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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Corporate Bribery

The little ones have been in a public classroom for two whole weeks now, and already I'm remembering why we eschewed school in the first place. *sigh* I suppose it's making me more determined for us to be in a position three years from now to pull them back out and continue home education--hopefully with both Michael and I contributing to the "teaching."

Dmitri has discovered that he has to raise his hand before he can interrupt the teacher to ask a question. I knew this was going to be a problem. Dmitri is full of questions, all day long. I've never known a kid who asks so many questions. Although, as the dishwasher repair guy who put up with Dmitri's neverending stream of questions for over an hour noted, "He only asks the same question one time. I'd keep an eye on that one if I were you!" Yeah, tell me about it.

Dmitri asked me a question last week, ("Mom, why are apples red?") and we talked about it for a while. Those sorts of questions always lead interesting places in our house, from discussions of how humans perceive color (while dogs, on the other hand, don't. "You mean Romeo and Sophie see the world like Jack and the Beanstalk?" I suppose Abbott and Costello isn't a horrible point of reference. :)) to questions of theology ("Did God want apples to be red?") The kids are going to Blake's Apple Orchard this week (one of two field trips the kindergarteners will take this year. Apparently, bussing is cost prohibitive, so they have to limit their field trips. *sigh*) and I guess they were counting apples for math when Dmitri dutifully raised his hand in class to ask his teacher this question.

"What happened when you asked her?" I inquired, curious to know what his teacher's response to the rather daunting and tangential question had been.

"I gave up, Mom." Dmitri sighed. "My arm got tired."

Wow, I had so forgotten about that part of school.

The other thing I was reminded of this week (aside from the fact that my kindergarteners have homework--something I thought I'd be spared at least until next year!) are the annoying fundraisers and corporate bribery.

I hate school fundraisers.

Public schools are funded by the public. Hence the name. Why am I being asked to extort money from my friends and relatives to fund my child's education? Now I'm responsible for pimping Frankenmuth fudge and Market Day meals to my husband's coworkers? I don't think so!

Not only that, but both kids came bouncing off the bus, waving their fundraising packets and howling, "Mommy! We can win PRIZES!"

Ah, the bribery begins. Sell ten rolls of wrapping paper, and you, too, can have a Tweety and Sylvester keychain most likely made in China for less than a penny each by people paid less than a dollar a day... oh and, nevermind that it's probably painted with poisonous lead.

How do you explain that to a five year old?

Now, there's the "Book It" reading incentive program. Read ten books in a month, and you, too, can have a certificate entitling you to a slice of pizza. Of course, this is big business for the not-quite-altruistic Pizza Hut, who is counting on families visiting their restaurant and doing more than just cashing in the freebie.

I don't need an incentive to read to my kids. We probably read ten books in a week. To me, a program like this is not only insulting, it's bribery. And, of course, it works. Because what kindergartener doesn't like or want pizza? Makes me a "bad mommy" if I say no. Which makes me furious with the schools and the corporate machine that initiated the whole thing in the first place.

But corporate bribery doesn't end in childhood, apparently--it just begins there. I opened my mailbox last week to find a letter from our health insurance company. We have an HMO, mostly because it costs us less to do so, although it annoys me to have to choose "their doctors" and get referrals, etc. I was surprised to find that HAP is offering us a $25 gift certificate from Target if Michael and I schedule a cholesterol and diabetes screening before October 22, 2007.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Soup Days

The weather is starting to move toward cool, which is a blessed relief, since this house doesn't have central air. We have put in two ceiling fans, which have made a big difference, and I'm interested to see how "steam heat" will work come winter. For now, though, I can just open the windows and enjoy the breeze and watch the leaves start to change colors.

And crave soup.

This time of year always means soup. I love soup in the fall, so warm and filling. Unfortunately, the rest of the family doesn't so much agree. Michael thinks soup is an appetizer, not a meal. If there isn't at least six ounces of meat on his plate, he doesn't feel like he's actually eaten. I, however, have no problem eating just soup. The kids are just picky. They would rather have Campbell's than mommy's homemade soup. They'd rather have Kraft than my homemade macaroni and cheese, too. Go figure.

But I persist. I make soup anyway. I try to make really hearty ones that will satisfy the hubby, but tasty ones that will intrigue the kids.

Dinner tonight?

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Soup with Toasted Tortillas

I got the recipe from Epicurious, but I'm adding both hamburger and spicy sausage, because a dinner without meat at our house just doesn't fly. We'll see if this one gains any altitude tonight... it sure smells good!

