Friday, August 29, 2008


Yes, I know the irony of that title. But I can't think of a good title for the post. So there.

And, we have to back up to last Friday, too, since earlier this week I just blogged about Disneyland. My weekend last week started with a book signing. Chris Grabenstein was in the area. Since he lives in New York, I made sure I was there to get his latest and get his last few books signed. In fact, I started his new book last night, and I am loving it! There were three fans (one of whom is writing a spec screen play based on the first book), a relative, and the two bookstore owners. We basically sat around a table and chatted for a couple hours. And I had only intended to stay for one. It was a very nice time.

So, I have been paying all week for staying so late at Disneyland on Sunday. I absolutely can't do that this weekend. (We'll see if I stick to that resolve.) In fact, I think I am fighting off a cold. I feel much better today, although there are still some syptoms there. I have been taking it easy the last two days. Not getting to bed early like I should, but also not working out on my lunch hour. That's really helping my reading. But it's also helped me feel much better.

My second new roommate moved in this week. So far so good.

Last night I got to go down to the premier of the restored version of Sleeping Beauty. There was a panel discussion before. It was so much fun. I'll be blogging about it on the Disney Blog in a little while. And I'll link it up here then.

And, of course, today McCain announced his choice for VP. Lots of other places have people speculating on the political wisdom of the choice. So I'm not going to echo that.

But I have to point out the absolute historic nature of this election now. Yes, the Democrat race came down to first woman vs. first African American man as the nominee. But we will definitely have a first come November. We will either have the first African American President or the first woman VP. I think that says something about where our country truly is right now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Threesome for August 28th

This week's edition is brought to us by the calendar and The Back Porch.

Onesome: The-- best part of the pudding? I'm teaching the youngest to leave his pudding in the 'fridge for a couple of days (much to his mother's chagrin ) to allow the top to 'skim over'. He's thinking I may be right about that adding an extra taste treat to the process. Mom disagrees. What do you think?

You know, I have never tried putting pudding in the fridge to see what happens. I may have to try this out.

Twosome: end of-- da' road? Just for the fun of it, is there a road in your area that you're pretty sure 'goes nowhere' and just ends there?

I don't think there are any roads that go nowhere. But we do have some long roads that seem to go nowhere but eventually get somewhere. And, my personal favorite, we have the roads that change names several times in the course of a few miles. And, to make things worse, they've just added another to the list. *Sigh*

Threesome: Summer-- is over? Really? Just because it's Labor Day? Heck, the kids have been back in school for a week or two; the weather hasn't gotten any cooler out here; and the trees haven't even thought about turning. least where I am: how about at your place?
Summer doesn't end around here until October sometime. We've still got 100 degree weather and will for at least another month. Hey, this is Southern California, after all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm Suddenly Feeling Old!

So, I have a confession to make. I first watched High School Musical two years ago and completely fell in love with it. I have the soundtracks to both movies and both movies on DVD. Cheesy? Check. Predictable? Check. Fun? Double check.

So that's how I came to be watching High School Musical: Get in the Picture. Probably one of the only people in the country to be watching it based on the ratings. The theme of the big show this last Monday night was sitcoms theme songs of the 70's and 80's. Cool, I thought, immediately imaging all the songs I love they might be singing. And sure enough, I was familiar with the themes for "Mary Tyler Moore," "Cheers," and "Greatest American Hero" (aka "Believe it or not, I'm walking on air.") True, I didn't know "One Day at a Time" because I've never caught reruns of it. But I had at least heard of the show.

Now keep in mind that I didn't watch that much TV until after college. So my familiarity with these other shows is based on reruns and TV on DVD.

Now the kids competing on HSM: GitP are high schoolers. I think the age range is 16-18. As soon as they got the songs, they started talking about how none of them knew the songs. None of them! One of them pointed out he was born in 1990. Another said she had never heard of Mary Tyler Moore.

