Friday, August 30, 2002

I know I haven't been here in a while. We've been driving. And seeing things. I'll post about them later, when I've reached school and unpacked the car. finally.

Monday, August 26, 2002

I mean pack, gotta pack....
AAAAA!!!!!! packing! My whole kitchen is still in the cupboards! What do i do with all that stuff that I can't use when I don't have a kitchen?!?!?!?

I have a doctor's appointment this morning. I hope it's quicker than scheduling the appointment was. (see below, 22 August) ugh.

Mom arrives this afternoon. I must be packed by then! must!!

gotta run...

So my furniture is gone. yay! :-) my clothes are packed! yay! My aunt is looking up vegetarian restaurants in our stopping cities. :-)

WOW. A beautiful Loveline Moment.
Adam to "phone actress" who wants tips on how to make her callers last longer: "Do you know what the holocaust is?"
girl: "no."

Oh dear.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Great America was so much fun! I am, however, adamant about staying off rides that go upside down. So I went on water rides, I ate junk food, I got a henna tatoo (it fades in about two weeks). I went on wooden roller coasters, on the Whizzer, and even on the Raging Bull. RB doesn't go upside down--it just has a vertical drop right away that sends you underground, then whips you all around several corners sideways, more drops, was good fun. :-) Then Clare and I decided to stay until closing (we were supposed to leave at 6) and we found a few kids who could stay too. We went on rollercoasters at night, which was so much fun! I even caved on the upside down thing. We went on the demon (which hurts your head if you're short because in corkscrews your head bounces off the harness you're in--and it hurts your ears a lot!) and then on Batman. Batman is one where you hang below the track and your feet dangle off...and it goes all around in every possible direction, REALLY FAST. THe entire ride is less than 10 seconds. I don't think I have ever had so much fun in my life. it was great. It was pitch black outside and we were flying through the air in crazy circles, rolls, turns, and who knows what else. It was fabulous.
So anyway, it was a fun day. Now today I have to pack pack pack!!!!! Mom's coming tomorrow, and I move in just three days!

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Taize was fabulous. yay!

Only a few more days to get ready. oy. And tomorrow I'm going to Great America. yay!

Thursday, August 22, 2002

total time spent talking to real person (first call): 5 minutes
total time spent on hold: one hour 25 minutes (before hanging up)
I hung up and called back.
time quoted as wait time until someone could answer (second call): 10-20 minutes.
time spent on hold (same music): 10 minutes.
time spent scheduling appointment: 1 minute.

Explain how I was on hold for an hour...then hung up, called back, and was answered in 10 minutes. I can't.
"We're glad that you called..."

yeah right. if you were really that glad, I wouldn't still be on hold. You would have more people answering the phones.
Time spent on hold at doctor's office listening to the same 30 second clip of Bach with voiceovers about women's heart disease, swimmer's ear, heat exhaustion, and schedules of physicals for children (total): 45 minutes. so far.
Time spent actually talking to a person to register and make an appointment: 5 minutes. so far.

What's wrong with this picture?
So our brilliant president has a plan to log forests in order to cut down on fires.

What is he going to do when we have mudslides instead?

After all, the trees keep the soil in one place on the ground instead of flowing away when the rain comes. Flowing away into homes, businesses, roads...

The plan to only cut underbrush and trees near homes seems viable--and yet Mr. Bush would prefer to cave in to timber companies who want to make the clearing of underbrush "economically viable." Is this really about saving people's homes and lives (and the forests too!) or is it about making money for people who are bitter that their livelihoods have been cut back by environmental concerns?
Jay Inslee, a Rep. from Washington State, is quoted in this New York Times article as saying, "They're interested not so much in streamlining the process," Mr. Inslee said in a telephone interview, "but in streamlining the ability of their special-interest friends to take a national asset and turn it into private profit."


