Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Raiders

Something has been bothering me. In the big picture of life, it's not that big of a deal. But in the world of football, it really gets on my nerves. Here it is: why is Lane Kiffin being fired? I know his team, the Oakland Raiders, are not playing well. They haven't been playing well for many, many years and Coach Kiffin has only been there for a year, yet he is expected to be fired today in the middle of the season because his team has gone 0-4. That's just ridiculous. And here's why. Lane Kiffin (or any head coach, for that matter) is not the problem with the Oakland Raiders. They could hire Bill Belichick and nothing would get better because the problem is Al Davis, the owner of the team. He is too involved in the day-to-day coaching decisions that should be the responsibility of the head coach, in this case, Lane Kiffin. It is impossible to run a team (or any organization) with the confusion that the staff and players have to deal with. Who's really in charge? Do I listen to the coach or the owner during practice? The coach has no choice, really, about what the owner says and he can't overstep his bounds in that situation. So the team members don't have a clear leader, the coach can't garner any respect from them, and the lines of communication are a mess. No wonder the team is falling apart, and no wonder Lane Kiffin is being fired. If the owner of a team isn't willing to let the coach do his job, then the team will never be functional, much less sucessful.
Al Davis is the problem at Oakland. I'm sure Coach Kiffin has made mistakes, but I think he could be a good head coach in the NFL if he were actually allowed to be one. How frustrating for the players and fans of that team. Even with our terrible offensive play last night, I'm thankful that I was born a Steelers fan! The Rooneys have done a terrific job and I am confident they will continue to operate that way, regardless of ownership.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Small group

I teach small group at church for fourth grade girls. They are sweet and adorable and dying to talk to a "big kid" like me, which is fun. :) They also talk ninety miles a minute about anything in the world, and are VERY high energy. I love talking with them! But it does make for a difficult setting for our small group - especially since they've just come from sitting still for half an hour for large group. I've been experimenting with ways to make our time productive as well as social. The results so far: Lesson planning is helpful, but not tremendously; a different location helped as long as there were NO distractions (water fountains are too much of a distraction); board games involved too much time between turns so they got overexcited; today we did Christ, Community, Challenge cards. (They're something we do at the camp to have kids set goals for themselves). They actually listened, spread out quietly, and filled out their cards well. It was fun to see what they wrote. I gave them examples of goals, and let them read mine, but they each came up with one true original goal somewhere on their cards. One girl wanted to "do my part to make our group less noisy", another "I want to find out how to be friends with God", and another "I want to listen more and talk less". It was so cute! Now I am trying to think of a way to keep them engaged in reaching those goals, and continuing to check back and hold themselves accountable. I know it's doable, but in only 20 minutes a week? It's tough!
Any suggestions for me?
I'm off to Pittsburgh for a promo/reunion in the South Hills. Have a great Sunday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My cooking habits

So, something I love is allrecipes.com with the Ingredient search function. I can type in whatever I have in my fridge that is about to go bad, and they will give me a list of recipes. (Just for reference, don't type in zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes because nothing really has all three that still sounds tasty). So instead, I'm cooking up some chocolate zucchini bread to bring to work and give to friends (I have one big zucchini in my fridge), roasted garlic potato wedges, and salsa. I try to use Thursday nights for my cooking for the next week, and since it's just me, I usually make one dessert and one sizeable entree (this week it's hamloaf). I can adjust from there, but mostly I just eat the same thing every night for the week, but mix up the side dishes. :)
Anyway, because I'll have used up all of my ingredients from the market for the past two weeks (kale, zucchini, potatoes, fresh peaches, apples) and my brown rice from the food co-op (rice pudding, this tasty pea stir-fry), I can try a new type of produce this weekend. Turnips, here I come. Just kidding. But who knows what will be next? It's almost butternut squash season....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thursday Night

Now, it's not for sure or anything, but basically, Emma and I are entering the lottery for Wicked Tickets on Thursday night. If we win the lottery, we get two front row seats for twenty-five dollars, which is a steal! Especially since the show is leaving Pittsburgh next month. If we don't win, well, we'll do something else fabulous. But wish us luck!
My dinner last night with Emma was great - we went out to John Harvard's Pub near Hidden Valley Resort. I had a five-dollar coupon, and Em was in the mood for a good beer, so we stopped by. It was really great! LOVED the lobster bisque, and our waitress was just wonderful - loved talking about her kids. Then Emma bonded with Angie, my little dog, and headed back to the big city. It was great to see her and hang out - a perfect birthday celebration. Thanks, Emma!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Very Special Dinner

Jim called and invited me over to have dinner with he and Suz and Dylan. Jim's a hunter, and he was trying out venison ribs that night for dinner and wanted a few brave souls to test them. It was a great dinner - fresh, sweet honeydew melon (the best I've had), a mixed green salad, fresh homemade whole-grain bread, and ribs. The boys loved the ribs, and Suzannah and I ate our own servings, but weren't blown away by them. It would be worth trying again, though, because I typically love venison.

