Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Won!!! Again!!!

I finished my novel!!!
*Happy dance! Happy Dance!*

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wonderful Widgets

In case anyone wants to keep track of my phenomenal NaNoWriMo progres....

And here's a day-by-day view of things too...

(The colors represent how much I wrote in relation to the 1667 minimum - light green is above, light red is below, dark green is WAY above, and dark red is way below. Hence November 1st represents 4K words in a day where as November 7th was around 150 words.)

Twelve days in and I'm already past the halfway point!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Kicking some NaNoWriMo Butt!

If anyone's interested in tracking my NaNoWriMo progress, you can do so here. I'm proud to say that I'm over 4000 words ahead of the daily minimum. And what's even more shocking is that I actually like my novel. This one has a running chance at being readable...

Monday, October 27, 2008



Two months sans a blog entry.

Why has nobody chastised me about this???

Too much Facebooking perhaps... By the way, since when did Facebook become a verb? When I saw Neil Gaiman earlier this month he poked fun at someone who asked a question about writing short stories versus novels and "how to transition between the two" - Gaiman pointed out "why not just use the word 'move'? Transition is a noun..." Facebook is a noun, my friends. (Oops, sorry for the John McCain moment there.... Used to be that was my Ditka-ism, now it makes everyone think of McCain.) And yes, I did get to see Neil Gaiman earlier this month on his book tour for The Graveyard Book. Yes, he is an amazingly awesome person. Yes, The Graveyard Book was an amazingly awesome book. No, Gaiman is not as funny in person as he is on paper... he's actually a great deal funnier in person! He had a lot of amusing advice on writing and I think I may need to invest in some goat bones before tackling NaNoWriMo again. Oh yeah... did I mention that I'll be writing another novel next month? I'm going for writing fantasy this time and I'm reading the new R.A. Salvatore novel as inspiration. It's sort of a dual edge though because on the one hand he's the type of action/introspective writer that I can only dream of someday stylizing myself after but on the other hand his stuff is so cool that it makes me want to write down my own ideas.

Bottom line, I probably won't be blogging much until December - perhaps a new Twelve Blogs of Christmas series will be in order - but as always, if anyone else wants to join me on the NaNoWriMo adventure I'll welcome you with open arms of psychotic encouragement!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Glad Bags

Consider this a free-for-all on my thoughts at present since it's been way to long since I've touched this blog. My last entry was one of the songs we sang at my great-aunt's funeral last month. (The long story that I won't tell here is that part of my absence from blogging was back to back weeks of out of state funerals in the month of August.) I don't want to dwell on the song because it really makes me cry, but I do want to say a few words in remembrance of my Aunt Pat.

Many of you know that my dad's mom has Alzheimer's disease. It's really hard to face the fact that my parents, siblings and I are virtual strangers to my grandma, but I'd always been blessed to have my dad's aunt as a close relative - in distance and relationship. (She's actually the only relative on my dad's side of the family that made it to my wedding.) In July we got word that she had been diagnosed with an aggressive and metastatic form of lung cancer that quickly spread to her brain. She was placed in hospice care when she didn't respond to treatment and though the doctor's said "weeks to live" I don't know that any of us knew just how literal the "weeks" part was. Just over a month from the initial news, Aunt Pat passed away.

I won't deny the sadness that comes with losing a dear one in such a short time - even with the chance to mentally prepare for her passing, it was still a shock to hear that she died - but I think Aunt Pat, given the option, would prefer not to have had her illness anymore drawn out. This was a woman who lived the essence of "carpe diem". As a former Detroit police inspector her life was marked by fast cars and adventurous vacations and I can only guess that she would have wanted the end of her life to be equally expedited.

At the funeral I had the pleasure of meeting some of her friends that she often travelled with. Oddly enough I heard several of them introduce themselves saying, "I'm one of the Glad Bags". Thinking only of Ziploc, I inquired about the name and it was explained to me that in WWII there was a popular comic strip about an unfortunate private called "Sad Sack" and many groups of men returning from the war called themselves The Sad Sacks. Taking a twist on this and wanting a positive spin, the group of ladies that included my great aunt titled themselves The Glad Bags. The name and their friendship has lasted ever since.

