kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bike Ride on a Beautiful Morning

I registered to ride in the Tour LaFitte next weekend. My distance choices were 10, 27, 40, 50, or 62. While I have ridden my bike as many as 75 miles in a day, that was several years ago. I haven't ridden more than 15-20 in quite awhile. So I chose the 27 mile ride. I told Bob I needed to make sure I could still do that distance, before I attempted the ride in public. This morning offered the perfect opportunity. The boys were in Dallas all weekend on a band trip. And the early sunshine beckoned us. A stiff breeze from the west challenged the first half of our ride, but we didn't mind, knowing the wind would be at our backs on our return. Honeysuckle seemed to bloom overnight and scented the air with spring sweetness. Bluebirds, cardinals, and jays crossed our path, singing and playing in the brush along the roadside. Vultures pecked at unidentifiable roadkill. Somewhere between our house and Sulphur, we stopped at a boat launch with a charming gazebo. A green gecko pranced across the rail, back and forth, flirting, and showing off his lovely orange throat. A fascinating large white spider-like flower grew along the water's edge. Does anyone know what this flower is? I wished I'd had my camera. Pollen puffed through the air in golden clouds, making our noses run. And no bike ride is complete without a few dogs chasing us down the road. Though the couple canines today were hardly menacing. With all that beauty, the miles passed quickly. I'm ready for next weekend. All I need is someone to ride with.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Census Trivia

Sorry, but this is pretty much all I'm thinking about lately.

  • The first U.S. Census was conducted in 1790.
  • Approximately 47 million housing units do not return a questionnaire to the Census Bureau.
  • The government hires approximately 650,000 around the country to perform the task of collecting unreturned questionnaires. This is the largest peacetime workforce assembled at one time.
  • 360 million questionnaires have been printed. Stacked one on top of another, a pile of these forms would stand about 29 miles high — more than five times higher than Mount Everest. Stretched end to end, these questionnaires would circle the globe three times. That's a lot of paper. And that's only a fraction of the forms. You should see my dining room, transformed into my "office." Piles of forms everywhere.
  • The above questionnaires weigh 11.6 million pounds and used 295,259 pounds of ink.
  • Taxpayers would save 1.5 billion dollars if everyone completed and mailed back their census questionnaire. Receiving census forms by mail is much less expensive and saves taxpayers approximately $85 million for every percentage point increase in the national mail participation rate.
  • It costs the government 42 cents to process a mailed-in questionnaire and an average of $57.00 if a census worker must go to the home.
  • The national percentage of households who have returned their questionnaires as of today is 69%.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Tent Event

First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles is hosting a Tent Event this weekend. We got off to a good start this evening, and we're looking forward to a great day tomorrow. From 10 am - 8:00 pm, there'll be music, worship, fun and fellowship. We'll have hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, and drinks. For the kids, there'll be crafts, games, and giant inflatable jumpy things. Throughout the day, members of the congregation will share their talents by offering a myriad of interesting workshops; guitar and accordian lessons, legal advice, real estate advice, photography tips, a quilting demonstration, job and business advice, gardening, conversational spanish, answers to medical questions and blood pressure checks, financial and investing advice . . .

This event is entirely free to the public. So come visit us on Country Club Rd., one block west of Nelson. Check out our website for more information and a schedule of the day's events.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's a Government Job

I began training this morning for my new job -- crew leader for the US Census Bureau. I'm not real good at sitting for that many hours, and for someone who doesn't like paperwork and filling out forms, I have to ask -- What did I get myself into? My day was occupied with page after page of paperwork, printing, signing and dating my name dozens of times. Repetition, redundancy, tedium -- a mini-microcosm of what we already know about federal operations. But it's only a temporary gig -- eight weeks. I can do anything for two months, right? I was sworn in, taking the oath of office, just like a soldier, or the president, and I am now ready to defend my country from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. At the end of the day, I was fingerprinted. Twice. Making it official. Tomorrow, and each day this week, my black ink-stained digits and I will return to continue prepping.

If you haven't yet filled out and mailed your census form, do it soon. It will make my job easier.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Blessed Easter

I wish you all a blessed Easter. The boys and I have been visiting family and friends in Pennsylvania, and having a great time.

This time last year, as many of you might remember, Eric was in Texas Children's Hospital. I remember attending church Easter morning, with that perpetual brick in the pit of my stomach, at Christ Church Presbyterian, a wonderful Houston congregation who took us under their wing. I remember the Easter baskets, candy, and stuffed animals that came into Eric's room. What a difference a year can make.

In December, Eric started playing his trumpet again. Last month, he resumed playing soccer. And a week ago, he flew to Pa. in an airplane, without complication. In eleven months since his discharge from TCH, Eric has accomplished everything the doctors told us he couldn't or shouldn't ever do again. He's starred in a theater production. He sings in our church choir. Last month, Eric spoke his testimony at a Christian youth conference. He wouldn't tell me what he said, but I heard it was mighty powerful. To quote Eric on a day relatively early in his hospitalization last February, "God answers prayers."

He is risen!