Friday, December 21, 2007

The Forgotten Love Language

There are five love languages, or so say the experts. Five ways to express your love, no more and no less. According to the book, there's quality time, gifts, service, words of affirmation, and physical touch (not big in our extended family-- we prefer comfortable side hugs). I've always thought my language was a mix of some of these, but lately I've been thinking that I have a language that's not included in the above list.

(This may be a good time to confess that I've never actually read the book. Regardless, I have heard the love languages explained and discussed, and feel I have a solid handle on the general idea.)

Recently I've been thinking about how I get excited about certain things, and always want to share them with those around me. Be it books, funny videos, stories, interesting web sites, movie trailers, or what have you, I want to present these to others. So I think the lost love language that I possess must be "interests."

Whenever I find a funny or fascinating section of the book I am reading, I find that I want to jump up and read it aloud to whoever is nearby. If I've found an amazing movie trailer or film clip, I find a way to distribute it to the people I think would enjoy it. It might be something I find interesting myself, or it could be something that I think one of my friends will especially like.

I just can't express the enjoyment I get from watching someone else appreciate a television show, comic strip, article, or song that I love. I recently re-watched the entire first season of Heroes a second time just to be able to see my brother's reaction to each scene as he saw it all for the first time. I was delighted to find that he loved it too, and elated that he loved it enough to share it with his own friends.
I want you to see this certain movie because I want you to love it like I love it. I want you to read this book so we can discuss it and share what we learned or why we think it's amazing. I want you to understand even an inklings worth why I am passionate about something in particular.

So next time I am pushing my favorite movie on you, or telling you I think you will like a particular piece of music, just know I am doing it out of love. It's one of my love languages, so I am no doubt expressing my love for you by wanting you to feel the happiness that I get from my various books, videos, articles, etc. etc. etc. And thank you for humoring me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I couldn't believe my own ears. Tinker Toys?

Just a warning...I've been sick for 2 days and I think my creativity and sense of humor have died a very tragic death because of the pressure in my head. Regardless, I will buck up and deliver. No telling what is to follow.

I'm sitting on the floor typing on the old laptop as it sits on the coffee table that I inherited from my parents. My little Charlie Brown tree is in the corner and my suitcase sits half packed on the chairs I inherited from my grandparents. Oh wait, "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" just came on the radio. You can't script this stuff. Any minute the opening credits will start rolling for this rather charming new movie about a young woman who just wants to get home for the holidays. I think it's on Lifetime, television for women.

Sadly, the young woman has a terrible cold which has caused her co-workers to mock her lack of pronunciation and diction throughout the day. As she gets up from the small table she makes her way to the coffee pot counting out just enough for two small cups of coffee. She walks to the room and sets the alarm for the awful time of 5:45 and says to herself, "Shall I go to the gym tomorrow? No, I think not." After making her lunch of turkey and mustard she washes her face, pausing long enough to let one tear fall. "Oh Santa, all I want for Christmas is an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle."

Ok - so I got a little off track there. You know, I very rarely have much direction from the beginning. I love that quote - love that movie. My family is not a "National Lampoon's Christmas" family. We are of "A Christmas Story" stock. I'm not sure why. That's just the way it is. I mentioned the movie this week and someone in the office said, "what movie is that?" Apparently they've been living under a rock, or at a house where there parents didn't let them watch t.v. on the weeknights (no one does that, right?). But then again, I hadn't seen the Chevy Chase movie until about 2 years ago...true story. And then, I decided to rent it because I thought my family would get a laugh out of it, and it did get a few gracious chuckles, but nothing like the classic with Ralphie. That's a good memory. Almost as good as watching my cousins getting chewed out for "snooping in the attic" for their Christmas presents - something which they continue to deny into their late 20's. And maybe it's just as good as watching my sister and I open the same gift. We were always big fans of that. Throw in that a memory of all the cousins sleeping in the back bedrooms at the grandparent's house and then running down the brick hallway at 6:00am and you have yourself one very Merry Little Christmas made for t.v. movie.

