Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tuesdays with Maury (Povich)

Last night I was laying in bed and, as often is the case, I had a random and funny thought that came from who knows where. Anyway, I thought I should write a book entitled Tuesdays with Maury in which an 30-something unemployed man spends every Tuesday for a year watching The Maury Povich Show learning lessons of unrequited love, DNA testing, betrayal, and conflict management. In the end the main character learns that being a father is more than simply passing a paternity test. That got me thinking that it would be funny to write a bunch of books using titles with a homophone replacing one of the words and changing the whole tenor of the book. Here's some of my examples:

Lei Miserables - Many people think that leis are the joyful symbol of arriving in Hawaii, but there is a dark underbelly of the lei industry. This novel follows the lives, joys, and travails of the workers in a Maui lei manufacturing plant who work long hours for little pay to scrape by in what is considered by visitors to be an earthly paradise. It was also be turned into a musical with hit songs including "Lovely Lei-dies," "Drink with Me to Leis Gone By," "At the End of the Lei," and the hit blockbuster "I Dreamed a Seam," where the lead woman sings about her aspirations to rise from the low rungs of the lei industry to head seamstress at the local textile factory.
Thyme to Kill - A novel documenting one man's attempt to use thyme as his sole seasoning on his food for one year. His discoveries and mishaps along the way make it a must for both foodies and fast foodies alike. Think Supersize Me with a gardening twist.
Angels and D.Min.'s. - Two pastors race through the streets of Rome following a trail of murderous clues in hopes of finally earning their Doctors' of Ministry degrees. Who will win? The papists? The Illuminati? The local pastors?
Are You Their God? It's Me, Margaret - A young Christian girl attempts to understand other faiths by asking if the God she serves is also the God that Muslims and Jews serve. God appears to answer in the title, "It's Me, Margaret." (sorry, this one is a stretch, but I really like it. (the original is Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - but doesn't it seem by the change in title from a hypothetical question posed only by Margaret to a discussion between Margaret and God?).
The Son Also Rises - Hemingway's sequel finally embraces the Christian tenet of resurrection.
A Christmas Carrel - One special carrel in a Chicago Public Library transports the unsuspecting studier into the world of Christmas's past, present, and yet-to-come in order to help them reconcile with others and start living their own lives to the fullest before it's too late.

Well, I refuse to spend any more of my time thinking about this, and I really can't believe I did it in the first place.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vacation Finale, Spirit-less Airlines, and Sweet Home Chicago

Well, I'm now back in my Chicago apartment enjoying the cool 82 degrees of the Midwest. Thanks be to God.

So, first things first: vacation round-up. On Friday the family decided that we had had enough of early mornings and three hour drives in the car. So, we nixed Flagstaff from the itinerary and decided to go back into Vegas after a late morning brunch. However, I had more than enough of Vegas on the previous time in and decided (with Stephen as well) to stay back on the compound. This was a good decision all around as I got to almost finish Paradise Lost (which was subsequently finished the next day), go for a run at dusk on the back roads of the town, and take a little nap even. That night we cooked steak and chicken shish kabobs on the barbecue, which were delicious. We made a ton and thought we would have a bunch leftover. I guess we underestimated our hunger/gluttony.

The next day may be the highlight of my trip when we headed up to Zion National Park in Utah. It is a gorgeous place, and we followed some advice and went on the Angels' Landing trail, a 5.1 mile hike round trip that takes you up to a point overlooking the valley. The last .5 mile is this steep and dangerous climb (6 people have died since 2004) navigated with the help of chains bore into the rock. Everyone but Mom started out. About 100 yards in Jessica turned back, then Anna, then Dad. The four of us (even Stephen!) soldiered on through some treacherous terrain until we got to the apex with its breath-taking view. Here's one from google images (sort of an inside joke because I told Isaac, with his penchant for only taking scenery photos, that it was sort of a waste to take pictures without people since you could find much better simply by google imaging the destination. It then became a joke whenever we saw something beautiful to remark cynically, "Oh, you could google image this easy!" or "This would look way better if it was google imaged." I will post some actual pictures when they are sent to me. I don't take pictures or own a camera, for that matter.):

I think it's one the most awe-inspiring natural spot I've been to in the U.S. I would definitely return to Zion before I went back to the Grand Canyon. There, I said it. Get over it. That night we drove back (stopping at a Chili's along the way for some fine local cuisine) and all got to packing. Overall, I would say this vacation was a smashing success. It was a little ambition schedule-wise, but you've got to make some sacrifices when you're with seven other people. Again, more pictures will follow as I receive them.

