Thursday, September 30, 2004

For this I delayed lunch? 

I listened to the presedential debates tonight, despite the fact that it ran into my usual lunch time. (This wasn't a great sacrifice--my appetite is lacking this evening--but I do enjoy my reading time.) It was kind of weird--it seemed like the whole shop was tuned in. There were at least 4 radios on this side of the shop tuned in to at least 3 different stations, and then I heard a loud laugh from down the hall when Bush said that they weren't expecting to win so quickly. The multiple radio situation was odd in itself. One of the stations was a few seconds behind mine in the broadcast. (I was listening to Pacifica Network's broadcast via KBCS, for the record.) They must have had the cuss delay turned on. Why, I don't know. Dick Cheney wasn't speaking tonight. But I digress. It all really illustrated the liberal nature of this workplace. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I would have expected at least a couple of conservatives to be lurking about. (We used to have an outspoken conservative on staff, but he was sacked a while back. He was also brave enough to voice his criticisms of management, don't ya know.) Anyway, I'm not really sure why I listened, other than radio dial lethargy. President Bush lost my vote when the bombs started falling on Iraq and subsequent events have only strengthened my stance. As for Kerry, I heard the expected political-speak. I doubt if he will be half as effective as he's promising. I'm just grateful that KBCS switched back to music immediately after the candidates finished. (They essentially said, if you want commentary on the debates, tune into Democracy Now in the morning.) I don't need pundits telling me what I just heard. Besides, one of my coworkers, Taya, came out of her back room throughout the night to tell us what folks were saying. She was quite pleased by the after-debate chatter, but then, she was listening to a left of center talk show. I wish I could be as optimistic, but I'm a wee bit too cynical. In part, I don't trust a big chunk of the electorate to think beyond the TV commercials (something I've been guilty of myself), and in part, I realize that not everybody shares my values. Too many people are willing to sacrifice the Iraqui people to support the American way of life. ... Sheesh, that sounds so condescending. I really should have taken the log out of my eye before I wrote that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

School days 

I think I should declare this education week. Not only did I cover Bunnah's Sunday School class this past and will cover it this coming Sunday, but I also gave her the first local history lecture today. Okay, maybe that's not quite an accomplishment, seeing how she's in second grade. Basically, since I'm the history affecianado of the family and since I bought and read Seattle's Beacon Hill earlier this year, Noodles asked me to handle the local history unit of this year's curriculum. Now the real teachers I know always prepare for classes and have their materials in order. I've been meaning to do that all week. I managed to pull the book from the shelf and look at the pitures this weekend. But the actual selection and research of today's site occurred over breakfast this morning. But despite it all, we had a good lesson. We took our family walk by the Rizal bridge on the north end of Beacon Hill and I was able to show Bunnah (and Poodlepums, who was eavesdropping) the old pictures and describe how folks had cut a big gouge through the hill and extended Beacon Hill's "beach" into the sound. Now I've got to come up with 11 more sites to visit. That will be a challenge, since our neighborhood is not particularly notable. But I don't think it's an impossible task.

Wrangling the Sunday School class, now, that's another matter. I really appreciate my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. B, these days. She was a nice person, but had very little ability to control the class when we got bratty. I've discovered that I'm like her. One unruly child I can handle, but when I've got two or more creating mischief, teaching goes out the window and crowd control becomes the order of the day. And that's only with 4 kids in the class! I'm tempted to blame the bulk of it on the oldest kid, Mo, who seems to have a need to attract attention to her little misdeeds. Her sister, Laurie, is then quick to join in, either in imitation or by taking the mischief in a different direction. Ideally, we would have separate classes for the kids--one for Mo and Bunnah, one for the younger Laurie and Kylie--but teachers willing and/or capable of teaching the younger set are hard to come by. Ah, well. In some parts of the world, teachers are getting shot at, so I suppose I can't whine too loudly. I'll just gird my loins and prepare Sunday's lesson. (And pray fervently that nothing happens to the kids' regular teacher.)

