Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Liam after the game.

Liam. Running the bases at Great American Ballpark after the Cincinnati Reds played the Diamondbacks last Sunday. After the game, fans were allowed to run the bases. The line? Was huge. Adults, little guys, teenagers, girls, boys... pretty much a mix of anyone who ever wanted to pretend they made the big time (except me, because I had to get this on film.) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Summing me up, spiritually.

Ok, so I've been told that I may be "too liberal" to be a Christian (don't worry, Jodi. Not originally by you. Someone else sparked my comment to you.) I started thinking about it because it took me by surprise a little bit. I don't consider myself liberal. I think abortion is a terrible thing, for both the mothers and babies. I believe that according to the bible, homosexuality it wrong. I believe we should obey the laws of our country unless they contradict God's laws directly (you know, in like a "if-another-Hitler-should-come-along" kind of way. Not a "screw-the-whole-government-I'm-joining-a-militia-group" kind of way.) But having said all of that? Who cares what I believe? It's not for me to judge, it's for God. It's my duty, as a Christian trying to follow Jesus' example in the bible, to love people. Regardless of whether they're "wrong" or not. God will deal with the judgment part. He said so. He did not say "please go and alienate people by treating them like crap in my name."

I kind of feel like I need to clarify some of my reasoning for the things I say. So you know, I don't rant to be cool or politically correct or whatever. Hearing people being so mean about the whole immigration thing right now? Hard to take. Why do I care? Because the angry talk about immigration just breeds more anger. And that anger has some people treating Spanish speaking people like crap, regardless of their legality. And? Because my brother-in-law is originally from El Salvador. He's "legal", he has a job, a social security number, pays taxes and owns property. He speaks English but has an accent. Some people don't seem to realize that not every Spanish speaking person is Mexican. There is no way to tell if someone is illegal by listening to them talk or by how they look. I don't think the borders should just be open to everyone. I never said I did and that's just a dumb idea. And I understand that illegal immigration has stretched a lot of the U.S.'s resources too thin and controlling immigration is an important thing. But I'm not talking about the laws and the structure of the country and such, because they are laws and things we can't immediately change. We aren't the police or INS and we don't personally deal with the law on a day to day basis. But we do come face to face with some of these people every day and it's our choice to either love them in Christ or treat them badly because there's a chance they may be illegal (because they speak Spanish!) and therefore done something wrong. I don't think we should treat anyone badly because they've done something wrong. Because I've done something wrong. Lots of times. And where in the bible does it say, "treat thine brother like crap because they have sinneth against me?"

I don't want anyone to think I'm a raving loon. I wasn't really that into politics or issues or anything before. I'm really still not "into" politics. But I'm more aware that the world I thought was pretty ok? Really isn't. My sister, whose husband is black? Has had someone tell her that her daughter is "too dark" to be hers and harassed her to the point of tears. And her daughter is only six months old. How much more crap will she have to hear? Why is it considered liberal to stand up for someone's feelings?

One of my closest friends died of AIDS two years after I moved here. I knew him for ten years, he went with me and helped me buy my first car, met and decided Rusty was good enough for me, and was a really, really great guy. But he never told me he was gay or when he got sick because he knew I'm a Christian and was afraid I "wouldn't love him anymore" (hearing someone tell me he said that nearly broke my heart because this guy was like my brother.) I found all of this out two years after he died. He apparently went to very great lengths to hide it from me since I met him when I was in high school, I worked with him, I hung out with him all the time. Do you have any idea how convicting that is, to know someone hide something like that - something so painful and life altering - because they were afraid you wouldn't love them anymore? It made me reevaluate my faith and why I bother having it if it's going to make "less-than-perfect" people worry that I'll love them less. Being a Christian should make people realize you'll love them MORE. So, even though I have personal convictions on being gay? Who am I to withhold the love of God from someone based on what I believe?

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come ...

