Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks

Hello all of my half dozen readers. I hope you are all basking in the post tryptophan pre-surge on the mall warmth of the season. Don't forget the reason for this. Cicero once said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all others." I think it is wise to start the Christmas season remember what we have to be thankful for, not simply scanning the catalogs for what we want and don't have.

Here are a few things I am thankful for:
* Feeling the baby kick every day
* The frosty feel of pre-winter days that will warm up nicely
* A husband who wakes up from a dead sleep to rub my back when morning sickness hits
* Family - both biological and chosen
* God's intimacy
* belly laughing

What are you grateful for? This list can never be too long or too trivial.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

East Weds West

My Sweet's family is not one that follows tradition. If it were, I am sure he would have ended up marrying some nice Japanese girl-next-door. His sister's wedding was an interesting combination of East meets West. She did not wear a wedding kimono, but did change dresses half way through (it is usual for the bride to wear a kimono and then change into two different Western dresses during the reception) giving her uncle the honor of escorting her to the changing room.

We started in a room with just family, bride's on the right side and groom's on the left with everyone in a particular seating order. Then each member is formally introduced individually by the father. There was lots of bowing and nary a smile cracked by anyone. Then we file into the hotel chapel which included an American pastor (My Sweet's family is not Christian) who spoke in Japanese for everything except praying. Then he shifted from a gentle "We are gathered here today..." to a deep booming "Our Heavenly Father who granteth all..." Ok, I can understand that the booming voice is part of the show (though I do not think my giggles helped), but why in English? It was not like they were in any way long or extemporanious! Oh well, I did not get a chance to ask him because he has 4 other ceremonies to preside over. But we ended the service with "What a Friend We Have in Jesus", which I found out later was a well known hymn in Japan. This song has always struck me as a bit somber for a wedding - forfeited joys and needles pains bared and all. I just pray that people who sang it will at sometime contemplate the words.

The reception had a fabulous six course meal, and my sister-in-law read the "Letter to the Parents" thanking her parents for many things that My Sweet was unable to translate. When she spoke about their late father and the regrets she had, she totally lost it. Then the bride and groom walked around the room with all parents, and the groom welcomed the bride's family as part of his family.

Of course there was the cutting of the wedding cake. But my sister-in-law did something special. After that was done, they brought out another cake for My Sweet and I to cut. You see, we never did anything official in Japan for our wedding, and because of different issues, none of his family was able to attend our wedding in America. I was totally choked up by her planning to include us on her special day. Waterproof mascara my Aunt Fanny!

One last thing - all the women in the bridal party got their hair and makeup done by the pros. Here is a telling difference between uber-polite Japan and America. When I sat down in the chair, the gal working on me said, "I like the color of your hair." Now four days earlier when I got my hair cut at home, my hairdresser watched me come in and sighed, "You colored your own hair again. You're not going to Japan like that, are you?" Here in Japan I had at one point 5 people working on me! In the end I looked like a dolled up Barbara Jean Heart from the TV show Reba. It was fun for a party. But I did notice one thing. The more makeup they applied to me, the older I looked. This is great when you are 16 and want to look like you are in your 20's. But really, when you're 40 and people tell you that you look 30, you don't want to look 45. By the way, thanks for the great genes Mom. The more make up you wear, the more people assume you have something to cover up. In the end I looked like a gal ready for a good time. Which I was!

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Land of The Rising Sun

Well, My Sweet and I have come to Japan for my sister-in-law's wedding. I have just a few comments about the incredibly long plane ride over here. First of all the baby did not make me throw up, but I think this speaks more to the quality of the airline food than to anything else. Secondly it was pleasing to see airline attendants of all shapes, sizes, ages, and masculinities. Thirdly, I must be getting hormonal. I gave a deep "Oh my" as I watched the bitter sweet love story Away From Her where two people make the most selfless sacrifices for the person they love. But man I really lost it in the next movie a few hours later. When everyone finally saw that Steve Carell (sniff, sniff) was right about the coming flood and that they needed to get their bleeping behinds on the ark before they were swept away, I cried a river!

Here are a few things I was thinking as we traveled through Tokyo from the airport to Super Swank hotel where the wedding weekend was going on. First of all I knew I was in Japan when I saw a grown woman with her green Snoopie embossed Sampsonite. Also at the airport there were hoards of begloved taxi drivers in suits and standing patiently inside the terminal (no one descending upon the new arrivals, nor are they jockeying to cut in front of someone else. Also, drivers multi task here just as dangerously as we do at home - for example there was the businessman I saw texting, drinking something from Starbucks and driving in the rain. And I do not know if this intentional or not, but just outside the airport is the First Wood Hotel, followed by the Rainbow Hotel, and finally was a very purple and pink hotel or apartment building.

One last first impression. If you watched the movie Lost in Translation, you know Japanese LOVE to have Western stars hawk their goods. Today I saw though guy Tommy Lee Jones on a billboard for a coffee company. The name Boss Coffee works for me, but the fact that it is a Rainbow Blend does not do for Mr. This-is-my-happy-face.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Stein Way

My Dear Sweet Mother forwarded this email to me, and it made me go "Humm", and maybe it will you, too. Much of it was written by Mr. Stein, and some was written by someone else (thanks doodah!). It does make me go Humm.
If they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to sway juries and make people think clearly.
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are:Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something lik e this Happen?" (regarding Katrina)
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government
and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?" (She said the same thing when interviewed after 9-11)

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide).
We said an expert should know what he's talking about.
And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their
classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe,
or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards. honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Purest Artform

One of the things about throwing up every other evening (I haven't mentioned this in like a whole post yet, I think I must be getting better), I have been watching more mindless TV. The other night My Sweet and I watched a hilariously serious documentary called Air Guitar Nation. Every year a college town in Finland holds the World's Airguitar Championship.

These are the rules for entering this contest: The artist's instrument must be INVISIBLE.
There you have it. Everything else is a go.
But what makes a winner, you may be asking. Well, I will tell you.
* These young men and women must dig deep into their soul to discover and show their Airness.
* They must realize that air guitar is the last pure art form.
* Someone may steal your guitar, but they can never steal your air.

