Archive for March, 2016

Holy Week poster painting

22 March, 2016

So… I stepped away from sermons about the book of Mark, and was lucky enough to be a teacher for the elementary Bible class last Sunday.

We used handprints, and paint brushes, (and footprints – MrCuddles! Lots of kids wanted to paint his feet, he chose his brother & sister for the job. Then MsS-BFF cleaned the paint off his feet) to paint out the Holy Week story. I think the activity worked alright, from Kindergarten through 5th (?) grade, each student working on a different piece of the poster. (MrGrunty didn’t want to paint, but he did like cutting out colorful letters for the header.

Now I have to find a way to sneak it into the Sanctuary on Sunday, because I promised my students it will be there on Easter.

(It was kinda labor intensive… we had three adults in the class for ~ten students)


18 March, 2016

I swear…every time I try to start over, to get a good habit going (like, say, blogging every day in March), I wake up in the morning wrapped in toilet paper with “frozen fractals” of CheetoDust(tm) all over my face.

Or…even worse…TheFacebook.

…recently… one of my friends from my childhood called me, on TheFacebook – so you know it’s true, and I quote, “a liberal socialist”. Why would someone want to say such a hurtful thing to me? I dunno.

Here’s the thing, my childhood friend posted something aboot…

“125 years ago you didn’t have to ask permission from the Government to: Go fishing, collect rain water, use a transportation vehicle, build a home or renovate it. You didn’t have to ask permission and pay to be married, obtain licenses, certifications or permits to hunt, own a weapon, become a carpenter or any trade or profession. You didn’t have ask permission to protest or redress the Government, or sell a product or have your income illegally taxed by the 16th Amendment which which [sic] was never ratified ! You can virtually do “NOTHING” without being extorted by Government & obtaining their permission first. If you still think your [sic] “FREE” your [sic] deluding yourself. You live in an open air prison as free range humans thoroughly manipulated and controlled by the illusion of a free society.”

And all I did was to respond with “ahhhh… the ‘good old days’, when women couldn’t vote, when Jim Crow laws kept blacks in inferior social and economic standing, when poor Southerners got pellagra, when homosexuality was a crime, where lynching was common, when snake oil could be sold as medicine…Freedom.”

So there’s a couple options for me to do… follow the advice of Queen Elsa and “Let it go”. Or I could try to figure out what my friend meant.

Sigh… you know me, when I got a stick in my hand, and a sleeping bear in front of me…I gotta poke the bear.

“…the cold never bothered me anyway.”


1812 overture

15 March, 2016

Have I mentioned that I played in a symphony?

Well… one year, our last piece was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. It was fun. And, as a special, taking it to the next level, our conductor got a shotgun (because it sounds more like a cannon) for the performance. So we in the orchestra knew when the blams were coming, but we all jumped a bit when it the shotgun was being fired by the high-school drummer. (Notice, I say, “drummer” and not “percussionist”. Don’t worry, I think he eventually grew up to be a percussionist.)

Thinking back, what a brave thing…trusting your musicians to not get distracted by a shotgun blasting away.

I’m told that the police were called, because we were setting off the alarm in a different building that day.


Sunday afternoon

14 March, 2016

Oliver-kitty, is such a silly kitty. His preferred water, is from the spout in the tub. When we wake, or when we get home, he’ll wait in the hall, and when we start going towards the bathroom, he’ll sprint ahead of us and sit on the side of the tub. And he wants his water, just right. Which none of us have figured out exactly how fast that should be. We think it varies. Sometimes he slurps straight from the spout, some times he lets it drip on his forearm and licks it up from there, this morning, he was catching drops in mid-air.

Yesterday afternoon, MyBetterHalf was trying to thaw out from a morning of selling GSCookies, and get ready for the evening sell, and doing the bookkeeping, and trying to guess how many more cases they will need.

MsS said she wanted to practice hitting. So we went to MrC room, she had a tiny Louisville Slugger that MyBetterHalf got on a business trip, and I had a dozen small balls…ping-pong, foam-cat-toys, light plastic… and I pitched at her. She’s much better than last year, even though she claims she hasn’t practiced. Maybe the growing, and maybe the other sports have helped her hand-eye. She was very excited when she hit five in a row, and went to tell her mommy. Then she wanted to practice catching. And, better than last year. I was getting cold, and MrG was out there, so I asked him if he could help. He did, and they were having fun, and he was giving her pointers. (Also an improvement over last year, her listening to MrG, he being a better coach.)

MrG and MrCuddles were practicing batting, until MrC hit the ball hard, and it jammed his brothers fingers.