The big trees in the middle of the forest aren't the ones that are most prone to fire, yet those are the ones targeted for "thinning" under the new plan.
Not the underbrush. Not the small trees that catch fire easily. Not the trees nearest to towns/homes/etc.
From the same article: "In general, environmental leaders have advocated limited efforts, aimed at small trees and brush near homes and populated areas. They argue that since tinder-dry underbrush and saplings are what fuel fires, it makes no sense to cut the less-fire-prone big trees deep in the forests."

Yes, management is needed so there will be fewer out of control fires in the future. But management is also needed so there will be forests...and so there won't be mudslides...and so there won't be so many out of control people claiming that cutting it all down is the answer.

Two minutes twelve seconds.

That's how long until my brownies are ready to come out of the oven.

Too bad I have to let them cool so they can actually be cut rather than sort of chunked or crumbled.

One minute fifteen seconds.

We had fun with the preschoolers today....loads and loads! We played outside, we played with play-do, we made "buzzoos" out of kazoos (thirty seconds left!) and sang some songs. It was pretty fun!
Only two more days!

I started packing today (there's the timer...) and managed to pack all my books, pictures, stationery, CDs, and movies, my towels, sheets, pajamas, sweatshirts, exercise clothes, shoes, socks, and underwear. Into four plastic bins, one cardboard box, and two suitcases.

I sure hope this (and all the other stuff I still have to pack, namely kitchen stuff, clothes, random things (tools, wall pictures, toiletries, etc), and stereo) will all fit into the SUV we are renting to drive my stuff down! I don't know what to do if it doesn't fit. UPS, I suppose. oy.

those brownies smell so good and i am trying so hard not to go eat them now while they are still 350 degrees...

I may have sold most of my furniture. At least I hope so! If all goes well, I only have left the two utility carts and the two barstools. please, please, please..................and please let my butcher block fit into the car! I don't want to leave it behind! I don't want to!!!

There is some cool lightning going on outside. There is clearly going to be a thunderstorm, which is good because it is ridiculously humid, and that needs to stop.
I hand-washed my jeans (because I don't know where the laundry is in this building)..I hope they dry by tomorrow because I forgot my extra clothes at my own house. Granted, it's not that far to my house and if it were really necessary I could even go there in the morning to get dressed....but I don't want to. LOL.

anyway. i need to move so I don't look at the clock every ten seconds wondering if the brownies have cooled long enough. Maybe over in the "bedroom" part it smells less like brownies. I'll try it out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I am vastly more awake this morning than yesterday morning. How did I manage that? 3 year olds, here I come!
My friend's cleaning woman locked me out today. When I came home, I had to get the desk attendant to find the key and open the door for me. oy.

Must go to bed. hyper 3 year olds await in only 8 hours. yay!
I might actually be on time to a Bible Study I'm leading for a change. How exciting!

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

I MUST SELL ALL MY FURNITURE. now. If you know anyone in Chicago who needs furniture, in good condition and CHEAP, have them email me. please. :-)

Only 8 days (well, 8 days and 12 hours) until I roll out of this joint and to a new place!

I have so much stuff to do it's not even funny. oy.

AND, I'm helping with Vacation Bible School this week. three hours every morning, with a room full of preschool kids. They are adorable and all, but oh what a handful! I came home this afternoon and took a nap. four and a half hours of nap. now granted, i didn't sleep much last night (went to bed late and all...), but really. 4.5 hours of nap is almost as much as I slept overnight! if you sleep less than 5 hours at night, does that count as a nap? or is 4 hours of nap in the daytime really just "going to sleep" like at nighttime?
I have a headache.

I'm going back to sleep, I think. even though I just woke up three hours ago. :-)

Don't forget about that furniture, now...

Monday, August 19, 2002

apparently Lewis and Clark are NOT the heroes we make them out to be. How distressing!

I have switched borrowed houses now. I am staying at a friend's apartment (about two blocks from my place) while I pack up and move out of my apartment. How sad to think that a week from now my place will be packed up, my furniture gone, and i'll have only two more days in Chicago!! The summer certainly has flown by.