Check out the first ever American competitor - C-Diddy - as he performs in the US East Coast semifinals.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Fall is in the Air

Most people mark the beginning of Fall with the start of school. Where I work school begins in the middle of August, so that has stopped being the door to life's greatest season. But about a week ago I noticed that each I needed to change the temperature gage in my car from as way cold as possible to cool. Now it is on warm. Fall is here! (Que music) "It's the most wonderful time of the year". "Shorts worn with swearters, and fresh crispy apples, cider, hot chocolate and fun pumpkin patches, bright colored tree leaves in which a bird sings, these are a few of my favorite things".

And I think this weekend I will have to do my ceremonial "putting away of the Birkenstalks". Yes, they are to be boxed away until next May. Huge Sigh!

I mentioned school earlier, and I just have to share an extreme example of teenage melodrama. Hopefully you parents will sigh with relief knowing that your kids really are pretty well adjusted.

We got a new student this year who can be incredibly charming, but is also a bit of a hothead. The reason he did not come to our school last year is that his ex-girlfriend was our student, and her family took out a restraining order against him. Well, on Friday the ex-girlfriend came by our and when she walked by my window I practically had to sit on him to stop him from yelling obscenities out the window. Then one girl in another class, who swears that she is tired of "all the drama" yet can't seem to keep her cute little nose out of any of it, texts my student's current girlfriend (who at one point last year got pissed and beat up a car) who promptly calls my student on cell phones, which are supposed to be turned off, and yell at him for being near "that hussy". My student goes ballistic, leaves class and just Tiggers right over the fence! At this point we call the cops, his parole officer and both sets of parents to let them know what is going on. My student ends up spending the weekend in the pokey. I have this image of my student and his girlfriend being a hot blooded couple hitting each other over the head with frying pans one minute and passionately making out the next. It makes for great TV stories, but terrible family life.

On a lighter note, I hope everyone enjoyed National Talk Like A Pirate Day, matie.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Projects Done

Well, I said that this isn’t going to make this an All-Baby-All-The-Time blog. However I wanted to share this with you because I am quite proud of it. The baby bootie is my first 3-D crochet project. You see, my friends think that I am a real wiz with the hook, but I really have only a few things I do pretty well, mostly scarves and afghans (which are in a way big scarves). Plus I can talk a good game so it is not too hard to bluff my way around. Fortunately one of the things I can do is read a pattern, so with some patience and time spent not throwing up, I was able to puzzle this out.

Now as you can see, there is only one bootie. This is because I did do a few other things last weekend. Friday was the annual My Town Holiday, which My Sweet and I decided to celebrate once the heat came down. Man, there were some people doing some scrounging around out there. I bet those things will show up at some nearby flea market pretty soon. More power to them – they were working much harder than I want to on a holiday. Amongst the cute bowls and slightly scratched plant stands, I found two jewels that I can not believe someone didn't find room to take with them. They are, get this, Lord of the Rings Monopoly (missing only missing the special Ring playing piece), and end of second season of Lost jigsaw puzzle. Can you believe it!?! Me neither! My Sweet and I spent a good chunk of the weekend putting the puzzle together. That is when I wasn’t in the bathroom experiencing the “pains in childbearing”.

I actually wrote the article last Sunday, and would have posted it then except for one little thing. Since hooking up with My Sweet, a professional and recreational computer type of guy, I can become more and more computer retarded. I could not figure out how to suck the pictures from the camera to the computer to where I can upload it. Not that I am mentally too incompetent to figure it out. It is just so much easier to have him do it –zip, zip, zip. Several years ago the first of my friends got married. Over coffee one morning she told me, “It’s funny, since getting married Ivan has forgotten where the kitchen is and I can no longer lift anything over ten pounds.” This coming from an extremely independent woman whose favorite verb tense is the imperative (that is the technical term for giving a command for all the non English geeks out there). Hopefully I will be able to over come this significant-other-can-do-it-easier-it is. But for now I am just trying to overcome the feeling of nauseousness. (Have I mentioned throwing up yet?) Do you know I have actually lost some weight! I can hardly weight until going to the all you can eat Korean BBQ will pay off.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

OK, OK, I'll Update

Well, Dotkat has been on my case, in an ever so loving way, to get off my duff and update my blog. She also alluded to my feeling poorly in her comment in my last posting.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, as of two months ago the bun is in the oven, the rabbit has died. I am a defective typewriter (missing period - from Rizzo in Grease) and I am officially knocked up.

I got to tell you, as much as we are excited and scared about having a baby, this morning sickness thing is totally crappy. I've got headaches on a daily basis (hence the reason I don't like to be on the computer very much). Loud noises and sudden motions bug me. Also I am tired ALL THE TIME. Seriously, staying up to 8:45 is a late night for me. And Morning Sickness is a misnomer. It hits and whatever part of the day it darn well pleases. I think the baby is trying to help me lose a little weight before the "Feed me Seymore" stage hits.

My students have decided that they will get to pick at least the middle name. So in a year if you see an Alexis Juanita Lucia Smith-Fujikawa or Joe Bob Juan Carlos Schmit-Yashimoto, it will probably be my kid.

So although I do not plan to make this into a cotton candy all-baby-all-the time, you know there will be more to come.

Until then...
Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sorry I Haven't Posted in a While

Hello my millions of readers.

I have been feeling quite poorly for the past couple of weeks – including headaches that just get horrendously worse when I read anything, especially things on the computer.

As a result of this, I have been watching a lot of daytime TV. I have to tell you that while court shows are the original reality TV, they bring out a type of people watching that is reserved for being at the state fair with my deep-fried, chocolate-covered Twinkie. Come on people! When you have an agreement to pay a bill, pay it! Having troubles at work or, more often than not, mismanaging your money does not mean it is OK to pass your burdens off onto another person! This is not stated directly in the Ten Commandments, but it is implied there and stated elsewhere.

I have also heard a lot about Barry Bonds. Breaking the record kind of makes me sad. A big part of it is because did a lot of HUI (hitting under the influence). But another part is that there has been a long running record – something that has been a part of Americana for many decades. Now Mantel’s record is gone, never to be number one again. I kind of felt the same way when Susan Lucci finally received her Emmy. She was annually setting and beating her record of being nominated and not winning.

