Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Spiderman, Spiderman, Does Whatever A Spider Can

I'm generally not a fan of the opening day blockbuster movie. I mean, I can take 'em or leave 'em.

I am, however, a big fan of guys nights out, which my Bible study guys have chosen to go and see Spiderman after our study tonight. We've got tickets to the 9:15PM show.

I went and got the necessary 25 tickets yesterday.

I popped in my DVD of The Ramones singing the Spiderman theme song.

Now if I could only get to work by shooting webs out of my wrists and attaching to tall buildings. Oh, wait...the biggest building in my suburban mecca is two stories.

Predictions: Peter Parker's job will be threatened due to his apparent irresponsibility. Peter Parker will look like he'll lose the girl, but he won't, even though the girl will be emotionally distraught about all this. Spidey will get beat up pretty bad and appear dead at some point. Good will win out.
I'm Only Happy When It Rains

So the girls headed off to Six Flags yesterday even though rain was a legit threat. They got there, rode a few rides, ate lunch during a shower, got in a few rides and then when they were about to board the indoor roller coaster, an announcement was made that part of the park was flooded and the entire park would be closed. They didn't get to ride.

However, they did get passes to come back another day, which only happens when the park gets closed.

On the other hand, the outdoor go-karting and Putt-Putt we had scheduled had to be postponed.

Frankly, this is a side of Texas I've never seen...all this rain. In fact, if we get over an inch or so of rain today, we'll break the record for rainfall in June for all of recorded weather history. I'm pulling for it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

World Series of Poker

Since when did poker become a sport? It's on ESPN all the time these days.

Also, I'm a bit concerned about my family's own calculated gamble today. We didn't purchase a season's pass to Six Flags this year as it didn't look as if our summer schedule would allow us to get much benefit from it.

The drawback of not having the season pass is that you could just go and if the weather was bad you just came home. And my girls have a chance to go today and it's kinda cloudy and the forecast is calling for scattered, they'll pay the one-time fee which is a pretty expensive day for us, and hope the rain holds off.

For their fun and my wallet, I hope it does, too.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Kinda How I Feel Today

So, today, for whatever reason, I've got kind of a melancholy thing happenin' emotionally, and the Smashing Pumpkins song "Muzzle" describes it...

Here's a few selected lines...

i fear that i am ordinary just like everyone
to lie here and die among the sorrows
adrift among the days
for everything i ever said
and everything i've ever done is gone...

...i know that i am meant for this world
my life has been extraordinary
blessed and cursed and won
time heals but i'm forever broken
by and by the way...

...i know that i am meant for this world
and in my mind as i was floating
far above the clouds
some children laughed i'd fall for certain
for thinking that i'd last forever
but i knew exactly where i was
and i knew the meaning of it all
and i knew the distance to the sun
and i knew the echo that is love
and i knew the secrets in your spires
and i knew the emptiness of youth
and i knew the solitude of heart
and i knew the murmurs of the soul
and the world is drawn into your hands
and the world is etched upon your heart
and the world so hard to understand
is the world you can't live without
and i knew the silence of the world.

It's a great song...and describes what I'm feeling at the moment. Those feelings will change when I begin mowing the grass in about five mintues.
The College Graduate and Their Parents

I've got several friends who recently graduated from college. In each case, they worked their way through, so it took them a little longer, but now they've got jobs. McJobs...not careers. Waiting tables. Working at a car dealership driving a shuttle. Nannying. You get the drift.

Anyway, they're getting heat from their parents. Same as I got after I graduated...people telling me to just put a resume together, put a suit on and go get a job at a local bank or utilities company. Oh yeah, and a haircut wouldn't hurt, either.

It's a new economy, folks. One in which companies are a lot more hesitant to offer you health care or retirement benefits and golden parachutes and golden handcuffs are non-existant. The "50-years-gold-watch" thing is long gone, too.

So cut them some slack, Moms and Dads. They aren't lazy, they just understand that you can actually make more money waiting tables than you can at an entry-level position with no benefits for the first year.