This friend's house: very odd. No stereo/CD player. But the light and ceiling fan over the bed are operated by a remote control. There are two kettles, but no toaster. pasta in the cupboard (and in the freezer), no sauce...and no colander. no serving/stirring spoons. the refrigerator is completely empty except for a bottle of dijon mustard, a small jar of chopped garlic, and an unopened bottle of salad dressing. More cupboards are empty than have stuff in them. Now, granted, he is away for 3 weeks. But even when I'm away a whole summer, more stuff than that stays! spices...condiments...non-perishables/canned goods...hmm. The dishwasher is full of glasses (only). No bookshelves, just books on the windowsill, every table, and on the floor. And, to top it off, the shower curtain is something you would expect to find in the private bath of a has "fish" on it. alligator fish, dog fish, etc. animal faces with fish bodies. in bright colors. and it says what each one is underneath. this in a bathroom full of "Clinique for men" products. very odd indeed.

anyway, must go to bed. I am a "crew leader" for vacation bible school. which is every day this week, starting at 9:30. AM. ugh.

Saturday, August 17, 2002



That is about all I can say.

I've just seen the film by Pasolini "The Gospel According to Saint Matthew". It is nearly two-and-a-half hours long, and it isn't exactly a thriller or even a fast moving film, and sometimes the subtitles (it's in Italian) are impossible to read because they are white, but the film is in black and white...

and yet it is one of the best films I've ever seen. There is no dialogue that doesn't come from the book of Matthew. There are no professional actors--just Italian peasants, including even Pasolini's mother as Mary when she's old. The visual scenes more than make up for the lack of speech...and the whole thing works together so well that it is literally a piece of art. So rare, to find art in a film, or to find accurate religious values expressed in a movie...


We are watching this film in the Young Adult Bible Study to wrap up our 10 week study of Matthew. (That's why I was sort of "previewing" tonight, so I can come up with discussion points, in case those are lacking afterwards, which I'm sure they won't be....) It is fantastic.


Friday, August 16, 2002

there has been a request for the link to the Senior High Workcamp journal with pictures. AND:::::here is my favorite picture. So me. LOL.
ok. it's done. by the time I called I'd stressed so much I had a headache. So i used that. am I a bad person?
i want to get out of this dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bradley says to use the "some things have come up" excuse....
i might try it.
I can hardly believe the amount of writing to be done. I've finally written a draft of the inserts of the Taize I have to do write-ups of the youth workcamps for the Family newsletter. oy.

I don't want to go to dinner! I want to come home and go to sleep!!

I am addicted to BBC America. If I have NO other tv channels, I want to have that. It is the only channel (besides the food network) (oh, and TLC)that I watch when I have cable. I don't watch any tv at home at all, but when housesitting, well, it's more like vacation, you know? I love the show "Changing Rooms" which is the British forerunner of "Trading Spaces". I also like Trading Spaces.

This Sara woman on "Sara's Secrets" is so concerned with time that she doesn't really show you what you have to do. Luckily (if I was ever wanting to cook, that is) the recipes are all on the foodtv website and cooking is all about reading the recipe and following directions. That's why I order pizza. LOL. i was reading in Galway Bay last night (waiting to see who would be there). A guy who hangs out there quite a bit, and with whom many of us have chatted before, came over to talk to me. We talked a long time, and it was fun, etc. Somehow I ended up agreeing to go for a late dinner tonight. I don't actually want to go, but I don't know how to get out of it now. ugh.

