Usually in these letters I try to come up with what in the year has been out of the ordinary. As I was trying to think what those things might be for this year, it dawned on me that it might be just as interesting (not to say interesting, just as interesting) to look at what isn't out of the ordinary. So, here is a description of a typical (and therefore nonexistent) week. I'll start with Monday, which isn't the first day of the week, but which seems that way, and I'm writing so I can.
Monday morning: I wake up at about 5 minutes till 7:00. The radio has been playing for about 10 minutes. I roll out of bed and get dressed. I'm supposed to meet Richard Brown to go walking at 7:00. I'm usually about 5-10 minutes late. Richard is up and dressed. Once I get there he puts his boots on, and gets the rope for Misty and chain for Max. Max is a smart old dog with an attitude. He walks with us without a leash unless we encounter other walkers who are afraid of him, or who have another dog. Misty is a chow, and goes along on a long rope. Misty has more energy and less sense. She loves to go bounding off into the blackberry brambles. We walk and talk for about 45 minutes behind his house on an vacant field owned by Lockheed-Martin. When we get back to his house we pray for a while. Then I hurry home for a shower, and off to work by 9:00.
At work, I'm still in a Monday zone, despite the wake-up walk. I check my e-mail -- over 100 messages, though most of them are from mailing lists, and getting filtered off so I can just pick the good ones. I mostly putter around in my office until lunch. And lunch is late --about 12:30. After lunch I go to the Medical Center and get an allergy shot. When I get back to my office, I do a quick check of messages and then, unless it's one of the bad Mondays, really get to work. I work until 4:30, or more like 4:45. Then I go over to the Activities Building for an hour of aerobics. Now there's a deal! Small classes, good instruction, available four days a week with at least a couple of classes each day (maybe even a Friday lunch class making it five days), all for $5/year. I like aerobics because there is someone to tell me what to do. I hate exercising, but I'm pretty good at doing what I'm told, especially if it's my choice whether to do it or not. Not very masculine, I fear, but there are several other men in the classes. We even had a class that was all men once. Anyhow, after a good hour of sweating, I get back to work about 6:05 and catch up on the hour I missed in the morning.
At 7:05 I go immediately to UAH for the Monday Night Bible Talk. I grab a tuna sandwich at the UAH grill, and carry it to the room we use in the UC. Tonight my roommate, Mark Johnson, leads a discussion-style study in the book of Luke. Mark, Alana Aleong, Christopher Lakey (my other roommate), Gray Marsee, Darell Bridges, and Jim Stanley drift in as I eat my sandwich. We start about 7:40. Julie Lollar comes in after we've been going for a few minutes. The study is based on the Serendipity Study Bible outlines, which encourages reading the text and discussing the content. We run a little over an hour. After chatting a bit more, I head home where I do a quick check of my e-mail and dash off a couple of replies. Oh, and I need to make an update on the NACDS web page. And the CSO web page, too. I finally get to bed about midnight.
Tuesday Morning: I wake up at 7:50. The radio has been playing for almost an hour. Actually, I notice when it cuts off. I drag out of bed and to the shower. I'm moving pretty slow, and I check my e-mail, so I'm not dressed till about 8:40. So I have time to toast a bagel and wash an apple for breakfast. I have a meeting at 9:00, so I go straight to it. It's a busy day, and I switch between several tasks, depending on which one is hottest. Mostly sitting in front of my Macintosh, except for the meetings. I head home about 6:00.
Once home, I check the mail and gather the laundry. I put on my portable headset phone while I work, and try to call a couple of friends. Tuesdays are my best bet for getting in touch with Diana Fowler, up in Mishawaka, Indiana. Tonight, all I get is answering machines. I fix a sandwich and pop a Babylon 5 tape in the VCR (Mark got me addicted). I end up watching the whole thing.
Tuesday evenings are my quiet time. Well, two hours of it is. I spend some time in planning, making lists, and updating my calendar; some time in prayer; and some time in working on this newsletter. During this two hours I'm unavailable for non-lifecritical interruptions (be warned if you call and I'm unavailable). Making it a fixed appointment has been a very sanity maintaining move for me.
The tape ran me till close to 9:00, so quiet time ends at nearly 11:00. So I can get to bed on time (at 11:00)! I don't, though. I check my e-mail again. And run into some problems with connecting. When I'm through with that and with my bedtime ritual (brush and floss, read a chapter in my Bible, do my eye exercises, etc.), it's 11:45.
Wednesday Morning: I actually make it into work by 8:00. There's a meeting at 9:00 (surprise!), another meeting at 1:00, and an appointment with my optometrist at 3:45. I've been doing regular eye exercises to help my eyes to focus together, but to not focus to tightly. All my time at the computer wears my eyes out, and things can get blurry by the end of the day. Reading glasses are in the near future...
After the optometrist's, I run by Kroger to pick up a bag of salad for dinner at church. Several of get together every Wednesday for dinner. Us single guys (or married guys whose wives don't come) get it pretty easy -- we usually get put on the list for things that don't have to be cooked. And if we go to the meeting afterward, we don't even have to clean up, and get to be first in line to boot. I get the salad, and about 12 other items, and make it to the Central building at 5:30, right on time. We actually start eating about a quarter till, so I have 15 minutes to eat before Leaders' Meeting.
