Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Music

I love Christmas time, and I love Christmas music. My wife doubts this, but only because I refuse to listen to it day-in day-out from Thanksgiving until New Year's. I get tired of listening to any music that much; to top it off, the Christmas music is very memorable and I already have issues with getting songs stuck in my head.

Anyway, I thought I would share list of my three favorite Christmas albums (in alphabetical order).

  1. Bing Crosby: White ChristmasBing Crosby's White Christmas: Nothing seems to sound right at Christmas without Bing crooning "White Christmas". My favorite Christmas movie is one of his, too - Holiday Inn, in which "White Christmas" debuted.









  2. The Carpenters: Christmas PortraitThe Carpenters Christmas Portrait: Seriously, just listening to Karen Carpenter's voice. Beautiful.












  3. Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown ChristmasVince Guaraldi Trio Charlie Brown Christmas: Evocative. Brings tears to your eyes, because the good music is so tightly tied in the collective memory of Americans to good ol' Charlie Brown and Charles Schultz' tale of a blockhead's Christmas.





As a bonus, my favorite all-time Christmas song: "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel".

What are your favorite Christmas songs and albums?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Caption Contest

I'm taking suggestions for a caption for this picture of Lil'E taken over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Lil'E at Thanksgiving
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Things that make me profoundly sad

GALVESTON — The 2-year-old girl known as Baby Grace was beaten with leather belts, held under water in a bathtub and slammed onto a tile floor in July, according to a statement her mother gave to investigators.
Read the whole story here.

I will never understand how anyone could do this to a child; much less the child's mother. Give me whatever psychological explanation, tell me they were high on drugs, or any other reasoning for why they would do this. I still won't understand.

I'm not angry at these people, though by all rights the world should be outraged. I'm beyond the anger and can only cry for this little girl battered and dead.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A holiday to remember

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Family
I've been relaxing at my parents house since Tuesday night. My brother and sister-in-law, along with their seven year old boy and 20-month old girl, have been here to enjoy the time with our kids and my parents. That makes my entire immediate family here for three full days, the longest we've all been together in a while. Definitely the first time since Liler'E was born nine months ago. My niece has had a bit of a sinus infection, and Liler'E is pretty much over his ear infection. Sleep has been plentiful. Thanksgiving lunch was great - my uncle and aunt, their daughter and her husband and daughter came in and we had a great meal. We contributed a chocolate pecan pie (needed more chocolate) and ate much turkey and all the fixin's. We're headed home tomorrow and plan on stopping to visit Mrs. E's grandparents in Temple on the way. Overall, a great time with family.

Snow
Yes, you heard me right: snow! Starting around noon on Thanksgiving, the snow began to fall. It kept up all day and into the night, leaving about three inches on the ground. It was a beautiful, fine powder. Living in Houston, Lil'E has only seen snow once before, and never really seen it snowing or had the change to play in it. She had a blast! Snow balls, snow angels, leaving tracks, catching snowflakes on her tongue - the whole nine yards. The real challenge was to keep her from freezing her rear end off out there because she never wanted to come in. It's all melted by now (Friday afternoon), but it was fun while it lasted. My memories of Thanksgiving growing up in Abilene involved more short pants than heavy coats, but it was a beautiful sight.

Nephew
I said before that my entire immediate family was here at my parents house. That is not precisely true. I got to meet my nephew, my brother's son, for the first time at breakfast the day before Thanksgiving. He is 20. The son of my brother's high school girlfriend, he was given for adoption at birth. (The same adoption agency is who my brother and sister-in-law turned to for the adoption of their daughter.) As he turned eighteen, my brother had the chance to contact him for the first time, and he wanted to know his birth parents. They have gotten together a few times before, but this was my first chance to meet him. He is a music major at Hardin Simmons University here in Abilene, and plays the violin. My grandmother, his natural great-grandmother, played the violin in the Abilene Philharmonic, and even had a half-hour weekly radio show for a time (back in the 1940's). The resemblance to my brother is clear. The time with him was brief, but good. I look forward to getting to know him more in the future.

I hope your holiday has been as good as mine. Get your football watched and your shopping done. It's back to work next week, and looking to the end of the year. Who knows, maybe it'll snow in Houston for Christmas?

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Monday, November 19, 2007

A day in worship . . .

Norman Rockwell's Freedom to WorshipYesterday was a rough day for the Euphrony Family. Liler'E has had an ear infection, and his sleep has been short and fitful the last few days. Then, early Sunday morning, Lil'E threw up and was running a little fever. So, between the sick and the tired we did not make it to church services on Sunday morning. That does not mean we were not able to spend the day in worship.

