Friday, February 24, 2006

Video: Georgia Aquarium

I edited together some of the video that Claire took at the Georgia Aquarium. Keep an eye out for amazing footage of the Leafy Sea Dragon!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Behold the Freakish Creature!

THIS, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a Leafy Sea Dragon! ( My favorite thing at the GA Aquarium.) Isn't it THE MOST BIZARRE THING you have EVER SEEN? This proves that God has a Dr. Seuss-ish side.

For more information and pictures, go to this site.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In the midst of the madding crowd

Today Penny, Diane, Andrea and I ventured into Atlanta to explore the new Georgia Aquarium. And we weren't the only ones. At least six thousand other people seemed to have the same idea. Seriously. Well, it didn't help that it was a rainy day and a vacation week to there were HORDES of kids screaming through the place...and wall to wall parents jostling in their wake, wrestling strollers and such. But we still managed to have a pretty fun time -- until about the last hour when the crowds seemed to squeeze the sanity from our souls. I felt like a sardine!

My favorite part was the Leafy Sea Dragons. They were like seahorses except they looked like leafy plants...InCREDIBLE! I had never heard of them before! They were SO NEAT. It's a plant! No! It's an animal! And a DRAGON, at that. MAN!

My other favorite part was the Beluga Whales. They were strangely sinuous and graceful.

Andrea managed to touch most of the inhabitants of the Aquarium...but I'll let her tell you about that. I touched a star fish.

I took a bunch of video and perhaps one of these days, a video post will magically appear. So keep checking back.

Monday, February 20, 2006

We have FRIENDS!

Hey! Just a little note to say Life is GOOD! We are having a grand old time with Diane and Andrea down spite of damp weather and chilly temperatures. Many laughs are had by all. But poor Penny is ill; please pray that she will feel better soon. And Nate too. He ails as well. Wah. Chicken Noodle soup, Nyquil, Dayquil, GSC, OJ, garlic and Vitamin C- and a big ol' dose of PRAYAH- are the order of the day.

ANYway...There's just nothing like old friends- you have this instant feeling of comfort and relaxation and safety. Makes me miss all my old haunts and peeps up north. A big shout out to ALL YA'LL! Okay- yes - I'm in a weird mood.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Faithful in the Little Things

Brad told me this story recently, which greatly blessed me and I thought I would pass it along to you.

He was at work and there was one other male co-worker with him in the store. A woman walked by the store who apparently needed some help in knowing how to dress properly. Brad saw her and turned away...and his co-worker noticed. He said to Brad, " Your wife has trained you well!" This made me laugh because I have done nothing of the kind; I can claim no credit for training him to look away from certain things. His self control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Brad has been training himself in this way for years- long before we even met. I'm just reaping the benefits of his faithfulness.

You hear people say that the world is watching you to see what a Christian is really like. But if you're like me, you sometimes catch yourself thinking," Yeah, whatever. If someone's watching me, they're just going to notice the freakish things about me that they don't understand and can't relate to and be alienated and weirded out." ( Okay- maybe that's a little bit exaggerated, but I do often think something in that general vein.) But this little incident really made an impact on the way I think about being faithful in the little things. Brad wasn't trying to demonstrate anything to his co-worker; he didn't preach a sermon to him. With the simple act of turning his head, he was acting on his habit of maintaining purity. And someone happened to notice - one time out of the hundred thousand times.

I don't think this co-worker is a Christian, and even if he thinks I am responsible for my husband's actions, instead of the credit going to Brad and the Holy Spirit, it still distinguishes Brad from the rest of the masses, as someone who is faithful to his wife ( a remarkable phenomena itself in this society), to say nothing of being faithful to God. For this I am grateful and proud.

It also encouraged me to be faithful in being modest. Sometimes I really do find myself thinking it's not such a big deal to be so careful. But if someone notices a man's effort to be pure, surely somebody might also notice a woman's effort to promote purity- even if it is manifested differently. And purity is such a rare and almost unheard of concept today, that people definitely take notice. It points to something beyond the person making the choice; it points to God. "...pure as HE is pure."