The lowlight of the trip was probably my flight back. After having an aisle seat on an exit row on the way here, I was crammed between two guys in economy class on the way home. There is no leg room on these airlines, and I'm not a BFG by any means. Heck, I think some of their standards would fall short of the Geneva Convention's rules for POW's. You can't get water or food unless you are willing to pay, you have to pay to check bags, and I think the cramped seating that only afforded one sitting position could be considered a stress position or at least sleep deprivation (there was no way to get comfortable!).

After arriving at O'Hare, taking the blue line to Irving Park, and the Irving Park bus to my house, I can say that I am very happy to be home. It's nice to call "home" the place you live and not some other place you daydream about. I like this "city of the big shoulders," as Carl Sandberg once famously coined it. Driving down Irving Park made me realize how familiar and close this place has become to me. I might just listen to Frank Sinatra's "Chicago" and eat a hot dog deep dish pizza while I'm at it.

Now that I'm back I have to get right back to work as I'm preaching on Sunday and have plenty else to do besides that (writing, working, studying, napping, etc.). If you're looking for something to do on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Chicago, come on over to Resurrection Covenant!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vacation II - Grand Canyon Edition

Well, after recuperating from our heated time in the Valley of Fire (I told Stephen he should star in the one-man stage version of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet. It would be much shorter than the book, beginning and ending with him rocking in the fetal position and complaining about the weather. Read my last post if that doesn't make sense), today we headed for the Grand Canyon. It was about a 3 3/4 hour drive from our compound (our place does look like a compound with walls surrounding about an acre of land). I will say that I'm officially sick of being in the car. All of the destinations have taken at least an hour and a half to get to.

Oh! Before we talk about anything else, Love, The Beatles' Cirque du Soleil, was amazing! (Maybe one of the pre-highlights was listening to my dad mangle the pronunciation of "Cirque du Soleil" to every cashier and random person we ran into. He's a small-talker that will engage just about anyone in conversation (for instance, he said "Hello!" to everyone we passed on the trail no matter how pathetically tired they looked or how much they attempted to avoid eye contact). He would say things like, "Yeah, we're headed to Cirk Soly this evening!" or "Yup, on our way to Circus Ole at the Mirage!"). The show had something for everyone in the family. For Anna, Peter, and my Dad, they had this really amazing trampoline act to "Revolution" and skating ramp tricks to "Help!" For my brother there was an African-themed stomp act to "Lady Madonna" (he also loved all of the lighting and design). My Mom loved "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and the character of Lucy. I obviously loved every minute of the music, especially listening to how George Martin mashed different parts of songs up. I also loved the simple ballads with only a few people on stage like "Something" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Obviously the ending involving "A Day in the Life" into "Hey Jude" pretty much made my life.

Vegas, on the other hand, was overwhelming. Too many people trying to do too many things, most of them morally questionable. It takes all of the American vices of consumerism and greed and super-sizes them. More to the point (for me), it's too crowded and feels like a place where no one should have to live. Seven hours there was just about enough for me, although I would love to see the Garth Brooks show.

My dad also kept his streak alive by getting pulled over for speeding. He was going 13 over, we didn't have any of the right forms for the rental car, and my sister was actually the one who was supposed to be driving. As we all scrambled and pulled up wrong forms, I think the cop got annoyed and realized that this would be far too much work than it was worth. He rolled his eyes, threw the paperwork back in the car, and spat, "Just slow down." Sometimes ineptitude pays off.

Like I was saying, today we went to the Grand Canyon; it definitely lived up to its name. First, we got there and it was only 90 degrees, which felt downright balmy after the past few days. Second, my cousin Nathanael met us for lunch and stayed with Stephen while the rest of us went hiking (shocking that Steve would stay behind). We hiked a 3 mile trail of mostly switchbacks down to a rest station, being chastised by a German volunteer for not carrying enough water (well, we would have had I not sort of lied and pretended like my family members behind were carrying more when really two of them were carrying none. I got scared!). The canyon was beautiful, and we had a good time on our limited hiking experience.

