Thursday, May 31, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

Okay, it took a few days to recover before I could consider posting about the weekend. It all started on Friday when I ran by the church and picked up a couple of tents before heading to my friend Aaron's in Waukegan. We set up the tents in Aaron's typical suburban backyard and discovered that one of the tents was nearly as big as the house. We also hooked up an LCD projector pointed at the back of the house. As it was getting dark we set up the portable fire pit we had borrowed from Dianne and Sarah so as to make s'mores. One of the friends who was helping light the fire decided to run into the house to get more paper to get the fire going. She didn't make it. She ran forward and with a mighty thud struck an invisible barrier and rebounded down the steps onto the patio. She remembers going forward and suddenly reversing and wondering why she wasn't in the kitchen. In a beautiful imitation of certain Windex and Bud Light commercials one of Aaron's housemates had cleaned the sliding glass door earlier on Friday. Someone else had shut it and my friend had run right into it. She was okay and it was very funny. After Sarah and Becky stopped rolling on the ground in laughter we got the fire lit and eventually watched the movie Hoodwinked projected onto Aaron's house. At a later point that night the older sister of our door thudding friend also ran into the closed door. It was also very funny. The guys slept in the tents. Most of the girls started the night in the circus-sized tent but they went in to sleep around 4:30.

At some point on Saturday morning we got up and straggled into the kitchen for breakfast. In the process we tried the new Doritos X-13D experimental chips that I had purchased the night before. They come with the gimmick that you try them and then you can name them yourself. I don't think the company will accept my proposed name, "Crap Chips". On the other hand, as a reward for graciously making us pancakes, one of my friends has now been nicknamed "Crap Chip" because she seemed to like them. (I think Doritos was going for a hamburger taste, mostly they got mustard and the worst qualities of other Doritos). We learned that Anthony carries wet sponges in his pants pockets. "Always be prepared." After a long breakfast and general sitting around time during which and Anthony and Aaron emerged from hibernation we decided to disperse for the afternoon and meet together later for Pirates of the Caribbean III and supper. Steve and I took the opportunity to go to a graduation party for two of our friends who just finished high school and who will be Illini in the fall. Pirates III was great. We returned to Aaron's for another night of fun involving the projector and pizza. This time we were inside watching My Super Ex-Girlfriend (but my terrible movie) and playing Time-Splitters wherein I mostly died.

We rose early-ish Sunday morning and Anthony, who had previously learned the meaning of the word "androgynous" and that it was something he didn't want to self-apply, made us some good pancakes. At church we heard a challenging sermon from Ezekiel 33 about being a watchman. Over a Fodrak's lunch we learned about some friends' recent trip to New York and how one had said she could "dress like a 'ho'" on a national t.v. show. After church we joined a large crowd of folks from church for a fun game of mushball. The softball team had the weekend off but some of us wanted to play anyway, hence the mushball. Then we returned to Aaron's to play some volleyball. The t-shirts trounced the tank tops and we preened. I picked up a friend from the airport and then went home and watched part of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind before turning in. Others spent the evening at Aaron's playing games and talking but I needed a break.

11 of us gathered at the church around 10 on Monday morning to head down to Starved Rock State Park for an afternoon of hiking. While we were waiting we threw some frisbee and were treated to Steve's attempt to skate on a frisbee. It worked for about five feet before he wiped out. The drive to Starved Rock was uneventful except when Anthony was pulled over by the police in Utica, Ill. so they could check his and his female passengers' i.d.'s. They were "old enough." "Old enough for what?!" Anthony inquired. The officer didn't respond. The park was very crowded but beautiful. Most of the canyons had waterfalls in them and we had a good time hiking. One friend wiped out on a sandstone slope trying to deliver a caterpillar safely onto a leaf and later she accidentally shooed a bug down the front of her shirt when she was trying to make it go away. Neither incident resulted in significant injury, and both resulted in significant laughter, if not so much as her "force field" experience the previous Friday night. We got home tired just as it got dark and some of us took the tents down in Aaron's backyard before going to Chili's for supper. We also learned that Aaron can shower in less time than Anthony can poop. Steve and I returned home where he went to bed and I finished Eternal Sunshine. It was an exhausting but fun weekend.

Gratuitous Weekend quote:
"Something stinks."
"I think it's us." Crap Chip in the church parking lot after Starved Rock

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Beautiful Day

Yesterday was an all-around good day. The weather was fine. Our work task force on Information and the Future delivered our presentation on Books in Cyberspace, an examination of GoogleBooks, Amazon,, and, that we've been working on for a while. It's good to be done. I learned interesting things about the different databases and my part of the presentation wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. In the afternoon I found out that a DVD I'd had on hold for a while at the public library had come in. I found the book The Gates of the Alamo on cassette and have started listening to it. I bought a bike. Last night we had a good time at 3-D even though only eight students were there. My friend Noah, who graduated from high school on Saturday and who will be a horned frog in the fall, spoke to the students about living life for God. He did well and did even better as he helped lead my small group. I got to do some reading when I got home. It was a good day.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Anniversaries and Weekend

Happy Anniversary to Lydia and Geron, Ann and Daniel, and Nicki and Erik (5/17). Congratulations, y'all.

