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Slice of life: September

Brief reflections on life right now…

Drea and I have gone public with the pregnancy, ushering in a season of “whoa” for me. For some reason, having people know about it and asking questions has made me aware (as if for the first time) that we’re actually having a kid. Hoooooly crap. We can’t wait to find out the gender in a few weeks. If we have a girl, Drea wants to paint her room light pink. I’m more partial towards a “gender-neutral” tone. Maybe a poll can settle our debate once and for all. What do you think?

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In other news, we finally moved into our new house with the Janes a few weeks ago. So far it’s been great, but it also means I’ve had to step up my handyman skills a little bit. We bought a power drill from Home Depot, which Tom and I have been using to install blinds. Turns out installing blinds is a fairly meticulous process requiring a degree of measuring accuracy that surpasses — as I learned the hard way — “eyeballing it”.

We’ve enjoyed making our new place our own, as suggested by the photos Drea uploaded to our family blog yesterday. After a year of not having our own kitchen, this is actually one of my favorite things about our house. Gall-darnit, I even like doing the dishes at night. (We’ll see how long this lasts.)

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We joined a few of our life group pals on Sunday night to see a Derek Webb/Sandra McCracken show at Jammin’ Java. We learned upon arriving that it was a standing show, but we got in early enough to snag some dining area seats. Sandra McCracken’s opening segment was pitch-perfect. (We actually ran into her and her kids at Starbucks before the show, which was fun.) Derek Webb was outstanding as well, playing through his entire new record — the gutsy marriage of folk-rock and trippy electronica that is Stockholm Syndrome. Particularly enjoyable was when technical difficulties on stage forced him to scale back to just an acoustic guitar, playing old Caedmon’s Call tunes and one unexpected treat — Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin”.

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So, that’s life right now. In the absence of a decent closing remark, I’ll leave you to marvel at the fast food order-taking skills of a certain King Burger employee…

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Filed under: Family, Funny, Marriage, Music, Slice of life, , , ,

End, begin.

This day is one of significant endings and beginnings.

First, the ending: A few of us are meeting tonight for a “last cup of coffee” at Starbucks in Upper Marlboro, which is closing today after ten years in business. It’s probably the most sad I’ll ever be about the closing of a retail establishment. I still remember having my first Starbucks experience at this location after a Young Life meeting back in high school. Since then, it’s become a staple of my life around Upper Marlboro – skipping school during senior year, grabbing a vanilla misto on my way to work, meeting up with friends. Yeah, it wasn’t the best Starbucks ever – certainly not the cleanest or most efficient, but it will be sad to see the place go.

But now, the beginning: Survivor and The Office start up again tonight, which also means that regular family nights are back in swing. Booya!

Filed under: Slice of life, , ,

Trojan horse?

In trying to get a read on the controversy surrounding President Obama’s scheduled speech to public school kids next Tuesday, I’m left more than a little confused. From what I gather, the speech is supposed to be about the importance of education and staying in school — seemingly pretty innocuous stuff, right? But we’re hearing all these reports of people fearing that Obama has an underlying intent to “brainwash” kids with a “socialist message”.

Granted, I generally support Obama and I also don’t have kids, so thinking about this requires an extra degree of objectivity for me. But I think if I had school-aged kids and George W. Bush, for argument’s sake, was still in office and planning to give a speech to my kids about education (and assuming he hadn’t announced plans to also discuss the merits of, say, torture or preemptive war doctrine in his speech), I really think I’d be okay with it. Although I disagreed with many of Bush’s policies, I don’t believe he was, or is, an evil man. Similarly, I assume that most conservatives employ sufficient acumen to disagree with Barack Obama — even passionately — without assigning him the title of “evil”, “antichrist”, “socialist”, etc.

Barring some sort of dark, elaborate conspiracy by the White House to use a speech on education as a trojan horse to convert American kids into Nazis, I think when Tuesday comes, most of us will be wondering why such a big deal was made of this.

Filed under: Current issues, ,

Step aside, “Hotel California”

“Long Road Out of Eden”, the title track from the Eagles’ latest album might be the best song I’ve heard from them. Don Henley’s imagery is potent, makes you ponder the price of our excesses.

Special thanks to my dad, who printed the lyrics and played this song for all of us at family night a few months ago.

Moon shining down through the palms
Shadows moving on the sand
Somebody whispering the twenty-third Psalm
Dusty rifle in his trembling hands

Somebody trying just to stay alive
He got promises to keep
Over the ocean in America
Far away and fast asleep

Silent stars blinking in the blackness of an endless sky
Cold silver satellites, ghostly caravans passing by
Galaxies unfolding, new worlds being born
Pilgrims and prodigals creeping toward the dawn
But it’s a long road out of Eden

Music blasting from an SUV
On a bright and sunny day
Rolling down the interstate
In the good ol’ USA

Having lunch at the petroleum club
Smokin’ fine cigars and swappin’ lives
He said, gimme ‘nother slice o’ that barbecued brisket
Gimme ‘nother piece o’ that pecan pie

Freeways flickering, cell phones chiming a tune
We’re riding to utopia, road map says we’ll be arriving soon
Captains of the old order clinging to the reins
Assuring us these aches inside are only growing pains
But it’s a long road out of Eden

Back home I was so certain, the path was very clear
But now I have to wonder, what are we doing here?
I’m not counting on tomorrow
And I can’t tell wrong from right
But I’d give anything to be there in your arms tonight

Weaving down the American highway
Through the litter and the wreckage and the cultural junk
Bloated with entitlement, loaded on propaganda
And now we’re driving dazed and drunk

Been down the road to Damascus, the road to Mandalay
Met the ghost of Caesar on the Appian Way
He said it’s hard to stop this bingeing once you get a taste
But the road to empire is a bloody stupid waste

Behold the bitten apple, the power of the tools
But all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools
And it’s a long road out of Eden

Filed under: Music