But then it struck me. Deer season was over about 10 months ago, and won't begin again until November 23 or so. Where did this deer come from? Jim follows the law carefully, and would never hunt out of season. So I asked. Jim said the deer was in their yard and it was injured, so they called the game commission and they came and shot the deer. Why was the deer injured, you ask?


Not road"kill" exactly, more like road"wound" or road"maim", but it all boils down to the fact that the venison I ate for dinner was hit by a car about eight hours before right off Route 711. Evidently, the camp has a scavenging license so that we can clean up our roadsides. However, it also means we can eat anything we clean up. So thanks to someone's Chevy truck (who am I kidding...this is Western PA, it was probably a Ford truck), dinner is served.

I hope you all enjoy that story.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Little dog

I got a little dog this week. She is eight years old, a beagle, and I adopted her from an animal shelter in a nearby town. She's very sweet, her name is (and has been for eight years) Angel. I think I might start calling her Angela, because then she would be named after my favorite character from The Office. She's been very kind and sweet, but is a little afraid of small children, so we're going to the obedience trainer to take care of that (chances are, she was abused at her last house, because she gets very, very afraid when I say "no" to her). She's very mellow, and likes to go for walks and sleep on the furniture (that's next on the obedience list). Currently we are working on sitting outside the kitchen when I'm in there cooking instead of right under my feet, which she is adjusting to nicely.
She's very fun! I'm excited to have a "roomie". :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

My weekly Wal-Mart experience

I don't love Walmart. I'm not really politically opposed to Wal-mart, but I generally don't enjoy going there because it's crowded, there are never enough lanes open, and the store is a magnet for small children throwing fits. Also, you can never find an employee when you most need one. So I don't love going there. But because I live in a tiny town, sometimes I have to make a trip to Wal-Mart to get even the most basic items . This week my trip was quite fun. Despite the fact that I wasn't able to purchase the item I needed (rubbermaid containers) because they had all been shelved without UPC labels, one man brought me joy.
I'm walking down the aisle by the kitchen utensils, and I suddenly hear behind me (in ringing, clear tones) someone singing "We Bow Down". Not quiet, not under his breath, but right out there for all to hear...but not quite at "crazy dude" level either. The best part? I turned around, and he's clearly hard-core biker. Head to toe in leather, boots, a vest with fringe, and a 'do-rag that was all black with big, yellow crosses on it. It was the best! He looked like a big thug biker, and he was singing to Jesus in Wal-mart. It made my day! Keep on singing, man.

Thanks to Suzannah for the encouragement to share this story with the world.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ah! My fingers!

So, part of coming home from vacation after a long summer of work includes cleaning house. Like, really cleaning house. Yesterday, it took me two hours just to tackle the bathroom and the kitchen, but man, do they look good. All the nasty little bugs of the windowsill, bleached shower curtains, and everything smells wonderfully clean! Now on to the living room (which means vacuuming...I hate it) and the hallway, which needs a lot (A LOT) of work. I don't even want to think about the front yard right now - weeds, weeds, weeds!
But it's such a good feeling to have the house clean!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New Dining Hall

Outside my office right now is the sound of a huge machine digging holes in the ground. It's really cool, because it means our new dining hall is going to be built for next summer, and it's really terrible, because that noise will be going on all day, every day for the next seven or eight months. That's a lot of noise outside my office. Jim and I have considered changing the "no iPods in the office" rule because of the noise issue. It will be strange.
I had a great small group last night - I just love the ladies that I get to meet with, and we're doing a new study that's all about humility. It has some pretty intense reminders of how pride really looks, and we all had a hard time even confronting the aspects of pride that we deal with daily. It is really good to meet in a group like that, though, to be reminded that the daily struggles I deal with are not mine alone. It's just been great to meet at Kate's and talk about life and faith and pray together...maybe we'll even do some singing next week. One of our focuses this week is to remember God's holiness, so maybe I'll pick some songs that we can sing together.
Okay, time for working.