Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Nebaj, Guatemala. August 2008

Tiny Talk Tuesday

(Ok, so I'm actually recording this early early early Wednesday morning).

Today I was substituting in the two year old class at the daycare center where I work. Smelling the telltale scent of a POOPY, I began making my rounds from toddler to toddler checking their diapers. I'm usually very talented at pinpointing the culprit whose diaper has the offensive odor...I'm just glamorous like that. While checking L****, I asked her, "Are you poopy?"

"No. I wear underwears," she said.

Sure enough, she was clean and homefree in her "underwears." I moved on to checking O***, only for L**** to run around behind my squatting self, pull back my underwear and jeans from my bum, and declare inquisitively,

"Miss Leah, are YOU poopy????"

Oh, the joys of uninhibited two year olds and their adorable modeling of adult roles! Even checking for poopy diapers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

On second thought....

I spent a fair amount of time choosing my blogger template and background. and coordinating the font color, etc. However, when I read my entries I feel a bit dizzy, and I imagine other people feel the same way. Hmmmm...might have to revamp.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The End of an Era

Tears aren't far from surfacing as I sit here at my spot by the window for the last time. I got my last Chocolate Chunk Mocha Java Cooler of my life.

Teary eyes? Really? I'm such a dork. Pathetic, really. Considering how much more serious things have provoked tears recently. But I'm sentimental; what can I say?

No more fab five, either. I'm sure I'll post more about "the regulars" at the coffee shop at a later time. I do wonder where the elderly man and former journalist will spend his evenings from now on. And I wonder where the homeless man will pop in to warm up during these cold winter days. Or where the man with the fake British accent will blast his Italian opera music much too loud for it to be by accident.

Thank you Balding Owner, Hurley from Lost, Blonde Emo Dude, and Dreadlocks Girl for serving me my coffee.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Old Dominion Coffee Company

In downtown H*burg, there's a gem of a coffee shop. a place that has been an escape for me, a refuge, a place of deep thinking and deep conversation: Old Dominion Coffee Company.

Anyone who sees me on a remotely regular basis notes that I always have a cold ice-blended coffee drink in my hand (like a Frappuccino, but less icy and more ice cream based). At five dollars a pop, these suckers add up....but. my wallet won't have to grieve much longer.

Unfortunately, this coffee shop is closing. On Monday I say goodbye to my favorite get-away spot and cathartic escape.

Sure, there's still LOTS of Starbucks around (of which I'm also a fan); however, after being accustomed to ODCC, Starbucks just seems unoriginal and cookie cutter-esque. perhaps like the pre-manufactured McMansions of upper class suburbia.

I'll surely miss the marriage of artsy/hipster and Old World styles that gives this special place its charm.

Farewell Old Dominion :-(. It's been a pleasure making memories and musing in your midst.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"You did your best, and your best is good enough to present to the Emperor."

Being an elementary education major, it's no surprise that I have a particular appreciation for children's literature. During my frequent outings to Barnes and Noble, I'll often peruse the children's section, beginning to collect books that I'll add to my future classroom library. One book that I selected a few months ago is called The Empty Pot.

This book is about a young Chinese boy named Ping who is unsuccessful in his attempt to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor. The Chinese Emperor is searching for a successor to the throne; whoever can grow the best flower in a year's time will be the successor. Ping, despite his effort, talent, and dedication, can not grow anything in his pot. Ping is very sad and doesn't want to present an empty pot to the Emperor, especially upon viewing the apparent success of his friends; they had grown BEAUTIFUL flowers. Ping's father tells him,

"You did your best, and your best is good enough to present to the Emperor."

AS SOON as I read this line, I sensed that it holds a significant meaning that spans time and place. about doing your best. being the best person you can be. and coming before "the Emperor" without shame and just as you are.

A pretty weighty theme for a children's book. But a perfect one. I read on.

As the Emperor examines the beautiful flowers brought before him on the final day, his face expresses nothing but disapproval. Finally, approaching Ping, he asks why his pot is empty. Ping explains that he did his best, but to no avail! The Emperor then reveals that the seeds he had distributed had been cooked, and therefore could not grow. Clearly, the cultivators of the beautiful flowers had been dishonest and used different seeds; Ping was the only one who had been honest and showed integrity. Ping was the successor to the throne because the Emperor admired Ping's "great courage to appear before [him] with the EMPTY TRUTH."

Immediately, my mind flashed to the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14:

[9] To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: [10] "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men -- robbers, evildoers, adulterers -- or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

[13] "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

[14] "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Ping's friends who had pompously taunted him as they ran by with their beautiful flowers were much like the Pharisee: self-righteous, proud, and creators of counterfeit appearances. Ping is much like the tax collector who was able to come before The Emperor without false pretenses. with simply an honest representation of himself and his efforts. the empty truth.

He humbled himself...and was exalted.

How good it is to know that our best is good enough to present to the Emperor.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Alicia Keys *The Element of Freedom*

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than...

the risk it took...

to bloom." ~Anais Nin


Not only am I not a teenager anymore, I'm now IN my twenties. As opposed to just being 20, I'm....IN my twenties. When I was a child and pictured being in my twenties, I definitely pictured a much more "adultish" Leah. Heh-heh. Heh.

AT ANY RATE...a few pics to commemorate the occasion:

My brother and sister think it's a funny joke to wrap old laser tag guns and pretend that those are my presents. I'm sure it's funny in some way........or another.

And lastly, a video of everyone serenading me with a rousing "Happy Birthday." This video is very quintessentially "us" as a family....but I'll allow you to draw your own conclusions and perform your own analyses as to what exactly I mean by that ;-).

Christmas Baking!

Chocolate chip cookies, monster cookies, Russian tea cakes, chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter blossoms, pretzel/rolo truffle candies, and iced peanut butter bars. Anyone hungry? We certainly were.....

And as an aside, the iced peanut butter bars (not pictured) are made with FOUR different kinds of sugar! Corn syrup and granulated sugar in the bottom, powdered sugar and brown sugar in the icing. Heavenly. Hark, I hear the angels.

Thursday, January 7, 2010