Sunday, June 27, 2004


The local cable company just rearranged all the stations and channels. I don't know why. But...don't worry, folks. I'll be fine. Eventually. Can't blog right now. My thoughts are spinning. Ack.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Mild Summer

For those of you unaware of the brutality of Texas summers, suffice to say that it isn't uncommon for the media to count the number of days in a row that the temperature rises above 100 and/or never drops below 80. The locals also like to discuss historical heat waves to compare current conditions. Stuff like, "Yeah, 106 is hot, but it's nothing compared to the 112 we got back in '81...when we had 74 days in a row over 100." It's twisted, but Texans seem to pride themselves on being able to grin and bear it when it comes to extreme weather.

But those types have been strangely silent as thus far in the month of June, we're some 4 inches above normal with rainfall (and normally we only get about an inch in June) and rain is predicted for the rest of the week, and we've yet to have a day over 100.

So, forgive me, native/fellow Texans, if I enjoy sitting outside and reading the morning paper and take a great deal of pride in the fact that 70 degrees at night provides a better backdrop for nice moods.

Friday, June 25, 2004

So, Today I'm Thinking...

...Lost in Translation was an excellent movie, and I'm dying to know what he whispered in her ear.
...about the fun our family had watching the last 4 innings of the Texas Rangers 18 inning win yesterday when I got home from work while I was cooking dinner.
...Buford, the greatest of all dogs for almost 15 years, is not doing very well at all.
...I still need to clean out my closet and the garage.
...that the DVD 4-pack of "Saturday Night Live's The Best Of..." that has Chris Farley, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers and Will Farrell might be a necessary purchase.
...The book reading clip I was on (3 books a week as of late) has slowed considerably.
...about two statements our pastor made last Sunday, that people don't like to think because it's hard & draining work, and that people really don't enjoy accepting responsibility.
...when I could grab some vacation time and what I might want to do on said vacation.
...about discontinuing the blogging thing.
...that I'm really happy in my life station at present.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

It's Middle School Girls, Ray

Last night, my daughter's softball team celebrated their championship by attending the local (1st place, I might add) Major League baseball game together.

They got interviewed on the television broadcast in the top of the 2nd inning (every kid pulled out their cell phones and called the moms at home to get them to watch) and got to tell the story of winning, finishing with their team cheer. The guy who roams the stadium looking for human interest stories finished with, "That's the Blast rockin' the house. Back to you, Josh and Tom." Cheering.

Their accomplishment made the message board in centerfield a bit later. More cheering.

They tried to start the wave repeatedly. Failure. But points for perseverance.

The responded to every scoreboard command for "noise" with more shrill cheering.

These girls are pretty good softball players, but they were definitely more interested in food products, text messaging boys, and chatting about most things other than baseball. They missed a very rare "suicide squeeze" that pretty much put the home team on top for good, but joined in immediately to the "Rock and Roll Part 2" to make more scoreboard generated noise.

I introduced the van-load of girls I was responsible (?) for taking home to the concept of the "Chinese fire drill." The responded with much enthusiasm. They did it 5 times, buckling their seatbelts in their new seats each time, too.

Parking $10. Lemon Chill Ice Cream Treat $3.50. Tickets $10 per. Snacks and food to bring into the game: $20. A night where the home team wins and I get to see my kid and her friends still be kids: Priceless.

I had my annual evaluation yesterday. I'm still employed and my employers still seem reasonably happy with me! Whoo-hoo!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Easy Come, Easy Go

So, yesterday, one of the co-founders of the International House of Pancakes passed away at the age of 76.

Get this. At one time he was worth nearly $40 million 1970. Then, in the early 70's the economy tanked and he'd overextended his credit to expand too quickly, so he had to sell his stake in the restaurant chain for $50,000.

After several attempts at restaurants and printing, he declared bankruptcy in 1989.

Since I'm a big fan of the IHOP, I'm guessing that the best way to memorialize Al Lapin, Jr., would be to proudly order a Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity for breakfast and drink a big ol' glass of OJ at the nearest IHOP.