Well, my headache is starting again, so I am going to sign off. What have you been watching/doing lately?

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Desmond's Final Question

Desmond ended his interview this way:
Question five: What good books have you read in the last six months? (Feel free to go further back, if you like).
So there you have it. Please forgive me if any of the answers are obvious, and I just didn't pay attention when you answered them.
And, let me say that the general 'Joie de Vivre' tone of your blog is happily resonant for me. . .
Blessings. . .
PS - I'm also a big Larry Norman fan from way back. For one of my recent birthdays, my kids made me a 'Larry Norman Mix' CD. . .
And, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

My dear Desmond, I am a voracious reader. Before I decided to major in English, I took literature classes for fun. So I will limit myself to the last 10 books, many of them I have read since school let out. Now remember, this is summer reading – I was tempted to throw in some CS Lewis and documentary types of books to look brainy.

1. I am still reading Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller. I have liked his blunt challenge to live a faith-centered life in a very self-centered society.
2. I just finished The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I wanted to read the book before the movie comes out on DVD. (I have heard phenomenal things about the Bollywood actress who plays the mother.) Also, my favorite genre of stories is the interaction of immigrants and their children, their struggle to understand the class or mix of cultures and struggle for identity.
3. One Day More by Mitch Albom. This was a sweet read that makes you want to call your mother and say that you love her.
4. We Shouldn’t Even be Doing This by Bob Newhart. Hilarious! This isn’t so much an autobiography as it is a recollection of funny stories from his life, many of which made it into his stand-up acts. I laughed so much that I high tailed it to the library and borrowed “The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart” album. Go out right now and get it!
5. Crochet Patterns in a Weekend- what can I say? Christmas is a mere 6 months away.
6. Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland. I went to hear her speak a while ago, and she was just a lovely lady – kind of the perfect library marm. For this book she did a lot of research into the lives of Renoir and the models he used for this painting, their relations with him and each other. I love that she shooed us like a goose to her display table that was filled with documents and “frippery” about the people in her book. However, my favorite book from this author is Girl in Hyacinth Blue, another book based on a famous painting. This one creates stories of the possible owners of the paining through the years.
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The next one is coming out soon and it refreshes my memory. And yes, people will see me at the movie dressed in my Muggle outfit.
8. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. This is a fun account of his travels across Australia. My goodness this is a dangerous land. And the Aussies are very proud of this fact!
9. Homespun Tales from America’s Favorite Storytellers. I think folktales are a delightful fabric of our culture that gets lost.
10. Gardening for Dummies. We have tried growing peas and potatoes for the first time in our garden. I have also found a way to kill every lavender plant I own, and it is supposed to be unstoppable. Well, leave it to me to stop them from living.

Does anyone want me to interview him or her? If so then tell me in the comment section and I will post questions. You then answer them in your blog. Most people answer them in one post, but I tend to run on and on. You answer them in the style you like. Also, if you don't have a blog, you can answer them in the comments section and I may publish them in a post.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Friday, July 06, 2007

I Have Hope

Oh my goodness! There is a glimmer of hope for the media world! Tom Brokaw and Edward R Murry would be a little less embarrassed for their profession.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence Day

Yesterday I spent some time with my niece and nephews doing something that has become a tradition for the 4th of July – watching a pre BBQ and pre pre-fireworks movie. I am not interested in great works of art. I want to get out of the heat and escape for a little while. Now there are a few requirements for a proper 4th movie. They need to have either the fate of America, if not the entire world, at stake. There must also be a clear enemy. And in the end we need to walk out thankful we are free.

So here are my top 5 Independence Day movies:

1) Independence Day – America saves the world from creepy aliens as Will Smith shows why America is great – we are bad ass with humor!

2) Any of the Terminators – An American saves the world from evil technology! And in Terminator 2 again we have a bad ass who throws out one-liners. Actually, if you compare Terminator 1 and 2, you will see how the American society changed from the 80’s to the 90’s. The first one is full of gratuitous gore. In the 80’s we wanted things gritty and “real”. The one in the 90’s was much less disgusting and full of jokes. We fed up with “gritty” and wanted to laugh hard and have lots of explosions.

3) Indiana Jones – Evil Nazi people trying to exploit God’s power to take over the free world. The sexy and brainy American foils their plot with humor and explosions, and a bit of melting going on.

4) Armageddon – Space rock threatens the world and only a rough and tough band of independent manly Americans can save us all. It has Michael Clarke Duncan, whose voice can turn me on just by reading the telephone book, and it was my introduction to the hilarious Owen Wilson.

5) Transformers – Turn off your analysis of the plot and dialogue. This is a fun movie where alien robots try to turn everything evil, and good, powerful, alien robots come to our aid. But it takes a couple of spunky American kids to save the Earth. But I have at least one issue – if you have the fate of the world in your hands, and both a giant robot and the army guy who really knows what he is doing tells you to run to the top of a roof, do not stop and take several minutes and tell the girl you love her. Run to the top of the frigging roof! And as my nephew said, “If you do stop to tell her, then kiss her for goodness sake!”

Honorable Mention:
Air Force One – Kick ass president who puts it all on the line to do the right thing.

Enemy of the State
– American on American action is not really right for the Fourth, but it is Will Smith’s first action film that did not include an alien.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Desmon's Fourth Question

Here is the next question in Desmond's interview.

Are there any unique challenges to having an inter-cultural, inter-racial marriage? Do you have any children?

None at all! That actually is the answer to your second question. My Sweet and I were married in February, and at our reception my mother came up to me and said, “Do you know what would make a great Christmas gift for me? A grandbaby!” Come on, the wedding cake wasn’t even cut yet!

Many of the challenges are ones that are typical for any two people – how to decorate the house, control of the remote control, should there be a computer or TV in the bedroom (I usually win the decorating except for the computer room, he gets the remote usually, and no – two things usually go on there and the electronic noise is conclusive to neither).

Probably the unique challenges come often from language barriers. Although My Sweet is quite fluent in English, it is still a second language. Sometimes I will say something all too clearly and he will not know the vocabulary/slang or be having a Bad English Day. And many times if he gets lost in a conversation, he will just tune out. This is one thing when it is a group conversation, but when he tunes out when it is just the two of us – ooh man does he get it when I finally figure it out!

