"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Idol--Separated At Birth 2009

You know what I haven't done this year yet?
Go ahead guess...

O.K. I'll give you multiple choices options:
a) Waxed my eyebrow(s)
b) Pumped out the septic tank
c) Pay my speeding fine
d) Provide photographic evidence of the comparisons between your favorite Americal Idol contestants and their twins in the world.

Actually, I've done NONE of these things yet.
I have no intention of waxing my brow.
I hope my septic tank continues to hold an endless supply of our waste.
I haven't paid my speeding fine (but I suppose I'll cave eventually).
And right this very moment I will share with you, my readers, the joys of knowing that we each have our doppleganger in the world somewhere.

For Matt Giraud, his twin is Tom Hanks.
Technically, it might be his father more than his twin, but these days with freezing embryos and all, I guess it could be possible for Matt to be the father of Tom. Who knows?

This one you probably spotted from day one. Danny Gokey and Robert Downey, Jr.

Now I think I've mentioned it three or more times that Allison is Rachel Ray's little sister.
If we could only get Allison in the kitchen to whip up a shrimp pasta, hearts of romaine salad and a creme brulee in under 30 minutes, you'd finally have the proof you were waiting for.

And don't you think that Kris has a cute, boyish quality?
Kind of like this cute, boyish chimp in space?Come on. You're not really taking offense at the fact that I'm comparing your boyfriend Kris with a monkey, are you? It IS a cute monkey.
It could be worse.

At least I didn't make the following comparison for him:

I know. I was speechless, too, when I first made the connection.
Maybe you've made your own observations about look-alikes for these contestants. I could be wrong about some of my guesses.

Until I get close enough to prick some fingers for blood samples, I won't be able to be 100% certain that Adam and Liza Minelli were wombmates. Until then, though, we also won't be able to rule it out.

Cooking From Scratch...and from Memory

"Cantaloupe Dump Cake"
"What To Do With That Angry Cantaloupe In the Back Of the Fridge"

I actually love to cook. It would do my heart good if Cindy would let me cook her some fancy steak meal for her birthday, topped with bleu cheese and bacon. (Those of you who are working on diagramming that sentence, be sure to have the steak topped with the bleu cheese and bacon, not me.) Maybe also an original salad and a side of stuffed tomatoes or sushi.

But, alas. Cindy is of the opinion that birthdays are not a time for cooking in the house and having dishes to clean and tables to wipe down. So it's off to a nice restaurant to give others the joy of cooking and cleaning and wiping.

While I'm thinking of cooking, though, I will leave you with a delicious recipe I found at allrecipes.com this week. I'm not going to bother looking up the recipe right now, because I find it much more exciting to try to write the recipe from memory. You should try living on the edge like that, too, sometime. It's very liberating (unless you're preparing raw pufferfish. That's stuff's lethal if prepared wrong. Cantaloupe isn't nearly as unforgiving.)

A few days ago I was looking at that cantaloupe in the back of our fridge. It was starting to whimper, hidden behind a gallon of salsa, worried that it would be forgotten. So I pulled it out and checked allrecipes.com for an idea of what could be done with a cantaloupe that--quite frankly--should probably have been thrown away at that point. We've always eating our cantaloupe raw like watermelon, but I thought I'd see if a softer melon could be fine for some other recipe.

So here is what the recipe was (I think):

First off, I cubed up about half of a cantaloupe.
I tossed it with
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp of flour
2 Tbsp of melted butter
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of vanilla
(I actually doubt all three of those ingredients were supposed to be a teaspoon, but I believe I didn't feel like dirtying other measuring spoons so I just rounded them all up. Excuuuuuuuse me for being lazy.)

Then I poured that juicy mix into an 8x8 baking dish.
and covered with
1 box of white cake mix (just the mix, not the actual cardboard box)
1 melted stick of butter (1/2 cup) poured over the cake mix

Baked it for 45 minutes.

