Thursday, April 30, 2009
1. I enjoy Three things this Thursday so much, I had to tell the blogging world about it. So I posted this on yesterdays edition of Works for me Wednesday at We Are That Family. Maybe there will be some new posters checking it out this week.
2. Oh Boy! I have just loved the last few episodes of Chuck. Specifically, Scott Bakula's turn as Chuck's father. If like me you can't watch full episodes at NBC.com ,maybe you can watch them at IMDB.com or hulu.com. I am not sure if Monday's season finale was also the series finale. If it was they sure went out on a strong note. Check it out.
3. Today is the last day of my Point of Grace/ Michael Kelly Blanchard give-a-way. If you haven't entered by leaving a comment on my original post do so before 10 p.m tonight.
Well that's all for me. If you would like to see what three things others have this Thursday or participate in 3TTT go to Psalm 104:24. Have a great week!
Next Time: 5 minutes at a time.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
1. It's an easy format to follow and useful when time constraints or life itself are getting in the way of blogging.
A few weeks ago after my brother passed away, I did not have the mental energy to create a WFMW post (grief, depression, nor the passing of a loved one work for me.) but 3TTT was just the ticket. Here is the link to my original 3TTT entry.
2. It allows for me to post about disparate thing at the same time and things that I might not blog about other wise. In the past few weeks, I have talked about books I read, snacks I've prepared, and give-a-ways I was hosting.
3. I enjoy 3TTT because it appeals to my randomness and love for the non sequtir. The snack post I referred to was right after I wrote a transcript of the eulogy I gave at my brother's funeral.
So that's why Three Things This Thursday works for me. I encourage you to participate this Thursday. (She generally posts about 8 or 9 a.m Thursday mornings). To see what things work for other's late Tuesdays and into Wednesday go to WFMW at We are That Family.
Next Time: That's What I Like About you.
Today is April 28th and the carnival is not yet here. Hopefully it will come soon. Here is some footage from last year's carnival. Lucy and her cousin Bobby sure seem to be enjoying themselves!
A different kind of carnival has arrived as it does each week. The Carnival of Homeschooling. While I have submiited several carnival entries in the past, (see my labels) I have not before actively promoted the sight. This week I have started announcing the current host of the carnival.
In addition, I will be hosting the May 19th carnival at Home School Dad. More will be announced about that in the near future. This weeks carnival is being hosted by Corn and Oil. I encourage you to check it out!
Next Time: In Praise of Three Things Thursday.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
1. Hockey Lessons.
I recently completed reading a book about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team entitled The boys of winter by Wayne Coffey. It's a perfect companion piece to the film "Miracle." Although, I have never played hockey, there are many valuable lessons to be learned from these boys. I will be posting some of them here in the near future.
Speaking of hockey, on January 1, 2009 there was a Hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Black Hawks. This is not unusual in itself, as these teams being part of the original 6 teams in the N.H.L. have skated against each other hundreds of times. What made the game a spectacle, is the venue, It was played outdoors at Wrigley Field the friendly confines of the Chicago Cubs. Which brings us to ...
2. Lost Update.
I was at Wrigley last night to watch the Cubs take on the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs lost 0-3.
I went with my son, Charlie and my brother in law, Mike. Throughout the ballpark there are signs advising to be alert for foul balls. Charlie and I had brought our gloves but nothing came our way. At the gift shop I saw a 8.5 by 5.5 replica post card of the sign for just a buck. I told Charlie that I'd buy it for him and we'd hang it on his wall. His reaction: "When I get my Blog, I am going to post it there!" You guys know how 7 year olds get excited about blogs and stuff.
It was nice to spend some time with Mike. He has spent much of the past year being the primary care giver for my father-in-law and helping him recuperate from various illnesses and injuries. It was good for him to get a respite from all that and catch a game with us.
Speaking of respites, that brings us to . . .
In my most recent post, I talked about the importance of taking a break or helping someone else take a break so you or they can be re energized. I also announced a give-a-way of a c.d and a book. The book is Unsung Heroes by Michael Kelly Blanchard. Blanchard is a singer/songwriter best known for writing "Be Ye Glad." The c.d. by Point of Grace is called How You Live. Point of Grace is the Christian Pop quartet that has recently become a Country Trio.
To register for the give-a-way which ends on April 30th leave a comment at my original post.