I forget how family dynamics pretty much revert to the basic foundation of sibling and parent interactions that had been laid down through the many years of growing up together in a common house. My younger sister and brother simultaneously joke around with and yell at one another; I make way more sarcastic remarks than even I usually do; Jessica tells it like it is and gets us where we need to be (example: My dad read somewhere on a sign on the way down the canyon that you should take small sips of water throughout the hike because by the time you're thirsty it means you're dehydrated. He told the rest of the family this "news" while he thought Jess and I were out of earshot; we weren't. He then walked over to us to share the news, to which my sister quickly clipped back, "Yup. That's pretty much common knowledge."); Mom organizes; Dad makes sure we all stay in line; Peter and Isaac roll with the punches. I'm not saying this as a bad thing (although sometimes I feel like I revert to this gross high school version of myself); it's just an interesting observation. We're having a great time, although I could use a bit of introvert time with just me and a book. I'm glad that we have decided to lay low tomorrow. This vacation has been in the mold of my older sister - lots of activities and planning - rather than my own - lounge around and be spontaneous.

After much traveling, I have come to realize that the beauty I find most enduring and personally fitting is that of a Northern Minnesota landscape, preferably on a lake with a fire going listening to the call of loons in the company of good friends. I realize that a large part of this is because it is what I know, but I also think that it fits my soul and personality. I find that the mountains and canyons are too showy; they insist upon their beauty and want people to come and ogle them. I like the nuanced beauty of a birch and pine forest with a nearby body of water. You give me that, and I'm a happy man.

Anyway, everyone is in the pool, so I think I'm going to go join the party. We'll see what happens next on this Arizona adventure!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Live Blogging from Bjorlin Family Vacation - Arizona

Hello everyone. I'm writing you from Dolan Springs, Arizona where we have just begun our third full day. The place we are staying is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but that simply adds to its intrigue. The house is exactly what you would expect in the Southwest: flat-roofed, white stucco surrounded by joshua trees and inhabited by more jackrabbits than I've ever seen. We've also seen some salamanders, quail-like birds, and even a coyote. The interior of the house is also about what you would expect: large-tiled floors, expansive open spaces, one large wall painted red to remind you you're in the Southwest, and a bunch of Southwest kitsch. There are also a few unexpected parts of the interior like an indoor pool, three bathrooms, and the unexpected buddhist flare.

The flight here was pretty uneventful. I took Spirit airlines, which I think refers to the spirit of annoyance and discontent everyone shows when they find out they have to pay for everything before and during the flight. I would hate to be a flight attendant on one of those airlines having to explain that you have to pay for even water if you want anything to drink.

The first full day of the vacation we headed to the Black Canyons and went kayaking on a river that is part of the Lake Mead system. It was pretty stunning, and we all got a lot of sun. I think Anna, Peter, and I took the cake. Unfortunately, we forgot the honorary fifth Bjorlin sibling on vacations: Aloe Vera Bjorlin. She's been with us through many a pale-skinned vacation. Yet, we are surviving. In the afternoon we took a quick looksy at the Hoover Dam (we're going back for a tour today; all I can think about is Vegas Vacation: "I'm your dam(n) tour guide.") and headed back to the compound to make tacos and relax in the pool.

Yesterday's forecast was 112 degrees (don't give me that crap about dry heat), so obviously the Bjorlin family decided this would be a great day to go to the Valley of Fire, which is as hot as it sounds. The Valley of Fire is this amazing grouping of red rocks about 45 minutes north of Las Vegas where the Anasazi people lived until about the 12th century. It also has petroglyphs from the same time period that were pretty fascinating. We went on three short hikes to different destinations, and it was pretty scorching. I think the best part was listening to my brother complain with each progressive hike/step. By the last hike, two vultures were circling above him. They must have sensed his ebb in will to live.

By the time we were done, none of us had the energy to go on the Hoover Dam tour so we came home, barbecued dinner, and watched True Grit. I lasted about 25 minutes before I headed to my room to read and go to bed.

