Saturday, December 31, 2011

Urge for Going

There's this great old song by Joni Mitchell called "Urge for Going." The tune is slow, thoughtful, and melancholy -- like most of Mitchell's songs, which is probably why she appeals to melancholy types like me. She sings about her sorrow at the coming of winter and her longing for summer to return:

I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town;
It hovered in a frozen sky, and it gobbled summer down.
When the sun turns traitor cold and all the trees are shivering in a naked row,
I get the urge for going, but I never seem to go.
I get the urge for going when the meadow grass is turning brown,
and summer time is falling down and winter is closing in.

There was a time, perhaps, when I would have sincerely hummed the words of this lovely song as a dirge at the closing of summer and the coming of winter. Winter has never been my favorite season. It's dark, cold, and dreary. The earth is still and silent. In years past, it has always been that season to trudge through perseveringly, while eagerly awaiting the advent of spring with its gentle warmth and newness.

This year is different, though. I suspect it has something to do with an exceptionally trying summer of extreme heat (which means
very extreme heat in Oklahoma). I suspect is also has something to do with the fact that summer lasted this year until November. I also suspect it has something to do with the fact that this week the temperatures have reached heights that are typical for most places in May or June (today it's 74 degrees). I'm guessing, too, that living here for nearly six years has just taken a toll on this Pacific Northwesterner's heart. Whatever the reason, or reasons, I just feel the longing for winter this year in an especially deep way. I want to sing with Joni Mitchell, but I want to change the song to one of joy at the coming of cold. Maybe I would sing: I get the urge for staying when summer time is falling down and winter is closing in.

I've done my share of complaining about winter in the past, about gray clouds and rain, rain, rain that won't leave. And I still adore springtime -- oh how I love the fresh smell of earth and the hugging warmth of the sun after days of darkness. But I miss coolness. I miss gentle winds and gray days, days of fleece and gloves, of walking with my hands wrapped around a warm coffee cup. I miss the clean scent of fir trees in the cold, with moisture clinging to the air so thickly that you can almost taste it. I miss... being outside.

I miss the color green.

I'll ply the fire with kindling now, I'll pull the blankets up to my chin;
I'll lock the vagrant winter out, and I'll pull my wandering in.
I'd like to call back summer time and have her stay for just another month or so...

No, summer can postpone itself indefinitely. I want the cold, with the frost perched on the town like so many shimmering jewels, and with the naked trees standing like gray pillars of honor. Winter can come this year, and none too soon.

She can stay for awhile, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra

So, how was the quiz? Not quite on par with Biochemical Engineering, to be sure, but it does for Christmas. I am writing this wondering if I actually had any "takers," but regardless, I decided to post the answers for you today as it is close enough to Christmas to be revelatory, but not so close to Christmas as to be entirely overlooked. (And just in case you're mildly curious, the title to this blog is a quirky rendition of the chorus to "Deck the Halls" as seen and heard in the final, hilarious, Chinese restaurant scene from A Christmas Story).

Just for the sake of summary, remember that there are twenty total quotes from ten separate films. Drum roll, please....

1. Christmas Vacation

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas

4. It's a Wonderful Life

5. A Christmas Story

6. Miracle on 34th Street

7. It's a Wonderful Life

8. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
(animated television version)

9. A Christmas Carol (television version starring George C. Scott)

10. A Charlie Brown Christmas

11. White Christmas

12. The Nightmare Before Christmas

13. A Christmas Story

14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
(animated television version, starring Burl Ives as the narrating snowman and featuring the coolest character ever conceived for a made-for-TV special: Yukon Cornelius!)

15. White Christmas

16. A Charlie Brown Christmas

17. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
(same as above)

18. A Christmas Story

19. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
(same as above)

20. Christmas Vacation

I'd be curious to hear how you did, but I don't have prizes for the top achievers. Also, I'm not assigning grades (much like Evergreen University in my home-state, but that's beside the point).

Merry Christmas, dear friends. May it be blessed.

Monday, December 12, 2011

'Tis the Season for a Holly Jolly Yuletide Movie Quiz

Most people who know me know that I love a good film. The people who know me really well know that I love to spontaneously quote a good film, which I do -- often.