Suddenly, I felt very old. Granted, Mary was in her fifth season when I was born. But the other two I knew were all on while I was growing up. I'd heard of them even if I had never watched them. And I'd heard so many references to all of them over the years I at least knew the names!

Of course, the performance was a medley of the four put together. I've had the three I know going in my head all week. And it is making me smile big time. I miss good theme songs with lyrics on TV these days. Heck, it's one reason I watch the credits to Monk and Psych every week.

(This has been my post for this week's Watercooler Wednesday.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On my Nightstand - August 2008 Edition

August is almost over, which means it is time once again for 5 Minutes for Books, What's on Your Nightstand.

I am currently half way through It Happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen. Yeah, I know, I said it was up next last month. But several other books jumped in the way, so I am just now getting to it. The book is about the owner of a comedy movie theater who happens to get involved in mysteries. And I'm really enjoying it. The mystery seems better (at least so far) than the first in the series. And it's funnier, too. Or I expected too much from the first in the series.

So I am going to hedge my beats this month. I think my next book will be Hell Hole by Chris Grabenstein. This is the fourth in a series about two cops who work in a resort town on the Jersey Shore. Each book is named after a different amusement park ride. The plots are fairly dark at times, but the setting and the humor help lighten the stories quite a bit. It's a weird mix, but it works.

If it isn't, it will be Dawn's Light by Terri Blackenstock. This is another fourth in a series. The series follows a Christian family caught in a world where every modern convienced has stopped working. Watching them struggle through life and dealing with humans has been very enlightening, entertaining, and challenging. This book will wrap up the series, and I'm curious how it all will end.

So that's my list for this month. I'll be late next month since I will be in DisneyWorld for the fourth Tuesday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Disneyland - Week One

So, yesterday was the first of three on my three day pass at Disneyland. I decided to go to church first, so I met up with Angelique at noon in CA Adventure.

Now, considering it is summer, I expected it to be very crowded. But I was very pleasantly surprised at how uncrowded it was. Yeah, some rides had long lines, but the longest we saw were an hour for Splash Mountain and Grizzly Rapids during the heat of the day. Space Mountain was only 30 minutes when we went on it. And we were joking about the rides we walked on to.

But yes, we started in CA Adventure so I could do two rides I had never done - Toy Story Midway Mania and Grizzly Rapids.

Yes, Grizzly Rapids has been around as long as the park has. But this is the first time I have been there when it wasn't winter. It was fun, although pretty much a typical raft/rapids ride. Angelique got the wettest on the boat we were on, but even then we both agreed that it wasn't nearly as wet as people we've seen getting off it in the winter.

But Toy Story Mania was awesome! I went through the single rider line, which only took about 10 minutes to get through. Or maybe it just seemed that way since it was so anxious to get on it. Basically, the game takes you through five levels of midway games as hosted by Toy Story characters. You've got a ring toss, breaking plates, popping balloons, and various things like that. But it's all done in a 3-D world using the information from the trigger in front of you. Yep, everything is virtual.

And it was plenty fun. I would have loved to go back on it again, but we just didn't have time.

With the lack of crowds, we got everything on our normal wish list done pretty much by 10PM. We even road the train around the park one and a half times. That's when Angelique left, but I stuck around. I knocked out most of Fantasyland at that point, including Dumbo (which we never do because of long lines. And I loved doing it again!) and walking on the Tea Cups. And yes, that's when I did Peter Pan's Flight.

Of course, I am paying for it today, big time. Thanks to some road work on the way home, including one detour and the four lane freeway being squeezed down to one, I didn't get home until almost 2 AM. I have been feeling like I was in a fog all day. Slight headache. Generally tired. I need to make sure I got to bed early tonight.

Meanwhile, Angelique and I are headed back on Sunday and Monday next weekend because Debbie will be in town and visiting the park. Can't wait to see her! I know it will be as hot as it was this weekend. I'm hoping it won't be any more crowded. That would be awesome. But since it is a three day weekend, I'm betting it will be a madhouse. But we'll just wait and see.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Am Beginning to Hate Augusts

I really think this month has it in for me.