Today we slept in and are headed first to do the Hoover Dam tour and then to Las Vegas to stroll the strip before The Beatles' Cirque du Soleil show tonight! (side note: why does "Beatles" show up as a red-underlined spelling mistake? Don't you think the biggest band the world has ever seen would be programmed as a real word?). I'm trying to go into Vegas with an open mind because I have a feeling it could be slightly underwhelming/depressing to me.

Tomorrow we are headed to the Grand Canyon, Saturday to Flagstaff, and Sunday to Zion National Park! So, that's all for now. I may have to wait a while before the internet will function enough to publish this post; we'll see. Photos will follow once I can figure out how to upload them or my brother is able to upload them to Facebook. I know you will be waiting with baited breath.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vacation, Divine Comedy, and Winter

Well, I'm gearing up for my family vacation to Arizona by sitting in my house and building up my social reservoir and packing (I mean, the packing part actually took about ten minutes once the laundry was done). I'm very excited to spend some time with my family and am looking forward to all we will be doing. One special addition: we bought tickets to see Love, the Beatles' Cirque du Soleil show. Obviously, this is something I am very excited about. Here's the preview:

I finally finished The Divine Comedy; paradise seems pretty great. Although it is interesting, as one commentator notes, that Dante recognized a lot more of his personal acquaintances in hell than in heaven. I also like how each book ended with him gazing at stars. That's a good way to end a lot of days.

The Twins are on fire! It's hard not to be happy when your team has won the last 14 of 16 and finally climbed out of last place letting Kansas City, the underachieving 30-something of the division, move back into the basement after losing yet another job (sorry, slipped into metaphor there).

I've finally come to the conclusion that, while it is not popular, I am more of a autumn/winter person. I actually find something about the cold enlivening and like wearing sweaters; the heat gets to me, and I'm not much of a beach person; there are only so many clothes you can take off. I looked in my closet yesterday and realized that it is filled with sweaters, cardigans, and plaid shirts with hardly anything suitable to wear in the summer, and it's not like I have a rubbermaid in the attic labeled "summer" that hasn't been brought down yet. I need to figure out ways to embrace summer in all of its sweaty glory, which for me is aided by a few trips to Ravinia as well as some random summer adventures. Let me know if you have any ideas.

I don't trust a restaurant that uses "bistro" in the title. To me, it means you're going to pay more for a contrived atmosphere and smaller portions.

I really want to be back in time for the Low concert next Monday in Millenium Park. We'll see what kind of condition I'm in when I get back. I make it sound as if I'm going to Kabul for the weekend...

Well, I've got 20 minutes before the bus gets to the Ashland/Irving Park stop, so I better make sure I'm packed. I only want to forget the unnecessary items this time around; it makes the vacation much less stressful. Arizona (well, Las Vegas first), here I come!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Computer in Bed, Dreams, and Other Randoms

I woke up at 4 in the morning with arm curled around my computer holding it tight against my body like it was my significant other. No doubt there's many metaphors and jokes that could go along with that. It was also one of those nights where I had non-stop dreams throughout my sleep. I woke up this morning feeling like I had been real busy the entire night. It does not exactly leave one feeling well rested.

I think one of the most interesting parts of dreaming is how it can influence your waking feelings toward another person. For instance, a few months ago I had a screaming match with a professor in my dreams (a very nice one too!), and when I saw him at school I couldn't help but feel angry/resentful. I had to keep telling myself, "Dreams aren't real. That fight didn't happen. He doesn't know that you had an imaginary fight and will think its really weird if you start being rude or passive-aggressive." This week I had the opposite occur when one of my friends loyally stood up for me in a dream, and the next day I saw her and had nothing but feelings of goodwill towards her.

Well, I'm glad Anthony Weiner finally resigned. Nothing angers me more than someone who pretends to be passionate about issues of justice and charades as a feminist when they're in the legislative chambers and then turns out to be another creep when it comes to their own personal lives. Bill Clinton and John Edwards can also be added to that list. The Republicans should be so disgraced by Sen. David Vitter actual sex with prostitutes that they would also call for his resignation. I don't see that as likely however.

I just got back from Ingrid Johnson and Nathan Reep's wedding rehearsal! Tomorrow at this time they will be married and we'll be celebrating with them on the dance floor. Congratulations!