It ended up tasting awesome and all the kids wanted seconds. With the spices, it really tasted more like an apple pie, and no one would've guessed it was a dying cantaloupe.
More mind-numbingly thrilling ideas for your edification at the Works For Me Wednesday weekly festival of joy and planetary peace.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

American Idol, A 5-Pack of Rats

Tonight, for Cindy's 29th birthday celebration, I should probably step away from the internet and give her a little attention.

I probably SHOULD, but then I'd have nothing to do while she's blogging her fingers to the bone.

So I'll do likewise and let you know my heart-felt opinions about tonight's Top 5 competition.

I guess they're singing Rat-Pack Era diddies (ditties? ditees? diteez?) which I think should be good. For one thing, it'll probably put the kabosh on the screaming and yelling we've come to expect from a couple of contestants.

Let's see what these fellers bring...

Kris Allen sang "The Way You Look Tonight." I love this song, and I loved Kris' singing it. I honestly could sit and listen to him sing a whole concert of this genre. Here is where I usually say something incredibly witty, but with the birthday festivities, I'm just beat, so you'll just have to insert your own bit o' wit yourself. Seriously, folks, I can't be expected to carry the full load of snarky-humor responsibility here. Love is a two-way street, people.

Allison sang "Someone To Watch Over Me" which may or may not be the title of that movie with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter where he's a fire-fighter pilot who dies (oops I just ruined the movie for those who haven't seen it yet) and he watches over her as a ghost (oops, giving away more) and at the end, he conducts a school orchestra or something. But back to Allison: I like hearing her in ballad mode, mostly because I am getting too old for the louder yelling music that's so popular with the kids these days. Note: she's looking as much like Rachel Ray as ever.

Matt is doing "My Funny Valentine" which will probably work even though we're considerably past Valentine season. I guess he could make it a little more relevant with "My Funny Easter Bunny." The judges were in disagreement about the level of Matt's "connection" with the song. Simon was particular complimentary with an "absolutely brilliant."

Danny did "Come Rain Or Come Shine." I didn't recognize him in the video segment with a hat and without his glasses. (Speaking of glasses, by the way, I just ordered new spex for my vision needs, and they might be Danny Gokey-ish. Actually, they're Randy Jackson brand. I'll show you a pic once I get them.) Well, Danny, you did awesome again, really awesome. He brought a lot of oomph and power to his song.

It should noted at this point that Paula has clearly been working with her grammar coach. Subjects AND predicates? What a concept!

Last up, Adam Lambert with "I'm Feeling Good" or maybe that's not the title, but those are some of the lyrics at least. I'm still not really a fan of the high-pitched yelling, which he ALMOST made it through the song without. But Paula liked it and called him her "Micheal Phelps." If you didn't get to watch the performance, you may not understand the comparison. It makes sense though when you realize he performed shirtless in a Speedo and swim cap. (Just kidding.)

They were all good tonight. Most were even great. But who has the most fans/voters?

Adam appears to be the front runner, but at what point do people realize that album sales for the virtual love-child of Queen and Meatloaf (Queenloaf?) may possibly be limited and start moving their votes over to singers who will sell actual CD's that *I* want to listen to? (After all, this competition is all about ME, right?)

So, be honest. Are you an Adam fan? Not just believing that he has skilz (he absolutely does), but do you LIKE the style and would you pay money to listen to him? I promise I won't mock you [much] if you say you do.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Touching, Enlightening, Disturbing

I often go long periods of time in between checking in with my statcounter data. One of my favorite things to check out is the searches that landed people unwittingly at my blog.

Top on the list continues to be the 30-gazillion people suffering from blisters in their throats.

"blisters in throat"

"blisters in my throat"

"i have blisters in my throat"

and other variations.

Throat-blister-sufferering accounts for 1 out of every 4 searches that brought them here in the last few days.

Granted, I had been among their ranks at one point, but I feel bad for them because they've probably clicked over thinking I may offer relief, but pretty much the only advice I can give them is "Don't expect any sympathy from Cindy." See her comment on that post if you doubt me.

