elementary school there was a cartoon called "George of the Jungle." One of the characters was an Elephant named Sydney. Elementary boys couldn't pass up that one. Back then, Sydney was not a girl's name. In high school I got enrolled in boys PE and at college I was given a male roommate in the boys dorm. BUT, I have grown to appreciate my name because I was named after my Aunt Marilyn. Huh? My mom was two years older than Marilyn and could not say "Marilyn" so she called her sister. She couldn't say "sister" either, it came out Sidder. So Marilyn was always called Sydney. Marilyn died of polio the year before I was born. I was going to be named Sydney Jean (Sidney Gene) whether I was a girl or a boy. I like that I am connected to somebody else through my name. I passed the name on to my first born, Marilyn Jean. We call her Mari.

June 21, 2010:
What was the worst job you ever had?
I was a telephone solicitor for one day. We were selling magazines but posed it as a contest. "You can win a magazine subscription if you can answer this question correctly." Two of the three possible answers were correct and if they chose the wrong answer, our script said, "Are you sure you want to choose that answer?" When they got the answer right, "Congratulations! You've won a subscription. When should a representative come by to get you signed up?" Yeah, and get you to buy a bunch of other stuff too. I hated it and quit at the end of the day. I still do not like talking on the phone.

June 17, 2010: If you could take a train journey through any part of the world, where would you go?
Canada. I have friends who made that trip and it sounds divine. I've already traveled by train throughout Europe and rode the Orient Express with Agatha Christie.

June 14, 2010
What are the five best bands you've seen play live?
The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, Bob Dylan at the Hollywood Bowl, The Rolling Stones at the Forum, Led Zelplin at the Forum, Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival, Ike and Tina Turner at the Monterey Pop Festival, Janis Joplin in Costa Mesa (before she was famous) and at the Filmore West, The Moody Blues somewhere in Berkley. This is three more than five, but really, who would I eliminate?

June 2, 2010: What's your favorite poem?
There's too many kids in this tub
There's too many elbows to scrub.
I just washed a behind
That I'm sure was not mine.
There's too many kids in this tub.
---Shel Silverstein

Now it's your turn. :~)

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Car

I read the nablopomo prompt for today and in my memory it was "Tell about something embarrassing that happened to you." Upon revisiting the site, I find the real prompt is "What's a bad thing that happened to you that ended up turning into something good?" I'm sticking with the embarrassing prompt.

I parked my car in the parking lot, on a mission to get my grandson so his mom could go out on a date. Beth modeled three potential tops to wear on her date. We both liked the same one the best. Trying on tops reminded Beth that she had some sports bras she wanted to give me. They were too big on her but she thought they might fit me. We won't go into that any further. I slung the bras over my wrist and "wore" them around the apartment so that I wouldn't forget to take them with me.

Owen and I walked to the car hand in hand. We crossed paths with a young man, perhaps just getting home from work. He smiled real big and I said hello. He returned the greeting and I thought, "He sure is in a good mood." I opened the car door for Owen to get in and noticed the bras still dangling from my arm. Well, that explains the big smile.

I got in the car and called Beth. I wanted to tell her the story and see if she thought it was funny. She did. So instead of telling you something bad that turned out good, I've told you something embarrassing that turned out to be funny. Embarrassing moments should always be funny. It makes being embarrassed worthwhile.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Thursday Job

I love Thursdays at the public library. I show up at 1:00 and stay until 5:00. At 1:00 we start setting up tables and chairs for a craft program, then fill tables with craft supplies. Amanda comes down from Norman and at 2:00 teaches the craft. The rest of us are helpers. One week the craft is for teens, the next week it's for elementary age kids and the teens come to help.

A sampling of the teen crafts thus far are finger puppets (which I have turned into wine bottle toppers),










duct tape wallets,



and boats made from found material.








We made boats because the theme this Summer is “Make Waves at Your Library.” The found material consisted of bags and boxes of stuff donated by library staff and patrons.


Just looking at the tables full of donated items (empty containers, discarded toys, duct tape, beads, fabric, yarn, pipe cleaners, scrabble tiles, stickers, and oh so much more) brought on creative inspiration. The teenagers are amazing and so fun to be with.

Library staff usually stop by to see what we are doing. The Public Services librarian commented, “You get paid for doing this?” and the Library director said, “You people really know how to have fun.” I give this program a thumbs up and five stars.