btw: the budget is done. I think.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

budgeting is kind of hard work, isn't it?
I am working with a committee that is putting on a new worship service (in the style of Taize, for those of you just joining us). One of the things that I have to do is make sure that we use our budget wisely ($3000 to cover everything between now and the end of the calendar year). This includes pillows, art, pillar/votive candles, music, musicians, education, and advertising. Advertising is probably the single most expensive thing in the budget...but i'm suddenly wondering if there are other things that I've left out of the budget, which are going to pop up later after I've spent it all. You know? it's a little bit distressing to me. now, I'm sure that we could cover it if it was absolutely necessary, and we have actually discussed the possibility of accepting a free-will offering at the door on the way out of the service...but if possible we'd rather not do that just now, and it's never good to be over budget! It's best to come in AT budget so you can say that you need a slightly larger one for next year. Except that in this case, that's probably not true because the majority of expenses here are one-time outlays, start-up costs, etc. I'm just terrified of missing something. any ideas on what could be missing? i've covered musicians, we've already bought music and pillows, education of the committee is done, and there's money for congregational education...we've bought candles and pots and whatnot, sand comes from the playground or the beach...advertising (how much money does one allocate for "outside" advertising anyway? like ads, flyers around town/at other services/etc...)...AAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't even budget for myself, yet here i am budgeting a program in a large church. oy.

How much do glass bricks (from Home Depot, you know?) cost? where is the nearest fabric store? all this info i don't really have. but i have a car just now so i should figure it out ASAP!! argh.

in other news, i've watched a gazillion episodes of the BBC show "changing rooms" which is the British "trading spaces". Since I don't watch TV when I'm in my own house, when housesitting I watch loads. (they have satellite, after all...) When John and Betsy get back I probably won't watch TV again for a good long while. LOL.

Two weeks from today I will be rolling out of Chicago on my way to Atlanta. How exciting! A little scary, though. And the thought of finally getting rid of all my stuff is rather daunting. Right now it's all still in my apartment, and it all has to be gone in about 10 days! oy.

right. back to the budget...and the bulletin...

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

The design pattern can apply to general things. I was thinking of clothes and furniture when i made up the poll. but just make it up. Generally, what's less appealing?

the new ice mountain commercial is really really lame.

I may have killed all the plants out back--but i was able to resuscitate one, so maybe the others will come back to life too?? please?

I love brownies with ice cream.

I went to bed at 4 and got up at 8. I'm tired. goodnight again., everyone: VOTE!!

Tomorrow (or today..whatever...) I'll be back to my usual posting routine. I'm just sleepy right now. goodnight

Monday, August 12, 2002

I need a new poll. Please give ideas for a question! :-) thanks...

Saturday, August 10, 2002

At the last EG each crew reported on their week and how it had affected them. When it was over we wrote letters to ourselves (which will be mailed later in the year) and then were each given a bracelet with different colored beads, each of which stands for some value of ASP (ie christian love, the environment, faith, continuation of service, etc). it's actually kind of cool--I still have mine on in the hopes that I will remember the experience fully, and all the things learned from it as well.

Saturday morning we left early (though not as early has the minnesota group, who left at 4am). We had quite a long drive to Fayetteville, WV. We drove over and visited the visitor's center of the world's longest arch bridge. Then we rafted under it! woohoo! The rafting trip was about three hours. Aside from one kid nearly drowning while swimming a mild class-2 rapid, it was a fabulous trip. So much fun! I never came out of the raft once. In fact, only two people came out, and that was in our second-to-last rapid! We nearly had a perfect score at the end. LOL. We were able to swim in the river too, which was great. It was so warm! Lovely.

At the end of the trip, we were bused back to where the vans were. Our campsite was just up the hill...and it was thoroughly rustic. Platform tents (we didn't have to pitch our own tents, thankfully) with foam "mattresses" on the floors. Lots of trees, plenty of bugs, darkness, and a campfire pit in our area. (There are like 75 tents or something in this place, gathered around campfire areas). In addition it had a cafeteria/restaurant where we had our spaghetti dinner. And, of course, as every good campsite should, it was equipped with a hot tub, a pool, pool tables, video games....etc. hehehehe!

