Thursday, September 30, 2010
Because, let's face it.
There wasn't a lot of television to watch.
My kids listen in horror and fascination as I recount to them that there were only three network channels and then the incidental PBS. They gasp as I tell them that cartoons were only broadcast on Saturday mornings.
It's my version of walking three miles to school uphill in the snow. I can see the pity and appreciation in their young eyes as they come to an understanding of the limited scope of entertainment that was available back in the day.
Now, make no mistake. My brothers and I always watched CHiPs--after all, we were being raised in Southern California. It would have been un-Californian not to have watched the adventures of John and Ponch. I was always a John girl myself. Most of my buddies liked Ponch's braggadocio and machismo, but I appreciated John's quiet strength and depth.
I was mature for my age.
We also watched The Dukes of Hazard because, although we were being raised in California, we were by birth and heritage Southerners and the Duke brothers helped us tap into that legacy.
And we watched some Starsky and Hutch.
But we weren't allowed to watch Three's Company because that had two women and a man living together unmarried. I don't know if we would have been allowed to watch it if they were all married and living in polygamy. I'll have to ask my mom.
Years later, when Three's Company was in syndicated reruns, we did watch, along with reruns of Mash.
But the big television events of my adolescence centered around a creature which has now been lost to the modern tide of programming.
I speak, of course, of The Mini-Series.
The special television event, one shot only, super amazing, four, six, eight part series that would be broadcast in segments over several nights.
I loved the Mini-Series.
When Roots came out, my parents let my brothers and I watch the whole thing, staying up long past our school night bedtimes to experience Alex Haley's family line.
And in early high school, out came The Thorn Birds. I had read the book. In retrospect, I can't remember if that was with my mother's knowledge or not. The book by Colleen McCulllough tells the epic story of an Australian family, centering mainly on the beautiful daughter, Meggie, and the priest, Ralph, who is the family's close friend. The novel chronicles the doomed romance of Meggie and Ralph, from their first introduction when Meggie is a small child all the way through Ralph's ascension to the venerated halls of the Vatican.
When I saw the mini-series, I can remember thinking that the actress playing Meggie, Rachel Ward, was spectacularly beautiful and that Richard Chamberlain, who plays the priest, was ridiculously handsome. The television film was sweeping, amazing locations highlighted. I remember weeping at their plight, reflecting on the unfairness of the society and religion that would condemn their love. And then there was the chemistry between Rachel Ward and Richard Chamberlain. Wowza.
Or so I thought.
I awoke this morning way too early. Way. Too sleepy to read, too awake to fall back asleep. I grabbed the remote and began flipping channels.
Infomercial for skin care products. Infomercial for fitness dvds. Infomercial for making a fortune in real estate. Infomercial. Infomercial. Infomercial.
And with one more click, there it was. On Lifetime.
The Thorn Birds.
I couldn't believe my luck. I hadn't seen it in almost thirty years! Twenty-seven, to be exact. I googled it.
And there they were, Rachel Ward and Richard Chamberlain, Meggie and Ralph, hiding away on a remote island, a few days to themselves before he will recommit himself to the church and she will go back to a disastrous marriage.
Hey, Mom? I'm kinda surprised you let me watch this.
After watching for a few minutes, I became aware of something. Painfully aware.
Meggie always looks stricken. And Ralph always looks stricken. And that's about it. And Ralph seems like the worst kisser ever.
And then there's the whole creepy part that Ralph has known Meggie since she was a child and has always kind of had a thing for her. Ew.
I think I should have left The Thorn Birds untarnished in the mind of my idealist early high school self.
So be warned. There is a mini-series playing on Lifetime. And if you want to remember it the way it was, don't tune in. And if you're one of my chipper little readers who was only just born at the time of the original broadcast, I'm just trying to help you out. You don't need some of these images floating through your mind.
I just want you to learn from my pain.
Because that mini-series that recounted a love story I thought ranked up there with Romeo and Juliet and Tristan and Isolde?
Ah, not so much
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
1 of 8 went to Versailles with her visiting BFF a couple of weeks ago.
And among the gilded galleries of that fantastical palace was an art exhibit of, um, video games proportions.
Yes, it seems that some uber-rich video game character designer had rented him some space at Marie Antoinette's old stomping grounds and set up his fiber glass busts of these guys...
Maybe I'm not visionary enough. Maybe I'm too predictable in my art display expectations.
But I really hate to see Rococo and Nintendo wrestle like this...
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Post Microsoft-Update Syndrome.
I suppose I should have seen the signs.
My hard drive was bloated.
A couple of programs seemed really touchy.
So it's pushed my morning a little late. My computer wanted nothing to do with internet, just wanted to sulk and eat chocolate.
Maybe that was me.
I had such plans to be all pithy and witty about some topic.
Of some sort.
But now the clock is ticking and I must needs be brief (that's a stab at sounding all Jane Austen. How did it work?)
So I'll post this simple portrait of my delight at the cooler morning climes and call it a posting day...
And I'm putting my computer in the corner to think about her bad attitude. And then I'm looking for some Microsoft Midol....
Monday, September 27, 2010
I don't know if it's the years I woke up before the rest of humanity to head in to the radio station for the morning show. I don't know if it's the years that I left the house in the dark dark to head to school.
But for whatever the cause, I really prefer my mornings to begin when there is at least a little light on the horizon.
Particularly since I live with a bunch of gerbils who are difficult to convince about the powerful truths of an early bedtime.
If I must arise early, I can be okay with that if I can move a little slowly, take my time, sip my coffee.
I've made something of a truce with early morning and busy.
As JT and I head into the final weeks of our half-marathon training, we've got to hit the pavement early some days. With kid responsibilities and chores and ministry and all the rest, she and I both have days that those miles of training have to get knocked out when it's still a bit dark outside.
And dare I say this?
I think it's good for me.
Good to clock in accomplishment when the day is just starting to bloom. Good for me to arrive back to the house knowing I've got a big item checked off on my list. Good.
And that's the whole point of the distance running training thing anyway, I suppose. Learning I can push myself harder, get myself to do things that aren't in my natural comfort zone or circadian clock.
Of course, it really helps to have JT expecting me....
Because a little web time with a hot cup of coffee and my spot on the couch sounds really good right now...
But I've gotta run.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Teaching about 'fear not'.
There is great value in such teaching.
Fear can cripple, enslave, rob us of joy, shackle our lives.
We live in a chaotic world where, in the flesh, there is much to fear.
Learning to 'fear not' is a powerful spiritual discipline.
But Fear has a close relative, of sorts.
I'm not sure it's even as a close a kin as a first cousin.
Let's call it a second cousin once removed.
And that second cousin once removed is Discouragement.
We tend not to hear as much about him.
He's a little milder than his strong arm cousin Fear.
A bit more insidious.
A little more wily.
But very, very effective.
Discouragement is the official 'Meh' of the enemy's arsenal.
It makes things grayer, takes the shine off of possibility and hope.
It takes our vivid, contoured dreams and compresses them to flat postcards of places we think we'll never get to go.
Discouragement is the natural predator to Destiny.
Allowed to curl up long enough around our ankles, Discouragement can almost come to feel like a comfort. If we don't dream, we don't have expectation. If we don't have expectation, then expectation can't be dashed. And we allow the gray wool of Discouragement to remain wrapped up around our feet, never realizing that the protection it seems to offer still shackles our hearts as effectively as iron.
But there is an antidote.
If the cure for Fear is Trust, then the cure for Discouragement is to Believe.
Joshua was careful to infuse the antidote into the hearts of the Israelites as they faced a vast army. He told them not to fear but also to not be discouraged. Where fear can petrify, discouragement can shatter. The Hebrew for discouragement or dismay is chathah, carrying the connotation of breaking or cracking or waning in belief. In the Greek, discouragement is enkakein, meaning to be faint, to be weary, to fail in heart.
To effectively fight Discouragement, we must not let Belief break.
When the enemy says, "Give it up," Belief says, "Through Christ, you can stand." When Discouragement whispers, "It will never happen," Belief says, "You have purpose in the Kingdom." When Discouragement laments, "You don't want to get disappointed again," Belief says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength."
Be discouraged not.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
I might have exaggerated the effect a little in the above sentence.
You all were quite impressive in your quest for 1,000 arbitrary, non-currency, non-redeemable points.
It's inspiring and makes me feel that the free market system is alive and well.
Adam Smith would be so proud.
So to all of you who did the research and found that Mike was standing in front of the Hotel Marcel Dassault, I confer upon you 1,000 points.
We will play 'Where's Mike?' again very soon.
And you will have your chance to shine...
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Here I am.
We had a breakfast cereal crisis this morning. As in, we were out.
And so I ended up at the grocery store in a less than coiffed state.
It was just going to be a cereal run. Which turned into cereal and loaf of bread. And peanut butter. And ground turkey. And cheese.
And then some other stuff.
Which meant my morning routine was all discombobulated.
Hence the late post.
So here's the deal.
That picture up there of my cute man in Paris?
See that building behind him?
We don't know what it is.
Can't figure it out.
And so, I am willing to award 1,000 points to the reader who knows what that building is.
1,000 points, people.
Which have no monetary or trade-in value.
Hey, my boys will perform all kinds of amazing feats if it means they get fictional, arbitrary, non-transferable points.....
Let the competition begin...
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I am often abysmal at replying in a timely manner.
