Monday, July 31, 2006

Just a quickie

Whew! The last week has been busy. And it is not going to get any better. I leave for Madison WI tomorrow. I just checked the online comments on the hotel in which I am booked and the reviews were terrible. Now, I'm really looking forward to the trip.

Well, at least last week a friend from Hawaii was in town and Cat and I were able to spend some time with her. She brought plumeria blossoms (q.v.) as well as pikake blooms (they smell soooooo good!) Did I mention the pineapple and the tropical fruit preserves and the coconut syrup? So that was nice.

Anyway, I won't be around until next week, I imagine. Maybe I will get to read some of your blogs in a spare moment.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Report on blogging

Would it surprise you that three-fourths of all (US) bloggers include in their blogs materials that they have created themselves? This is way more than the average internet user. The Pew Internet Project just released a survey on blogging habits which you can read by clicking right here. Most of them do it for the same reason you do: to talk about their life experiences.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Greg's day

Today is my younger son's birthday, but he is in Australia, so by the time I write this it will be tomorrow there. I sent him an electronic greeting card this morning, belatedly. He's a quarter of a century old, married, and living in a country he never even visited before moving to it.

Here's the kind of guy he is: he tries to take seriously what is eternal and just has fun with the rest. For example, his wedding was a mixture of heart-wrenching intensity and pure silliness. He and Sara wanted to show how much they are dedicated to serving each other, so they decided to include a foot-washing ceremony. It was very touching, a much more poignant symbol of commitment than repeating whatever phrase the minister just said. But in order to include this activity, the wedding couple decided to go through the wedding barefoot. Never mind that the wedding was in December in New Mexico. The attendants wondered if they could go barefoot, too, so wearing shoes became optional for the wedding party. Just in case observers thought this was going to be a stuffy service anyway, the seating of the mothers was accompanied by a Muppets songs ("We're going to a wedding! A wedding? A wedding! ...")

I don't think that it was food poisoning from the rehearsal dinner, but the morning of the wedding I was very sick--couldn't get out of bed. Fortunately, it was an afternoon affair, so I had gathered enough strength to get my clothes on by the last moment. The bride and groom had asked that their parents some up and bless them as they knelt. Well, the other three parents had already informed me that I was to be the designated blesser. When we rose to join them on the platform, I honestly thought I was going to pass out. As I thought (and spoke) about the two of them, it was useless to fight back the tears. When we went back to our seats, I flopped down in the chair exhausted. The rest of the service is kind of hazy.

The reception had the usual activities: food, toasts, dancing. At least that's what they tell me. By the time I joined, fresh from a post-nuptial nap, it was almost time to form the rice-throwing lines. There was a mist coming down outside, so everyone stood under the portico. But we didn't throw rice. The father of the bride, a firefighter, handed out sparklers. As people started lighting them, a dense cloud of smoke formed under the portico and wedding guests, gasping for breath, started pouring out into the parking lot leaving the newlyweds to navigate the nearly impenetrable fog unaided. Quite a dramatic departure!

Did I mention that the groomsmen wore purple (not lavendar, not deep violet, but purple) tuxes? It was a memorable wedding. At least Greg's hair was not spiked at the time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why this blog name

Since I have been tagged by Ayekah to explain where this blog name came from, I will rehearse its history. When I started blogging almost two years ago (Good grief! Has it been that long?!?), I thought that I would be preserving thoughts about life that I would pass on to my sons. I gave the site a name like "Words of Wisdom" or some such. I tried to post only weighty thoughts (go back and look at the archives if you dare).

Then SpookyRach and Princess Mindy and I were all at the same Relay for Life walk and as we strolled around the track, we told stories. After I told about both my sons' weddings (each unique), Mindy said, "You ought to put that stuff in your blog. Then you would pick up readers."

Hmmm. Whether to sell out or remain true to the original mission. Well, the original mission wasn't taking me very far, was it? Both sons considered the blog extremely nerdy. So I decided it was time for a change, time to lighten up. The new site would be a mixture of serious and laughable, grave and trivial. It would be a ... a... not an ana exactly since they would all be my thoughts. What sort of miscellany? Where's my Roget's?

