Sunday, November 25, 2007

Escape from the Ugliest City in the World

Well, friends, Thanksgiving happened again. To celebrate it we traveled to Sioux Falls, SD to be with Tara's family. Her sister Wendy and husband Owen own a home in Sioux Falls, and her parents also have rented an apartment there to minimize on the outdoor work that seems to befall all of us who are homeowners. I won't go into the details of the trip except to say that I'm really happy for our family members there. Tara's family used to live in Sioux City, IA, for which I coined the title "the ugliest city in the world." I said this because when we were dating (and for many years beyond) I would travel to Sioux City, entering from the north on highway 75. For what seems like miles it is all industrial... stockyards, used car lots, grain elevators, bread factories, electrical parts suppliers... it's aesthetically terrible. When you finally do run into residential, it's one of the city's roughest areas, and many of the homes are boarded up or covered with graffiti. Of course it has more beautiful parts, but they are harder to find -- well hidden.

Sioux Falls, on the other hand, just 90 miles north, is a very attractive city from its commercial districts to a beautiful downtown of striking buildings, many made out of pink granite. The residential areas also give me the impression of people who care and who are attempting to build a pleasant place to live and work. If I weren't so inextricably intertwined with my school, I would certainly think about Sioux Falls as a place to live. Heaven knows my dad would approve. Heck, we could take him with us.

Tara would like me to say that she found me a new cuddle-wrap on the trip. It is true. We hit several junk stores in Sioux Falls while we were there, and I got a new plaid one (see photo). You have to be very secure in your masculinity to wear a cuddle-wrap, but we keep our house cold and I often have sedentary work to do in the evenings.

We also have a new kitty named Lightning. It came home with us from Wendy's house because they were overrun with cats and (I guess) didn't really know what to do with her. She is the smallest cat I have ever seen. She is slender with white feet and a gray body.

We also bought Tara a new sewing machine for all the crafting she does. It's a Janome with lots of stitches and funky features of modern technology. Her birthday was not too long ago, so this qualifies as a decent if belated birthday present.

Don't forget to come to Miracle Worker this Friday and Saturday. Leave me a comment and I'll get you details for tickets. It'll be a great time!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dude, Tara Is Amazing!!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I can't believe I just pasted this into my blog. I really don't understand how it happened (Tara walked me through it step-by-step from the other side of the living room). Multi-step processes that have to stay in order scare me. Ironically I'm a lifelong Minnesotan and should probably have a North Central accent, but oh well.

A Good Lord's Day and Skunk in the Garage

I was amazed to discover that it has already been a week since I last blogged. Good gracious, where does the time go? Oh yes, to drama rehearsal. That's where it goes. We have been rehearsing extra hours to make the difficult Miracle Worker come to life on stage. Saturday was our first tech run, including real food and a working pump. Come one, come all. It might not be perfect but it'll still be a rich experience, and at $4 for adults, it's a good cheap date too.

I also thought it was a great day at our home church, BCC. The worship set was very well integrated (if a little loud... the sanctuary volume seems to be creeping up again...) and the preaching of the type that terrifies Satan and exalts Christ in its accuracy and fervor. I get a chance to be a part of what God is doing here, too, teaching in adult ministries. We're about a fifth of the way through Doug Wilson's Future Men, which is about raising boys in the context of God's call and God's promises to us. It is an exciting series! We've had great discussions so far and I trust there will be more to come. The Lord is also bringing new people to us, and we're finding the face of BCC changing so rapidly that it's hard to keep up.

My dad invited us this evening to his church, CBC, for a thanksgiving banquet and skits, songs, etc. It is a huge event at a fairly large church, in its approach more conservative than ours, but not in a dangerous way. (When I say approach, I mean the style, not the doctrine or adherence to Scripture). We had a great time and were warmly welcomed by other brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe it also did my dad good to have us there.

After we got home (think 8:30 p.m.) I heard something ratting around in the garage and knocking stuff over. Further investigation revealed a furry black animal a little larger than a cat with a rich-looking white stripe down its back. I don't think I've ever seen a skunk from only 10 feet away, but I did tonight. I might have studied him longer, but Tara was telling me to get back in the house before I got sprayed, since she was short of tomato juice and did not want to have the responsibility of scrubbing me down anyway.

So I suspect that the skunk is still in the garage, but I'm not entirely sure what to do about it. Except for mice, we really haven't had any animal problems.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Little Drama...

Well, I've seen two shows in the past two weeks. One is _ The Miracle Worker_ as performed by Byron High School. This was good to see because we saw it about one month before our own production of the same show. It also showed me how the same show interpreted by different directors will look quite different.

Last night I went with friends (yes, friends... stunning, ain't it) to Angel Street at the theater in Mantorville. They have a lovely playhouse, and the 1880 set was gorgeous!! It didn't hurt that we knew the female lead, who turned in a stellar performance of a woman being driven to insanity by a criminal husband. Classic victorian thriller, quite well done overall.

We are plodding relentlessly toward our own show, hampered by the frustration of illness (I haven't been 100% for at least two weeks) and the reality of many classes being taught while directing. Arrrrgh. But I've seen lots of shows turn out well in the past, and I look for this one to be great too. Please, God.

I started teaching Doug Wilson's Future Men to my adult group at our church. So far it's going well and drawing enough fire to prove that we're saying something important!

As I write, there is a box elder bug crawling across the desk. I'm amazed that the little fellows haven't frozen to death or just become tired of plodding through the house. We have an amazing number of box elders and Asian beetles. Fortunately both are quiet and harmless. We just sweep them up when enough die to make it worth our time.