Those are my three things for Thursday April 23rd. Go to Psalm 104:24 to see what other trios of things are out there for your perusal.
Next Time: Where's the Carnival?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Dear Car Behind me 7:30 p.m September 1st exiting Elk Grove Bowl Parking lot onto Southbound Arlington Heights,
Yesterday as my wife, daughter and I were heading home from dinner at the Rose Garden restaurant in Elk Grove we were making a left out of the parking lot of The Grove Shopping Center on the corner of Arlington Heights Road. We were joined by you on our tail. My wife, who is probably the worlds best and safest driver, was waiting for traffic on both sides to subside before making our turn.
This is when you, in your 2nd row mentality, decided that you could see the traffic better behind our minivan than we could ahead of you. So you blared on your horn, indicating that we really should be turning at that exact moment and make you wait no longer. Well, Superman, (A reference to your x-ray vision; being able to see past our car to the ongoing traffic) not 3 seconds after you honked, a northbound car barreled past us.
This means that if we took your horn blowing advice, and stuck our cars nose out in traffic, that most likely my wife, myself, and my daughter and our unborn child would be dead right now. My daughter would not have turned two today. The house in Carpentersville we moved into yesterday would have never been lived in by us, nor paid off by us, saddling our parents with grief and debt.
Fortunately, as disconcerting as your second row salute was, my wife did not go until the coast was actually clear. You, then had the audacity to catch up with us and give my wife a glare! Don't you realize, that if we did take your advice and got smashed up, you would have most likely been even further delayed than you were. When we both stopped at the light at Landmeier it was all I could do to not roll my window down and give you an earful.
This has happened to me so many times before. We live in an area of congested traffic, driving in front of people who honk the horn at us before the light turns green. If you guys are so quick on the draw, how come you generally are behind me ?
So car behind me, next time you are second in line behind somebody else: try to remember that it's not just a car you are behind, it is people!
A little perspective: I sent a copy of letter to our local newspaper and they advised me it would be published on September 12, 2001. I don't believe the newspaper evcer published it due to more serious matters from that time period.
Next Time: Give me a Break
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Today's Topic: 4 Weddings and a Funeral
Nothing brings a family together like a wedding. Except maybe a funeral. With the recent passing of my brother, Keith, I have decided to share a little about his funeral as well as his wedding, my wedding and the weddings of my two other married siblings. Today we will talk about my sister Kathy's wedding.
Q: Who was the first of your brothers and sisters to tie the knot?
A: I am pretty sure that it was me. It may have been my brother Chris; we were both in scouting at about the same time. I was a tad uncoordinated, so maybe him.
Q: I mean who was the first of you to get married?
A: Oh, sorry that would be my sister, Kathy. September 1, 1991. She married Andy.
Q: How did they meet?
A: Kathy met Andy at their 5 year Notre Dame reunion. They had not known each other previously, which how they were able to "meet". It turns out my father and Andy's had been Notre Dame classmates as well and had planned the whole thing out in the student union their sophomore year. All right that part is made up. But they did know each other.
Q: What was the significance of this wedding? A: Kathy moved to Virginia with Andy after the wedding so this was the last time the 5 of us would live in the same state.
Q: Was Amy involved in the wedding? A: Amy did not attend this wedding, as we were just college friends at the time, but her car did. Amy lent me her car so I could drive up for the wedding.
Q: What do you remember most about the wedding?
A: Like many young women, Kathy had been planning aspects of her wedding for years. But what was unusual, is that what Kathy had been planning was the music she would play at the reception. I think she had about 5 hours of must play songs. The song I remember the most was "I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll."
Q: Before I ask my next question could you tell me what a smile and nod moment is?
A: Smile and nod refers to what our family does when one of our family members is acting kind of unusual. People tend to smile and nod at myself or my brothers and sisters and some of our cousins.
Q: Were there any smile and nod moments you recall from Kathy's wedding?
A: There were. My sister was the 2nd oldest of 29 grandchildren. The oldest grandchild came to the wedding wearing a very nice Indiana Jones hat.
Q: So you smiled and nodded when you saw him in the hat?
A: We smiled and nodded when he told us very proudly that he had sold his blood plasma in order to purchase the hat.
Q: Interesting. Where do I go after that?
A: Ask me what's coming up next time.
Q: What's coming up next time?