Next on our list of visitors to the blog via Google is our dear friend interested in...

"dried feces for toothpaste"

Please tell me that search was merely the result of a typo. I'm guessing he/she (who are we kidding; it was a "he") probably meant to search...well, I can't think of thing that could have been instead.

And finally,

"Are hamsters from Petco able to have kids"

Actually, from my experience, it's the hamsters from PetSMART that "have kids." Now, I don't mean "have kids" like "make babies." I mean "have kids" in the way you have a hot dog or have a slice of cheese. As in "those man-eating hamsters from PetSmart had my kid for lunch."

I'm glad you found me, folks, regardless of how sick (in any sense of the word) you may be.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our House May Very Well Be Haunted

Sometimes strange things happen around here.

Usually we can attribute it to the fact that we are just plain weird. This explains things like the ice cream for breakfast, the boo-boo bunny on the chandelier and the half-eaten chapstick.

Occasionally, though, something will defy explanation.

Take, for example, this evening. Cindy and I came home from the school's fund-raising auction late tonight. (You're welcome, by the way, Lakeview Elementary. We don't normally spend that much money for art done by kindergarteners, especially when we're not related to any of them. But it was a for a good cause...and much easier to justify than if we'd brought home that case of liquor for the same price.)

Anyway, when we came home we found that Jenna had a wad of peanut butter IN HER HAIR. It's 10 o'clock, and my 8 year old had about a teaspoon of peanut butter just sitting there above her ear.

I wiped it off and showed it to her, at which point she said...

...[first insert eerie music]...

..."I haven't even had peanut butter for a couple of days."

[music reaches a sudden sforzando. I don't know if that's really the musical term I'm looking for, but just imagine whatever they call the kind of music that suddenly plays at the moment you realize that the phone call is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!]

It's bedtime, so the mystery of the Peanut Butter Hair will have to wait until morning.
On the other hand, the Case of the Half-Eaten Bag of Cheese Puffs was a no-brainer.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol, Top 7, Again

I'm already beating myself up for not having a more creative title for this post. While it's an accurate title, it just doesn't have that oomph, that je ne sais qua, that emotion-jerking pull to which you have become accustomed.
My previous post's title alluded to "sacrilege." This one...? Nothin'.

So if the title disappoints you, I'll just have to work extra hard to ensure that the body of this post yanks you right out of your seat, slaps you around the room a few times and flings you out a window like a day-old tuna panini.

I can't tell you how excited I am to see that it's Disco Night tonight on AI. It's just a shame that I can't disco dance AND blog at the same time which I'd love to attempt, biutt I':m ptrryt sguree ity woudlt engd uop loogkinhhgi likre thiiios.

Lil kicked off the night with "I'm Every Woman" and totally underwhelmed. She sounded more like "I'm Every 5th Woman." Judges weren't too favorable, which is scary for Lil because let's not forget that not one, but TWO singers are heading home tonight.

Kris pulled out his guitar and extensive collection of bar chords to sing "She Works Hard For The Money." He sounded great, very mellow but solid. I must have been distracted by the smell of the Bath and Body Works Pomegranate that Cassie sprayed on my armpits, because I totally missed why in the world the judges were talking about ladies' undergarments. I think I can safely assume that it originated with Paula.

Now Danny finally brought the Disco funk to the night. He didn't just sing a song from the disco era, he made me want to get my bell bottoms, platform shoes and those glasses with the nose grip that Steve Martin invented in "The Jerk." Judges were extremely favorable.

16-year-old Allison sprayed on some latex and then bedazzaled (TM) her flesh for "Hot Stuff." (My daughter will be 16 in three years. Why can't these contestants dress like Laura Ingalls?) Well, the song was rockin', maybe too much so as Randy pulled out the phrase "over-indulgent." Despite the number of words that poured forth from Paula's mouth, I believe they were actually all arranged grammatically correctly. I checked.

