A couple of days ago I checked the network listings (not the local ones) to see who would be playing “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” this week. I saw it listed on ABC for Tuesday night at 8e/7c pm. I had that in the back of my mind all day yesterday and after dinner I immediately sent JBelle to get ready for bed. She’s not happy about that. Of course, when I explained why, she was very obliging since she normally doesn’t get to watch television on school days! So at 7 pm we settle into the living room and turn on the television, only to encounter “The Jeff Fisher Show” or “Titans Take Two” or something like that and NOT our beloved Halloween special.
Then DB remembers that we experienced this exact same scenario last year and that triggers JBelle’s memory of last year’s disappointment and the GMan is just sitting there looking back and forth between his dad and his sister trying to figure whether or not he’s going to get to watch Charlie Brown. And I, I am standing there sort of half hearing the lamentations and complaints of the lost viewing opportunity because somewhere in the cobwebs of my brain (it’s been an entire year after all) a tiny, detail of a memory is emerging. And after a few seconds of letting it rise to the surface I say amidst the disappointed musings, “And…that’s…why…..we have it on DVD!!!!!”
It all came rushing back at that point. Nana, DB’s mother, being the thoughtful grandmother that she is, had purchased a copy of the DVD for the kids last year after getting an earful from her grandchildren* regaling her with the story of how it was so unfair that they didn’t get to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” on television because of a silly football show. I dug through the trunk that holds our DVDs, found what I was searching for and we watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” last night and not that silly football show.
Take that WKRN!
*Well, maybe DB and I did most of the grousing about that. But it was totally on behalf of our children!
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I was in New York City recently on business. On my last day there I had a little time to kill before I needed to catch the subway to the airport so I decided to do a little sightseeing. My work was based near Times Square in Midtown so I had had enough of the blinking lights and 80,000 guys in yellow and red shirts trying to sell me a bus tour to stay in Times Square for the brief time I had to sightsee. However, going anywhere out of Midtown was out of the question based on the available time. Given all that I decided to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
I recall visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral as a child or perhaps I just saw a lot of it on television growing up in suburban New Jersey. Either way, I was familiar enough with it to know it was nearby. Also, some friends in Nashville had visited New York in the last few months and had mentioned how impressed they were with the structure and, most importantly, the “feel” of the place. The “feel” being the presence of something bigger, more important, and more timeless than oneself. A “feel” that gives perspective about one’s proper place in the world. It was that “feel” that intrigued me most about visiting.
I entered the building and it was as expected, lots of candles burning, many people milling around. There had been a mass that finished about 30 minutes before I arrived so I don’t know if the folks there were lingering from the mass or if they had done what I had done and wandered in later. I walked around a bit admiring the stained glass, sculpture, and architecture. I then sat down near the front right under the pulpit. I continued to look around and take in the surroundings in the hopes of experiencing that “feel”. Then something caught my attention.
While there were several people there who had come to pray and use the building as it had been purposed (I assume), the vast majority of people were walking around taking pictures and talking, like it was Niagara Falls. The “feel” I had gone there to experience was not there. Instead, I had a grave sense that I was in a dead place, like I was in the tomb of some famous person that people visit but had long forgotten why the person was famous. Rather than an active, breathing sacred space, I had found St. Patick’s Museum of Sacred Space.
What confused me most about this hollow, dead feeling I was having was the fact that this space was specifically designed to assist one in encountering the divine. Between the grand space created by the arching ceilings to the stained glass with sacred images meant to invoke a memory of the story depicted to the ornate gold altar and burning candles everywhere, one is expected to feel in awe of something greater than oneself.
But I had none of it. I left the building and headed for the subway to catch my plane.
Filed under by DB, religion
DB and I were talking with the GMan about Halloween. (We’re still trying to decide what he’ll dress up as.) I was telling DB about JBelle and a friend of hers wanting to trick-or-treat together and the GMan piped up about going trick-or-treating, too. He mentioned carrying a pumpkin bucket to put treats in, how did he remember that?? Anyway, the GMan was getting excited about the trick-or-treating and DB was reminding him about how to go up to the door and say, “Trick or Treat!” and the GMan said, “Yeah! And then I’ll get some eggs!” Too funny! Right concept, wrong holiday.