Here's to you, Al...I'm only hoping that you chose the name for that pancake delight since it causes so much embarrassment to order it. Somehow, that would be fitting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

My Day Off

For those of you that don't know, my day off is on Monday. My biggest problem is that it turns into a wasted day more often than job might not be all that physically challenging (except in the case of last week, when I built houses in Juarez) but there is definitely a mental and emotional drain that makes it difficult to do much that's productive.

Yesterday was different, though. I woke up early and had coffee with Shelby (well, she had a strawberry slushie), and then with Kelsey. I replaced our Saturday morning get together because I usually have to rush it as I have some sort of work responsibility.

I came home and did some light yardwork for about an hour. I watched a sappy movie because we have the new subscription thing at Blockbuster and we can get as many movies as we want in bundles of two. The movie was called "Along Came Polly" and was not very funny or romantic, two distinct flaws in a romantic comedy.

Then I had lunch and a 20-minute catnap. Did some reading, but not too much.

I did have a pre-marital counseling session over dinner...and then I came home and threw softball with Kelsey and read with Shelby (this Chronicles of Narnia reading aloud is great, but it's seven books, so we're pretty committed at this point). Then Tracy and I hung out for a little bit.

On one hand, it wasn't all that productive. On the other, it seems like I got all the important things squeezed into it...except for the movie. I think I need to make better choices if that's the route I'm going to go.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Father's Day

I couldn't have asked for a better Father's Day. My girls gave me just what I wanted, plus some notes and photos I didn't expect. I got to choose what I wanted for both lunch and dinner. I got to read with Shelby (the kids are getting into a dicey situation in The Chronicles of Narnia book 2). I watched the baseball game with Kelsey (the Rangers won, but we had to leave before the extra innings). And, I got a nap in as well. Now, if I could only figure out some way to avoid having to go to work at church on a Sunday...

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Mixed Emotions

Yesterday afternoon, at the request of some friends visiting from The Netherlands, I was watching a soccer match between Holland and the Czech Republic on pay-per-view. It's an important game, they tell me, as it's pivotal to the teams of both nations in their quest for the EuroCup 2004.

As far as soccer goes, it was exciting. There were 35 shots taken on goal between the two teams. Plenty of action and drama as the Dutch team scored two goals in the first 20 minutes and hit the post on a couple of others.

Then things turned around for the Czech Republic. A bad pass turned into a goal, and then they scored again after halftime. Finally, they scored with some two minutes to go in the game, winning 3-2. In the words of the BBC Sports commentators: "It was exceptionally well-played and dramatically riveting."

Why all this about a soccer game? I do appreciate the passion of the world for it (especially since I enjoy another "slow" game--baseball) but I didn't have a personal deep interest except that I had friends on both sides of the coin.

See, my Dutch friends were deeply involved emotionally. Early highs and late lows. They were bummed, and I imagine it lasted a few hours until their trip to the rodeo that night.

And I have two dear friends Michael and Katie, finishing up missions work in the Czech Republic, who I could envision in a pub somewhere, surrounded by strangers, hoisting some dark European lager in celebration. Hopefully, some happy soul purchased a round for the house so they'd get the best of both worlds: The win and free stuff.

And I wished I could've been there with them if they were in such a situation. An American living room with bummed Dutchmen ain't all that great a way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Two Really Good Questions:

Thoughts provoked from today's Dallas Morning News Religion Section that have already hit discussion in my own church.

This article references the lack of participation among GenX and 20-somethings amidst the Souther Baptist Convention's leadership, membership and delegation at their convention and in their churches. The question is where are they and why aren't they attending local churches?

This article discusses the trend among some parents, who normally would have to pay for day care, who figure out the weeks different area churches host a "vacation Bible school" and then drop them off. The article focuses on the church's response (some said they'd take them in because they're likely the ones that need to hear the message, and others said they'd turn them away due to lack of ability to supervise these "surprise" additions--who failed top preregister--due to difficulty in getting last-minute volunteers). The question is are we really able to do effective ministry when a kid has seen the same VBS a couple of weeks in a row (there are only so many curriculums out there, and a kid can see the same one 3 or more times in 6 weeks)?
Last Day of Month to Month Living! Not.

My odds are in the hopper, along with approximately 46 million other players, to win the Texas Lotto's drawing tonight...the largest ever payout around $150 million.

