Monday, May 29, 2006

veteran's day

in case you've forgotten why you have a day off school or work (if you do), or if the only images the words "memorial day" bring to mind are those of camping and grilling and boating, then this is for you.

our local newspaper ran a segment this weekend, asking people what they were doing for memorial day. only one person out of six said anything about the real point of this holiday weekend.

look around you next time you're at a restuarant, old folks' home, or the grocery store. most vietnam veterans have several Vietnam insignias on their person at any given time (such as hats, belt buckles, pins, vests, wallets, and bandannas), and that's not to mention the bumper stickers on their cars and flags outside their home. our veterans are dying to be recognized and appreciated.

the vietnam era was vastly different than now. even those who are against the current war grudgingly give a modicum of respect to those who fighting to complete it. that wasn't the case 30 years ago. when the soldiers returned from vietnam -- physically and mentally wounded -- people spit, threw rotten food, shouted insults, and vandalized their homes and threatened their families. (so much for free love.) and to this day, those veterans who never received real gratitude are crying for appreciation.

one thing is for sure, though: for all our talk about supporting the troops, it might not kill us to really honor them one day out of the year. how many of us actually took the time to thank a veteran? to attend a flag ceremony? to talk with our children about the unselfishness that often marks the life of a veteran? or, at the very least, to spend a bit of time in prayer/reflection, considering the grim price this country has paid for its liberty?

it's become a politicized cliche. but our country would not be free without the selfless acts of thousands of soldiers. to any veteran or soldier reading this: thank you, on behalf of the entire country, for your service and your selflessness.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

in honor of myself.

i had my 21st birthday this weekend. yahoo! now i can....uh...i'm not overly excited about the bar scene, so i guess this year's only perk is that i get to carry a horizontal drivers' license (gasp!) instead of the up-and-down one. this is supposed to make me happy i think, but i got charged 23.75 for said perk. whatever.

i had a bunch of people over to my house. it was fun. we had tons of food. some of it was:

a pineapple full of fruit dip
stuffed mushrooms (the best ones EVER)
pizza and
ice cream cake from dairy queen
artichoke-spinach-white cheddar dip
sliced strawberries and kumquats and green apples
a "coffee bar" with all the extras i could reasonably buy

i also have an entire forest of flowers! we actually ran out of vases. i told Mom i wanted flowers and not balloons...and i guess they all took me literally! i got orange/red roses from Jim, white lilies from Johanna, red roses from mom and dad, peach carnations from kelsey and rachel, a gerber daisy from carrie, and lilacs from a coworker. And then, i picked 4 vases of flowers from around our house...and also from the ditch on the highway. :) i'm real classy like that.

anyways, since it is still my birthday weekend, here are some quizzes that i've taken recently. they are All. About. Me. i figure a little narcissism is ok, especially since that's about all this blog really is, and i suppose you're used to it.

You Are Lightning

Beautiful yet dangerous
People will stop and watch you when you appear
Even though you're capable of random violence

You are best known for: your power

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.
What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

You Are a Creative Cook

Your cooking is unusual, inspired, and definitely one of a kind. People love your unique style, but you've had your share of kitchen flops.
You have the makings of a cult chef. You may not cook at the Four Seasons, but you could have your own little funky cafe in San Francisco!
Your Brain is 33% Female, 67% Male
You have a mostly boy brain
Logical and detailed, you tend to look at the facts
And while your emotions do sway you sometimes, you never like to get feelings too involved

Sunday, May 14, 2006

ticket-guilt relieved!

i got a parking ticket the other day. just forgot to feed the meter when i went into the coffee shop.

it's pretty clear something's wrong when my first reaction to seeing that neon pink slip under my windshield wiper is "Yesss..."

you are wondering why, i am sure. well, in explanation, i think it's the same mentality of an escaped convict who's been running from The Law for a long, long time. it's just kind of a relief when they do catch up to him...the pressure is released and he can relax.

no, i'm not running from the law...per se.

here's my confession, blog-friends. i myself feel much like that convict, as i have been parking in a 2-hour slot for 8 hours at a time every day for nearly a year, and never moving my car (there aren't any meters), and not getting ANY tickets. yes, i am vaguely proud of the fact, but naturally i am always looking over my shoulder to see if the ticket-nazi is chasing me in her little golf-cart-SUV. i feel slightly guilty that i probably owe the city my firstborn in back fines (i mean, i would if they'd given me all the tickets i deserve). but now that i got just one, i feel a little better. at least i will be able to sleep tonight. if i remember to pay it....