Adam Lambert? Who ARE you? Slow ballad, reasonably-combed hair, and dark suit? Looking good, but he still was wearing some Severus Snape-looking mondo ring on his pinky and threw in at least one bite-the-head-off-an-animal shriek. I didn't recognize the song, because there wasn't an ounce of disco in it, and right now I'm craving me some true disco. Presumed compliment from Paula: "It's as if you tore your heart out and left it on the stage." I have totally just thought of a great storyline for "Grey's Anatomy."

Oh yeah, baby. Matt is "Stayin' Alive." What a great choice for the guy who almost got sent home last week. He's demonstrating great vocals and runs. He's groovin' with the back-up singers and whippin' out the falsetto like it's a Parmesan cheese grater at Olive Garden. I may just suggest that this could be the second hottest song of the night.

All right, let's see what Anoop does with "Dim All The Lights." Don't take this wrong, but he looks great with facial hair. It makes him look more grown up and less like some cliche ethnic participant, whatever I mean by that. Facial hair also balances out his manly eyebrows, I believe. He probably did fine with the song, but I don't think the audience was digging it as much as the other singers, because the applause and cheers died incredibly quickly, and Simon labeled it "mediocre at best."

I'm figuring at this point, a lot of people are just voting for who they want to see win, like a popularity contest more than a singing contest, so I'm predicting this week's bottom three will be a repeat of last week's, even though I think Matt should rise up a little farther.

Well, I better go. My daughters are probably expecting me to do a little disco dancing. They didn't SAY so, but I can tell by the way they quickly said good night and ran up to bed when the show ended.

"Wait up, girls!! I got some moves you'll want to check out!! Get a load of this point up and down and up and down..."

Sheesh. I've never seen them brush their teeth, hop in bed and turn out the lights so quickly. They must not be feeling well, poor things. Maybe in the morning.
Be sure to pop over to my wife's blog. And don't be surprised if you get suckered into giving her a ride to Funky Town.
Or check out more AI reviews by the boatload over at my friend Boomama's. (I only call her "my friend" because she loves cheese and bacon as much as I, not because she's agreed to lift the restraining order.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Depending On Your Definition Of Sacrilege, You May Just Want To Skip This

Oh, these wacky ministers' families and their silly little traditions.

For example, to reinforce the Easter story (and at the same time be able to enjoy a tasty marshmallow treat), we bake an Empty Tomb Roll together as a family. Easter was a week ago, but we still did this together this evening. I'm sure my wife has blogged about it in the past so I'll look for a link to that.

But in summary, you take Jesus (a marshmallow) and anoint his crucified body with a little oil (roll it in melted butter). Cover his body with burial spices (dredge it in cinnamon and sugar). Then place him in a tomb (seal him up in crescent roll dough).

Bake it for 10-12 minutes at 350, and amazingly, Jesus is no longer in the tomb, just a few strips of white linen (marshmallow stringiness).

To quote my daughters:

"He has melted!"

"He has melted indeed!"

In This Modern Age of Technology

You know how there are calendar companies that make planners and calendars with weeks that start with Monday instead of Sunday?

How much work would it take to just leave Monday off entirely?

I'm just thinking.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Short Order Cook

There are many responsibilities that weren't in the contract you signed at the hospital when your babies entered the world.

But you gladly take them on. Because it's not like anyone tried to trick you into this thing called "Parenthood" (except for instances documented on Lifetime Televison For Women Who Thrive On Fear And Anxiety).

The most recent duty I've encountered has been working the concession stand at the local ball field.

Our girls had their first game today. Shelby and Brynne are on the same team, and they each got on base with hits at every at-bat. I'm so very proud of both them. Hits, runs, RBIs gallore.

Cindy happened to be out of town with Cassie for a Moms/Daughters Conference, but thanks to the wonders of cell phones and text-messaging, I was able to receive no fewer than 59 reminders to take sun screen to the game. Not only did I take it, I EVEN remembered to apply it!

After the game was concession stand time for the parents of the Members' Choice Credit Union Chargers. (Don't you love the name "Chargers" for a team sponsored by a financial institution?)

All of this is just a roundabout way for me to brag about my ability to serve chili dogs, nachos, burgers, pretzels, snow cones, popcorn, pop (or soda depending on where you live), and ring pops.

PLUS, when we closed up shop, I was able to take home the last of the BBQ Pork for the girls. It was enough for two sandwiches, and it had been baking in the bottom of that crock pot all day, all dried out and hardening, so my girls aptly called them "Pork Jerkey Sandwiches." The leftover pretzels were likewise hard, but I just get those to lick the salt off anyways.

So just holler if you need a caterer for your next big event! I think Pork Jerkey Sandwiches would be great for your son's bar mitzvah.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Killing Him Softly...With Fruit

For the record, I have no recollection of hearing that grapes are bad for dogs.

OK. Maybe a slight recollection, but I think in my mind it was related to it being a choking hazard, much the same way that I would never give a baby a nice, esophagus-sized grape...or steak that wasn't cut into tiny pieces.

That's why I gingerly sliced the grapes in half for Cheddar, the 11-month-old Maltipoo. (A Maltipoo is a mix between a poodle, a maltese, and evidently a barking, pencil-eating banshee.)

My girls then shared that I was killing our puppy, acting as if everyone knows not to feed dogs grapes or chocolate or battery acid.

So far, no vomiting, no diarrhea. He just has this curious look in his eyes like, "What? You feed me grapes but neglect to fan me with palm fronds?"

I'll get right on that Cheddapatra. (Get it? Cheddar + Cleopatra?) Moving on...

So Cheddar's almost a year old, and everyone says we have maybe a whole other year to go before he's done being a puppy and doing puppy things. I think Cindy's ready for him to be old. One of those old, faithful dogs who just curl up and lay on the couch for 27 hours a day and only get up in order to fetch the remote control or to make you a margarita.

How long till Cheddar reaches that stage? Anyone?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The First Egg Has Been Revealed

I may have mentioned that our children were tormented by camouflaged plastic eggs this Easter.

Normally you can spot the brightly colored eggs from the next county, but the green/brown/camo eggs couldn't be seen easily even if they were stapled to your eyelids.

(Yes, laboratory testing was done to verify this. My thanks/apologies to Mr. Schwarz's freshman biology class.)

I found the first missed egg so far. It was in the mailbox! Who doesn't check the mailbox in an egg hunt? It is among the top 5 classic places to hide an egg. The other four are:

2. Under the overturned flowerpot
3. In the tailpipes of cars in the driveway
4. In the Y of a tree
5. Nestled in a tulip

Other great ideas, though less classic, are:

6. On the roof. Nothing's more fun than watching children find eggs that they will never actually be able to retrieve.

7. Similarly, in the center of a ring of fire.

8. Attached to the collar of the neighbor's pitbull.

9. Buried 6 feet under ground.

10. In a snake hole.

11. On the very bottom row of a pyramid of canned vegetables so that when it's removed the 15 rows above it come toppling down. (I got that idea from Scooby Doo or something.)

See, aren't you already looking forward to next Easter so you can try some of these ideas out?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Then Again, Maybe You AREN'T Interested In My Garage

[It's been quite a while since I shared any WorksForMeWednesday genius with you. But I'm back today with what is likely to change your life...if you have children...and they have tons of basket/soccer/foot/volley balls.]

I'm fairly certain I suffer from mild bouts of OCD.

For a while last year, I was consumed with researching puppies and finding the right match for us. I ate, slept and breathed a million breeds of puppies. (Only figuratively. I think it's illegal in 27 states to eat puppies, and as far as breathing them...I had asthma as a child and I'm pretty sure one of the lingering effects is my inability to get puppies in and out of my lungs efficiently.)

My latest obsession has been my garage. It's not an exaggeraton to say that I check on it each night no fewer than 12 times before going to bed.

A couple of weeks ago, I began a massive overhauling of the garage. Prior to that, though, I'd spent a couple weeks mapping and planning. I had grid paper and was figuring out what would fit where. I went to bed at night dreaming about it and woke up before the sun, still reworking all the possibilities. Day after day.

I finally put my plan into action. Essentially it involved emptying the entire garage, throwing away 80% of that stuff, repositioning appliances and shelving units, and contemplating whether the children would notice if they no longer had any toys, sports equipment or bikes.

I had budgeted for wood and shelves and such, but ended up throwing away so much stuff we'd been clinging to, that I actually REDUCED the amount of shelves we had. Crazy. I know.

My favorite innovation in the garage was the shelving unit that now houses the 21,462,945 basketballs, soccer balls, footballs and eggs:

Actually, the egg cartons are full of golfballs my kids have collected. We store our actual eggs in the pockets of my golfbag.

As you can see there are bungee cords across the front which help hold all the balls in, but can easily be stretched to retrieve whichever ball you desire to play with. These balls that used to take over the whole garage are now limited to one small shelf, leaving room for other things in the garage...like vehicles, for example.

I already owned the shelves, so the only expense on that particular project was a set of bungee cords from the "Everything's A Dollar And The Employees Aren't Humored When You Ask How Much It Costs" Store.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American Idol Heads To The Movies

Tonight, the role of the contestants' Jiminy Cricket will be played by Quentin Tarantino.

First up is Allison who's trying to convince me that she "Don't Want To Miss A Thing" from Armageddon. Unfortunately, I think she missed a few things, namely some notes. I get the impression she wowed the live audience more than our dead audience sprawled on the couch here in Indiana. Maybe we need a new tv. I thought the whole song was meh, but the judges had nothing but good to say.

Anoop got some interesting advice from QT as he prepared his Robin Hood song "Everything I Do, I Do It For You." I know this won't make a lot of sense to you, but I instantly thought of Alladin's "A Whole New World." And no, it's not some ethnic stereotype. Nosiree. It's just that at a friend's wedding the groom sang "Everything I Do" and I sang "A Whole New World" (no, not simultaneously. That would be even weirder than me singing it at all). It was supposed to be a duet with my own personal Jasmine (Cindy) but she conveniently threw up or something in order to force me to be both Jasmine AND Alladin at the last minute. But I should at least comment on Anoop's performance: very nice.

Adam was "Born To Be Wild" from "Easy Rider." My daughter was intrigued by the fingernail polish and the leather and jewelry, and commented: "If you cut his head off, he could be a girl." However, what I THOUGHT she said was, "He should bite the head off of a squirrel." And that really wouldn't be a huge surprise now, would it?

Matt Giraud sang Bryan Adam's "To Really Love A Woman" from "Don Juan De Marco." I really like the song normally, but I didn't like his performance of it tonight. He did all right, but I think it's a good idea to try to sound better than the original if at all possible

Danny Gokey has lost his glasses. I'll assume it's intentional, that he has contacts or a corneal transplant. But he's singing seated on a stool. Now he's standing up. If he trips off the stage, then we'll know the answer to our glasses/contacts question. He's singing Lionel Richie's "Endless Love." Paula said it perfectly using the words "grabbed us," "wowed us," and "slayed us" but I'm going to have to google "tambor" to figure out what she meant with THAT.

Quentin Tarantino had some good praise for Kris Allen and his choice of "Falling Slowly." He's starting understated. Now he's building and belting and I'm loving it. But again, my TV version must be sooooooo different from live in the theater, because Randy's not digging it. But Kara must be watching it on a tv too because she thought it was his best ever. Only thing he had against him is the song was obscure, but I'm getting old, so a lot of these new-fangled songs are obscure.

Lil's going to sing "The Rose" which she'll have to sing pretty loud to drown out Cindy joining in. Before the break, I was worried this type of song would continue her downward spiral away from her natural style. But now she's talking about how she's going to throw in a little gospel action. If she does, she'll have herself a hit. She could make an old song new again. Let's see if she does. Well...I think she gets 95% there. She needed to really wail near the end to get the extra 5% from me.

