Tuesday, July 27, 2010

good day being a dad


Prajna and Harrison are in Indonesia on a mission outreach and Benjamin and Sarah are in Mammoth with friends for the weekend. That left me Jamie and Nathaniel. Sunday night we got pizza and watched Aladdin and Herbie Rides again. They had never seen Aladdin before and Herbie Rides again was my favorite movie as a kid until I saw Star Wars in 1977. We ate the pizza and Oreo cookies and other snacks in the living room watching the first movie and then watched the second movie in my bedroom and ate Reeses Pieces.
The next day we packed a lunch and left for Big Bear. It was about and hour drive up the mountain. We ate our picnic lunch by the lake. There was a cook breeze and the boys enjoyed watching the jet skis out on the water. After lunch we went to the Moonridge Animal Park. There are animals indigenous to the area there. Most have been rescued and cannot return to the wild. We saw grizzly bears, cougars, timber wolves and other animals. The boy’s favorite was probably a barn animal who seemed to hang his head and shake it incredulously at the lack of coolness in humans.
After the zoo we walked around The Village in Big Bear and looked into some of the tourist traps. I grew up in a resort town and felt at home there. We had supper at Jack in the Box and then I took the long way home.
We stopped by the lake on the way out where I spotted a port-a-potty for Nathaniel. Then I spotted flat rocks ideal for skipping and did one of my favorite things to do and at the same time was able to impress my young sons. I skipped several rocks for them. That may have been the best part of my day.
We drove out on what is called the Rim of the World Highway. There are drops on both sides for a while and you can see south down into the San Bernardino area from 7000 feet up. There was a layer of haze thick enough to make more distant mountain tops appear like islands.
The boys were good all day and thanked me at the end. In turn I thanked my heavenly father at the end of the day for one of the nicest days I’ve had.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Mission Outreach

Tomorrow night Prajna and Harrison leave home on their mission outreach. They will leave Los Angeles at 1:50 in the morning and arrive in Taipei after a 13 ½ hour flight. Then they fly to Jakarta and stay in a hotel for a half a day. Finally they island hop to their final destination, Jayapura, Indonesia. Jayapura is the capital of Papua on the island of New Guinea.
Yes, of course I’m concerned for them. Even though the drive to Los Angeles is more dangerous than the flight, my wife and oldest son are going to be on the other side of the world. Indonesia has earthquakes and radical Islam. But I’m not overly concerned that way either. I guess I’m just sad that they will miss me and the rest of the family as must as we miss them. I won’t be able to rub Prajna’s feet if they’re sore. That’s where I’m most concerned.
Your prayers and support have been integral in these past weeks. We will continue to need them.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Foxie Faux

I am leaving tomorrow for a Faux Family reunion. It was about 19 years ago that the patriarch of the family passed away. I will always regret that he didn’t live to know he had a great grandson named after his father.
My grandpa had false teeth and could rattle them while still in his mouth. Then he would stick the upper plate out for cartoonish buck teeth and bow back and forth. (I didn’t know he was doing an impolite Chinaman.)
Everyone called my grandpa Foxie. He had fox figurines all over his living room along with a mantle clock and candy jars.
One sweltering Phoenix summer Grandpa took my sister and me to the dime store behind his house to buy water pistols. When mine didn’t work he took me back to the store with it and told the young ladies at the counter we needed a new one.
Taking merchandise in and out of a store was an unspeakable crime to me. And there we were with the old water gun pouring the water into new ones and testing them out.
As we did that I hoped my grandpa would not make a scene and refuse to pay. But when he was satisfied with a new water pistol we put the faulty one back on the shelf and headed out. I held my breath as we passed the counter.
“Here’s one for the same price,” my grandpa said.
“Okay, Foxie,” came the reply.
Of course they knew him. I should never have forgotten who my grandpa was. And I’ve tried not to since.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