While I watched the kids, Mrs. E did some shopping Sun day afternoon. Part of what she bought was a gift for a four-year old girl at
Medina Children's Home. When Lil'E saw the gift (a comforter for her bed) she asked what it was and who it was for. Mrs. E explained that it was for a little girl her age who did not have a mommy and daddy that could take care of her. This fact rocked her pre-schooler world.

As her eyes got bigger, and she contemplated how such a thing could be, I made a suggestion: "Lil'E, would you like to write a letter to her?" She agreed enthusiastically. Here is the letter she dictated and I transcribed.

Dear _____,
I have never seen you, but I want to give you this comforter for your bed. We are the same age. You are 4 and I am 4. If I see you, I know your name; it is _____. My name is _______. I love everybody I do know and everybody I don't know, and I love you.

Merry Christmas,
Deep theology and beautiful worship from the heart of a girl of four. So simple and caring, it makes me ashamed of the trappings I often find myself wrapped within.

Later that evening, I had to run an errand up to the church building to get some papers. Since it was mostly car time, I took Lil'E with me to give her a change to get out of the house. Because of where our building is located, we get a fair amount of traffic from people off the street looking for something or asking for a handout. As I was checking my box, a man and woman came up to us. They asked how old Lil'E was, and told me the story of how the woman's daughter in Oklahoma (who is the same age as Lil'E) was riding her bike and was hit, had to be flown to Fort Worth, and they needed gas money to go there right away. I lead them around the corner and filled up their gas tank, answering the questions Lil'E posed as to who they were and what we were doing.

Were they telling the truth, or just looking for a handout? You can file that under the list of question's I'll never get around to asking God in His kingdom. I just don't care; I'm grateful to have been there - to help or be suckered, whichever.

I'm also profusely grateful for the opportunity our family had to worship Jehovah and show Lil'E just what worship really is about.
2For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
3'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
4Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Oh, yeah!

At least on of my sports teams seems to know how to get the job done. Way to go, Dynamo! Back to back MLS championships in your first two years here in H-town.
Houston Dynamo with MLS trophy
I got to go to last years game, and watched this years on TV (some of it, at least, as the kids have been sick and we're tired). Keep it up, guys!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Bear with me . . .

Ho hum, just another day at work in the Alaskan oil fields. Looks like someone needs their morning coffee.

Office work

Is it just me, or should we be getting hazard pay for this?
Ladder to success

Think this could get me my big break with Cirque du Soleil?
Circus wannabe

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A modest proposition

Editor's Note: This post should in no way infer any criticism, jealously, or a fits of semi-conscious delirium on the part of the author. Okay, maybe the last; but definitely not the first two.

I have discussed this with Mrs. Euphrony, and she seems to be in agreement. So I throw out this modest proposition for
Kat and Jimmy.

Kat and Jimmy: We propose that we switch children for a week. This would not be anything trashy like ABC's
Wife Swap, but more along the lines of Ultimate Survivor: Suburbia. We're proposing a simple exchange of children for seven days, and the odds seem to be in your favor. You get two for three and go back to man-to-man coverage, while we get three for two and step up to the zone defense.

"But why?", you ask. Think of it like a foreign exchange situation, where you are able to learn of different cultures through a total immersion experience.

NAPS:
Mrs. E and I understand that your children take naps.
Even simultaneously. Our children take naps, as well. (Disclaimer: "Children" should not be construed to be plural. Liler'E takes naps as he is still too young to fully resist. Lil'E takes quiet time, where she goes into her room and colors and sings and plays with dolls for ten (10) minutes, after which she begins the routine of whining to come out every five (5) minutes.) Lil'E loves to play in her room for hours at a time. (Disclaimer: The hours of playtime in room occur between 9:00 p.m. and midnight.)

EATING:
We also understand that your children are good eaters, even liking and requesting
broccoli for dinner. Our children also love a variety of foods. They eat well from the mac & cheese food group, and the Halloween candy group is equally loved. They are more picky when it comes to the deep-fried foods, regularly consuming only corn dogs and chicken nuggets. Fruits, such as apples and bananas, are often requested; requests are also made for broccoli, peas, green beans, and squash (Disclaimer: Requests for all vegetables should not be taken to imply the request is to eat them, or even have them on a plate.)

PARENTAL SLEEP:
Rumor has it that you are, on occasion, able to have eight (8) consecutive hours of
uninterrupted sleep. Mrs. E was recently able to get eight hours of sleep, with only minor interruptions. In exchange, I only got four hours or sleep. Thus a healthy average of six hours of sleep was obtained by the parental units of our household. If the child exchange goes forward, you can expect similar nights of sound sleep. (Disclaimer: The phrase "sound sleep" should not be taken to imply that sleep will be solid. Rather, sleep will be full of sounds as Liler E is awake and either screaming or watching Baby Einsteins for between ninety (90) minutes and two (2) hours each night.)