But I read all your comments and have the best intentions to email and I visit your blogs and love your thoughts and pictures and adventures.
Even as I struggle to email you back and let you know all that.
I wish I could tell you it was because I was all caught up on my laundry. That's why I haven't been emailing and commenting enough.
But that wouldn't be true.
I'm so not caught up on my laundry.
As in, at all.
I just continue to be startled when I look up at some point in the evening and discover that it is late, late, late.
This twenty-four hours in a day thing has some built-in confines.
All my stuffed email box issues aside, I love when I see a comment like this...
My day doesn’t start until I read your blog every day. I love hearing about your stories makes me realize life with 2 kids is a walk in the park. But I did have a question and it is probably none of my business but I am sure others are wondering. How is 1 of 8 and her boy dealing with the long distance? I don’t remember reading anything in your blog about it and was curious.
KimHey there, Sweet reader Kim!
Thought this was a great question~~and I figure if I'm putting these events out there in the form of a blog, I've kind of ipso facto made it something of your business and would be happy to give you my thoughts.
1 of 8 and Da Boy have long conducted a long distance relationship.
And it's not just your mother's long distance romance. A la pen pal romance. Fodder for a Nicholas Sparks novel. Nope.
Enter the technological age.
1 of 8 and Da Boy were email buddies for quite a while once Da Boy's family's moved away from the island. And once Skype, Facebook and YouTube entered the mix, the avenues of their romance were paved in HTML and CSS.
Ironically, when 1 of 8 began to research doing a year of study at the Sorbonne, Da Boy struggled with the idea of the increased geographic distance. One would think, since the long distance relationship was already in full bloom, that adding an ocean to the distance mix wouldn't be that disconcerting.
But it was.
And I do understand.
Sharing the same continent can seem to keep one close.
Spanning the Atlantic can seem a world away.
Da Boy had the perfect statement regarding 1 of 8's dream of spending the year in Paris. Are you ready for the best boyfriend quote ever?
Nicholas Sparks has nothin' on this.
Da Boy said:
Because in those words, 1 of 8 was given the emotional freedom to follow this dream and to also know that Da Boy was making an emotional sacrifice for her to follow her bliss.
Top that, Nicholas Sparks.
And so, Sweet Kim, they are Skyping, emailing, texting. International cell phone service is slathered in gold in terms of how expensive those rates can be, so while she does have a French-based cell service, she and Da Boy are making great use of all the free communication modalities available on the web.
It takes work and dedication and international time clocks on their part.
But a significant portion of their relationship has already been conducted in cyberspace. They have a great dance step down when it comes to leveraging technology. They have an ongoing Scrabble game that remains active online. They send each other jokes, share moments, upload photos, watch movies together online as they sit in the warmth of their connected Skype screens.
It's very sweet to watch.
Because it's a relationship built on their commitment to communication and sharing, not predicated solely on their geographic proximity.
I would love for Da Boy to travel to France next spring, to experience first hand the city 1 of 8 already loves so well. I hope they get to have adventure there together. I hope they are able to build memories of each other there.
But all of that will be built on the friendship and romance they have already developed.
Obviously, pre-web romances in the past have survived distance and time. And while I certainly don't claim that cyber dates are as fun and connective as the real thing, there is something precious and unique about taking the time to communicate in such a deliberate way.
But make no mistake.
They miss each other.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Her arm has many more little injection sites than in the past. I'm going to chronicle a little more closely my observations and timelines of this latest procedure.
We are blessed to have a phenomenal children's hospital here in our city and I am always struck with how caring and fun and gentle the whole staff is to these little ones. From bubbles to a toy library to candy flavored anesthesia masks, the entire effort has made 7 of 8 very comfortable when we go there, excited to choose an item to play with from the toy collection and looking forward to a rainbow Popsicle when she wakes up in recovery.
So again, thank you for all your well wishing. It is much appreciated.
Oh a bloggy business note, I apologize for having to turn on comment approval but it couldn't be helped. I know it has made leaving comments for some of you a bit of a challenge. However, some spammer found the Octamom site and began leaving many, many, MANY comments on MANY posts about their products and business. I've reported the issue to Blogger, but am remaining cautious about 'opening up the floor' again, if you will. Thanks for your patience! I do love hearing from you!
Monday, September 20, 2010
This girl is becoming a Botox queen.
7 of 8 had an ischemic stroke somewhere near the time of her birth and it has left her with weakness on the left side of her body, specifically in her left arm.
You can catch all the 411 on her history at this link~~it's an Octamom page with several posts chronically our journey:
I was really hoping to get several more weeks out of the last treatment. 7 of 8 has to undergo a light general anesthesia for the procedure. And the whole deal is breathtakingly expensive, even with insurance.
