Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Welcome, Julia!

Ann and Julia.

On Sunday, 15 of us gathered at the Agia Sophia coffee shop in Old Colorado City to welcome Baby Julia. Julia was born to Jim and Ann, some dear friends of mine. Her birth is a blessing and comes after many years of prayers and waiting.

For any of you planning baby showers, I think it's an awesome idea to have it at a place like Agia Sophia. We enjoyed a traditional Russian Samovar tea with many delicious finger foods. And the best part: no cleaning up.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Cucumber's Daughter

Several months ago I interviewed Mike Nawrocki--the voice of Larry the Cucumber--and his daughter, Ally. The experience was delightful. Here are the resulting articles in Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. An excerpt:
When Alijandra N. was a little girl, her dad had a special talent. He could sound just like Larry the Cucumber when he told her stories. It wasn't until Ally was older that she realized her dad was Larry, the loveable hero of VeggieTales.

“It's a really fun thing to have your dad as Larry the Cucumber,” the 9-year-old says.

Ally's dad, Mike, co-created VeggieTales with Phil Vischer (the voice of Bob the Tomato) five years before Ally was born. She's grown up with Larry, but she prefers just plain Dad. Mike and Ally's father-daughter bond goes beyond a love for M&M's and the same contagious laugh; the pair also shares a talent for voices.

Ally voices two parts in The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, VeggieTales' second big-screen film: She plays George's daughter, Lucy, and the Rock Monster Girl. (Mike is the voice of the Rock Monster Dad.) The movie will be in theaters this month. Even though her dad directed the film, Ally had to earn her own way into the veggie-voice business.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Eating Those Colorful Gumballs...

Always seems like a mistake later.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spoiled Cat

You've heard of a spoiled brat. Well, I've got a spoiled cat. Today I returned home from work to more destruction...dried flowers strewn all over the living room, magnet words ripped off the fridge and strewn on the kitchen floor and several torn up tissues.

"It's time," I told my housemate. "We have to lock her in the bathroom when we're gone." Feeling sorry about the cat's dismal fate, I went out and bought a deluxe scratching post, complete with dangling catnip toys and a soft bed/perch.

After Sveta and I assembled it tonight, I noticed Mia was nowhere to be found. I went downstairs and found her "playing" in her room. Yay! That's a good sign. Next is bling-bling. Um, maybe not.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Object of My Affection

Clockwise from bottom left: Confessions of a DTR Consultant, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, 7 Myths Single Women Believe and My Ugly Blind Spot. (All images from

Today, Boundless publishes my article Object of My Affection. This article about hope and relationships is close to my heart. So imagine my delight a few days ago, when I sneaked a peek at the art. The artist had perfectly captured the essence of the article.

I just want to give a shout-out to Michael Heath, who does art and design for Boundless. He's done a terrific job illustrating the articles I've written over the past three years (see some of my favorites above). I always hope that people will remember and take to heart the things I write, but that illustration delivers the initial punch and leaves the reader with something to hold onto.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ben Being Cute

I took this video of my nephew at Christmas.

Mia vs. Kitchen Counter

So Mia discovered a new pastime for while I'm at work. Yeah, she's trouble.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Charlie Bit Me

This makes me laugh every time. Thanks, Kelsey!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Stick Horses in Pants Break Out of the Barn!

So, after hearing that Stick Horses in Pants, our improv troupe, wouldn't be performing again at the Broadmoor until Easter weekend, we decided to book some shows of our own. We have partnered with the prestigious Colorado Springs School to perform four improv shows this spring. Beginning on Jan. 26, we will perform the fourth Saturday of each month through May 2008. Here are the dates:

Saturday, Jan. 26, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 22, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Apr. 26, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 24, 7:00 p.m.

Doors open at 6:40, and we will be charging admission of $8 per person ($6 for students). Discounts are available for families and students of Colorado Springs School. This is family-friendly entertainment, audience suggestion improv. We make it up as we go, based on your suggestions! Often, the bigger the audience the better the show because of the energy and variety of creative suggestions. We're doing our best to provide some unique and inexpensive entertainment to the Colorado Springs community.

Join our Facebook Group (Watching Stick Horses in Pants Improv makes my cheeks hurt laughing...Group) for the latest updates and news on the Stick Horses in Pants.

Please come join us and support us! Put the dates on your calendar now—we're excited to see you there!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Resolution Check-In

I decided it would be a good idea to check in occasionally and report on how the resolutions are coming. Interestingly, I seem to have adopted a resolution that was not even on my list. January has been christened "The Month of Cleaning," and I have been purging closets, drawers and files. It's a good feeling. But back to actual resolutions....