Speaking of things he’s remembers from a year or more ago…last night I took the kids to Climb Nashville. We go to church with the owners and once a year they open the facility to the congregation for a free evening of climbing and fellowship. And every year the church orders pizza for everyone to have for dinner. The pizza is set up on this observation deck area in the climbing facility. You have to walk up a flight of stairs to get to it. So, when I was telling the kids that we were going to Climb Nashville that evening, the GMan says, “We go there and eat pizza upstairs?” Again, I’m just so amazed that he remembers that!
Recently one morning, DB was still in bed while I was in the bedroom getting ready for the day. The GMan came in to visit and crawled into bed with his dad. They talked for a little bit and when the GMan decided it was time to go he said, “T T For Now, Ta Ta For Now!” He recently watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger says, when he’s leaving, “TTFN, Ta Ta For Now!” So, he got part of it right!
I was folding some laundry last night (I know!) and talking to DB about something when my eye caught this site:
I stopped in mid-sentence, started laughing and pointed it out to DB. Of course an almost three year old would find an empty sconce to be the perfect place to park a matchbox car!!
Yes, almost three! In less than two weeks my baby boy will be three. Pass the tissues, please!
Yesterday, I fasted from the Internet. No e-mail, no blogs, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Internet browsing of any sort. I did it because of a Bible study I’m involved in. Last week in our homework there was a day about fasting and it was suggested that we fast on that day. But since I’m the Queen of Procrastination and didn’t even sit down with my Bible and study book until the night before our study meeting time (DeeAnna, feel free to “out” me next week!), I didn’t exactly have time to do any fasting. Anyway, as I read over that day’s study, I noticed that the author said that we could decide to fast from anything, not just food. After our discussion group the next morning, I decided that I would fast sometime this week. And, being all cheeky and thinking I was hitting on something, I decided to fast from the Internet because I know that I can allow it to take up too much of my time on a daily basis. I turned off my computer around 10:30pm Wednesday night and I did not get back on again until this morning.
Here’s the thing. It wasn’t terribly hard to abstain from the Internet. And I don’t say that in some sanctimonious, I don’t need the Internet to survive, you peons out there in front of the computer all day just have it all wrong, kind of way. No, the thing is, it occurred to me around early afternoon that whenever I felt the “urge” to go to the computer I just distracted myself in some other way. Sure, I got a lot more done yesterday than I usually do, but it’s not like I was any more focused on God and my walk with Him just because I didn’t get on the computer. Whereas, from what I’ve heard (since it’s been a really long time since I actually did it) about fasting from food, when one feels a hunger pang or finds themselves reaching for food during their fast, they are reminded about what they are doing that day in a very physical sense and can take that reminder as an opportunity to pray or meditate on their reasons for fasting. I didn’t get that from avoiding my computer.
What I find to be so incredibly cool about what I experienced yesterday is that God still used it to teach me a truth about His ways. I really don’t think that when Christians fast, we can just say, I won’t watch television today or I won’t exercise today or I won’t have sex today. I really believe it needs to be a fast from food, if we expect to have true spiritual communion with God. Food is important to our bodies. The Internet isn’t. When food is withheld it creates a tangible, physical sensation. Not using the computer had no physical effects (at least a day of fasting from it didn’t – a long term “fast” may prove helpful to my derrière!) Food and our relationship with it goes back to the beginning of time. The Internet has been around for a mere blink in the grand scheme of things. I believe that God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that only a fast from food would yield the best results.
With this new revelation in mind, I’ll definitely be seeking out a fasting from food opportunity very soon. Of course, I won’t be telling you when I’m doing it because the whole point of our lesson (that I missed) is that it’s to be done in secret. But that’s a whole other blog post.