Suffice to say that I'll mow my lawn today because the reality that I'll be paying someone to do it tomorrow is pretty darn slim.

Went and saw the new movie "Dodgeball" yesterday. Keep in mind that you should know what you're getting yourself into: A Spinal Tap/Dumb and Dumber/Zoolander kind of thing.

That in mind...I laughed so hard at a couple of things, both visual and spoken, that I was crying. Glasses off, eye-wiping, laughter. It was great.

And I'd kill for one of those "Average Joe's" game jersey's with the captain's "C" on it.

Friday, June 18, 2004


Took some time yesterday to go see the movie "Saved!" The basic plot line is that a girl from a private Christian high school becomes pregnant and it's a look at how she's treated by her fellow students. Seeing as how my life involves a "youth group" I couldn't pass it up.

Suffice to say that, as a movie, it wasn't all that great. It couldn't decide if it was a comedy or a drama or whatever, and the ending was pretty weak, too. Wrapped up a bit too neatly, like a sitcom.

I didn't expect the theology to be all that sound, either. The sappy ending had enough bad ideas about who God really is against what people want Him to be that...well...I guess that's what you have to do when you want a happy ending.

What struck me was the portrayal of the Christian teen subculture. In many ways it was dead-on accurate.

For example, the aging principal of the high school was using out-of-date teen phrases in an attempt to be cool. You know, like he'd yell to the kids, "Who in here wants to get jiggy with Jesus?!" They'd all respond wildly. Unfortunately, I know plenty of youth pastors who try to remain hip and it comes across exactly as the principal in the movie did: pathetic, but the kids didn't really care. I told my wife that if I ever start to act like that, tell me, and I'll go to my office, shut the door and write.

The Christian teen subculture was pretty accurate, too. One of the characters was forced to attend the private school because she was expelled from some others, and her observation of teen Christian guys was, "All the Christian boys look like NASA employees."

There was a teen who attended the school who had recently come back from a world tour with the "Christian Skateboarders Association." The band at the prom was playing a song by a punk band from my youth, The Replacements, and one of the lines in the song was "We'll inherit the earth, but we don't want it..." The song was certainly not religious in any way, but the teens were responding as if it were a worship song. They have prayer meetings that are really gossip sessions. The teen who get pregnant has a Bible thrown at her while her friend screams, "I love you too much to let this happen." The sins of various kids are swept under the rug and dealt with under accepted Christian phraseology and actions instead of with love by parents. There was a True Love Waits reference that was really funny. The teens were riding around listening to an alternative Christian music station. Their assembly was very typical of most Christian youth rallies, complete with a silly altar call portrayal.

I guess what really got under my skin was the idea that the view of the writers and directors wasn't all that far off base. Sure, it was taken to extremes, but there was a lot of truth underneath it all. The lead character, Hillary Faye (Tammy Faye, anyone?) played by Mandy Moore, was an example of everything that legalism could lead to if it went unchecked.

Which is why the characters of note that everybody liked told the truth as they saw it, and gave each other grace (albeit in order to make a happy ending they had to conveniently ignore some obvious biblical truths) and love.

And when you think about it, that's what will ultimately draw people to a genuine relationship to Christ (minus the ignoring of obvious biblical truth). The world sees all too much of legalism and it's effects on much so that it was pretty easy to see some serious realities within the subculture.

The world needs to see more grace in us as a tribe.

So, the movie wasn't all that great. Like I said before, it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama...and unless you're really tied into the subtleties of the Christian subculture many of the jokes will seem cliche and stupid. But I will say that the parents in my student ministry will get to watch it and discuss it at our next movie/discussion night.

The lesson that night will be "What is it that we're doing that makes the non-believer view us in this way?" Hint: Legalism kills.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

A $1 Glimpse At The Ash Heap

I'm not a regular player of the Texas State Lottery. In fact, I have a general rule that I don't even consider playing unless the payoff gets up over $75 million. I mean, if lightning's gonna strike, why would I want to settle for a measley $4 million?

This adds up to about two bucks a year in lotto tickets.