it had me at the first image

I sat in the dark theatre listening to music. I decided I liked the third song played and I would tell my family which was my favorite. But this was the summer of 1977 and I was in a movie theatre listening to recorded pre-show music. I completely forgot any of it.
My father told me he was hearing about a great new movie called War of the Stars or something. Minutes after my dad read me the opening crawl I tried to call out to my mom to look because there was that robot that looked like a vacuum cleaner with the actor inside. When I saw the young hero driving his floating air-car my dad on one side and cousin on the other both turned to me and asked me how do you like that car, David? The noise of the garbage chute frightened me, but then when Threepio hears the heros shouting for joy and thinks they’re dying I thought that was the funniest part. I had trouble retelling that to my grandma, though.
I saw the film several more times in the theatre and became pretty enamored to it. Luke Skywalker was my favorite character. I wished more than anything for a machine that I could just watch it again and again. I have that now, but it’s flawed. Han shot first.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

cue the music

Don’t bother to cue the Stand by Me music here. It wasn’t that type of a moment. I was probably seven or eight years old and playing with some friends. Another kid came running up and told us we could go see a dead bird so we all took off. Very soon we were there in a vacant lot in a small circle around a grey bird lying motionless on the ground.
Okay imagine the music if you have to, but I for one wasn’t thinking that whole: this bird wasn’t sleeping; it would never fly again; this bird was dead.
I don’t know what killed it. I think I would remember seeing blood or mutilation. I don’t know if The West Nile Virus existed in the mid ‘70’s. I just thought that it looked very uncomfortable there on the hot dusty ground. One of my friends reached out to touch it. Then his sister yelled at him.
“No, don’t!” she said. “You’ll get fizzy-whiz.”
A dead bird wasn’t scary, but this disease I had never heard of was.
To this day I caution my kids to not touch dead animals because they will get fizzy-whiz. Anyone reading this may warn people too.
“Mom got fizzy-whiz once,” the girl continued. I think the circle expanded away from the dead bird then. And like a rock in the pond that girl’s information can spread to the world.

Monday, July 12, 2010

first grade anxiety

I went to the first grade in 1973. I don’t know what first graders do nowadays, but we held hands in a circle and sang songs, learned about Pilgrims and had a picture of George Washington on our wall.
The teacher’s desk was at the back of the room. My best buddy, Charles sat close and did different work sometimes because he was so bright. I will refer to our teacher as Mrs. T. She stood up in the front of the classroom when she lectured us. More than once she would stop teaching and start sniffing the classroom air. She narrowed her eyes a bit and jerked her head slightly. I could hear her nose hiss.
“It smells like somebody has to go to the bathroom,” she declared. “It smells like someone has to sit down.”
I remember this happening at least one time where she completely halted the lesson. No one chuckled at Mrs. T. saying someone had to sit down. 20 children were at their desks sitting down right then. But her discreet way of stating that one her charges had to pass a stool was not amusing. It was stressful. She wouldn’t resume the lesson until someone left the room. I don’t know about anyone else but the anxiety would have slammed shut any evacuation desire right away.
“Come on,” Mrs. T. finally said. “You can get some water for my plant too.” And he held up an empty coffee can.
Finally Charles walked out of the room taking the can. I don’t know if it was his flatulence that began the incident or he was just taking a bullet for us. But that’s the kind of courage that is rarely acknowledged. Thanks Charles.

Friday, July 9, 2010

this is what I believe

I wrote yesterday that I would do this. I believe in keeping with what I say.
I believe that killing an unborn child is wrong in every instance. Calling it women’s health or reproductive rights is feeble.
I believe that the U.S. government’s policy on immigration is flawed and that businesses take advantage of cheap labor and leaders offer amnesty for votes. I believe that immigrants looking for a better way of life deserve it and that there is no easy solution.
I believe that some issues of social justice are more important than others.
I don’t think U.S. troops should be in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.
I believe that same-sex couples union shouldn’t share the definition of a heterosexual union. But the passionate struggle on both sides is not about semantics. It’s about whether or not homosexuality is right. I believe it’s wrong.
I am certain that there are truths that cannot be denied. In other words, some issues are black and white with no grey area.
I believe that the Bible lays out for us what is right and wrong and that if people only read and pull out sections of it then they do more damage than folks who know nothing about it.
I believe that I am a sinner and that only through accepting Jesus into my life have I been redeemed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

inflammatory proselytizing

I lot of my Facebook friends use their statuses to proselytize. The odd for me is that I have friends all over the political, religious and lifestyle spectrum. Sometimes I feel stuck in the middle. I usually don’t comment on inflammatory issues although I may like something once in a while.
A year or so ago I wrote and posted a note on Facebook that generated a lot of comments, mostly negative and I even got unfriended by one person. I appreciated the intelligent discussion with once friend who disagreed with me and we’re still friends in real life as well as FB.
But my lack of proselytizing does not mean that I don’t have strong opinions about some issues. I also have unpopular opinions on some inflammatory issues. I don’t post them to FB status mostly because I think that that is not the place for it. I think that this blog is a much better venue for venting, preaching, or whining. But if you go back and read every blog I’ve posted you won’t see anything terribly seditious.
I don’t think that if I post anything that it will accomplish anything. I won’t change anyone’s mind if it’s made up already. I assume most people know where I stand anyway. But I’ve decided that to strengthen my blog I don’t want to leave any question about where I stand. So to my friends who read this, I love you guys, but tomorrow is post number 50 and I want to just say how I feel about some things. I may or may not hurt some feelings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the line of seriousness

My daughter, Sarah has an ear infection so I took her to the doctor yesterday. None of my children have a primary care physician so we went to urgent care. We didn’t even have medical insurance a year and a half ago when Sarah tripped and broke her finger. We ended up having to go to the county hospital.
They confirmed that Sarah’s finger was broken and said she needed surgery. I questioned the need for it and the doctor sort of bristled at that. I wanted to apologize and explain that going through neuroblastoma and all the side effects from it and the treatment that it was hard not to be dismissive about a broken finger.
Fixing the broken finger was not as difficult as signing up for retroactive insurance but I managed that and Sarah managed to have her surgery and wake up without trying to kill anyone the way her older sister did.
Yesterday I presented Sarah’s insurance card. (Starbucks takes great care of their employees this way) and the clinic and pharmacy accepted it with no problem. It’s hard to take illness and injuries seriously after dealing with a worst case scenario. I’m pretty flippant most of the time about everything all the time anyway.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

cheap chew

One of the wisest pieces of advice I ignored was just four words. A friend of mine brought chewing tobacco to school one day in my freshman year. His friend chewed the stuff from a little tine can. This stuff was wrapped in plastic and smelled like rancid raisins.
We spent a lot of the day taking little plugs and chewing. There was a slight buzz and lightheadedness from it. Maybe that is what made us less careful when we started swallowing some. Finally my friend gave me the rest saying he didn’t feel well. I nibbled, chewed and swallowed by now.
By the last class period of the day I felt nauseous. My friend left the classroom and when he returned he came up to me and said: ‘David…’
Then came four words: ‘Throw that stuff away.’ Then he told me that he had barfed in the shrubbery outside the classroom. I didn’t throw it away I kept eating it. Then near the end of a long hot school bus ride home I puked all over the floor. It smelled like pigs in a blanket with rancid raisins. Barfing made me fell no better. My heart was still racing when I got home, ignored everyone and went to bed.
I feel horrible for the bus driver who had to clean that up. Today I clean up all kinds of biological messes working in church facilities. I’ve never seen anything quite that gross. And I cannot stand the smell of chewing tobacco. Some things are learned the hard way. But still learned.

Monday, July 5, 2010

the two whose names begin with N

Nathaniel never met his sister, Naomi. I don’t know, however if they met in Heaven at any time. I only suspect that because he can really be like her sometimes. Naomi was boisterous. She didn’t care a bit about what other people thought of her. She also could fight like a wolverine. It took four nurses and me to put a needle in her once.
Nathaniel is not like any of this. But he is willful. When Nathaniel was younger he got the nickname Pickle for his stubborn and somewhat sour attitude. It wasn’t until he was about three years old that we could understand most of his communication. Until then he could become frustrated when not understood. There is a physical resemblance sometimes. And Nathaniel does things that Naomi did. Yesterday I offered to shake his hand and he gave me his foot. We have a picture of Naomi doing that.
Today he turns seven. Nathaniel is able to say just about every word clearly. He gets along very well with his peers and everyone else. His passion for numbers and memory for freeways is amazing. We still call him Pickle even though he has for the most part outgrown it. But from a sour beginning he has grown amiable to where everyone loves him.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Eddie Sales Variety Show

I slept with my radio on sometimes growing up. One very early Sunday morning I woke up and it was still dark. Listening to the radio I thought that my mind had been altered. I could suddenly understand the Filipino language program. For a long time after I thought that just that time a Babel Fish had been put in my ear only that morning. Every other morning I was up listening to KNUI radio’s Filipino radio show that played between 4:30 and 6:00. The morning folks came on at six and the rest of the day was in English. It wasn’t until I was working at KNUI years later that I learned that only on Sunday mornings the show was in English. That morning I was an engineer for The Eddie Sales Variety Show.
I had worked a week of graveyard shifts so far. The AM station played the FM automation all night and I taped commercials and changes music reels. At about four o’clock the DJ for the Filipino show would come in and set up. At 4:30 he would break the AM off from the FM and do his show for 90 minutes. I would go about my business.
Then at about 3:00 on my first Sunday morning came a different guy. The smiling little man seemed to be all eyeglasses. He told me he was Eddie Sales. (His last name was pronounced SAH-les.) When I told him how tired I was he told me to go nap and he would wake me up. I stretched out on the couch of the break room and thought what a nice guy. I didn’t expect to have to get up until his show was done.
He woke me up just before his show started. I stumbled into the AM studio to see he had set up in the newsroom. I was going to actually work the broadcast controls and master volume and start and stop records for him. I put on my headphones and pushed the microphone away. Eddie Sales went over to the newsroom. He had about four boom boxes set up and cassette tapes standing by. I pulled down the FM controls and played the Eddie Sales Variety Show introduction.
Eddie talked, played commercials on his tape decks with music he composed. He cued me to play the records. And then he played a tape of his radio drama. I cannot put into words what the radio drama was. I think Eddie had recorded it with a few lady DJ’s. His accent was so thick and the sound quality so low you could barley understand it even in the studio. Eddie’s adventures included discussing risqué topics, backrubs, and Camay soap. I realized then that this is what I heard in the early morning years ago.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

and all the boards did shrink

Before considerable satellite technology and then the internet shrinking the world Hawaii stayed somewhat behind the trends and times.
When I visited Southern California in 1982 with my family I watched a lot of TV. One commercial showed a cartoon of a happy caveman speaking French in the rain. The commercial was for Perrier bottled water. I was incredulous. The stuff came out of the tap why would anyone pay more for it in a pretty little glass bottle?
It wasn’t until ten years later that I questioned a friend in Hawaii drinking bottled water. She went on about bacteria and gross stuff in the local water supply and on Maui. I couldn’t argue with it. But my characteristic denial made buying bottled water just wrong.
Today I pay money to fill five gallon bottles to put on a water cooler in our home. I can’t taste any difference with this or tap water but at least the kids all drink more water from the cooler. I usually load empty bottles into my truck and then on my way home from work I stop and fill them up outside a local supermarket. As I sit there in the dark empty parking lot I justify what I’m doing with one fact. Bottled water makes better coffee.