Here's the recipe, in case you're interested:

soup base

  • 2 pounds large plum tomatoes (about 10)

  • 2 medium onions (about 14 ounces), peeled, halves

  • 1 1/2x3-inch strip from Mexican cinnamon stick or 1 1/2-inch piece regular cinnamon sticks

  • 6 whole black peppercorns

  • 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • 1 large jalapeño chiles

  • 2 5 1/2-inch corn tortillas, cut in half

  • 2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chilies

To finish soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 5 cups water

  • 1 1 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes

  • 3/4 pound red-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes

  • 1 teaspoon (or more) salt

  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), undrained

  • 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 cup corn kernels, cut from 1 large ear (step 3) or frozen

  • 1/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro

  • Additional 5 1/2-inch corn tortillas

  • Lime wedges

Make soup base:

  1. Preheat broiler.

  2. Line baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.

  3. Place tomatoes close together on prepared sheet. Broil close to heat source until blackened in spots, turning once with tongs, about 2 minutes per side.

  4. Transfer tomatoes to plate and cool.

  5. Place onion halves close together on same sheet.

  6. Broil until surfaces are charred, turning once with tongs, about 4 minutes per side.

  7. Set aside and cool.

  8. Heat cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes.

  9. Using tongs, place cinnamon strip, peppercorns, garlic cloves, and jalapeño chili in hot skillet, preferably cast iron.

  10. Toast until fragrant and charred, turning and stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes for cinnamon and peppercorns and 8 minutes for garlic and jalapeño.

  11. Transfer all to plate.

  12. Place tortilla halves in same hot skillet.

  13. Toast until browned in spots and crisp, pressing often with spatula, about 3 minutes per side.

  14. Transfer tortillas to plate; cool, then break into very small pieces.

  15. After the charred tomatoes have cooled, peel, halve crosswise, and spoon out the seeds.

  16. Cut away most of charred surface from broiled onions and then chop.

  17. Peel garlic cloves.

  18. Stem, quarter, seed and devein jalapeño chili.

  19. Place tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeño chili, and chipotle chilies in processor.

  20. Finely grind cinnamon, peppercorns, and toasted tortillas in spice mill or coffee grinder; add to processor. Blend soup base until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Finish soup:

  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat 2 minutes.

  2. Add soup base from processor, oregano, and cumin.

  3. Cook (sear) until base thickens enough to leave path when spoon is drawn through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

  4. Add 5 cups water, squash, potatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring soup to boil.

  5. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes.

  6. Add garbanzo beans with liquid, green beans, and corn.

  7. Cover; simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

  8. Mix in cilantro; season with pepper and more salt, if desired.

  9. Toast tortillas directly over gas flame or electric burner until browned in spots but still soft, about 40 seconds per side. Wrap in foil; keep warm.

  10. Ladle soup into bowls.

  11. Serve with lime wedges and warm tortillas.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Afternoon Delight

For two years, Michael commuted fifty miles one way to work every day. That means he put 500 miles a week on the vehicle he drove. When gas was $3.10 a gallon, he sometimes spend over $100 a week in gas alone.
He had to be there at eight in the morning, which meant setting the alarm for five, so he could leave no later than seven. He worked until five p.m. (He gets a one hour lunch). Then he would start the long odyssey home again. Fifty miles. He would usually arrive home somewhere between six and six-thirty.

That meant that five days a week, he was gone eleven to twelve hours a day. When he came home, he was very tired. I would have dinner on the table by seven, most nights. By eight, it would be cleaned up, the kids bathed, and time for them to go to bed. Michael would get, perhaps, an hour or so with them at night.

Three nights a week, he would have clients. At first, he would have to go into the office (sometimes straight to it, missing dinner altogether) until he switched his practice to online. After he did that, he'd at least be home in the livingroom working on his laptop. That was a nice change, and afforded us a little more time together.

Michael is a night person, not a morning person, so that means we were awake until at least eleven. Sometimes midnight. Sunday nights were the worst, because he'd caught up on a little sleep (I always let him sleep in on the weekends if I could) and he was resentful of the week-long odyssey he was facing, so he would defiantly want to stay up late. There were Sunday nights we were up until two or three in the morning watching movies--and when his alarm went off at five in the morning, he would groan and hit it... but he'd still get up.

I honestly don't know how he survived it.

Now that we'd moved, however, his drive has gone from fifty miles down down to five. He can make it home in ten minutes (as long as he doesn't get stuck behind a farm vehicle!)

He went from this:

(his route is detailed in red)

To this:

See that tiny little red dot near the bottom? That's where we used to live. In case you can't see his route, it's the green "start" and red "end" near the top righthand side of the picture there. See it? Look close...

Big difference, huh?

He leaves at seven-thirty in the morning (but doesn't have to get up until six-thirty!) He's home by five-fifteen most nights. Five thirty at the latest. And the best part? Three days a week, he even gets to come home in the middle of the day... most of the time for lunch... once in a while for a little "afternoon delight."

