Saturday, April 4, 2009

Becoming Refined, Refining Directives and Rachel's Road Trip

I took some time the other night to watch The Town that Dreaded Sundown; see the last part of my previous post. It had been more than 30 years since I'd seen it so I figured I should probably make sure it's how I remember it if I'm going to recommend it to others.

I'm not sure what to think after watching it again. One thing that stands out is that it wasn't as chilling as it was the first time I saw it; not nearly as scary. I'm sure that speaks to the desensitization I've gone through in our 'civilized' world the last few decades. Human decay and violence have never been more acceptable as entertainment.

Back in the mid 1980's my parents opened Landmark Rental, a video tape rental business in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. My dad was going over a list of movies from which to purchase for their inventory and in the list was a series of videos called Faces of Death which I remember voicing my disapproval of. What I knew of the shows was that they were a collection of actual video of people dying. How morbid I thought; who would want to watch that sort of thing? Apparently, many. I don't think my dad ordered any of them but I'm not certain.

I spent some time in the doctor's office a couple days ago and one of the things I was seeing him for was tendinitis in my right forearm. It's been one month since I've last used our rower and I was expecting that the pain would be a lot more improved than it is. He told me that it likely won't go away until I strengthen the muscle surrounding the tendon. He gave me some exercises to do which I'm happy to comply with and he told me what I wanted to hear when I asked him if I'd be able to resume rowing after rehabbing my arm. Yes.

I've been off my bike the past two weeks working through some health issues but I was able to finally get back out on the road today. The temp was in the upper 30's and it was cloudy but with only a light wind out of the east. It was nice to be out feeling the burn in my lungs and quads from too much time spent not pushing myself.

I managed just under 57 miles and probably would've brought it in with 10 less had it not been for the bike path along 35W being flooded. I had to double back but I didn't mind as this time of year is all about putting in base miles. I could've pressed on but I know the path dips a bit beyond the photo where the water would be even higher and I wasn't interested in trying to negotiate the muddy, slippery path beneath the water.

While the nurse was taking my vital signs at the doctor's office she gave me a pamphlet to look over; The Minnesota Health Care Directive. She said I could leave it on the desk if I didn't want it as she closed the door on her way out of the room. Actually, I took a few seconds to rummage through the stacks of pamphlets in the holder on the wall to find another that I could bring home for Tammy. Filling this out has been on our list of things to do.

We spent 20 minutes Thursday night making our wishes known in the legally binding document. No attorney necessary; just a notary to make it official. There wasn't much difference in how we made known our desires with both of us placing little emphasis on sustaining our lives should we find ourselves in a condition where we're rendered unable to interact with those around us but with a heart which continues to beat on. It's not the stuff anybody wants to spend much time thinking about but we all should. Look over the pamphlet for an understanding of the things I'm referring to which you too may want to give some consideration.

Rachel left with a group of 15 kids from Prince of Peace Church in Burnsville this morning in a van bound for Atlanta, GA. They'll be staying in Nashville tonight, arriving around 11:00 pm. She's been excited for this trip. Each time she goes on one of these mission trips she comes back determined as ever to reevaluate and adjust her life's priorities. Last year she decided that name brand clothing was no longer a priority after being among the homeless. She wears the cheapest stuff she can find now and I see no sign of that changing.

They'll work in soup kitchens, deliver meals and spend time out in the streets connecting with homeless people. Last year's trip took them to Seattle where she was exposed to homelessness in a way she hadn't been; up close. It was a profound experience for her and you could see it in the tears she had as she recalled for us some of the people she encountered. She'll be heading back to Guatemala this summer. I love that she has a heart for this sort of work. Sure, she has fun along the way but it's about much more than that.


We're in the home stretch on the 1st of 6 stained glass panels for above the entertainment center in our basement. I thought I'd have it done this weekend but I've allowed myself to get distracted from the task with a bunch of other stuff vying for my attention; my blog being one of those distractions.

It looks like I've got maybe another 6 to 8 hours of work before I'm ready to solder it but I know it's easily twice that amount or more. I'll spend a considerable amount of time redoing pieces that aren't fitting just right and I've got several of those. The project is all straight lines and they need to match up which is easier said than done when talking about the hundreds of tiny pieces which make up the panel. But that sort of busy work is all a part of the escape a project like this offers so I don't mind.

One more distraction just popped up. We're headed out for dinner. Maybe when I get back...nope...we're gonna watch Wife Swap. Pathetic, I know.

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