Laughter Road

Thursday, April 26, 2007


1. I just read a job ad for an archivist for the Blue Man Group. You know, the men who do the shows with their faces painted blue? How cool of a job would that be? Moreover, how VERY cool is it that they actually understood that they needed an archivist to organize all that stuff, and not farm it out to an organizational person.

2. I bought a cute skirt from Target a couple of weeks ago, and wore it twice. Then the zipper broke. Actually, the zipper didn’t break, it refused to work….while I was still in it. The waistband was fitted so I couldn’t just slip it off. I discovered the problem while I was in the Old Navy dressing room—alas, I had to leave my items behind because I was trapped in my clothes. I called Bret for help (don’t worry, Mama, you don’t need to stop reading) and we stood in his kitchen as he worked on the zipper for a quarter hour with furrowed brow and much sighing. It would come down an inch, but no more. He applied soap, force, threats and finally offered scissors. I declined, because then what would I have worn home? I finally got out of it later that night, but only by cutting myself out. Goodbye, cute skirt.

3. I have been working on a collection that includes a lot of photos of dead people. I have learned to identify whether or not they are dead American soldiers or dead Japanese soldiers simply by examining the kind of leggings they are wearing (wrapped vs. buttoned). This is necessary because uniforms that are coated in sand and dried blood lose most of their identifying characteristics, and the faces are usually too far away to make out. This job has added weird new skill sets to my resume. I can differentiate between Howitzers and mortars, I know the troop structure that existed from WWI to Vietnam, and have even touched sand that came all the way from the beach at Iwo Jima on the day the Marines landed. Cool, eh? The archival question is—does each grain get its own number? (that’s an archivist joke, its ok if you don’t get it).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique soul like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I used to have priest who found a lot of wisdom in children’s books. So much wisdom, in fact, that he would usually recite one during each sermon he preached. Over the course of the 4-5 months that I heard him preach, we got stories from Beatrix Potter, the woman who wrote the Peter Cottontail stories, Dr. Seuss, a particular favorite of this priest’s, and Shel Silverstein, who wrote the famous story about the Giving Tree. I actually never heard him preach a sermon without hearing him recite a story (sometimes just the pertinent passages, but often we’d get the whole thing), though I heard him preach far less times than others that knew him.

I think this priest had discovered that some of the most important life lessons can be found in the stories we read to children. One of my favorite stories is one by an author named Sandra Boynton… “Consider Love, Its Moods and Many Ways.” I could love the book just for its illustrations of hippos and tigers, penguins and polar bears, but the text tells about the different types of love that we encounter every day…passionate love, when we’re so wrapped up in another person that we have trouble noticing the world around us…narcissistic love, when we’re really more interested in ourselves than others, love that is simple, love that is serious and complicated, love that makes sense and love that doesn’t, love that is quiet and love that is extravagant.

But the biggest lesson that Boynton presents in this story is the power of the kind of love that comes as a gift…love that has no strings attached. Love given just because someone else was thinking about you and wanted you to know it. Love that encourages the giver and the receiver. It encourage the giver with the excitement of finding something or doing something that you know someone will like and appreciate, and then having the means to actually do it, and not just think about it. The receiver of the gift is encouraged by the understanding that they matter to someone—they are important to someone. This kind of love is called Agape. It seeks the good in other people and tries to point it out—to say, “I noticed that you are amazing and I just wanted you to know!” It willingly makes sacrifices, and it seeks to give something rather than receive something. It keeps loving even when the other person does not respond; it loves without asking for anything in return.

Before Consider Love became popular as a Valentine’s Day present, it wasn’t so easy to find. For about 2 years I would buy extra copies whenever I could find them, because I gave them away as fast as I accumulated them. Not just because the book was clever and funny and sweet, but because it managed to sum up what I didn’t always remember to say to the people I loved—that I think about you daily, that you are special to me, even if I sometimes forget to say it.

Agape love is a love of action—it requires more than just thought and intention. Shel Silverstein’s book “The Giving Tree” describes a love of action. As the child of former hippie parents, I heard this story a lot as I grew up. The story is about a tree who loved a boy, and tried to supply what he needed…when he was a child, the tree supplied a place to play and a shady place to rest. When the boy grew into a teenager and wanted money, the tree gave him her apples to sell. When he wanted to build a house she gave him her branches for boards. When he wanted a boat she gave him her trunk for the mast. Each gift made the boy happy, but it also made the tree happy. At the end of the story the boy comes back, but by now he is an old man. The tree tells him that she has nothing left to give him, she is only a stump, but it turns out this is exactly what the old man needs—a place to rest. In the same way, we can never be sure what someone else may need at a particular moment. We offer agape in the hope that it will make someone happy, but there is always the possibility that it means much more to them than we could ever imagine. Sometimes an act of agape may take that very form—providing a safe place for someone to rest, to collect themselves, to get away from the noise of the world. This weekend, we hope that we, as a staff, have provided not only good food and music and laughter until your sides hurt, but also a safe place to rest—to be yourself, to open up, to retreat from the world. A safe place to say those things that you may be afraid to say anywhere else. Hopefully, you can go back to your busy lives refreshed and encouraged, with the knowledge that you can rely on all of us to continue to provide that safe place for you.

Most of you have only been thinking about Vocare for a couple of weeks, but the staff has been preparing for this weekend for much longer. We have been thinking about you and praying for you, even before we knew who you were. When we did learn your names, we began preparing in other ways. We made nametags and decorated tables and cooked a lot of food. And we prepared tokens for each of you, to show you how much you mean to us. Receive these things with the knowledge of the love behind them.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Krispy Kreme donuts have 5 points, but I ate one today anyway.

I also discovered that Bear meat has 2 points per oz. I wonder why they only listed the values for one ounce, when everything else is listed in a whole serving?

Sigh. yes. I'm doing Weight Watchers. I don't weigh any more that I usually do, which isn't a small number anyway, but there's a good chance that there will be a lot of pictures taken of me sometime in the not-so-distant future, and I'd like to be able to look back on those and not spend the whole time thinking about how fat I look.

First week I lost 3 lbs! I don't think I did as well this week, because I went to Vocare at Bratton Green and they feed us like its going out of style. I did pretty well and didn't eat everything that was offered, usually just meals and stayed away from the snacks, but I still think I went over my allotted points each day.

My friend Chelsea had just started the nutrisystem diet that week, too, so we made a plan that the next time we see each other we're both going to be 20 lbs thinner. Since I think she'll actually make it, that gives me some incentive to not let her down.

I've got a post about the talk I gave at Vocare, and I'll try to get it up tomorrow. And if you still read this blog, leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

random bits

1. At a press conference about the forgotten war on drugs, Mr. Bush said, "The United States has a responsibility in the fight against drugs," Mr. Bush said, "and one major responsibility is to encourage people to use less drugs."
I looked askance at my car radio when this came over the local NPR station. Doesn't he mean, "encourage people to NOT use drugs"?

2. I watched this documentary on YouTube, about a family in Kansas that hates more than I ever thought possible. And I regularly work with materials concerning Hitler and the Holocaust, so I don't say that lightly.

It's here. Watch all 7 parts, if you can.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Drama Nerd
Social Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

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