Now to be frank, my favorite movies to quote are typically 'B' or 'C' quality, cult-favorite type movies such as So I Married an Axe Murderer or Airplane! And I typically decide to quote these films at the most obscure moments, belting out phrases like "I care for Apple Jacks a great deal" and "There's a sale at Penney's!" with such haphazard irregularity as to make my good-natured husband peer questioningly above the rim of his glasses at me with that what-on-earth-have-I-gotten-myself-into look on his benevolent face. (But he married me, so he's stuck with me).

All of that said, it does my heart good to quote a flick. And since it's Christmas time again, and since Christmas is never truly complete without sitting down for three or four great holiday movies, I decided that I'd treat my readers to a Yuletide Movie Quiz. I know, I know, you can barely contain your enthusiasm.

So... below I've listed twenty Christmas movie quotes from ten different holiday films. Some of the movies are funny; others, dramatic. Some are full-length feature films; others are made-for-TV specials. They represent a variety of decades. Chances are, however, that you have seen the majority of the ten films from which these quotes are derived, and if you haven't seen one or two, then you have probably at least heard of them. In other words, none of these films are obscure, so that should help you out.

I won't help you by telling you the names of the ten films I've quoted. You'll have to figure that out on your own (and try to overcome the temptation to use the internet). I will tell you this: The quotes are not evenly divided between the films. So there may be one quote from a particular film and four from another, for example. I will also tell you this: You can rule out most of the Christmas movies from the last decade or so, as it would likely take a legion of dashing reindeer to drag me into a theatre to see one. That means that Elf (which I've never seen but may find funny) is not one of the quoted films. It also means that Ernest Saves Christmas is not included, as viewing that movie is about as appealing to me as drinking a gallon of sour eggnog.

If you would like to grade yourself, I will post another blog nearer Christmas Day with the answers. Ready? Set? Quiz!

1. If that cat had nine lives, it sure used 'em all.

2. Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?

3. Eureka! This year, Christmas will be OURS!

4. Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn't there to save them because you weren't there to save Harry.

5. The snap of a few sparks, a quick whiff of ozone, and the lamp blazed forth in unparalleled glory.

6. Susan, I speak French, but that doesn't make me Joan of Arc.

7. Teacher says, 'Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.' (Theologically fallacious, but that's beside the point).

8. (Singing) The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink, stank, stunk.

9. May God forgive me for the time I've wasted.

10. Do innkeeper's wives have naturally curly hair?

11. Oh, Vermont should be beautiful this time of year, with all that snow.

12. (Singing) Kidnap the Sandy Claws, beat him with a stick; lock him up for ninety years, see what makes him tick.

13. What is the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse?

14. We'll have to outwit the fiend with our superior intelligence!

15. Give me one reason, one good reason, why we should spend our last two hours in Florida looking at the sisters of Freckle-Face Haynes, the dog-faced boy.

16. I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.

17. ... there's a light on this tree that won't light on one side. So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear. I'll fix it up there, then I'll bring it back here.

18. Fra-Gee-Lay... That must be Italian.

19. (Singing) Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. You can't fire me, I quit. Seems I don't fit in.

20. We're kicking off our fun, old-fashioned family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.

These may be quite easy to the Christmas Movie Connoisseur, but I'll take that chance. I hope you enjoyed it. And I hope it inspires you to catch a good Christmas movie or two in the next couple of weeks. Until the answers are posted... Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Verbage is Everything

It's interesting to me how language, particularly culture's buzz words, can be used to demonize. I find this to be especially true, and especially insightful, regarding rather controversial topics.

Case in point: I was grabbing a stir stick in a local coffee shop several months ago (my mocha needed embellishing), and I happened to glance at the colorful array of ads and flyers on the bulletin board above me. One flyer in particular grabbed my attention: "Walk for Choice", it proclaimed boldly. "Let's walk for our right to choose."

For this particular walk (and this is, I imagine, obvious to the reader) the championed "choice" was abortion. I couldn't have arrived at this crusading walk favoring that option, for I find it to be a particularly brutal and degrading practice against woman and child. However, the flyer didn't overtly state what "choice" was being championed. "Could I," I thought to myself, "show up at this Walk for Choice supporting the alternative -- life?" It would be, after all, a legitimate choice. The very word "choice" implies that more than one option is legitimate. I support the termination of abortion.