Did the Puyallup 

Just should mention that I did sneak an unnecessary dreidel into the Puyallup Fair. Okay, maybe sneak is a bit of hyperbole--they had security dudes checking bags, but nobody was frisking people. There was also a sign stating that one should not bring knives, guns, etc. into the fairgrounds. Then later I saw a booth that offered knife sharpening. An old sign perhaps? Then I came across a booth that sold knives! So much for security.

Otherwise, there was not much to report from the fair. I managed to resist buying the latest Quichua Mashis cd, which is good since that left me enough cash for supper. I also did a very odd thing for me. The poltical booths were giving out campaign stickers. As the day progressed, I noticed more Bushites showing their colors than Kerryites. After a while, it bugged me enough that I actually went and got a Kerry sticker for myself. Must have been lack of sleep or something.

Friday, September 24, 2004

You can do it at a trot... 

If life goes as planned, I'll be spending my Saturday at the Western Washington State Fair, known to Washingtonians as The Puyallup Fair, or to Pierce County residents as The Fair. I don't particularly want to go to the fair, mind you. Every year, after a busy summer, the thought of getting up at the crack of dawn, driving an hour down to Puyallup and then using up a whole day walking around and spending money on overpriced food and entertainments depresses me. But Noodles, and now the girls, really want me to go along, so I do. And I manage to have a bit of fun in the process.

Anyway, I mention this because I noticed something as I was checking on what time the gates open. On the website, there was a blurb about security: "For your security, ALL bags will be checked at the entrance gates. Please leave unnecessary items at home or in your car." I know we need to keep our scones safe from terrorists and all, but this little directive irked me. "Leave unecessary items at home"? What the heck do you call oversized stuffed animals? Or cotton candy? Or folksy arts and crafts? That place is full of unecessary items! And you want to restrict what I bring into the place? Humph! I've half a mind to take along a dreidel, or a harmonica, or something else small and unecessary, just to stand up for my right to be impractical and frivolous.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

What the... ? 

I got the weirdest rejection letter...er, e-mail. The editor of the church bulletin refused my announcement! For those of you unfamiliar with the church bulletin, it's just a little flyer that usually contains information about the day's service (such as what hymns are going to be sung) as well as announcements for the week. I've never heard of anyone getting censored out of one. Anyway, what happened was that I wanted to announce my goddaughter Sophie's birthday. For the past few years I've publically announced her birthday on the Sunday before so the congregation can sing happy birthday and hopefully give her that moment of affectionate embarrassment. This year, I heard via my daughter that Sophie was expecting me to say something. So I had the idea to print a blurb in the bulletin requesting the congregation members not to publically announce her birthday. Not the greatest joke, but hey, it's something different. Anyhoo, I get an e-mail back from the bulletin editor stating that she's not going to run the blurb. Since we don't announce other people's birthday in the bulletin, she reckons, it would be unfair to announce Sophie's. Seems odd to me, but considering that there is another person who's having a birthday this coming week, I suppose she has a point. Ed did suggest that she might start listing weekly birthdays satrting next year, though my whole reason for printing the blurb was to make a joke. Anyway, I'll just go ahead and make the announcement in person and try to figure out a way to include our other birthday girl. (Hopefully she won't slug me, seeing how she's middle aged and all.)(Maybe I'll just tell everybody she's 29.)

Of course, this whole event has got me musing. (As if there aren't greater concerns in the world...) I didn't mean to exclude anyone, but then again, I had no intention of making a big thing about everybody's birthday, either. There are some people in this world who keep track of everybody's birthday and make sure to give them some sort of recognition on that day. The lady in our church who did that died back in July. I like the idea of becoming more like her, but the reality is that my personality wouldn't fit the job. Or maybe I just have a limited amount of affection to spread around. Because when you get down to it, the blessing of having your birthday recognized is not the actual act of recognition but the thought behind it. A birthday card from your insurance agent or your name mechanically listed in a bulletin can't compare with a smile or a greeting from someone who notes the day because it's your birthday. And who has time to care that much about the people in their life? .... Nah, it's not time, it's love. Or affection, or friendship, or whatever you want to label it. And as such you can't really force it, structure it, or schedule it. (Ack! I'm writing in triplets again. A sure sign I'm no longer saying anything but just playing with words.) At best you can hope to nurture it and watch it grow.