One of the most irritating is stereotyping. “Americans are lazy”, “My country does such-and-such better,” “This country’s health insurance is nuts!” Now often he is right, but it is still irritating. And, he is just as likely to say something crazy about Japan (and one day I may do a post about this – including the weird things you can find in Japanese vending machines).

Anther difficulty, and some may say a blessing, is that my mother-in-law lives on the other side of the planet. This means I do not have to deal with the “You are not taking proper care of my boy” issues. But then again I do not really have much of a relationship with her and my sis-in-law. My Sweet and I are in a quandary about what to do when his mother gets too old to take care of herself. She will not move to America, nor would I want to displace an elderly woman to a place where she has no friends and can not speak the language. The oldest son is supposed to take care of his parents. But we cross this bridge when we get closer to it.

Well, the final question has to do with books, and I will have plenty to say about it in my next post.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Desmond's 3rd Question

Here is the next question from Desmond’s interview. This took me a while to think how to put into words something that is very heartfelt. So here is question #3.

In one of your previous comments on this blog, you mentioned having once belonged to a Christian community. Could you tell us more about that?

My Christian Community began in college with a campus Christian fellowship. It was a fabulous time of delving into the Bible and being challenged to live out the gospel with each other and our community. The things I learned as a child were being built upon with the intensity of being 20 and in college. We tested what was said in the Bible and were thrilled when we saw they were true.

Many of us started attending a new little church that was excited about God and had a strong belief that fellowship is like the communities in Acts chapter 2. We didn’t sell everything we had and share the money, but if we had something someone else needed, we gladly lent or even gave it to them. Did someone need to move? 20 people would show up on moving day, with half a dozen coming before to help clean so you can get your deposit back. Did someone need prayer? We would pray for hours if needed. Worship was intense. Trust built up to where you could share with several people your struggles and pain without judgment – but also know these people would help you seek God’s discernment. I went away for several years to work with a Christian organization, and when it was time to come back I purposely returned to this community.
Now there are as many explanations about why this church broke up as there are people involved. I am going to share my perspective and welcome comments from other members or friends of members to share their ideas.

As I mentioned earlier, I spent many years overseas attending churches where I barely spoke the language. Worship was awesome – God knowing the depth if the words I sung even more than I did. However the sermons were tough for me to follow. So, once I got lost, which was pretty quickly, I tuned out and meditated on the scripture passage. Even when I had translators, I was always analyzing what was said because I know things often got mixed up in translation. Once I came back to America, I kind of did the same thing even though the sermon was in English. More often than not I would tune out what the sermon said or take what the pastor said and analyze it until it made sense to me. Hence I didn’t really catch on to when the pastor started preaching things that were not really bad, but not Biblical.

Also, with as much desire as everyone had to love everyone for Christ, we were not growing as a church. Everyone was therefore doing everything, so if someone needed a break or sabbatical, there was no one to step up to the plate and you saw the ministry you put your heart and sweat into falter or die. There was a lot of guilt not to take a break. If any kind of long-term need came up we were too stretched to properly take on the challenge.

I would add to this issues I have with many churches. One is the lack of young men, especially single men in church and the causes behind that. Another is how single women are a kind of second class citizens who have to “be protected” like young children – regardless of their age or spiritual maturity.

Eventually the people in the top tier of leadership reached beyond their limit and either moved away of left for another church. There were deep wounds all around, and within a year the church denigrated. Most went to one of two churches in town, while a few “took a break” from church all together.

The remnant that chose the church I now attend has stayed together. When I get together with these people, even if it has been weeks or months, it is easy to get to heart issues because we have an old trust. There are several women, and by proxy their husbands, who keep in contact almost daily via group email. These emails share painful struggles and outrageous joys. One person shares how her kids often see her belt out in an operatic falsetto, “Lord, help me Jesus!”

These people, grounded in God, community and trust, help keep me sane when Jesus seems far away.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Whoo Hoo

My Sweet and I are off for some much needed refillment in our country's wonderful park system. I will talk to you soon.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Friday, June 15, 2007


A while back there was a blogger I loved reading because he usually challenged me to think. Since then he has closed his blog (miss you Desmond) but he still gives intriguing comments on blogs, so he is not totally gone. He began a process of getting to know readers by asking them questions, and here are the ones he asked me.

Desmond Jones said...

Just Me - Hi! Haven't seen you around in awhile

OK, let's see if I can come up with five questions worth your while to answer. . .

1) I'll start with the obvious one, since you went to all the trouble of laying it out there for me: What is a 'liturgical Pentecostal'? I'd be interested to hear about your religious/spiritual background more generally, and how it affects your life today.

I was fortunate enough to be raised in the church. My Dear Sweet Mother took us to the Lutheran Church where God met me at a very young age. Though I didn't really know it at the time, the repetition of the liturgy and scripture teachings grounded me deeply in God's word, and this formed the foundations that would provide me many answers throughout my life. When I went to college my main form of rebellion was to seek out something different in a fellowship. The one thing I felt was missing in the liturgical services was a passion in prayer and worship. It was here that I felt the power of the Holy Spirit and God's ability to answer prayers. Now I seek out churches that have a respect for the grounding of liturgy as well as a passion for seeing the Holy Spirit at work.

2) How did you meet Your Sweet, and how did the two of you decide to marry? (I don't know that I've ever said so, but most days, as I kiss Molly goodbye on my way to work in the morning, I say, "Farewell, my Sweet"; so we've got that in common, too ;) )

Now I work with high school kids and I love telling them that I met my husband when he was my student. They start hooting and hollering because they are thinking that he was a 17 or 18 year old. In truth he was 28 and I was 31.

When I went overseas, I specifically picked a mission organization where we taught in the public schools. So for four years I taught English as a second language and when I came back to America I got a job teaching English to internationals getting ready for college or grad school. It was great having in the same classroom Arabs, Japanese, Koreans and Brazilians. My Sweet was one of those students. While he attended my school, I never thought about him in that way – I have always put married men and students in that “don’t even think about going there” category. But after he graduated, he asked me to a party, and things went on from there. We dated for several years because I wanted to be more certain we could deal with issues of differences in culture and languages. Also, at the time My Sweet was spiritually seeking, but was not a Christian. I know that a person’s spiritual beliefs affect how they live their life and I had told My Sweet from the very beginning that I would not consider marrying him if he did not make his own commitment to Jesus. On New Years Eve he decided that Jesus was the one he wanted to be following, and a few months later we were married.