During the funeral service, the priest remarked on their group and noted that it is a rare and beautiful thing to make the choice for joy - to choose to be a Glad Bag in a world populated by Sad Sacks. I think that's a lesson that Aunt Pat taught with every day that she lived and even in death she speaks it still. I feel like I've been saying a lot of goodbyes with this blog lately, so in the spirit of The Glad Bags I won't say Goodbye Aunt Pat.

Instead I'll go with Sayonara - translation: Til we meet again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Hymn Remembered

You shall cross the barren desert but you shall not die of thirst
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand,
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow Me,
And I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown
If you walk amidst the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side
Know that I am with you, through it all.

Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow Me
And I will give you rest.

Blessed are the poor for the Kingdom shall be theirs
Blest are you that weep and mourn for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of Me
Blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow Me
and I will give you rest.

~Robert J. Dufford, Based on Isaiah 43:2-3; Luke 6:20

Monday, August 04, 2008

Feeding the Addiction

I told myself I wasn't going to do it.
I tried to resist.
I couldn't hold out for long.
I suppose it was inevitable.
Peer pressure has always been a weakness of mine.
Family pressure even more so.
And sometimes it is true when they say "everybody's doing it".
I gave in and joined the crowd.

I'm now on Facebook.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Morneau Wins, But Hamilton Shines

Justin Morneau was crowned the 2008 Home Run Derby Champion with a total of 22 homers. He hit 5 in the third round - the round that matters. I have to at least tip my hat to any member of the Minnesota Twins that can win my favorite slugging competition (as my earliest childhood baseball memories were cheering for the World Champs in the late 80s), however, nobody is talking about Justin Morneau.

A new hero emerged at the HRD with a phenomenal and record-breaking 28 home runs in the first round alone. That's right, he hit more HR's in round 1 than winner Morneau hit in all three rounds combined, and though 3 dingers in the third round declared that Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers walked away with second place, he was first in everyone's hearts. His power hitting was not the only thing that garnered him the respect of his peers, the admiration of the crowds and the talk of the town. Josh Hamilton had a much greater weapon in his arsenal than his bat: his story.

Certainly fans knew that Hamilton was not going to be the typical HRD slugger when his pitcher was introduced. We're used to BP coaches throwing for these things, or in the case of last year's outing by Matt Holliday, a friend or relative. Hamilton surprised many when his pitcher took the field - 71 year old Clay Council, Hamilton's high school coach. Not only was Council thrilled to be invited to the festivities and to pitch to Josh at Yankee Stadium, but the man threw 54 pitches in the first round - 28 of which were knocked out of the park! I was ensnared by Hamilton's excitement and charm when after his first slam the crowd went wild and he was heard to remark, "That was awesome, dude!"

Yet even this is not what earns Hamilton the all-too-rare status of role model. His story encompasses a much greater battle and includes a testimony that he openly shares about how he reached where he is today by hitting rock bottom and finding his way back to the top through a relationship with Jesus Christ. I can't even come near to describing his amazing life so I'll send you out to read it in his own words: "I'm proof that hope is never lost."
I loved how Hamilton unabashedly attributed his performance and his very life to the work of God and Jesus. It seems so rare and awkward when God can be worshiped and proclaimed outside of church but Josh Hamilton was able to share his testimony to a packed house at Yankee Stadium and an audience of millions. In that respect, there is nothing second-place about his finish and he will easily be remembered as the hero of the night. Thanks for the show, Josh, but even more, thanks for the story!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Baseball Tip For the Non-Fans

The Home Run Derby is on tonight and following my tradition (2006, 2007) I'm destined to blog about it. Tune in tomorrow - or sometime later this week - for my thoughts on the beloved HRD as well as the All Cubs... I mean All Star Game. For those of you tuning in to the competition tonight I thought I would help out the non-baseball-junkies a bit. As my random act of kindness for the day I'd like to clear something up....

