Friday, February 13, 2009

Christian guitars?

christian guitarsI had to laugh when I saw this ad...

It is my belief that guitars are neither Christian nor Buddhist nor Atheist. Guitars don't have souls. (Some would argue with me on that point.)

It's the guitar player that has a spiritual life. (And it's the guitar player that adds life to a guitar - or music.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The all powerful hospital

I was greatly amused at this local hospital's claim - their ER can handle any injury or illness.

I have been expecting a swarm of terminal patients to arrive on their doorstep to be cured of that illness that has been plaguing them.

(Wouldn't the word "most" have worked better there? Where's any humility?)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cheap coffee and trains

Chock Full O' NutsI took a train from Washington DC to New York City when I was in elementary school. The fun was intense enough to make it a very memorable experience, even these thousands of year later. We visited the UN, took a bus through Times Square - and just the train ride alone was great. It was a also a wonderful time with just my dad.

Cheap coffee? Well, my parents drank a lot of Chock full o' Nuts coffee when I was a kid. And I was amazed to see Chock full o' Nuts coffee shops on many corners when that bus zoomed through New York City. (Long before today, the vast majority must have have been replaced with Starbucks. Apparently there are still four left.)

Safeway had a sale on Chock full o' Nuts recently - $6 for a big tin that normally costs $12. I couldn't resist the opportunity to cut my better coffee with that for nostalgia's sake - and for budget's sake. The report? The blend is not bad. Way better than Folger's or its kin.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fun watching

It's fun watching our kids grow and change.

Our daughter Rachel thinks so much like me. We go back and forth in arranging the rubber duckies and shampoo bottles on the back of our toilet. The pattern is constantly changing. This is a game we have never even discussed... we just do it.

I love seeing that strange part of me reflected in our child.

The takeaway for this post? If you are at a point in your life where you are considering whether or not to have kids - I'd say you should choose to expand your life. The costs are high, but the rewards are far higher.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Denver Art Museum - an outing

Saturday we went to the Denver Art Museum. It was great!

On the first Saturday of each month, Target is sponsoring Free Saturdays at the Museum. Yay Target!! (It would have cost us $41 if Target had not paid the bill.)

My favorite part of this visit was the western art section. Normally that isn't my cup of tea, but for some reason, this time it really hit me in a positive way. That collection was very well put together - and compelling.

Seeing real art up close and personal is unbeatable. You can look at prints of art in books, but nothing beats the intensity of seeing the real colors and scale of the works.

This was only my third time to visit the museum. The most recent time before this was maybe five years ago, so it was my first time in the new Libeskind addition.

(By the way, that's Jay, our oldest, next to the trumpet player.)

I took so many pictures that I have to share more with you later.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Average shoes

I had the rare thrill recently of buying a new pair of shoes. Puma. (On sale, of course.) I found out that this is their 60th anniversary. Even though they have been around for a long while, Puma has re-done themselves to appeal to Gen X and Gen Y by producing an ever-changing line with extremely varied styles and colors. (Good job, Puma!)

I was amused by this little note on the box: "Average contents: 2".

Was that a joke? Do people buy shoes without checking to see if there is a left and right in the box? What's your take on this?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Spam patterns

spamAh, just one of those minor observation posts...

Every once in a while, when I'm about to delete all the spam in one of our email's spam boxes, I look at what's in there (the titles, anyhow). I noticed this pattern I had never seen before - there were huge numbers of spam emails sent at exactly the same time! Several clumps of them at different times, in fact.

When I think of those spam creators, over in Nigeria, I guess a few must think, "Maybe one of them will get read by somebody," in a lonely sort of way.

I had to say goodbye

Well, I didn't have to say goodbye - I wanted to.

A week or so ago, I sold about 80% of my vinyl records. My collection represented years of careful selections and purchases. It spanned genres of all types and had some rare releases not available digitally. Many audio purists say records' sound quality is far superior to CDs (or even higher-resolution digital recordings).