Perhaps regrettably, I didn't show up. But I thought long and hard about the verbage of that flyer. If it was brutally honest (and I favor brutal honesty regarding this issue), the flyer would have read "Walk for Abortion: Let's walk for the right to abort our babies." And if abortion is, as I hear from those in favor of it, nothing to be ashamed of -- if it really isn't the murder of the most helpless among us -- then shouldn't the author of that flyer have used the word "abortion"? What is there, after all, to be afraid of?

Interestingly, though, that word was nowhere to be found.

More recently, Planned Parenthood has issued statements against those favoring "Personhood" initiatives in certain states, which would define human life as beginning at conception (something anyone with a modicum of familiarity with human biology should understand). There is much vitriol coming from this taxpayer-funded, multimillion dollar organization against those in favor of such initiatives, calling them -- gasp! -- "anti-choice."

Again, I find the wording insightful. The implication is that anyone who thinks human life begins at conception (which includes atheistic, intellectually honest doctors, to their credit) is a marauding barbarian ready to pillage any group standing in his or her way. Not so. The truth is that there are some choices that are simply not up for debate, and a conscience-seared society needs the basic facts drawn up in black and white in order to be reminded.

So now it's my turn to be brutally honest. Am I one of those nasty "anti-choice" people? It's a fair question. Here's my answer:

Yes, I am anti-choice, regarding certain issues. Regarding whether a man should have the right to beat his wife to a pulp, yes, I am anti-choice. Regarding whether a CEO should have the right to abscond funds from the company he should be leading honestly, yes, I am anti-choice. Regarding whether anyone should have the right to walk into a local establishment and blow the brains out of ten or fifteen people, yes, I am anti-choice.

And regarding whether any woman (including myself) should have the right to have her very own child ripped from limb to limb within her womb, yes, I am anti-choice.

About twenty feet away, there is a sleeping eighteen-month old. Her name is Lilia, whose teenage birth mom found herself alone, frightened, and overwhelmed by her pregnancy. I thank God she was also one of those nasty, anti-choice people.

We need more of them.

** I would like to say that this blog entry is in no way intended to condemn any woman who has had an abortion. On the contrary, my heart goes out to her, for I believe her to have been grievously exploited, misguided, and deceived. There is forgiveness for all of us, whatever our past choices, in the blood of Christ. He knows our secret sins. He loves us still.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nothin' Much But Mayberry

In a recent blog I stated that the only television show my husband and I watch is "The Iron Chef" on the Food Network. I must admit that's not quite true. Oftentimes we cozy down into our sofa with the irresistibly simple and clear introductory whistle of The Andy Griffith Show floating through the air.

We have the first two seasons on DVD. The third season (and possibly the fourth) will find itself unapologetically plugged into our what-we-want-the-most-for-Christmas-this-year-please slot on our 2011 Wish List. And with good reason. The whole show is just... funny! It's really, truly, honestly, wholesomely, intelligently, brilliantly funny.

I'm a fan.

My introduction to Mayberry came rather in reverse. What I mean is that I was actually an Andy Griffith fan via Matlock first (this is all Jenny's fault, but that's another story). I enjoyed the silver-haired, hot-dog-eating, gray-suit-wearing, pseudo-mystery-solving lawyer from Atlanta, and I tuned in faithfully to reruns, along with about a million or so AARP recipients who also call themselves fans. That came first. And since I was born in the days of disco, about 15 years after The Andy Griffith Show debuted, this progression makes sense.

At some point I realized that there was actually a show before this starring the same man. And it was, apparently, quite popular in its day. It had something to do with a jail and a small town and a sheriff with a goofy sidekick. In other words, it sounded about as exciting and appealing as eating a loaf of stale Wonder Bread.

But somehow or other, I watched an episode. And then I watched another. And another and another. And I found myself laughing with that kind of belly laugh that works the abdominal muscles in full force. You know that laugh? It's that rare, utterly delightful kind of laugh that results from humor which isn't just funny, but brilliantly witty -- the kind of laughter where you nearly choke on your meatball and can't see clearly for about five minutes for the tears in your eyes. That's how I laughed. It was great.