This is Evan Longoria:

This is Eva Longoria:

Oh, what a difference a single letter can make.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Chasing Rainbows

Tony and I spent the last weekend in June on a mini-vacation to Galena, IL and Dubuque, IA. We visited a National Historic Park about an hour north of Dubuque called Effigy Mounds. Very cool place, by the way. We did some hiking but fortunately - yes, fortunately - we got caught in a massive rainstorm half way through a three mile hike. We were drenched from head to toe but on the drive back to Dubuque a look out the window revealed a beautiful rainbow arching over the Mississippi River. As we drove onward, I couldn't help snapping pictures because each view was more spectacular. The last is by far my favorite! In some of them you can even see the double rainbow too. Granted the pictures don't quite do it justice - I had goosebumps from the sheer beauty of it (or maybe they were from the drenching rainstorm....) - but keep in mind these are all taken through the car windows with no editing or retouching done.

My mom has always said that anytime she's going through a job transition or other change in her life that God has sent her a rainbow as a sign of His goodness and faithfulness. Tony and I have said that with our current circumstances we're on an adventure, not knowing where the road will lead. The last picture is my favorite because it really looks like we're driving directly into the rainbow. I think it's a good analogy that on a wet road, gray and slicked with puddles, we can see for sure that in the distance is God's promise and we are headed straight towards His goodness, His blessings, His rainbows. Sometimes, too, you just have to be sure to enjoy the chase.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Delicious Ambiguity

"Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."
- Gilda Radner

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Boys" of Summer

Went to see the musical Jersey Boys earlier this week! For anyone unfamiliar, it's the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from humble beginnings in - you guessed it - New Jersey. (Or more accurately "Joisey".) It was a really fun show and along with having a toe-tapping time, I've had some of the songs stuck in my head for the past three days. On a silly whim the other day I serenaded Tony with one of the hits ("....At long last love has arrived, and I thank God I'm alive! You're just too good to be true, can't take my eyes off of you.") To which he responded with a laugh (my singing leaves something to be desired) and the question, "How do you know the words to so many of those songs?"

Good question. Granted I could explain away "Can't take my eyes off of you" as being present in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. And even "Let's Hang On" was covered by the a capella jazz group Manhattan Transfer on a CD that my sister and I listened to quite frequently as teens. But does that explain, "Walk Like a Man", "Sherrie", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Stay", "Dawn" or "Rag Doll"? I've always known that I had a good memory but I never quite realized how much song lyrics stay with me even more than obscure trivia or random memories. I know my parents - and even one of my coworkers - love listening to oldies radio, but I'm only just now coming to see how much I've enjoyed the old classics as well.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Our neighbor Howard passed away last night. When I say neighbor, I don't mean the people that you give a quick hi to when you're out walking the dog and otherwise know nothing about. We live in a condo, so aside from not being allowed a dog, it redefines neighbor as literally the person just across the hall from you. Someone that little by little you invite into your life, get to know, and just assume will always be there. Someone who is somehow, part of what you know as "home". That was Howard.

Everyone in our condo complex knew Howard. He turned 90 last December but his jovial nature and easy conversation reflected a much younger spirit. Summers in particular have always been marked by after-work patio conversations about current events, baseball, and sometimes even the nostalgic reflections of the good ol' days - Howard was a Navy man during WWII and pride always shone brightly in his eyes when he talked about his days on an Aircraft Carrier ("You wouldn't believe the size of that thing!"). And he used to grow tomatoes too. Even better than the farmer's market were Howard's patio grown tomatoes that he was always willing to share.

You get so used to someone that it's hard to stop and think that they're no longer in this world.

His wife is doing well and has the support of several children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren around her. She's assured us that Howard is in a better place now, and there is joy in knowing that, but he will be dearly missed.
Rest in peace, and thanks for being a part of our lives.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


I think I've been a little too vague and obscure lately. Some of you have gotten the whole schpiel including some that probably didn't care to hear near as many details as they got. To explain, I think it's best just to say that God's had a lot of stuff to teach me lately and here's the lessons in a brief rundown:

1 - Pray. Anytime, anywhere. It does make a difference. It's good for you, good for others, and God really does like hearing from you. Doesn't have to be fancy. Even a string of expletives followed by "I really really need you right now, God" or "why, why, why" choked out through tears will count.

2 - Call on others to call on God with you. Whether it's praying in a group or just asking others to join in your petition, there really is strength in numbers. Thanks to those of you who are my numbers and my strength.

3 - Answers are nice but not necessary. Clarity is a beautiful thing but in terms of prayers being answered, life rarely solves itself as neatly and easily as we'd like. And then there's that oh so common issue of just when one thing seems to be settling down another heap of doo-doo hits the proverbial fan...