At 4:00, craft time changes to Book Club and I go do my final hour at the reference desk. When it’s time to go home, I don’t even feel like I’ve been at work. Is that a great job, or what?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nostalgia and New TV Shows

I saw the trailer but didn’t know what it was. I stopped and watched. Action, humor, ocean waves, cute boys, an awesome girl, and then the familiar music and the famous line, “Book ‘em Danno.” And while you’re at it, book me a seat in front of the TV this fall, Mondays at 9:00 p.m. central time, for the new “Hawaii Five-O.” Oh, bother! That’s when I watch “Castle” on ABC. And I love “Castle.” Thank goodness for the DVR.

There’s another new show that will air on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. central time, “Rizzoli and Isles” on TNT. It looks like my kind of show. It follows “The Closer,” another show on my favorite TV list. “Rizzoli and Isles” stars Angie Harmon (Law and Order) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS). I loved both actresses in their respective shows and have a feeling akin to nostalgia about them. I hope this new show will be good for them, and me too! It starts on July 12 and will probably not conflict with the network shows that begin this fall.

Nostalgia is in the air. First Star Trek then The A-Team (loved them both) and now Hawaii Five-0 and Rockford Files (both on CBS this fall).

You can watch the Hawaii Five-0 trailer here. And you get to watch a commercial first! Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lists

I started my day with a list. I have better luck getting things done if I write them down. It helps me remember and I can always check back to see what's left. Then at the end of the day, when I look at the list with all (or most) of the items checked off, I get a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

We have an expression in my family, "We need to make a list." It might be things we need to buy at the store, places to visit on vacation, people to contact about an upcoming event...I'm pretty sure we could find a way to list just about anything.

My daughter is moving to Baton Rouge and was looking at blogs written about the city. She found CheekyCherry tweeting a list of 225 (Baton Rouge area code) things about the red stick (translation of Baton Rouge). Mari got busy creating NYC: The 212 List. Mari even has a search criteria on her blog: List.

A friend at work told me she was thinking of going to Seattle and wondered if I could tell her what she should do while she's there. My response: "We need to make a list." But first let's see what the area code for Seattle is. 206.

That fits right in with NYC and BR. So let's get started.
  1. Visit my friend Linda.
  2. Visit my friend Barbara
  3. Drink Coffee
  4. Look at/go to Mount Rainier
  5. Ride the Ferries
  6. The Space Needle
  7. Microsoft (Visit Bill Gates?)
  8. Amazon.com (I love Amazon.com)
  9. Puget Sound
  10. Tour Pioneer Square by Street Car
  11. Wineries
  12. Visit Seattle Public Library downtown (Thanks Ann! Only 194 ideas to go)
  13. Woodland Park Zoo (Linda, 193)
  14. Parks (Linda 192)
  15. Beaches (Linda 191)
  16. Downtown (Linda 190)
  17. Pike Place Market (Linda, 189)
  18. Try to find iCarly (?) (Owen, 188)
  19. Cherries (187)

That's a pretty weak start, even with the help of Google. Can you help me because I need 195 more ideas to complete my list. Just leave a comment with any ideas you have, great or small. Thanks.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Feet on Vacation

A week in New York City is all about the feet, walking everywhere. This slide show pictures my feet on vacation in New York City, summer 2010.


video

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We Saved Our Fireworks for July 4th

All the big firework shows in our neck of the woods were displayed on July 3rd. What? Why? I don't know the answer to either question. Beth & I were in Wichita Falls, TX on Saturday and we got to watch their Fireworks from the Walmart parking lot. Quite festive.

We saved our fireworks for Sunday, July 4th. We started the day by going to church where we sang many of the great patriotic songs. "America, America, God shed His grace on thee," "Long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light; protect us by they might, great God our King," and "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord...His truth is marching on." Good sermon, good fellowship and a good morning worship service.

Lunch and a movie at Gran's, then we waited out the light. How funny that our Sunday School lesson was about the light being good and the dark being bad (I Thessalonians 5:1-11) and then we go home and can't wait until it's dark so we can shoot off our fireworks.