A: Next Time: An Open Letter to the Guy Behind Me.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
1. During the wake and funeral for my brother I was constantly remembering one of his favorite episodes from Night Court, one of his favorite television programs. The episode featured an undertaker with a warped sense of humor. His goal was to put "fun" back in funeral. Among his tricks of the trade he would put bumper stickers on the casket that said things like "My other car's a hearse" or "I'd rather be breathing."
2. I gave the eulogy Tuesday at Keith's funeral. I'd like to share to the best of my memory my remarks, and yes I did call the Catholic Priest "Pastor Ed". Keith's service was at the Catholic Church my family attended when we were growing up. My parents still go there and my Dad drives the bus for the churches elementary school. The entire student body came to the funeral.
Here is what I said ...
"On behalf of Lynn and her children, my parents and my brothers and sisters I'd like to welcome you to the Illinois regional Jeopardy auditions. (wait for laughter to subside) Keith and the rest of our family grew up at this church. The first funeral I recall attending was here. It was for the father of a school and scouting friend of Chris and mine. After the service, my dad approached the widow and said "38 is much too young to go."
Now, I was about 10, and like maybe many of you, (motioning to the students) 38 did not seem young to me at all. But let me tell you, 38 is much too young (Keith was 38 when he died). When you love somebody whenever they die it is always much too soon.
Many people who knew Keith only by his diagnosis (bi-polar disorder) might think that there were two Keith's. That was so untrue. There was only one Keith. He had a greater capacity for love and enjoyment than anyone I ever knew. He loved his family. He loved playing games and he loved jokes. He was active in his children's schooling and scouting. (I meant to talk briefly how he loved chess and how he was helping my son Charlie with his chess class on their last visit together a week before he died. I didn't get to that part. I also wanted to talk specifically about how much he loved his wife Lynn, missed that as well). He was logical to the point of being obnoxious or perhaps for the purpose of being obnoxious. He'd be at a a party at my house and I'd say "Keith there's Pepsi in the cooler if you want one." And he'd say "Actually, there's Pepsi in the cooler even if I don't want one."
Keith's passing has left many of us with the same question. A question my daughter Emma has asked many times this week. "Daddy, why did Uncle Keith have to die?" I don't think it was any coincidence that Keith died during Holy Week. During the same time that many of you were celebrating the stations of the cross and asking "Why did Jesus have to die?" Pastor Ed you are right Keith is not asking those questions now. Keith understood the hope of the resurrection and He is in heaven right now with his Savior.
During the past 3 years during the course of his illness, (Keith had heart and kidney ailments) many people have stopped me and asked me "How is Keith? How is your brother doing?" Keith is doing great. He is doing better than we can even imagine.
3. Yesterday the day after the funeral, I decided to seek comfort in comfort food. It is one of those foods that I enjoy making as much as I do eating. There is a food product at the Mexican grocery store near my house called duros or wheels. They are like a meatless pork rind. For $1.50 you can get a large bag of them prepared. But for about $2.00 you can buy a bag of them uncooked that makes 8-10 times the large bag. Not quite enough for Frugal Friday, but still fun on a budget. All of my children like to eat or prepare the treat.
Here is what they look like uncooked . . .
Here is what one looks like after being cooked in hot oil . . . You will notice it's in the same bowl.
So there's my 3 things combining fun, funeral and food. To see more three things this Thursday go to Psalm 104:24
Next Time: 4 Weddings and a Funeral.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
When I got back in the house I started crying again. Emma was finishing a writing assignment that Amy gave her last week. She asked me what was the matter and I said that I wasn't feeling very well today. She handed me her finished assignment and said "here, I hope this makes you feel better." It really did! She gave me permission to share it here.
I just gave a eulogy yesterday. The problem with a eulogy is that the person you want to tell all these great things about is not there to hear them. Emma's paper seemed like a eulogy that I was able to receive.
Next Time: Putting the fun back in funeral.
Friday, April 10, 2009
With that in mind ... Soon: 4 Weddings and a Funeral
Thursday, April 9, 2009
1. Prayer update: Continue to pray for my family on the loss of my brother. The wake is Monday and the Funeral Tuesday. He leaves behind a wife and 2 young children. We had invited He and his family for Easter before he passed. The rest of his family will still be attending.
2. Post of the day. Over at We are That Family there is a very nice post about a new addition to the We are that Family family. Check it out.
3. Currently Reading: Just started Ernest Hemingway's Islands in the Stream. Twenty pages in it looks like it will be an engaging read.