The drive home the next morning was run by Josh. he set serious time limits on our breaks, drove 75 to 85 all the time, and we made amazing time home. We arrived an hour and a half earlier than our earliest projected time. It was beautiful. it was still a long drive (about 10.5 hours), which I drove only half of. But still. Indiana is the MOST boring state to drive through, I think. ugh. We were so happy to be home. The very first thing I did (after the bathroom) was go to the Starbucks across the street. yay!

All in all, it was a great trip.
You can find thoughts from both kids and leaders, and some small pictures, about the workcamp here at the website. Tomorrow in this space: the last EG, whitewater rafting, roughing it at a campsite, and the drive home.
So, our job was to take down a house. Now, you might be thinking, "what an easy job: a few whacks with a sledgehammer, a piece of heavy machinery or two, and it's done! no problem!" wrong. There is a process to demolishing a house by hand--ceiling, then roof, the walls, and finally floor. and keep in mind that there is a creek between the house and the road, which is where the dumptruck will be, so we have to carry pieces of the house across a wee bridge in order to dispose of them. Anyway...

This house was amazing. I have never seen anything so awful in my whole life. It was completely uninhabitable; it appeared to have been abandoned for several years (we guessed at 15...). The ceiling tiles were falling down. The wallpaper was peeling off. Some windows were broken. Dirt everywhere. There were four layers of carpet in the living room, all soaked through (presumably from flooding of the wee creek outside). I cannot emphasize enough how horrible it was. The property was in bad shape too, strewn with garbage (mostly pop cans, actually), muddy, no real grass anywhere--and where there was greenery it clearly had not been cut in ages. It turns out that Miss Ann (our resident) had been living there just DAYS before we arrived. How, we'll never know.

Now, I knew about poverty. I know facts and figures, etc. I understand the concept, and how/why it happens economically. But to walk into that house.....seriously, I've never experienced anything like this. And, get this: next door is a family living in an old rusted-out school bus. They have put curtains on the windows...and where the doors used to be...and they live there. Though I have not personally lived in these conditions, I feel that I can now say that I know poverty, not just about it. the condition of the home was really appalling. wow.

So anyway: we went to work. all the other members of my team got up on the roof and started tearing off shingles. I stayed on the ground collecting them and putting them into the dumptruck. (ASP rules state that you must always have one licensed driver on the ground.) A normal house has two, maybe three layers of shingles. This house had 6. in addition, underneath was tar paper, and plywood, and boards, and more plywood, and fiberglass insulation, then rafters, ceiling boards, and then the ceiling itself. It was quite a job getting the roof off, and it took us several days. We got a little bit of help the second day. The third day we got more help--people who really do this kind of stuff and know how to work with power tools. By the end of the third day a third of the house was down. Thursday we pushed down more walls and did a lot of dumptruck loads of wood, trash, and more wood. (trash includes shingles, garbage, insulation, anything still left in the house ie fixtures, counters, a sofa...carpet...etc) --we did loads and loads of those things the other days too but Thursday and Friday were particularly quick. The goal was to have the house down by wednesday...then the end of the day friday there was about half the floor left and we were all exhausted. I don't envy whoever had to come in and cut up the floor and pull it (and the foundation stilts it was on) up out of the flood mud under the house...because really we'd essentially done the whole thing like that!! Sarah pointed out that we had essentially done lunges all day, every day...thirty hours of lunges in a week! We probably have the best legs in Chicago. And the best arms too, from lifting basically the whole house, carrying it, and putting it in a dumptruck. Walls are pretty heavy!

For the last two days, another crew (from the Minnesota group) came to help us out. They were Very hard workers...they just pushed really hard. Then, after about 20 minutes, they collapsed from sheer exhaustion and had to take a 5-10 minute water break. They tried to work very fast and sometimes it wasn't safe, and most of the time our crew felt superfluous. There were a lot of bitter feelings among the kids of my crew, who wanted to work but felt like the site had been stolen away from them--and thus the glory of getting the house down was also taken away. They had done the hard initial work, and the other group came in (having heard how hard we'd worked) and had the easy part of pushing over walls, and we could practically hear them talking about how it wasn't so hard and we were was tough. Also we had a number of good systems worked out for being efficient and steady in work, rather than getting burned out and needing long breaks. Unfortunately, with the arrival of this group the systematic, efficient work and the more fun atmosphere in which Mikey could lead us all in singing oldies departed. However, that house is torn down! So, with the goal accomplished we put the personal differences behind us and thanked the other group for being such a big help.