Three years ago, it was the unexpected death of my uncle.

Two years ago, it was my on going health issues.

Last year, it was being fired from youth staff and all the people jumping on me about being single.

This year. Oh this year.

Actually, this year's emotional drama is the cumination of the building drama all summer with my roommates moving out under less than ideal circumstances. So, while I am trying to deal with the loss of a friendship, I am trying to build new roommate relationships. And that is always challenging because we're all human. One hasn't moved in yet (happens Tuesday), and the other is around hit and miss, but we're making it work.

Then I found out that one of my former roommates has slandered me. Don't know how much since he won't talk to me about it. I can't tell you how much this hurts. And since he won't return my phone calls, I really can't put it behind me yet.

But God is still faithful in the midst of it all. How do I know? As I've mentioned before, I am church shopping this summer. Sunday, I showed up at a new church. A church where I saw no one I know (although I do know people who go there.) A church that didn't know I was coming. And the sermon topic? Dealing with Slander from an Unknown Source taken from Psalm 64. Okay, so I know the source. But still, everything said was exactly what I needed to hear. I've been trying to remind myself of it over the last week.

Also this week I got Brandon Heath's new CD. I've been captivated by the song "Wait and See" which is a reminder that God is still at work in our lives. Again, just what I need to hear.

But it hasn't been all downers. My workouts are still progressing, slowly but surely. And everyone is always nice about encouraging me.

And Wednesday night, I made it down to Glendale Centre Theatre to see Brigadoon. I'd never seen it before and really enjoyed it. I think I'd enjoy it more knowing how it ends.

And I'm going to Disneyland this Sunday and next weekend. This week is with Angelique to activate our three day So Cal resident pass (and ride some rides, of course.) Next weekend we will be joining Debbie and family whom I haven't seen in a year and a half. So that will be lots and lots of fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Threesome for August 21st

This week's edition of Thursday Threesome is brought to us by familiar sayings and The Back Porch.

Onesome: You find out-- all sorts of interesting stuff here on the net. How's about serving up a factoid or site link you've found lately that you are pretty sure no one but you found interesting ...
Actually, I'm sure I'm not the only one who found it interesting, but I am highly addicted to the beta of 20 questions for Disney right now.

Twosome: who your-- information sources are can be interesting: who/what are you looking to for information this political season?
My usual source, Fox News.

Threesome: Friends are-- the people who bail you out when you need it? ...or maybe they're the ones waiting in line after you to use the phone looking for bail saying, "Man, that was fun!"? Just wonderin'...
Friends are the people who offer you a warm welcome after you've just made a complete idiot of yourself to them. And they are the people who are there for you when you feel like everything is falling apart.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Selfish Pigs

Today on Watercooler Wednesday, we're talking about books or authors that really influenced you. And I'm going to talk about How to be Your Own Selfish Pig (and Other Ways You've Been Brainwashed) by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. The book, aimed at teens, was written by the daughter of Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer.

It's a book that is old enough that my parents had it when I was a teen. I bought a copy when I moved out of the house.

I can still remember the day I read the first half. I was supposed to be dusting and spotted it on a book shelf. Mom had tried to get me to read it, but I hadn't been interested because it was non-fiction. But that day, I picked it up and started reading it. (See, things haven't changed. I still read mostly fiction and I get distracted from what I need to do by just about everything.)

Several chapters later, I moved it to my room to finish and got back to work.

There are several things that have stuck with me since that first read. I've reread it a couple times, and really need to do so again soon. Anyway, here's what I took away from the book.

1. It's okay to doubt. It means we're human. It's what you do with your doubts that make the difference. Do you let them crush you? Or do you turn them into a quest for answers.

2. Christianity isn't a blind faith. Now hear me out. I know Hebrews 1. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. And it is by faith we are saved (Eph. 2:8). What I am saying is that a faith in something true will be reflected in the world around us. It will explain why people behave the way they do. And it will be supported by historical evidence. Remember, Muslims and Buddists have just as much faith in their religion as Christians do. Why can we maintain we are right and they are wrong? Because our faith works with the world while theirs' doesn't.

3. There is evidence to back up the historical claims of Christianity. This wasn't a new revelation at this point in my life. But it was nice to read some of these things again.

4. There are people who won't get it no matter what you say or do. Some of the stories she shared in the story were almost funny in how condesending people were toward her. Heck, one of the chapter titles is "I bet you believe in the tooth fairy, too."

5. Logic is your friend. Ultimately, all this comes down to logic and thinking things through. It can be a scary process, but it will make you stronger.

It's funny because as a teen, I never went through a period were I truly doubted. As I said, most of the hard apologetics in the book were nothing new for me. But it was so freeing to read something that said the occasional doubt was okay. That Christianity should be reflected in the world around us, and showed how it was.

As I said, I wouldn't have called my faith weak before. But it was certainly stronger after I read the book. In fact, it was what I learned from that book that got me through my years in public high school.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer League Tournament (aka We Made the Finals!)

Saturday was the end of summer league tournament (boo!) It was down in San Pedro, the same park as last year. This year, the wind was kinder to us, blowing the foul smells away from the field for most of the afternoon. And the bathrooms were finished. Once they opened them, they were much nicer than the outhouses we had last year. But the weather was still hot. Fortunately, one of my teammates brought a portable shade stand, so we had a little shade on the sidelines.

Now, as you read this, keep in mind that team purple was ranked 9th out of 12 after the regular season. But that means almost nothing as the day will show.

We started out playing Team White at 9 AM. They were ranked 8th, and were the team we tied a few weeks back. We actually started out with a lead and maintained it the entire way through the game. They did get close to us at the end, but ultimately, we won 9-7. (Games before the finals were supposed to be to 13, but ours was shortened because of time.)

That meant we immediately got to play team Grey. Now they were the number one rated team in the league and hadn't played any games yet. They were also missing a few key players. Unfortunately for them. We pretty much ran away with it. I think it was something like 13-7 at the end. And boy were we jazzed at that point.

We had a third round bye, but we came back strong against team black in the Semi-finals. The score was closer. Maybe something like 13-10? All I know is I scored one of our points. And we won.

That's right. WE MADE THE FINALS!!!!!!

I still can't quite believe it. I fully expected to be done by mid-afternoon and home in time to hang out with some friends at a pool party. But I don't care because we got to play in the finals.

Unfortunately, we fell apart. We lost one of our male subs. It was our fourth game, and everyone was tired. The other team had more subs and had played one less game than we had. They scored the first point and we answered back. But after that, we didn't score a thing in the first half, ending it 1-8. (The finals were to 15.)

In the second half we had another sub injured. But we still managed to score 4 points, making the final score 5-15 (same as last years score, I noticed by rereading that blog post.)

And I'll admit I lost it. After listening to the snarkiness of the sidelines by the blow out score, I did snap about someone. I should be more sorry than I am, but loosing that handily was hard enough as it was. We didn't need those complaints.

Of course, the other team, team Tan, was extremely good, too. They were fast and great all around players. Plus their greater number of subs really made a difference.

But you know what? We made the finals! I can still hardly believe it. Or did I say that already?

The party this year was a "booze cruise" in the harbor. As much fun as the cruise sounded, I wasn't interested in spending the money to go (it was costing extra) or trying to drive home at 11:30. Plus there's the fact that I wouldn't drink anything. So I left when the tournament was over. Still, I didn't leave until after 7. And I had to stop by Downtown Disney and buy some more pins. I hadn't been for 10 weeks. I was going through withdrawls. As a result, I didn't get home until after 9 tired of mind and body. In fact, I barely got to church yesterday morning. But it was all worth it.


Because we made the finals!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ending the Audit

Since my post titles recently have had to do with the audit, I figured I'd follow suit with this one.

