Brain Freeze x2

I was asked to run the church’s brand new audio-visual equipment for our second Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (more about that here — The Christmas Party).  I practiced, and I practiced, and I marveled over the state-of-the-art equipment and the primo presentation software.  I knew what I was doing and I was all set to go.  Sylvia had stressed to me how important it was to stay focused, and I already knew a bit about that because I often ran the A/V stuff at Heritage UMC in Vegas.

I was diligent.  Everything from “Welcome” to Pastor’s sermon went smooth as silk.  During Pastor’s sermon the screen goes dark, and I managed to listen to the message and still be ready for my cue to bring the Nicene Creed up for Communion.  After the Nicene Creed, when Communion was actually being served and the music team was playing, the screen goes dark again.

When it was time for the screen to come up again, I was Janey-on-the spot.  As is common in many churches, we ended the Candlelight service in candlelight and singing Silent Night.  It is a wonderful tradition and I love it.  Despite being at the controls I stood and sang the first verse along with everyone else in the sanctuary.  As singers we moved on to the second verse, but the screen did not change!  I frowned.  What on earth was wrong with the system?  Not now, I thought.  And then it dawned on me that the only thing wrong with the equipment was that the operator hadn’t pushed the “next” button.  Oops.  That’s me! PUSH!

Sunday Sylvia was still off-island visiting her family, and the Pastor’s wife was to operate the machine.  We’d trained together and before the service she went over everything with me again.  She was set and I knew she would do a good job because she’s one of those competent people that make the most challenging things seem easy.

The “Welcome” screen came up right on time and remained up during the pre-service messages.  Then the praise music started.  Everyone stood, the Praise Band started the first song … and the welcome sign remained on the screen.  I looked over my shoulder.  No one was in the audio-visual booth.  Oh-oh.

I figured that the pastor’s wife, because she is the pastor’s wife, was called away on an urgent duty and hadn’t gotten back in time.  I stood and made my way to the back of the church.  Halfway down the isle I see the PW standing off to the side at the back.  She flashed me a bright smile and waved.

I know I looked at her like she was nuts. I pointed at the screen where the welcome sign still glowed.  She did the Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” Face Slap and then ran for the A/V booth.  I chuckled my way back to my seat.  After church was over we both decided it wasn’t so bad not being perfect if we could be not-perfect together.

Apple Picking

building
The orchard is quite old.

tall grass
It sits in a field of tall grass.

few apples
At first we feared there were too few apples …

apple dew
Although they looked lovely covered in morning dew.

Amoeba's apple
Amoeba picked one of the first apples — and part of the tree, too.

tree climbing
Soon we were tree climbing …

apple picking
… and apple picking.

apple beauty contest
An apple beauty contest was organized.

crisp & juicy
And a winner was chosen!

bounty
Finally the pick up (and our tummies) were full of apples.

back to the boat
So we headed back to the sailboat.

Flashback Friday ~ Toys, Toys, Toys

This is the Saturday, Way Late Night Edition of Flashback Friday
brought to you by Quilldancer.

Flashback Friday is the brain child of Linda from Mocha With Linda. This is the meme that takes us back in time to the days of our youth. Linda says, This meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been! This weeks Linda wants us to share our memories of our favorite toys.

What toys do you remember from your childhood? What did you like to do to entertain yourself? Did you mostly play inside or outside? Did you ride a bike all over the neighborhood? Play baseball in the backyard? Basketball in the driveway? Did you have to “get permission” to play at a friend’s house, or were you and your friends back and forth between houses all the time? If you had siblings, was there a distinction between your toys and theirs? Did you “inherit” any toys from older siblings? What were the “fad” or “must-have” toys of your generation? Did you parents buy them? Was there a toy you always wanted and never got to have?

Toys! I had more toys than any one kid could possibly need. I don’t ever remember wanting anything I didn’t have. Most of my friends didn’t have half the stuff I did.

Generally if I was inside, I was reading. Toys were for outside. Even my Barbies — of which I had eleven if you count Midge, Francine, Skipper, Alan, Christy, & Ken. I also had the Corvette and Barbie’s Dream House. I had a G.I. Joe doll as well, so my fashion doll count was really twelve.

I also had a whole passel of Troll Dolls. I loved them. I kept them all over my room and carried one or two or twenty with me every where I went. That was a very coveted collection. All of my friends wanted it. One day one of them stole it. Gram and I were gone all day. When we returned home I went in my bedroom and the window sill was empty. All of my Troll dolls were gone.  All of them.  I hadn’t taken a single one with me.  So were the two cigar boxes full of their clothes which I kept on a shelf in my closet. Nothing else was taken.

My very most favorite toy of all was my bicycle. Most of you know my Coolest Kid story about the day I rode my bicycle off the cliff. I loved my bicycle and owned a series of them until I was 24 years old and moved to a place with straight up and down hills that were hard enough to walk.  Riding really wasn’t an option.

As for visiting friends, in the Summer I pretty much had the run of my neighborhood.  I knew my boundaries — from LaCrosse to Emma and Government Way to Lincoln Way, it was a 5 street by 5 street grid.  I was free to roam that area at will but I had to report home whenever the mill whistle blew, which was 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m.  In the Summer I was free to go back outside after dinner.  Then my acceptable territory shrunk to our block and I had to go in when the street lights came on.