I just finished East of Eden again. The last three pages are about as beautiful as it gets, and I think Lee, the Chinese cook who lives with the Trask family, is one of my favorite characters in all of literature, although I do love Samuel Hamilton.

The last three days I have expended all of my social energy with large groups of people, so tonight I will be sitting in my apartment listening to music as I read and maybe watch a movie. Nothing sounds so wonderful.

And the Twins are only 8 games back after a terrible start, Mauer is back, and they are winning in the 9th tonight! That's all for now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Softball Observations, Hipster Church, and Family Vacation

Well, the ResCov softball team took another one on the chin yesterday losing 11-1 (they might have had 12) to Belen. There are a few observations I have about my softball playing:
1. I cannot help but slide if a play is going to be close; I simply cannot help it. Yesterday, I was on second with a runner on first, and a ball was hit softly to the third base side of the infield. As I barreled toward third, I thought, "Don't slide; it's not worth it. Don't slide; it's not worth it. Don't slide; it will hurt like a mother now and every time you shower for a week." Yet, as I got closer to the base, this chant became progressively overtaken by that competitive little devil on my other shoulder yelling, "SLIDE! It's going to be close! SLIDE! You don't want to lose, do you? SLIDE! SLIDE! SLIDE!," until I had no choice but to slide. I was safe, but it still wasn't worth it.
2. I think I'm at an okay level of competitiveness in that I care about the game during the game but I will not: a) yell at umpires or competitors/teammates, b) hurt someone else to be safe or make a play, c) care about the game or relive it after it is over. At least these are all the things I'm telling myself.
3. I should just pull the ball. Most of the time when I attempt to place the ball I end up over thinking and not getting solid contact. It's better to "grip and rip."
4. My ERA is about 10.5 right now, but my on-base percentage is excellent.
5. I have officially talked about church league softball too much on my blog.

Well, in an attempt to get under my skin (which he usually succeeds at), my brother sent me a link for a church named "Hipster Church." I think the name is obviously gimmicky, but what I don't like even more is the marketing attempt that promotes "free admission" and tries to get on the hipster bandwagon. Furthermore, I don't think the name or the church will most likely have the staying power it should intend since it is so tied to a specific cultural label (and one that most would not want to associate with, as it is usually used pejoratively). For instance, I think First Flapper Church shut down sometime in the mid-3os and Hippie Community Church also didn't last too far beyond 1975.

Next Monday I leave for a weeklong family vacation to Dolan Springs, Arizona. We (and by "we" I mean "my parents") rented a house there and will be making excursions to Vegas, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Zion Nation Park, and Flagstaff, Arizona. It should be a pretty great time. Too bad we can't all pile in the station wagon/conversion van/minivan and trek to our destination like we did in the old days. Just thinking about those days can simultaneously incite nostalgia and anger towards my siblings.

I compulsively check to see if the mail has come. I don't know why I'm so excited to see a box full of junk mail, bills, and the occasional book, but I am.

Okay, now I need to do bulletins and such for this week and next week. WOO!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Problematic Traits, Weather, and East of Eden

So, I've noticed this trait within myself, and I'm wondering what it says about who I am. I'll describe three examples of it before I try to describe it more generally.
1. So, every winter my skin gets super dry and itchy. I will suffer with it for two or three weeks before the thought to put lotion on my skin even crosses my mind. Once I put it on, the problem is solved. Why didn't I do that from the beginning?
2. It starts raining; I put my windshield wipers on. It stops raining; I leave my windshield wipers for 20 minutes without realizing it.
3. The weather warms up (like these past few days). I have trouble sleeping with the heat but still use my comforter. Finally, on the fourth night I sleep with a lighter blanket.

Do I just miss these details? Am I too used to getting along to realize that there are simple solutions to problems? Is it severe subconscious laziness? I'm not sure what this says about my personality, but feel free to psychoanalyze using the comments section below.

I don't like people who complain nonstop about the weather, but I will say that I am more than ready for the cooler weather that has been promised. I think maybe it's my religious upbringing, but hotter weather always makes me feel more penitential (I mean, not really). Also, I don't enjoy sweating when I have not exerted myself. Standing should not require sweating. Yesterday, at our first church league softball game, I ran the bases in the first inning, and I don't think I caught my breath until I was back in my car with the a/c on seven innings later.