I'm not doing my own interpretation of the bible. I'm trying to live what I've been taught and what every Christian song and book and slogan claims to promote. This isn't supposed to be a lecture or rant. It's more just "clearing the air" so you understand that the things I say are for a personal reason and not just to stay on the "cool", PC side. Why does it matter? Because I'm tired of Christians getting a bad rap. Actually, I'm tired of God getting a bad rap. Not like my opinion is so earth shattering, but it's one more thing out there counter-acting all the crappy stuff.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Update.

Ok, so it's come to my attention (thanks, Jodi) that I have been neglecting this blog. In my defense, I have been writing on another faith and art related blog (http://faithandart.blogspot.com), putting up the crown molding in the kitchen (up but needs another coat of paint), painting shutters (would be done if it would stop raining, thanks), re-painting the kitchen (ok, so that's actually happening as soon as I finish with this), cutting down all of the shrubs in the front of the house (oh yes I did) and working on some web graphics, an article, and digital scrapping items for RockyMountainHobbies.com . Oh, yeah. And baseball started. Hard.
Liam has been waiting to play baseball since... well, ok, for pretty much from the time he first threw a ball and realized it was a game. He adores baseball. He plays Backyard Baseball on the computer, plays imaginary baseball at the grocery store or waiting for me to pick him up at school or in the bathroom when he's supposed to brushing his teeth (though the teeth brushing is just as often interupted by Kung Foo. But that's a different post.)

When I say baseball started "hard"? I mean that once it started it has been an almost full-time thing for us. He has practice twice a week and two games a week - one on either Tuesday or Wednesday evenings and one on Saturday mornings. Anyway, Rusty is one of the coach's helpers so we're pretty much living our lives according to baseball right now. It's not hard core competitive or anything. It's coach-pitch and the only reason they have so many games is because they have so many teams. Apparently baseball is one of the most popular boys' sports around (this is the first year the teams aren't co-ed. The girls now play softball.)

So, am I surprised by Liam's baseball obsession? No. Seriously, have you ever met my brother? Did you ever meet my Grandpa Joe (you'd totally remember if you did; every other word was "Dammit, Grandma!" or "Horseshit" or "insert-your-own-spicy-sentence-enhancer here.") My family has always been enamored of baseball. Grandpa played semi-pro and his brother played major league in the AA division so they knew the game inside and out. Their sister, my Great-Aunt Dixie, was a "Rosie Red" and a long-time season ticket holder which is why my family ended up going to so many Cincinnati Reds games when I was growing up.

Growing up. Specifically, growing up in Cincinnati in the late 70's. I was born in 1972 and I knew all the names of the Reds starting line-up when I was four years old (Yes. I'm serious. I also had a pair of Cincinnati Reds Keds sneakers when I was four and apparently never wanted to take them off. Because, dude. They made me run so fast.) Anyway, it wasn't because anyone drilled the starting line-up into my head. I don't really remembering trying to know their names. It was because the Reds dominated the National League in the 70's and every kid in Cincinnati knew the Big Red Machine. If it was between April and September? Marty and Joe were just about the only thing on the radio at my Grandparents house (Grandpa used to watch the game on TV with the sound down and listen to Marty and Joe call the game on 700 WLW.) Hearing "Johny Bench, Tony Perez, Davey Concepcion, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Ken Griffey, Cesar Geronimo..." over and over must have sunk in sub-consciously .

So Liam? Never had a chance. His Uncle Jason is a die-hard Reds fan (every year he so genuinely believes "this could be the Reds year") Ok, totally off the subject... sort of, I mean it's baseball but it's random. In 1988, Cincinnati hosted the All-Star game. It was really hard to get tickets so we were out of luck. My brother was thirteen. We went down to the plaza level outside the stadium to hear my cousin's school band play for one of the events an hour or so before the game started and my brother was just dying to get in and see the game. He started praying. Out of the blue, a total stranger walked up to my brother and said he had two extra tickets and did he want them? True story, I was there. I can't remember if Jason had to pay for them or if they were free. Crazy.
Anyway, baseball has been welcomed into our home this spring as Liam plays his first season of real, no "T" involved, baseball. It's nowhere near "serious" but just competitive enough that it holds the kids' attention (well... most of them.) It's fun to watch a group of seven year old boys pretend they're big leaguers. And Liam is totally loving it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Still disgusted.

