Monday, March 29, 2010

Clearly we are on thin ice. (This is a PUN--you'll see!)

This evening we went to the mall to meet some friends for dinner. (There's a new Mexican place that's opened up nearby. Mexican! Can you hear Jason's whoops of joy from where you are? And they actually know that salsa is more than pureed tomatoes!)

There's an ice skating rink at this mall and while we waited for our friends, Ava and Nate ran to watch the skaters from the windows above the rink. There were some lessons going on down on the ice and there were lots of kids gliding around, as well as some adults out there. Ava sighed. "Mom, why did you never teach me to ice skate?" "Um, cause I don't know how to ice skate." "What?? You told me you knew how!" "Well, I told you I could get out there and sort of move around in a big circle without breaking something. But I don't know how to do any of that stuff."

She sighed again. "Look at them all out there. They know how to ice skate."

I love that her first--her first!--reaction is to blame me that she does not know how to do a triple toe loop or whatever. This seems to be a trend. Why have I never taken her to Paris, why do I never let her have a dog, why have I never told her how volcanoes are formed. I am clearly falling short in many, many areas. Those areas would be: anything that Ava has never heard of, anywhere she has never been, and anything that she does not already know how to do.

I turned to Jason, who was behind me with the stroller. "Well, we've done it again." "What have we done?" he asked. "We haven't taught Ava how to ice skate." "Oh!" he said, "I can teach you how to do that!" "You can?" she asked doubtfully. "So can you skate on one leg with the other leg sticking out behind you?" "Well, no," Jason said. "I can't really do that." Ava sighed and turned back to the window.

She put her chin in her hand. "They all know how to ice skate already."

Failures, we are. Failures at every turn, double axel included.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'm feeling a little robotic, myself.

When Nate dons his Optimus Prime costume, everything changes. He speaks in a monotone robot voice, he must be called "Transformer" at all times, and he walks around stiff-legged. (He doesn't really know the whole Transformer mythology, so to him, it's just a cool robot. Whatevs.)

He can do this for much longer and with much greater attention span than one would expect in a four year old. Expect or want, really.

Grace, bless her, was totally distracted from her breakfast by Nate and his get-up. Who wouldn't be, I suppose. This situation gave rise to another one of those I never thought I'd hear myself say that moments. "Transformer, please play the ukulele somewhere else so your sister will eat."

Not as good as, "Let's all keep our bottoms in our underwear--where they belong!", or Ava's "C'mon! Get your nuts out!", but memorable nonetheless. Either one is a good motto for life, don't ya think? Maybe I'll make some T-shirts.

My good friend Rosemary (Hi, Rosemary!), who's been keeping up with all the latest happenings, asked me tonight after church if I was tired. "Oh, a little, I guess," I said, "I'm always tired at this time of day." She said I looked more tired than usual. (Note to self: wear more eyeliner.) She's probably right. It's kind of been a long week. Becky's surgery is this Tuesday and there has been much emailing and texting and praying and talking on the phone and sympathetic snacking. With a good amount of emotional energy expended on those things, I've found that my reserves for the other areas of my life are dwindling. The myriad of people and ministry issues that arise in the average week for a pastor have been more draining than they normally would be.

But really? I've got it pretty stinkin' good.

Have a great day everybody--and remember to keep those bottoms in their underwear, where they belong!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Insult to Injury

Last night I got to go to Ikea with my neighbour, Jules. (I like to spell "neighbour" with a "u" now. And colour. And "maximise" with an "s". In case you were wondering.) We wandered and looked at kitchens (for her) and ate swedish meatballs. (Yum.) It was the perfect girl date. And we looked at this lamp.

Me love lamp. You see, I actually spotted this lamp at a Thai restaurant after church a few weeks ago. I ogled it shamelessly from our table and contemplated stealing it. (It was sticky-taped to the countertop. Yes, I checked.) And then, imagine my joy when, upon closer examination, I realized it was from my Happy Place.

