Monday, February 28, 2005

Jesus Would've Been . . . a Democrat??

Anyone out there want to respond to erinberry's comment on my blog? Does anyone agree with erinberry?

"Seriously, girl, I stumbled across your blog, and after reading a number of your posts, I can not believe how misguided you are. Faith is a wonderful thing, but if you think you are following Christ by towing the Republican party line, you are sorely mistaken. Jesus was as radical and liberal as they come. Hate to break it to you, but Jesus never said a thing about condemning gays or abortion. He taught compassion and love and generosity towards the poor, not the typical Republican selfishness, and all this voting with one's wallet. Please, if you are going to call yourself a Christian, at least have the decency to act like Christ. Don't be a hypocrite."

Proof's In the Pudding

Recently I got a comment by "erinberry" challenging something I said with regards to the Scandinavian Gay Marriage Experiment. Here's the link to the article I was referencing so she can see that my statement wasn't in "ignorance" (like she accused). Yet another example of how liberals resort to name-calling. Name-calling is only necessary when no good arguments are available.

Guys' Time Out

Although I personally think it’d be nice to hang with Kevin 24/7, I do realize that guys have this inner need to periodically break away from their female counterparts and experience quality male-bonding time. Because of this understanding, I gave Kevin my “permission” to go snow skiing with his buddies at Tahoe on Saturday, without me tagging along. (Oh, and I guess the fact that I’m 4 ½ months pregnant also had something to do with the reason why I couldn’t go.)

According to Kevin, it was a perfect skiing day with beautiful snow conditions and great weather. From what he tells me, he enjoyed watching an “extreme ski competition” while at the resort. Apparently there were all sorts of crazies jumping off cliffs and zig-zagging through trees and boulders. So, according to him, it was a fun and eventful day.

The most exciting thing that happened to me on Saturday was that I accidentally walked into the men’s restroom at the mall. It took me about a minute to realize it, too. And you can bet your bottom dollar that, as soon as I realized this fact, I high-tailed it out of there. Geesh. How embarrassing. (Yet another incident of maternity absentmindedness?) The last time I mistakenly walked into a men’s restroom was in Knoxville, TN at an ATI conference. Um . . . yeah.

On Friday night we enjoyed seeing our friends, the Stewarts, at Jonathan’s house. We were very impressed at the multi-course, homemade dinner Jonathan prepared for us. It was fabulous, especially considering the fact that he’s a bachelor. Someday, his future-wife will really appreciate his culinary skills. In the meantime, we were glad to be on the receiving end!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Joys of Jury Duty (Seriously!)

Today I’ve been occupied with jury duty, which the judge today said is the highest civic duty, next to serving in the armed forces. (She’s probably just tired of seeing flaky jurors.)

I really wish I could’ve sat in on this particular trial. Unfortunately, all of the jurors were selected before my name was even called. It was a domestic violence misdemeanor case. The defendant was a woman accused of beating her boyfriend. To me, she looked like she weighed ninety pounds. I secretly wondered what her boyfriend must look like. Maybe I’m a freak, but I really enjoy watching voir dire. Maybe it’s just that it’s another opportunity for me to sit back and study the humanity around me. Some people were obviously trying to get excused by saying all kinds of outrageous things. I found that very humorous. (The judge didn’t seem to like it, though.) Some of the jurors were complete idiots. (I noticed that the people who talked the least were the most likely to get on the jury. It was the idiots who rambled on for five minutes who got kicked off first.) The prosecutor was funny. The defense attorney looked like he’d just gotten out of jail himself (no offense to my criminal defense lawyer friends, who unlike this guy don’t fit the stereotype!).

Anyway, my day in court today makes me want to practice criminal law. (Actually, when I first started law school, I wanted to be a prosecutor more than anything.) Lots of trials and court appearances. Very little paperwork. People interaction. Thinking on your feet. Drama. Action. Sounds good to me! Maybe someday . . .

[Check out the picture of the courthouse I went to for jury duty today (below)! Sweet, eh?]

Our county seat's courthouse (in Auburn).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Life in the Balance

I’m sure many of you already know the up-to-date details on Terri Schiavo in Florida. Terri gained international attention last year when her loser-husband got court permission to remove her feeding and hydration tube. (Talk about a cruel, torturous death!) Apparently today a judge issued another stay to give Terri’s family 48 more hours to petition for additional legal relief. What I can’t understand is why any judge in the country would permit Terri’s husband to continue to control her medical affairs when he clearly has a conflict of interest. Terri’s husband wants her dead so he can have her disability money and marry his long-time girlfriend with whom he already has two children. If he divorces Terri, and releases her to be cared by her loving parents, he won’t get the money.