I want to take a bit more time to answer the other questions, so stay tunes.

As a final note I just want to say, “Thank you Bob Barker for bringing lightness and joy.”

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

That Time of Year.

OK it is officially here – the dreaded swimsuit season. Actually, I am not really intimidated by the idea of being at the beach or pool in a cute tank top suit. I get intimidated when I am trying on the cute suit in front of a dressing room mirror. I will blame it ALL on the horrid lighting – it’s television, it adds 10 pounds. Well, more like it adds 20 pounds. Really, the lighting adds 40 bounds. OK, let’s round up and say it adds an even 50 pounds.

My Sweet and I are getting into the exercise mode. Not so much because of the swimsuit thing, but more because in October My Sweet is going to become a brother-in-law (which for a long time My Sweet, in his adorable second language, thought Americans were saying brother-in-love. I like this idea since love is the reason marriages stay together.) So this fall I will be going to the land of skinny people (the Hard Rock Café juniors shirt I got for my sister-in-love was way to big for her!!!). I am also going to meet some of My Sweet’s more judgmental family members. Therefore My Sweet and I are trying to slim down before then.

So what are we doing to take off the pounds? Jogging five miles a day? Joining a gym and actually going? Eating only celery and leaving the Ben and Jerry’s to get freezer burn? No fricking way! We are doing Dance-Dance-Revolution! I am proud to say that I have graduated from the baby steps to the way beginner level (and I have dismantled the machines ability to boo me.). Is it bad for me to say that I secretly hope that My Sweet will mess up a couple of times so I have a slight hope of outscoring him (so far it hasn’t happened, dang it all!).

Here is a video of me doing a little DDR. Aren't I cute?!?

OK, here is the real video of me and MY Sweet. I am the one in white. OK go.

Here is another exercise video that teaches English, cultural norms as well as giving you a good workout.

Hey, speaking of skinny judgmental people, what in the world has happened to the judicial system that allows Paris to go home for “medical” reasons? They have doctors in jail!

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hitchhikers Around the Galaxy Unite

How could I have missed this day?!? This is what I get for not having a computer to surf for these important events.

Check out DodKat's faithfulness to this holiday.

Man, next year I plan to talk like a pirate, pop some bubble wrap, and carry me a towel!

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!


To me fall is the time for remembering. The winding down of the year, winter right around the corner, long dark nights indoors give time for contemplation. Spring and summer are times for living life, having adventures, fresh beginnings. However, I think that the powers that be were wise in giving us reasons to remember in the rush of everything. We need to take time out of our living life full tilt to remember so many wonderful things.

Regardless of your politics, we need to remember the people who stepped up and gave their all to protect us from living in fear. I spent several years in counties that, not too long ago, had their people living in fear. And I am thankful that I have days, weeks and months where I do not have to be fearful.

Pentecost is this weekend. Now is a time to remember that life is not just the physical. There is a spiritual side to us that God has given so that we may seek something more than what we can see, touch, taste and feel.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Graduation happen in the late spring and early summer. Parents, however much they may bug us, have spent days, weeks and months worrying about us – our safety, futures, love lives, and worrying if they are doing anything to totally screw us up. Graduation is usually a day for looking back on youth and looking forward to the next stage. Yet this is also a time for parents to celebrate a chapter of their stresses closing. Granted, there are plenty of things parents will need to be involved in (just ask my Dear Sweet Mother), but in a job where there are few end dates and finished accomplishments this is a time for parents to say, “I helped my child grow and fulfill this stage.” And we children, even if we graduated several decades ago, can look back and be thankful for the people who helped us navigate our childhood.

So what do you memoralize?

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Technical Dificulies

Sorry I am not posting much this week. Because of a little incident involving a cup of coffee and the motherboard, my laptop is in the shop getting overhauled.

Insurance always puzzles me. If my computer had worn out, the warranty would have covered it. So why doesn't insurance cover stupidity and acts of God? Isn't that why we get insurance, to cover accidents?
#$%^@$^%#$T$#^# That is what I think about insurance right now!

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mom's Lessons

Five things that my dear sweet mother taught me

1.Never put housework before family, friends or a good book. Keeping up appearances is for lonely people who do not know how to keep up with friends. Plus, I remember my mom quoting some of her philosophy:
I am hoping that the kids will get fed up with living in a dirty house and vow to never let their own house get this way. I am hanging with my friends for you.

Well, the dust bunnies I am raising for pets attests to the success of this.

2.You can stretch a bottle of shampoo by adding a bit of water to it. This is particularly useful when the kids use like a quarter cup of shampoo with each lather, rinse, repeat.

3.Elementary school plays and high school concerts are worthwhile events.

4.You can do things without asking Dad, as long as you can convince him that he gave his permission before hand. Just be careful about getting caught, especially bringing home the puppy your middle child whined for, or he will remind you about who is responsible for years to come.

5.One of the best ways to serve God is to serve people. Sending a bit of gas and 20 minutes giving someone a lift, listening while they need to vent, and sticking in an extra casserole in the oven for someone in need is a part of being the person God created you to be.

What have you learned from you mom?

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Manilow

When I was a child I developed two characteristics. One is that once I find something I like, I will stick with it. The other is that I have always been a step behind in just about everything. Hence my glee at the return of peasant blouses and the reason I scan store catalogue hoping beyond hope that bellbottoms or acid wash will come back. It also explains why all during the 80’s and even now I am a Barry Manilow fan. When I was 12 I discovered that sappy ballads and powerful key changes hit my heart. So the whole Las Vegas trip was a birthday present to take me to see the man who knew exactly what I was feeling when those dumbass boys were stupid enough to let me go!

Now I know that Barry appeals to a different part of people than say BB King or Mozart, but I love the fact that he does not take himself too seriously and has fun with the cheese factor in his performance. Besides, his songs actually have melody and lyrics that do touch something very human inside of us all.