Next Time: Let's go Fly a Kite!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
That is $100.00 I would have gladly parted with. Parting with him will be another deal entirely. I covet prayers for his family. That they would trust God knowing that Keith lives now with his Heavenly Father. That we'd be able to live without him.
Next Time: ?
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
It seems like the guys who sing excellent and very funny summaries of books of the Bible, like this one on Judges, also sing very funny songs about frogs and Facebook.
These guys have an excellent website at Rhettandlink.com. I highly reccomend both their personnas. I have linked up some bentley/rhettandlink videos at my site. Let me know which one you favor.
Next Time: I do my Own Stunts!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Since that time we have seen Emma's memory of capitols dwindle down to 50% from knowing all of them. We decided to prepare a refresher for her and Charlie during Spring Break. Since Amy now has a Spring Break at her job we give the kids a few days off their studies as well. We did have them review the capitols every day for a week and now Emma is almost back to 100% again. Charlie is kind of boycotting the quizzing and answers Baton Rouge or Salt Lake City to all of them.
The Monday of Spring Break was the regular day for our home school cooperative. I teach a class on grammar and editing for the 7th grade-and-up crowd. I like to open the class in an unusual way, so I began by quizzing them on state capitols. One girl did not know the capitol of Illinois. That's fine if you live in Kansas. But when you live in Illinois, it's kind of an important fact! I went through 20~25 states and no one even got a quarter of 'em. They assured me they had all memorized or at least studied the capitols before. These are bright articulate kids. But just like Emma and Charlie, they need a refresher. Here is a demonstration.
This Monday, the tables were turned. I was assisting at the co-op in Charlie's class. They were reading a story about Martin Luther King and the bus boycott. I could not think of Rosa Parks' name. It was killing me! I asked Charlie, he didn't remember. I sauntered across the hall and asked Emma, she didn't know. I stayed up all night racking my brain and at about 6 a.m, it dawned on me. No, that's just a bad joke. I thought of it on the drive home. But the point had been made. Things get forgotten, and things worth remembering need to be taught over and over.
Another important aspect of state knowledge is being able to place them on a map. No doubt many of you have seen this useful resource. It is very addictive and I have become pretty good at it. I have placed all 50 states without an error 3 times now. It all depends on the order of the states you are given. Today we had a family contest and Emma won placing 47/50 with an average error of only 14 miles. Charlie is not able to read all of the states. He does a pretty good job of recognizing the states by shape.
Next Time: The Same Guys
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
One of the great things about skiing are the opportunities to talk with girls. One thing I liked to do was start conversations with girls on the ski lifts. Many of them have their names written on their skis. They forget they are written there, so when you call them by name you catch them by surprise. I went up the mountain one time with a beautiful girl. She had a wonderful laugh. She laughed each time I called her by name. Her name
was Rental - Steve Martin
My cousin is a high school teacher. He is also the sponsor of his school's ski club. As such, over the years, he has thus far twice had me as a guest, a non paying one at that, on one of his ski trips. On the last occasion I brought Charlie. It was March 14th and while the day started below freezing, we skiied in about 40 degree weather .
It was a gorgeous day for him to learn to ski. I arranged for him to have a lesson. The instructor had him practice to begin with 1 ski on a rather small incline and graduate to 2 and then to the actual bunny hill, where his greatest difficulty was using the tow rope.
Charlie and I hit the bunny hill hard for a few hours then had a nice junkfood jamboree at the snack bar. Nachos, hot dogs and his own soda (something that never happens at home.) We skiied for a few more hours after that and then we headed for home around 3 o'clock.
On the way home, we stopped in the town of New Glarus, Wisconsin. If I have my greats in order, Charlie's great great great grandparents were some of the original settlers of New Glarus, coming there from Switzerland. I took a picture of him at the monument under the names of his forebearers, Jost and Fridolin Becker. Our home school is named after my grandmother Izola (Becker) Roller. So I thought it was appropriate on the innaugral outing of the Izola Becker Home School Ski Club, to also study her history.
It had warmed up to the mid 50's by then, and there we sat in a park, jacketless, enjoying each other's company less than 2 hours after being on a ski slope.
We had a fantastic time. Charlie is keen on skiing and we hope to get the whole family in or back in the act soon. Don't worry cousin Billy, next time, it will be on our dime.
Next Time: State Capitols