Me… not much. Just watching and smiling.


13 March, 2016

Currently, our pastor is doing a study on the Gospel of Mark. And I’m even doing my homework to reading ahead, thinking about studying, seeing if I come to the same conclusions that she will for the Sunday sermon.

Lemme try and summarize…. (any errors, my fault)

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus preaches a big sermon, lots of people, sure to be emotionally exhausting…then deals with a sea storm (after which the Apostles actually ask the right question for once, “who is this man?”)…then, immediately goes to work again in chapter 5.

Mark 5:1-20

My pre-reading, the thing I thought of most, was the incredibly difficult mission Jesus gave the demon possessed man after he was healed. Go back home. Go back to the people you have frightened, hurt, damaged, go back to where you were your worst. Go back to where they don’t like you, and they have very good reasons for not liking you. This guy wanted to follow Jesus, but instead, Jesus told him to go back home.

I also found it curious that the demons asked Jesus for a favor, and Jesus granted it. (There you are, just being a pig-farmer, and all the sudden your entire livelihood goes plunging into the lake.)

Our Pastor started with “we’ve heard these stories all our lives. Be the guy in the graveyard today.”  The guy who is violent, incoherent, loud. The guy that is threefold helpless, “not even…anyone…anymore”.  The guy that Jesus, a Jew, should really consider an outcast, the guy that is a Gentile, living near pigs, living near dead bodies, pro’lly has bleeding & oozing wounds. Jesus went to him. Jesus should have been tired out (see Mark 4). But we will not tire God out. We are never too far away from God.

Coda… when Jesus comes back through that area, Mark 7:31 and Mark 8:9… the people wanted to see Jesus. The guy in the graveyard, was the first Gentile missionary.

Mark 5:21-43

We have four stories of near death that are interrupted by Jesus. Sea-sick sailors. Insane insomniac. Chronically hemorrhaging woman, hiding in the crowd. Desperate father fleeing his daughter’s death. They have lots of details, lots of characters. They are woven together, and need to be interrupted together.  We might want to ask, why these were healed and not others. These stories answer “who?”. Who is Jesus? Who does he help? (everyone, male/female, rich/poor, children/adults, Jew/Gentile, physically/mentally/socially ill… everyone)  Who is Jesus with? (Friends, family, fans, foes…sometimes takes his “special” disciples of Peter, Andrew, John …remember, they might need extra help, considering later they can’t even stay awake while Jesus goes off to pray.) Who is watching, and how do they respond?

Mark 6:1-13

Had Joseph died, or was a bit of disrespect implying Jesus was illegitimate?  When He was rejected,  and people didn’t want to listen to him, Jesus shook it off. It is difficult to respect people enough to not require them to respond.

Mark 6:45-56

…previously, Jesus had just fed 5000 (men…plus women & children). FINALLY, a king that could answer the people’s needs and feed them. This is not what Jesus wanted, first, get the Disciples out of there, deal with them later, do NOT let them get caught up in the moment. Next, go off to pray alone. Get clarity of what is the next, right thing to do. (proclaim the message -chp 4, heal the sick – chp 5, face arrest – coming up). Pray to get the courage to do the next right thing. What is our Next Right Thing, it isn’t determined by friends, family, crowds…determined when we pray alone with God, we find clarity, courage, patience.

Mark 7:1-23

…previously, all who touched Jesus were healed. The Serious-Religious don’t start with “thank you” or “Praise God for Good”…the serious-religious start with, “you’re not following the rules.”  (Mark makes a point of describing the cleansing ritual, because by this time the Church had incorporated enough Gentiles that they didn’t know the Jewish background. Mark also points out that Jesus answers “how Jewish do you need to be” to the early Church. Not really that much, don’t need to obey Sabbath -Mark 2:23, Mark 3:1-6, don’t need to follow ritual cleansing – Mark 7, don’t need to follow kosher laws or be circumcised – Act.)

She explained in a story about her daughter, some thirty years ago, when she was ~three. Her daughter said “I hatedGod.” (Great, I’ve lost her already). OK sweetie, tell me about that. “Because when we go to God’s House I have to wear a dress, and I hate wearing a dress.” OK, can you tell me about that. Because when you wear a dress, the wind goes where it shouldn’t. So, our pastor made a deal, and let her daughter wear special Sunday sweat-pants, and when asked about it, replied don’t want daughter losing the main point of God because of some clothes. Don’t let the unimportant, get in the way of what’s important.

Pro’lly though, the best part for me…last week MrCuddles didn’t want to go to Bible class, so he stayed with me, in the front row, and was pretty quiet during the sermon. Later that day, I see that he had been taking notes during the sermon.