A co-worker today had an interesting speculation as to why Terri’s husband would want her dead. He thinks that the accident that caused her current vegetative state is due to an attempted murder by her husband. If she becomes coherent, she may remember the incident and will then be able to incriminate him. While this is probably a far-fetched theory, I appreciated the creative thinking of my co-worker. Who knows? At least it would make for an interesting novel!

For updated information on Terri’s plight, see her website and also Life News.

Unique Dining

Last night Kevin took me to a belated birthday dinner at a fondue restaurant called The Melting Pot. I’d been wanting to go for quite a while and have been very patient about this. (Right Kev?) It was absolutely fabulous – a truly unique dining experience. There is something incredibly bonding about sharing a common pot with friends and loved ones. The waiter made a Swiss cheese fondue at our table and then brought an assortment of meats, vegetables, batters, and dips for the meat fondue. Of course, we had to end with chocolate fondue – even though Kevin said it was borderline gluttony. And gluttony, as you know, is a sin.

Anyway, The Melting Pot is a chain and, if there’s one near you, I highly recommend it. Only plan on spending all evening there – it took us 2 ½ hours to eat everything. And you’ll probably want to make reservations in advance. The nice thing about last night was being able to just sit and relax for a few hours. It was great to take a break and not feel rushed to move on to the next thing in life.

Okay, now I’ve gotta go rush on to the next project at the office!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Glimpses of a Weekend

Within a 41-hour period of time, Kevin and I took a trip from Sacramento to Columbus, OH, and back again. We left Friday morning and returned Saturday afternoon. It was quite a whirlwind trip! But we’re so glad we were able to go and attend Megan’s senior theatre recital. She was awesome . . . we’re so proud of her! It was also great to see family and old friends as well. Despite the brevity of the journey, we were able to squeeze in a decent visit!

On Monday, Kevin worked from home to make up some work hours after taking Friday off. On lunchtime, though, we thought it would be nice to take a walk. We recently found this fun little trail, near our house that’s part of a wetlands preservation. Kevin remarked how, although he philosophically disagrees with taking private property for such uses, it’s awfully nice that we get to enjoy a little bit of nature in our own backyard! We didn’t get very far, however, because it started to rain. As we stood outside our house, watching the raindrops fall, two little neighbor boys ran up and asked if they could mow our grass. “In the rain?” Kevin asked, incredulously. “Yes!” they replied, with excitement in their eyes and voices. It appeared that these poor boys had nothing to do and were bored because of the school holiday. Kevin, humored by these kids, agreed to let them mow the lawn. (And, to be honest, the lawn desperately needed it!)

As Kevin was pulling out the mower and weed whacker (which, we later discovered, is the “most fun part” of mowing a lawn), one of the little boys turned to me and said, “You guys should have a baby.” After telling him that, actually, we are going to have a baby, he said: “Oh, good. I was going to say something but, you know, some people just get chubby and fat and stuff.” KIDS ARE SO HONEST!!!!

About an hour later, after replacing the twine in the weed-whacker at least three times, our lawn (both front and back) had been mowed and thoroughly whacked. As Kevin was pulling out a dead plant from the backyard, we heard the weed-whacker again buzzing in the front yard. Kevin and I looked at each other, puzzled as to what else they might be cutting off our lawn. To our knowledge, these boys had already weed-whacked everything imaginable. Soon we discovered that, in their earnestness, they decided our landscaping needed a good whacking too.

Oh well, it will grow back again.

Soon the boys, covered in grass clippings and mud, were off to find other neighbors and other lawns to conquer. On their way out of our yard, they turned to us with big smiles on their faces and said, “Thank you so much for letting us mow your lawn! That was SO much FUN!!”

Food Guilt

One evening last week I was looking for a quick dinner (Kevin was gone for the night) and settled on a nice big bowl of Honey Smacks. You probably won’t believe me, but I really don’t buy sugar cereal very often. This one night, though, Honey Smacks sounded particularly good to me. So, I indulged myself.

Don’t ask me why but, as I was eating my dinner, I took the opportunity to simultaneously read a book on pregnancy. The chapter I happened to be on was about maintaining a proper pregnancy diet. As I chomped on my Honey Smacks, I read this sentence: “Every time you take a bite of food, ask yourself ‘Is this the best possible thing I could be eating to benefit my baby?’”

