Friday, March 27, 2009

We Should Bottle This Stuff And Sell It

I have never been a fan of static electricity. It makes your clothes stick in places they shouldn't, makes your hair stick up where it should be lying down, causes your husband's socks to disappear into your flannel pajamas and your cats' fur to adhere to every surface of the house except the dust rag.

It can cause pain, especially if you grew up with a brother who liked to slide along the carpet in stocking feet and then shock you with the electric current he had managed to work up, or if you married someone who likes to slide along the carpet in stocking feet and then shock you (or the cats) with the electric current he manages to work up.

Despite this, static electricity has never been anything more than an annoyance. I mean, it's not like you can blow out entire electronic devices with one ill-timed slide and shock maneuver, right?

Hubby and I were playing Guitar Hero recently when some friends stopped by. Now, some people have video game addictions. I am not one of them, but I do enjoy myself a little Guitar Hero from time to time. It's just the right mix of mindless and enjoyable. It's not so hard that it requires more brain power than I have at the end of the day, but it's not so easy that it can't hold my interest. It is more expensive than your average video game, but really, can you put a price on hours of mindless entertainment? That's right. I think not.

Anyway, the day that these friends stopped by happened to be one of those static electricity days. You know, when, despite your best efforts to not generate static electricity, you still manage to shock everything you touch? One of them wanted to try his luck at Guitar Hero, so I handed him my Guitar. I say handed because it was still about 10 degrees outside and I refused to get out from under my electric blanket, so he had to get up from where he was sitting and walk a couple of steps to get the guitar. That's the kind of host I am, for those of you thinking about visiting, by the way.

When he grabbed the guitar it produced the loudest shock of static electricity I have ever heard. But it didn't just produce sound. It produced damage. That one little bolt of static electricity completely fried the guitar controller?!???!

Static Electricity: 1, Guitar Hero: 0. Proof once again that you just can't make this stuff up. And that Guitar Hero was overpriced to begin with.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

California Dreamin'

I've been doing a lot of that lately considering we just hit sub zero temperatures in MARCH. March is supposed to be the time when the birds start to come back and you can begin to feel the hint of spring in the air. It is not the time to have to dig the ice scraper back out from the pile of stuff its become buried under in the back of the car to chip away at the 1 inch layer of ice on your windshield at 8AM in the morning because there's no way your defroster is going to melt through that in the 25 minutes its going to take you to get to work.

But I digress. I really meant to tell you about our recent trip to CA. My boss was nice enough to send myself and the middle school youth minister to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress at the end of February. When I moved to Minnesota, I always dreamed about being able to take a business trip back home, but never thought it would actually happen. The Congress was a four day seminar on Catholic Religious Education. It was awesome. Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics, was the keynote speaker on Saturday, and Thursday I was able to get to hear Mark Hart of Lifeteen speak twice. Plus on Friday Matt Maher played at lunch...just awesome. It was the first time since I've started this new job that I actually was someplace where I could get fed spiritually--that doesn't even happen at church much anymore, because I now attend church at the place I work and rather than being able to worship I'm constantly worried about worshipping right because I know people are watching...

But I digress again. Anyway, Congress was awesome, and we were able to be in CA for a week, so we were able to spend some quality time with friends and family. Did I mention this trip also happened to coincide with that unfortunate milestone birthday so many of us are celebrating this year? It was perfect timing. The first day we got there, we were able to hang out with my parents most of the day. My uncle joined us later that afternoon, and then we went out to dinner that night. Then Hubby and I went to the OC to check into the hotel my parents and uncle generously got for us (something about a concern that it wouldn't be appropriate for a high school youth minister to arrive at a religious convention with a severe case of road rage after having dealt with the southern CA traffic for the past two hours). The hotel was awesome--it had a huge koi pond in the center, and we got to see this little guy each morning at breakfast:

The next day was the first day of the conference, and I was able to meet Zack, a friend from high school, for lunch and get caught up. That night Hubby took me to a tea room in Orange for my birthday, and we joined my parents, brother and uncle at local Cheesecake Factory that night for dessert. My uncle got me a sympathy card for my birthday. A sympathy card. Those of you who know how old I am will understand the humor in this.

The next day Hubby and I had some time to ourselves after I was done at Congress, and we went out to dinner and then to see He's Just Not That Into You. It was cute. The following day it was more Congress and then a b-day celebration with extended family and friends at a local El Torito. Hubby and my mom did a great job of planning it, and it was really nice to see everyone. The next morning was the last day of Congress, and then Hubby and I had dinner with my family and longtime family friends. The next day was my b-day gift from Hubby: a day at Glen Ivy with a good friend. I love Glen Ivy. For those of you who have never been, it's an outdoor spa with different mineral baths and pools that are supposed to help you relax and with your skin. They have services there too, so of course we got massages. It was awesome, and over way too soon. We hung out again with my parents that night, and I met up with a girl that I haven't seen since we got married for coffee later. She was in high school when I was a youth ministry volunteer, and it was really awesome to see her as a grown 20-something-year-old woman. The next day, our final full day in CA, Hubby wanted to drive up to the mountains to get some pictures. I'm not really sure why we chose to go someplace with snow when we were in CA to escape snow, but it was fun. Here are some pictures:

That night we met some friends for dinner, and then caught the red eye back. It was a great trip, and over way too soon, but we were glad to be able to see everyone.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's Been Awhile...

Wow. More than a month and no blog post. It feels like I was just updating this blog yesterday. Where has the time gone?

Here's an update on what's been going on for those of you who still stop by. February, like the previous four months at work, was crazy. We had our weekend retreat and another day retreat in addition to all the other regular youth ministry activities. So preparing for those while trying not to lose control of everything else was hectic.

Work has been frustrating. We have a large faith formation program, and the students preparing for Confirmation are required to do a reflective paper on their service projects, have an interview and write a letter to the pastor. This is all supposed to be done by the end of this month. Hardly any of them have bothered to do this yet despite multiple mailings with reminders and repeated announcements during class sessions and parent meetings. Sometimes I spend more time babysitting teens and their parents than I do ministering to youth and today it has just been getting to me. It's not even so much the fact that they haven't bothered to take care of this yet as it is the reason behind it--they don't care. And not just the teens--the parents as well. Why would you sign your teen up for faith formation if you don't even go to church on a regular basis (or, for many of them, at all)? What kind of message is that sending? We have this amazing God and they're too wrapped up in hockey and all their other commitments to even notice. It makes me sad sometimes, and I don't know what to do about it.

We did just get back from a great week in California though. I did have to work for part of it, but we were able to spend some quality time with friends and family. The next post will have the details and hopefully some pictures, so stay tuned.