Anyway, I forgot to purchase a ticket for yesterday's drawing, which promised a $120 million payout. No one won yesterday, so don't worry, I'll have another chance to get a ticket on Saturday for that night's drawing.

Tracy and I have this discussion a couple of times per year...what we'd do if we won it. First, we'd definitely take the "cash" option instead of payouts over 20 years. I'm not exactly sure why, but it would, in effect, cut our winnings in half to do it that way. Now we're at $70 million. I'm guessing taxes would take it to $40 million.

There's the obligatory new home with a study for me, a photography studio for Tracy, batting cages for Kelsey, dance studio for Shelby, pool & hot tub, and a couple of cars. Nothing fancy on the cars, but definitely something convertible for Tracy. We're not car people. Definitely a playroom & big screen sports/movie room.

There's a mountain chalet somewhere, probably Aspen, Colorado. A beach condo somewhere, most likely Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Then, it gets a little fuzzy. And, I'm guessing we've still got about $35 million left to spend...and the best we can come up with is to save it, or give some to worthy causes and all...

I guess there are limits to materialism...and even the discussion of this stuff makes me cringe at my own propensity towards it because I know how hollow and temporary posessions are.

Seems to me that once you upgrade all your stuff, you still have to face life and reality...and while a goofy discussion over "what if" might be entertaining, it's also revealing. There's a lot to be said for being content no matter what your circumstances.

And some people spend their entire lives chasing after stuff that ultimately ends on the ash heap. Or not being content. Odd.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

A Summer Day

My summer mornings start with the entire family getting ready around 7AM because they have various responsibilities at our church's "Vacation Bible School." Shelby is attending. Kelsey is a teacher's assistant and Tracy is preserving the moments in pictures. Shelby walks Lloyd (Buford is past the age where taking walks is a good thing) and stretches in her ballet studio. Kelsey takes long showers and has a new CD that has one song on "repeat" and Tracy watches shows like Good Morning America.

After V.B.S., I'm sure that the Sims will be high on the agenda. I can see why this game is so addicting for pre-teens...yesterday, Kelsey's characters were too sleepy because a baby had been born that they would fall over, there was some worry about a social worker taking away a child and one character was making such poor grades that there was a threat of military school amidst the SimFamily.

There's lots of reading and lounging and a slow pace to our days. I know it's always this way once I get past the Mexico mission trip (where, mentally, my summer begins) but summer really does have a different mindset than when school is in session.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Sims and Human Nature

I admit that I'm not much into video games and such. But yesterday, my daughter purchased a game called "The Sims." Apparently, this little neighborhood of people starts life together. You create a person and you live an imaginary life through these digital folks. You gotta get a job. You gotta feed the baby. You build/furnish your home. The other neighbors can be in bad moods. Stuff like that.

Later, my daughter is on the phone getting "cheat codes" from some friends that also play the game. She now has over half a million bucks and has figured out a way to avoid buying food (while still staying healthy) and she purchased a robot to keep her house clean so she wouldn't have to do chores. She figured out a way to delete the mailbox, so now bills can't get delivered to her so everything's free.

Even in this computer world, you can still see revelations of "human" nature.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Southbound Juarez

Observations from our student ministry's recent trip to Mexico:

With the graduating seniors being replaced by incoming freshmen, this group gelled much more quickly than I'd hoped. This is a VERY good sign.

The safety factor of a fully insured & licensed bus company who provides a well-rested bus driver is completely worth the investment.

It's best to stay at a hotel that's already got a little wear and tear on it when lodging 60 teenagers. Damage deposits don't always come back in the newer hotels.

The lack of professionalism among youth pastors is discouraging. We were delayed 25 minutes because the other church our guide was waiting on failed to call to say they'd be late. Then this young pup of a youth pastor shows up and never apologizes for being late OR not calling (the number was in the written material that said to call if you were going to be late), or even caring, that he set our group back half an hour due to his inconsideration.

Crossing the border, even in post-9/11 days, seems relatively simple.

Not many people know that a team of 60 people can pour a foundation on three different 20'x 10' houses, using wheelbarrows, hand mixing with hoes and shovels, in about 5 hours.