My head hurts. I'm going to bed. Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Trail That Led Them Here

One of the smartest things we ever did in creating this blog was to install a counter that collects information about who visits the site and how they get here. I find endless entertainment in reading what people searched for that led them to Saltwater Coke. Here are a few of my favorite keywords:

fisher and pickle magna doodle (Huh?)
little drummer boy orphan annie (How do these go together?)
why some people are always single (This one is depressing.)
side ponytail 90s (No. Not okay.)
turkey a la key recipe (Do they mean 'a la king?')
sara troll (Is this... someone's name?)
ginger for canker sores (Ginger, do you heal people's canker sores?)
small bathroom in closet (Huh?)
high school awful (Why would you search for this?)
jenna fischer horse scene (Not sure I even want to know)
coming up with names for wow (Actually i think "wow" is a very good name already)
what does little orphan annie look like today (Why would someone need to know this?)
stacy london overalls (I don't think Stacy London would appreciate being associated with overalls. At all)
how do you spell kaki? (The pants khaki, or my cousin Kaki?)
skim milk vs 2% expiration (No idea how they found our blog with this one)
she reminds me the accident (Again, how is this associated with us?)
apple head doll caveman (I just....what?)
Here's to hoping that people continue to Google odd/weird/trippy phrases, and most importantly, that they continue to be directed to our little blog.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Like Clockwork

Ten days until Christmas. I asked my kids tonight how many days were left and it was amazing to see almost all of them light up and scream out the number. I love seeing their excitement over the season and the gifts it brings.

This year as I'm so very far from family and friends it's been a wonderful time to actually celebrate the Birth of Christ. As I tell the story each weekend at church and see my kids learning new portions for the first time I continue to learn right along with them. For the first time in my life (finally!) I truly am more excited about the presents I'm giving and the people I will be seeing than any gift I could possibly receive. I am so blessed to have family to spend this holiday with and a Heavenly Father who has given me the greatest gift of all.

Our Kid Konnect question tonight was, "What is one thing that would be impossible for you to give away." What a question, right? I heard just about every response possible: "my video games, my family, my quad, my dog." All are truthful and thought out answers. Oh, I did have one little theologian who answered "sin." He reasoned that his sin needed to be taken away.

I am so thankful this Christmas for the gift of Jesus, the baby in the Manger who is Ruler of the World and the King of Kings. I am in awe of the poetry used by God in announcing his son. Angels to a 13 year old girl, a confused fiancee, and dirty shepherds on a hill. And then...the Star. The Heavens that have been set like clockwork performed marvelously to proclaim to the world the coming of the King. Somehow Magi in the east caught it and saw the significance of the King Planet Jupiter in Conjunction three times with the King Star Remulus within the constellation of Leo...the Lion. If you really want to stand in amazement this Christmas, spend some time at Although I haven't become an astronomer, I did watch the full 65 minute DVD "The Bethlehem Star" this week. I'm speechless. I've shown clips to everyone at work. Much of the research and information is on the site. It's worth the time. I will leave you with a quote from the author of the site, Rick Larson:

For if the Star wasn't magic or a special miracle from outside of the natural order, then it was something even more startling. It was a Clockwork Star. And that is overwhelming. The movement of the heavenly bodies is regular, like a great clock. The Clockwork Star finally means that from the very instant at which God flung the universe into existence, he also knew the moment he would enter human history in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He marked it in the stars. And from before the beginning of time as we experience it, God knew the very moment when Messiah would breath his last on the cross.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Traditions

I love the thought of Christmas traditions. Families reading the Christmas story from Luke on Christmas Eve, always having a certain type of food for breakfast on Christmas, or everyone sharing a cup of hot chocolate before bed- it's a nice thought. As we've grown older, a lot of our family traditions have slowly been retired, such as my siblings and I all sleeping in the same room on Christmas Eve, gifts from Santa, and decorating the tree together. It's just part of getting older, and while I treasure these memories, I'm fine sleeping in my own room on Christmas Eve. Here are a few of my favorite traditions that still live on.

* Every year about two weeks before Christmas, my whole extended family on my dad's side gathers together to exchange Christmas gifts and see each other before we're spread all over the state (or country) for the holidays. We used to exchange gifts at the grandparents house, but now with spouses, babies, and big changes, we center it on the city in which the most family members live. Each year a different family hosts, and this Saturday everyone will be descending on my family's house. It's a great time of food, laughter, and presents (with, of course, the occasional gag gift thrown in). I can't wait for our house to be stuffed with 24 people from the ages of 16 months to 70+ years, though it won't be complete, as my Arizona sister is too far-flung to make the trip out for the event. Despite the fractured family, the event should be a great time, and the continuation of a delightful Christmas tradition.