Days like today I think moving here was the best thing we ever did!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #2: 13 Places I Love To Be Kissed

13 Places I Love To Be

1. Under the

2. At the door when he’s

3. At the door when he’s coming

4. Against the wall – any

5. A quiet corner of the

6. In front of the fireplace

7. Cuddled on the couch

8. A street corner

9. Pulled into an

10. In the rain

11. In the hot tub

12. In the shower

13. Anywhere he

He's BACK!

And he's HUGE! I'm telling you!

And fast! I have the Speedy Gonzales of spiders living IN MY HOUSE!

I'm pretty sure it's a Wolf Spider.


It waits until JUST I'm here, I swear. No one else has seen it. But I'm not crazy--it's here! Watching. Waiting. He knows I'm paralyzed by him when he runs out from under the furniture.

I've had lots of good advice on how to kill him.

Hairspray. Apparently Aquanet renders spiders not only dead but stiff enough for display!

Capture and set free. Ha! As if I could come anywhere near enough to HANDLE this thing!?

Bug spray. Sure. Great idea. Except when I approach it, it rears up and practically hisses at me!

Supersonic bug machines. Okay. If i get to wear them as body armor!

I think I'll borrow an anvil from Wylie Coyote or something.

Which would help with THIS spider, but to add to my list of useless information I didn't ever need to know, according to Law and Order last night, "Wherever you are in the world, you are never more than six feet away from a spider."

Oh, great.

Michael went on a bug hunt and ransacked the whole house last night. No spider. But I SAW it! I did! He said he was going to hook up a "cricket trap" (you know, like you do to catch bunnies?) They went out cricket hunting but didn't catch one last night.

They left me alone again with it today and I'm sure the spider knows it. I stayed up in my room again, but I was totally paranoid it came up here in the night.

I wish they couldn't walk on walls.

If Michael doesn't present me with a spider corpse soon... I don't care if we just unpacked... I'm moving!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: September 26

Wordless Wednesday Participants
1. And Miles To Go...
2. ellen b
3. Sue
4. Sue
5. Choosing Voluntary Simplicity
6. SandyCarlson
7. Comedy Plus
8. Comedy Plus
9. nesting momma
10. Blessed Nest
11. jams o donnell
12. Wilson
13. Wilson2
14. Marcia
15. Chris
16. The Foo
17. julia
18. Vixen

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Canvassing the Country

We used to get Jehovah's Witnesses all the time when we lived in the suburbs. The houses were very close together, and it was easy to canvas a whole neighborhood without too much effort, I'm sure. They never bothered me (aside from having to get up and answer the door!) and I would just smile, take their literature, and thank them. We just had lots of Watchtowers in the recycling bin.

The only time they really bothered me was when they accosted the twelve-year-old. They had apparently done so on the street, while he was riding his bike, and I hadn't heard about it. Until they showed up at my door the following week, saying, "We talked to your son, Blake, and we'd like to follow up with him..."

That was the only time I've handed their literature back to them, saying, "My son is a minor and you have no right to speak to him on any subject or occasion. Please don't ever do so again." I don't mind anyone's enthusiasm or passion for their religion and I don't even begrudge them wanting to "spread the word"--but if you're going to do it, you'd better target adults, not children.
This isn't Jesus Camp.

I hadn't really thought about it, but I assumed we wouldn't get too many canvassers out this way. Today, I received my first Watchtower in my new house. I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading a book and eating toast when the dogs started barking. Now, this isn't unusual. We have neurotic dogs who are used to barking when the wind blows. I just peeked out the window to make sure--but to my surprise, there was a car coming up the driveway!

Two well-dressed young women with clipboards got out, and I had visions of CPS flashing in my head. (Some of you will know why!) So I was actually relieved when they presented me, all smiles, with a Watchtower. I just smiled and thanked them and shut the door.

The only difference here is, now the Watchtower went into the bonfire pile instead of the recycling bin.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Water Woes

When we lived in the city, we paid for our water. And when I say, we paid for it, I mean we REALLY paid for it. We lived in a suburb of Detroit, actually pretty close to the border of the city (about a mile or so away) and because Detroit is poor, they upped the water usage charge to the suburbs to pay for their own water use. Twisted? Yeah. But true.

So we would pay $300 every three months for water, for the same amount of usage (actually--less!) as, for example, my mother-in-law in a different county, for which she would pay $100. It was maddening, but since it the rate was dictated by the city, there wasn't much we could do about it.

Out here, we don't have to pay for our water, because it comes from a well. So the water we bathe in, wash clothes in, wash our dishes in, is free. What a concept! Now, granted, we don't have any water pressure, but that's not a problem in general with living in the country, it's a specific problem with our well, which will (knock on wood) ultimately be fixed.

However, drinking well water is not my idea of fun. I'll cook with it (like, boil pasta in it) and bathe in it--but drink it? *shudder* I've never liked the mineral taste of well water. So instead, we buy our water from the store. