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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fine And Dandy

Pin It I was wondering recently if there is a place on our planet where people are frustrated by all of the grass that is crowding out their dandelions. Do they apply grass-killer, hoping that the bright yellow flowers will be spared?

I've never really been a fan of dandelions before, but they somehow transformed into a thing of beauty when they were presented to me in small bouquets grasped in the two little fists of my proud 4-year-old girl and her cute little brother.

How could I turn away such a treasure, gathered in love with me in mind?

I think we need to look at things through a child's eyes more often. I think this world has all sorts of beauty that we have learned not to see.

Call me crazy, but I think dandelions get a bad rap. And I've got two little people here at my house who would be happy to back me up on that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dirty Cars

Pin It I cleaned my car a week or so ago.


It’s a little bit funny; you know my car never gets all messy at once. It’s something that seems to sneak up on me a little bit at a time, like drifts of snow that, as they gently fall, get deeper and deeper. Before I know it, I have a full-blown blizzard on my hands.

And me without a snowblower…

I’ve discovered that my car is the same way.

It starts off clean. It’s beautiful, really. Then something seems to happen along the way where little bits of this and that seem to creep in, finding their way onto the backseat, the spaces on the floor, and generally cluttering up the entire thing. Pretty soon there is so much nothing all over the place that I really feel overwhelmed at the prospect of cleaning it all out.

So I don’t.

I had a couple of students who approached me the other day. They were pretty excited as they proclaimed, “Mr. Z, we saw your car in the parking lot.”

“Oh, you did?” I responded.

“Yeah, it sure has a lot of stuff in it…it looks kind of like your desk.”

Ugh…the humiliation of the messy car and all the junk I’d let pile up over the months of winter.

So, I cleaned my car. The funny thing is that it didn’t seem to take very long, either. After taking out a few empty boxes, some shirts and various whatnots, the ‘filled-up’ spaces began to empty themselves out quite quickly. Soon I found myself with a ton of room – as well as a backseat for others to sit upon should I so choose to give someone else a ride.

Now, I just need to worry about that desk in my classroom.

Oh well, there’s no sense in praying for miracles that just won't happen…

Image garnered from here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mother Bear

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Beauty isn't worth thinking about; what's important is your mind. You don't want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head. ~Garrison Keillor

So I went with Ebay to a concert the other day.

We were standing in line to have our tickets scanned and in front of us about two spaces was a group of 4 or 5 teenage girls - my guess is somewhere between 15 and 18 years old. They were kind of standing in a little semi circle as we all stood in line so that a couple of them were facing the people behind them – which included Ebay and me.

After a minute or two in line I notice the girls whispering to each and looking at us – well not at us really as much as they were looking at Ebay.

Checking him out really.

The two girls facing us whispered back and forth a little then kind of leaned over and whispered to the girls who’s backs were to us. Sure enough, one by one they each turned around briefly and surreptitiously scanned my baby boy. Once they all got their initial look they all kind of kept finding reasons to turn around or quickly glance back and then whisper even more to each other – glance/whisper, glance/whisper, glance/whisper.

I was a little taken back I have to admit. Now I’ve always thought that Ebay is a cutie, but I’m his mother – I’m supposed to think he’s cute. I glanced over at him and tried to evaluate him objectively.

Casual but stylish outfit. Artfully tousled hair. Startlingly blue eyes.

Oh Crap…I think he may be crossing over from merely cute to handsome.

It sure looked like those girls thought so anyway.

I was hit with a strange mix of feelings I can only describe as proud-stage-mother combined with protective-mother-bear. On the one hand it was nice that these girl's thought Ebay was cute enough to check-out. But I found myself wanting to prowl back and forth protecting my cute cub. They can admire from afar – but don’t get too close and for Heaven's sake no touching! How does Brad Pitt’s mother deal with this kind of thing? Ok, maybe not Brad Pitt…Zac Efron perhaps (in right light) …with Justin Beiber’s squishy cheeks.

At this point I glance over at Ebay to see if he’s noticed this female phenomenon.

Oh yeah, he noticed.

He noticed but to his credit he was also being totally cool about the ogling and acting like he didn’t notice by casually checking out something on his phone – possibly his own reflection?

Ebay was still standing next to me - and because I didn’t want to totally embarrass him and since he was already looking at his phone, I pulled mine out and sent him a text.

Mom Text: Looks like you have fans?

Ebay Text: Yeah.

Mom Text: Does this happen to you a lot?

Ebay Text: Well, sometimes. A girl sent me her phone number through the drive-thru Tube at work the other day.

Mom Text: Well, that’s.... flattering.

Ebay Text: I thought so.

Mom Text: Did you call her?

Ebay Text: No – I was flattered but kind of freaked out.

Yeah, I can relate.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Making Magic

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I’ve been thinking about magic lately.

No, not the type of magic that Hogwarts seems to evoke, or the type that comes from wands or spells, but the type that is created by the places and people around us.

You know, the magic of believing.

I took a trip to Disneyland this past week. It’s been dubbed The Happiest Place on Earth, and I found myself wondering just why that is. What makes Disneyland this Mecca of wonderment and delight that brings us to a belief that it is a perfect place?