But the best part of the show happened after the encore. I met Tony. He didn’t tend bar, he was an 82 year old usher who was simply charming.
"Do you know that that blond boy is Barry Manilow? Yes, it is true. The people last night, they didn’t know."

When Fellow Fanilow asked him to give me his Barry Manilow button as a birthday present, he responded…
"My button? You want my button? You’re half my age. Elton John, now he as two buttons – here and here."(Putting his hands on his backside.)

Well, thanks to Fellow Fanilow, I now have a very nice button. I also have an understanding of the multi tiered slot machine. If you get two cherries, an orange, three pineapples and one Carmen Miranda – that is good. But if it is two Carmens, one cherry, one orange and a fruit basket is not good. Or wait, maybe it is if Carmen is staring at you cross-eyed that you win, or lose. Maybe I have a lot more to learn before I getting into the super secret high stakes games.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

The birthday weekend got off to a surprisingly good start – beginning at the airport where doodah!, Fellow Fanilow and I met a lovely semi-retired anesthesiologist who lives in Vegas. I say semi-retired because there is a doctor that she has partnered with for many years who moved his practice to the foothills of California. Whenever he has a serious surgery he flies her in for the day. I guess with the pressure of surgery, you’d want someone you know and trust on the keeping-the-patient-out-but-not-dead end of things. All I’ve got to say is that the money had better be pretty darn good because the flight’s an hour and a half and the drive is more than another couple of hours. Anywho, she gave us the lowdown on the place locals go for a weekend buffet – the same food as the casinos on the strip but only a third the price. She also let us know that if you are going to see Cirque Da Sole, while both are dazzling, Mystere has a better storyline than O and is more elegant. So put that in the corner pocket of your mind for future getaway plans.

After we got our rental car (which we lovingly referred to as our muscle gangsta car) and checked into our room – which had little munchkins bouncing off the walls hopped up on lollipops (get it, munchkins…lollipops…) – it was 2:30 AM and we were starving and buzzed on over stimulation. So off to the Bellagio Café for a super late night supper. Easy-peasy, right? Ha! Vegas may be eager to fill your every whim when you are in the super secret high stakes Kino game room (I know they exist somewhere, I know they do dang nab it), but if you are an ordinary couple of Janes wanting a BLT at 3 AM you’re going to have to learn the lessons of waiting. Not only did it take three people to get customers to their tables and take orders, the wait staff had an unwritten rule that they were not to communicate with each other verbally (it probably throws gamblers off their mojo) so they have some Helen Keller strung out on crack hand signal system, which no one understood and had to walk over and whisper in the other’s ear. If they point three fingers in the air while facing east and flicking the wrist clockwise means seat these two people away from the kitchen door and get them water with ice. A counterclockwise flick of the wrist means no ice.

But the best part of the night came as we were standing outside with middle aged men and their, well lets just assume they are their daughters. As we were languishing in line, this guy with a white satin tracksuit with teal writing and his friend came strutting in past the hostess and two assistants, totally ignoring the hand signals. A flurry of staff stumbled over themselves shooing him back to the front. Let’s pick up the dialogue here:
Tracksuit Man: Do you know who I am?
Mousey Hostess: No sir, but you have to wait until the others have been seated.
TM: Do you know who I am? We are RF & BD, (which sounded like r f’n bd, as in real f’n big deal). I wait for nobody. Get Tom on the line and you’ll find out I don’t wait for nobody.

I don’t know who Tim was, but he got RF & BD a table, sitting just far enough away from us that we got to see him periodically stand up, take off his jacket and walk past the mirrors admiringly flexing his muscles – all for our entertainment. We would have taken a picture, but I think he knew people who could hurt us and make it look like an accident. But anytime you feel frustrated and that you deserve better, feel free to shout out, "I'm RF'NBD and I don't wait for nobody!"

Coming up next, the Music and Passion.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Me and Elvis

One month ago two incredibly dear friends took me on the ride of my life to celebrate my 40th birthday. Yes that is right, the big four-oh. By the way, I am to tell you that my mother, who is too young to have a child this old, adopted me when I was 20 and she was 14 years old.

So where did we go, you may ask? Was it to the raging nightlife of Boise? Duluth? Omaha? These are all very fine cities in their own right. But for a milestone birthday we headed for the bright lights of the Los Vegas Strip.

There were a few goals that we had:
1) Convince someone to let us be brides maids at their Las Vegas Chapel-o-Love wedding.
2) Find an Elvis. We got so busy that goals one and two dropped down on the things-we-gotta-do list. However, I found out that the head of our math department was hitched at the Vegas Graceland Chapel where you can have your choice of Elvis, gold lamé young Elvis and the flashy, sequined, 70's cape and jumpsuit Elvis, perform the wedding.
3) Visit all the places in Ocean's 11
and quote as many lines as possible. Fortunately the only line I can remember is, "If you don't shut up I am going to eat your whole head."
4) And the major reason we went to Vegas is to see The Man in action. Yes, I am talking about Berry Manilow. What can I say, he writes the songs that make the whole world sing.

There is more to come. So please stay tuned.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Only The Soul Can Perceive What the Eye Sees

I am finally back. So much of what I was writing was either rushed or trite. It got tiring. I would love to say that I put a self-imposed hiatus until I got inspired or emotionally and spiritually refueled. That is partially true. I was tapped and writing anything beyond drivel was too much work. So a combination of lack of inspiration and laziness has kept me procrastinating until suddenly an entire month has gone by. I have to remember the advice of many professional writers - that they set aside time every day to write - even if they do not feel inspired. So, while I am going to try and minimize the drivel, I am going back to the discipline of posting weekly, starting today. The title of this post came from a sign in Yosemite - one of the most beautiful places God ever His mark on.

On our second day there, My Sweet and I went on a hike to Vernal Falls, and this was our first real hike since the onset of winter. The walk was glorious and a challenge at first. But I felt pretty good because I was keeping up with a couple of very fit 20 somethings. At first. By the end of the first leg I had dad's carrying toddlers passing me up. But a sweet East Indian granny and I were going neck and neck.
The next leg of the trek was only 0.3 miles to the falls. I figured there was no problem - it is more than that when I walk from my house to the neighborhood grocery store. No problem, right? What that little trail sign did not mention was that the 1/3-mile was practically straight up. You may be thinking to yourself that is no big deal. Well imagine this: you decide to go check out the view from the top of the Empire State building - and take the stairs! I do not care how buff you are, by the fifth floor you'll be huffing and puffing.