It was a good weekend. I went in and worked on Saturday. Saturday night Steve and I went over to Aaron's for a barbecue, some badminton, some LED night Frisbee, and general hanging around. When we came home I watched the movie Facing the Giants. This is a movie that was made by a large church in Georgia about the football coach at Christian High School and how he struggles with fear and resistance from parents as he leads the team to its first winning season in his tenure. It was released in theatres for a short run last fall. It's a sweet little movie. It was irritatingly cliched at times and had the same tone to the acting that I often note in Christian movies, reminiscent of the acting you often see in commercials. At the same time it had some really touching and funny moments. I was glad to have seen it.

On Sunday we heard a good sermon on Ephesians 1:11-13 and on God's inheritance and sovereignty. After the service our softball team played another double header. We lost the first game 26-2 (maybe one but I'm pretty sure there were two runs scored). We only got to play four innings. The other team scored maybe 24 of their runs in the first two innings, so we were doing okay at the end. The second was called on account of rain after the 6th inning with a score of 12-12. If only it'd been called after the 5th, we would have won. Oh well. Now we've got two weeks until our next game. After the game I went home and took a nap before going to graduation party for two friends who'd just finished their M.Div's at Trinity. I also got to watch the 400th Simpsons episode.

It was also a good weekend for reading. I finished The Gospel According to Science Fiction and got a pretty good start on Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It's a story about a marine and a cryptologist during World War II and then about their grandchildren working with an internet company in the late nineties. It's very interesting.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Places for Quiet

Writing about Illinois Beach got me thinking about some other places I like to go for peace and quiet, particularly outdoor walking places.

At St. Olaf there were two places in particular I liked to go. Mellby Hall, where I lived my sophomore year, has a very nice chapel on the first floor. It's about the size of a dorm room with pews and then an altar and stained glass window with a depiction of Psalm 23 in the front of the room. The chapel is kind of dimly lit and was always a great place to go and pray and especially to reflect on God's care. "The Lord is my shepherd...." The other place was the Norway Valley Nature Trail. The trail started into the woods near Larson Hall and wound around the side of the hill until it came out at the path leading down the hill from Flatten and the old music building. I think it led down to the French House, maybe. Norway Valley got its name from the Norway pines that prominent in the woods there. It was a great place to walk in any season, but especially during a good snowfall. The highlight of the Norway Valley trail for me was the monument to Rev. Ole O. Fugleskjell of the class of 1906 (I think). A few years after he graduated, "In the service of Christ became lost in the woods near Spooner, Mn., and perished from the cold." Then it quotes the verse, "Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it." I first came on the trail when I was a freshman and discouraged after a disappointing youth retreat. It meant a lot to be able to go back there throughout school and be reminded of what was important in life and of the beauty of God's world.

Since moving to Illinois I've found other places. When I lived at the synagogue it was nice to go up on our roof and look out over the lake, especially at night. Lake County has a very nice nice park and forest preserve system. I like to go to Independence Grove in Libertyville or to Century Park in Vernon Hills and walk around the lakes. If I'm in more of a woods mood then I like to go Daniel Wright Woods or the Half Day Forest Preserve and walk on the Des Plaines River Trail or just through some of the woods trails. The preserves are all more crowded than has been Illinois Beach when I've visited but they still allow for good times of peace and reflection. There's a place where the DPR Trail crosses the river north of the Wright Woods Preserve just below a dam on the river that is a good place to go and stand on the bridge and watch and listen to the river as flows by. I like that place.

So what about you? Where do you like to go for peace and reflection?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Illinois Beach and Week Off

I've taken the past week off to try to slow down and focus on important things in my life. I've spent way too much time reading my TIU email, this week specifically but in life generally, but I've also gotten to spend some time doing things I enjoy. I've gotten to read a couple of books about leading Bible studies published by InterVarsity and the Navigators that I hope will lead to good things for my LIFE group. I was able to make a good start on Alexander Ventner's Doing Church, a book about the Vineyard model for church. I planned an interesting Bible study on Romans 12:1-2 and got some direction for where the group will be going next. I was able to try the lunch buffets at Pizza Hut, a Chinese restaurant (Yen wouldn't have liked it), and The Curry Pot (I don't know if Daniel would have liked it. I did. It wasn't as good as The Peacocke in Vernon Hills or Tandoor in Lexington but it was all right. I liked the goat curry). I also got to have lunch at Portillo's with my friend Jason yesterday before playing a solo game of disc golf (it almost proved disastrous when a practice throw didn't clear the path on the last hole. If that had been the real throw I would have had to finish the hole with my pants around my ankles, traumatic for the class of new mothers that was meeting outside on the sled hill.). I even did some cleaning and laundry.

