Finding Joy Friday, February 2010 Edition

Finding Joy Friday

In cooperation with LaanyKidsMom, here is my entry for this week.

Where did I find joy this week?

Kindergarten Valentine’s Day parties
I got to attend my son’s class party, the type where everyone gives harmless cards to everyone else and they’re happy because they got some candy. And they make crafts with glue and stickers and stuff.

food at a kindergarten Valentine's Day party
craft with jars at a kindergarten Valentine's Day party
craft with paper at a kindergarten Valentine's Day party

Pick six! PICK SIX!!
No, I am not talking about the local lottery numbers. The 4th quarter of the Super Bowl brought me joy this week. It was fun to watch, although my favorite Super Bowl play is still Mike Jones’ tackle to keep the Titans from beating the Rams.

One More
The last thing that brought me joy this week (there were many more things that brought me joy, so this isn’t really the last thing that brought me joy, it’s just the last item I’m going to mention in this blog post) was my nephew was born. It was a few days early, which was odd because the C-section had been scheduled for next week.

New nephews and nieces are always nice to have, but my favorite part was his name. No, for the sake of his privacy I am not going to list his name here. Plus most of you readers are family so you already know the name. Non-family readers may email me if they are curious.

Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.

Luke 7:23

Ironic Snow Day

Our church has an AWANA program, which is a weekly program for children and it involves games and Bible teaching and stuff. Every so often, we will have a special night instead of the usual program. These are planned at the beginning of the school year – hayride and bonfire one night in the fall, grand prix races one night in the spring, a night of caroling just before Christmas, and a sledding night in mid-winter.

Because the nature of weather is to be unpredictable, especially 5 months ahead of time, we always plan a sledding night and then a back-up sledding night in case there is no snow on the first night. Two weeks ago, when we were supposed to have our sledding night, there wasn’t really any snow. So we had a regular AWANA program and told the kids the sledding night would be this day.

And then, last week after he reminded the kids that the next week would be sledding, the guy in charge gave the closing prayer. Yes, he prayed that we would have lots of snow for sledding.

And lo, the snow fell in great abundance.

picture of flower barrel covered by snow

picture of path shoveled through the snow

We got plenty of snow, and it all came the day before and day of the sledding trip. Perfect. But there is a rule that we follow – if school is closed there is no AWANA that night. It’s easy for the kids to remember, it’s easy for the parents to remember, and it makes sense that if roads are too bad for getting to school then they are too bad for getting to church. Keeps the kids safe.

School was canceled today. Too much snow.

So there’s no AWANA tonight. Too much snow.

Which means we can’t go sledding because there’s too much snow.

Maybe I’ll spend some quality time at home with the kids since we’re not taking them to church tonight. I think we’ll go sledding.

Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

James 5:18

Obligatory Super Bowl Entry, Part 44

The Game

  • I do have some friends who are Colts fans (hi Paul), so I am sure they are not happy about the result. But sports are about cheering for a given team, which implies that you cheer against the other team. As it has worked out, He Who Must Not Be Named is the quarterback for the Colts. So I must root against them. If they had a different quarterback, I might have been rooting for them. So don’t take it personally, Colts fans, that I cheered for the Saints.
  • Yes, I do also root against the Giants.
  • Based on that, the Superbowl was fun to watch. I saw the first quarter and much of the second quarter. I missed halftime and the third quarter. But I got to see the fourth quarter. Apparently, I should have missed the first quarter and watched the third.
  • If I don’t have a vested interest in the game, I pull for the more fun team. If you run a fake punt, you’re good in my book. That’s why I have liked Boise St. By that measure, the Saints came out ahead. Even though they didn’t run any fakes, they did have the onside kick and they did go for it on fourth and goal. I watch football to be entertained. Therefore, I like the team that provides more entertainment – the Saints.
  • The Colts weren’t all bad though. I was pleasantly impressed that they did not use their timeouts at the end of the game. There are few things more annoying in a sporting event than to have the losing team call their timeouts (or, in the case of basketball, purposely foul) when it is hopeless. The Colts had two timeouts remaining, I think, and the Saints had possession with 45 seconds left. The Colts could have made the Saints do three kneel-downs instead of just one, but that would have accomplished nothing other than prolong the agony.