Ok. I know already that some of you will not believe me. You will think I'm making this up. But I saw it with my own eyes (unfortunately.) It's five days later and I still cannot stop being grossed out.

Scene: Family room. Monday night. CSI:Miami on DVR (which was amazingly cheesy this week with all the heavy dramatic music that cued the uncomfortable emotional conversations that stopped suddenly and turned back into "do you have that bullet fragment for me?"... the hell?)

Me: Rusty, there's something on the floor. Kill it please.

Rusty: Ok... EW! It's nasty looking!

Me: Kill it. Please.

Rusty: It's all big and looks like it could jump up my leg and get me.

Me: Kill. It.

Rusty: Ugh, that's gross.

Me: For the love of Horatio will you just kill it already? (ok, I just thought up that last part. But it sounded like it fit the scene so it's staying.)

Rusty steps on the spider and lifts his shoe to see? A big squished spider. And 5 or 6 tiny spiders running around. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit typing that last line. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it. But just by appearances? The big spider was pregnant and Rusty "induced labor" by killing it. Oh holy hell. Now I'm full blown nauseous thinking about it.

P.S. He got rid of the little spiders to. And no, we're not "spider-mover-outsiders." We are "yell-for-Rusty-and-Rusty-smushes" kind of people.

Edited to add: The big one may not have been pregnant. Apparently some spiders carry babies on their rear ends. Good times. Either way, I'm sick.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blankets for Perry.

So, do you have kids? A baby, or expecting one? Ever go on picnics or to the beach or to baseball/softball/soccer/t-ball practice and need a nice dry place to sit? Do road trips with the kids? Well, why don't you hike it on over to the Blankets for Perry blog and order yourself, or someone you love, one of their super adorble, amazingly simple yet marvelously practical blankets hand sewn by Perry's Grandma ("Geegaw".)

Blankets for Perry was set up by my friend, Jodi, for her son Perry. This is Perry (to the left, with Jodi.) Perry is in the second grade this year and is dealing with some language based learning disabilities as well as ADD. He's been on medication for about a year now and it's not helping his issues overall. He has been evaluated at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati and was referred to The Springer School in Cincinnati.

In Jodi's own words:

"So being the keen investigator I am, I investigated, only to find the perfect learning enviroment for my child in my very own city. A special school for kids with learning disabilities. Problem was the cost......completely comparable to that of a college tuition. So I applied for financial aid at the school, and was awarded a good amount but not enough to get the tuition to fit into my budget. So as God would have it I began finding other means, considering my husband was completely stressed about the cost. Oh yee of little faith! If it's God plan it'll happen, that's just who I am, and so it is. Blanket selling seems to be quite successful, and will get me where I need to be, I am completely confident in that. Thanks to my multitalented sewing maniac mother. If you recieve a blanket and the stitches are slightly off, that's because we have lots of orders and I had to chip in." That pretty much sums it up.

Blanket stats (copied directly from Jodi's site):

54" x 44"
Great for babies, kids and adults
Awesome for summer camp, nursing homes, sporting events and traveling.
One side is flannel other side is cotton
sewn with great love by Geegaw

The site is called "Blankets for Perry" and you can get there by clicking here, on the any of the links in this post or by typing in and going to:


Jodi is willing to take requests if the fabric is available and is also selling premade blankets on Ebay under the username: Yoda0419

Please consider passing this along to anyone you know who would be interested. And order yourself or someone you love a Blanket for Perry.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Liam on film.

