Sunday, November 28, 2004

Required Seasonal Viewing

This is my favorite time of year. Next to Easter, Christmas is my favorite holiday. With this season there are a number of films and features that I make a point of seeing every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Here is my list in no particular order of importance.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Miracle on 34th Street (has to be B/W)


A Christmas Story

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim, thank you)

Home Alone

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated)

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Frosty the Snowman

The Year Without a Santa Claus

The Little Drummer Boy

Feel free to leave your own recommendation. Be well all.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Of blindness and back pain

I was reminded a few weeks ago by one of KMJ's posts about the gift of sight. This prompted me to schedule my annual examination with my friendly neighborhood optometrist. Ordinarily these little excursions are rather uneventful. Not this time.

After the usual tests they run every year I always ask what the results of the glaucoma test were. Once the doctor glanced over the numbers she paused. . . and said that my right eye tested high. Normal, but in the higher range. She looked a little closer and did another, more detailed sort of test and said that the eye tested a little higher than before. When she asked about my family history, I told her and she said "Oh". You see, my mother lost her sight to glaucoma and spent the last years of her life in darkness. One of my sisters and one of my brothers have diabetes. I don't, but apparently I'm in a high risk group. Long story short, I'm being referred to a glaucoma specialist. Please pray. Few things scare me more than the loss of my sight. Please pray for healing.

As if that weren't enough, a few days later I threw my back out at work. I have not experienced pain like that in a long time. I have actually spent the last week in bed and going back and forth to my chiropractor. That is one of the reasons I haven't blogged in so long. So I'm hoping to go back to work tomorrow. I miss my students. I miss being productive. Pain sucks.

On a positive note, my wife may have found a job. We have been lamenting her lack of income as she student teaches next semester. Well, by God's grace, there was a long term sub position that opened up nearby. It may just work out that she stay in that position and do her student teaching there and GET PAID to do it. God is good. Please pray that this employment opportunity work out for the rest of the year.

I've missed this little digital tribe. Hope all is well. Peace to all.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I'm Afraid

Disclaimer: If you voted for George W. Bush do not read this post. The content of this message is not directed at you, I just need to get this out so that I can survive the next four years.

I'm afraid of George Bush.

I'm afraid of a nation that has given this man a wholesale endorsement of his past and future actions.

I'm afraid of a Democratic party that is so out of touch with the average American's values.

I'm afraid of another four years under the 43rd Reich.

The results of the election were dissapointing to me to say the least. I just can't believe that not only has Bush been re-elected but the American people have given substantial majorities in both houses of Congress to the Republican party. Think about it. Our system of government is based on checks and balances. That no longer exists. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches(thanks to Presidential appointments) are now under the control of one party and virtually one man.

I'm afraid of what George Bush spending his new "political capital" will cost me. What will it cost American workers? How about the elderly or the infirmed? The environement?

I'm afraid of a man that took this nation to war without listening to reason. As I have mentioned before, he never speaks of the now 11,000 dead Iraqi civilians. He diminishes the tragedy of their death by never even speaking of it. And we have collectively said that this behavior of his is acceptable by renewing his contract. What does that say about us?

I'm afraid of how he views his power. In an article in the L.A. Times today he was quoted as saying:
"When you win, there is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell the Congress."
I would be equally afraid of a Democrat who said this, but Bush did and given his history, there is cause for alarm. This man intends on force feeding his agenda on the entire nation. Open up and say ahh.

He has clearly stated that he intends to halve the deficit. How? With more tax cuts for job exporting corporations, how will this be accomplished. Simple, the Republican politicians learned in the 80's that it is unpopular to cut programs. So what the party leadership does is cut taxes first. When revenue dries up, then they cry out about there not being enough money and then programs get cut because it is 'prudent'. Beware of falling funding for education, the EPA and science programs.

His actions will adversely affect teachers, the elderly, students, people who like clean drinking water and many others. And we have allowed him and his partners in crime to do it.

I'm afraid of the Republican party leadership who helped Senator-elect DeMint in South Carolina into office. This guy has actually said that he doesn't think single mothers should be teaching in the classroom. What kind of mentality is this? Where the hell is our country going?

I'm afraid that George Bush is giving Christians a bad name. His advertising his faith is welcomed. The association that average people make between his faith and his behavior is troubling.

I know what my Christian brothers and sisters will say. God establishes the powers on Earth and He is in control. You're right. I agree with you. Its just sometimes I want to bang my head against the wall trying to figure out where it is all going and why. Anybody got a verse that can help me understand why I should keep voting ? I could use it.

Most of all I'm afraid for myself. I no longer know where I fit in the American political landscape. I used to think there was such a thing as bipartisanship. I believed there was such a thing as a moderate. I hoped there was still room for reason in politics. I just don't know anymore.

Peace to all.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Making Changes

Here is the deal.

I hate living in California, especially SoCal.

To make it sound even more bizarre, I hate the weather here. The lack of seasons. The fact that 19.5 million people live between Santa Barbara and San Diego. It is too hot here. The freeways were designed 25 years ago for 10 million people but are clogged with 14 million cars a day now. Real estate is over inflated. There is not enough water here. The cities are poorly designed. And don't even get me started on the fact that it can be 75 degrees on Christmas day.

There is nothing pretty to look at here. Concrete everywhere. Pathetic trees propped up by sticks in newly planted pre-fab neighborhoods. I hate it.

I have hated living here for the several years now and have thought of moving elsewhere. My wife has been wanting to leave the area for the past ten years, more recently I have warmed to the idea. The Pacific Northwest is our first and only choice for relocation. We have prayed about leaving the L.A. area for years but with no clear indication that we should go. In fact when a job prospect in the PNW would come up, something would get in the way. But recently, things seem a bit more fluid. Especially since my mom's death, I have felt even less attachment to the area. For the first time in ten years, my wife and I are both in the same place at the same time about moving.

But alas, there are details. You can't move without a job. So we have decided to take a step of faith to see if we should move. Starting in January, both of us will apply to school districts in the PNW to see what happens. If one of us gets a job by June, we'll pack our bags and say adios to SoCal.

This may not be in the cards. However much I may want to move, God may have other designs. I could still be living here when I'm 62. I don't know. I just feel restless here. I've lived here all my life and in some ways have seen the world by living in the nation's most culturally diverse city. I just have a feeling that there are other places I need to see, another place I could live. And now seems as good as a time as any. Better now than before the boys get too settled in their own lives here.

So, there it is. We are taking a baby, baby step towards moving. It has only taken a decade to get us this far. In January we'll start applying to see what could happen in June. Nothing could happen, something might.

Please pray for us. That we might know what to do and when to do it or even whether or not we should do it or not. I'll keep you posted. And if you hear of any teaching jobs in the Portland-Vancouver area, just let me know.

Be well all.