Jules and I admired the lamp, and later I showed Jase a picture of it. "Isn't this so cool? Wouldn't it make a great bedside lamp or something?" He looked at the photo. "Umm, not happening. Not in our house. That's just weird."

Exsqueeze me? Did you say something? Because it sounds like you just dissed my new favorite lamp. In a very flippant manner. And since when are you so passionate about lamps? Gah!

So, my lamp dream is crushed, like so much things that get crushed. Underfoot.

And now! NOW he is sitting next to me reading the new Lee Child book.

He knows I've been waiting for it to come out and now he's reading it first. When will I get to read about Jack Reacher wandering the countryside and teaching the bad guys a lesson? When will I get to read about how to properly head butt someone? Has Jason forgotten that I automatically get priority in situations like these? I'm pretty sure that was in our wedding vows. Love, cherish, and undisputed rights to the last cookie and new books. Unfair, sir! I wish you could be here and see how smugly he's reading it. Oh, here's my glass of wine and my new book. Hmmm. I guess you'll have to flip through that issue of "Home Beautiful" that you've already read twice. It's just rude, really.

Enjoy the book, babe, by the light of our inferior bedside lamp.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Almost but not quite entirely unlike a brownie.

Jason is out tonight, and as I was doing all the evening pre-kid bedtime activity, I kept telling myself that I was gonna make some brownies after they went to bed. I often make plans for myself after the kids are in bed. It's how I get through that emotionally fragile time between 5:30 and 7:30 in the evening. This may sound nuts to those of you without children. Wow--a brownie date! With myself! Thrilling--truly. I know, it sounds a bit pathetic.

I have been craving chocolate lately, which I am blaming on some recent stresses in my life. Yes, I have been walking Becky through her diagnosis and planning of treatment by eating handfuls of chocolate chips and the occasional peanut butter and honey sandwich. (Or as we say in the South, "sammich".) We all have our roles to play, and I want to be supportive. The day the biopsy results came back, I showed my support by baking cookies. For me. Ostensibly for the kids, but mostly for me.

So at about 4pm today, I decided to bake brownies tonight. But as I mentioned, I am trying to eat better and exercise, so I wanted to find a low calorie brownie recipe. Google, don't fail me now. I found a recipe that uses applesauce and promised 40 calories per serving. (That should have been my first clue. 40 calories is just too good to be true, right?) So after dinner and baths for all three, after cleaning up and a wombat diaper, after nursing and PJ's and brushing teeth and stories, I grabbed the recipe and whipped up those brownies. I made a cup of tea and prepared to enjoy.

Yes, that slab there is a brownie. And as I just made myself eat it, I can assure you that not only does it look like cardboard dipped in chocolate, it tastes like it, too. Except I'm pretty sure cardboard has more texture. And now it lies there in the pan, sluggish and dense. Like some kind of brownie swamp creature. Ick. I should've known better! For starters, I am not exactly a whiz in the kitchen. Some of you will remember my valiant effort with an ill-fated pineapple upside-down cake. But this time, I don't think it was entirely me--I blame the recipe. I blame the Internet.

It reminds me of a time years ago when I was visiting my aunt Maggie in San Angelo, Texas. She was doing Weight Watchers, and instead of guacamole, made "mockamole". We tried it, and I remember both of us laughing hysterically in her kitchen as we attempted to force a few bites down. I think it was kind of a brownish color, wasn't it, Maggie? Anyway, not so good. Apparently, guacamole will not be mocked. Respect the avocado.

Any good low-calorie cookie or brownie recipes out there? You guys are pretty resourceful. Don't just think of it as helping me out, but as helping Becky out, too. She needs me fortified with low calorie chocolatey goodness. And I will not fail her.

P.S. Extra points if you can tell me where the title comes from!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Consider this!

If you move to Australia, your baby can have pictures of wombats on her diapers.

WOMBATS!! And who wouldn't want that?

There are also tiny kangaroos and a platypus on there, but I don't want to make you jealous.

And think of how many times a day you change a diaper--so it's like a little dose of wombat joy every time.

We also have free health care and afternoon tea. I'm just gonna put that out there.