But for whatever reason, 7 of 8 shows marked improvement after treatment for about three to four weeks and then the tightness in that arm begins to return.
So it's back to the neurologist we go.
Her doctor plans on being a bit more aggressive today and work even more on her hand. We're still figuring out the optimal approach and dosage for this precious kiddo.
So heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to day surgery we go!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Just like Solomon, the original wise guy, would tell us, everything in life has a season. We go from infancy to childhood to adolescence to young adulthood to further maturity. We crawl, we toddle, we walk, we run. Transition, change, season.
We often carry titles associated to these seasons. We have a time as 'the baby'. We are a 'first-grader'. We are a 'graduate student', 'bride', 'young professional', 'new mommy', 'aunt', 'sister-in-law', 'senior executive', 'grandmother'. We wear the titles of these roles as definitions of ourselves, the markers of the places in our journeys.
But there is one title we as women all wear. We wear it all our lives. In a modern world that affords us the opportunity to try on many titles for size, it is the one that endures, the one that touches each of us no matter where our paths have taken us.
And that is the title of daughter.
We may be single or not, married or not, moms or not, aunts or not, sisters or not, grandmothers or not, but one thing we can't not be is a daughter.
If you're female and on the planet, you are someone's daughter.
Whether you have special bond with your mother and father or if that was a relationship filled with challenge, you still are someone's daughter. Whether a parent pointed to you with pride as their child or if your folks acted like you weren't around, you are still someone's daughter. Seasons come and go, titles change, expand and retract, but this one remains.
It was not until 1920 that federal law was passed in the United States giving women the right to vote. And if we accept that a generation is roughly 25 years, that means that in three and a half generations, we have gone from getting the vote to being told we could do anything to being expected to do everything. With those open doors of opportunity has also come an opportunity for the enemy of our souls to sow confusion into our identities, a field that we often survey with a sense of overwhelm, comparison, self-loathing or pride. Someone asks us who we are and we say, “Oh, I'm just a mom.” Or we dust off our diplomas and give our resume. Or we whip out a fat envelope of pictures and name off our grandchildren. Or we talk about work, hobbies, spouses, organizations, responsibilities.
But is that who you are?
Those experiences shape you, to be sure. But when the season of mothering young children or when the season of career focus or when the season of operating as praise and worship leader, when those seasons wind down, how do you define yourself then?
We are a generation of women still trying to figure it out, in varying degrees. Many of us may think we've got a handle on it, but then a season change comes and we feel the identity lurch. The baby of the family leaves for college. The pink slip comes in the mail. The honeymoon ends. The degree is earned. The spouse goes home to the Lord. The ministry goes a different direction. The relocation occurs.
And we are left struggling to explain who we are in the absence of certain titles.
But this one remains.
We are daughters.
We are daughters of the most high God. He has adopted us in, not for a season, but for eternity. And while we scramble to bring Him our finger paintings of accomplishment and labor and study and relationships, He smiles and puts our little homework on the fridge and listens to us talk about our days.
And He calls us daughters.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Well, maybe not one thing. Maybe more like several things, kind of.
But this one thing for sure.
Take pictures that include you and 1 of 8.
I can buy postcards of French notable sites.
I want pictures of you and 1 of 8 actually in France.
And he took pictures of himself at Versailles.
He is a man of his word.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
And I'm not sure if this even makes sense, but I'm thinking 1 of 8 is looking very French already.
Whatever that means.
Except a globe doesn't have corners.
I don't think.
Geometry was never my strong suit.
I don't know why my freckled, green-eyed, dark brunette girl hails images on my part that she would just blend in to the Franco populace, but there you have it.
But for me right now, 1 of 8's happy face is Paris to me. It's what matters to me most in that beautiful city.
Her happy smile.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
My guy Mike got to fulfill a long-time dream whilst in France.
We don't use that word enough in American vernacular.
Whilst, whilst, whilst.
Just trying to make up for lost time here.
So Mike got to fulfill a long-time dream.
Getting to see European soccer while actually in Europe. In person.
Except they call it football there.
Just to confuse things a bit.
Mike and 1 of 8 headed to Stade de France in Saint-Denis to watch Les Bleus, the French national soccer team. The stadium seats 80,000 fans.
And two of them there were from this household.
And one of them is a rabid soccer fan.
And was long before it became hip to like soccer.
And Mike did predict that Spain would win the World Cup several months before they actually did.
1 of 8 was fascinated by the guys sitting in yellow jackets at the edge of the field, their backs turned away from all the action.
Apparently, they are security and crowd control.
She liked the aesthetic of it, I suppose.
So now Mike can cross a European soccer match off his list.
Now he just has a Spain soccer match...
...and an Arsenal match (that's a British team, for those in the know...)
...and a Brazil match.
Several to go...