Things to notice in this picture:

1. He is not blindingly white. El muchacho blanco has finally obtained some color.

2. I'm pretty sure I gave my mom that same exact look for at least eight or nine years of my life. Starting when I was ten years old or so. Possibly earlier. Probably earlier.

3. My "Valentine's/Mother's Day/Anniversary Gift" takes blindingly beautiful photos, does it not?

4. Liam is growing up fast.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday confession.

Once again, it's time for me to confess something I would otherwise keep to myself (fear not, there are no badly made 80's movies involved in this one.)

Ok, my confession is? I like some of those cheesy songs I claim to not like. You know, the ones that sound like they were written for the soul purpose of making you get sniffy? For instance? That Lee Ann Womack song, I Hope You Dance. I don't really like much about the actual song. I'm not big on Lee Ann Womack's voice and singing style. Sorry, just the way it is. Nothing personal. And this song has been over-used, over-played and just generally overdone. There are bookmarks, t-shirts and inspirational books. The lyrics to this song are put on at least 1/3 of the little girl themed scrapbook pages I've seen in my life (and believe me, I've seen a lot of scrapbook pages.)

You might be thinking, "So what? What does it matter if it's been overdone?" Well... you'd be right, actually. Even though every cell in the creative side of my brain revolts against the idea of using something so hideously overdone to create something? I can't help it. The song be damned. It's the words that I keep coming back to.

If you, like me, are just sick to death of the song itself? You'll have a hard time reading the word "Dance" without hearing it sung to you, in your mind, like this: "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaance." This is just the way it is. If you have any interest in investigating the lyrics, you'll have to make a conscious effort to ignore the music. Just focus on the words. There are quite a few things expressed in this song that I honestly do feel for my own kids. I do hope they always feel very small when they stand on the beach in Ocean City, just down from the amusement part where we always seem to set up the umbrella and lay out the towels. I want them to feel small when they look out at the Atlantic Ocean and realize that's it. That water goes on and on and on. There are living things there, people farther out that we can't see traveling to other places on large ships on that same water. That ocean front spans from Maine to Florida. The beaches may be different - rocky, sandy, private, public, whatever. But it's still the same gigantic ocean. I want them to understand that they are not the biggest most powerful things in the world and be awed by it. I want them to know there are things on this earth that they cannot control. Should not control.

Even the line, "I hope you dance", with all it's overdone-ness, is legitimate to me. My kids? They dance. When something comes on that moves them? They shake booty. Seriously. Liam seems to be moved by old school rap at the moment. Run DMC makes him shake it. Beastie Boys? Ha ha ha ha. Seriously, good stuff. Now That We Found Love by Heavy D? Gets his whole body going. Sean, on the other hand, has three favorite specific songs that he asks for over and over... and over... again. Catchafire by Tobymac, Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones and I'm Different by Butterfly Boucher. Something about these songs ignites something in the boys that allows them to let loose and let their bodies do what their words cannot. They dance like they are insane. And it is wonderful to see. Think about it. How many people have you heard utter the words, "I can't dance"? There are people who will not dance, at all, for fear of looking stupid. And you know those people were once kids and probably dance their little tushies off when something moved them to it. But somewhere along the way they adopted the idea that they weren't good enough or it wasn't diginified or it was just plain wrong. Whether it was something someone said to them, something that was somehow implied, or even something they were taught by someone in authority (whether that authority be real or merely imagined.) These people would rather sit down and be still than get up and move to something that moves them. Or maybe they wouldn't "rather", maybe they're too embarrassed. That makes me a little sad. They're embarrassed that something they feel would make them look stupid. I never want my kids to lose that face they make when they love the music they're listening to. The way they crack themselves and enjoy however their little bodies respond to the music.