The best part of the week was a visit to Illinois Beach State Park this morning. I couldn't have asked for better weather. It was clear and sunny with the temperature around 70 degrees inland and maybe in the low 60's along the beach. The park was almost empty where I was. I think I saw 4 people while I was walking around. There were more further north by the lodge and bath house but I didn't go up there. I love to walk the Dead River Nature Trail and Dune Trail at the park. The nature trail is a 1.8 mile loop that leaves from the parking lot at the nature center (never open in any of my visits to the park) that runs south along the Dead River, a little river that flows into Lake Michigan when it can get enough pressure to push through the sandbar, before leaving the river and running back to the center. The trail runs through a little open woods of short scraggly trees and underbrush. I've never seen much wildlife there other than birds, but there are a lot of birds. It's a really pleasant and pretty little area. Best of all you can't really hear any cars, a real treat. The Dune Trail starts at the lodge and runs south parallel to the lake shore but behind a low dune ridge before turning away from the lake and running through the woods to the nature center and then back to the lodge. The treat there is listening to the waves lap the beach and the gulls. Both trails are amazingly peaceful, very quiet and calm except for the lake and the birds. When I went out on the beach the beauty almost took my breath away. I can't remember any body of water more beautiful than Lake Michigan was today. It was crystal clear as it came into the shore and a deep blue heading out to the horizon mirroring the sky with the sun sparkling on the little waves. There were times when I would be mowing the lawn out behind the temple at the Synagogue when the Lake would take my breath as I looked out off the bluff. Today was as pretty as any of those. Probably the day at Split Rock on the North Shore of Lake Superior or the day at Naupflion on the Mediterranean were as beautiful but it's hard to imagine. It made me wonder what it must have been like for the first Indians who came through those dunes and saw the Lake for the first time. I can only imagine their awe and wonder. I love the lake and I don't visit it near often enough. It was just a perfect day to wander in the woods and the dunes and marvel at God and his handiwork. Praise the Lord!

It's been a good week.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Having been tagged I respond.
Available or Single: If I was one wouln't I also be the other? There is only one of me so I am singular. I am not in any formalized romantic relationship so I am single and, presumptively, available. If I had taken some vow of celibacy I would also not be in the relationship and therefore single but not available for such a relationship. Likewise if I was not willing to be part of a relationship, which I might not be, interests notwithstanding, I would be single but not available. Given the opposition one must ask, "Available for what?" Still, I'm probably both in equal measure.

Best friend: Jim

Cake or Pie: generally chocolate creme or french silk pie, but if the cake is chocolaty enough....

Drink of Choice: Bass Ale

Essential items: a computer, access to LC ClassificationWeb, OCLC Connexion Client, AACR2, and resources to catalog; possibly a bar of soap. It depends many different things are essential to many different things.

Favorite colour: Royal (U.K.) Blue

Gummi Bears or Worms: If I must eat one, bears. They're smaller and it's over more quickly

Hometown: Georgetown, KY

Indulgence: plenary

January or February: Used to be January. Might still be. February's got a really annoying holiday in the middle and more melting snow but it's been growing on me recently. I love our youth group winter retreat which is usually the weekend of or after the annoying holiday that doesn't honor James Buchanon

Kids: none of my own. I like other people's okay.

Life is incomplete without:: Death is tempting, but I'm saying, "Jesus."

Marriage Date: 2/30/2674 if not sooner

Number of siblings: 4, 2 natural, 2 legal

Oranges or Apples: Obvious comparisons aside, apples, esp. New Zealand Braeburns

Phobias/fears: Otcin? Noir? People I don't know? God.

Quote: "Gopher, Everett?" Delmar

Reasons to smile: Exodus 32:24 and Romans 6:23

Season: Fall

Tag three: Mom, Geron, Becky

Unknown fact about me: I don't know any unknown facts about myself or anyone else. A little know fact is that Chris Benoit is my favorite wrestler

Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals: Neither. I'm with Cody. "I love animals. They're delicious."

Worst habits: Sinning.

X Rays or Ultrasounds: Never had the latter and I've enjoyed all the x rays I've had so I'll go with them.

Your favorite food: I don't thing it's fair that I should have to guess the favorite foods of everyone who reads this. I like Bill's/Buffo's double decker pepperoni pizza with crushed red pepper, parmesan, and oregano an awful lot, maybe as much as I like crab legs.

Zodiac: Rat or scales

Monday, May 07, 2007


I found this quiz on Matt's blog. Apparently I don't have an accent (though I might have difficulty spelling a pear ently)

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South
The Inland North
The West
The Northeast
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz