1. Hitchhike across the United States – I think that would be the most interesting, economical, and memorable way to experience the country. However, I’ve been told it is no longer an advisable means of transportation.
2. Work as a Disney princess at Walt Disney World – Apparently, there is a height limit, and I miss the cut off by about three inches. Perhaps I could be a Disney villain…
3. Marry an Australian archeologist – I’m thinking an Indiana Jones type. Of course, since I’ve never met an Australian OR an archeologist, this might be a little difficult.
4. Time travel – 1920 would be my starting date. Living through World War II, dancing with Gene Kelly in the 1950s musicals, writing for Disney, and swapping stories with Tolkein and Lewis…I would prefer those over Apple products, reality television, and selfies any day.
5. Have a slumber party at the White House – Yeah, no explanation needed.
Moving across the country has involved a lot of “news”: a new house, new neighborhood, new friends, new car (hopefully), new job. One of the first “new” things that we had to do was choose a church. As a former P.K., this was a rare occurrence. Besides a brief stint in college at church hunting, I have never had the job of picking out a church before. And in Dallas, this task isn’t easy. Churches are everywhere, and each one courts new members with brochures, candy, coffee mugs, and other free stuff. My sister and I are now settled in a nice one, but it took some work to find. This summer, we were able to check out quite a few of the establishments. Here is how I would describe some of the more memorable ones:
1. The tourist church. As we attended a Tuesday evening function, cars filled the parking lot and were parked on both sides of the street for a half mile. Food trucks packed with customers sat beside the huge facility, and security guards in sunglasses and vests watched us suspiciously. Every seat in the place was filled, and a stadium-like excitement infused the room. As soon as the service was over, huge swarms of bodies hurried to cars to avoid getting stuck in an after-church traffic jam.
2. The cootie church. The average age of a member of this church was about 25. People came in pairs, and a lot of rubbing, patting, and snuggling commenced. I got the feeling that if I stood in one place too long, I’d be married and then pregnant within six months.
3. The intellectual church. After a 50 minute sermon, people headed to classrooms to listen to another 60 minute lecture. The “school” in Sunday school was quite obvious. I left feeling like knowledge had descended upon me.
4. The Southern Gospel church. As the banjo and fiddle dueled with each other, I couldn’t help but smile. As “In the Sweet By and By” closed out the service, my dad let loose a rousing “Yeehaw!” My 13-year-old sister was completely scandalized.
In Dallas, the hard part isn’t finding a good church; it is deciding between all the good ones available. Each one on the list has been a very solid church, and it is fun to see the differences between them.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not be a task-oriented, goal-driven firstborn. To be content to come home from work every day, and spend the evening in front of the T.V. To be happy going out with friends every night of the week or living in a house piled high with dirty dishes or dirty laundry and not even care. While I don’t see anything wrong with any of those other past times that people enjoy, I’m not one of those people.
I am a project person. I don’t feel complete unless I am working on a project. Whether it is writing a novel, attempting to master a new instrument, learning a different language, or putting together a craft, I never seem content without having something I’m working on.
This fact recently hit me as I prepared a cross-stitch for my friend’s wedding. I had completed one other small cross-stitch before but wanted to create something special for my friend. Looking through cross-stitch patterns, I finally found the one I wanted. This shouldn’t take me much time, I thought to myself as I ordered the kit off Amazon. In a few months, this piece will be gorgeous. As the time for the wedding crept up, I didn’t think I could finish it in time. In the six weeks before the wedding, I dedicated 2-4 hours a day or more to my needle and thread, crafting this piece of stitchery. After some last minute 3 am nights, I finally finished the piece.
On another front, I’m working on my fourth novel (don’t laugh!). It’s one I started in college and have let simmer for the last two years. Each evening, I try to dedicate time to putting that piece together. The going is slow, and the distractions are many, but I keep plugging away. None of my family members care much about writing or reading my work, and my piece doesn’t have much of an audience. Still, I keep at it.
Many people might call what I do a waste of time. What’s the point of spending hours of your life working on projects that will end up at a Salvation Army or never make it off a computer hard drive? While this is one opinion, I disagree. Even if I’m the only one who gets joy out of the projects I work on, it is such a satisfied feeling to create something that is tangible.
Yes, I may not know anything about Saturday Night Live or the current celebrity gossip. I may not be living it up every weekend. I may not know what sports teams are in the playoffs. I might stress myself out with trying to get too many things done at once. But I have poured my time into something that I can touch and see and enjoy for years to come.
If I am going to spend my time doing something, creating personal masterpieces is what I want to do.
How about you? What pastimes or hobbies do you enjoy? Any thoughts?
Entertainment seems to be swarming over us, surrounding us on all sides, and pressing in on us in a relentless pursuit of our time. With YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix, if ever a person had a few free minutes, he surely doesn’t anymore. Whether it is the old black-and-white I Love Lucy reruns, the shoot-them-up Westerns, or modern TV shows, there is always a way to find something online. With new shows coming out all the time, the pressure to watch all the old episodes before a new fad comes in is ever increasing. However, is this the best way to go about it?
I have a confession to make. I am a Smallville fan. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with this classic, it is basically the story of Superman’s teenage and young adult years. Clark Kent goes through the typical struggles of fitting into high school, being part of love triangles, and figuring out his identity. Along the way, he learns to use his superpowers, fights off meteor-infected mutants, finds mysterious caves with alien-writing in them, develops evil nemesis, and tries not to be killed with Kryponite. Typical teenage stuff, right?
What struck me about the show is that I watched it for TEN YEARS! From 2001-2011, my family and I were in front of the television every Thursday night, Friday night, or Sunday afternoon–whenever the show was playing. From the time I was ten to the time I was twenty, Smallville was a part of my life. Each week, we’d pile on the couch with popcorn and lament loudly at each cliff-hanger. We’d gird ourselves for the season finales and rejoice at each season premiere. While the days and sometimes weeks between episodes seemed long and painful, there was always something to look forward to.
Last night, my sister and I rented the pilot episode of the show and watched it again. The memories of the show and the intricacies came flooding back. While some of the seasons weren’t the greatest and some of the episodes probably weren’t appropriate for preteen girls, the sense of nostalgia and connection we shared with the show were still there. We emphathized with Clark. We understood Lex. We rooted for Chloe. As we watched Clark and his friends grow up, we grew up as well.
Watching six episodes of Doctor Who in an afternoon or two episodes of The Wild Wild West a night for weeks on end is fine and dandy, but there is something about spending years with the same characters and sharing in their adventures. I’m thankful for the option available today, but I do miss those good old-fashioned series.
How about you? Any thoughts or shows that became part of your family’s culture?