Friday, March 19, 2010


You know, if you'd told me a couple of weeks ago that I'd be on the phone discussing my sister's upcoming surgery and treatment while simultaneously spray painting Ava's hair purple, I wouldn't have believed you. Such a convergence of events. Life's rich tapestry, right?

Today was "mufti day"--which means that the kids go to school and can wear normal clothes (not their uniform). My dad informed me that "mufti" is a term used to refer to military officers who were out of uniform. I have no idea how he knows that kind of stuff. It's freaky sometimes. Heck, maybe he makes it up, but it sounded convincing at the time.

It was also crazy hair day at school, you see. Ava simply could not go to school with normal hair. However, I discovered there are limits to my crazy hair-making skills. Oh, I can make all other kinds of crazy. But hair? Braids and $2 purple hairspray is the best I can do.

We also had the Hawaiian-themed Disco at school this evening. Because who likes to party? We likes to party. Yes. we. do.

In other news, today I and all of Australia learned that President Obama is postponing his trip to Oz. It seems like there's some type of health care reform issue happening back in the States? Maybe you've heard about that. Anyway, I am kind of bummed that Michelle never called to let me know they weren't coming. I think we could really be besties if she just got to know me. (No, really.) Do you ever think that about famous people? And me all stocked up with extra Pepsi and Tim Tams. Oh well--next time, I'm sure.

(Speaking of Becky, the surgery has been scheduled for about a week and a half from now. Thank you for your prayers and sweetness! She is doing well. Read her blog for more info if you like--it is very real and witty and insightful and articulate and funny all at once. You know, much like what you've just read here.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday, 6:20pm

Witness the carnage.

This is what happens when Jason is out at a meeting and I am making dinner while the kids are roaming free. See the cricket bat on the floor, upper left hand corner? What, don't you slip and slide on a plastic cricket bat while you're rushing around straining the angel hair pasta? That was a moment.

Groceries I'd yet to put away and dirty dishes.

Here's is my half-finished preparation for the Scripture class I'm teaching at a high school tomorrow. Those open books scream, "Amy is searching for ideas!"

Here's our "Craft Corner", otherwise known as the "Mom better save every slip of paper we write on or tears will flow" corner. Nate went a little postal on it tonight while my back was turned. When I saw the mess, my reaction was measured, calm and totally rational.

Ava's homework for the week...mostly done. I couldn't spell those words in 1st grade!

And while I was taking these pictures, Grace pulled up to stand at the coffee table, slipped and conked herself on the noggin. So not only am I messy, I am inattentive as well. But really, I was taking these photos for you. So in a way, don't you think you should accept some of the responsibility? It's okay. Accidents happen.

Then some other things happened. Nate kept calling us "booty" again and again and had to go in Time Out. Grace had a little bump on her baby forehead. I felt guilty about that. The pasta was clumpy. Ava's Barbie and the Diamond Castle DVD kept skipping. And I turned into the Wicked Witch of Down Under. Then Jason came home, I sniped at him for no reason, and he cleaned the kitchen.

He is way better than I deserve.

What's your house look like on a weekday evening?

P.S. Thanks to all of you lovelies who have sent prayers and good wishes for Becky. It really means a great deal. Really. We'll be posting an update very soon. xoxo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In all seriousness

Last Wednesday morning, I opened my eyes at the crack of 7:00 am and saw that I had a text message waiting from my sister. "Don't freak out," it read, "But call me when you get this." Well, crap, I thought. Several days before that, she'd found a lump in her breast, which lead to a mammogram which lead to a biopsy. And I knew the text message meant that she'd gotten the biopsy results.

I stumbled downstairs in my pajamas and called Becky. She was driving Laura to the dentist and said she'd call right back. Isn't it funny how normal life intrudes on those important moments? Like, yes I need to tell you the test results but first I need to get this mac and cheese out of the microwave.