Sunday, May 07, 2006


my sister Jo and i saw tree63 this weekend. i've liked the band since before they were like all over the radio, but i had never seen them before! it was neat to finally see them play live. i knew pretty much every song, and even how to play a lot of them on my guitar. how wonderful! it wasn't the loudest or most energetic concert i've ever been to, by any means...but, it was really fun because i've wanted to see them for...hmm....5 years now.

there were three strange things at the concert. a young Mom, in FRONT of us (like two feet from the stage) was holding her adorable toddler daughter, who was well on her way to being a top-notch headbanger. it was very cute, but i think little kids' eardrums can get blown up pretty easy even at the tamest of pop-rock concerts. poor kid!

right BEHIND us, there was a crowd of pseudo-charismatics who shouted loud responses to every rhetorical comment. so the situation went something like this:

guy on stage: so we're here because we're christians and like to sing about God and anyways our next song is---
pseudo-charismatics [interrupting]: SO DO WE!!! YES, LORD! WE LOVE YOU, JESUS! YES! was really weird. i glared at them once, so i was just glad they didn't start laying hands on me or something. that's why i am calling them pseudo-charismatics, because they weren't speaking in tongues or other semi-creepy charismatic things. but, they were trying to sing the songs when they didn't know the words, and just ended up blabbing nonsense. this is incredibly annoying, but who knows? ...maybe they were speaking in tongues, after all. :P (if there are charismatics reading this, please don't take offense at my honest/lame jokes.)

the third strange thing is the huge fish tank that constituted a glass-and-water wall between the concert area and some back office. there were some shiny fish that stayed in a little "school" and were paranoid of people, and some cute little white ones, and an ominous black Daddy Fish with dark red eyes, who just floated there and stared at us. and speaking of eardrums being blown out, whose idea was it to subject these poor fishes to so much loud noise? if they hate it when you tap on the glass, i bet they hate it when they have to listen to rock concerts 24/7. even rocker-fish need a break once in a while or they go deaf. so in honor of the poor deaf fishes, i might even put some pictures of them up later. (yes, i took pictures of them.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

ah, the simple joys of wal-mart

yesterday was a good but long day, and after small group (which went quite well) i suddenly found myself in the megalithic parking complex of walmart. i don't go to walmart much, not because i think it is the devil, but because it's usually out of my way. i parked by the Food section and waltzed in wearing the giddy-tired expression that comes when the weather is gorgeous and you have a few moments of selfish-time at the end of a long day.

when you park by the food department, you first come to the Produce section. this is the best area, by far, in the whole store. everything is bright and fresh and colorful and shiny and healthy. there are no secrets of food-processing hidden behind boxes or cans. you can poke and squeeze the food before you buy it. i am always in awe at the brightness of the peppers and curious about strange fruits like kumquats; and what is that little tomato-gourd-thing with leaves on it? i've never tasted eggplant, but it is a pretty color so it's probably good, right? i always walk by this tiny section of the fresh spices. they are still wet and crispy in their little sacks, and you can smell the rosemary, oregano and basil. next to the spices is the Organics section. i don't really understand Organics, but it just exudes this aura of Healthiness.

for all my walmart excursions, i've never before noticed this strange thing. smattered throughout Produce are nice little bushels of carnations and mini-roses, tacked up in buckets next to the barrels of loose Pecans and Brazil Nuts (who eats those anyways? enough people for walmart to have an entire barrel of them waiting to be bought?). the best theory i can figure is, these flowers are apparently meant to tempt the great numbers of men who are...buying produce...into snapping up a bushel of flowers to complement the nice...produce-dinner...he will be making for his sweetie....? *expressionless stare* i guess i don't know why they are in Produce. you'd think they'd stick the flowers back in Hardware or Auto Parts or someplace guys spend time. in any case, i decided to defy the gender-roles system for a day, and buy MYSELF some flowers. one particular bunch of carnations called to me from its perch on the edge of the Plantains bin. they are pink and orange and yellow and deep red and...they made me giddy. i don't understand the power of flowers....they are inexplicable in their beauty; their subtle complexities are masked by a facade of simple-yet-unabashed glory. "Even King Solomon, for all his splendor, was not clothed like the lilies!" one of my friends says that flowers are a gift straight from God. i think i believe her.

after Produce and my flower-epiphany, i wandered past the frozen foods section (everything in a package suddenly seems suspicious when you're used to poking and squeezing your food before you buy it) and into the coffee/tea aisle. i stood mesmerized at the exotic-looking cans of tea. i am a sucker for pretty things, but imagine buying a white and green and gold box, probably with some shiny silver accents on it, and in asian-style lettering it says "mountain white pearl" or something, and behind the letters is a painting of a mountain and some lovely white flowers. and it's only logical: nothing that comes from such a beautiful box could ever taste any less. then you take it home, and...alas, it tastes just like that jumbo box of cardboard-flavored Lipton in the cupboard. so you throw the tea away and decide to keep the box.

so keeping in mind these deceptions, i passed on the tea and all its fraudulent packaging. i did, however, still have my flowers clutched victoriously in my arms. i made my way back to Produce and picked out three Kiwis, of course after poking and squeezing them because i CAN.

my little excursion was very enjoyable and my glorious carnations are currently sitting on my desk. thanks for reading!

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