Archive for December 2006

We’ll Miss President Gerald Ford

December 28, 2006

President Gerald Ford was the kind of Republican we’d like to see more of.

Back in 2001 he told the Detroit News:

… the federal government should provide the same benefits for same-sex couples and married couples.

His comments make him the highest-ranking Republican ever to publicly support equal treatment for same-sex couples.

Ford told Detroit News columnist Deb Price in a telephone interview that the provisions should include Social Security, tax and other federal benefits.

“I think they (same-sex couples) should be treated equally. Period,” he said.

Hat tip to Pams Houseblend.

I’m grateful for his honesty and candor.  So why is this such a brain teaser for so many other folks again?

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Fun Design Present

December 27, 2006

One of my favorite Christmas presents from John this year was a set of design templates, a pad of graph paper and a special ruler.  I’m working on a new house plan and running around measuring furniture so I could draft accurately sized rooms was driving me crazy.  We like “just big enough” spaces, so being off by six inches in a design can really screw things up.

 

.Templates

 

We’ve only gotten as far as the first floor plan. 

Floorplan

The indoor/outdoor dining room/breezeway (a.k.a. as a dogtrot) is one feature we’re still working through.  I want to be able to have an outdoor dining room in spring and summer and yet still be able to enclose it during the winter months.   This also would give the guest suite/library a little more privacy. 

 

Any suggestions are welcome. 

Kitty Hat

December 26, 2006

I love my new kitty hat. Back in November John showed me a pattern book of his and asked me if there was anything in it that I might want him to knit for me. This kitty hat was too good to pass up.

kitty hat

I’m so proud of it. It’s impossible not to have a good time when you’re wearing the kitty hat. Just ask my mom.

Mom

Christmas Eve Fun

December 25, 2006

Family

John’s mom came down to celebrate Christmas Eve with us. We had dinner and then relaxed before Broadway’s Christmas Eve Service.

We put Claire’s Christmas clothes on her. She liked the velvet-collared jacket, but wasn’t crazy about the pearls. I think she thought they made her look a little like Barbara Bush.

Claire

We had to be at the church at 10:00 p.m. to practice bells, which means we got to listen to Chris on the organ, Ron on the cello, and a couple I don’t know on the harp and violin practice. I’m always amazed at how beautiful these instruments sound together.

preservice

The altar was beautiful. I loved the flowers Don used. I would have been stumped coming up with something to work with a nativity scene? But the tulip, spider mum, evergreen combo was just right–simple and elegant, and still special. My new motto with flowers is, when in doubt, go with tulips.

Tulips

Twana

T’wana sang an incredible version of “I Pray on Christmas.” Though I don’t think we always recognize it, our church has a deep connection to the blues. It’s been through a lot and T’wana’s song brought it all out for me. We probably have a ways to go yet before we truly get in touch with our blues side.

The service was so beautiful, but as Mike reminds me, it isn’t our building or even the incredible music or his pithy and profound sermons that makes us beautiful, but all God’s people.

Speaking of beautiful people. Look at Scott and Darlene below. After I showed them the photo on my camera, Scott said it looked like they were headed to the Rose Bowl. (Another friend, also named Scott is actually going to the Rose Bowl with his friend Terry. I’m jealous.)

Scott Darlene

When we got home John made us a round of champagne cocktails to celebrate the first minutes of Christmas. It was a great day.

Weird Things About Christmas

December 24, 2006

Reverand Mike’s Christmas Eve morning sermon focused on the bizarre connection between the hope that Mary sang about in the Magnificat and the personal and cultural upheaval that surrounded her. He related it to the hope we manage to celebrate each Christmas in spite of sometimes tragic circumstances-I think about the recent loss of a friends’ infant niece, the uncertainty that another couple has about whether or not they will get to keep the daughter they’ve raised since birth, that poor husband and wife who died in a swamp on the way to their family’s home for the holidays. My favorite quote from the sermon was that Christians end up saying, “I know our hope is crazy, but…”

It is crazy. It’s weird– more than just a little. But hey, I’m a little weird. Mary was, too. A friend of mine says, “everyone is weird.” After I thought about it I decided that he couldn’t be more right. Being “not weird” is an idealistic goal of the young. It’s an illusion. My favorite people are those who just own their weirdness, whether it is a self-conscious act or not makes no difference to me.

As John and I drove to church this morning we talked about how everyone is weird. Since our friend first said this to us, we’ve been rolling the profundity of the notion around in our heads. Then I had an epiphany (an actual one, not to be confused with our next party, Epiphany on Skates–Of Death!! on January 13–if you read this you are invited): I didn ‘t feel like I was being critical as I said “people are weird.” It was just a statement of fact, like “if you lick a frozen metal pole, your tongue will freeze to it.”

John and I went to church early this morning for bell choir practice. Neither of us feel great about our ringing abilities with this music, to the point that I sometimes wonder why I agreed to play in bell choir when I could be listening to someone much more capable do the job.

We got there before anyone else, so John and I pulled out our bells and we each started pretending to play them along with the music. Then John said, “hey, we play mean air bells.” I quoted from that Will Ferrell SNL skit, “I gotta have more air bell.” I was reminded again about how weird we are, but for some reason this all calmed me down.

Then I thought about how weird the first Christmas was. Full of interuptions, unplanned pregnancies, an inconvenient census, a suspicious husband, crowded hotels. The barn out back was probably the most peaceful place Mary could find, and I’m sure she “needed a moment” just like we all do this time of year, especially when a bunch of sheep hands showed up in her already livestock-crowded nursery unannounced. It was weird–joyous, but weird. Hopeful, but weird. Holy, but weee-ird.

I’m glad to have finally figured this whole weird thing out. It makes me a lot more comfortable with the feelings of angst, pressure, weeriness, and lurking suspicion that something hasn’t been done yet. Not that getting to the place of reflection isn’t important (it wasn’t that Mary didn’t try to get a hotel room). It’ll just happen when it happens. Maybe it’s happening now as I’m supposed to be taking a nap along with the rest of my family so we can stay up for the midnight service. I better get some sleep though. I won’t be able to get away with playing air bells tonight.

Ben and Lise Came to Town

December 22, 2006

Ben and Lise, my brother- and sister-in-law, came up for Christmas last weekend. Aren’t they cute? We love it when they come. We luck out that they stay with us. It’s mainly because our house is halfway between John’s mom’s house and his dad’s house, but we pretend it is because they like us. Lise made candy, Ho-Hos and some coconut chocolate thing that rocked, and an incredible Streudel that we ate on for breakfast while they were here. LiseShe also helped our nieces not freak outwhen they saw Claire for the first time (“Smelling you is just how dogs give hugs.”)

Ben

Ben looks sly in this picture, but he was really just kind of tired. We’d party’d kinda late the night before. Come to think of it, though, he’s pretty sly, too.

This is our niece Alaina. If you ignore the red-eye I kind of like the picture. Alaina always knows where the food us and can put away some groceries (and no, she’s not related to me by blood). You can’t see it, but she’s focusing on an animal cracker outside of the picture frame.
Alaina

(Update: I should clarify that Alaina does not belong to Lise and Ben, but to John’s other brother, Paul.)

Our visits with Ben and Lise are always too short, but they are looking to move back up here in 2007 so maybe we’ll get to hang out more then.