The Leaders' Meeting is an open meeting at church for anyone who wants to know what's going on with the congregation, or has something to share, or questions to ask about anything. The format varies quite a bit. Sometimes it is business oriented, sometimes mostly prayer, sometime open discussion of issues, sometimes one person mostly presents something. It lasts not quite 45 minutes. I come in a couple of minutes late, which isn't really late at all. There's an announcement sheet, a sheet that lists all the visitors from last Sunday with the data they put on the little blue card, and a sheet for the UAH Bible Study where I can put who was there. Tonight there's a lot of announcements, and some discussion about upcoming events. We end with prayer, and head down to the assembly, in the auditorium.
Singing has already started when I get down there. We sing four or five songs. Then Tom Reynolds, our pulpit minister (or preacher, or senior pastor, or maybe even parish priest, depending on your terminology) gives about a 10 minute talk. Then Jon Canterbury, one of our elders (I won't try to translate that), gives the announcements. During the last song, I head to the nursery.
Classes run about an hour. There are adult classes as well as kids classes. I've been alternating between going to a class or helping with kids. I've especially enjoyed my stint in the nursery. I'm pretty good with kids up until they start talking. Nursery duty has given me more experience. I'm hoping to cultivate a bunch of kids I can grow up with, so they won't make me so nervous when they do start talking. Tonight there are just four kids. Since Carla Campbell and Dorothy Gutherie are also there, as well as one or other of the mothers most of the time, it's a pretty easy night. Not like last week, where three of us had seven kids, including two twin spit-up machines...
After cleaning up and disinfecting the nursery, I head out to mill around and fellowship. A bunch of the college and singles are going bowling afterward, but I beg off, since I have groceries (two bags in the church kitchen 'fridge that I picked up while bustling through Kroger -- usually my only grocery trip for the week) and am pretty tired. I do run by the library to drop off some movies and recheck my CD's and books on tape. Then home, put up stuff, check e-mail, and to bed.
Thursday morning: To work on time! Mostly around the office today, except for an allergy shot. Aerobics from 4:50 till 6:00, then home to clean up for the ER party. ER is a TV show, if you don't know. We have a shin-dig at my house, nominally in the show's honor. People come over starting about 6:30. We cook or bring food, and have sort of an eat, talk, play cards, watch (or ignore) the TV, hang out kind of party till the show is over at 10:00. Or maybe till 11:00 or 12:00 or so. Tonight I get to bed by 11:30. I think everyone is gone. The kitchen was certainly trashed.
Friday morning: I backslide to 8:30 getting in. Another 9:00 meeting. Boy, am I tired. A fairly busy day, but getting a bit slow toward the end. Especially since I make up for all the times I came in late during the week (that hadn't already been caught up). I do get to go home for an hour or so before it's time to pick up Violet for the Devotional. I don't pick her up every week, but I give someone a ride more often than not. Devotional starts at 7:30. Tonight we sing till about 8:00, John Means speaks on "The woman at the well" from John 4 for about 20 minutes, and then another song or two. We have refreshments, mill around, and talk for a while. Then there is some not-very-serious but heartfelt volleyball in the gym.
Saturday Morning: Nothing but a dim conception! Yeah! I get to sleep in. This is my first weekend home for three weeks. I sleep in till about 10:00, then get up and start puttering around a bit. I start the computer, start a load of clothes, load the dishwasher, and then sit in front of the computer listening to the end of Sundial, a cool local show on our public radio station. About 1:00, Mark and I go mow Alice Lay's yard. She turned 88 last year, and still keeps a nice little house over in 5-points, where she has lived for over 50 years. After mowing we talk with her for a while. She sends us home with a big plate of cupcakes. Mark almost talks me into a game of frisbee golf, but I decide to catch up on paying bills and getting in touch with folks. Oh, and I need to take a shower. Before I know it, it's time to really take that shower and get dressed for the contra dance at Eastside Community Center. I'm treasurer, and need to pay for the hall.
I get to the dance about 7:00, and leave about 11:00. Several of us go over to the La Boheme coffee house. Marianne Osiel is playing, and it's a bit crowded, so we take our drinks and munchies out to the patio. I get home before 12:30.
Sunday morning: Sunday School starts at 9:00. I wake up at 8:20, shower, dress, pick up Billy and Mary Cook, and arrive 4 minutes late. John Means teaches a class that ties back to the Friday night devotional. He has more to say, and starts a discussion. Tom preaches during the assembly at 10:00, even supplementing his common Far Side cartoon with a Dilbert strip (comics are his favorite visual add to his sermons). We sing, have communion, pray together, pass the plate, sing some more, and then mill, meet, greet, and fellowship as we head toward the door. It generally takes me about 45 minutes to get out the door. Several of us go to Ding How for lunch. I have an okay plate of Mu Goo Gi pan. After running Billy and Mary home, I head home. Tuning Thistle and Shamrock in on the radio, I start to work on updating the NACDS books after the dance, do some more work on bills, and, knowing I shouldn't, end up taking a two hour nap. I awake to the sounds of children playing; my house is used for baby sitting for a home Bible Study in the neighborhood. I get up and start to fix something to eat. I don't really get anything accomplished, except to eat and get a couple of baskets of clothes to my room, and another in the dryer, before 9:00. Then everything stops, as there is a new episode of Babylon 5 coming on. The household gathers to watch it. After the show, I log on to the Internet to get the notes for the show. After reading the notes and discussing it all with Mark, it's already past my bedtime. I get into bed shortly before midnight. And can't sleep because I had a nap. Until finally I drift off. Next thing I know, the radio is on and it's...
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