Saturday, December 15, 2012

Good Christmas Movie

 I enjoy Christmas movies so was tickled to find one with a good message. This movie is a a year old but I haven't heard about it before. We found it on the Netflix Instant Play lineup. I especially love the movie's closing shots.

Christmas With a Capital C's plot was based on a song of the same name by the band Go Fish which in turn was inspired by one of actor Brad Stine's stand-up comedy routines. It centers around what in recent years has been dubbed the "War on Christmas" in the United States.

An atheist attorney returns to his small home town of Trapper Falls, Alaska and quickly rocks the boat by getting an civil injunction against the traditional nativity display on city property. The whole town learns some good lessons as they deal with this difficult issue. It stars Ted McGinley, Daniel Baldwin, Nancy Stafford. Brad Stine is a main character and does a humorously touching retelling of the Christmas story.

If you watch it, let me know what you think. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Remember Me?

The one cursed by a procrastination fairy at birth. 

This might be a new personal blog record for me. The longest time I've left one post up. Apologies to anyone nice enough to check back that kept having to see that last post for days on end. 

In my defense, November was a blur and December isn't looking too promising either. 

The blurriness began the middle of October when our daughter-in-law Rachel came to visit to run a 10k race with Christina and Kiah.


 She took my three youngest girls home with her for the week. The next week, Andrew, Rachel, and two friends came up for a short visit. They were all headed to a friend's wedding two hours northeast of here in Upper Michigan. 

I'd written earlier this fall about our recent rash of birthdays.  We have our four fall birthdays, then two guests, Ruth and Rachel, also had birthdays. 

When Andrew and his carload arrived, I was amazed to find that their friend Megan would turn 25 while at our house. What are the chances?  

Kiah loves to concoct one-of-a-kind decadent birthday treats so she created what I affectionately call, "Death By Birthday Cake." She made a Three Layer Red Velvet Cheesecake, which was heavenly for the first few bites, but sat like lead for the rest of the night in the stomachs of those, myself included, who weren't smart enough to eat a small piece of that rich dessert. 

On November 3rd, Keith, Anna, Amy, Lani, and I flew to Virginia for ten days. 

We spent three days with six others from our Wisconsin church at the headquarters of Advancing Native Missions in Charlottesville, VA. 

Our church is exploring how to become involved with the work ANM does worldwide. ANM supports the work native missionaries do in their own countries. Sending American missionaries to a foreign country is very expensive. Supporting a native missionary who reaches out to his own people can be done at a fraction of the cost.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the amazing people at ANM headquarters.  

Our church friends went back to Wisconsin and our family stayed for five more days. We reconnected with old friends in Virginia and also visited Washington DC.

We returned home and a week later drove six hours down to Iowa to Andrew and Rachel's for Thanksgiving. Kiah, Rachel, and Anna cooked most of the Thanksgiving Dinner which tasted wonderful.  

This past weekend, Christina, Amy, Lani, and I went with twelve other people from our church to Minneapolis (four hours away) to volunteer at an Operation Christmas Child Processing Center We had a great time and hope to go back next year. 

Then my laptop died and my sweet husband replaced it with an iPad, which took awhile to learn since I'm not a teenager, and is horribly distracting, especially for people cursed by procrastination fairies.  

So now it's the first Tuesday in December and while I'm very thankful for all the visits and trips we've had, things like blogging and cleaning bathrooms has slipped through the cracks. 

If you're still reading this post, you've earned 50 Messy Cars and Muddy Shoes points. These can be redeemed at our house anytime, but maybe not during your birthday unless you're willing to risk eating one of our recklessly decadent birthday treats.   

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Library of Congress

 On a recent trip to Virginia, we crammed a lot into our one day in Washington D.C., then split up for our last two hours.

Keith and Anna went to a Smithsonian museum, and Amy, Lani, and I officially became nerds. Of all the things to see in Washington D.C., we chose The Library of Congress.

I was thrilled. The Library of Congress is the book lover’s equivalent of Mecca. For years I’ve seen Library of Congress numbers on almost every book I’ve read.

We walked in the door of their first building and I started to take a picture. “You can’t take pictures in here,” a clerk snapped.

Immediately self-conscious, I lowered the camera.

A lady stepped around me, slid her pass through a scanner, and disappeared around the corner. Oh no. We didn’t have a pass.  

The clerk asked impatiently, “Can I help you?”

My girls waited for me to answer. Temporarily tongue-tied, I just stared at her.

The clerk snapped, “Y’all speak English?”

My mind cleared and I asked about tours. She directed us across the street, saying we couldn’t take pictures until we went through security.  

The girls recognized the second building from the movie National Treasure.

I think it’s the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. Every square inch of the floors, walls, ceilings, and stairs are decorated with marble, tile, mosaics, murals, and sculptures.

A video got us even more excited to be at such a cool place. Our tour guide obviously loved his job. Who wouldn’t? The guide described the building’s history, design, and special features. After fifteen minutes we had only seen one ornate staircase. During his lecture on an elaborate ceiling mosaic, Lani whispered, “Mom, this is boring.”

It’s against Vik rules to say “bored” or its variations. However, while I might find lectures on fancy ceilings interesting, my daughters did not. We ditched the tour and struck off on our own.

We found the great reading room and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It’s huge, beautiful, and inviting. 

We would be better people if we could just read one book in that magnificent room. We saw people in there but couldn’t see how they got in. An employee said the room was only for researchers.

I told Amy, “You have to be smarter to use that room.”

We saw a Gutenberg Bible on display. This Bible was the first major book printed with movable type in the West and the first produced on a printing press in the world. There are only twenty-one surviving complete copies.

I took a picture, only to be snapped at by a fellow tourist. “You’re not supposed to take pictures of it.” Sure enough, a sign forbid taking pictures of the Bible. I plead ignorance but I’m not sorry to have this picture.

We saw exhibits which would have been interesting if we had expected a museum. When you visit a Smithsonian Museum, you expect a museum. When you’re at The Library of Congress, you expect a library. At the very least, a congress of some sort.

We couldn’t stand it any longer and asked an employee, “Where are the books?”

She explained there weren’t physical books for visitors to see. They store books in various places in three buildings. Researchers can use the facility, but the average life-long bookaholic cannot.

Oh the cruel irony. To be in the largest library in the world, a place with 34 million books and not be able to touch a book was unbearable and inexcusable.

We had expected floor after floor, stack after glorious stack of books. Not a museum. Their display of the contents of Lincoln’s pockets the night he died was a small consolation when we expected a complete Nancy Drew collection.

To be fair, we only had an hour and even if we could access their books, one can only look at so many books in an hour. To be fair, if we hadn’t ditched the tour, we wouldn’t have asked employees stupid questions or took pictures of things we weren’t supposed to.

Their gift shop was fun AND it had books. (I sense a method to their madness.) 

The girls dragged me out and we left to meet Keith and Anna.

Despite my huge disappointment. I came away happy. The building’s beauty alone makes the trip worthwhile. Even though we couldn’t see their books, I knew they were there. I understand the concept. I applaud their work. A collection of 35 million books is amazing, whether I could see them or not. I wished I had more time to look and listen. Now that I know what to expect, I’d love to go back.

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
--Emilie Buchwald--