Nothing we do for God is wasted or unnoticed. Even if no one else sees what we do or understands WHY we do it, God DOES and He appreciates it, more than we know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hi, My Name is Clara and I'm Seventeen.

I stopped by Home Depot - or Home Despot as we call it around here- today to pick up some spray paint. No, I'm not getting into graffiti with all my spare time...I'm going to paint a dresser for the guest room, in preparation for an upcoming guest. Our good friend Diane R. is coming down to stay with us for her spring break next week! Hurray! We will try to provide nice weather and lots of fun. ANYWAY...nothing like having guests coming to provide a great incentive to finish up some projects around the house...

I was at the checkout buying these aforementioned cans of spray paint when the woman looked at me and asked, " How old are you?" I hesitated for an instant, trying to remember my age. Then I told her, "Twenty seven." She said she was trying to make sure I was over eighteen so I could buy spray paint! Apparently, certain kinds of paint are restricted from minors...I guess so they won't huff them or sniff them or some such nonsense. Good grief- the crazy laws we have to pass these days, just because some stupid kids thought it would be a good idea to get high off of paint. All because Eve ate the apple. Man! Anyway, she said that she thought I might be seventeen so she just had to make sure. I thought that was a mighty hoot. Reminded me of the time on the plane last year when I was seated in the emergency exit row and the flight attendant asked if I was over eighteen. Oh my word. I suppose I should feel vastly complimented. Sigh. I guess.

Earlier today, I was in another store and the lady asked my name. I said, "Claire" as plain as day...and she was like, " Carol?" And I said, " CLAIRE." And she was like, " Oh! Clara!" I did NOT leave an A on the end of it- I don't know WHERE she got it. I just let it slide. I figure, some people actually call me Clara...Then again, some people call me Clarabelle Cow, Claire Bear, I-DeClaire, Clarence, Clarity of Vision, E-Clair, Clare de Lune, Clairvoyant, Clair-EEE, Clar...
( Often, when I was little, adults would see me and say, " Well, I DECLARE!" chuckling and glowing with pride over their cleverness, as if they were the first ones to utter this hilarious little play on my name. Actually, it still happens on occasion.)

My identity has been severely tested today.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Spiraling down into paranoid hysteria - sort of

Those pickles are MMM-MMM good.

You should have seen Joshua's eyes light up when we opened up that five gallon bucket. He loves pickles and looked like he wanted to dive right in.

Anyway- moving on...

Brad and I saw this thing on the History Channel the other day about this machine called a fleuroscope which was used from the twenties through the fifties in shoe stores. It was basically an X-ray machine that was supposed to be the most modern way to get well-fitted shoes. A child would put their foot in the machine and the salesclerk, mother, and child would look into one of three viewfinders to look at the X-rayed foot. Unfortunately, the machines emitted about 25 rems of radiation; in later years, it was determined that the maximum exposure for workers who dealt with radiation was 5 rems per year. So people were getting sick and dying... because they were being progressive- and using the most "modern technology". People totally misunderstood the power and danger of X-rays.

Kinda makes you stop and think. What technology are we using now, even taking for granted, that may be far more complicated and dangerous than we realize... Hmmm. I'm not exactly a Luddite, but I can sympathize with their viewpoint. I don't think I have the courage to be a true Luddite though. I don't really want to know what life would be like without the modern conveniences of washing machines, plumbing, the internal combustion engine, debit cards, central heating, and the internet. Although, come to think of it, with all the talk about Iran and their electromagnetic pulse bomb, I have been thinking about what nineteenth century life would be like and how I would deal with it. Time to go stock up the Y2K cupboard, I guess.

Brad says that in twenty years we'll probably find out that the internet is fatal. He says that if that day ever comes, he's probably going to buy a pack of cigarettes, stop looking both ways before crossing, and keep on surfing the web.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled...PICKLES!

I am now the part owner of a five gallon bucket of fabulous pickles. Well, I WILL be, come Thursday.

Here's the story.

Pari, Penny, Rachel, and I went out to lunch today to mourn Rachel's imminent departure from our vicinity. ( Joshua and Rebekah came along too...) We went to a place called Firehouse Subs and enjoyed delectable sandwiches...along with some reeeeeally good dill pickle spears. They were so unusually fantastic that I went up to the counter and asked the manager where he had gotten them. He told me that they get them in these big five gallon buckets from Knoxville. Huh. He even pulled one out of the back and showed it to me. I was hoping for some clue as to why they tasted so different but to no avail. He said many people comment on the pickles and that they usually go through a bucket a day!

Pari asked him if he could order us a bucket and he agreed. So on Thursday, I'm going to pick up our pickles. I think we're going to have the things coming out our ears!

While we ate our lunch we sat below a TV tuned to Fox News which was covering the funeral of Corretta Scott King...I almost said " the live funeral of..." and then I realized how strange that would sound. Anyway...It started around noon, I guess, and this evening when I came out of the library, got into my car and turned on the radio around 6:30, they said that the funeral had just ended. WOW. I have never heard of a funeral going that long.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Race to be the Next...Incredible Shrinking Person!

After church today, Daddy, Mama, Rachel and I were in the parsonage kitchen, talking about the section of wall beside the door which has people's measurements written on it. Many houses have these shrines to growth- a series of little dashes with initials or names next to them, chronicling the milestones of development. And then, Daddy came up with an idea that I had never thought of before, and which I thought was very peculiar, funny, and altogether Daddyish. He suggested that he and Mama should start keeping a chart record of their see who will SHRINK the fastest as they age!

A backwards growth chart! How morbid is that?! It conjures up a bizarre, "Far Side"-ish image of an old person slumping next to the wall chart, holding a pencil level with their head: 'Yesssss! I've lost two inches this year!'

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Karl Kassel, Noah Adams, Garrison Keillor, Brad Pass - What do all these people have in common?

Okay. Get ready for some knock your socks off news. This is SO WEIRD. No- it's not what you think it might be. It's Something Completely Different. This is something you will NEVER GUESS. So I'll just tell you already.

The other day, Brad was on the computer and got an email from someone at Michigan Public Radio who was doing a story on vlogger Josh Leo. Apparently, she wanted to get some feedback from people who watch the vlog; she had seen Brad's comment on Josh's vlog and and clicked on Brad's profile to get his email address, and voila. So Brad emailed back, and a few moments later, got a phone call from Michigan Public Radio. So he was interviewed and the woman seemed quite happy with his responses and said he would probably be included in the story.

And today, the story aired in Michigan. We just listened to it online and were totally weirded out by hearing Brad's voice. If we had been thinking ahead, we would have videotaped ourselves listening to it so that we could have made it into a video post. But...we didn't. So, share the weirdness. Here's the link(requires Real Player).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I have come down with a bug- which means that Brad also has succumbed to it. Mine began Tuesday morning when I awoke feeling like I had been hit by a truck. I had a cough and general achiness, which degenerated into a fever last night. And as I woke up this morning, I heard Brad panting in that unmistakable way which means he is sick. He had a fever of 101 and said, " Oh, well, I don't have to go into work until 2:00 anyway..." I was like, " Oh my WORD. NO." I put my proverbial foot down. I think he soon realized the wisdom of my decree. He's been pretty miserable all day, poor thing, what with chills and sweats.

So we have both been lurching feebly around the house all day like two failing octegenarians. It's strange how when you have a fever and you try to walk around, you feel like a character in one of those movies that is so old and materially decrepit that the people sort of trail little lines of color after them when they move.

Aside from pain and general discomfort, being sick has been almost kind of fun. You get to sleep a lot and read a lot - both activities of which I am fond. But I'm sure the almost-fun will wear off pretty fast if this continues much longer.

I'm pretty much on the upswing but still taking it easy for now. Brad? The jury is still out...He might have to take another sick day tomorrow...