So it was a week of hard work, but also some good times. We sang a lot on the worksite. We enjoyed our lunchtimes. We met our resident a few times, though were uncomfortable with her after the first couple of days. Her little black dog is named Pudgy, but she refers to it by a "special name" which is an unfortunately vile racial slur. We started picking up cans and garbage on her property--and she came out and asked for it because she could turn in the cans...and she proceeded to sort through and throw the garbage back onto the ground. She is elderly, has some eye difficulties (apparently--this is according to her brother Earl, who was thoroughly creepy and kept hitting on me all week long with comments like {insert annoying south appalachian accent here} "honey, I shore do looove to watch you woork..." and "why donchyou come with me, and I'll never lechoo get yore hands dirteey". UGH UGH UGH), and has always lived in this area. We had some difficulties accepting her, but the ASP motto is "we accept people right where they are, just as they are." so we had to look past her difficult spots to her humanity and remember that every human deserves a habitable home, so our work for her was not only for her but for God..."for as often as you do this to the least of these, you have done it to me." A hard lesson to learn, for sure, and we had many crew and group discussions about the difficulties posed to us by our resident...but it was so good in the end.

Another thing about this site that was striking was the large number of butterflies. In every color and design--they were just exquisite! I was constantly reminded of a sermon preached last year at Fourth by Dr. Buchanan about butterflies in the ghetto. Butterflies as signs of hope and beauty amongst the extreme poverty in Cabrini Green--and for me, symbols of the hope, renewal, and goodness amidst the extreme poverty of the site we were working on. Whenever I was unsure how to continue working so hard, for a woman that seemed (on the surface) ungrateful, I would see a beautiful butterfly--in black and turqoise, or white and orange, or whatever, and remember that sermon and that it is important to latch onto signs of hope that can get people out of the abyss--and the butterflies did that for me. I hope they do that for Miss Ann too.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Ok, so back to the workcamp stories. The ASP Jonesville center is really nice. We had air conditioning, which was fab! Better than home for me! :-) Our girl's room was so cold, we actually referred to it as "the meat locker". We went grocery shopping one day, and kept the stuff that needed to be refrigerated in our room overnight. Not kidding. There are just a few things about the center that are very odd. 1. There are crosses everywhere. That's perfectly normal--it's a Christian organization, etc. But everywhere. And guess what is mounted on these crosses. Except the big, central one. There's a cross in every room and it has on it......
a fire extinguisher.

That's right, a fire extinguisher. There is one mounted on every cross in the place except the really big one. They probably couldn't find a fire extinguisher big enough.

There's nothing else explicitly odd about the center. The staff run a program for the groups every night called "Evening Gathering." Original, eh? We sang cheesy songs, had conversation, etc. One night a man came and sang songs and told stories. Good fun. :-)

The town of Jonesville, Virginia, is very small. There is a dollar store where nothing actually costs a dollar. There are a bazillion baptist churches. There are two places to eat ice cream: Happy Mart (a gas station with a convenience store that happens to sell everything, plus guns, plus 24 flavors of soft serve!! and chicken too.), and Fodi's which is THE place for milkshakes. I have never had a milkshake that good in my entire life. We literally had ice cream twice every day. There is also a federal prison not far away. Supposedly some guys actually escaped while we were in town. Huh. One evening we decided to take a field trip out there. Two vans full of kids/leaders drive out, we drove around the grounds a little, etc...and Josh is in front of course. I'm driving the second van. We start to notice some activity, and lights...and of course I get pulled over by a prison guard who wants to know what we're doing. Thankfully mark was with me--because he told them we were with ASP!!! LOL. "We're a group here with ASP, and we were just looking around..." You totally know that they were following us with sniper rifles until we were on the other side of the hill. Crazy. It was kind of scary, but all in all an adventure. ha!

