Monthly Archives: April 2008

The side job

I’ve picked up a writing gig. Nothing major, just local lifestyles coverage in a regional magazine for the well-heeled. Have a look.

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Monday morning funny

From one of my favorite new blogs, Time to Write, I bring you the following. Enjoy.

Onion News Network: Plight of Missing Hikers Will Make Great Movie

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Praying in the garden

I knelt and prayed in my vegetable garden this morning. It wasn’t a theologically profound exercise in which I invoked the Almighty to intercede in the affairs of man, ecce homo.

No, it wasn’t a grand, pompous affair. I simply asked God to help me with my day and to represent him well in everything I did. My hands rested face down in the dirt, a reminder of Abraham’s declaration to God that he was “but dust and ashes.” (Gen 18:27 NASB) My prematurely wrinkled hands looked oddly beautiful in the soft dirt, inches away from my incoming crop of zucchini and green beans.

I couldn’t overcome the temptation to pray for my minuscule patch of land, that the assortment of heirloom tomatoes, carrots, chili and bell peppers, zucchini and green beans would somehow be a blessing to everyone who comes to our home. As corny as it seems, I’ve become personally involved with these plants. When my bell peppers didn’t take off — and still haven’t — I scratch my head and go over everything I’ve done to give them a good start. When my impatiens and violas I planted from seed didn’t germinate, I went online for answers.

I’m sure God must feel this way about us: watching, nourishing protecting and then wondering why his initiatives don’t take as he expected them to. It must be frustrating to see us make a mess of things continually and having to rescue us. I’m so grateful he does.

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Now showing: spring tulips, daffodils and marigolds

Here are a few of the tulips, marigolds and daffodils that I planted in the front yard. Enjoy.

Taken in my front yard Friday afternoon.

I\'m never knew tulips opened completely during the day.

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Cultural quiz time: What is this?

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Is the object in the above photo a:

  1. Potato masher
  2. Bean masher
  3. An international incident during the holidays
  4. All of the above
  5. Rear turn signal cover from a ’53 Packard.

I’ll discuss the answers along with my own observations later this week.

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Filed under cultural literacy, humor, Latinos

What I’ve been doing in my extended absence

I didn’t take an extended vacation from blogging because I had nothing to say. No, this nearly two month absence was the result of feeling world-weary and burned out. It seemed like I made time for everyone except myself. I had more business contacts than friends, I wasn’t eating or sleeping well, I hadn’t read a book for pleasure in ages and I didn’t have a hobby. So, I went off in search of myself. Here’s what I found.

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I found my old friend, Kelly (center), who celebrated his 40th birthday. Jerry Jimenez (right) completed The Californian survivor’s — er, alumni, meeting. (The woman at the far left is Jerry’s fiancée.) Kelly is also a new dad. He and his wife are already great parents. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple.

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I found the wife makes excellent chile rellenos. And to think she has been sandbagging for nearly five years while I languished in the land of tofu and whole wheat. The nerve.

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I helped plan my mother’s 60th birthday party. When planning a large gathering, don’t overlook the savory simplicity of a taqueria as a caterer. We went this route and couldn’t have been happier. The guests raved about the tacos and from the host’s perspective, having the guests negotiate their own tacos (amount, fillings, etc.) made life so much easier.

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I found I’m a pretty decent gardener. I’m growing a vegetable garden largely from seeds. It has been an exercise in patience. There’s only so much watering, plant food, soil aeration and repositioning in sunlight a novice gardener can do, the rest is up to the plant. I’ve learned there are some things I simply cannot control. And when I try to force my will on a tiny seedling, I kill it. I planted most of my vegetable seeds in January. Here we are in the beginning of April and they’re growing, but it will be months before I pick my first tomato.

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I found that bulbs take a long time to sprout from the earth, even longer if you have a lot of shade on your property.

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I found that with enough water and a shovel, even the most towering, unwelcome shrub will die.

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I found that the tactical placement of fully grown annuals is necessary for preserving one’s sanity when the impatiens and violas one planted from seed didn’t grow, even after months of watering, repositioning and plant food.

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I found that my pastor trusts me enough to let me preach on Sunday morning. It’s a humbling, hilarious and horrifying thought. I had too much to say to be nervous. I had a blast and I pray someone’s life was touched by what God put on my heart.

OK, this is enough for a first post. I don’t want to send all of you into shock. Your deprived little eyeballs wouldn’t recover from it.

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Filed under blogging, gardening, Uncategorized, vacation