Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

People tend to believe that the Advent/Christmas season is the most difficult for pastors. This pastor creates most of his own grief this time of year, heaping on expectations I cannot possibly meet. Even though I gave myself some space to not work as much, I still tried to do too much. This week I have paid a price. I think I have been sick in the month of December at least 80 percent of the time since 1995. I think I need to learn something about how I care for myself and what I expect from myself. I hope that with age, comes wisdom, but I keep doing the same thing. With old and new surroundings in the Pacific Northwest can come better life practices.

At least when I exhale upon arrival in Minnesota on December 28th, I won't have to do much. I can't do any home projects, or do much financial planning--all I can do is read and write, talk with family, run in the snow and ice, and play with my kids. I look forward to giving you more posts to Madhousegazette, or at least figure out the direction with this blog. One thing I won't do is let it sit with "Merry Christmas & Happy New Year" with a 2009 date until July of next year.

May your holidays be full of peace, joy and a connection with what is holy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Football, music, and my evolving relationship with coffee (part 8)

I recently accounted for Daughter #2's assertive calls for particular songs. Stephen Colbert is probably the favorite now. The other night we had some good friends over to our home for a little surf and turf. We thanked them for being on our team of hospice respite caregivers for our late dog, Hunter. While playing some music to enhance the festivities, Daughter #2 had to chime in for her own requests. It was easier to heed those requests. Once we made it through most of her own personal play list, she made another request, a bit far afield from the usual songs. I didn't understand what she was saying, until I discovered she wasn't asking for a song at all. She asked for the "College Football Podcast." I wonder who taught her to listen to that?

Also from the "where did she get that?" file, we were shopping at Fred Meyer yesterday, and Daughter #2 had the privilege of riding in a shopping cart/toy bus. She extends her neck out of the bus window and shouts, "I NEED and iced mocha!" I had a hard time containing my laughter thinking of her observing me trying to keep my energy up while taking on my new work life. I've had way more coffee than I'd ever imagined I would drink, and at least enough for Daughter #2 to engage in her own brand of mockery. The folks in Fred Meyer weren't exactly sure what she was saying, but someone told me she's getting early training as a Pacific Northwesterner with coffee acumen.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Song Watch for Daughter #2 (December 4, 2009 edition)

Another Christmas Song--Stephen Colbert
Cold, Cold Christmas--Stephen Colbert
Alright--Darius Rucker
What A Wonderful World--Louis Armstrong
General Taylor--Great Big Sea
England--Great Big Sea

Daughter #2 is an assertive little girl. She doesn't hesitate to ask for a song. The problem lies in that she has to hear the same song loop several times, making it hard to introduce new songs, and making me tire a little of my own favorites. She almost always says to a new song, "I don't want that song. I don't like that song (which means, 'I want to hear an (relatively) old favorite'). If I sing the song with enthusiasm and the song has an understandable tag line, she will ask for it, and it will make it on the loop. Louis Armstrong has stuck, and she knows to ask, "Daddy, do you miss Hunter? Is he with the angels?"

Tough to say the exact reason she likes the Stephen Colbert songs. Is it because we used to watch The Colbert Report while I folded laundry as a stay at home dad? Is it because she recognizes his voice? Is it because she likes the big band sound of "Another Christmas Song?" The funny thing for me about listening to Colbert Christmas is its Ray Stevens quality. My Dad and I used to listen to albums often--I think it was cheap entertainment during my youth. One of my favorites was Ray Stevens' Guitarzan album. I just liked the songs as a child, they were probably funny for my Dad. Good family entertainment has a little something for everyone--I wouldn't have classified Stephen Colbert as family entertainment, but I'll take it.