Sunday, November 16, 2008

life is short, the updates might as well be too

  • vermicomposting update: much sadness - i think the worms are dead. i haven't seen them at all for a week or two, and things i would think they would like are untouched. my buddy jim says he thinks i didn't have enough worms in there - he would have thrown 5 tubs in, rather than 1. might be worth a shot since i'm pretty freaked out about digging around in there to try to figure out if anything else happened... kinda bummed that i killed 'em off somehow.
  • class update: i finished my last assignment! not like me at all - since i need to get everything done by thursday, this would normally not be happening till wed. late. i just got on a roll yesterday and got 'em all done. now to get the final project done! (should i go climbing tomorrow night with the crew??)
  • thanksgiving plans: zah hoo - i'm heading off to raleigh to hang with my buddy tom. we'll be hitting d.c. and williamsburg and hanging with his sis/bro-in-law and their brand-spankin'-new daughter. can't wait - it will be so fun to traipse about historical places with someone who likes 'em as much as i do!
  • hunting: this weekend! we'll see how it goes. i always miss my dad a lot around this time of year.
  • sports: javier and i got a ramble in, then watched the packers clobber the bears and then wisconsin beat long beach in basketball. i think it will be a fun wisconsin season to watch.
  • thinking about God: we had bible study tonight and had an interesting discusion about john the baptist. interesting to think about the life he was called to (being a hermit, baptizing people, getting beheaded), and that even in a life apparently fully devoted to God he didn't have it all figured out (sent disciples to check Jesus out, even though beforehand he had known all about Him). also been listening to C.S. Lewis's God in the Dock essays lately. tons of thought-provoking things. one is a boethius idea that God is always working miracles, we just don't see them most of the time because they're so drawn out. so Christ's miracles were a 'snapshot' of what God is always doing already: making more bread out of bread, water into wine - things God does with seasons and cultivation and rainfall. boethius uses that as an explanation of why He didn't make bread out of stones. huh!
  • lord peter wimsey: i'm all about dorothy sayers' murder mysteries lately. i inflicted a 4-part video, The Nine Tailors on jim and javier saturday night (poor blighters didn't know what they were in for when the responded to my innocent invitation). and for reading - i just finished one and am starting another; good stuff, good stuff. witty and clever and unexpected - and that's just the protagonist!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Loop North

So, this past weekend was all about my buddy Javier and I taking on the wild northwoods hinterlands. We had a great time - or at least I did. I can't quite imagine Javier getting enthusiastic enough about something to go quite that far! But he didn't call off the friendship or refuse to be seen in public with me after the weekend, so it can't have been too bad.

The weekend actually started for me on a great note: we had a baby shower for a coworker on Friday, and went to do pottery as part of the festivities. I made two survivable pots that will go to the mother-to-be. I left quite euphoric: it is so seldom I get to sit at a potter's wheel, and it was great to have such fun with my coworkers.

Friday night we headed up to my Uncle Dean & Aunt Dar's place, "The Farm". I wanted to scout deer hunting stands for Opening Day (starts in 2 weeks), and Javier was up for seeing the place. It was great fun - Dean showed us the gazebo he's been building on top of the silo - it's come a LONG way! So cool. It now has a roof and a stairway. Then Saturday morning Dar made us blueberry waffles (holy cow!!), and we took off to take a look around. Javier helped fix my stand a bit, so I think I'm all set, and we took a look at the stand I had used most recently when hunting with my dad. It's still there, but the branch has split, and I don't know how much longer it will "hang" around. Unfortunately, Dean started having chest pains, which scared us all quite a bit, so Dar took him off to the hospital and Javier and I headed off. [It turns out that Dean has a hiatal hernia, and the pain from the acid reflux triggers the same nerve that a heart attack does, so it's a good thing he got in and got it looked at - and it's a REALLY good thing that he's ok!!].

Javier's family has a cottage up in Iron River of all places - and it turns out it's only miles from Amy & Tim's place. So we headed there next, and I got to meet his brother, step-brother, and other various friends and family members. It was a pretty chill time (hooray) and Javier and I both ended up getting some work done. He - work work, me - homework. *sigh*.

Sunday morning we headed into Iron River & met up with Amy and Tim at church. Then it was back to their place for tacos (hooray)! Grant, Margo, Augusta and Sherman were all there so it was quite a reunion. Margo is talking now, and adorable as ever. After lunch, Tim lead Javier and I out to his place where he has a shooting range, so we could get the guns sighted in. We got two rifles set to go, and then played with the .22 pistol for a little while. Then Javier & I headed back south - finishing up the audiobook we'd started on the way up: They Do It with Mirrors. Good times.
[click here for a few more pics].

Monday, November 03, 2008

Youth Group Work Trip

On Halloween morning six adults and 28 or so kids headed off in a caravan of minivans for Minneapolis-St. Paul. It was great fun. Mike’s (the pastor) goal was for us to experience different expressions of Christianity, and to help out at The Source, a ministry in the inner city. So that’s what we did! We did not get off to a stellar start, though. We stopped at Fleet Farm in Stevens Point and 2 kids tried to steal something and (thankfully) got caught. After the filing of the police report and some intense discussion, it was decided that we would head on (and the kids’ folks would deal with them on our return). I was personally really glad the kids were still along, and I’m hoping God used the experiences from the rest of the weekend in their lives.
  • Hope Academy: a couple moved to a rough neighborhood quite a few years ago. They started feeling guilty that we are to “love our neighbors as ourselves” yet they were commuting their kids out of the neighborhood for a better education than their neighbors could afford. Because of that conviction, they started up a school which now has I’m guessing 300-500 K-9th graders. We joined them as they were having a fall carnival with their kids and needed folks to help man the duck ponds and musical chairs and other stuff. We had a great time, and thought the kids there were fun and very well behaved.
  • The Basilica of St. Mary: on our way to drop off our stuff at First Baptist, we stopped for 45 minutes or so at the Basilica to wander around and take some quiet moments before the trip really got going. There is some amazing architecture there that I could look at all day, and it was nice to have the time for reflection.
  • Christian Rock concert at Club 3 Degrees: yeah. I had fun playing pool with some kids down in the basement. :)
  • The Source: I just like this one. It's a group of people that has set up an art community in one of the more sketchy neighborhoods, and just does neat stuff. We did similar projects to last year - I got to help hang insulation and drywall (hooray!). The kids worked so hard and were just awesome to be with throughout the day.
  • Wooddale: A wealthier mega-church in the 'burbs. They graciously allow us to hang out in their youth room, shower, and eat pizza (yippee!). It's a beautiful facility, and a nice place to wind up. Unfortunately, we were at The Source too long to be able to make their Sat. evening service.
  • First Baptist Church: This is the cool old church where we crash both nights: they let us use their Sunday School rooms to sleep in. On Sat. night, Mike gathered us to read and discuss The Irresistible Revolution - good, thought provoking stuff. We then split into smaller groups to discuss it and pray for each other - the highlight of the weekend for me. Then the kids took on the challenge of a scavenger hunt - Mike hid bags of candy throughout the huge, crazy church, and the kids spent probably 2+ hours searching for it.
All in all, a great weekend - and it's especially good fun to meet more kids and hear about what's going on in their lives. Really does make me think about volunteering more regularly with the group....

Photo 1: playing cutthroat pool with Tanner & Sam - Sam's taunting me because he's so intimidated by my mad pool skillz
Photo 2: this one's for Amy. :)
Photo 3: the group after a hard day's work

More photos (with kids' comments!) here.