"Well," she said when I got her back on the phone, "It isn't good news. It's cancer." "Crap, " I said again. (Apparently, I am not very eloquent in moments like these.) She proceeded to tell me the lowdown--that it was a particular cancer called "ductal carcinoma in situ" and that the doctor said it was very treatable. Apparently Becky seems to have discovered the tumor very early on, and it is quite small. "You're going to be fine," the doctor told her, "A bump in the road," she called it.

Many of you are regular readers of Becky's blog and you know this already. If not, you can read her first person account of all that's happened here. I found it particularly poignant, in that she describes the progression of everything's-fine to maybe-it-isn't to Oh-God,-I-have-to-deal-with-this-now. And mostly, I found it poignant cause she's my sister.

Tomorrow morning Becky and Matt are meeting with the breast specialist (I will avoid the temptation to make a silly joke about that title) for a surgical consult. I am posting this here in case you aren't a Suburban Matron reader, to ask you to pray for my sister. We are hopeful that it will all be as Becky's doctor assured her, but as I'm sure you can imagine, there is a lot of anxiety and a measure of fear involved.

I believe that God is interested and invested in our lives. I believe He loves us more than we could ever comprehend. I believe that prayer matters--that it not only changes us, but that it can make a tangible difference in our lives. I've seen it happen too often to doubt it. I'm not sure what you might believe about that, but if you're a pray-er, please say a prayer for Becky. If you're a good-thoughts-thinker, we'll take some of those too! Heck, throw in some pixie dust and we'll be good to go.

Thanks, y'all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Worry--Underneath these ripped biceps, I'm still the same old me.

So, I've started working out. (Please-- hold your applause till the end.) You may remember a few months back that I told you about quitting a gym that may or may not be Curves. It just wasn't working for me--the hours, the no childcare, I was payin' and not goin'. So I quit. Then, over the course of our holiday in America I pretty much ate whatever I wanted to. Even the most commonplace eateries become destinations when you can't have them in your "normal" life. So Jason and I would be like, "Look--Chili's!" Or, "Oooo!! We have to go get breakfast taquitos at Whataburger!" You get the idea, and this went on for 6 weeks. And don't make me tell you about all the Oatmeal Creme Pies. It's shameful.

Towards the end of our trip, my brother Dave and sister-in-law Kate began a new fitness regime. They'd found a free calorie counting website with an Iphone app and begin keeping track of what they were eating. And in some sort of familial avalanche, the next thing I knew we'd all joined up. The website lets you "friend" people and if you want them to, they can see your food diary. (Most people don't do this, but we are weird. And we tend to overshare.)

So now, in addition to email and Facebook and our blogs and text messaging and Skype and phone calls, I can log on to and see what Becky or Dave had for lunch. And that, my friends, is the beauty of the Internets. Beck can ask me why I had a brownie for lunch and I can tease her about eating a slice of Laura's birthday cake for breakfast. (Those are purely hypothetical examples, of course.)

I've never consistently watched what I'm eating before. It's been amazing to see that, what do you know, diet and exercise really do help you lose weight. I think somebody ought to study the correlation or something, cause it's uncanny. I mean, I haven't made drastic changes, but it's been encouraging to begin to see some things begin to, shall we say, shift. It's like plate tectonics. Slow, very slow, but things are happening deep under the surface.

And a couple of weeks ago, I joined a local gym. I hesitated doing this for a long time, because the idea of a "real" gym is intimidating to me. There's a big, glitzy franchise near our house. It's pretty posh, with superhuman people working out there. They're like, glistening fitbots or something. But the one I joined has mostly normal people in it, which was appealing to me.

And one of the things I like the most is that I get to watch TV!! I can get on the machines and watch Dr. Phil! In the middle of the day! I think I'll start scheduling my workouts based on what's gonna be on TV. The only time I feel a little out of place in the weight room. I snicker at the thought of me even being in a weight room, but I've been doing it! Tonight I went in there and realized that I was the only girl in a room full of dudes. Dudes who looked like they knew what they were doing. Normally I would've reversed out of there, but I got my game face on and strolled on in. "Excuse me, I'll be moving this up to the 10lb weight. Think I might need a spotter for this one, fellas! Ohhh yeah, feel the burn." It was like that old Sesame Street song.