Anyway, happy birthday to anyone who's having one today. (Ack! I've only got a week 'til Aunt Macy's! Gotta get a card!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Fun while it lasted 

Like I mentioned, we got an e-mail on Friday from our production manager instructing us to stop working overtime. Monday was a delightful 8-hour day. Mid-shift Tuesday we got a mail from our department manager telling us about some ongoing projects and requesting us to work overtime. I only put in eight hours, since Noodles was expecting me home at midnight, but the thought was depressing nonetheless. (I know, you unemployed folks are having no sympathy with me whatsoever...)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I'd really like to tell you about Bunnah's silly reaction to her first ballet class, but she refused to give me permission to blog it. All I can report is that she was overly nervous about starting the class, but, as Noodles reports, once class started she was enduring it with a big grin on her face. She even had to call me at work afterwards to tell me about it. Maybe someday the full truth can be revealed.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Avast, me hearties! 

Arrrr, I missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday. If I only had read the 42 blog before yesterday, I might have been able to join the crew. It would have made Bible class more interesting. I feel like such a lubber...

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sunday go to meetin' 

I was going to muse about my aquisitions at the library sale yesterday, but I think I'll save that for later. We went to visit Biker and Tyker today, so that's at the forefront of my mind. All things considered, they are doing well. There have been problems--problems collecting some insurance money and a brief cancer scare--but there has been good as well. Biker started a temp job last Wednesday, ironically enough with Hiker's employer, the city of Seattle. What with all the insurance paperwork that she had to handle with Hiker's illness, she managed to make a good impression with one of the human resource people, who in turn told her about the job. The job only lasts through the December, but she has a flexible schedule and fairly good pay. Anyway, we had good time talking and eating, discussing both the good and bad of the past 8 weeks. I suppose you could say that we were ministering to her by visiting and listening, but the truth is we just had a durn good time. It was a celebration of a genuine friendship where we could not only laugh together but also bitch and moan and cry. Okay, nobody wept today, but I'm sure it would have been allowed. One interesting thing Biker mentioned was that how she found comfort not in those who politely tried to paint a rosy picture of things but rather in those who could lament with her. Just like the psalms that cry out, "Hey God, this sucks!" (Okay, that's a paraphrase.) Of course, I let Noodles handle the mourning talk. She is great at drawing people out in conversation and saying the right things. If I were ever widowed, she'd be the first person I'd want to talk to. Me, I'm not really a mourning person. I just sat there and tried to refrain from blurting out every joke that passed through my mind. (We were talking about scattering people's ashes in beatiful wilderness areas and of course I started thinking as to what locations would be appropriate to scatter my ashes.) ("Hey! What are you guys dumping in our drive-thru?")

Oh, I also got an unexpected inheritance from Hiker. Apparently he had stockpiled various foodstuffs which he and he alone of his household desired to consume. So we took home the majority of a case of cola. It's not Pepsi, but we'll enjoy it in his memory.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The witching hour... 

What the heck is going on here? Today was a red letter day, the day I got that long hoped for e-mail in which our production manager said that there was no overtime this weekend and that next week everybody should work their regular shift. After four months of them asking for 10 hour days. And so, here it is, heading towards 1 am on Saturday morning and I'm... working? Why the heck did I volunteer for this? I mean sure, fixing these different carton versions is relatively nice, allowing chunks of exporting time during which I can listen to NerdRock and read about Jules Verne movies, but I have to get up in the morning! I need to hit the ground running in the AM if I'm going to get the kids ready, make the prayer meeting and then hit the library sale. (sigh.) I really need to learn how to make realistic time estimates...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