*We have an old VHS tape that must be at least 20 years old, that has recorded onto it something very special. One year when we actually had the Disney Channel (probably by accident), my mom recorded a special called "A Disney Channel Christmas" hosted by Jiminy Cricket that featured all sorts of Disney Christmas shorts. From "Mickey's Christmas Carol" to Donald Duck wrapping presents to an old black and white Mickey Mouse cartoon in which Mickey sells Pluto to pay for a special Christmas surprise, this tape has it all. Every year my brother and I (and occasionally big sister) curl up under a blanket to watch our special Christmas tape, sing along to the songs, and ring in the season along with Mickey and the gang.
{edit} I can't believe it, but I just found it for sale on Amazon! Check it out!

*One of my favorite traditions involves the tradition almost everyone partakes in. Christmas Eve services used to be tortorous for me to sit through, and I'm sure that's true for a lot of kids. I still feel an inexplicable sense of urgency at church, thinking "Hurry, hurry, hurry! Gotta get home! Gotta get to bed!" But it all comes to a screeching halt when we take out our little white candles and prepare for them to be lit. The lights are turned down in the church, and suddenly the night is so still and reverant. I love watching the candles get lit and watch the flames spread to every corner of the church, until the entire room is filled with the soft glow of golden candlelight. And all the while the beautiful strains of "Silent Night" are being sweetly sung in the background. Everything is different- warm and fuzzy and glittering and perfect- and that's when I'm truly filled with the Christmas Spirit. The Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Little Drummer Boy

I'm listening to the Christmas Music station via my T.V. and the current selection happens to be Burl Ives singing "The Little Drummer Boy." I'm not the biggest Burl fan, and I've also inherited my Father's "love" for this particular Christmas Carol. Maybe it's the rum-pa-pum-pum that drives me crazy. Yes, as I listen to Burl, that's it. He's asking if he should play for me, pa-rum-pa-pum. No. Please do not play for me Burl.
I promise I'm not a Scrooge. Aaah. The rum-pa-pum is getting louder. I need to move to try and turn down the volume. This is going to be harder than I thought, seeing as I have not moved from my spot on the couch for the past hour or so. It's been one of those evenings. It's rainy and 45 degrees outside. It's just the perfect "no moving unless the rum-pa-pum-pum song is on" kind of night.

I thought about going to the gym. I thought long and hard about it. I even watched part of "The Biggest Loser" and felt very inspired and guilty all at the same time. I have a love-hate relationship with shows that make you feel like you too should be able to lose 5% of your body weight in one week. So I counter-acted those thoughts by watching "Chocolat" ( again. Watching that movie usually requires me to eat some form of chocolate. Go figure. So I've decided to compromise between the chocolate and the gym. I'm not eating anything else, but I'm also not moving. I suppose I will have to move to brush my teeth before going to bed, but that's it. The really funny part is that I've somehow convinced myself that somehow I will be going to the gym at 6:00 in the morning. That's hysterical. I have like a 10% likelihood of that actually happening, if my track record is any indication. My alarm will ring at 5:30 and I will proceed to hit the alarm until 6:30 when I will be forced to chide myself for not going to the gym and then go and turn the coffee on. It's going to be

Sunday, December 9, 2007

10 Reasons I Love 'Kid Nation'

My favorite new show, Kid Nation, is sadly coming to an end this Wednesday. But before it bows out, I'd like to give you a little insight as to why I enjoy this show so much.

10. Laurel's Accent- There is no mistaking where Laurel (12, Massachussets), one of the original town councilmembers, is from. She has a true Massachussets accent through and through. Luckily she recently won the gold star and we were privileged to see a phone call between Laurela and her Maaa. Let's just say there's not doubt where she gets her accent from! Take a look at the clip below and watch Maa get excited that her dawtah won twenty thousand dawlas!

9. Jared- There are no adequate words to describe the hilarity that is Jared, an oddball 11-year-old who performed Shakespeare for the town talent show, tried to explain the possibilities of teleportation to the saloon, and finds new ways to be weird every week. He's just awesome, but I think I'll let this little montage of him speak for itself:

8. Kid Nation Church- In the episode "Bless Us and Keep Us Safe," the topic of religion was suddenly a hot button issue. The kids are advised to have a religious service together, and the council attempts to make everyone show up to the chapel for a little service. Predictably no one comes, and it looks like religion may end up falling by the wayside. But Morgan steps up, and that night some of the kids gather around a fire for an impromptu prayer service. It becomes a very moving experience for some of the kids, and proves that a little respect toward other religions can go a long way.

