Sunday, November 20, 2005

One more post

It is almost time to go to handbell choir practice, but I just found the coolest video. Click on the image to see a video of Sony robots performing dance. This is amazing.

Weekend word L and the "watzat?"

The Princess of E(&TS) requested that before leaving for Thanksgiving vacation, I reveal the identity of the "watzat?" below. Yes, yes, all in good time. But first a vocabulary lesson. The "L" word for this weekend is LACONIC [luh-KON-ick]. The opposite of PROLIX (q.v.), this word describes a speaker who uses few words to communicate effectively. That's all I want to say about that. But there is another L word that most people know and many mispronounce: LARYNX. Have you heard people describe throat problems as having to do with the "lair-nicks"? That's "lair-inks," folks. It annoys me only slightly less than GW saying "noo-cyoo-ler" instead of "nuclear." A friend of mine used to laugh over her parents describing gay people as being "homer sectional." Well, that's enough bloviating; now for the "watzat?"
Lacquered spoon from Russia
This lacquered wooden spoon came from Russia. My friend Adele went on a mission trip to Russia and brought this back to me. So far it has just decorated my bookshelf. I haven't tried it for eating borscht, but it looks like it would do the job.
I will be away from the computer for a week, so I will catch up with you all later. Everyone have a thankful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Building a tomb from scratch

Metal studs and poultry netting
Last year the church I belong to developed an event which depicted several scenes from the nativity of Jesus. The sets were built of plywood, styrofoam, etc., and we drove people by them on flat trailer beds with hay bales as seats. At each scene the driver would stop while a narrator described the scenes. Costumed actors portrayed the characters (it was real easy for Joseph having a dream while he slept). The last scene was three crosses, and the narrator would explain how the birth of Jesus was incomplete without remembering the crucifixion. OK, so this year, we are expanding that idea with an empty tomb, accompanied by fearful women and a glowing angel (don't ask). And I am building the tomb. It has to be light enough for four men to carry it yet look like a cave carved out of rock. The top photo is of the metal frame with poultry netting (chicken wire to all you farmers) providing the skin. This will be wrapped with muslin dipped in a mixture of paint and glue. Today we just put on one panel of muslin (see below). I sincerely hope this works because it has already taken a lot of time and around $150. I will post photos as we make progress. I am hoping to get SpookyRach to help with the detail painting.

First strip of muslin

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Great hopes--dashed

I had great hopes of posting a photo of my latest project, but I haven't gotten back to it yet. Maybe tomorrow (Friday). In the meantime, here is a "watzat?" for you to work on. It came from a friend who lives in Pearl City (you have to guess which state or country).
Did I mention my Thanksgiving plans? Friends from California and Texas are getting together in New Mexico for the week of Thanksgiving. We willl see some people we have not seen in a dozen years. We will meet some children we have never seen before. We will eat and laugh and play games and talk and enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Now that's Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Weekend words K

OK, so the weekend is over already. I was busy working on a tomb. It's part of a set for a Christmas presentation. It is almost twenty feet long, nine feet high, and four feet wide. It has to be constructed so that three or four men can carry it without getting a hernia. And it has to look like a cave. Sometime this week I will take a photo of what I have so far. And then I will post progress photos, OK?

Now for the K word. I was tempted by KUKUI and KIKUYU. The first one is a really oily nut that grows in Hawai'i and the second is the name of one of the more dominant tribes in Kenya. But are you going to use either of those in conversation? Choosing a K-word is difficult because so many of them are foreign. The one that I chose is KEPI [kay-pee]. It's foreign, too, but you are sure to run across it if you work crossword puzzles. A képi is a round cap with a flat visor worn by the French military. (It actually comes from the same root as "cap.") The main reason I picked this word is due to its appearance in a wonderful poem by Jacques Prévert.

J'ai mis mon képi dans la cage
et je suis sorti avec l'oiseau sur la tête
on ne salue plus
a demandé le commandant
on ne salue plus
a répondu l'oiseau
Ah bon
excusez-moi je croyais qu'on saluait
a dit le commandant
Vous êtes tout excusé tout le monde peut se tromper
a dit l'oiseau.

I put my cap in the cage and went out with the bird on my head.
"Hey, are we no longer saluting?" asked the major.
"No, we are not saluting any more," answered the bird.
"Oh well, excuse me. I thought we were saluting," said the major.
"You are entirely excused. Anyone can make a mistake," said the bird.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Here's what it is

One morning while we were living in Oregon, I answered the doorbell to find a Hasidic Jew on the front step. He had the curls at his temples and a yarmuka, but he really didn't look all that Jewish. As it turned out, he was the son of our across-the-street neighbors. It seems that in his high school days, he had gotten offended by the Assembly of God church where they worshiped and had set off on a quest for meaningful religion. His quest ended with a move to Israel where he converted to Judaism and married a nice kosher girl.
When he finished telling me all this, he held out his hand and said, "I know that you are religious people and would probably appreciate this. The olive leaf is from the Mount of Olives outside of Jerusalem. The pottery shard was uncovered during a road-widening process. It is part of a Second Temple lamp."
Well, I received this with gratitude. A year or so later, I had moved to San Francisco to complete my seminary studies. My Old Testament professor was an archeologist, so I showed him the shard. He agreed that the shape of the opening (where a wick would protrude) did indicate that the lamp had been in use during the time before the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans. There is every possibility that this little lamp was used during the time of Jesus.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Back by popular request

You can't really say "popular demand" if it is only one person making the request. But the plea has been heard, so another "watzat?" is hereby provided. This small item sits on a shelf and is no longer useful for its original purpose. It's sort of a metaphor for the people who have become integral to our lives. We love them, not for their usefulness, but simply because of their identity. Well, enough philosophizing. Can you guess what this is?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Weekend words J

You know, I was going to vent about the difficulties of this week but what good does that do? So I will just day "Thank you" to Patti and Lorna for their comments and get right to the vocabulary. (Yes, thanks to the rest of you also. I just wanted to welcome these two to this blog.) Tomorrow's Sunday school lesson is from the book of James (there's a J-word) which advises, in the last chapter, that when things are not going well to pray. Good advice.

There is a type of grass which grows in Asia and which produces hard bead-like structures around the base of the flower stem. When the flower ripens, these spheres can be harvested and used as ornamental beads. The plant is similar to corn (maize for all you non-Americans) and can grow ten feet tall. Here's the J-connection: among the several names by which this grass is called, two are JOB'S-TEARS or JUNO'S-TEARS. Now why would a pearly-white tear-shaped bead be named for either of these two characters? In Mexico, it is considered good luck to carry seven of these in your pocket. This is all too strange. Is there an expectation that God would bless the bearer of Job's tears just as he blessed Job at the end of his harrowing experience? I just could not find the Juno connection. By the way, did you know that the month of June is named for her?