And since I can't help myself, I must wax philosophic for just a moment: What happened to that kind of writing? What happened to that kind of entertainment? It's true that there is still that occasional spark of brilliance, certainly in some contemporary movies, and perhaps in a very few modern television shows (or maybe not?). I'm not of the school who believes that all old television shows are good (have you ever suffered through an episode of Adam 12?) and that all current television shows are bad. However, I do think that, generally speaking, as our culture exercises its collective mind and soul less and less, finding the basest and crudest forms of expression "funny," there is a tendency to produce entertainment that is, if I might say so, rather stupid. Vacuous. Very unfunny.

If you really want to laugh, get your hands on The Manicurist from Season Two of Andy, or Barney and the Choir (a few episodes later). The writing is just brilliant! And who can resist the stuttering barber Floyd, the curmudgeonly Ben, or the sweet-spirited but ever-inebriated Otis? Not to mention the gentle Sheriff Andy, the lovable Aunt Bee, and the clumsy, misguided Barney.

So that's really all I have to say. Nothing too deep, really, it's just a TV show from the 1960s. But if you HAVE to watch television, try to get your hands on some of these episodes.

If you don't choke on a meatball, your abs will thank you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Little Like Falling in Love

This blog entry is lovingly dedicated to our little Peanut.

It's been one year, exactly.

Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days. Eight thousand seven hundred sixty hours. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. And thirty-one million five hundred thirty-six thousand seconds.

Not that I'm counting.

Okay, so I'm counting. But it's only because that since we've been given the gift of you, Lilia, the time seems so much more precious somehow.

The first time I held you was not when a nurse placed you in my arms, as is usually the case for mommies. The first time I held you was when a courageous young girl placed you in my arms -- when she let go of you forever. To your Daddy and I, little Peanut, that somehow makes the gift of you all the more precious. Truly, you were given to us. And truly, Peanut, we wouldn't have it any other way.

I remember being a little freaked out because, when I first saw you, I wasn't stricken with love-sickness immediately, and that is how I imagined it would be. Somehow I thought that when I saw the child who would be ours, my heart would flitter and flutter uncontrollably, that I would be helplessly captivated by every giggle and coo. But it wasn't like that, and I remember how that scared me.

The fear didn't last long. You won my heart on the drive home. You won it again the next day when you tried to lift that big head of yours off the floor. And the next day when I watched your Daddy dance with you around the living room. Since that day, one year ago exactly, you've just kept winning our hearts.

There have been days in this year when I've forgotten that I was never pregnant with you. There are these nebulous thoughts about what maternity clothes I wore, what food I craved, and even the day you were born. Then, like waking up from a shallow sleep and the first shadowy images of dreams, I remember that you were adopted. It's so strange to me, these times when I forget, but also very real and very endearing. The reason I forget is because having you is a little like falling in love -- the heart gets lost in the mystery of it all until the heart is simply owned. You belong to us. That's all there is to it.

I once heard a big, burly, godly man once tearfully confess, "If anything terrible ever happened to my kids, I can't think of any greater way to break my heart."

I didn't know then what he meant, but I know now. Oh how we love you, little Peanut, so fiercely and so fully, not born of our bodies, but born of our love and in our hearts.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Giving and the Taking

"And Job said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.' "

I wasn't expecting the cell phone to ring. And if it did ring, I wasn't expecting my husband's voice on the other end of the line. It wasn't my cell phone, see, it was my mother's. My own phone was on the fritz, so I had kept hers in the hospital room with me while she left for an hour, just in case Jerry needed to call me from Oklahoma.  He knew to use that phone to reach me, see.  And it was the first ten minutes after she had left the room, the first time I was alone with my Daddy that week while he was lucid, the evening before Jerry was to leave on a week-long work trip... and that phone rang for me.  Ring, ring.

It's a little thing called the sovereignty of God.

"Hey, are you sitting down?" Jerry asked.

Am I sitting down?! This is what is said before either very bad or very good news. A few thoughts flitted quickly through my mind, mostly involving my husband's possible condition 2,000 miles away: Cancer diagnosis? Lost job? Acute gum disease?

"Yes, I'm sitting down. What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong. I just got a call from Tulsa."

I could hear the smile in his voice, and I knew what "Tulsa" meant:  Adoption agency. Babies. Fighting hard to start a family.