7. Taylor the Pageant Queen- Little 10-year-old Taylor started out on the right foot as part of the town council and someone who appeared to be willing to work hard. But soon enough she could be seen shirking her duties and barking her trademark: "Deal with it!" to anyone who dared to cross her. She was voted off the council after the first election, which served to only give her license to work even less than before. Asked to haul water, she stopped to set the buckets down and then kicked them over, snotting, "Oops. My bad." Repeatedly asked to do dishes, she loved to answer that pageant queens do not do dishes. Finally threatened to be kept out of the new arcade unless she did some real work, Taylor finally stepped into the kitchen and proceeded to do hours and hours worth of work. Whether this new-found work ethic is here to stay or not is still to be determined. If it is, I just hope we'll still be treated to her catchphrase.

6. Bonaza Politics- Just like in the real world, polictics are of the upmost importance in the Kid Nation town of Bonanza. Despite a town council being pre-selected before even arriving, the kids were able to elect their own government by the fifth episode. Since then they've had yet another election, meaning out of the 40 kids who started on the show, 10 of them have had a seat on the council. The interesting part is how seriously the kids take their government and the power that has been bestowed on their council members. The council recently appointed Sophia as town sheriff and left her in charge while they were out of Bonanza. The kids were soon up in arms over the decision, partcularly with the idea of Sophia being given so much power. Eric asks if they can vote on their new temporary leader instead, but the council is quick to nix that idea. Then Nathan joins in the protest, saying, "You're giving Sophia a lot of power- we didn't elect her." The kids treat the council and the prestige of that job with the upmost importance, something that is integral to building a society, and I find that utterly fascinating.

5. Sophia's Social Experiments- Sophia, the self proclaimed 30-year-old in the body of a 14-year-old is constantly finding ways of using the other kids as her own entertainment. In the most recent episode, she used a rope to mark off a small portion of the town and proclaimed it as her own. The theory, she explained, was that once she claimed the land as her own, everyone else would want it, and the kids would be fighting just to get in or walk through it. She was right, of course, and it didn't take long before a small crowd had formed around her and her new piece of land. Another time she simply lay down in the middle of the street without saying a word, and before long she was joined on the ground by at least half the town. My favorite, though, was when she got a group of kids to dig around in a disgusting pot of rotting food. Here, you just have to see it:

4. Showdown Teamwork- In each episode there is a showdown challenge, which pits district vs. district, playing for the town jobs and salaries. Everyone wants to be upper class, and no one wants to be laborers, so the competition can get pretty heated. However, the districts are also playing as a town, and if everyone can complete the challenge in a certain time limit, they will win the town a huge reward. After the first, second, and third place teams have placed, they all turn from competing for their status as a district to competing as a town for their reward. When the time is running out, the teams that are already finished with the showdown can be heard shouting encouragement for the last place district. While their movitation is mostly due to their desire for a town reward, I like to think the kids are also encouraging the other teams out of friendship and pride for the town. So when Yellow District is lagging and the rest of the town has rallied behind them, I believe that their cheers and acclamation are for their friends and fellow Bonanzians.

3. Olivia vs. Anjay- Olivia is definitely the town stick-in-the-mud, there is just no doubt about it. Constantly disapproving of the council and of her fellow townspeople. Where there is a joke not funny enough, where there is a statement not agreed upon, generally there is Olivia. Also without question is the fact that Olivia's nemesis is Anjay. From day one Olivia has struggled with her district's councilmember, never missing an opportunity to put him down or rub his nose in his mistakes. He in turn doesn't hide his hatred of her very well, especially when she annouces she'll be running for his seat on the council. Funnily enough, she turns out to be the only challenging candidate to lose their election, but that doesn't do anything for her mean streak. Olivia and Anjay will likely be at each other's throats until the day they leave New Mexico, but until then I will relish in every delicious insult.

2. More Jared- I swear, he would be reason enough to watch this show. This whole video is hilarious, but skip to 1:30 if you're in a hurry.

1. "We Got the Port-o-Potties! Yea!"- It's rare in the real world to hear kids cheer for port-o-potties, or for washing machines, or fruits and vegetables, but this is what Kid Nation has done. Each week that the kids win their showdown, they must choose between a practical and a fun reward. More often than not, suprisingly enough, the kids go with the smart choice, and the whole town is more or less happy about it. Nowhere else could you see kids jumping up and down at the idea of some hand-crank laundry machines, but that's just what this show is about. And I get the biggest kick out of the kids yelling and screaming for bathrooms and toothbrushes.