One of these things is definitely not like the others. One of these kids is in fact doing her own thing. I realized something tonight that is a valuable weight room skill. Of course I knew not to make eye contact. But here's the key: middle distance, baby. It's all about staring at some undetermined point beyond, through, over those around you. Get in there, stare into the middle distance, do your reps, and nobody gets hurt. And to reward you, there's a treadmill and an episode of So You Think You Can Dance waiting in the next room.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm not sure, but I think there might be some muscle-type things buried under there.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This week in Grace

Is it just me, or does time seem to speed up the older you get? Or perhaps this is some side effect of climate change. I mean, five minutes ago, Grace looked like this:

And then, I went to, like, go get a drink of water or something and she's this:

I swear, it's been the fastest nine months of my life. I know-- everyone says that about their children. But sometimes clichés are clichés for a reason, ya know? In the span of a few days, she's begun crawling and pulling up on furniture and eating paper (oops). Instead of napping, she practices crawling and stands in her crib. And when I go in the room to to lay her back down, she grins and squeals at me as if to say, "Shut up! Why didn't you tell me how AWESOME this is? I'm staaaannnding! Whoever invented this is a GENIUS!"
(This is cute the first ten times. And then I just want her to take her nap.)

I told Jason the other day, "It's all going so fast. I mean, I've been thinking. What if, in ten years' time, we wish we'd had a fourth? Some older couples we know wish they'd had more. I'm just thinking we should consider that." He looked at me and said, "Yeah, babe. You just keep thinkin'."

Not that I think I could handle four, necessarily. I am not a supermom. Really. I use television as a babysitter at least twice a day and our cupboards runneth over with Easy Mac. I don't make my own baby food. I hide from the kids. Sometimes, I wait till they go to bed and then I throw away their artwork. Otherwise, it would fill up the house! And I have a hard enough time corralling these three. Parenting Nate alone is like raising approximately 2.4 children. Nate, before you eat your dinner you have to put your underwear back on. No, Nate, I don't think God will turn you into a horse. Or a bat. Or a castle. Nate, don't bounce Gracie in the Jolly Jumper--when she cries it means she doesn't like it. Nate, no one wants to see your bottom again. (Public nakedness is an issue with the boy.)

So, the jury is still way, way out on whether we'll ever have another child. As far as Jason is concerned, the jury has been lovingly dismissed and sent home. But I like to think that the jury is just at lunch. A long, leisurely lunch. Like, they're sequestered like the jury in that John Grisham novel, all staying in a cheesy motel together and we could call them back if we needed to. We'll see. I should probably get this baby sleeping through the night before I think about another one.

Somebody slap me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Okay, so I didn't yank her by her hair.

...But I did call the cops.
(Oh, no you didn't!) Shoot y'all, you know I did!

The party and the music got louder than it usually does. And for these neighbors, that is saying something. So at about 11pm, I went to our friend the Internet and found out what the local noise ordinance is for our area.

I had to laugh, though. On the website, it totally tries to talk you off the ledge. Listen to this:
There are laws that tell us what levels of noise are
acceptable. Yet how we respond to particular noises
depends on the type of noise and how we feel about it.
What is fine one day can drive us to distraction the next,
and noise that is acceptable to one person may
be unacceptable to another.
Recognising how our moods can influence our response
helps us judge when others are being too noisy.

It's basically saying, "We know you are totally cheesed off, but please do not take a cricket bat and smash your neighbour's windshield." I just loved that before they would tell me what my legal rights were in this instance, they wanted to talk to me about my feelings! The City of Sydney cares, you guys.

So right there in my kitchen I did some deep soul-searching. Like David in the Psalms--Search me, O God, and know my heart. Were the thumping bass and piercing screams getting on my nerves because of job stress? Was I extra sensitive because of hormonal changes in my body? Perhaps my mood at that moment was extra fragile due to lack of sleep?