We live in the wild west where there are no laws about shooting off fireworks. Anything goes. And they did. Fireworks of every kind started cracking and popping at early sunset. We gathered in Gran's back yard when it could really be called dark and watched fireworks shoot up into the sky from all over town. Literally hundreds of dollars went up in smoke, providing entertainment to all. We saved the three rockets that Pa bought until it was good and dark and other people's fireworks were slowing down. We liked ours the best. It began to rain as our last ember hit the ground.

We said goodnight to Gran and headed down the street to our house. The noise of Independence Day continued.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cony Island Extra

Here are my pictures from our day at Cony Island.
video

The Colors of the Sea

I grew up near the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. The beach was part of my life. What a culture shock to move to Oklahoma. Although Oklahoma has a charm and beauty of its own, I still miss the ocean.

I had a chance to spend the day at the beach on Cony Island in June. I love to wiggle my feet in the sand, listening to sea gulls, watching the waves roll out and tumble in, smelling the salt air and our picnic lunch tasted better eaten in beach chairs under an umbrella on the sand. It was a sensory delight.

I've always collected and SAVED shells. I normally look for unbroken shells that are pretty or unique or go together in sets. As I was walking down the Cony Island shoreline, I noticed the variety of colors in the broken shells scattered along the wet sand. I saw purple, blue, pink, green, yellow, shades of brown, accents of black and of course white. I found a plastic soda cup that someone had discarded on the beach and began to fill it with the colors of the sea. And the textures too!

When it was time to return to Oklahoma, I packed my soda cup carefully in my carry on bag and we all made it home safely. I bought a special plate for my broken shells to display them in my computer room. They remind me of a wonderful day on the shores of New York and that makes me happy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My "To Read" List

Do you collect books? Do people give you/loan you books? Do you read reviews and find must read titles? Do you see a book with an interesting title and decide to add it to your reading list? Do you read for work? Do you enter contests and win books? Me too.


The books I have SAVED "To Read" are usually stacked under the clock by my bed. Lately the stack has gotten out of hand so I had to movAdd Imagee them behind the clock. I could no longer see what time it was while laying down.

These are the books I have started or will start, I promise.


Books people have given or loaned me:


MY LIFE IN FRANCE by Julia Child. My daughter gave it to my mother-in-law who gave it to me. They both loved it and I am sure I will too. I enjoyed the movie about the Julia Child blog.


THE UNCLUTTERED HEART by Beth A. Richardson. My daughter gave me this one. It is a book of Advent devotions to read daily so it's on the back burner. I'll turn up the flame when Advent gets here again. I read Beth's Advent devotions in email last year and it was a daily dose of inspiration. I just looked at her web site and she made me cry (good cry). I may have to put The Uncluttered Heart at the top of my "To Read" list.


3:16 THE NUMBERS OF HOPE by Max Lucado. My mother-in-law also gave me this book. I love Max Lucado. He has such a way with words and is another incredibly inspirational author. Why haven't I finished this short, easy to read, amazing book? I don't know.


THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD by J.K. Rowling. Beth (daughter) gave me this short post-Harry Potter book. I think J. K. Rowling is one of the most talented fiction writers living or dead. I may be not reading this little book so I will still have something of hers left to read. I hope we don't have to wait too long for her next book to be published. Maybe after the last Harry Potter movie is released?


WHY THE UNIVERSE IS THE WAY IT IS by Hugh Ross. Billye, a friend from church, gave me this book. She buys and gives away lots of books. It's her ministry. I need to read this book this summer while I have time to concentrate. Hugh Ross is a scientist and a Christian apologist who, according to Billye, gets pretty deep. She thinks I'm smart enough to understand it. Thanks for the compliment and let's hope she's right.


NO MORE CHRISTIAN NICE GUY by Paul Coughlin. This one was also from Billye in mass distribution. I think I'll take it off my list and give it to Daryl to read. He can tell me about it. Why don't I want to read it? First of all, the title. I like being a Christian nice guy (girl). The author promises to show me how to be assertive and proactive instead of passive, fearful and anxious while letting the "disease to please" ruin my life. I am already moderately assertive and very proactive. I am not generally passive, fearful or anxious. And pleasing people is what I do. In public service, whether at school or at the public library, my job, my ministry is to help people and do my best to make sure they have a positive experience. I have serving/pleasing people under control. I don't need Paul Coughlin to tell me how to do my job, unless Daryl reads the book and thinks it would be beneficial for me.


TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. I received multiple copies of this book from the Lawton Public Library during the March Comanche County BIG READ. I reread it with students at my school but we never got all the way through it. I'm going to take this one off my list too since I've read it before. It is a most wonderful book, and what a great movie. I wonder how a person can write one awesome Pulitzer Prize winning novel and then never publish another book.


WITCH & WIZARD by James Patterson. I was talking to the children's librarian and mentioned that I'd like to read a James Patterson's Young Adult novel. So right then and there she put this book on hold for me. I just got it and will probably finish it before too long. James Patterson is a great mystery writer and now a TV star (Castle) as well.


Books I've Won:

I've won a lot of books, most of them from AuthorBuzz, part of an online book club. The only one on my bedside stack is

BOBBIE FAYE'S (kinda, sorta, not exactly) FAMILY JEWELS by Toni McGee Causey. I started this book and am on page 68. It's similar to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I'm enjoying it but keep putting it aside to start something else.

Books for Work:

ENDING THE FOOD FIGHT by David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D. I bought this book for the school library when I was on the Health and Safety Committee. It was recommended by Dr. Arthur Agatston, M.D. (South Beach Diet) who has done a lot to improve nutrition in Florida school cafeterias. It has a lot of good information and is readable. I'm on page 48 and plan to finish it but have been using it more as a reference book thus far.

TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIR'S ON FIRE by Rafe Esquith. Our Superintendent got multiple copies of this book for our staff. It's a fun, funny, easy to read book about an outstanding teacher. I'm only on page 46 in this book. Sorry Deanna.

Books I've Actually Bought:

SUDOKU PUZZLE MURDERS by Parnell Hall and DAVE BARRY'S HISTORY OF THE MILLENNIUM by Dave Barry. I got both of these at the library's book sale. I love sudoku puzzles and murder mysteries and the price was right. I haven't started that book yet. Dave Barry is hysterical and this is a soft paperback book that I can carry with me to doctor appointments and such.

A COMPLAINT IS A GIFT by Janelle Barlow & Claus Moller. Suzanne Beecher of Dear Reader Online Book Club highly recommended this book many times. I finally bought it but have not yet started it. I have taken the concept to heart, though, and try to hear complaints as opportunities for improvement. I look forward to reading this book.
THE WRITING CLASS by Jincy Willett. This was a Mystery Online Book Club title. I read the first few chapters online then went to the library to check it out, but they didn't have it. So I ordered it from Amazon. It arrived but I haven't finished it.
ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR WORD by Susan Shapiro. I somehow found this book on Amazon. It was the subtitle that got me "Writing Lessons From My Favorite Literary Gurus." I want to improve my writing. I just read the introduction to see if I'd started this book. Apparently I hadn't. After I calmed down from laughing so hard, I decided I'm going to continue reading this book when I finish blogging.
G COMPANY'S WAR by Bruce E. Egger and Lee Macmillan Otts. This is a book completely outside my area of interest, history, except when it contains references to my dad. My aunt told me about this book and I quickly got my own copy. I read the pages that mention my dad first and then started at the beginning to get the whole story. It's incredibly interesting. These were 19-21 year old boys fighting the Nazis. The story is told from the authors' journals with other supporting materials to fill gaps and complete information. This book was written 10 years before my dad died and he never knew about it.
When I told my daughter, Beth, that I was going to blog about my "to read" book stack, she laughingly said, "You're going to blog about what you're GOING to do? If you'd quit blogging you could get these books read." Oh my gosh! She gave me the perfect ending to my blog post.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Is it July Already?

Time flies when you're having fun, and even when you're not.

Goodbye to June. It was a good month with our last visit to New York City, Vacation Bible School, five days with the house to myself when the husband was gone fishing, seeing The A Team, got my annual doctor appointment taken care of, started cutting strips of plastic bags for crocheted plarn sleeping mats service project and crocheted my first Swiffer socks, working more hours at the public library and LOVING Thursday craft day, the first day of summer, Leon Day (June 25, Leon spelled backwards is Noel, it's 6 months until Christmas), some good clearance sales, becoming a hat person, and celebrating birthdays.

July is here now. The 4th of July is a key holiday and then there's Beth's birthday. One can only imagine what other wonderful surprises July has in store for us. Perhaps a Siamese kitten? What are you hoping for?