I think it is really all about attitude.

When on this last trip I noticed something about most of the employees who worked at the Magic Kingdom…it didn’t matter if it was the person sweeping up bits of trash on the streets, the woman selling Churros in the broiling sun, or the operator of the ride listening to It’s a Small World playing incessantly for eight hours straight.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

History is now

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Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.

Arnold J. Toynbee

I haven’t been a good blogger lately because I’ve had a lot of papers to write for school - most of them about different social problems currently facing the United States. For these assignments I'm supposed to identify the underlying cause of the social problem, categorize it within the discipline of sociological theory and then discuss different methods to resolve or alleviate the problem. I’m sure this won’t come as a huge galloping shock to anyone, but there’s an awful lot of problems out there and I don't mind telling you this hasn't been a whole lot of fun.

It's really been kind of a depressing process to dive head first into discouraging pool of society’s ills. It’s easy to be overcome with a feeling of futility and hopeless melancholy by the sheer volume of troubles that threaten to swamp society’s boat. Those of us that come from a Christian tradition have grown up with the looming specter of a biblical Armageddon. And as I read through what feels like millions of articles about the millions of problems in the world, it’s hard not to think about that knock, knock, knocking on the world’s door.

But it’s too hard to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other if you’re always worried about the future of the world. As a student of history (really I am…literally a history student) I’m actually comforted by the fact that the worlds been a mess for a really, really long time. There really hasn’t been any point in history when things have been idyllic. Well, if they were idyllic for some, they were oppressive and stifling for others. And so it is now. We are faced with so many problems - drug abuse and crime, war and poverty, immigration and strife, racism and discrimination, homelessness and unemployment to name just a few. But it is encouraging in a way to remember that now it’s just our turn - this is our time and our problems. It is our turn to strut and fret our hour upon the stage and see what changes we can make. After all, History never looks like history when you’re living through it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Deadline

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I’ve always detested deadlines.

There’s just something about them that seems to make my stomach cringe and makes me recoil at the thought of having to have something completed by a certain timeframe.

It reminds me of school.




Yet here comes again another Thursday - well into the PM hours - and I’m writing my post via the light of my laptop screen at the kitchen counter, when I think I’d much rather be crawling between warm covers and nestling down for the night.

But I instead choose to spend it with you—and a playlist full of Elton John tunes.

It snowed two days ago.

The night before I deleted all of my friends on Facebook.

It was like a new beginning. The world – and my profile – was arrayed before me in a wonderful landscape of shining white. I looked through my dirty windows into the outdoors and saw the gloriousness of the world, and knew it would probably be the last time I’d see snow up close and personal for the year until this next winter.

It was a welcome visitor.

I put a pan of rolls into the oven and let the scent of them baking permeate the house like the strains of a fine orchestra. It wasn’t long before they were quickly devoured with deep wells of butter melting like rolling sunshine over desert sand.

Pure, unadulterated deliciousness.

I thought of writing a blog post for Four Perspectives, but there was a certain program on television that just couldn’t wait to be viewed. Surely blog posts could wait.

And so it did.

Which brings me to now…

And to here.

To you and to I.

Thanks for spending the evening with me.

Me, and my deadline.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Pin It Okay, so I think I've done a pretty good job of not boring everyone with every little twinge, spasm, ache, pain, anxiety, thrill, and so forth during these past seven or eight months. That I've managed to do so by posting once per trimester...well...we all have our coping mechanisms. Right? Anyhoo...I had a little break in between classes, and thought I'd give everyone the third trimester update. Months eight through ten (yes...there are ten months in a pregnancy) Pretty.Much.Suck. Let me count the ways.

  1. Big. Ungainly. Awkward!

  2. Your thighs persist in chafing p.c., not understanding that they should just get a room. A big one.

  3. Every Braxton-Hicks sends you running (...er...make that shuffling painfully) to the clock with a piece of paper and pen, convinced that This.Is.It.

  4. Lower back pain.

  5. Cankles.

  6. Heartburn.

  7. Bending over to...umm, let's see...put on socks, lotion up cankles, clip toenails, shave...is an exercise in asphyxiation.

  8. Nesting. As in: must clean inside of washing machine, oil cabinetry, and steam clean carpets NOW, regardless of the fact that...

  9. ...energy levels are non-existent.

  10. Popped belly buttons.

  11. People think you're hormonal. Just because you wig out every now and then. Honestly!

Now, if you just loved being pregnant, even during the home stretch, I've already had my puking episode for the day, so feel free to confess all.

All that aside, it is the home stretch, and it can be pretty cool, too. Baby showers, baby clothes, baby stuff...naps that offer thirty minutes of oblivion, and strangely enough, a huge awareness of and appreciation for all that the body is capable of.

Without getting too mushy, the ability of this machine that is my body to grow and nurture a life and soul separate from my own is incredible. It's inescapable, felt in every labored breath and round ligament pull...seen in the skin that roils and ripples with every hiccup or full-body shift.

So....seven weeks and counting. I'm cool with that. Cankles and all.

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