I lived within a stone’s throw of the school yard, so I had a baseball field, basket ball court, tether ball poles, teeter-totter, slide, swing set and monkey bars on hand at all times.   My friends and I all had clamp on rollerskates and we skated on the playground backtop.  I also had stilts, and a pogo stick.

Despite a few bad patches here and there, I had a pretty blessed childhood.

Flashback Friday ~ Two Weeks Late

This is the Saturday, Two Weeks Late Edition of Flashback Friday
brought to you by Quilldancer.

Flashback Friday is the brain child of Linda from Mocha With Linda.  This is the meme that takes us back in time to the days of our youth. Linda says, This meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been! This weeks Linda wants us to share our childhood reading experiences.

Did you like to read when you were a child? What were your favorite genres, books or series? Did you read books because of the author or because of the title/plot? Did you own many books? Did your school distribute the Scholastic book orders (or some other type)? Did you visit the library often? Was there a summer reading program when you were young, and did you participate? Do you have any particular memories of your school libraries? What were your favorites and least favorites among the classics (the ones high school English teachers assign!)? If you didn’t like reading, do you like it more today than you did then?

I used to sit on the big red chair-com-foot stool in Gram’s kitchen and read aloud to her while she cooked dinner. It is one of my more treasured childhood memories. My favorite books were by Dr. Seuss and I belonged to the club. When the books arrived every month I couldn’t wait to tear them out of the box and read them. My favorites were Hop on Pop and Green Eggs & Ham.

One Summer day when I was six I asked Gram to take me to the library. She had cookies to bake for some stupid charity bake sale (my 6 year old opinion) so I snuck out of the house and went by myself. It was a two mile hike — a big undertaking for a six year old. Since I wasn’t allowed to cross streets alone, I had to wait on corners for other people to come, then I walked across with them.

When I got to the library the steps were very high, the door was very heavy and I had to go to the bathroom. I stood outside pulling on the door — couldn’t budge it — and finally a man came and opened it. I ran straight to the bathroom. I couldn’t reach the cord to pull the light on, and I was afraid to shut the door because it was too dark. A lady came and helped me. Finally I climbed the stairs to the second story of the library (the children’s section) and there were all my friends arranged in straight rows on pristine shelves. They were waiting to take me magical places. I grabbed one, climbed into the window seat and went fast asleep.

I woke to my Gram shaking me.  She was a bit upset.  It seems she thought I was missing.  I wasn’t.  I knew where I was all along.  Grown ups are strange.

I loved the scholastic book orders.  Gram almost always let me order a 50 cent book (Can you believe they were that cheap?) and occasionally I got to order a more expensive book, too.  My favorite Scholastic Book was, “The Wednesday Witch.”  I wish I had a copy of it now, but I can never find one anywhere and I don’t remember the author.

Our school library was not a fun place to visit.  We weren’t allowed to talk or whisper or breathe or think.  Whatever book we touched first was the one we had to check out.  We had to keep it for a whole week no matter how fast we read it or how much we hated it.  Our school librarian certainly knew nothing about nurturing readers.

I don’t think I was ever assigned a book in high school that I didn’t end up loving.  Pride and Prejudice, The Old Man and The Sea, A Tale of Two Cities, 1984, I loved them all and others, too.  I even enjoyed the Shakespeare plays once I got used to the language.

In the 11th grade my honors English teacher gave us a list of 100 books and told us he wanted analytical papers on 5 of them.  I looked the list over and realized I had read a good many of the books.  I wrote all five papers the first week and turned them in at once.  Mr. Isitt was impressed.  He took the list and talked with me about all of the books I had read — then he chose 4 I hadn’t read and assigned them, along with 4 more papers. Those books were The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by far the most difficult books on the list.  I still finished them before the semester ended, so he assigned Watership Down.  No one else read that many books that semester.  It never occurred to me that it wasn’t fair and I didn’t think to complain.  I loved the books — all of them.

As for today — I really don’t have to tell you how I feel about reading do I?

Watchin’ Banana

In last week’s Friday Flashback, Linda asked about our bedtime rituals, and I was too tired to conjure up any really good memories.  I just wrote a ho-hum post and made do.  Since then I have resurrected a memory I’d like to share.  I may have shared this in the past, but if so, I couldn’t find it.  I know this story not from my own memory, but because my grandmother told it to me:

When I was very small — I had to be about 3 since we still lived in the big red house in Spokane — I was always sent to bed when Bonanza came on TV.  Apparently I really liked the show, which I called, Banana, and I would cry and pitch a fit.

My brother liked the show, too.  He would sneak out of his bed and sit at the top of the stairs where he could peek around the corner at the TV set.  Apparently I joined him at least once in this illicit TV watching and managed to fall asleep and roll down the stairs. In so doing I put an end to any and all late night TV watching by my siblings or myself, because my dad got a huge mirror and hung it over the TV set so he could watch the staircase and the TV at the same time.