Even the bundle of energy 5th graders, who had zoomed by earlier, needed to stop for breaks. They were talking so seriously about their video games, getting quite philosophical. Discussions of all things electronic was acceptable for them to do in the midst of glorious beauty - they were eight years old and didn't know any better. This was not acceptable behavior for the full grown adult a few feet above talking on his cell to his wife and children three floors behind us. Not only is using a cell phone on a hike ascetically and dare I say morally wrong, but hey Mister if you get distracted on these mist covered pillars of death you'll slip and come crashing down on me.

The trip up to the fabulous falls took like about 5 hours. The trip down could have been 15 minutes if I just stopped, dropped and rolled - like Dick Van Dyke taught me back in the day. Instead we took a longer loop down that was 1.6 miles, but was a cakewalk. And now I need to go soak my aching body in a nice hot bath.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Elvis and Me

I am off to Vegas Baby for a girls' weekend and a milestone birthday. Plus we are on the hunt for the quintessential Elvis-wannabe. More stories to come.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Drowning at the Lake House - Whoa!

In the spirit of February, My Sweet and I rented the sappy romantic movie The Lake House that once again paired the adorable Sandra Bullock - who I think would have made a wonderful elfish princess in LOTR - with award winning Keanu Reeves. Yes, I am relatively certain that Mr. Reeves won the "Largest Number of Emotions Attempted With One Tone" prize. He also was the recipient of the 2000 "Surprising Inability to Damage the Matrix.” Mr. Reeves as also achieved the Grand Masters level of the use of the phrase "whoa” as in, "Whoa, I know karate." (The Matrix) Or, "Whoa, I look darn good strolling through mist covered grapevines." (A Walk In the Clouds) And finally there is, "Whoa, I just made a deal with the devil so I can be in a Shakesphere movie." (Much to do About Nothing)

Now don't get me wrong, there are several things I appreciate about Mr. Reeves. First of all he is a very pretty man. He wasn't kidding about looking good in A Walk in the Clouds. In addition, my favorite high school comedy of all times is Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - it way beats the pants off of Mike Myers' Wayne's Word. He was good in Parenthood, he was the same character but with a real girlfriend. Speed was his pushing the envelope role as the mono-emotional cop who would risk messing up his hair in order to save the lives of the innocent. But seriously, that is it. Every few minutes of the Lake House had me writhing on the floor because this role called for more emoting than what King Whoa could give. I could go along with the suspended belief of time traveling love letters. I could even put up with the predictability of the ending. But add to this Keanu's emotional stuntedeness, well it is a trifecta that I just could not handle.

The next week we rented United 93, and I was overcome with realization that the real life professional air traffic, who played themselves in the film, were showing a greater variety of believable emotions than Mr. Keanu Reeves.

On a more cheerful note, if you are a fan of The Office - check out Dwight and Michaell trying to bring sexy back.
Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Beating the Blues

Last weekend My Sweet and I celebrated our anniversary by trekking out to our fine capitol city in order to check out BMG. No, not the music company, which sends you a new CD every month even if you send back their stupid card saying you don't desire and defiantly don't want to spend hard earned cash on the American Idol Runners-up Compilation. We went to see the percussionist commentators on society - the Blue Man Group. Take a look at these forearms of titanium steel.

I loved the not so subtle jibes, especially ones not pertaining to me, that comprise the rules of becoming a megastar. One that made me laugh Pepsi out my nose was that a megastar needs to have choreographed moves. The audience will be distracted and thus won't notice the lack of musical talent. Humm, I can not think of a single substanceless singer who mostly is known for looking good in videos and appealing to preteens who haven’t developed a sense of depth in the music they listen to. Sorry, I mean I don't know any young pop megastars who uses this method. This includes pop megastars with hair issues and getting too old to appeal to preteenies and haven't had a big hit in a very long time and thus have to find extreme ways to stay in the news despite the danger or neglect to their infant children, not to mention embarrassment these children may feel when they grow up and have to be reminded by their classmates that their mother, or father, did something that was so horribly revealing. Ok, that was snarky and grammatically convoluted on my part.

And while the BMG was mock-mimicking conformity in work and personal life, they were also commenting on how something like a concert is a communal event where we, at least for a wile, watch, say and experience the same thing. This is noted in the following rule of the Blue Man Megastar Manual.

Concert Movement #237 Taking the audience on a Jungian journey into the collective unconscious by using the shadow as a metaphor for the primal self that gets repressed by the modern persona and also by using an underground setting and labyrinth office design to represent both the depths of the psyche and the dungeon-like isolation of our increasingly mechanistic society which prevents people from finding satisfying work or meaningful connections with others.

In this society of instant messaging, headphones and buying on line, it is kind of nice to be reminded to have some communal experiences every once in a while. It does something for the soul.

And by the way, I just spent the last quarter of an hour playing with Concert Movement # 37 Floppie the Banjo Clown.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

1825 Days

The time right now is 6:00 pm. It was 157680000 seconds, or 2628000 minutes, or 43800 hours, or 1825 days, or 5 years ago from this moment that my friends doodah and Fellow Fanilow were doing up my hair and fixing boutonniere bungles.

While I could sit at the feet of those who have stayed with each other for decades, there are a few things I have learned.

1. I totally understand why honeymoons are ideally a couple of weeks long; it takes a good two weeks to be able to sleep the night through. No, not because of that. Every time he rolled over or got restless legs I'd wake up. If I had to get up early in the morning I'd have been a grouchy Grendel, which I was.

2. Love is not red roses. I can buy my own flowers. Instead My Sweet is the one who will go out in the rain to get the car from the parking lot. He is the one who, even though he isn't going to sleep for several hours, would come snuggle with me until I fell asleep.

3. There is something more effective in winning an argument then well timed tears, willingness to give up, temporarily, and the control of the remote.