At that instant, guilt settled upon my soul.

I then had a flashback, remembering my mom telling me once, after I received a particularly good grade in law school: “I ate an egg every day I was pregnant with you. I wonder if that’s why you’re so smart.”

Guilt continued to engulf me.

To remedy my terrible, horrible, completely unacceptable eating habits, last night I went grocery shopping, determined to buy only healthful items. I turned a blind eye to all of the beautiful cookies and ice creams on all of the shelves and, instead, loaded up my cart with a myriad of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole-grain items. I even bought bran muffins. I hate bran muffins.

This morning Kevin and I carpooled to work and ate bran muffins for breakfast in the car.

“What do you think of this bran muffin?” I asked Kevin.
“It’s good,” he replied. “Don’t you like it?”
“All I’m going to say is that someday this child of ours had better appreciate it!”

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Applause in the Airport? Beyond the Beer Commercial . . .

This is really touching.

"I thank God that the troops that are there don't see the news coverage. I thank God every day, because there'd be ten times the number getting killed, just because it would so un-motivate [sic] them. . . .

“There were seven other soldiers that came home with me that day. We flew into JFK, and we were talking on the way back: What's going to happen? What will we be facing? Is it going to be like the Vietnam era, are there going to be people spitting at us? . . . ”

Feminism: From “Equality” to Exploitation

Thanks to Nathan, who works for Chavez, for sending me this article. This whole subject is really a pet peeve of mine (if you haven’t already noticed)!

Do you realize that the feminist movement has directly resulted in women being treated as cheap sex objects? How can this rationally be considered more dignified than women making meals and keeping house for their committed husbands and loving children? How could alleged “equality” have resulted in so much exploitation?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Results of Feel-Good-ism

Here is a fascinating article, applicable to my generation, where self-esteem education has taken precedence over academics.

“[S]elf-esteem is important to healthy development . . . But empty praise – the kind showered on many kids years ago in the name of self-esteem – did more harm than good.”

Examples: Every kid gets a trophy, regardless of their sports performance. Teachers are taught the evils of using red ink, because it will allegedly hurt kids’ feelings. (Some also say grammar and spelling errors should be overlooked for the same reason.)

This, according to the article, has resulted in these kids growing up with an inflated sense of self, and also an inability to cope with the real world (i.e., college and the work force) where at first moment of constructive criticism, they crumble.


Since all of you, I’m sure, want to know every single detail of my pregnant life (ha!), I will chronicle for you the latest episode: Experiencing Symptoms of Absentmindedness.

As I said yesterday, it was an interesting day, full of unexpected negative things. As a result, I became very flustered. They say that pregnant women tend to be absentminded anyway, but I think the day’s events triggered this symptom even more so. Lately I’ve been doing really scary things. On my way to a friend’s house last night for a “spa” party (kind of like a Pampered Chef party, but even better ‘cuz you get a foot-soak and a facial, which I really needed last night), I got lost . . . twice. The funny thing is that I’ve been to this friend’s house a hundred times before! I kept getting mixed up and forgot all the names of the streets. On my way home, I felt like things were under control. Suddenly I noticed that the landmarks on the side of the road didn’t look very familiar. I glanced up at the street sign at a stop light and realized I was on the wrong street, many miles away from where I was supposed to be. A twenty-minute drive home ended up taking forty minutes! (My driving is already bad, without adding any absentmindedness to the equation.) If this weren’t bad enough, I also feel like I’ve been spilling things more often lately. And I’ve been forgetting basic, elementary information – like the names of people I should know. Ugh. This is one symptom of pregnancy that I absolutely didn’t expect.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

One of those days . . .

It’s been one of those dramatic days where I want to go out and do something drastic. Like sky dive or get a tattoo. Maybe I’ll just settle for a new hair-do instead.

We did have a lovely weekend, though. Our friends, the Fears, came up from Fresno to stay with us for a few days. Peter and Kevin attended the state GOP convention and Debra and I hung out with their two little kids, Hannah and Daniel. Hannah just turned two. She is very adorable. (Understatement.) She is also very smart. She can identify shapes like parallelograms, trapezoids, and pentagons. Apparently, her mom said, she got bored with ordinary shapes, like triangles and squares, and needed a new challenge. She also knows exactly who her governor is. It was funny to hear her say "Arnold Schwarzenegger!"

