Archives for Nov,2014

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I’m Thankful for John Cusack and His Boom Box

Earlier this week, Karl and I were outside and needed to get Lucy and Peter’s attention. They were just inside the front door sitting on the living room couch. So, we did what any timesaving, energy-efficient parents would do. We texted them and told them to come to the front window.

Afterwards, I looked at Karl sadly and said, “Gone are the days when you had to throw pebbles at someone’s window to get their attention.” I proceeded to tell him about the time in high school when my best friend, Summer, came to my house early on a Saturday morning and threw pebbles at my second-story bedroom window. That weekend, she was going on a holiday with her parents and needed to get back her rollerblades that I had borrowed. This was circa 1994 and neither of us had cellphones. And she was conscientious enough not to call the house that early in the morning and wake anyone else up. So, instead, she did a Summer-Sort-of-Thing and came calling to my window with small stones. I woke up to the sun shining in my window and Summer on the ground looking up, wishing and hoping I would hear her. Thankfully, I did, and she was able to quickly and quietly retrieve her rollerblades.

It was a simple gesture, to be sure. Yet, in its simplicity, a magical memory was created. Unlike the time where I had asked Kathy to pick me up on her way down south to Travis’ house. Everyone we knew was going over there for a party and I wasn’t old enough yet to drive. Kathy and I were the only ones of our friends who lived north of Hwy 285. So, frequently, she swung by my house on the way to just about anywhere and picked me up and gave me a ride.

On that particular night, I had a hankering to listen to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” as loudly as possible. It was a rare evening when no one else was in my home; my mom and dad were out, and so was my brother, Nathan. Amazingly, there wasn’t anyone to tell me to turn my music down.

So really, what better way to preen oneself for an evening out than listening to Madonna at full volume?

Unfortunately, when Kathy did arrive, she knocked on my front door, banged on the downstairs bathroom window and peeked her head over the back fence. She heard the music, but could not get my attention. That would have been a nice time for her and I both to have had cell phones and for texting to have existed. Because, it wasn’t until much later that evening, long after which I thought she should have been by, that I turned Madonna down and heard the phone ring. She had driven all the way out to Travis’ house and used his home phone to contact me and let me know she’d already been by. After I apologized profusely, Kathy graciously came all the way back to pick me up. I promised her that Madonna and I would quietly await her arrival this time.

Whether by magic or mishap, I’m grateful I grew up in a time where meetings were in person. Where people came and knocked on your front door to tell you they were there to pick you up. Where you had to walk to a friend’s house and crash on their couch and watch Soul Asylum sing Runaway Train on MTV because your mom thought you didn’t get out of practice for another two more hours. Where you dropped by the mall just to see if the boy you liked was working in the food court. Where on a regular basis you surprised or were surprised by someone’s presence.

Say Anything - 1989So, I guess if I had to Say Anything, it would be that John Cusack’s character got it right when below an open window, he held a boom box over his head and in one iconic image, conveyed something that we might never read in a text or even hear in a phone call. His presence, just like yours and mine, bears an indescribable, yet poignant message that can’t be communicated any other way except face to face.


Sunday Specials: Sexuality, Mommy Wars, Parenting and Mockingjay

It’s been awhile since I shared a few #SundaySpecials with all of you. So here are some good reads for those interested in a few culturally relevant topics.

Soapbox Warning: On Jian Ghomeshi and the Acceptiblity of Sexualized Violence Against Women By Sarah Bessey

I’m a feminist because I follow Jesus, my feminism is shaped by my discipleship to Jesus. And so yes, I dare to have an opinion precisely because of that distinction.I’ve grappled with writing about sexuality on several occasions – mainly because I think the Church has often gotten it so wrong. Over the years, I’ve taken issue with everything from purity culture to modesty rules to how we treat those of us who not only engaged in premarital sex but dared to enjoy it as ‘damaged goods.’ I’m never one to argue for repression or shaming as healthy sexuality, let alone someone who places one individual in the relationship (typically the man) as the sun around which our mutual sexuality should orbit. I rarely fall neatly on any one ‘side’ – I’m often too conservative for liberals and too liberal for conservatives.

There’s Nothing Wrong with the Mommy Track by Rachel J Simmons

Our culture sings in only two keys about how successful women manage motherhood and work: either you’re driving a hard line to the C-suite, parking the crib in your corner office, or you’re shredding the Mommy track. But what about those of us who are still working hard, and who live and work somewhere between the two? I love being a mom, and I also love (and can’t afford not to) work.

