August 23, 2012

Have You Seen My Brain?

It was here a minute ago.

*scratches head*

Hmmm, I sat down to watch TV a few hours ago and now it's gone. Like it just sprouted legs and walked off. Was it something I watched?

WARNING: Nerd content below

I have to watch what I watch these days. Balance is everything. One can get into serious trouble if one's TV habits are out of sync. Too much crime drama, for example, and I get depressed. I find myself pacing aimlessly through the house, wondering if anyone will ever love Tom or if Callen will ever discover what the G stands for. A dose of such shows now and then is fine, but a steady diet? Hardly healthy. I'm afraid I'd become another crime statistic.

Too many English period pieces and I begin thinking with an English accent. Oh that's fun. Try going over a grocery list with Emma Thompson in your head. You begin to wonder if you own enough tea or if beans really do taste good on toast (they don't). It's when I begin praying in English brogue that I know I've had too much. Somebody better stop me before I find a corset and start calling everyone by their last name.

Horror shows? Heh, no. That box shall remain unchecked on my list of TV experiences. I already have enough trouble sleeping.

Documentaries, anyone? Now I bet you're wondering "Can one truly overdo documentaries?" The answer is yes. I know I've had my fill when I'm afraid to fall asleep lest some creepy crawlie slithers into bed with me. Or when I refuse to take Caleb to the beach because, waiting quietly in the shallows, are 27 species of shark that I never knew existed, but who are quite willing to rend the flesh from my bones. Thank you, Discovery Channel, for another excellent educational program. And another sleepless night.

Science fiction? Now I love me some science fiction. You can't over indulge Sci-Fi. I will say this though: be careful what you watch. If your first experience with Sci-Fi was Star Trek, the genre has probably been ruined for you. With a few notable exceptions, not much measures up to Star Trek. My husband and I watched our first Battlestar Galactica episodes this week. All I could think was, "These poor people. No replicators, no holo decks. Heck, their ships don't even have shields. I doubt this war with the Cylons will end well. They should form an alliance with the Federation. Captain Picard could send an away team and. . . oh wait . . . this isn't Star Trek."

So you see, balance is everything. Watch a burned spy in Florida and then the popular doctor from the Hamptons. A little Sy-Fy with a little Discovery Channel. If you're careful, you can keep your brain happy and it won't leave you to go on vacation.

Now if you'll excuse me. We've been watching Scooby-Doo for the last three hours and my brain is probably half way across Washington by now. Higher faculties can only handle so much "Jinkies!" and "Zoinks!", ya know?

Happy Thursday, all! And remember: with great television comes great responsibility. Watch responsibly!

August 18, 2012

Lost and Found

A serendipitous moment chanced my way the other day. Trolling through iTunes I happened upon an old music group that I used to listen to when I was growing up. It was a Christian band from the 80's called "Wendy & Mary." Anyone heard of them? The music is simple. Nothing spectacular. But the lyrics are masterfully written, stirring and sweet. These two women sang Scripture. They sang Truth. Even as a little girl, I was moved by them. Wendy & Mary had the ability to evoke peace.

An ability that came in handy in a rather unexpected way. When I was seven, living in a small town in the middle of the Mojave desert, I lived through a 7.6 earthquake. It happened in 1992, the year of the L.A. riots and Hurricane Andrew. It was the year we got rid of Zorro the dalmation and bought Belle, the miniature schnauzer puppy. It was June, just a few weeks away from my eighth birthday. Just before dawn, before the triple-digit heat could rise with the sun, the earth rocked and rolled.

Vivid snippets of memory still survive in my mind. My dad throwing himself over me to protect me. My mom catching and pushing our tv back into the entertainment center as it bounced out. The sound of glass breaking in the kitchen. The shaking seemd to last forever. I remember wondering when it would end.

Gas and water lines ruptured during the earthquake and we lived with friends for two weeks until the utilities could be restored. Hairline fractures covered the ground for miles and I remember pushing dirt back into them in our yard for weeks after. Mom bought new dishes. The kitchen linoleum had cracked and had to be replaced. But mostly? I was afraid to sleep alone.

I spent the rest of the summer sleeping on the floor next to my mom and dad's bed. The very idea of returning to my own bed terrified me, so with all the insight and resourcefulness of an eight year old, I figured I'd just sleep with my parents forever. But when September rolled around and school started, Mom and Dad said it was time for me to return to my room.

I bit my lip, shook my head, started to cry. But my parents had a plan. They put my little Fisher Price cassette player in bed with me each night. And they gave me a Wendy & Mary tape to listen to. The music played softly in my room for months as I fell asleep hearing

"Patiently I waited and He heard my cry
He brought me up and set my feet on solid ground"

"Welcome home! to a Love that has waited since before time began,
to a Love that remains when everything else is gone"

"Only in God is my soul at rest, from Him comes my salvation,
My stronghold, my Savior, I shall not be afraid
My stronghold, my Savior, I shall not be moved."

For one frightened little girl, these songs conjured a peace that covered each night and held the fears at bay. Only now, looking back, do I realize just how intently He was watching over me.

So imagine my delight at finding these dear old songs available on iTunes!

May I introduce Wendy & Mary to you?

August 5, 2012

Welcome to Holland

A good friend of mine, with special needs kids of her own, sent this to me some months ago. It bubbled back up to the surface of my mind this week, so I thought I'd share it with you.
Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ...about Holland.

Reprinted with permission from Emily Perl Kinglsey. 1987 copyright by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.