These might not seem like major things to learn. Probably some part of my brain learned them all a long time ago too. But I'm a woman of action. I like to solve my own problems and be a fixer whenever I can. It's a pretty big step for me to try to trust and believe that sometimes all God wants me to "do" is call on Him and seek His help, His love, His guidance and His comfort.

Friday, May 09, 2008


"All the things I want to say
All at once they wash away
As You walk by, out of mind
My thoughts fly away

All the things I long to hear
Suddenly they reappear
You say in that hour Your holy Power
Will wipe away my fears

I can hear You cry out loud
When You Answer Me
Once again I am revived
When You answer me You answer me with love

To know You are I Am
Confidence of lion lying with the lamb
In greener fields, with all my zeal,
Is hard to comprehend

I can hear You cry out loud
When You Answer Me
Once again I am revived
When You answer me You answer me with love
With love so understanding
I can hardly catch my breath
Seeing this I wonder how You have any love left
Left me not alone
When I did not believe
Through the darkness, through the darkness You answer me

I can hear You cry out loud
When You Answer Me
Once again I am revived
When You answer me You answer me with love"

-Jennifer Knapp

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


"I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain,
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty,
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness.

Word of God speak."
-Mercy Me


Tuesday, May 06, 2008


"Cause this life is too short to live it just for you,
But when you feel so powerless, what are you gonna do?"

- Nelly Furtado

I think the only answer I can come up with right now is pray.
A lot.

Friday, April 18, 2008

St. Baldrick's (long story)

By order of the post title, this is going to be my full entry of the St. Baldrick's Event. For those that want the abbreviated version, it's in my last post (here). You've probably already heard by now that The BeeGeeS had a goal of raising $2000. At the start of the event, Dad and Tony were at about $2500 - a phenomenal total! - but the tally would rise even higher before the day was done. We invited all our family and friends to come witness the event and little did we know that it would turn into two new members for the team: Andrew and Dan! (We decided that we then had to capitalize the "S" in BeeGeeS to include all the represented last names.) These guys set day long goals of $150 and $250 to lose their locks and both pulled in their amounts in a few short hours at the event. Along with the extra $75 that Tony raised to shave his beard as well, and a few more donations online from coworkers, family and friends - Team BeeGeeS pulled in over $3000 for pediatric cancer research!! I haven't heard the official totals for how much the event raised - last announced was $22,000 - but it was wonderful to see so many people giving so generously to a cause that I have long been passionate about.

I know I've been saying this a lot, but I am overflowing with gratitude to all of our donors! Please see our "Donation Honor List" to recognize these individuals and families. And also, a huge thank you to those that have donated by check or cash (their names are not listed yet) - but especially to Tony's coworkers as well as our church family at CCC (DownTown campus - we love you!!!).

And now for some more fun pictures!

Those barbers have their work cut out for them....

But are they responsible for lost hair?

I really think the 80's rap star look could make a comeback this year!
A little mousse and he could be a part of a Kid 'N Play revival!

"You don't understand... I'm like Uncle Jesse from Full House - I LOVE my hair!"

Past the point of no return.... unless you want to be Dr. Phil...

A great look for a great cause!

Because razors aren't scary when you get a lollipop to go with them!

"Our husbands are bald AND we get funny glasses to wear!"

Congratulations BeeGeeS! You guys look great!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Pictures (short story)

Okay a longer and more detailed post will be coming soon, but for now, here's the St. Baldrick's Report:




With further thanks to all of our sponsors! And yes, Team BeeGeeS gained two more members at the event, but all that will be in my next post (long story). Love, Blessings, and Thanks to all!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

...And the Money Kept Rolling In!

Can I just say....WOW!
See our current progress (and add your own contribution!) here!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Nearing a Goal

So here's the latest St. Baldrick's Fundraising Report:

The Donate Online Link is included in my previous posts if anyone is still interested in giving!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Just so you know...

Blogger Arrow will not be converting to the new Google Weblogs. You'll have to find my best content all on your own, sorry. I was going to send out an email about it yesterday but my GMail Custom Time feature doesn't seem to be working right now. ;)

Happy April Fool's Day!

