My New Home

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beach + Blizzard = Pure Summer Joy

The night didn't start off particularly well. Neither of the boys ate their dinner. They wouldn't sit still. They wouldn't stay quiet. They didn't show any signs of wanting to make good on our plans to go to the beach after dinner, scampering around the back yard, cranky, tired.

We corralled them. Swimsuits were donned. Beach stuff was packed. The van was loaded. Off we went to Kimmel Beach. Wait, we missed the turn. Okay, now we're on our way to Kimmel Beach. Just have to find the parking lot. No, this ain't it. Aaaand, here we are. Suddenly it all turned. Everything from then on was pure magic.

Kimmel Beach is just secluded enough. Not a ton of people go hunting for it, especially in the evening. But there are enough people that you don't have to be entirely paranoid about sharks. The big benefit, though, was the feeling that the four of us had about an acre of beach to ourselves. Easy to let them have fun. Easy for them to splash without collateral stranger damage. Easy to keep an eye on them at all times.

And the keeping an eye on them part was the best. Colin tried to jump over waves (funny). Addison rode the waves in his life-jacket (a little fun, but scary). We all got to watch a bunch of guys doing some kind of boarding . . . not wake boarding or paddle boarding or boogie boarding . . . I want to say water boarding, but I know that's not right. Anyway, we saw guys riding small surfboard type things right along the shore, and it was fun.

Then we ran up and down the face of a mini-dune a dozen or so times, taking breaks to watch the sun think about setting as we caught our collective breath. So much fun. So much sand trapped in places it had no business hiding. So much relief not even carrying around a camera.

After dusting off as much sand would agree to dislodge and changing into slightly drier clothes, we got into the van and Colin laid these pearls of wisdom on Heather's ears: "Thanks for going to the beach, Mommy." For a two-year-old kid, that's like a 500-word essay on how much he loves you.

We were so going to Dairy Queen.

So we got ice cream. The boys sat still, but not in a boring way. Just in a "Heck, yeah, I want ice cream" way. Maybe there was a hint of, "We're so content, why in the world would we cause trouble?" in there as well. Addison danced to a smooth jazz version of "You Wanna Be Starting Something," but never left his seat. Both boys were quiet. It was pure magic.

The only real tension of the night was between my sensible side and the side of me that makes decisions. The conversation went like this:

Sensible: Just get a cone.

Insatiable: (Dirty look)

Sensible: Fine, get a small Tagalong Blizzard. Those are really good.

Insatiable: Medium. Final offer.

Sensible: Come on, look at your stomach! You're lucky I'm letting you have a small.

So while my Sensible side curled up in a bruised, broken ball of shame, I enjoyed the medium Tagalong Blizzard and the most enjoyable evening of the year. (Don't get me wrong, the Blizzard wasn't the highlight, but like I said, I didn't bring a camera. {Okay, forgive me . . . I really like the Tagalong Blizzard. [Alright, Sensible and Insatiable are back at it again, so I should just stop typing.]})

Thank God for simple pleasures.

The Eyes Have It

I'm a big fan of words, but sometimes pictures do a better job of telling a story. This picture (and 35 others like it) tells the story of the devastation of Typhoon Morakot and the beauty of persevering love.

The story it fails to tell is how I can go so long without caring when I read a headline bearing the same news: 40 people dead, hundreds missing.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Key to Resisting Temptation: Admit You Have a Problem

This is a news story for the smokers, the cheaters, and the overeaters. It's also a lesson to those people who look down their noses at anyone who ever succumbs to life's primal urges. A scientific study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University showed that judgmental people who think they're impervious to temptation are more likely to give in than those who lack the confidence to resist.

I generally give scientists a hard time, but I have to applaud them for this study. Using science to expose hypocrisy and false pride is well worthwhile. Granted, Proverbs 16:18 told us as much a long time ago, but it's still good to get some practical evidence to back it up.

By the way: the photo (and the chocolate) comes from here:

Monday, August 03, 2009

Miley Cyrus Genius

I don't know if Miley Cyrus is a genius in real life, but for this morning she's a genius on my iTunes.

As the title of the post would immediately suggest, you can dispense with any artistic pretense right away (and, believe me, there is nothing more fun and freeing than dispensing with artistic pretense). Yes, I have Miley Cyrus on my iTunes.

I made a birthday mix for my fourteen-year-old niece, and she loves Miley Cyrus. So I gave her a shot of the world's perkiest mega-starlet and her cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." This morning I was doing a bit of iTunes housekeeping and arranged all my tracks by Date Added. Then a thought struck me: why not create a Genius mix out of Miley?

Fortunately, it wasn't the bulkiest thought in the room, so it struck me with the weight of a gliding feather. But I still pursued it, and I have to say, the results pleased me. It's a fun list, and it's making for a delightful, carefree Monday morning.

That's all. Thank you, Miley. Thank you, too, Mackenzie. Happy Monday. Oh, and here's the playlist:

"Footloose" Kenny Loggins
"Feelings Show" Colbie Caillat
"Only The Good Die Young" Billy Joel
"Slow Dancing In A Burning Room" John Mayer
"Details In the Fabric (feat. James Morrison)" Jason Mraz
"Change Your Mind" All American Rejects
"Real Gone" Sheryl Crow
"Bennie and the Jets (Live)" Elton John
"The Way You Make Me Feel" Michael Jackson
"Big Yellow Taxi" Counting Crows
"Dare You to Move" Switchfoot
"Like A Star" Corinne Bailey Rae
"Hope" Jack Johnson
"Samson" Regina Spektor
"Bicycle Race" Queen
"Tied Down" Colbie Caillat
"It's Still Rock And Roll To Me" Billy Joel
"If It Kills Me" Jason Mraz
"No Such Thing" John Mayer
"Pinch Me" Barenaked Ladies
"Black Or White" Michael Jackson
"Last Kiss" Pearl Jam
"All Shook Up" Elvis Presley
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" Elton John & Kiki Dee
"Take a Chance on Me" ABBA
"Stab My Back" All American Rejects
"One Thing" Finger Eleven
"Angel" Jack Johnson
"Somebody To Love" Queen
"Belief" John Mayer
"Battle" Colbie Caillat
"Make It Mine" Jason Mraz
"Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" Billy Joel
"Take It On The Run" REO Speedwagon
"Crocodile Rock" Elton John
"The Luckiest" Ben Folds
"On the Radio" Regina Spektor
"Man In The Mirror" Michael Jackson
"Why Georgia" John Mayer
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" James Taylor
"Top Of The World" All American Regects
"Oxygen" Colbie Caillat
"Thunder Road" Bruce Springsteen
"Uptown Girl" Billy Joel

Note to self: make default length for Genius playlists much shorter. Whew!