This past weekend I got a snapshot of just how dramatically my life is going to change in just five short months. All you young moms out there are going to groan at my ignorance . . . but I forgot all about the fact that little kids need so many naps! At this current stage in life, Kevin and I have absolutely no set schedule. We pick up and go whenever we want and we often take day trips or weekend trips. Will all of this come to a complete halt next July? I realize that parenthood doesn’t leave room for selfishness. But I’m now understanding just how selfless I’m going to have to be.

Some of you reading the above paragraph probably think I’m a very myopic person. I guess I could pretend to be an extremely godly person and just shut up and not reveal my true thoughts. Or, perhaps, lie to you and say that I’m looking forward to leading a quieter life. If I said that, you’d probably think more highly of me; but it wouldn’t be an accurate picture of who I am. So, instead, I’ll just be honest and reveal that one aspect of parenthood I’m dreading is the fact that we won’t be able to be as spontaneous or to whimsically chase after every possible adventure. But, in the end, I know it will be worth it – please don’t get me wrong.

Valentines was fun. We opted to eat a nice, candlelit dinner at home (instead of fighting the restaurant crowds) and I had a lot of fun preparing it. We grilled a steak and I cut out little heart-shaped pieces of bread to make cheese toast. I also dyed the sour cream (for the potatoes) a pretty shade of pink. After dinner, Kevin went on a treasure hunt I’d prepared for him. I had cut out red hearts with clues listing “reasons why I love you.” (e.g., I love you because you’re a financial whiz, hiding the clue in the checkbook; or I love you because you’re a musician, hiding the clue in the CD rack). Amazingly, I made all the clues rhyme. This was a big feat, considering the fact I’m not that great of a poet. I suppose it’s evidence that a woman in love will go to drastic measures to please her man. After the treasure hunt we watched a chick flick we hadn’t seen before and both of us cried. It was such a wonderfully sappy evening.

Kevin finding more clues on the Valentines Treasure Hunt I prepared for him.

Spring is in the air in California; some blossoming trees down the street from where we live.

A Good Day to Propose

I know some gals think that Valentines Day isn’t a good day for a man to propose marriage to his sweetheart (probably because lots of guys do it on that day). But I happen to disagree. Maybe it’s because yesterday (Valentines) was our third-year engagement anniversary and, every year since Kevin asked me to marry him, it’s made Valentines day very memorable and special to us. Not only do we celebrate love-in-general on Valentines Day, but we also commemorate our engagement.

Last night we had good times rehashing memories. When Kev picked me up for dinner on Valentines Day 2002, I had no idea he was going to propose that night. We went to Gatsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia. Kevin was so nervous, he could hardly talk to me at dinner. (That’s when I got my first clue he was going to propose.) During dinner, a man playing a fiddle in the corner shouted out, “May your sweethearts become your wives, and may your wives always be your sweethearts!” After dinner I wanted to walk around and look at the shops. Kevin, who ordinarily goes along with my suggestions, emphatically stated that, no, we should instead “go somewhere with a view of D.C.” (That’s when I got my second clue.) We then went to the National Cathedral gardens, which is a lovely place when you can actually see it (when we arrived it was pitch dark). Eventually we wound up in the gazebo where Kevin and I sat down on a bench. Because of the chill, he was wearing a large wool coat. Unbeknownst to me, the ring was in his pocket and when I sat next to him, I sat right on top of the ring. After several minutes, Kevin asked me to get up so he could take my picture. I thought this was an odd request since, again, it was pitch dark and I knew my eyes would look like a zombie’s in the photo. In reality, he wanted to take my picture to get me off the ring so he could access it and pop the question! After taking my picture, he got on one knee and asked me to marry him. And, of course, I said yes. Actually, as Kevin reminded me last night, my first response was, “Oh my goodness!”

Friday, February 11, 2005

People Watching

I love to people watch. This is one reason I particularly like airports; there are all sorts of people of all different types and personalities, all in one place. And I can sit and watch them all I want until the loudspeaker announces my flight.

Yesterday I had two very different opportunities to people watch. In the afternoon, I sat in a crowded board room with a bunch of political nerds (I really like these people but, yes, they are nerds). Later on in the day I went to another open-night gym basketball game to watch Kevin play.

You know how they say, if you’re nervous while making a speech, you should just imagine everyone sitting in the audience in their underwear? Well, I can’t say that I’ve ever done that, but I do often imagine people as they might have looked in their childhood . . . without the gray hair and wrinkles, with innocent young faces. It’s quite amusing for me to do this. So, yesterday, I was picturing all these political people as little boys, on their respective playgrounds, and wondering what they were like as children. It was fun for me to think about. (It makes these types of meetings SO much more interesting.) And then . . . the basketball game – same thing. These guys playing ball are so funny to me. (Maybe it’s just that I’ve developed a better sense of humor over the years? Not sure – but I’ve never been so amused by basketball games in all my life!) I can picture the players as young boys, with the same temperaments, antics, and personalities. And it really makes me laugh! Aloud, even.