I'm going to pause here to mention someone who has not lost their will to dance and be silly: my husband. The man will cut a rug to the BeeGee's like nobody's business. He does more disco moves than I ever thought possible (Scary side note? He learned a good deal of those disco moves at YoungLife camps, weekends and club programs. Thanks, YL!) Maybe it's because my husband is not old enough to have experienced the horrors of disco firsthand? I don't know. But he thinks it's fun and funny and does it. You go, Rusty, with your The Sprinkler, Dealing the Cards and funny arm wiggly wave move.

Anyway, ok. This song. I like it. Or at least, I like the lyrics. And I'm guessing I like the lyrics for the same reason this song was overdone to the extreme. Something about the words struck a cord in a lot of people. Things you may have forgotten feeling are remembered - whether it's your own experiences or someone else's that you relate the words to. Your children, your childhood friends, your siblings or even yourself. And so, whether I like the singer or the style? I still have to concede that it's a good song for me to think about. Because in its own way it makes you think and feel something that takes you to someplace you can't return to. And it makes me realize that as a mature (ha), responsible (ha HA) adult I have to consciously remember to make some of these choices or I will fall in the "mature, responsible" adult trap of not really seeing the Atlantic in front of me when I'm hauling a tote bag and towels onto the beach or not wanting to dance for fear of looking like an idiot. If you don't agree with me, that's cool. No problem.

I'm sure there are a few other songs out there that share the same qualities and my same dislike. I'll have to examine more closely why it is that I don't like them. Though I can tell you now, no amount of reconsideration is going to make me like, or even tolerate, that "Shoes for my Dying Mom Christmas Nonsense" song. Because, come on.

P.S. We won't discuss my opinion of "Butterfly Kisses". I don't have daughters so maybe I'm missing something because I think that song sucks. Hard.

Monday, May 01, 2006

He's a big kid now.

It's official. Liam is old. He's joined the ranks of the "big kids" and learned to ride a bike. We bought his new bike two weeks ago on a very rainy Friday. He insisted on learning to ride as soon as he got home from school. The lessons started with me but Rusty took over when he got home from work so I could take pictures. Which is good. Because? My arms were about to fall off from holding on to the bike seat holding Liam up. I swear, for me, trying to teach someone to ride a bike was harder than potty training. Seriously, trying to explain and put in words the actual movements you need to execute to maintain your balance and ride a bike? It's lunacy. You sound like a nut.

Anyway, by the next day Liam had learned not only to ride but to also get himself on and off the bike on his own, get himself going and turning without totally wiping out. Mostly. He was soaking wet and loved every minute of it.

This? Is a totally fun part of having kids. Posted by Picasa

Our lives without an immigrant? Would really suck.

In the languages of those who mean so much to my family and I. For my my Great, Great-Grandparents on both sides, my Uncles Carmine and Emilio and their families, and my brother-in-law Joel and his family.

Reizende Dame Liberty
With ihr Buch von Rezepten
und von feinsten, die sie hat,
ist der große amerikanische schmelzende Topf
der große Anerican schmelzende Topf.

Welche gute Bestandteile, Freiheit und Immigranten.

La signora bella la Liberty
With il suo libro delle ricette
e di quella che più fine abbia
è il POT di fusione americano grande
il POT di fusione grande di Anerican.

Señora encantadora Liberty
With su libro de recetas
y la más fina que ella tiene
es el gran pote que derrite americano
el gran pote que derrite de Anerican.

Qué buenos ingredientes, libertad e inmigrantes.

Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot
The great American melting pot.


Schoolhouse Rock. So simple, yet so profound, no?

**EDITED: (como meu amigo maravilhoso Linda que faz a minha vida muito mais divertimento desde que nós nos encontramos com!)

A senhora encantadora Liberdade
Com seu livro das receitas
e da que a mais fina tem
é o potenciômetro de derretimento americano grande
o potenciômetro de derretimento americano grande.

(I tried for the Chinese but just got a bunch of little squares and question marks as the result.)

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