I really don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with posting pictures of my children on my blog or on my Flickr page. And I don’t think that refraining from posting pictures on my blog or marking them as private on the Flickr page is some sort of foolproof safety net for protecting my kids. Life, with or without the Internet, is full of all sorts of dangers and mishaps and evil. But it’s also full of all sorts of beauty and fun and love. I refuse to live in fear of what some stranger may or may not do because they saw pictures of my children. I’ll take precautions, I’ll be careful with information and images but I won’t tremble with dread and loathing and cut myself and my family off from all you.
If someone else feels that they don’t want to put pictures on their blog or have a picture sharing account, that’s fine. But don’t let my weird experience color your perceptions or bring fear into your life. Be confident, be safe, be smart and be yourself.
I set up a Flickr account a couple years ago to mainly showcase pictures of my children. I kept all the pictures public because frankly, I didn’t really think anyone except friends, family and the occasional blog reader would look at them. Over the past couple of years, I have received a few comments from friends, a few contacts who have marked some of the pictures favorites and some pictures that have been viewed more than others, but nothing that threw up any red flags. Until today.
Flickr e-mails me when there’s been “activity” on a picture, like someone leaving a comment or marking it as a favorite. I got an e-mail this morning notifying me that a picture had been marked as favorite. However, I don’t know the Flickr user who “favorited” my picture. The picture in question is one of both the kids. They are dressed-up and in particular, The GMan is wearing some of his sister’s clothes & has a flower barrette in his hair. The Flickr user in question has no pictures posted of their own, only favorites of other users; mostly people…no mostly children…no mostly young boys dressed-up in girls clothes!! And after looking at the tags of the pictures that this user has posted, they seem to be targeting tags, titles, etc with the words: dress or dress-up! (Also doesn’t help that the prefix of the user’s e-mail address [the only identifying feature] is “nmonster”!) A quick glance at the picture of mine and one similar to it on my Flickr page showed that both pictures had over 300 views!!
So…to wrap this little anecdote up, I blocked that user and I’ve marked just about every picture of the kids on my account as “Private – friends & family only”. If you’ve been viewing pictures on my Flickr page without being a registered user, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to register an account (it’s free!) and add me as a contact. Then I’ll add you as friend or family (whichever applies, as long as I know who you are!) and then you can see those pictures again. I know this probably a false sense of security but it does make me feel better knowing that, for the most part, not just anyone can look at these pictures for their own weird fetishes (hello Googlers!).
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My favorite of the 4 “Rs” is recycling. And my county makes it so wonderfully easy! Single-family homeowners in the Urban Services District (USD) of Davidson County were provided with home recycling carts a few years ago. Once a month, a recycling pick-up comes through and empties our cart. There are also several recycling centers around the county that will take items including the ones I can’t put in my cart (like glass). Plus, a couple of months ago we were starting to fill our recycling cart to overflowing, and simple e-mail to the county got us an additional cart that was dropped off at the next pick-up date. Metro Public Works has an extensive recycling program that includes bulk item pick-up, brush collection, and even classes about and containers for composting!
Many of the grocery stores have bins to collect plastic and paper bags. I noticed that my local Publix also has a bin for collecting egg cartons which is helpful since I can’t put styrofoam in my recycling cart.
Recycling is one of the best and easiest ways to get the entire family involved in taking care of the earth. Our kids know that we have two waste receptacles in the kitchen, one for trash and one for recyclables. JBelle pretty much knows what can go in the recycle can without being told and The GMan is happy to put something in the recycle bin (or the trash can for that matter!) when asked. JBelle’s school is also very much into recycling. It offers a recycling drop-off on the weekends (and encourages students and their families to participate) and during the lunch hours, composting and recycling bins are available to the students when they bus their tables.
I, mistakenly, thought that recycling would be a big hassle so I resisted doing much of it over the years even though we had that handy-dandy cart provided to us. I’d occasionally break down cardboard boxes and toss soda cans into it but I rarely remembered to pull it out to the curb for the monthly pick-up. When we decided to get serious about this environmental stewardship mentality, I was surprised and delighted to find that it was quite easy to start setting aside items that could be recycled, especially since there were so many that could be put in our cart. There are times when I begrudge have to rinse some containers out but just seeing the way we’ve reduced the amount of trash that goes to our weekly pick-up encourages me to keep it up!