No, nope, and I don't think so. It was bothering me because it was incredibly loud. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's it. But still, I had to read through 2 or 3 more pages of pdf before they would tell me what to do about it! I eventually found out that you can make lots of noise until midnight on the weekends. And then, neighbours can complain to their local police. (Or seek a mediation process through a local "Community Justice Centre". But I don't want to work on our relationship or anything, I just want them to shut their pieholes is all.)

Now here's where I got a little petty. I freely admit that. I went back to our bedroom. And with a fan roaring at top speed and earplugs in, the noise was much more faint. I could've probably gone to sleep at this point. But, oh no! I was full of righteous indignation! And once I am righteously indignated, watch out. In fact, if you ever need someone to get offended on your behalf, I am totally your girl.

It was the principle of the thing. I mean, haven't we all agreed on a social code, y'all? I will not pretend that I live by myself in the middle of a field? I will acknowledge that other people are trying to live their lives around me? Aren't there expectations? Sheesh! I just can't stand it when others are deliberately inconsiderate, you see. And so I decided to stay awake till midnight and then call the fuzz. So I surfed on Jason's Iphone, I emailed my family ("i think being inconsiderate is one of the worst sins, " I wrote.), until ding! The clock struck twelve. I pulled my earplugs out to find the party was going strong. Stronger, even. I slipped into the bathroom and called the cops.

And from here, the story is pretty anti-climatic. The young constable that answered the phone actually sounded like she was dying of boredom. Like my complaint was literally taking days off her life. She got more monotone the longer we spoke. I considered sharing my speech for the screaming young girls, but decided against it. Regardless, she said she'd send a car over there!

Since we can't actually see into their yard, I don't know what exactly happened after that. But we did notice that it got quieter after a little while. I do know they kept some music going because my neighbour Jules emailed me and said she could hear it at 4am. So, who knows?

Well, I'm not sure what the moral of the story ought to be. Sometimes you can do the right thing and get mediocre results? When in doubt, you're better off jumping the back fence? Stay awake and call the law? Stick by your principles even if no one else gives a flip?

Whichever it is, I am totally calling the police next time if I need to. Because yes, I am that neighbour.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Advice for Young Ladies

On warm nights, the neighbours behind us often have parties in their backyard. I've never met them, nor can I see over our back fence (we live on a slope, and the back fence is significantly above my head). I think that there must be a 20-something or older teenager that lives there cause the parties often sound like a lot of younger folks.

Now, I am not against parties. I understand that the Young People like to gather together occasionally for a rousing game of Scrabble and a glass of lemonade. Why, in my younger years I often did the same thing. Oh, the madcap frivolity! Let the kids have their sock hops and play their records. But if you love your life, do not wake my children while doing it. Because I will unleash a reign of terror and pain upon your tender young head. (Becky, is it "rain" or "reign"? I'm just not sure. And now I've gone and undermined my threat of violence.)

Or maybe I will just send complaining emails to my other neighbour, Jules. We have often bonded over our noisy neighbours. A few minutes ago, I was getting clothes out of the dryer when I heard a piercing scream from over the back fence. Ten seconds later, Nate was crying--"I heard a noise!" he moaned in that disoriented half-asleep state.

There seems to be one girl, maybe others too, I can't tell--who is always invited to these parties. And she is always screaming. I do not understand this, though I have witnessed girls doing this all through my life as a fellow girl. And perhaps I have done it a few times myself, though I won't say for sure. When you are young and you are at a function where there are boys and other girls that you are competing with for those boys, there is a desire to draw attention to yourself. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be.

But if I could hop that back fence and find that child-waking, attention-seeking, shrill-screaming girl, I'd tell her what her mama and daddy should have:

Sweetheart, you need to know that screaming "Whooooooo!" at parties--or anywhere really-- does not make you more attractive. And the men that are drawn to you because of this kind of behavior are probably not the discerning, intelligent and emotionally mature men that you envision yourself settling down with. You already look lovely in your party frock/bikini/lampshade [I don't know what kind of party is going on over there], so why distract from that with these vocal outbursts? Let me tell you something about young men. They are clueless about why girls do what they do. They smile blankly when you whoop it up because they are waiting to see if you're screaming because you're happy/scared/angry/drunk/asking them out. They really don't know.