Friends, do you have a Roget's Thesaurus in your home? I am not talking about those dictionary-styled imitation Roget's where everything is in alphabetical order (What good does THAT do?). No, I mean a real Roget's. The edition on my bookshelf dates from 1941, has my father's bookplate in it, and has the spine taped up. I wonder if I stole it from Dad or he loaned it to me? Anyway, find "miscellany" in your Roget's and you will find gallimaufry. For an etymology, see my Friday, October 14, 2005 post. I like it because it comes from Old French, like nennil [neh-NEEL] which means "absolutely, positively not." It's a good answer when your loved one asks, "Does this make me look fat?"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Resolving chaos

Yesterday I noticed, after gassing up my car (remember the PWT Saturn?), that the odometer had reached 121,312 miles. Anticipating the two-mile drive to church this morning, I put my camera in the car. Sure enough, the odometer reading was 121314 when we got to church, so I took out the camera and snapped a shot. Cat asked what in the world I was doing. When I explained about the one-two, one-three, one-four phenomenon, she said, "So?"

Well, she has a point, of course. The odds of the odometer stopping at 121314 are the same as for stopping at 130086. There is no magic to the consecutive numbers 12, 13, and 14. It's just that I want to assign significance. There is nothing important about the 121,314th mile this car has driven, but I want to see order in the chaos.

Where does that desire originate? Is it a question of security? Do I feel safer in a world where I can sometimes perceive order and regualarity, a world in which I can occasionally count on something happening? Is there something within me that searches for the order which God has employed in constructing my reality?

That's what the first creation account in Genesis suggests: we are trying to find order in God's creation. Look how the days and creatures are arranged in that account. Draw out a table with three rows and two columns. Write down the created items of the first three days in one column. Then write down the created items of the last three days in the neighboring column. Compare the rows (i.e., day one to day four, day two to day five, etc.) What do the items have in common with the others in their column? With the others in their row?

Even if it may be entirely arbitrary, I like finding some order in the chaos. Encourages my hope.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Is it Friday yet?

OK, I'm drawing a blank here. I started to comment on the phenomenon of having holidays in the middle of the week, but that was a non-starter. The last time that I posted a weekend word was months ago and it started with a "U" (remember "uxorial"?) I guess that would suggest a word starting with "V," n'est-ce pas? So, the word that came to mind was vehement [VEE-eh-ment]. It is not an unusual word at all, but I used it in conversation recently and was surprised by the response. Talking with a man who is well educated and for whom public speaking is a significant aspect of his work, I described some of his comments as vehement. Not only did he object that his comments were not spoken in anger (while "vehement" can imply anger, it basically means "intense, emotional, fervent"), but he pronounced the word "ve-hem-e-nent." I didn't know whether to make my case or stop to correct his English.

Hmmm, that does bring up something else. Certainly you have heard people describe an activity as "not my for-tay." They are undoubtedly using the word "forte" which comes directly from French (it means "strength"). Maybe that's why they pronounce the "e" as "ay"--to sound more French. But the word has no accented "e" either in French or English. It should simply be pronounced as if the "e" were silent, which it is. "Ft. Worth is not my fort and creating wealth is not my forte."

Oh did you like the flowers? Yellow hibiscus reminds me of Hawaii, although the hibiscus that grew outside our door on Oahu was a bush over ten feet tall. Had to be trimmed every month or so. I don't know the name of the little purple flower, but the photo turned out nice.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Been there, played that

Well, this morning in church, the adult handbell choir finally played the song that I wrote. The performance was not flawless, but it was better than several of our practice runs. The congregation seemed to appreciate it and bell-ringers from other choirs made positive comments. I think that it set a good tone for the communion service which followed and I was glad to offer it up to the Lord.

A historian friend of mine informs me that today, July 2, is actually American Independence Day as this is the anniversary of the decision made to declare independence from England. The document was signed on July 4, 1776, ratifying what had already been declared. The church will celebrate by having "preacher burgers" this evening (i.e., the preacher will be cooking the burgers).

Cat's sister is in town for the long weekend. We watched Syriana last night. It was a good thing that we watched this at home on a DVD because we had to stop every so often just to be sure we all understood the plot. This is NOT a linear movie. We may watch it again now that we know who is who. But I think I will fast-forward through the torture scene--gives me the willies. Anyway, it is a sad reminder that this is a fallen world and those with lots of money are going to do their best to control the way things go. If you rent this movie, take home a comedy also so that you don't get too depressed.

Gladiolas are starting to bloom now. I don't care for the color so much, but they were already in the garden when we bought the house. As hot and dry as it has been here in Fake Cow Town, we are glad to see anything blooming. The hibiscus is getting ready to bloom so I will try to get a good shot when the yellow flowers unfold. So how is your weekend going? I'm going to take a nap now.