I'm officially an East of Eden apologist. I just got to the part where Samuel Hamilton has an intervention with Adam Trask, and it's wonderful.

Right now I'm up at Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva for our tri-annual Plan Worship for the Next Three Months Retreat. Get excited, ResCov community!

That's all for now. Plan on!

Monday, June 6, 2011

No Thank You, Iron & Wine.

This might make me an old man, but I just could not convince myself to go down to Millenium Park today for the free Iron & Wine concert. There were numerous factors that deterred me:
1. crowds. The thought of that many people squished together kind of makes me want to hyperventilate.
2. heat. Added to my slight tendency towards demophobia (yes, I just googled "fear of crowds phobia"), I am dissuaded by the no doubt sweaty crowds that will be too close to one another for hours on end.
3. outdoor concerts. Even at their best (say Ravinia), there's always some drunk or person with little to no self-awareness (the combination can be deadly) who thinks you paid to hear them talk on the phone or sing off-key loudly. My musical appreciation tends to suffer in such situations.
4. transportation. Some days I just don't feel like getting on the el or driving anywhere of any distance.
5. Money. Honestly, free concerts end up costing a lot more when you consider transportation, food, and beverages. Then someone gets the big idea to do something afterwards and the next thing you know your house is getting foreclosed. It's a slippery slope.
6. Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of Iron & Wine. Sorry.

Now, if this makes me sound extremely lazy, I did meet with a professor, finished a rough draft of my sermon for Sunday, studied, and went for a run in the oppressive heat - all requiring action of some type. Frankly, "running" might be a generous term for what I did - it was more like surviving while shuffling. When it's this humid outside you wonder if our next evolutionary step will involve gills.

All I want to do is sit down and read East of Eden until I'm finished with it. Is that bad? Then, when I finish, I'll listen to Mumford and Sons' "Timshel" over and over again. ("Timshel" being a major word in the plot of East of Eden, which I won't give away since you should all read the book).

That's all for now. Later.

Friday, June 3, 2011

TNBC and East of Eden

For some reason the song from the opening of the 90s Saturday morning show City Guys is in my head. Here's a refresher:

Good times. That made me think of all those shows on Saturday morning. Is there a word to describe that genre of shows? If not, there should be. Oh yes, TNBC! Some of my observations:
1. I totally forgot about California Dreams. "Don't wake me up!/Don't wake me up if I'm dreaming."
2. I don't recognize anybody from Saved by the Bell: the New Class. I mean, besides Mr. Belding.
3. All Saved by the Bell episodes were better when they were off-site like when they get the job at the beach or country club. Those were the best.
4. Has Hang Time never heard of Title IX? There is no way that you can't have a girls basketball team in this day and age. Also, you need to raise your hoops to 10 feet like everyone else. We all know those kids on the show are dunking on 8-foot hoops.
5. Don't preach at me during these shows. Saved by the Bell doesn't need to tell me the dangers of caffeine pills ("I'm so excited,/I'm so excited,/I'm so....scared!"). Role the clip:

Or Hang Time and the dangers of cigar smoking. I don't know why I remember that episode specifically, but I do.

So, those are my thoughts.

I'm currently re-reading my favorite novel, East of Eden, and I am entranced all over again. Steinbeck's got it going on. One of my favorite quotes in the beginning is when Steinbeck talks about the 30-year rain cycles that bring both rain and drought. He ends the section by saying, "And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way."

Now maybe this is a stretch, but it got me thinking about the importance of following the church calendar (excuse me while I push my glasses up with my index finger). I think the church calendar helps you remember the dry years during the rich and vice versa. I think there's something good about having great joys in your life happen during Lent or great sorrows during Easter. This reminds you that: a) not everything is about you and how you are feeling, and b) there is both reason to lament and celebrate in the midst of any of our personal triumphs or tragedies. The birth of a child (for example) does not change Jesus' slow march to the cross, nor does an untimely change Jesus' rising from the dead and conquering death once and for all so that we too have the hope of being raised out of death. Obviously, from a pastoral perspective I wouldn't force people to lament when they're happy or celebrate while they lament (definitely not the latter), but I think it is a way for us to remember the dry or rich seasons when we happen to be experiencing the other.

That's all. Now, I'm going to go to work (packing up boxes of books for a professor). Later.