....And for something that's not a joke, The BeeGees are over halfway to their goal! Keep spreading the word and sharing the love! Donations can be done online here!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Clothes Make the Man (...or Woman)

My church has put out a new 21-day challenge (a reading plan of 21 days of scripture) through the letters of Paul. Yesterday's verses were from chapter 3 of Colossians and the following verse jumped out at me:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." - Colossians 3:12, NIV

I wrote a bunch in my journal about it and I can't do all my thoughts justice here, but basically I think it's an interesting analogy to consider virtues as clothing for Christ followers. We live in a society in which clothes are often our first impression of people and whether we like it or not, clothing sends snap judgments about other people straight into our brains. (Would you think the woman who cut in front of you at the mall was snobbish if she wasn't dressed in a Gucci ensemble with Prada shoes and a Ferragamo purse? Would you assume the man on a bench at the train station was homeless if he was wearing a Brooks Brothers suit instead of a tattered winter coat?) In Biblical times too I'm sure that clothes also were a sort of statement. Rich people could obviously afford expensive dyes and nicer cloth and religious leaders were probably most recognizable by their dress. So the message is timeless - clothes will tell other people something about you. Thus, if as Christ followers, our first message to the world is that we are covered with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" we're going to more accurately display who God is to those that do not know him. Those attributes should be the first things that others see in us. We must live out and show them, not just think and feel them. Just as we must consciously choose what to wear every morning, we must also consciously choose to wear these virtues in our daily lives.

That's what I'm meditating on today. And as I'm sure you've come to expect, here's the fundraising report for our St. Baldrick's team. Extreme gratitude to everyone contributing. (And if you haven't yet, you can donate online here!) I might sound like a broken record but I really can't say it enough: THANK YOU!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Something Yellow

I bought a bunch of daffodils at the train station on Friday morning as a fundraiser for the American cancer society.* A few started to open during the day and by Saturday morning all ten of them were fully open. I used them as a centerpiece for Easter brunch and I realized that daffodils make me happy. Seriously. I just kept smiling every time I looked at them. So in my random ponderings I came up with a short list of yellow things that make me smile:

1.) Daffodils
2.) Sunshine
3.) Mountain Dew
4.) Big Bird
5.) Tony in a Yellow Shirt

*And speaking of fundraisers for cancer research, it's not too late to donate to The BeeGees for St. Baldrick's Foundation!

Friday, March 21, 2008

St. Baldrick's Update

Getting Closer!
Hoping we can at least hit the halfway mark by the end of the month! (Donate Here) Thanks to all our awesome supporters thus far!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Help Fight Children's Cancer!

Many of you have heard by now about the fundraiser that I've gotten involved in to raise money for Pediatric Cancer Research (a field I've worked in for 5+ years). For those that are not in the loop, let me tell you about the St. Baldrick's Foundation. See like St. Patrick before him, St. Baldrick is an Irish saint but unlike the snakes that St. Patrick chased out of Ireland, St. Baldrick was responsible for ridding the Irish of their hair.... Okay so that's not at all true. St. Baldrick is a fictional character - a portmanteau combining St. Patrick and the word Bald - giving his saintly name to the Foundation that encourages volunteers to shave their heads in solidarity with the children who lose their hair to the harmful treatments for cancer.

Next month, two amazing men - my husband and father - are going under the razor and shaving their heads to raise money for this most noble charity! I am so proud of them and their willingness to make this sacrifice. Thank you so much for those that have already donated to their team (The BeeGees)! We are nearing the halfway point to our fundraising goal and if anyone is interested in contributing to the cause, every little bit helps! (Seriously, even if you can spare $10, $15 or $20 - the contributions really do add up!!) The online donation is really easy and you can click here to help out our team!

Meanwhile I thought I would post a little progress meter so that people can keep track of how close we are to the goal!

Act now to be the honored donor who pushes us over the $700 mark! ;)

Thanks again to everyone supporting us! I am so thankful to have six healthy nieces/nephews but I've seen up close the devastating effects that cancer has on individuals and families - especially when the patients are children. The cure for cancer lies not in harsher treatments but in research and the promise of new therapeutics. It really means a lot to me to have others contribute to this cause and make the statement that they believe in research and the work I do!