Maybe it’s just that I feel like I can learn more about people when I see them in a different light and think of them as previous children. After all, when you strip away all the seriousness, responsibility, and pride, adults and children are really very much alike.

Basketball Etiquette

Recently I’ve been enamored by basketball etiquette. I’ve been trying to learn what I can by observation but, when there are holes in my understanding, Kevin helps to fill them. Recently he was telling me about the phrase “you got next.” Apparently there’s an unspoken rule in basketball that the guys watching will be next in playing the winner of the current game – and then they’ll all take turns and be happy-campers. (Or is it happy-dribblers?)

One of the reasons I’m fascinated by basketball etiquette is the fact that I’ve never seen a group of complete strangers behave so nicely or be so friendly to each other in any other setting. It’s like they’re all part of a common brotherhood. And, even though they’re vying against each other to win the game, they continue to pat each other on the backs (or sometimes buttocks!) and always seem to thoroughly enjoy each other. Maybe it’s the fact that they just love to play basketball and it’s all part of the fun.

Another thing that intrigues me is how much “touching” is involved (aside from the touching required to play the game, obviously). Although I know lots of girls who are touchy-feely and like to give lots of physical pats, I don’t know many guys who are this way. But in basketball it’s different – everybody is touching everyone else (both on and off the court!). It’s all part of the game and part of the basketball experience.

Horrified . . . but not surprised.

Many Christians say that we shouldn’t work to change the laws but, rather, we should work to change the hearts of people and good laws will be a natural consequence. The problem with this statement is that the law acts as a schoolmaster to teach people what is right and wrong. This is why we must work to change people’s hearts (evangelism, discipleship, etc.) and we must also work to change the laws (public policy). Laws enacted by men guide the overall feelings and convictions of the general population, for better or worse. After the Roe v. Wade decision, many people who were opposed to abortion began to support it. The law was their schoolmaster; it influenced their decisions on the appropriateness of abortion.

Since it’s legal for women to kill their children minutes before they’re due to be born (in many states), why should women value the life of their child minutes after they’re born? The AP today reported about a woman who threw her child out of her car, abandoning him to a possible death, shortly after his birth. Stories like this one really horrify me, but unfortunately they don’t surprise me. Trends in the law have “taught” this woman a few things about how little society values human life.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A letter from a liberal sister who is very "tolerant" of me.

Here is the text of an e-mail I just got from a very happy, tolerant, liberal friend. She writes in response to an article I wrote for an e-newsletter on the issue of fetal pain and California legislation that would require pregnant women seeking abortions in their third-trimester to receive information on fetal pain and be offered anesthesia for the unborn child before it is killed (i.e., burned by painful saline chemicals or dismembered by a pair of sharp metal forceps).

“You are very unhealthy people with a very demented view of modern medicine. Your ploy of deception is one that you use to allow men to govern the behavior and life choices of women; plain and simple. It is primitive, puritanical thinking that binds you, and it is uncivilized and it is UnAmerican. Keep your insane laws off the bodies of others who do NOT share your view. If you don't understand and oppose abortion, don't have one. If you want a government that takes all rights away from individual citizens and dictates the religious laws of the land, move to a communistic or totalitarianistic (sic) country where you belong - but please, leave our civil rights and the democracy in America alone. Let me guess - but... you SUPPORT the death penalty, no doubt. AND the War in Iraq? Yes... kill the ones you don't like, keep the ones you think you can convert - and make sure that YOU decide who is good and who is not. All is right in the world as long as YOU control the killing... and the bodies and behavior of the women. Ahhhhh.... Jesus must weep as he watches you judge, lie, cheat, deceive, threaten, terrorize and ultimately pass judgement (sic) on your fellow human beings. Keep casting your stones of hate. Your Jesus is watching even though YOU are blind, and if you're lucky, he may forgive you for doing exactly what he asked you NOT to do... judge, control, hate, and oppress your fellow humans.


I love it when illogical people chew me out. It’s good fodder for laughter. In case you want to know, I didn’t reply. The Bible says to not cast your pearls before . . .