So, you must be wondering, did you guys do any work down there?

Yes, of course. We split the 19 of us into four work crews. We worked on four sites, for four families, on four very different jobs. One group was building a wheelchair deck/ramp. One was digging a 9x4 x5(feet deep) hole for a "gray water" overflow septic a trench to put an overflow pipe in--and when they finished that they were supposed to put up siding on one side of the house and do some drywalling in the kitchen. The third group had the job of filling in the back of a retaining wall, so the hill didn't slide into the woman's house. They essentially had to fill in a hole that was 68 feet long, 15 feet deep...and they had to push the dirt up the hill in wheelbarrows to dump it into these holes behind the wall. The fourth group (my group) had the job of demolishing a house so a new house could be built the following week.

I am sleepy now so I'll write about the actual work (at least, the work of my crew) tomorrow. goodnight

Thursday, August 08, 2002

I just had a slightly busy and too long committee meeting--oy.

I'm had ice cream for lunch today. I'm about to have caesar salad and fried mushrooms for dinner. yum yum!

The workers outside blew another inch of dust into my apartment today. ugh. Thankfully I am housesitting starting tomorrow so i don't have to clean it up Right Now.

that's all for now. more workcamp news later. ta.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

alright, i'm tired of this poll because "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" is so long that it makes the left frame too big, and that's annoying. here are the results: 50% for "whatever". 25% for "martini". 12% each for super.... and hilarious. No votes at all for "stuff". why not? LOL.

Check back for a new poll sometime, when I decide what to poll about next. Feel free to offer poll suggestions via comments or email!! :-)
Time for a tiny bit of diversion, sort of. The first evening we had group discussion where each person had to answer two of the following questions. *What is your life plan? *what are your expectations/hopes for the week? *what is keeping you preoccupied? *another question that I can't remember...

So: What's your life plan? Lots of kids actually have them--but interestingly the adults all said that while they once had a plan, they've stopped planning. I don't really think it's good to have a rigid plan--because that is precisely when God will have another one. I used to have a plan: clearly I was going to be a professional clarinet player. From the time I was 11. No questions asked, just much practicing done. Good school, the best teachers, all the playing opportunities....but then it wasn't right. My plan was shattered and I needed a new one ASAP! It was quite difficult to realize that my plans are not necessarily God's plans, and it was tough for my family too. So I've learned to go with the flow a little bit. It's ok to go in a direction without knowing precisely where it will lead. It's ok not to have your entire life span planned out at age 16. It's ok not to have it planned out at 21. It's ok not to know exactly where you plan to be in 15 years at age 35! There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself to let go of complete control--because that "complete control" is an illusion anyway. that's my deep thought of the day.

In a little bit of other news which is quite exciting...Bradley and Simone are engaged to be married. Congratulations!!! :-)
Ok. I have a whole list of things to post about--but it's at home and I'm not. So I'll go through some of the things now while i wait for mark to get out of a meeting so I can go home. yay! (I'm at church because I just finished leading a Bible Study on events in Jesus' life according to matthew.)

We drove down in a caravan of 4 15 passenger white vans with the back seats removed (so they were actually only 11 passenger vans?). Sometimes we zoned out while driving so much that we blindly followed the leader--they changed lanes, we changed lanes. Unfortunately, that meant that both Sarah and I nearly followed the wrong vans occasionally. There were vans from Willow Creek Church that we nearly followed on the very first day. On the way home there was a van that looked exactly like ours but didn't have an american flag sticker on it--and two vans actually did follow it for several miles before realizing it was not Josh (who was leading). heheheh!