Sadly, I sold the collection for way less than what it was worth - but I did get my asking price. I didn't want to hassle with listing each record on eBay. The cost of doing it that way would have yielded about 50c per hour, if that!

But it all had to go. Some I hadn't listened to in ten or more years. The vast majority I would never listen to again. Space? I didn't have room. In fact, I feel like even CDs take too much room now. I rarely buy music on CD anymore (even though it can be cheaper that way - if less instantaneous).

You can't take it with you. I'm glad my Craigslist buyer did.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Denny's Superbowl Giveaway

free dennysDenny's ran an ad during the Superbowl touting a free Grand Slam breakfast on Tuesday.

Heather and I decided to check it out. I knew the line would be long - but not quite this long. We were just about to leave when Heather said we should ask how long the wait was. So as we were walking to restaurant entrance, I asked a lady who was leaving how long the wait was. She said "About 45 minutes" and then told us we could get a rain check from the checkout counter. We went there and were given five coupons for free breakfasts, even though there were just two of us!

That whole experience left us with very good feelings for Denny's.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Appreciation of niceness

Sunday afternoon we went for a family walk along a very posh section of The Highline Canal. That's a trail that runs through Denver and its suburbs. We love walking or riding our bikes along various sections as a refreshing exercise and change of pace from normal life.

This particular portion has homes with 5+ acre lots and views like this shot I took. I would put forward the thought that we appreciate that view more than some who live in those homes do. Why? We don't see it every day.

I don't say this to put those home owners down. Many have worked very hard to get to that pinnacle of achievement. And I wouldn't want to trade places... vacuuming alone would take the better part of one day each week.

Taking my idea to its extreme would mean choosing to live in the worst possible place so you could appreciate a few occasional moments of pleasure. So instead, do everything in balance. But you know that already.

Monday, February 02, 2009

It goes something like this.

When Paul asked me to write about things that give me joy, the first to pop into my head were naturally my kids. Followed closely by Keith Richards, puffy Cheetos and Jesus, not necessarily in that order.

My day was spent waking up lazy, letting Samuel mix the pancake batter while Lilly watched cartoons. By noon the house was clean - well, clean enough if you overlook the ketchup stain on the drapes, which I've been able to do for much longer than most in my social circle. Eric, my husband, fixed the washing machine while I took the kids to the retro movie theater on our corner - one of the few remaining neighborhood theaters, and the same one I used to see matinees at with my grandma. She's gone now, but the theater is pretty much unchanged, homemade popcorn and all.

After the movie, Lilly and I went to get the car washed - it was covered in bird poop from being parked under the ancient tree in the backyard. She was so embarrassed to be seen in it that she slouched way down in her seat the whole way there afraid that, gasp, we'd be seen in the poop car by someone we knew.

Eric made fried chicken, biscuits and Spiderman macaroni and cheese for dinner. We laid out a big blanket on the living room floor and ate picnic style. We talked like southerners while we ate and during a brief silence Samuel said, "Ahhh... I just love the peace and quiet". This is not something often heard from a 4-year old so it was equal parts charming and hilarious.

After baths, I put Samuel to bed. The smell of his shampooed hair makes me smile. Aha...that's what brings me joy. Contentment. There it is. I've learned in some hard ways the meaning of enough. I've learned to love that word... it's what I aspire to. And now that Samuel is asleep, I'm sitting next to Lilly writing this while she's lost in a book. Okay, it's not a book, it's her Nintendo DS - I never said we were "The Waltons". She'll be asleep soon and I'll have a glass of wine and watch a stupid late-night movie with Eric. We are old, we are content and that's enough to bring me joy.

This is a guest post by Chris Thomas, of Minneapolis. We have only met virtually. A long-time friend, Alan, made the connection. (She works for Alan's company, Cue.) I have always enjoyed her writing, and now you have too!