It was 20 years ago today 

On this day, twenty years ago, I first met my wife... maybe. Today is the 20th anniversary of Mr. and Ma Z. I went to high school with Ma Z, then Ms. H, and we kept in touch. In 1984, she announced that she was getting married to Mr. Z and I was invited to the wedding. Then, a few weeks before the wedding, I was asked to stand up for the wedding, since one of their original groomsmen backed out. So on the afternoon of September 15th (National Donut Day), 1984, I was standing in a line with the happy couple, their parents and a collection of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Some people greeted everybody, others just walked past us supporting cast members. Anyway, one of the wedding guests happened to be Noodles, who was attending college with Ma Z. Neither of us recall if we happened to greet each other or not but it's certainly possible. Ironically, Ma Z's mother, upon meeting Noodles a few years earlier, had suggested that Ma Z should introduce her to me. I sure wish someone had thought of that at the wedding--it might have made the reception more fun. (Since I didn't have a date.)

So, many thanks and congratulations to the Z's! (Sorry I forgot to get a card....)

Friday, September 10, 2004

Back to the grind 

Bleah. Vacation's over and it's back to reality. I've been too weary to write the last couple of days. I figure it's a combination of jet lag, lack of sleep, the internal/external pressure to put in some overtime and the endeavor to catch up with chores on the homefront. I wish I could write a nice little travelogue like Rev. Doug did, but I didn't do it while I had the time. Of course, I don't know if I really could wring something amusing out of hanging about and going out to eat. Anyway, I should attempt to list some highlights:

--The sound of my mom's voice when she found out that I was at the airport and she hadn't picked us up. (My fault. At one point I had told her that we were coming in on the 22nd rather than the 21st, the actual day of arrival.)
--The warm welcome we got at our former church. But that was offset by the chill of hearing folks honestly admit the possibility that it might have to close down.
--Once again catching Atwater-Donnelly in Hinsdale and then hearing Poodlepums' dive into the songbook I bought there.
--Chasing up to Wisconsin to watch the delivery of my aunt's manufactured home and watching people's reactions as half a house was hauled through the middle of the town of Lake Geneva. It's great when you have time to indulge in such trivialities.
--Watching my nephew Boop tear through my folks house. Now I know why my baby sister has more gray hair than I do.
--Visiting with my friend Donnie and her folks after all these years. It's nice to see that some people never change.
--SItting around my mom's PC and singing Christmas carols with my Mom and the kids. (My brother had burned a CD of a concert he gave and it wouldn't play on mom's stereo.)
--Managing to actually get some family information out of old German church records.
--Not only getting served an actual meal aboard an airplane, but also enjoying it. Alaska rocks!
--Oh, and how could I forget the little love notes from the Transportation Security Administration left in two of our suitcases? I'm torn between saving them as keepsakes or using them as bookmarks. Maybe I'll save one and employ the other.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

This is stupid 

Here is a tale of injustice perpetrated by highly ignorant people. It boggles the mind how something like this happens. Am I being naive in not fearing an art project created by a teen-age boy? Sheesh.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Time keeps on rushing, rushing, rushing 

The vacation is starting to wind down, despite the kids' audible protests and my silent ones. Last night I even dreamed I was at work. (I'd qualify that as a nightmare in itself.) Someone had "borrowed" my monitor and I was walking around the shop trying to find it, debating whether I should just go home in protest. (Of course, in real life I have two monitors hooked up to the station, so I would just use the second one whilst grumbling under my breath.)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Gone fishing 

Well, not exactly, but I did ride on my cousin's boat on Sunday. Haven't done much writing after the first couple of days of vacation, but I have gotten a couple books polished off. Vacation has been revolving around outings, visiting folks and relaxing. Bunnah wishes that it was the first day of vacation again and so do I. (Now if only I could find a way to get paid for lounging around my parents' place.)(Besides Quantum Leaping back to my high school self, that is.)