Saturday, September 20, 2014

Best Stuff On Earth?

Snapple claims that it's "Made from the best stuff on Earth"

For the teas, that's filtered water, sugar (@35-46 grams), citric acid, tea, and natural flavors. The juice drinks are water, sugar, juice, and assorted other flavors and colors.

From an addictive standpoint, sugar is some of the best stuff on Earth. So I guess there's a certain truth in the advertising.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Old Jeans And Congregations

There's a certain alchemy to blue jeans. They start out rugged and unyielding, and slowly break in to the ultimate in practical comfort. 

I had a pair of jeans I just loved. The fit was great, the denim had a bit of a pattern, and oh, the texture was just perfect. After years and years, though, the jeans were nigh threadbare.  And while some holes can be mended, well, at a certain point there is no structural integrity--no way to anchor a stitch into a morass of what's basically blue wisps of nostalgia.

I dragged things out too long, but eventually I took a deep breath and tossed those pants in the trash, and got that trash bag out of the house before I could reconsider.

In our congregations we have our comfortable blue jeans, too. They might be programs or positions or events or even physical objects, no longer attractive or even practical, but things we just can't bring ourselves to cull.

Warning signs that there's a need for culling:
*Nobody wants to plan an event, but people can't imagine the year without it

*When describing the program, people say, "Well, it used to be..."
*There's a particular person associated with the thing, and we wouldn't want that person to feel bad. Or get angry. Or act out in any way.

*The main reason the thing still exists is that we don't know how to get rid of it.

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  What would you add?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Places/Times To Read A Few Pages

So many books to read, so little time, right?

Here are my sneaky places.moments to read a few more pages--what are your favorite tricks?

*In the car. Mostly while waiting for my kids to be done with clubs or whatever, but sometimes in really bad traffic.  I think I read most of Tom Sawyer driving home last year--there's a bad backup two miles from my office.  And whenever someone else is driving, of course.

*At breakfast meetings with myself- after I figure out to-do lists and hit a writing deadline, I'll read while I have another cup of coffee.

*Outside in a camp chair, as weather allows. It's good to remember that there's an out of doors. The chair can help me believe I'm on an adventure.

*Inside in a camp chair, when weather does not allow

*In the three minutes waiting for a meeting/webinar/whatever to start

*Airplanes. Note to self- the new Percy Jackson book comes out soon...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sleep And Other Overdoses

I love sleeping in. Oh, to sleep until noon would be so delicious. And yet...

Like many people, I do best when I stick to a fairly regular sleep schedule. Messing with the timing or the total time much makes for a rough day, and can trigger a migraine. (And a migraine makes me need more sleep, which messes further with total time and timing...)

Yes, it is possible for me to overdose on sleep. I'm hoping to avoid discovering the fatal dose.

Most anything, from the banal to the life-sustaining, can be addictive and even damaging. Sometimes the thing has risks of its own, and sometimes it's just a matter of what else it is distracting us from. 

Oh, to set aside those delicious dreams and awaken, habits freeing up room to take on the world-changing whatever we might be capable of doing.

(Maybe after I sleep.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


After a long long day, I pulled through the McDonald's drive-thru for a small order of fries.

I am not sure when I last had McDonald's fries. But I was looking forward to these suckers.

And they were Way Too Salty.

Honestly, I am not sure if it was an overly-aggressive hand at the fryer, or if I just have had better and less salted fries in the interim. 

Or maybe I had an overly romanticized memory of something. It happens. If distance can make the heart grow fonder, time gives us opportunity to write and rewrite our memories of a sensation, whether it's a food or a kiss or even a hard time.

In this case, maybe I'll just go with the piece where I didn't really like these fries, and do away with that craving for some time to come.

Monday, September 15, 2014

So Much Chart Paper...

We do a fair amount of brainstorming and sharing of ideas around here, and while we have white boards in most classrooms, we still go through rather a lot of those sticky easel pad sheets. 

Yes, I purchase the recycled content ones, but still--that's a lot of paper to fit into the recycle bin when I'm done.  So what can we do with all those leftover papers?

  • Some of the especially interesting/funny/astute sheets end up on my office walls for some time. It does my heart good to glance at them.
  • Slice off the sticky part and you've got giant origami paper. (The grid stuff is especially useful in this regard.)
  • It's a bit unwieldy for paper airplanes, says the voice of experience.
  • Preschoolers will happily color on the backs of the sheets. Heck, stick two sheets together and you can trace their bodies.

No, please no, this post in no way indicates that I want you to drop a stack of used easel sheets at my door or in my office!

What's your favorite secondary use for these?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What Are Your Tricks?

I am, ostensibly, a grown up. I've lived more of my life in the years since turning eighteen than in the years before. I have a family and assets and stuff.

I used to think that grown ups just gain a certain grace--a mixture of competence and patience.

Really, though, I hear from so many peers that we all feel like we're faking it. 

Well, with those conversations, I share some of the items from my bag of tricks, strategies to get me through all the things on that grown up checklist.

Meetings are among my challenges--it's hard to just sit and it's so easy for my mind to wander.

  • I take copious notes, sometimes verbatim. 
  • I figure out the prime factorization of the day's date. Sometimes both 91414 and 9142014.
  • I look around the table, coming up with at least three facts I know about each person at the table.
  • I am careful about where I sit in the room, trying to find a spot where the view isn't too distracting. Bookshelves and skyline views are especially distracting.
  • I count the vowels on the meeting agenda or whatever other handout is available.

Grace? Well, at least I mostly behave myself.

What are the strategies you've come up with over the years?