So, if the ushers are going to come into theater with their flashlights and ask a few unwelcome movie-goers to leave, it'll be...

...Lil, Anoop and Matt.
But honestly, I would've guessed that without even watching these performances. Tonight didn't alter any of my previous thoughts about the level of talent we're dealing with.

And hey, I didn't really rag on Adam tonight...unless you count that comment about him biting the heads off squirrels.
If you haven't already read my wife's take on AI tonight, check it out because she puts each contestant in an 80's flick. See if you agree with her choices.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm Not Claiming to Bear The Stigmata

Easter means a lot of things.

As a ministry family, we find ourselves working a lot during this holiday. There are actually staff members at our church who worked 10 times as hard and produced 10 times as many programs I did, but still it's busy for all of us.

At one point, I needed to transport a cross from one part of the church so it could be used for teaching in the chidlren's area. This cross was taller than me and made of some fairly rough wood. Rough enough to give me a splinter. Not just a tiny splinter that you'd need tweezer to dig out. Imagine a fork jabbed in your skin and then bent so that a whole tine broke off and stayed embedded in the flesh. The "nice" thing about big splinters is that they are easier to yank out.

Then there was the overwhelminig spread of meat and potatoes and rolls and desserts that forced themselves into my belly.

And the nap I tried so hard to avoid, mainly because I was in the middle of a crowded living room, and falling asleep on a couch in public is kind of rude. I fought the good fight and lost.

So you see, Easter weekend was very hard for me.

Yet, I'm not actually in a complaining mood about it. I'm just pretending to be.

In reality,
I was energized by the services at our church.
I was excited to see hundreds of children at the egg hunt.
I was blessed to be able to teach the truth of Jesus' resurrection to families.
I was encouraged to see so many volunteers serving in every corner of the church all weekend.
I was thankful to be fed, and to be fed so well, by people who didn't have to feed me.
Even that crazy splinter has left me with a tiny reminder that Jesus' suffering was great...and it was for me.

Easter Sunday is over, but Jesus is still risen.

Many things will continue to remind me of that truth:
As I put away the props and decorations from the weekend.
As I write thank you letters to people who made the celebration significant.
As I mow over more plastic camouflage eggs all spring long.

And as I watch my splinter wound grow puffy and infected and oozing with puss and spreading through my whole body. The good news about that, at least, is that if I die from it, I know I have the hope of eternal life because of what we've just celebrated!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Could Have Given Birth To The Next American Idol

Oh my. I still haven’t posted my thoughts from last night’s American Idol performances, and I’m already receiving nasty emails, icy stares and cold shoulders because of my delay…and that’s just from my WIFE.

(Her email to me this morning: “I am not happy without your AI post. :( ”

Well, last night the contestants sang songs from the year they were born. Mathematically (not genetically), it works out that some of these folks could be my children, so indulge me while I imagine: what if they WERE my babies? Yeah, I know. It'll end up being creepy most likely, but it'll be in keeping with the theme of the night which is subtitled: “Scott Is Old.”

Danny is up first--because he's the oldest--and he's singing some newer version of "Stand By Me." As my first-born, we probably have more photos of him than any of our other children, and we put more energy into decorating his nursery. We also dressed him the best. Like our subsequent children, Danny is following in his parents' musical footsteps (I must write about our "concerts" someday). He did a good job on a 1980 version of "Stand By Me," but like last week, I think the judges liked his performance more than I did. I'm guessing being there live has its perks.

Kris Allen came along 5 years later. I still remember when we bought him his first guitar...I also remember ripping the strings off it, because you should NEVER GIVE A PRESCHOOLER A TOY THAT MAKES NOISE. Seriously, Cindy and I avoided installing batteries in toys that made beeps and whistles or talked. Do not tell our children. They still think Talking Barbie had taken a monastic vow of silence. Kris did a jazzy version of "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" which had me imagining "She" doing a totally different kind of dance than what I would’ve pictured from the original; this version didn't evoke pictures of leg warmers and mile-high hair. That's a good thing.