The Ads

  • Do any companies besides Budweiser and Doritos have any money for advertising?
  • How much did those two companies spend on advertising? It seems they had about half the ads.
  • The car ads were boring – not worthy of being Super Bowl material. You’re spending millions of dollars on an ad, it had better be good. There were two exceptions, noted below.
  • The first exception was the Brett Favre ad, the one where he was giving his acceptance speech for being the MVP in the year 2020. The only problem is that you remember that Brett Favre, with gray hair and all, was in that commercial but you don’t remember what the commercial was for. It was funny but there was no (or at least a very weak) tie-in to the product.
  • The second exception to the unentertaining car ads was the Dodge Charger. That was memorable because you spent most of the commercial trying to figure out where it was going and what it was for. Because your brain invested that much in viewing the ad, you don’t forget the punchline. This is known as the “Dodge ad” whereas the Hyundai ad is the “Brett Favre ad”. See the difference? Are you selling Brett Favres or are you selling Hyundais? Plus, the car sounded like a real car (i.e. engine displacement).
  • Dodge Charger – good Man Commercial. Dove something-or-other (body wash?) – bad Man Commercial. They tried, but a Man Commercial needs to be for a Man Product.
  • There are various categories of worst ads, but the one I liked the least was the Audi commercial. There are some people who found the Green Police to be funny, a spoof on some environmental zealots. But I fear that the commercial may have put some ideas into the heads of some bureaucrats somewhere. It’s too close to home to be funny.
  • As is sadly usual for a football game, we had to keep the remote handy due to the presence of children in the room. We skipped most of the movie ads and all of the website domain company ads, even after the kids had gone to bed. I don’t need to see that stuff either.
  • He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd, So that their hands cannot attain success.

    Job 5:12

    Family Conversations, Part 7

    A few random conversations this time, starring Beta. And with a special guest appearance by cousin O.

    • My son held out the empty cardboard toilet-paper tube so that I could throw it away. Unfortunately, we fumbled the hand-off and the tube tumbled into the toilet bowl. Also unfortunately, this was as he was finishing the reason he was in the bathroom in the first place.

      I announced my dissatisfaction with the circumstances with an exclamation of “Aaagh!” My wife heard the noise and asked what was going on. I replied that I had to fish the cardboard tube out of the potty; we certainly couldn’t just flush it. To which Beta responded, in a mix of bewilderment and amusement, “You’re going fishing in the potty?

    • Beta (meaning that he can see well in the dark): I have good eyes at night
      O: I have good eyes at night too, because I’m a princess

      She matched his bet and then played the royalty card. It’s hard to argue with royalty, unless you know that she’s only a princess because she has a princessy dress.

    • We took a trip to the local nursing home so the kids’ Sunday School classes could sing to the residents. Beta did not enjoy the trip, and he told me so when we got back into the minivan.
      Nursing homes are not fun.
      Why not?
      They don’t have Legos or TV. That’s what we like.

    Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

    John 21:3

    How Not to Make a Diamond

    A couple years ago, I mentioned that a company will turn your remains into diamonds, for a small fee of course. I just recently realized that concept is not new. In fact, we have footage and photos of the early attempts at this.

    The company takes the carbon, usually from your cremation ashes, compresses it under high heat and pressure just like the earth did for real diamonds, and in a few months you get a diamond.

    The carbon is the key. It’s a basic ingredient for life, and it’s the sole ingredient for diamonds. How better to preserve your memory than by using your carbon?

    Han Solo frozen in carbonite

    As you can see, the trial-and-error experimentation that they used to develop this whole process had some undesirable side effects. But eventually they got it right. Even though it took a long time. And was in a galaxy far, far away.

