Saturday, July 26, 2008

Making Mountains out of ....Odd Lumps

For the last two days I've been struggling with a strange task: mountain-making. You see, since our VBS this year is set at Philippi, on the border of Macedonia. I'm going to be Lydia, the seller of purple, and hold the lessons and singing time at our prayer meetings down by the river; hence I needed a river. My plan was to throw some blue cloth on the floor and pin it down with a couple of potted palms. Well, life is more complicated than that.
First of all, we are using the youth room/adult Sunday School room/ladies former quilting room. The built-in decor is frilly and mauvish furnished with a lovely white couch, love seat and coffee table, a piano, class room tables, an overhead projector and Video Screen, a ping pong table, and a pool table. It's a big room, OK? Which is exactly why I need it. Sixty children moving around and doing motions to songs need a lot of room.
Here's the problem: We can move most of the furniture out, but the piano and pool table have to stay. So we decided that the pool table could be a pool of water and waterfall...onto the blue tarp river along one side of the room. Then a board member suggested that we make a mountain on the wall with a stream pouring down so it wouldn't look like the waterfall was coming out of the floor. (He's not heard of "willing suspension of disbelief" I guess.) Fortunately, the choir closet was stocked with three rolls of banner paper--green, blue, and black. It was a sign. I saved the black for the prison (Another story), and started making mountains.
My biggest problem was what to do with all the stuff on the wall. Now I know real mountains are lumpy...but this? Yes. I had to cover not one lamp like this, but two, some shirts, a bulletin board, and the rack that holds the cues for pool, so I just sort of molded the green paper over it and made mountains that stick our from the wall. Yesterday it looked silly, specks of sunshine on the light side, splotches of shadow on the dark. If you squinted your eyes really tightly and stood clear across the room it was tolerable, but the fake water--strips of old swimming pool cover--just didn't cut it. When Claye came home for the weekend, she looked at it and gave me a few pointers. Trouble is, they all required a lot of work: more shading, paint the water, add a sky and add another mountain to cover another wall lamp. I worked about five hours last night, just folding, taping, stapling, shadowing, and snowing...yes snowing on the mountains, all the time praying, "Lord, where do I put this glob of paint? How do I streak this white? How can I attach the bottom of that mountain when it doesn't fit?" and the most amazing transformation is happening to that wall. Mountains are emerging from the fog. Look at this! I really can't wait to finish. I feel like I've got a rush of high altitude air. Now if someone will help me move the pool table into place...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Little Smoke Bomb in the Family

My daughter, over at Babysteps, described her son's recent fascination with fireworks. He entertains us all by pretending to be one kind or another. Black snakes and screamers are hilarious and so is the fact that every now and then, when we light the fuse, he fizzles out and says that he was a dud that time. Anyway, here is a video of him pretending to be a smoke bomb. I'm sorry that it got to be so long; seems that stage fever struck him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There are Many Things in Life that I Cannot Understand

I know that's the first verse of a song somewhere, but it's also the theme for this Thursday Thirteen.

1. I don't understand why my clothes hamper never retains clothes. They gather around its feet in a worshipful pose and lie there limply on the floor. Strange.

2. I don't understand how my sock basket gives birth to totally new socks, never twins, single odd socks that I never bought. They just appeared in the nebula of the sock galaxy. If you recognize any of these socks, claim it. Suspicious

3. I don't understand how anyone could possibly use 21 fishing rods.
That's right: 21. Even if you did inherit some, and bought some at garage sales, and were given some: the question is why must you keep them forever. Puzzling.

4. I don't understand why grass grows so well in the flower beds--trespassing over cement and risking sudden death at the clipper-equipped hand of an irate gardener to get there, and refuses to grow on certain spots of the lawn, where it's pampered. Irritating.

5. I don't understand what is so hard about putting
the new toilet paper on the roll when the old one
is finished. Am I the only one who does this? Confusing.

6. I don't understand where nail clippers go when you need one.
There must be at least 21 pair of them around here. Maybe I need a rack to hang on the wall so I can hang them all side by side. Intriguing.

7. I don't understand why perfectly well-behaved, intelligent children, upon being introduced to an adult
--particularly an adult you want to impress--decide to talk gibberish and make faces while pretending to be an iguana. Amusing.

8. I don't understand how anyone prefers Nacho Libre to Casa Blanca.


9. I don't understand how squash, with all those pretty colors and vitamins, isn't as alluring as plain old home made vanilla ice cream with its wicked empty calories. Tragic.

10. I don't understand what's better for a car that doesn't fit in the garage--parking under the trees and suffering bird splats or parking in the sun and getting bleached spots on the upholstery. Disconcerting.

11. I don't know why the telephone doesn't ring for twelve hours, then rings three times in five minutes...when you are out in the garage, painting something. Annoying.

12. I don't understand how the same recipe produces different results in different households...namely something delicious in somebody else's kitchen/ something indigestible in mine. Discouraging.

13. I don't understand how some people can come up with a Thursday Thirteen every week, but I have blank weeks when I just can't you get stuff like this.