Thanks and blessings to all!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

ECON 102

There was a guy sitting in the seat opposite me on the train this morning reading, likely studying, an economics textbook. When the conductor came around to collect tickets, the gentleman pulled out his wallet to find that he only had $5. Tickets are up to four something now but there's a two dollar extra fee for buying on the train versus at the station. Seeing panic in the young man's eyes and annoyance from the conductor, I offered the guy a free ride courtesy of a punch on my ten-ride ticket that I keep in my wallet in case of emergencies.* He thanked me profusely but I replied simply "pay it forward" - the instructions I was given when a similar situation last fall left me in the young man's position with a stranger providing my fare.

But the Econ book did take my memories back to my freshman year of college. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:15-11:45 in the South Rec Room of Allen Hall was my Microeconomics course that, despite the good grade I earned, I positively loathed. Here's where I should probably insert an apology to those that liked Econ or maybe even majored in it: sorry I hate your subject but it's all good 'cause chances are you can't stand biochemistry so we're even. The only thing I can actually claim to have "learned" from Economics is what econ folks will tell you is the most important thing to know about econ: The Law of Supply and Demand. Good thing I learned it, right? Seeing as how it's a "Law" and all. Basically it's a common sense type thing that says as the quantity (supply) of something goes up, the price of that thing (demand) goes down. The place where supply and demand are at an equilibrium is the ideal price. (I like the part where it talks about equilibrium cause that sounds more sciencey.) The whole concept is better explained with a graph - which is why I remember it, it's sort of like a math problem:

That's the part of Econ I could tolerate. It's when everything got all businessy and theoretical that I wanted to puke. Or maybe just snooze. Regardless, I find there are times when I think back about Supply and Demand and how it really does apply to life. Even in terms of God and the church. I don't really think that as a whole, there is a big "demand" for church in this country. We have plenty of "supply" - drive through Wheaton, IL and there's one on every corner, sometimes two or three! But with this surplus of buildings has come a sort of devaluing of the product. Is church worth an investment of time (and maybe even money) to the average American? I somehow think that maybe there's come a perception that the "price" of church is lower than it should be for most people. We take it for granted. It's always there, same as our Target, Meijer and Jewel. And God's around too. Whenever we need him, no big deal. It's everyday, ordinary, it's a surplus of church. And yet... what value should we be giving to the shining bride of Christ? To a beacon of light in darkness? To our city on a hill?

For an instant let's look at the flip side of this scenario and envision an unspecified East Asian country where there are few Christian churches. As soon as the quantity mark moves to the "shortage" area of the supply line, we see an entirely new intersection with "demand" on the graph. Price - or value, if you will - has suddenly skyrocketed! And sure enough, we find believers meeting in secret, missionaries smuggling Bibles, and overall a passion for God that changes lives and in some cases induces martyrdom. If that example is too far off home turf, think back to your home ground in the days following September 11, 2001. In the midst of tragedy, when many people seemed sure that God was far away - in short supply - there was a huge demand for Him. Prayer services were organized. Bibles were opened. Worship houses were packed. People actively sought His presence, healing and comfort because it seemed (quite falsely) that we were not in a state of surplus of His love.

This is where Econ will always fail us. The Law of Supply and Demand will never fit God's character. Economics has no way to accommodate something (aka God) with infinite price and infinite supply of which we will always be in absolute shortage.** There's no such thing as having enough of God. Equilibrium can never be reached. The less you have, the more you need; the more you have, the more you want. That's called Grace and much as I love math, there's not really any way to graph it. It's best displayed by a stranger buying you a train ticket. You say, "Give me your name and address so I can pay you back," but the stranger just smiles and says, "Pay it forward instead."

*There was something just a little ironic in seeing someone reading economics unable to come up with train fare. That's my wicked side sneaking in, sorry!

**This is why I stick with science, physics says that a thing can be in two places at once depending on whether you look at it, that's a little more God-style.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I know, I know....

I really need to blog more.
And I will.
But not now.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Birthday Cake

Here's some pictures of the cake I made for Tony's birthday. I don't want to brag.... oh, wait, yes I do! I'm pretty proud of how it turned out!!

(top view)

(front view)

(back view)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tournament of Roses Parade (Part 1)

Preface, 2/7/08: I can't really explain the blogging hiatus other than that most of my thoughts just haven't been put to keyboard. I'll see what I can make up for in the next moth or so. Expect more back-posted entries like this one.