    And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,

    1 Peter 2:4

    Son of Hot Dogtopus

    A few months ago, I unveiled the masterpiece that was the hot-dogtopus. Now it is time for the sequel: Son of Hot-Dogtopus.

    My wife found a food tip in Family Fun magazine: people stuck spaghetti into hot dogs sections to make sea creatures. I forget what they called them – the only thing I remember is thinking that I had yet another weapon to add to my culinary arsenal.

    I’m up to four now, I think.

    The article showed that you are supposed to stick uncooked spaghetti noodles into the end of a section of hot dog. The noodles go right into the soft hot dog with no problem. Then you boil the whole thing and the meat and noodles get cooked at the same time.

    Do not, I repeat, do not, try to cook the spaghetti first and then push it into the hot dog.

    Also note: the part of the noodle that is in the hot dog does not cook very quickly. So when the visible noodles are done, the hidden noodles are still crunchy. And if you cook the concoction long enough so that the noodle roots are done, the rest of the noodle is mushy. It may take practice to get the right balance.

    We tried two methods. The first was not the method prescribed by the magazine – my wife kept the noodles in the plane perpendicular to the axis of the hot dog. (She stuck them in sideways)

    one method of inserting noodles into hot dogs

    The second method was the official one – noodles parallel with the hot dog.

    another method of inserting noodles into hot dogs

    The first method was tricky to cook. That’s a vote for the second method right there. Plus some of the method-one noodles broke during the cooking process. Some shattered due to just being fragile and having to awkwardly support the weight of the hot dog. Others were sheared somehow, leaving hints of noodle at the skin of the hot dog.

    cooking pincushion hot dogs in boiling water

    For visual presentation, assuming all the noodles stayed intact, I preferred the first method. Spacing the noodles allowed them to remain separate. The method-two noodles just clumped together and reminded me of hair in the shower drain. Appetizing, I know.

    cooked hot dog with noodles radiallycooked hot dog with noodles axially

    As far as the kids were concerned…they didn’t care or even notice the difference between the two methods. They were too busy eating them.

    a plate with noodle-filled hot dogs

    Even Gamma knew that they were yummy. Even though we hadn’t cooked them yet, he somehow knew they were food and kept trying to get them. It wouldn’t have been a problem except I was holding him while I was trying to take pictures. Perhaps the following explains why I settled for blurry/shadowy pictures for this post:

    baby's hand reaching for a hot dog with noodles

    We still haven’t decided what exactly they are. The choices so far are

    • scrawny octopi,
    • two-tone squid, or
    • nervous jellyfish

    (I opted for plain “jellyfish” but Alpha settled on “nervous jellyfish”. I don’t know why it’s nervous, other than it knows it’s about to be eaten)

    Side note: In case you’re wondering about today’s verse – yes they were venison hot dogs.

    Just as a gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you will eat it; the unclean and the clean alike may eat of it.

    Deuteronomy 12:22

    Blogging Interruption

    This blogging break has been brought to you by the seasonal flu.

    For those of you wondering why I haven’t posted much this week: we are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

    For those of you who are not paying attention to how often I write on this blog: I’m not keeping track of how often you read this blog, so we’re even.

    I started the family off by getting sick on Thursday. Beta quickly followed and started demonstrating his symptoms about a half hour after I did. Alpha held out until this afternoon. My wife is hoping not to get sick, but the peer pressure might get to her.

    Gamma is doing fine so far. We have changed his diet preemptively so that his digestive system will be in better shape if he does catch whatever this is – all he had today was applesauce, bananas, toast, and his formula.

    The kids had the swine flu back in the fall. I’ll take that over this flu any day – low-grade fever and a cough versus intestinal problems.

    Having just the two kids sick is plenty. We did 3 or 4 loads of laundry today, and that was barely keeping even with all the blankets and sheets and towels that were added to the laundry today.

    I hope to be back to a somewhat normal schedule, blogging and otherwise, next week.

    The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health.

    Psalm 41:3