If you've never experienced a sandstorm in East Mexico/West Texas right after pouring those foundations, well, suffice to say that sustained 30 MPH winds and being sandblasted for an hour and a half doesn't lend itself to much rest time.

Teenagers who were all born in the 90's have never experienced 80's Hair Band Arena Rock, and they think Jon Bon Jovi's anthemic chants are extremely cool to sing along with on the way to the worksite. We didn't tell them any different, but it's just the tonic for the troops to have them singing "WHOA OH! WE'RE HALFWAY THERE...TAKE MY HAND, WE'LL MAKE IT I SWEAR, WHOA OH! LIVING ON A PRAYER" before a day on the worksite.

On day 2, we had the house framed. It's 9 feet high on one side and slopes to 8 feet on the other. We then experienced another dust storm, this time with 40 MPH sustained winds and it destroyed our kitchen tent. The military tents we rented from the Army/Navy surplus store held up fine. The military designs and standards really are brilliant when you think about them.

On day 3, we had the roof up and shingled, the walls enclosed and the first coat of stucco done. We got a wonderful night, too. No dust storms and the temperature dropped to about 60 with a breeze. We've gotten really good at building houses and camping out for a week.

The last day, we finished the stucco on three houses and turned over the keys to the new owner. While some people have closets larger than the homes we built, the moment when you hand someone the keys to their new home, it's very touching emotionally. They got a HOME for crying out loud. They lived in cardboard and pallets. Then somebody shows up, lets them fill out an application, they get a notice saying they need to be home for three days to host a team who has not only purchased all the materials they'll need, but will show up and put it all together in a four-day work week.

The tears and hugs of new homeowners is humbling to me...they only make $60 a month. They seem to give me a lot of the credit, but I just organize the expedition. My involvement is largely ceremonial/representational. The kids do everything from raising the money to building the home.

Our group camps out better than most of the people in the barrio live. We eat healthier and better than we do at home, too. We left all our leftover food with the families.

Teenagers actually think they're getting good deals at the Mercado Juarez when they barter/negotiate on hand crafts and blankets and leather goods and swords and such. It's pretty funny to watch, too. Best purchase: the freshmen guys all bought professional wrestling masks.

Crossing the border on a newly-created national holiday is happier because all the federal employees were thrilled to be getting time and a half in an unplanned way. They were very happy.

A hotel pool gets really brown when 60 teenagers who have only had bucket showers for a week jump in it without showering first.

Hearing teenagers tell what they learned about themselves and God during the debriefing session is always cool to me.

West Texas has very little fast-food options other than McDonald's.

Watching parents pick up their kids on time and me having an empty parking lot in front of you signaling the true end of the trip: priceless.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Recital Tonight...Mexico Tomorrow...Diner on Hiatus until June 14.

One of the busiest weeks in the McKinney household comes to an end tonight around 7:30PM.

Kelsey was taking a special class on painting with oils for three hours every morning, followed by skills camp at the local high school for softball every afternoon.

Shelby has been getting ready for her recital, which involves rehearsals for the technical aspects as well as the artistic aspects a couple of nights this week.

Tracy has been doing the "stage mom" thing by volunteering in the concession stand at the recital hall as well as making sure Shelby has all her stage make-up/costumes for her three performances tonight...all of which involve costume changes and such.

I've been planning the annual Juarez mission trip for our student ministry in which they'll be building three houses for homeless people (a la Habitat for Humanity) in a barrio in Mexico near the El Paso border. That part is actually easy because an organization based in El Paso purchases the wood, gets the tools and all where we just show up and build. The tricky part on our end is taking 60 people and planning to camp out for a week...which involves not only the army surplus tents we use but also the transportation, food & water (do you know how difficult it is to transport some 750 gallons of water?) needs for the entire team for the entire week. Not to mention the stuff that could pop-up that we have to be prepared for (illness, injury, etc.).

Add to that the reality that my mom has flown in for the recital, and while the visit has been enjoyable, it's had to come in short bursts for me and each one of the girls.

I'll be decompressing in Mexico, and summer begins in earnest for us next week. The next journal entry will be on Monday, June 14, regailing you with tales from Juarez...

