Thursday, December 30, 2004

Home sick

It would be a good idea to be funny right now.

The new year is creeping up, 2004's been a doozy and I think a little holy humor is just what's in order.

However, I've been home all day with a sick husband and teething toddler watching Lord of the Rings extras on extended DVD (AFTER Boy bedtime, of course. Before that it was Finding Nemo for the 635th time. Not that I'm counting) and so I'm feeling both grandiose and morose, an unfortunate combination.

Maybe something will seem funny tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Big water

Cant stop thinking about the folks in the path of the tsunami. Here is something I got today via email - a report from a missionary who was vacationing in Sri Lanka. It's pretty long, but here's an excerpt where he describes the second wave.
As the swell of the tsunami raised the sea level (20 feet in our area, we are told), the same wave action we had seen before was active, adding to its destructive force.  An added problem was that, as the water level receded, the flow now rushed violently towards the sea sweeping with it a tangle of material and in some cases people.  The unfortunate people in the posh sea-side rooms had the entire contents of their rooms thus flushed out to sea including all their worldly possessions; some had nothing but their bathing suits.  Soon
everyone was searching far and wide for their things, but at the same time locals had come to the beach and began gathering valuable bits from the bonanza that lay scattered on the beach.  We were lucky, as we found a good portions of our things.  After a while another alarm was raised as the water began to recede far below low tide exposing rocks not normally visible.  I was on the beach looking for things when Brian and others shouted at me to come in and get up on the second floor.  Slowly the water came in again with each wave breaking higher on the beach till sea water almost, but not quite, entered the guest
house.  This time the receding water swept out any remaining things on the beach leaving it ristine and clean.  This happened a few more times including once at noon and then at 12:30.  We had been given a vacant upstairs room where we were collecting our things.  Many others had their belongings in stacks in the upstairs hall and verandah.  During this entire time the weather was beautiful with sunny blue skies.

Jeff found some equally disturbing first hand videos today - everyone on vacation on a "beautiful...sunny" day and then the slow, inexorable water.

Folks are going to need lots of help, which is going to take lots of money. Click Here to donate online through the UCC.

And pray. Keep praying.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Another reason to love Seattle in December

You just plain can't see a Garden Truck in your neighborhood if it's 15 below.


The light will shine in the darkness and the the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1)

Today we read in church some of my favorite words. And tonight we lived it.

The last couple of days have been those kind of Seattle winter days that make you think that you're living underwater, that maybe you never have really seen the sun, that maybe the moon is a dream you tell your children. It poured all day on Christmas (which, by the way was the nicest I could remember for a long long time - maybe ever. Good company, good work, good food, sweet sweet sweet little family. I keep waiting today for that day-after-christmas emptiness that sends so many of us to the mall or the fridge for leftovers. Havent had it yet.)

Someone told me when we moved to this neighborhood (as far west as you can go and still be in Seattle really) that we should look for the sunset on cloudy days. "The sun dips under the clouds then, and you'll get to see it," he assured me. I didnt really get it until today. Driving around in the still heavy Seattle cloud cover, across the sound I could see the sun shining on the mountains.

At 4:00, we got to Sunset Park - Elijah, who had refused a nap earlier, sound asleep on Jeff's lap and all of us bundled up. A little crowd of our neighbors leaned against the fence that saves you from tumbling the maybe 300 feet to the bottom of the bluff. We were all grinning like maniacs and when I say "leaning" I dont mean the kind that lazy people do at the end of a day's walk, but the kind that would, if it could, press the fence down, lift those leaners out over the water and send them flying right into the fire of the sun itself.

After a minute, the sun sure enough did dip under the clouds as it set. Elijah woke up slowly, first blinking at the "bwite," then as the sun fell below the horizon he started naming all the colors he could see, which turned out to be pretty much all the colors he knows. People poured out of cars, talked and laughed quietly, walked their dogs, some guys tossed a football around, and we all leaned against the fence with all our might. The sun blinded us but we didnt care - we drank it like lemonade on a hot day.

Strangers, we all understood each other completely for a few minutes. We were all post-solstice people who could have stopped believing in the sun until today. But the darkness did NOT overcome. And we were all converts.

Photos by Jeff Brownell, 12/26/04, Sunset Park in Seattle

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Lord of the Hair

Just caught the last of the trilogy. Which it's hard not be compelled by even at 4 plus hours. But watching the third one, I have my usual distracation, and I wonder: does anyone else think that the real reason for the Lord of the Rings movies is actually to perpetrate Peter Jackson's hair? Here, he must be directing Bernard Hill to get a perm, dont you think? "Sorry pal, long enough, but not nearly curly or greasy enough. Get back in the make-up tent right away." (Check out the background of this photo, btw - even the crew are in it.) Even in Mordor they conform to The Style. Doubt if you want, but I remain convinced.

Monday, December 20, 2004

music is what does it

So, my pal is coming over on Christmas day to have breakfast with our little family and she called today to make sure that we have a copy of the Grinch, so she can do a reading of it. Which is what makes the day for her. And that is such an easy one (thank god it's not "Can you please make this plum pudding from my grandmother's recipe?) that I'm happy to oblige.

What is it for me? Well, church of course, and I'm loving that part this year. Not baking anymore, or cutting my own tree. Not presents. Absolutely NOT a visit to Santa.

I think it's a celebration because of the music and this year I'm REALLY getting filled up. A toddler-length visit to the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra annual Christmas concert at Ballard library. Caroling with folks from church to some of our shut in members and remembering "Oh! This is what church is for!" in the sweet voices and the tears in the eyes of the singers and the singees. A date (!) with Jeff to see the Total Experience Gospel Choir (on their ONE NIGHT OFF from Black Nativity) rocking the house - even though it WAS Shoreline. And the Blind Boys of Alabamain the car. (I challenge you to listen even once to that CD and not be humming In The Bleak Midwinter all day long.)

Oh boy, writing all these down, I see what a long list is! Thank you Jesus for this abundance! Whatever happens the rest of the week is icing on the cake.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

You are getting sleepy

I was up last night until 1:00 or so (yes, that IS late for me, bucko), puttering in the kitchen, folding laundry and watching my favorite moments from Amelie mostly because I was trying not to go to bed mostly because Jeff wasnt there. But he had it worse than me, probably. HE was the hospital at the sleep clinic getting a sleep study done to see if he has sleep apnea. Which is where they hook you up to somewhere between fifteen and a thousand wires, aim a big camera at you and say "sleep well." Which he actually did. And when they monitored him, they estimated him to be having these episodes where he chokes, stops breathing and wakes himself up without really waking up 40-60 times PER HOUR. Yikes. He's there tonight getting monitored again, and this time they're hooking him up to a cpap to see if that helps, which everyone we talk seems certain that it will. So he'll probably have to sleep with an oxygen mask, which is not all that sexy. But if you think about it, oxygen deprivation isnt really all that sexy either. The bottom line is I'm hopeful this will really help him.

But I'm still procrastinating going to bed.

Pretty is Hard by Veronica Markey

Here's a poem by 5-year-old Veronica. Check out the rest of the article about her too.
Thanks for the link, Jules.


I dont know,
If it were me,
I'd have gone back
For that shoe.