ARTS:
Finally, we are lead to believe that your children are intelligent, with a
love of reading, and artistic skills. Our children also love reading, from classics like Hansel and Gretal to modern favorites like Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake. They also like singing, even turning the entire day into a musical experience. (Disclaimer: By "musical experience", you should understand that the words that day will be delivered entirely in song, like a musical set to The Wonder Pets.) The Daliesque artwork of Lil'E is on display below, depicting an ink drawing of me just after getting a hair cut last night - I have my short hair, my short pants, and my shirt. Special attention was given to my nose, ears, and hands (which have an average of six fingers each).

Euphrony in ink by Little Euphrony

PLEA OF DESPERATION:
So, Kat and Jimmy, should you elect to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity, please let us know. We love our boy and girl madly, and would love yours for the week we had them as well. Likely, I wake up from this dream and realize that I was only typing in my sleep all night long. Okay, wake up *now*. *NOW*! WAKE UP EUPHRONY! Somebody please help me!!!!!!!!!

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Elementary Education

What you may learn in Houston elementary schools these days:

  1. Calling a woman "miss" means "mistress"; and "mister" means "slave master".
  2. Sugar is cocaine.
  3. McDonald's should be called "Crack Donald's" and Burger King should be called "Murder King" because the hormones in the food will kill you.
  4. Hair permanents and makeup cause cancer.
  5. Toothpaste contains rat poison.
I'm sure that the bogus moon landings and this whole "round earth" malarkey were debunked by the sub, as well. The substitute teacher who taught a 5th graders this (as part of a health class) has promised to stick to the script from now on. Parents are, understandably, not satisfied.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Recipe

Add a group of people wearing this shirt


and a plate of yummy fajitas with hot as hades jalapenos


with a group of two-dozen coworkers

at a good restaurant.

Repeat weekly. But watch where you park.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

*slurp* question revisited

So yesterday I posed the question of what you would do if someone around you occasionally slurped his drink. I admit, I am the one with the drugstore blues.

And the person in question, from who's point of view I was asking, is a guy who sits two cubes down from me at work.

He answered the question yesterday, but not in a nicely framed comment. No, instead he started yelling at me from his chair two cubes down and proceeded to rant about my annoying behaviors for the next five minutes. How many of you would have responded in this way? (Delicious irony: 90 minutes later we both sat in a safety meeting where the topic was . . . workplace violence - physical, verbal, and psychological.)

I admit, the slurp happens. I don't hang on to the slurp, drawing it out while I attempt to suck every last microliter of beverage from the cup through my straw; nevertheless, when the drink is disappearing a noise is made. His tirade just nearly killed the day for me (but I thank God for being able to go home to Mrs. E and the kids and have a blast trick or treating last night, allowing me to get this out of my head for a while).

I won't say that I didn't get a little snarky in my reply to his rant (okay, I actually did offer to buy him some earplugs) but over the last five years I have tried dang hard to be professional, genial, non-offensive, and friendly with this guy. I seriously want to act Christ-like, not violent or rude or provoking further confrontations. Because of this guy's peeves, I have done such things as taken to looking the other way as I walk by his desk, because to have eyes cast on him bothers him (another point over which he has blown a gasket, I guess feeling that I was either spying on him or could not stop basking in his manly glory - yeah, right). I have also pretty well stopped listening to music over my computer and mainly use headphones now, despite the fact that they invariably bug my ears after a while, because the music was too loud and he hates my music and doesn't want to hear it (other yelling sessions came over this in this past). All this, to try and keep peace in the office, to no avail.

And, the thing is, despite his assertion that I bug everyone with my numerous flaws, no one else has ever complained to me about what I do. No one. Ever. The guy who sits in the cube between us - the music was not too loud (I asked). And the guy on the other side of me, no problems either. I know that this guy just plain and simple has a problem with me, and nothing I do (short of disappearing) will make him happy.

I still try. All the while biting my tongue on the laundry list of his annoying behaviors that I could throw back in his face. It wouldn't do any good, and it would not be the right thing to do. Oh, I still want to, but I won't. We all have our quirks that drive others crazy, a simple fact. We deal with them, and try to minimize our own out of love, but they will never cease completely.

I'm just venting here. I've put up with this nonsense for the better part of five years, and I expect it will continue until he probably leaves in about a year (he's working on a law degree). Please pray for me to have patience and a thick skin with this guy. And praying for him to chill would not be a bad thing, either.

Thanks.