12 March, 2016

This morning, MrCuddles and I went to South Seattle to go to a kid’s workshop at a local lumber store. He seemed to enjoy the hammering. While this was happening, MyBetterHalf took MrGrunty to his baseball practice, and then went to help MsSqueaky sell her girlscout cookies.

We got them to clean up their rooms with only a tiny bit of complaining.

This afternoon, it was nice to listen to MrG and MrC play with each other,…they were playing trains and cars, then had a snowball fight, then when ran out of things to do, I suggested “MrG, why don’t you teach your brother how to hit” and they enthusiastically went off to batting practice.

Now, MrG is yelling at his Madden team.
MyBetterHalf is trying to thaw out in the shower whilst singing “Take On Me” by A-ha.
MrC and MsS are playing cars and Shopkins.
Oliver-kitty is hiding/napping under a giant piece of cardboard on MsS’s bed.
Me…I just gave Sophie-kitty a second wet-food dinner. She really likes her fish sauce, and considering we just got home from a seafood dinner, I just couldn’t resist.

basketball – MrGrunty

11 March, 2016

Before a basketball practice early this the season, MrG was nervous and didn’t want to go. Telling me he was no good. I told him that he is on a very good team, and that he does belong on it.

The first practice I watched this season, reminded me how much I like his coach. The coach had them do Triple Threat position, and then would try and jab their ball away. I could hear it when the coach slapped the ball of one of the better kids, and he was easier on the less experienced kids. Coach pushed MrG, who he knew from a few seasons ago, when he was on defense the coach would call out, “G, that’s your ball, take it” and when he was bringing the ball up and had to call out the play, even though all the players heard the coach call out the play, Coach made sure that MrG called it out loud enough for all the players.  (Assistant Coach was cool, too. He sometimes hosted an extra practice, not that our team needed it, and he welcomed siblings to join in.)

Quickly, we learned how good the team was. Being up by 12 at half-time, was not unusual. I was chatting with another parent about why they are so good. Most of the kids had played a couple seasons together. We got lucky with players. And the coach is good. After about half way through the season, our parents were pretty quiet, not really cheering as our team was destroying the other team.

There was only one close game, which MrG team barely won, off of a free throw. The parents were really invested, it was back and forth all game, we were really cheering. That was stressful.

The most fun I had, there was a scrimmage of MrG’s team, and a YMCA team that was a couple years older. It was fun. Our kids didn’t give up, didn’t back down, played tough, and it was close because of their hustle and teamwork. His best friend on the team grabbed a rebound, but was surrounded by two bigger kids, and passed it out to MrG, who was at the top of the key, and without hesitation, MrG shot, and made the bucket. The two coaches were ref-ing, and that was good, too, having good refs.

MrG during games… one game he just couldn’t get the ball to drop through the net, but he had four steals that game. He had some games where he had a rebound, basket, steal and assist. (He doesn’t get that many rebounds, and although he passes, not that many assists.)   My favorite memory this past season, he was standing next to his opponent, watching the other teams point guard, MrG was tense like a cat, and when the point guard made a lazy pass, MrG pounced and stole it.

Coach always ended practice by having someone take a free throw. If they made it practice was over. If they missed, everyone had to sprint down the court and back. MrG ended a couple practices.

The last practice coach had contests. MrG got second place on layups from the right, second place on layups from the left, was one of the last in a dribble competition, and one of the last in a game called “Bump”  (Coach called out during Bump, “you do NOT want to have G follow you!”)

At the end of season party, MrG got a basketball, signed by all his teammates (they all signed for each other) and his nickname from coach is “MoneyMan”.




10 March, 2016

MrG had his after season party.

MsS went out for Thai food with a friend.

I went to a training session, so I can help our local soccer club behind the scenes.


9 March, 2016

This evening, I was talking to MrGrunty aboot the joys of NaNoWriMo.

And he wants to do the kid version.

this evening

8 March, 2016

so… today was parent – teacher conferences… well, maybe we need to be a bit more “TigerMom”… or…you know, a bit more of reading together as a family.

All three of them were playing together this evening… Not sure what, MrCuddles did say, “OK, guys, let’s say that my room is my habitat”

They also decide to do a parade, with trumpet noises & pom-poms…right when MyBetterHalf was doing GirlScoutCookieAccounting/Managing.

(Did I mention, the other day, MrC and MrGrunty were pretending to be watching a Mariners game. MrG was giving play-by-play…the Mariners lost in the 9th. He told his little brother, “that’s OK, the other team was really good.”)