We stayed overnight at Beulah Presbyterian church in Louisville. It was very nice--but there were several things that were indicative of the people we'd meet "down south". We tried to order pizza to be ready for us at Pizza Hut when we arrived. Mark said "we're staying at a church, here's my cell phone number: 773.......". The guy said "I don't need your area code." WTF? why not? The local area code was like 502 or something. discussion followed, at the end of which mark gave him the number without the area code. Then, figuring out the bill was crazy, because we'd been billed for one more pizza than we actually received. Mark spent at least half an hour with the guy figuring that out, and working out whether we could be tax exempt outside of Illinois.

Louisville was an interesting place. There's a place called "Cox's smokers outlet" which amused the kids very much. (just the sign...we didn't go inside).

sunday morning sarah and I went to the store for some last minute pre-drive shopping. We were all planning to go to church because the service was at 9:30. Just as we pulled up to our spot, someone else pulled into it. SO we start backing up to move into another one. Then we hit something. Something we're sure wasn't there just before...and it turns out that there had been a car behind us--that we couldn't see in any mirrors, I might add--and though we had been going only about 2.5 miles per hour, the car was quite damaged. The driver was a 77 year old man, and his wife was in the car as well. We could not have hit a worse person in that whole congregation. He was LIVID. His blood pressure skyrocketed, he kept saying how angry he was, and he wouldn't even talk to us. We tried to find out if he was ok and he only talked about his car. oy. so Sarah, mark, and I missed the majority of the morning service because we were outside dealing with this--he even talked a cop into coming even though it was on pirvate property and there were no injuries. The cop got an ambulance to come to check his bp, which was really ridiculously high...and there was much exchanging of info, etc. His car was quite damaged--but the van had the tiniest scratch ever on the plastic bumper. apparently he told his insurance agency that the van was totaled! Mark got a call about that yesterday from the rental place--they couldn't even find the scratch on the van. LOL. One of the other members of the church was very nice and helped us deal with the man, and actually apologized for his behavior later and told us that the lesson here is who the better Christians really are: those who care more for property than life, or those who do everything possible to remedy the situation even when they are at fault. He was very nice. It's a good thing he came up with that lesson because while we stood around in the parking lot, sarah, mark, and i tried to come up with lessons. 1. always look behind you more than once. that was it. LOL. We were just picturing the prayer list in the bulletin for the next week including the couple, and asking for prayers because of the "horrific accident they endured last week". I've not seen the bulletin for that day yet, but it's probably there. oy. Every time the whole rest of the week when Sarah had to back up a van, she would say to the kids, "let me know when I hit a man." That was our new euphemism for "look out the back!!!!!" heheheeheheheheheheheheh.

We left on time anyway--or so we thought. We had planned out how long it would take and it seemed quite short, which is why we'd gone to church in the first place. However, it took quite a long time for some reason and we arrived very late. I just need to note, too, that the van Joshua was driving (which I drove part of the way down) loses about 60% of the steering control when you pass 70 miles per hour. It was totally crazy to try to drive that van and keep up with the others. We were supposed to arrive in Jonesville between 2 and 4 pm...we arrived at 6. Since we were running late anyway, we decided to stop at the Cumberland Gap around 5:15 because Mark just had to have a group picture at the "Cumberland Gap" sign. It was very cool actually...this is the low point through the appalachain mountains where pioneers went through between Virginia and Ketucky. It was really pretty. anyway...we were late. then the real fun began. :-)

Monday, August 05, 2002

We are back. I'm a bit sleepy still, but can't sleep due to extreme heat in my apartment. I have a whole long list of workcamp topics to post about, but for now I'll just say this: it was excellent. Good fun, hard work, sleeping in a dorm room with A/C...relationship building, fun time, whitewater rafting, "roughing it" on our last night by camping out at a site with platform tents--and a pool, hot tub, and restaurant...LOL. I'll give you all the inside scoop later. For now I am going to try to nap, and answer my 53 emails. Which has now jumped to 58 since last night. Ta.