4. When we were dating, My Sweet often asked me my opinion about things. Now I can say something and he acts as if I am a talking rag doll. The same words come out of my brother in law, neighbor, mechanic or recycling collector are not only pearls of wisdom, but down right diamond encrusted crown jewels. So get your recycling collector to tell your spouse what you want them to do.

5. If the crying/remote thing doesn't work twist something they say so you can reply, "So, are you saying you think I am fat?" They have nowhere to stand after that.

6. (I was going for one point per year, but I plan to be married for year six.) PMS and stress at work are no reason to snap at each other. Him eating the last of the good chocolate or putting his Netflix movie above mine - that is when becoming a snapping turtle with lockjaw is constitutional.

So, for people married less than me here are some words of advice (just pretend your recycle guy told you). And for people married more than half a decade, please feel free to leave any gold encrusted pearl of wisdom.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Switchfoot Quiz

I have a few friends who are true fans and I also totally enjoy them. If you haven't heard them, check them out here. I love their philosophy. They are people who believe in Jesus with all their hearts and are seeking to make the world a more positive place. However they do not want to be limited to being a Christian band. Having had to tell students to turn off music that talks about slapping women and beating up police, I am over the moon that there are some bands that they listen to which may encourage them to see the the good things God has put into life.

Your switchfoot song is 68%

Meant to Live, This song depics how we as human were meant to live for some much more and you wonder if you've lost you self!

wich switchfoot song are you
Create a Quiz

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

If I Ran the World

Not that I am a megalomaniac or anything, but I have a few ideas about how the world should be run. This is excluding the usual peace on earth, end of diseases, and all good-looking men working for me type of things. Here is what I would do:

1. Pay teachers, police, firemen, home health care workers, nurses and other public servants $50 million for a three year contract and have legislators, sports players and movie stars work their craft because it is what they love to do.

2. Orchids would grow prolifically while weeds would need a vast amount of TLC if they were to survive.

3. Everyone gets at least two laughing breaks each day, a prescription for mental health.

4. Flats would make your hinie look just as sexy as heels without the pain (or towering over the totally cute but slightly short significant others, or significant other hopefuls).

5. Every time you told a lie - besides the little white ones - you would quack like a duck.

6. Saturday and Sunday would be 30 hours each.

7. Trash cans would smell like freshly baked sugar cookies.

8. People would not have to work on their birthdays.

9. Parks and museums would be free.

10. The government could only take 10% for taxes. If God could run the worldwide church on 10%, then Uncle Sam can take care of one country.

Man it is good to be queen.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Top 5

My favorite part of the movie High Fidelity is when the clerks of a record shop - Jack Black and Todd Louiso at their funniest - arguing their "top five best" lists. So I am going to give my top five list of something every once in a while. They will not necessarily be in any particular order. Also my list may change if I remake the list a day later. It would make things more fun if you add some of your ideas to the list, or argue that I am full of bullpucky for my idea.

So here are my top five best movies to watch to fight the winter blahs.

1. Return to Me. Watching four men who have been friends forever have the most wonderful banter. And Bonnie Hunt - writer, director and supporting actor - has humor that makes me smile.

2. Yankee Doodle Dandy. No matter how you feel about flag waving, no one can watch the stage hoofing of Cagnie without having more spring in their step.

3. Lord of the Rings - good for any time of the year.

4. Zoolander - my go to movie for mindless good humor.

5. 24 - OK it is a TV show, but we have the season 1-5 DVDs and nothing like a good shot of adrenaline to perk one up.

What do you watch when it's cold and gray outside?

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Book Covers

It started out innocently enough.

The Friday before Christmas My Sweet and I went to my boss' place, in another city, for an open house party. It was the first day of vacation, I didn't have to teach in the morning, so I was enjoying a good bit of nog with my egg, as well as a couple of glasses of warm mulled wine. I was feeling pretty relaxed.

After our agreed upon 60 minutes, I grabbed my jacket and purse as we headed out the door to have a coffee and play some Connect Four at the funky coffee joint we truly love. This place is fabulous not so much because of the coffee, but the people watching is awesome. At one table was a little septuagenarian decked out in her fur trimmed coat with matching hat and sipping her drink through a straw using the side of her mouth (it doesn't mess up the lipstick). Then there was the group of 20 year olds with cherubic faces and studded leather collars. We made some jokes as they rearranged the tables to play the 21st century version of Dungeons and Dragons.

The next event for the evening was to go watch some of the amazing neighborhood lights. We strolled through the neighborhoods admiring the sheer amount of wattage (I have to buy stock in the electric company next winter!). Finally we headed back to our sweet hometown.

As we took our exit, there was that niggling feeling at the base of my skull I get when my subconscious isn't quite ready to let me know I have made a mistake, especially one I will have to humbly tell someone about. But once we parked and I stepped out of the car I knew it was true. My purse was nowhere to be found. The scatterbrain had struck again.

OK, so after a momentary panic I decided to call my cell phone, which was at the bottom of my purse along with the house keys, school keys, credit cards and a half-off coupon. Maybe I could contact the person who found my forgotten bag or beg the petty thief to take the cash and leave the things that are useful only to me. It's ringing. Ringing. Come on, pick up! Dang, my voice mail. Try again. This time straight to voice mail. Some stinking SOB has pinched my purse and turned off my phone! But wait there may be another explanation (there goes my subconscious playing tricks on me again).

I call the kooky cafe to have the barista double check and see if I left it on my chair, but he didn't see it. Argh, that fricking pocket picking perp! I am going to have to replace all that stuff. I know it was one of those people at the cafe. The "matching hat" biddy and the "fishnet cherubs" gave a comfortable friendly first impression, but really I knew nothing about them. Old grannies have been known to pull a heist or two. The group of punks needs to somehow support their gaming habit. Oh may pigs fly out of the sky and poop on their heads.

Nothing left to do but look in the cafe myself. We drive there and My Sweet lets me jump out of the car while he seeks a parking spot. I run in and check my table, and hiding under a customer's foot was my bag. One of the fishnet players said, "Oh sweetie, if we had seen it there we would have totally held it for you."

I guess the adage is true. Never have more than one drink at your boss' party, no matter if you don't have to teach in the morning. And don't judge a book by its cover

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!