I resolved to use my French press. I am happy to report that I have been using it three or four times a week. That means I am using it approximately 300 to 400 percent more than before.

Let me share the instructions for making a good French press:

Start with a course grind of your favorite coffee (the grind should look flaky with lovely bits of bean visible). Measure six 1-Tablespoon scoops into the bottom of your press. Boil or almost boil water (technically it's best when you don't boil it, so you don't scald the beans. I usually let my boiling water cool for half a minute or so.) Pour water into press, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Fit lid to top of press without pressing down the plunger. Set timer for four minutes—longer and your coffee will turn bitter. When timer goes off gently push plunger down. I don't know how to describe the speed, since I learned while my brother was yelling: "Faster! No, too fast! A little faster. TOO FAST!" A slow steady push keeps grinds from getting into the coffee, the screen from jamming or scalding water escaping the spout.

The result is delicious! "Use French press." Good resolution. Now I need to read.

Media Bias

We've all heard that politics — and specifically the presidential election — have changed significantly since the advent of television. Before TV people relied heavily on the candidates' experience and stands on issues reported to them by newspapers; perhaps those in the 20s and 30s were swayed by the warmth of the candidates' voices on the radio.

Now a candidate has to look good (not too old nor too young; not too firm nor too soft; not too pretty nor too homely [Abe Lincoln would be out]), be able to generate the appearance of sincerity and charisma on camera (I suppose Ronald Regan had a bit of an edge here) and not only BE crazy-smart but be articulate enough to SOUND crazy-smart.

TV and the Internet give the media a lot more to play with when it comes to image-shaping. I found the picture above and the one below on the same news source Website. Can you guess which party the site leans toward based on the photos? It's striking, isn't it? I wonder how much these little "tricks" ultimately play into people's decisions.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Odd Moments to Cry

Yesterday morning, I was watching Cheaper By the Dozen, starring Steve Martin as a college football coach and father of 12. There's a part in that movie that always makes me tear up. It's when he finds his son Mark on the train. Mark has run away because he feels like he doesn't belong in his large family. Steve Martin rushes on that train, spots his son, runs to him and kneels down and embraces him. That gets it started. Shortly after that the father makes a sacrifice for his family and you see his kids on the football field holding signs that read "We Love the Coach." They drop the signs and run to embrace their father. And I sniffle and wipe my eyes.

I used to never cry at movies — and it's still rare. Beaches broke me first (Who can withstand seeing a dying woman on the beach at sunset while Bette Midler belts "Wind Beneath My Wings"?) Then there's this part in Stepmom where late-stage cancer sufferer Susan Sarandon tells her children's stepmother, played by Julia Roberts, "I have their past, and you have their future." And for some reason, I always cry at the same spot in 13 Going on 30. A 13-turned-30 Jennifer Gardner returns to her childhood home and curls up in a closet. When her mom and dad come home, she jumps up, shouts "Daddy" and clings to her dad for dear life.

I think there is something to be discovered in the movie moments that call out emotion in us. When Steve Martin sees his son and runs to him and embraces him, I'm reminded of the Prodigal Son. Like Jennifer Gardner's character, I sometimes just long for Daddy to make everything better. And I identify with Susan Sarandon's painful acknowlegement that loss is inevitable and sometimes you have to let go of dreams and accept new ones.

What movies make you feel or think or cry? What spiritual themes do they reflect? Any of them surprise you?

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's in There

I learned this today:

The saying, "Like mother, like daughter" comes from the Bible. And it's not pretty.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who is the Most Pro-Abortion Candidate Ever?

Barack Obama. Yeah, it surprised me, too.

HT: Justin Taylor

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hat People

Some people look good in hats. Bekah is one of them.

Cat Lady

OK, I realize I need to pace myself posting pictures of my kitten, Mia, or I may be accused of being a cat lady. But she is awfully cute (when she's not trying to kill me).

Or rifling through my purse...the little street beggar.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Do You Watch PBS?

The complete Jane Austen is airing on PBS in 2008. Thanks to Danielle for the reminder.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

More Resolutions...It's that Time of Year.

Before the first day of 2008 is gone, I thought I'd blog about resolutions. I'm not much of a first of January resolution maker (I prefer to make them throughout the year), but this year I will turn 30 and it feels appropriate to explore new territory. Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Cook more.
  • Develop a new hobby (that does not involve writing, reading, acting or a computer).
  • Spend more time getting to know Jesus.
  • Love others more intentionally.
  • Read/complete 10 books (I know, that may shock you--I'm not a reader).
  • Paint a room in my house.
  • Learn to play the guitar.
  • Listen to the logic podcasts Jared gave me.
  • Use my French press.
  • Finish a book proposal.
  • Take vitamins.

There you have it. What would you like to do this year?