I'm sitting in the livingroom, laptop on the coffee table, as I sit on the floor, doing research for a school assignment. What I've learned so far is that most daily news publications use wire-fed stories for European football stories...and that Ty Penington has the best job in the world.
I've got Extreme Home Makeover on in the background; I'm paying attention only enough to be aware that another generous community is helping another worthy family - but not enough to cry my way through the program as I usually do when I'm fully focused. Also, I'm aware that this week, Patricia Heaton (actress, (Everybody loves Raymond) and Christian) is helping Ty and his crew. For the past hour of the two-hour special I've been thinking to myself, "Self, isn't it cool that a Hollywood actress is helping to build this family a home?" to which self replied, "Hmmm...wonder what's the catch?" and in the last commercial break I may have found the catch - she's got a new show premiering this week. Nonetheless, I think it's awesome she got involved.
Ever since I started watching EHMO*, I've thought the people who work on the show have the very best job in the world. Every week of the show's run, they get to know another remarkable family. These families invariably are suffering hardship, whether death of a family member, illness, financial difficulty, and the family home is inadequate for their needs. As well, the family usually has given to its community in an extraordinary way. Along comes Ty, his design crew, and a local builder with an army of volunteers. Each time, it is evident that the volunteers and the builders are affected by the experience. Imagine being able to step lightly into someone's life - someone who does good, but struggles - get to know them, their dreams, their interests, their story, and provide them a beautiful new home, a fresh start. Maybe a new car, college funds for the kids, utility payments for life, top-of-the-line wheelchair, fundraise for the family's foodbank initiative...and on and on it goes. The possibilities are limited to their imagination. I'd love to be able to spend someone else's money to help people in such a creative way.
The house has been very quiet this weekend - the big nuts and all the little peanuts are at Oma's. The house and I have taken this opportunity to get to know one another a little better. I have learned that I can sleep really well in the afternoon with the curtains closed. Love it! I've learned the kitchen fits really well, and that I enjoy baking in it - so much so I've had to declare the oven off limits for a while, 'cause we can't keep up with everything I'm producing. The dishwasher is smaller than what we're used to, and it's rather louder than the old one, but it actually gets everything clean and dry, in about half the time of the old one. Major appliances have to be juggled, as one of the outlets in the basement and one of the outlets in the kitchen are on the same fuse, but as our life is simpler and slower we really are not frantically doing 6 things at the same time anyway, and we don't notice. One vital piece of information we always bear in mind is that hot water goes to one place at a time, meaning if someone is showering, we ought not to flush the toilet or run the kitchen tap, for fear of parboiling a loved one. It's an adaptable house, for it's felt as much like home while I've been alone as it does when we're all nutting around inside it together.
The Ontario government is pledging hundreds of millions of dollars toward all-day kindergarten, to be phased-in with the next school year. That means 3-year olds could spend 7 hours, 8 hours in school. Think about that! Our nine-year old peanut comes home from school tired, and he's well beyond the napping phase. I try to imagine Number Four Nephew in someone else's care for most of the day, in the company of 18 other tired children, being processed from activity to activity according to a set schedule, only to come home, eat supper, and go to bed, having little time with mom and dad, no time to play with his brothers, and certainly no time for doing nothing at all. It makes my heart squinch up in protest. It's not right!
It was an exciting weekend across the pond in the EPL. 33 goals in total were scored, which is rather unusually high. Many people claim to not watch the game because it is a low-scoring sport. True enough, most of the time, but check out these results: 6-1; 5-2; 5-0; 3-1. That last was Chelsea - big-walleted, top-tallented, number-one-spot-contender, losing by 2 goals to tiny little Wigan. My own beloved Manchester United (TBTE) scored only twice, against Stoke City which doesn't sound all that exciting, but to the Manc insider it was a good game, because both goals came about when Ryan Giggs came off the bench and were a direct result of his input. Neither goal came from the feet (or head) of Wayne Rooney who is being touted as the up and coming star of English football. That's bullocks, frankly, and I think is just the ManUtd camp's way of saying "Ronaldo who?" Granted, he shows flashes of near-brilliance, but nowhere near the inspired natural ease of the Portoguese Prima donna.
Tonight, sundown, is the start of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The days of repentence began with Rosh Hashanah - 10 days ago - and concludes with feasting tomorrow evening after sundown. Fasting and repentence is important throughout the Jewish calendar, but particular focus is given during these 'Days of awe', when all feuds and disputes are to be forgiven, and the people seek atonement from God for their sins. Rosh Hashanah (New Year) is when God writes the books of life; our actions of repentence, prayer and good deeds at Yom Kippur can alter His decree.
Some people may only know of Yom Kippur with reference to the 18-day war in October of 1973 when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, the Holiest of Jewish Holy days. Middle East history is frought with many points of view, and complicated by centuries of grievances. It is better to remember this day as it was meant to be: a day of healing, restoration of peace, and reforging our relationship with God.
Next year in Jerusalem!
*that's Extreme Home Makeover, Mom!