How Baby Boomers Ruined Parenting Forever by Sarah Kendzior

In America, today’s parents have inherited expectations they can no longer afford.The vigilant standards of the helicopter parents from the baby boomer generation have become defined as mainstream practice, but they require money that the average household earning $53,891 per year— and struggling to survive in an economy in its seventh year of illusory “recovery”— does not have. The result is a fearful society in which poorer parents are cast as threats to their own children. As more families struggle to stay afloat, the number of helicopter parents dwindles—but their shadow looms large.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Review by Jeffrey Overstreet

I hate the word “relevant,” but for lack of a better term, I can’t imagine a more relevant dystopic vision for today’s fantasy-saturated audiences than this one, or a series I would be happier to see young people reading, watching, and discussing. Our futures will be shaped by the capacity of rising generations to challenge and test what their screens and gadgets tell them about the world, and The Hunger Games is a parable for them, about them, summoning them to demand freedom, human rights, and the truth.

What caught your attention around the web this month? Feel free to leave a few words, links or funny photos in the comments!


If Car Doors Could Talk*

My Happy Hour tonight consists of a 16 oz. decaf latte and pecan bar at Fix Coffeehouse in the ‘hood listening to my friend Natalie Brown perform.  Admittedly, it is a very pleasant way to spend a Friday night.  Turns out my Seattle neighborhood has much to offer: multiple coffeehouses, tap houses, a giant lake, the best karaoke in town, fro-yo2, plus more running, biking, hiking and overall fitness stores than you would think necessary.  It is also a prime spot to have your car stolen.

So, nearly a month ago, Lucy and I went out to Target on a Friday night to get a few random things.  It was a girl’s-night-out since Peter was at a sleep over and Karl doesn’t think Target nearly as hip as it really is.  But Lucy shares my affinity for oohing and ahhing at all that the big box store offers.  We came back around 8:30 PM and parked the car in the church parking lot right next to our house.  It is not unusual for us to leave our car parked there.  Our driveway backs out to an arterial.  Traffic makes it nearly impossible to allow us to exit our driveway at anytime other than the middle of the night.  So, it is a lot easier to just park next door so we can get out easier.

The next night, Lucy and I went out again for a quick jaunt to grab the ingredients for dinner that we forgot to get while oohing at ahhing at unnecessary things the night before at Target.  When we cornered the church parking lot and noticed our car was not where we left it, we imagined Karl had taken and moved it somewhere.  After quickly confirming that was not the case, there was one other alternative conclusion – that the church didn’t like us parking it there and finally, after getting fed up, decided to have it towed.  A quick email later and alas, that was not the case.  Our car had indeed been stolen.

We called the police department to make the report (this, by the way, is an important step if you find yourself the victim of grand theft auto; if your car is illegally parked or caught in a separate crime while not in your possession, you could be charged if you haven’t reported that someone else happens to be joy riding your vehicle without your permission).  An agent came by later that evening.  He asked a few questions including if there had been anything of value left in the car.  I chuckled and said, “Not unless bad mix tapes count.”  He tried to maintain his professionalism, but based on his sideways grin, I think he was rather amused with my quick-witted reply.  Nevertheless he composed himself and indicated that likely the car would turn up in a neighborhood within a couple of weeks and to keep them informed if we hear otherwise.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, 10 days later, we get a call that our car had, indeed, showed up in a nearby neighborhood.  It appeared to be in driving condition and we were instructed to go and claim it.  Karl and I hopped in our other vehicle and anxiously drove about 5 miles away and discovered our beauty parked in an upscale neighborhood near the University of Washington.  We held our breath and hoped that there had been no damage done that we would have to pay to repair.

To our relief, though the battery was dead, after charging, the car started right up.  The window that had been left down wasn’t broken, just not rolled up.  And, it still had the full tank of gas I had filled it with earlier on the day it was stolen.  Once reassured that we would be able to get the car home we began investigating, or rather admiring the contents left in the car.

A large pack of double bubble, juice boxes, and applesauce squeezers were the primary remains.  Something had also been thrown out the window and was splattered all over the side of the car.  While it looked like diluted paint, it was likely something else as most of it has been washed off in the rain.  Also included in the paraphernalia were a baseball glove and hat, an empty Ball jar, a syringe, and the most peculiar: a Flip video camera.

Juice boxes?  Really?Gotta have your Double Bubble when stealing a car.Creepy - is that the glove you use when you inject something?


Paint?Karl and I both looked at each other and scratched our heads, trying desperately to figure out how our car had been stolen by what appeared to be hungry toddlers who played baseball, driven a few miles, only to be abandoned in a family friendly neighborhood with the window left down and something running that drained the battery.  Not quite able to make that picture add up to something sensible, we took the Flip video inside and begged it to have answers.  Instead, it left us with more questions.  It was a 30 second video of the thief capturing their feet walking up to our car, using a flashlight to inspect inside, then it shuts off…

With this as the only data, may you create your own fictional tale to share in the comment section that might get us to the truth of what happened; or at the very least continue the wonder and amusement.

*Thank you, reader Kate Boyd, for the title of this post.