Things have gone pretty smoothly. Not that I'm surprised since they usually do. They seemed to only talk to Phil, which is weird. But it seems that's what they've done the last couple of years. Did come get some discs of canceled checks from me, however.

I've spent part of the week off and on working on getting a TV in the second bedroom. Turns out the deal I got when I signed up was a temporary promotion. To get a box now is going to cost $5 a month. Really makes me wish I had gotten a third box back then. But I thought that was standard policy. Anyway, Anthony and I tried to figure out a work around, but it didn't work right, so I got a third box delivered today. Meant I got a couple hours off work this afternoon.

We lost our ultimate game Wednesday night. I don't know the final score, but I think it was once again in the 15-6 range. Worse yet, I got scored on several times. I ran hard and did my best to catch them, but they exploited my slow running speed. Tomorrow is the tournament, so we'll see how we come out in the end. As I've been saying, however, it was my turn to wind up on the team that finished in the bottom half considering I'm always on a team that is in the top half.

And there's a situation with one of my former roommates. I really need to talk to him. Hopefully, I can deal with that this weekend, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


So, I'm combining carnivals today. This post is not only for Watercooler Wednesday, but also for 5 Minutes for Books' Children's Classics carnival.

The topic this month is classic chapter books. Now if you know me at all, you probably assume this is going to be a plug for Trixie Belden. Wrong! As much as I love those books, I don't see them fitting into the classic category.

And, having reread Ramona the Pest this last week, I am tempted to talk about Beverly Clearly.

But I am going to stick with my first choice - The Chronicles of Narnia.

One reason I chose these books is because they have been in my life longer. While I discovered Trixie and Beverly in Jr. High, I read Narnia for the first time in 3rd grade. That was a long time ago.

True, I had to struggle through them a little then. But I was captivated. These books are so imaginative and fun. Kids from our world traveling to another and having all kinds of adventures. What's not to love? And I think I liked the talking animal aspect of it, too. C. S. Lewis really did know how to capture the imagination of children.

And adults, frankly. I have reread the books as an adult and actually enjoyed them more. And I bought Focus on the Family's radio version and was captivated all over again.

I do think if I were reading for the first time as an adult I might not love them so much. Aslan seens to roar in and save the day a little too often, making most of the plot irrelevant.

Yet that brings us to the alegory aspect. Yes, you can read the books purely as fantasy adventures. But there is barely disguised alegory there, too. It's more obvious in some of the books then others, but I've picked up on more of it as an adult then I did as a kid. And it's stuff that has encouraged and challenged me.

And I think that's another reason Asland roaring in to save the day doesn't bother me. He represents Jesus in the stories. And God can come in at the last minute to save the day.

Now as a diehard fan of the books, I was worried about the recent movies. But I've got to say I love them. Yes, they change things from the books. In the case of Prince Caspian, it really improved on the book, which is my least favorite in the series by far. And in the case of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the changes made for a better movie than strickly following the book would have.

So no matter your age, if you have missed these children's classics, drop everything and read them today.

(And look for me to blog about the others if I get a chance in another carnaval.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

And So Begins the Audit

Well, the audit is underway. I've got all my reconciliations done, too. So I guess things are going well. I hope so anyway.

We lost our ultimate Frisbee game Thursday night. Really badly, too. It was something like 15-6. I can't believe we won those first two games and have fallen apart so much since.

Friday night, I bought a Wii. Spent quite a bit of time wandering around town trying to find one, and Mario Kart. After I went to a few places that were close together, I started calling around. That's how I found the game. This is the first video game system I've bought since the SNES. (And yes, I do have an Atari 2600 as well.) And I am loving it! Especially Mario Kart, which is pretty much all I've played so far (I did buy another couple games.) Playing with the new controller is so much fun. And there aren't a million buttons to try to hit and use at the same time.

As you can imagine, my weekend wasn't too productive as a result, however. Between that and the Olympics, I didn't get much of any importance done.