The best part of her letter is that she says I "terrorize." In other words she equates me with the 9-11 hijackers and beheading maniacs. Actually, she probably thinks I'm worse than them! Ha.

In other news . . . I’m now four months pregnant and have been feeling my baby move and kick around inside me every day for about a month now. This morning Kevin felt it kick for the first time. I’m very proud to be a defender of human life. And I’m very glad that God’s grace has allowed me to see that eight inches of birth canal shouldn’t determine a person’s humanity, unlike my pro-abortion sisters.

I’m starting to wear maternity clothes now because I’m at the point where, if I don’t, I look like I’ve gained ten pounds. Since I’d rather look pregnant than fat, I’ve resigned myself to maternity attire and, actually, am starting to enjoy that glowing, pregnant look.

Okay, gotta go now. Bye.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

It's about time!

The slutty look is now out. If it’s not out of vogue, it’s definitely now out of the bounds of the law in the Commonwealth of Virginia (if it passes the Senate too). And all I can say is thank goodness!

I realize that there’s a quandary here if you believe in both a person’s right to autonomy, including choosing what type of clothing they will wear, and also in public decency. This is where the libertarian part of me clashes with the conservative part of me. And in the end, the conservative part of me wins.

If a person is to be restricted (the liberals love to do this by mandating seat belts, bike helmets, prohibiting smoking in restaurants, etc.), I’m glad that this time around, it’s for something I could truly appreciate – not having to be constantly subjected to the sight of girls’ thongs and guys’ boxers hanging out of their pants.

On second thought, I can also appreciate not having to inhale someone else’s cigarette smoke while dining in a California restaurant. (It’s illegal to smoke in any restaurant in California – so, here’s a tip, never ask for a “non-smoking table” in California or they’ll look at you like you’re from outer space.) Take note: this is probably the only time I will admit that liberalism, in a small way, has actually benefited my life.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Fat Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras, or so I heard on the news this morning. This prompted a brief internet search on the history behind Mardi Gras. Last year I finally figured out why some Christians choose to commemorate Lent. So, this year, I figure it’s time for me to broaden my horizons and try to make sense of the hoopla that takes place prior to Lent.

One website said that Mardi Gras “is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday as a last ‘fling’ prior to the 40 days of Lent which precede Easter. . . . Festivals like Mardi Gras sprang up throughout parts of Europe as a means to prepare for the coming times of self-denial . . . and is celebrated by eating of rich food, that won't be used during Lent.”

All this research has left me with more questions than before I began. What’s the point of having a period of self-denial if you’re just going to live in revelry leading up to your supposed “denial”? Is there anything redeeming or God-glorifying about Mardi Gras? How can a Christian who participates in Mardi Gras suppose that God is pleased with extreme gluttony preceding a period of fasting? And, lastly, I wonder how much Mardi Gras has become secularized, i.e., other than innocent family celebrations, how can a true Christian actually participate in Mardi Gras with a clear conscience? Has Mardi Gras (almost) exclusively become a time merely for pagans to revel in food and sex? How many people celebrate Mardi Gras and ignore Lent?

The best part about Mardi Gras, I think, is that it means there’s only 47 more days ‘til Easter. Easter is my favorite holiday. (But Kevin would tell you: “Every holiday is her favorite holiday.” I just told him last week that Valentine’s is my favorite holiday. So, go figure.)

Monday, February 07, 2005


Kevin has a friend at work, Braiden, who burned a copy of Shawshank Redemption for us to watch. Apparently Braiden felt like we just had to see this movie. After catching the very tail end of the Super Bowl yesterday, we decided to watch it. It was completely mesmerizing. When I heard it was about a bunch of guys in prison, I thought it would be depressing. (I don’t tend to like prison movies.) But while it had its dark moments, I was surprised at how good and enjoyably suspenseful it was. The character development was excellent and the plot twists were surprising. We were on the edge of our seats . . . until, toward the very end of the movie, the burned copy suddenly wouldn’t play anymore. Apparently the movie either hadn’t been burned all the way on the DVD or there was a flaw in the DVD that wouldn’t let us watch the rest of the film. And, would you know it, it quit working at the pinnacle of excitement and suspense. After trying for several minutes, unsuccessfully, to get the DVD to work, we gave up. It was SO frustrating to quit a movie at the most exciting part. I had all these unanswered questions swirling through my head:

Where did Andy go?
What is under the brick, where he proposed to his wife?
Did he ever get to Mexico?
Did his friend Red ever get out of prison?
Was the corrupt warden ever punished?
Was Andy ever proved innocent?