Lil. I know what you're thinking. "How did Scott and Cindy end up with an African American baby?" Let’s just say that neither Cindy nor I have investigated our family trees back far enough to rule this out as a genetic possibility, so don’t get hung up on the color, man. I also haven’t ruled out the possibility that somewhere a black family who gave birth at the same time in the same hospital is wondering why they have a white child. "What's Love Got To Do with It" was her song choice. Once again, it just wasn’t her. I think that, because of the way we raised her, she really does know that love is more than a second-hand emotion, so she wasn’t able to come across as believable last night. Also, before one of you points it out, since Lil has a few kids, yes that means that Cindy and I are grandparents...really young, hip, cool grandparents.

Anoop also adds a little color to our patchwork family. Born in 1986, he chose Cyndi Lauper’s "True Colors.” I honestly expected it to sound gay, for lack of a better word. You know how it is when a guy sings a song originally sung by a girl. However, he really did a good job on it. As his pretend father for the night, though, I was really hoping he’d have pegged his pants’ cuffs. Have we taught him nothing about the 80’s?

Scott is another one of the 3 or 4 children we gave birth to in 1985. He was named after me because he had my hair. (That's supposed to be funny. I’m bald.) Believe it or not, he didn’t play the piano this week. No siree. He brought out a guitar for the power ballad “The Search Is Over.” Now, he didn’t do a phenomenal job on the guitar or the vocals, but he’s my son so I’m not going to say anything bad about him. It could be crushing to find out that your own father thinks you should be the next to go and is tired of hearing your voice, so I’ll not say that. Next week if he makes it through, he should definitely combine these two instruments and wield the fabled Key-tar!

Allison got her mother’s red hair and her father’s sexy gravelly voice. Both helped her pull off Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” But she DID make me love her. Absolutely loved the song. But that might be due to the fact that she’s the baby of the family (1992), and the baby always get special treatment and attention to make up for how we’ve screwed up the other 7 children.

Matt, Matt, Matt. Is this the way we raised you? We’ve tried to instill in our children the proper understanding of LOVE. That’s why it was a huge disappointment when we heard he’d chosen "Part-Time Lover." We’ve encouraged our children to be “FULL-Time Lovers” for many reasons including better insurance, retirement benefits, and a company car. He did very well, though, and the judges were favorable.
Adam. We’ve always gotten lots of questions about Adam ever since he joined our family in 1982. While most people readily accept that darker-skinned Lil and Anoop are our natural children, no one’s been fooled by Adam. We got him at a pet shop in the mall, and it wasn’t until we got him home and cleaned him up a little bit that we realized he could almost pass as a human child. He’s always liked it when his "brothers" and "sisters" sang at home, and he himself did a lot of shrieking and howling growing up. It wasn’t really welcome in our 1200-square-foot home. When everyone else went to go audition for American Idol, we felt bad leaving him in a cage in the back of the minivan, so we snuck him in with us. Who knew he’d fool the judges and producers! Last night he sang, “Mad World” (’82?) and it was full of the falsetto stuff that drives the ladies crazy. Even Simon loved it and stood up. I think it's safe to say that Adam is getting close to earning himself the right sleep inside the house and eat at the table with us. Seriously, though, he did do a great job. I'm just a judgmental prude who doesn't like black nail polish on boys. Is that so wrong?

So how does a good parent pick favorites and least favorites?
Well, I’m not claiming to be a good parent so:

Scott McIntyre’s reached the end of his road, I believe. Time to go. But since there are a million other people making the decision, I wouldn’t be surprised if they send Anoop or Matt home. Lil’s also possibly teetering based on her performances, but I’ll give her another week or two to turn around.
After last week's pretend screenplays and this week's pretend children, I think next week may be just a straight analysis of the performances before I have a complete break with reality.