I did play more ultimate, however. Billy and I went down to play in Santa Monica yesterday afternoon. Windy once again, but nice time. I was so tired when I got home last night. Playing on the sand really takes it out of you.

And today, in the fitness center, I did a few real pull-ups! I've never been able to do them before, so this was exciting for me. Obviously, these insane workouts I am still doing 6 days a week are paying off.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Thursday Threesome of Friday 8/8/8

Okay, so I'm a day late. But at least it lets me post on 8/8/8.

This week's topic is brought to us by memorable advertising slogans and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Leggo'-- of that! Okay, is there something (sure, food works!) that shows up from time to time that you'd really like to have and someone else usually makes a grab for it? I'm thinking Christmas is coming and maybe those 'special' cookies need to be planned for...
Nothing is springing to mind. Although I certainly like my share of sweets. I'm probably the one grabbing them when I should be letting someone else have them.

Twosome: my-- how time flies: Back to School sales are already over and I'm seeing Thanksgiving stuff in the stores! Whaddayathink: are you ready for Summertime to be over and done with?
Summer will be over when I say it is over. And that won't be until sometime in September or October.

Threesome: Eggos-- and the like: do you have a frozen food you keep around just because you actually like the darned thing?
Honestly, who doesn't like ice cream? (Hey, that's a frozen food, right?)

Seriously, I do enjoy frozen waffles and TV dinners, so I tend to keep them around.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Waiting for Shoes to Drop

That's what I feel like this week. Next week is our annual audit. And yet I think I am pretty much ready for it. There is always such a mad rush to get everything figured out those last few days. So I'm just waiting until we need to start that push.

Of course, next week will also be fun since I'll get to catch up on bank reconciliations. Yes, I know the fact that I enjoy doing so makes me sick. So be it.

Clint had finished moving out by the time I got home Friday night. And Anthony was moving in. He spent most of the weekend with friends, but we spent some time together last night getting the bunk beds set up in the second bedroom and moving the spare bunk from my room to the garage. I've got to say, it is nice to be sleeping on a regular bed again. And I love having the room rearrange again.

I made it to the movie twice this weekend. Mamma Mia is fun. And the latest Mummy is decent as well.

And I got to see my friends Stephen and Natalie while they were in town Sunday night. I just wish it hadn't been so brief.

Friday, August 01, 2008

No Memes. Let's Talk About Me!

Wow, I've been doing surveys and other fun stuff this week. But let's talk about my life, shall we? I know you are all dying to know what is going on.

Last weekend (see, it's been a while) was the launch party for Laura Levine's new book. Met up with Angelique down here. Found out that Joanne Fluke is doing a bunch more Christmas themed Hannah books and got to talk to Laura for a while as well. Plus Angelique and I had a great time chatting.

Monday was another ultimate Frisbee game. This was out week to have a game down in Venice. It was the same park we used for one game last year. And I didn't like it any better this time. They only light half the field for starters. But the results were better. We tied at 11 when they shut the lights off. I thought we'd have the same seven people show up, and we did, plus two subs. They were both women, which meant I was in on all the points where we started out on defense. But it really went much better as far as teamwork than Friday's game, too. The members of our team who have been gone should start showing back up now, so we should be strong for the final two weeks of the season.

Yikes! Do we really only have two weeks left of summer league? Say it isn't so!

This weekend is Trixie Camp. And it is the first one I have chosen to miss. Okay, so I could have skipped my brother's wedding to go four years ago, but that really wasn't an option. I'm not that selfish! And emergency surgery certainly wasn't my choice two years ago. But this year I skipped it for the DisneyWorld trip next month. While I know I will enjoy that trip and can't wait for it, I am also rather sad not to be in Tennessee right now. I sure wish I could do both.

Of course, it worked out well since I am in the middle of roommate transitions right now. Clint is half moved out and Anthony should be moving in tonight. Hopefully the rest of this transition goes smoothly.