Sigh . . . so many loose ends. Hopefully Braiden can pull through for us so we can watch the rest of it tonight or tomorrow. I hate that cliff-hanger feeling. I don’t think I’ve had that feeling since my Nancy Drew days. :-/

We weren’t total couch-potatoes yesterday, though. After church (and lunch) we went hiking up in Auburn (about 15 miles east of us). It was a gorgeous, sunny day – perfect for hiking. This time of the year in California is really beautiful – the grass is bright green and all of the buds are starting to come out on the trees and bushes.

On the way back, Kevin veered onto another road to take an alternate route home through some rolling hills. It was fun to take a scenic Sunday-afternoon drive. He then veered a second time when he saw a tunnel: “Ooh, a tunnel!” he exclaimed. “Let’s drive underneath it.” I love it when he’s spontaneous like that. I also love the fact that we can enjoy simple things together; like driving under tunnels. (Of course, I always like to honk the horn whenever I drive under a tunnel, too. Kevin, being the extra-considerate one, obliges me only whenever there are no other cars around.) :-)

Public School Reflections

Saturday I had to attend an Eagle Forum conference with my job. Although I’ve been to jillions of these types of conferences, I actually enjoyed going to this one. I felt like I learned a few things – which is sometimes hard when you’ve been in the movement for a while. (Not that I claim to know it all, of course. It’s just that, after a while, most things at these conferences are fairly familiar.)

One of the most interesting speakers was a pastor from Long Beach, my hometown. He had something interesting to say about public education that I hadn’t thought about before. He said that, although Christians are mostly opposed to public school because of things taught in the classroom, such as homosexuality, sex education in general, theories of evolution taught as factual, etc., the thing that we should be most concerned about is something very subtle: “public schools teach children to succeed without God.” I thought this was an interesting statement because it’s so simple yet so profound. As a pastor, he observed how hard it is to combat the lies and distorted philosophies children are taught in the public schools. “Kids spend 35 hours a week in school and we (the churches) get them for maybe 3 hours a week, at best,” he said. “Add to that all the time kids spend with their peers, watching television, playing video games, etc. This is why we feel like we’re fighting a losing battle for the minds and hearts of our kids.” His solution to the problem: “Take your kids out of public school. And do it now.”

Before I end this post, I would like to say that I’m not the type of person who judges all parents for placing their kids in public schools. I believe that parents have to do what they think is best for their kids, with a pure conscience before God. And I also know that the public schools in California are much worse than elsewhere. But I hope that all Christian parents seriously consider the potential costs before placing their kids in public school.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Death as a Salesman

It’s going to be one of those weird workdays. In a few short moments I’m going to a hearing on “Perspectives on Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill.” In other words, euthanasia. I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve never really been involved in the euthanasia debate. Today I’m just going to take a bunch of notes. I’ll plan to actually testify when it comes before the legislature. I think “right to die” advocates want to use this hearing to convince the various disability groups to come on board with them. From what I’ve heard, disability groups are typically against euthanasia. Duh . . . It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

The biggest problem I have with “voluntary” assisted suicide is that it forces a judgment call on the worth of someone’s life. And when someone is afforded the “right” to decide the value of their own life (and a physician is sanctioned to help to end their life), it won’t be long before society as a whole begins to make judgment calls on the value of other people’s lives. And when you think about how subjective people can be in making judgment calls, it’s rather scary. Shall we bump-off grandma because she’s draining all of our resources (e.g., costing too much money to sustain)?

Or, equally bad, shall we embrace the trend in the Netherlands and euthanize terminally ill infants?

I wholeheartedly agree with Alan Keyes: “When we deny the sanctity of human life at any level, we deny it at all levels.”

Hangin' with the Hood

Last night Kevin was bemoaning the fact that he’s been getting precious little exercise lately. In an effort to mend that predicament, we drove over to the local sports complex so he could play basketball in the gym. I sat in the bleachers to watch. And I think I had more fun than he did. It was hysterical. It seemed like all the guys from the Hood had come out to play. There were all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. The smallest guy was a little kid! (But he was, actually, better than some of the adults.) Some of the guys’ moves were so predictable. This one guy on Kevin’s team always (only) shot from the three-pointer line. The funny thing was that he never made a single shot! Watching all these funny guys made me laugh constantly – throughout the entire game!!

