Category: "family/personal"

Introducing Nate

I'm excited to introduce a new blog for brendoman.com. No superman is Nate's blog. Nate and I were roommates our freshman year at Truman. He stood up with me in my wedding. He's from Iowa and he came down last weekend to visit us. We had been in touch off and on, but we had not seen each other since graduation. Nate is in his fourth year of medical school. He's brilliant, ambitious and funny. Check out his new blog and leave him a comment to welcome him.

Emma's vacation report

MicrophoneEmma and I sat down with a microphone and talked about the vacation. We give a day by day audio report, complete with Emma's fascination with scary Disneyland rides and a few random tangents. The original recording was 33 minutes long, but I trimmed it down to a snappy 17 minutes. Here it is:

Emma's Disneyland Vacation (18 minutes, 16.5 MB)

If you want to get a feel for what it's like to have a conversation with this four-year-old, then you can download the uncut version (33 minutes, 30.5 MB).

Vacation photos

Stephanie, Emma, Sara and Brendan in front of the Disneyland castle Emma and Mickey At the beach

We're back from Califonia. You can see photos in the 2006 California Vacation gallery.

Destination California

In three hours we're leaving for our vacation. We're going to Southern California for a week. We'll be staying with college friends Peter and Stephanie. And we'll get to see Brendan for the first time in almost two years. We're going to Disneyland for a couple of days, so Emma is very excited. And Friday night we're having a board game night and I'm going to get to meet Brendon and Dave for the first time.

If the groundhog can do it, so can I

It seems I have been hiding out, as alluded to in the subject of this post. I guess that's what happens when at least half of your readers think you are hell-bound (literally). I'm still a little wary of posting, but if I'm not careful, I'll end up like an even more twisted and paranoid version of Dave Chappelle. (I'm already starting to sympathize with his "everyone was out to get my money/fame" story--is that a bad sign?)

Anyway, before I end up dancing with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio, here are the Top 5 Random Thoughts and Happenings of Sara Ferguson. Enjoy.

1. Yesterday, I joined the ranks of regular people everywhere: I bought a cell phone. Danny and I were trying to hold out for a really cheap plan (translation: free), but it seems that is not happening. Instead of lowering rates, the companies keep adding features. While it would be cool for my phone to bake a pizza while dialing, I would not pay $10 extra dollars per month for this 'convenience'. But when Emma became sick last week (see number 2), I decided that her sitter should be able to find me quickly. Unfortunately, that means everyone else can, too. (Another reason I had not yet purchased a phone.) I can remember arriving back at Truman for my senior year and seeing all of these alien bodies (freshmen) glued to their phones. It was like something out of the Twilight Zone. By the time we began in youth ministry, every middle-schooler was carrying a phone and text-messaging their current love interest. Does the fact that I am still bothered by this make me old?

2. Emma has been sick. For those of you who don't know, Emma is our four-year-old daughter. She is normally an intelligent, active and funny little girl, but for five days in a row she was a permanent fixture on our couch. She didn't make nonsensical knock-knock jokes ("Who's there? Orange? Orange who? Orange knock-knock"); didn't smile; didn't speak; didn't eat, etc. It was a very quiet and sad time. But now she is back. How do I know, you may ask? Well, for one, she has reinstated the required 'copycat' mode at dinner; she is also chowing down on her preschool Valentine's Day party candy.

3. I am sick and tired of the war. And Bush. And his cronies. And I am so sick and tired of it all that I am not going to say anything else about it. See Danny's earlier post
for more. Or, for a less serious look, see this.

4. Having two part-time jobs is much like having one full-time job. Why it took five months to figure this out, I have no idea. I am currently working as a desktop publisher for our church, putting out weekly bulletins and newsletters and a monthly newsletter, complete with articles I write. To this I have added administrative and direct care duties at Willow Creek Group Homes, three homes for people with mental disabilities owned by my friend Jeanie. I work two days during the week writing reports about the consumers' (residents') goals so that they can continue to recieve their Medicaid funding. I also work overnight on Tuesdays at a home with three women who are high-functioning mentally disabled. After emailing and visiting the library (and sometimes doing yoga), we enjoy the priveleges of Tuesday night TV together, namely, American Idol. It is one of the highlights of my week to hear them laugh hysterically and say, "Why is she on TV? She can't even sing?". Why indeed?

5. Anne Lamott has got to be one of my favorite authors ever. She speaks about life and faith in terms I understand: sarcasm, doubt and inexplicable hope. I have enjoyed her collecions of essays for several years now (Traveling Mercies being my favorite), but have just recently begun her library of novels. Although I could never write with as much truth and attention to detail as her, she makes me want to.

Here's to staying above ground, for a few days at least.

Emma's computer

Emma has her own computer now. Someone was going to throw away an old Gateway with 256 MB RAM, so I took it and isntalled Edubuntu, the Ubuntu Linux version that is made for kids. So far it's working great. I had to monkey around with it to get the sound working on some of the games, then I just created a user account for her and added icons to the taskbar so it's easy for her to launch her favorite programs. She likes gcomris, tuxpaint, tuxtype, gedit and this page in Firefox. She can type her name. She might learn to type before she learns to read. I still need to get the USB wireless adapter working so I can move it back to her room. This is going to be a good first computer. At this rate I should be able to introduce her to Bash at 6, shell scripting at 7, HTML at 8, PHP at 9, MySQL at 10 and she should be able to get into Stanford or MIT right out of elementary school.

Emma the gymnast

Emma turning a flipI just posted a new photo album. Emma was showing off her new gymnastic skills and just generally hamming it up.

Mike is engaged

Mike and AngieCongratulations to my brother Mike and his girlfriend, Angie. They got engaged this week! I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that we're happy to welcome Angie into the clan. Emma especially likes her. She declared that Angie was her twin. After she blew out the candles at her fourth birthday party she said, "Ask me what I wished for." We did, then she said, "I wished that Angie would be my twin FOREVER!" Later that night Mike proposed, so I guess she got her wish. Congratulations, guys.

Games


I've updated my collection list at BoardGameGeek.com to include the new boardgames we got over the holidays. Sara gave Through the Desert to me, Hare and Tortoise to Emma and me and Tri-Virsity to Sara and me. We gave Go Away Monster to Emma and she seems to like it. Her 2-year-old cousin, Lola ,really liked it and kept bringing it out and wanting to play it. A friend gave Emma Hungry Hungry Hippos. My brother wants to do another game night this week. We're thinking Thursday. How does that sound?

Books

Christmas brought a few additions to my bookshelf. The first four books above came from my mother-in-law. She printed off the list of Top 20 Geek Novels that I posted about a month ago, took it to the bookstore and bought me some from the list that I haven't read. A very thoughtful gift. So, now I have numbers 5, 9, 13 and 17. Sara got Perdido Street Station for me because she had heard so many good things about it and thought I would enjoy it. There's a quote of Neil Gaiman praising it right on the front cover, so it's got plenty of geekiness, too. I'm looking forward to reading these, and I'll be happy to loan them out, too.

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