Honey, don't cheapen yourself by these shrill displays. It wakes my kids up, it shows your insecurity and it draws the Wrong Kind of Attention. Think Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, think Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court, not the residents of the Big Brother House. Play it cool. You can be better than this. You are smarter than this, and in ten years' time you'll shake your head over how you used to scream at clueless boys in the backyard and then jump in the pool. You can do better! I know you can. Now, put out that cigarette and reapply your lip gloss. And if you wake up my kids again, I will yank you over the back fence by your hair.

Perhaps I'm over-analyzing? Someone needs to help these Young Ladies, is all I'm sayin'.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Autumn Moons

The first day of March marked the first day of autumn for us. If you were listening closely a few days ago, you may remember hearing my sobs of relief as we said goodbye to summer. Not that I don't like summer. I love a good pair of flip flops as much as the next girl. And I have known some great tank tops. In theory, summer is lovely--but this was a hot one! In fact, it was Australia's 5th hottest summer on record. And that, my dear friends, is sayin' something.

And as if on cue, March 1st dawned cloudy and cool. And there was much rejoicing. And on that day, 5000 Sydneysiders celebrated autumn by stripping naked on the steps of the Opera House for a photo shoot. The photographer, Spencer Tunick, is the guy that does the photos all over the world of lots of naked folks. It's art, y'all. Do I sound like a Philistine, poking a little fun at this? I know, I know--I'm sure it's about all of us embracing ourselves as we truly are, dropping our false selves and facades. The shock of nakedness becoming common as it's swallowed up in sheer numbers of people. I get that. But you know what? I don't really need to see your rear end to accept you as a fellow human. You and I? We're cool.

I saw a clip on the news about it and Tunick was saying that the structure of the Opera House reminded him of three huge whales swimming toward all the people. And I guess all the naked people reminded him of, well, people who had just taken their clothes off. I'm not sure what message whales and nekkid folks is meant to communicate, but then, I am not very artistic. Ask anyone who knows me.

I'm not including pics in case you have a four year old reading over your shoulder or whatever, but you can click on the link above if you like. Here's what you'll see. A whole buncha butts. Pretty exciting stuff. If you like to look at lots and lots and lots of butts.

Have a great day. And if you get chilly, put on a sweater, okay?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wow! What a tantalizing offer! And with no strings attached.

As a pastor, Jason gets these kind of emails all the time. Usually, someone's wealthy uncle has died and his dying wish was to give millions of dollars to a church. Any church, chosen at random from the vast universe that is the world wide web. And if we will just forward our banking details, all this money could be ours. The generosity of strangers--of inexplicably wealthy strangers--never ceases to amaze us. And this latest email was quite touching:

Dear beloved
Please i am Miss Sharon Williams,Please I'm an Orphan and I am 18 years old,from Togo.Permit me,i want you to help me transfer my inheritance fund USD$1,300,000.00 to your account.I am willing to offer you 30%. i am the approved next of kin please help me Please send me this below information to send to bank to transfer my money inheritance to your account:
1.Your full Names:_____2.Your Email Address:_____
3.Your Country:________4.Your Tel____5.Your Nationality:____
6.Your Occupation:________7.Your Age:____
Thanks and God bless.
Miss Sharon Williams

Poor Sharon. An independently wealthy orphan with nowhere to deposit her money. She is alone on the island of Togo with nowhere to turn. We must help her! This email is a mishmash of two genres. The help-me-I'm-an-orphan approach and the someone-rich-died-and-I'm-the-next-of-kin spin. Obviously the writer needs a clearer vision. I mean, there's so many of these emails going around, don't you think there's like an online tutorial for them somewhere? Or maybe a seminar that people can attend? Let's be a little more creative, Sharon!

Unfortunately, we couldn't help Sharon. We have just wired our life savings to a bank account in Lagos. Y'all there are some exciting investment opportunities with Nigerian banks! You really should check it out.