I later told Kevin that I enjoy watching amateur basketball so much better than the NBA because amateurs take things so much more personally. “Okay,” he said, “You’re weird.” But I think we both already know that.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

The rotten thing about working full time and having a house is that things like laundry and general housework have to be done in the evenings or on the weekends. Although I’ve made my choice to work full time until the baby comes, and then I plan to work (write) part time from home, I still envy women who can stay home more often during the day. I wish I could just relax with Kevin in the evenings instead of feeling like there’s always things to do (boring things, like scrubbing the floors). And that’s what I did last night after dinner and dishes: I swept and vigorously mopped the entire downstairs (all our flooring downstairs is tile and wood laminate). While I did this, Kevin worked on our taxes. But I did interrupt him once to help me with the chicken.

Okay, I have a confession to make. I’ve always been grossed-out to touch raw meat. I know that sounds really immature and childish, but it’s true. (At least I’m an honest person!) Since being married, I’ve greatly overcome my grossed-out-ness (is that a word?). I don’t even use rubber gloves anymore, which is a major accomplishment.

Last night I prepared a whole chicken to place in the crock pot for dinner tonight. This is the first time I’ve bought a whole chicken. Usually I buy one already cut up or (most often) boneless, skinless chicken breast. After unwrapping the chicken, I realized that I would have to reach inside of it to pull out the giblets. Suddenly the room started to spin about me. It was too much for me to handle. So I called Kevin to come to my rescue. He rolled his eyes, reached in the chicken with his bare hand, and did the job. [Sigh of relief!] It’s so nice to have a husband who doesn’t share my weaknesses.

Later on in the evening, I started feeling a lot of pain in my lower abdomen (probably from all the vigorous mopping!). Kevin told me to lay down with the remote control and he would finish the ironing, which was my last project for the night. After some channel surfing, I went back and forth between the Food Network and the home decorating/ home improvement shows.

A: “This will be my downfall, when I’m home more often. I’m afraid I’ll become addicted to these shows and watch them all the time.”
K: “It’s better than soap operas, I guess.”
A: “Maybe I can make a rule for myself: I will allow myself to watch these shows only when I’m doing the ironing. That’s a great idea, isn’t it? [snicker] Then you’ll always have your shirts pressed.”
K: “Yeah, I’ll probably always have everything pressed. My underwear too!”

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"There are so few true surprises in life."

On Sunday this cute gal (Michelle), who attends my parents’ church, came up to congratulate me on my pregnancy. Although I don’t know her very well, she’s always been very warm and friendly toward me whenever I’ve visited my parents’ home church. (Interesting fact: She also used to be a nanny for the Seinfields. As in Jerry Seinfield.) Anyway . . . the first question that people always ask me, almost without fail, when they discover I’m pregnant is whether or not we’ll find out the gender of the child via ultrasound. When Michelle asked this question, I told her that, yes, we probably would. “Oh, don’t!” she exclaimed. When I asked her why she felt so strongly, she said, “You know, there are so few true surprises in life and this is one of them.”

As I type this blog entry, two days later, I can still see Michelle’s blonde head shaking, her little brow wrinkling, and her bright eyes shining, as she gave me her opinion.

The reasons I thought we’d find out the gender in advance are probably due to the fact that I’ve been enamored by the thought of this child and, being impatient, want to find out as much as possible – and as soon as possible. But in the past few days, since giving Michelle’s words further thought, I think I’m inclined to agree with her. Why spoil the surprise? Ultimately, who really cares if it’s a boy or a girl? We certainly don’t. We’ll love it regardless of its gender. (Later on I found out that Kevin never really wanted to find out the gender – but he didn’t tell me this because he didn’t want to disappoint me or make it an issue. So, now we’re both happy!)

Speaking of which . . . I’ve heard of some guys who just want to have a son, a “junior,” who will be like them, play ball with them, and carry on the family name. While I can understand some of this sentiment, I think guys should be careful to not make their girls feel unloved. My dad was always so good to reassure his three daughters (now four) that he’d rather have us than a dozen sons. (Maybe this was due to the fact that my sister Betsy enjoys working on cars, mowing lawns, and playing ice hockey? After all, who needs a son when you have Betsy!) When, after ten years of not having children, my parents discovered my mom was pregnant again, my dad sat us down and told us: “You know, a lot of people are saying to me, ‘Gregg, this time you just might get a son.’ But I just want to let you girls know that I’d be the happiest man in the world if I had another daughter just like you.” That really meant a lot to me. And one of the reasons that, today, I have a healthy respect for men in general is that God gave me the most wonderful dad in the world. I think this world would be significantly improved if every little girl had a loving dad.