"They have a baby for us," he continued. "A little girl."

I don't remember exactly what I said after that, and it wasn't comprehensible anyway due to my bizarre combination of disbelieving laughter, profuse tears of joy, and stunned paralysis -- especially after he told me that we would get said baby girl in three days! At some point, though, the word "baby" must have escaped my lips, and that's all my Daddy, lying in the hospital bed next to me, needed to hear.

"Congratulations," he said, smiling and nodding.

And then he watched his own baby girl jump ecstatically around the sterile hospital room, an image of vibrant joy in a dreary place. This was God's gift to him.

It had been a tough couple of years for me, and I won't go into details, but the phrase "when it rains, it pours" can adequately summarize the months preceding the day I got the phone call. I remember one day in particular, just a month or so before that day in the hospital. I was home alone, it was hot outside -- it is Oklahoma, after all -- and I stepped onto our backyard deck to sit down and have a good cry. I was so tired and weary.  And then the words of a worship song came to my heart:

Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise. And when the Darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, 'Blessed be the Name of the Lord. Blessed be Your Name. Blessed be the Name of the Lord. Blessed be Your glorious Name.'

And although I don't fancy myself a particularly fine vocalist, and although I don't make it a habit of belting out tunes when it's a possibility that anyone and their dog will hear me, I started to sing the song, aloud, without reservation:

'You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, "Lord, blessed be Your Name."'

I just kept singing, aloud, claiming the words of that song for my life, whatever lay ahead. There's a good chance a neighbor or two pondered my sanity (or at least my vocal skills), and there's a good chance I frightened some birds from their nearby perches. But I didn't care, and I didn't notice. All that mattered at that moment was that I sing that song to the Lord. I trust You, Lord, the song confessed. I trust You, even though I'm weary and terrified. I trust You even though I don't know what tomorrow will bring. And as I sang, a peace settled on my heart, even though I was still weary and scared.

After that day, things continued to be hard. My Daddy's health started declining rapidly. We still weren't pregnant, and we didn't know how long we'd be waiting for a baby. I was watching people I love bicker about petty and trivial things. I watched other people I love begin to sacrifice their own children on the altar of their selfishness.

Earlier in the day of the morning I got the phone call, I finally broke down. I was in my childhood bedroom and the heartache was just too great. I began weeping almost uncontrollably. My Daddy was dying. We might not have a child. Why do people throw away their blessings for the sake of their pride? I called my husband just so that I could weep without being alone.

He listened to me weep.

Later that morning, I remembered a passage of Scripture that a friend had recently shared:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior."

Then I knelt on the floor of my room, and through tears and very nearly clenched teeth I confessed:  "I don't understand why all of this is happening, and I don't know what You are doing, Lord. I just don't understand. But I know that You're a good God, and I trust You."

After that, I rose up, wiped away the tears and went to visit my Daddy in the hospital.  It was four hours later when my mother's cell phone rang.  You know the conversation that followed.

When I look back, one year minus a day later, I think that God wanted me to tell Him, at the point of utter brokenness, that I loved Him and I trusted Him. He knew that in a matter of hours my husband would call from Oklahoma.  He knew that in three days a courageous young woman would place her very child into my arms for a lifetime. How much more precious was the news to me when just hours before I had poured out my heart in anguish to God.

Sometimes there just aren't words.

The next month was the most bittersweet of my life. I watched life ebb away from my Daddy even as I watched life anew in my precious baby girl. I experienced overwhelming joy and heart-wrenching sadness. The gift of my baby girl was a balm to my heart as I lost my Daddy. But each life God creates is radically precious, and never can one life replace another. Losing him still ached, though perhaps not as bitterly as it may have without Lilia.

In the last days with my Daddy, as we held vigil for him while he died at home, there was a moment when I realized the stark similarities in caring for those on the two extremes of life. There is a helplessness, a dependence, that is present in both cases. We bathed Lilia and we bathed my Daddy. We fed her and we fed him. We changed her clothes, and we changed his.

And then there was a moment when I watched the shadow of death pass over my Daddy and he left this world.  Lilia awakened to the day five hours later. Two lives, you see:  One old, one new. Both as dear to my heart as any lives could be.