As many of you have heard, Tony and I had the privilege to spend our anniversary in California this year. Next to seeing family, the highlight of the trip was undeniably the Tournament of Roses Parade. I'll spare my Illini comrades the pain of discussing "The Game" but since I'm ages overdue for an update I thought I'd lean on the Picture's Worth A Thousand Words mantra and hope that this makes up for my lack of writing. Here's a quick tour through some of our favorite floats.This one was called "Wild Western Days" and featured a full stunt team. In this shot one of the dancing girls is slapping the guy with her purse but at one point the two men were having a full fist fight on top of the float and one of them threw the other over the front of the railing. It's also a self-built float which we thought was really cool (many of the others int he parade were done by professional companies).

This is an extreme close up of a float called "Preservation Celebration". It featured giant tigers and peacocks all made of flowers and Jack Hannah from The Animal Planet was sitting on the front of it. However, Tony took this picture especially for me because despite all the cool things to see, I was pointing and telling him "It's got monkeys!!!!"

This was one of the most innovative floats in my mind. It was sponsored by Honda and was called "Passport to the Future. It started as a truck and then opened up like a Transformer to turn into a spaceship complete with an astronaut in the cockpit. It was very creative and entertaining!

No parade would be complete without a marching band and The Rose Parade featured almost two dozen of them. Call me biased, but of course The Marching Illini were by far my favorite act! Our whole section was Illini fans so we were all on our feet singing and cheering, but as is always the case these days you had a few people in the group complaining about the retirement of the University's former "mascot", Chief Illiniwek. Needless to say when this next float came by a few groups after the Illini, our section was all too glad to claim his as their own.

It was technically a float sponsored by Farmer's Insurance titled "Celebrating Our Rich Heritage" but to the die hard orange-and-blues around us the only name it needed was "CHIEEEEEEEEF!!!!"
This was a float titled "The Magic of Mardi Gras". It was sponsored by FTD and was one of the most colorful and bright floats we saw. Of course in this picture the clown face just looks a little scary.... Moving on....
"Celebrating America's Favorite Pastime" was obviously commemorating baseball and more specifically the Los Angeles Dodgers. They had really cool blue fireworks spewing out of it but the funniest part of this float was that from about the distance seen in this picture Tony was recognizing the sports legends seated behind the giant floral baseball player. If you're me, you didn't even realize at this point that there were people seated back there but sure enough baseball-boy Tony saw, recognized and named almost all of them. You can quiz yourself if you like. And I'll even provide some closeups:

To my credit I was the one to recognize and point out former Cubs shortstop Nomar Garciaparra (second from the left in the "Dugout").

(To be continued.......)

Tournament of Roses Parade (Part 2)

(In case you linked straight here, don't miss Part One!)

Forgive the person's head that accidentally popped into this picture but as you can hopefully tell, the Grand Marshall of the parade this year was Emeril Lagasse. For most floats, we clapped or cheered but when he went by we gave him our loudest, "BAM!"

This was another fun and whimsical one titled "We Celebrate Families" by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California. I should probably mention too that these photos haven't been edited or retouched at all. The colors really were that vibrant!

This was another really creative float called "The World's Celebration Destination" sponsored by the City of Anaheim. It featured the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks!

"Rainforest Fiesta" was one of my favorites for the sheer fact that it was just really darn cute!

If the Rainforest wins in my book for "cute", then this one titled "Valentine's Day" certainly gets my vote for pretty. (Who knew it would be Valentine's Day before I got around to sharing these pictures??!?) Both of these were self-built floats, too!

Aslan is on the move! ...Or at least his float is! I really liked all the different shades of yellow and brown that they used on the lion head in this float that was honoring Lions Club International. The seeds and grasses almost gave the appearance of textured fur too!

"Guardians of Harmony" was the name of this float and it was by far the hardest one too get a good photograph of. First off, the thing was ginormous! It was done by the two Cal Poly University campuses (self-built!) and in case the size didn't pose enough of a camera problem, it was moving. Yes, I know everything is moving in a parade, but the serpenty body on the dragon was actually spinning like a corkscrew!

(To Be Continued....Again....)