Friday, June 04, 2004

So, Today I'm Thinking...

...Shelby's recital tomorrow night will be fun since she's dancing in ballet, tap and jazz. Before, it was just ballet. Mom's in town, but it's my family's busiest weekend of the year because of the recital (which Tracy has to be backstage to help with all her costume changes) and I'm off to Mexico on Sunday morning, which has lots of detail work to be done. friend who builds custom motorcycles is excited because his company will be featured in "Hot Bikes" magazine in August. sister is likely moving again, probably within the next year, probably to another cool city somewhere, too.
...I'll probably take Kelsey to go see Harry Potter today sometime if we can get tickets.
...that Tenet's resignation from the CIA is actually politically motivated and really not because he wants to spend more time with his family.
...that I really do want to read Bill Clinton's memoir coming out soon.
...that Auburn's football team will go 8-3 again this year and win their bowl. crepe myrtles have come back with such a vengeance that they'll have to be trimmed again soon.
...I still have to clean out both the garage and my closet.
...that I need to get on with my day.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Riding Out The Storm

Here in Big D we've been experiencing some freakish stormy weather. It's sunny and beautiful all day and then at night there've been hailstorms and such that have produced all sorts of power outages and such. It may happen tonight, too.

Anyway, my daughter Shelby and I have been reading C.S.Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" out loud to each other for the last two weeks (that's why it's been under "Books I'm Digging" for so long), usually about a chapter a night.

Last night, we saw the storm warnings but it was still nice out, so we decided to get outside and read before it got here. We got a few chapters in, and then the wind picked up, the clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees...and it smelled like impending storm. Shelby noticed and said she "loves that smell."

It was an incredibly unique experience, sitting under our huge willow tree, storm rolling in, raising your voice to make sure your daughter can hear the story of Aslan above the noise of the wind in the tree above us, being chilly outside in Texas in June. Very nifty way to spend an early evening.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Maybe we could learn something from the Slacker Mom

There's a new book on parenting called "Confessions of a Slacker Mom" (Muffy Mead-Ferro) in which the premise is that the "experts" have made the stakes of parenting extremely high and social competition is actually driving the parenting bus in our culture...not so much love, but rather fear, I suppose. Sounds like a good summer read to me.

Anyway, she said in an interview that she felt all the lessons and involvements children are doing has a long-term effect: That children don't have free time which is valuable in learning to think for themselves.

Seems to me, that's the most important thing we can teach our children. Teaching them to think for themselves. Why does that scare most parents so much?

Somehow, the island of Cuba is starting to get 70-some channels of American television. The Cuban government is saying that it's a U.S. plot to overthrow Castro.

The citizenry is staying up all night watching game shows and such and are enthralled that you can win $1,000 for answering easy questions, round-the-clock weather, and "you can get pizza delivered right to your house!" They like seeing all the "beautiful things, like pretty houses and fancy cars."

It's a two-sided coin, I suppose. On one hand, a disgruntled populace will start realizing what they're not getting from their own government as far as opportunities go.

On the other, well, let's just say that we'd hate for them to come here thinking that you get to pick your wife from 25 really cute girls staying at your mansion for a few months.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Starting To Feel Like Summer

June 1. The weather is getting above 90 degrees here in Texas (although it's hard to believe that we haven't gotten over 100 yet) so it's starting to feel like summer. The girls sleep late consistently. Sleepovers on weeknights. You can drive to work at normal speeds during "school zone activation" times. People mentioning they'll have to take care of "that" when they get back from their vacation. My teens all have their summer jobs. Graduation has happened. I've got a mission trip coming up. Movie-hype galore in papers and on TV. Pop-Ice in the freezer. Cutting the grass more often. Looking for good summer reads.'s starting to feel like summer.

I've kinda been curious as to what people will actually take the time to "comment" on in blogs. Sometimes I write things that I think there'll be lots of comments on and no one does. The opposite is true as well.

Like one time I asked about coffee and got over 20 comments. Then I write something I think might be a bit more controversial and get 4. Same for other blogs I've read.

And, why do I get kind of excited when the comment counter gets above, say 5?

Just sorta thinking out loud.