One year ago exactly, God gave me a daughter. One month later, He took my Daddy.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Geekiness Abounding

I think it's safe to conclude that my husband and I are geeks.

I've suspected it for some time now, but the evidence is just too hard to ignore any longer.

We don't have an iPhone, a Wii, or even an iPod. We don't even LIKE our cell phones. We are not linked onto Facebook, we don't text, and we are still naive enough to believe that a tweet is a sound that birds make. We haven't been to the cinema in over two years, we don't have a DVR, and our favorite TV show -- the only show we actually watch -- is "The Iron Chef" on the Food Network.

Let's see, what else? Our favorite films are typically monochromes from the 1930s through 1950s starring people who have been deceased for 30 or more years now. When we play music for our daughter, we choose tunes by Glen Campbell, the BeeGees, and Louis Armstrong. And oh yes, how can I forget? We would love -- I mean absolute LOVE -- for Neil Diamond to tour again so that we can see him in concert. We want to see him in concert even more than Gordon Lightfoot, whom we saw last year amidst a sea of gray-haired retirees.

Sometimes, in moments of raw candor, we admit to being happy that we are geeks. The world needs more geeks, after all, and geeks of history have often made grand contributions to humanity. Like most geeks, we love to read and we love to ponder the deeper things of life. Like most geeks, we try to stay on top of what is going on in the world. And like most geeks, we have that subtle, odd quirkiness that would guarantee our exclusion (much to our delight) from a fraternity or sorority.

And we're not TRYING to be geeks. We're not trying to stay away from the latest technology or the latest films, for example. We love using email, we love our digital camera (even though it's not on our phone), and we love browsing the internet (oftentimes to appease our spontaneous, geeky curiosities -- like the time we looked up the history of Curling). We're just being ourselves, I guess. And what can we say? We're geeks.

Sometimes we wonder how our geeky personalities will affect our daughter. Is she doomed to a life of overwhelming geekiness because of who her parents happen to be? Is it okay if she's a geek? Is it okay if she's NOT a geek?! We actually kind of struggle with these questions because, like most parents, we adore our child and will do whatever we can to shield her from harm. We don't want to make her a geek if it will mean emotional torment for her. But we don't want her to conform to an ever-increasingly impersonal, overly busy, digitally drunk society either, because we are certain that that will cost her dearly.

I don't dislike technology. I like it. Technology has done great things for humanity, and oftentimes it is the geeks of the world who give it to us (Bill Gates, anyone?). But like everything else in this fallen world, it can be abused or -- far worse -- used for evil. Or it can just separate us, ever so slightly and deceitfully, from the things that really matter. Like, for instance, the 1950s family who sat down for dinner in front of "The Jackie Gleason Show," slowly losing conversation. Or the modern-day family who sits down at the table for dinner, each with a cell phone next to his or her fork, constantly checking the latest Tweet or Facebook entry. I have to honestly ask myself sometimes, when I am tempted to indulge in the latest technological trends, "Is it really worth it?" Some people would call me a geek for thinking about it too much. But I've already admitted to being a geek, so that doesn't phase me. Inevitably, that geeky side of me has to ask: Is it really worth it?

I had a nightmare last night that I finally succumbed to pressure and joined the multitudes on Facebook. I have to confess that the scariest thing about my dream was that I actually LIKED Facebook. Yikes! What's happening to me? *smile*

I hope I'm not making it sound like I think my husband and I are better than people who use lots of technology. I really don't feel that way. But I'll be honest: I do think we're getting more out of our day to day than people who spend lots of time checking Facebook messages and watching inane reality TV shows just because it's THERE. And it's not that I think everyone should quick cold turkey. I just wish we'd all make it less of a priority. (And that means that Jerry and I should fore-go "The Iron Chef" every now and then, too).

What I want for my daughter is this: To see the world in color. I want her to play in the dirt instead of pushing buttons on her Wii control pad. I want her to count the shades of blue in the sky and then paint them instead of using her cell phone to capture every image passing by in the car. I want her to laugh out loud with a flesh and blood friend while licking a popsicle instead of tweeting. I want her to prefer the musty smell of well-worn books to the glaring image of a computer screen. I guess, in my way, I want her to be a geek. Because I love her.

You can post that now.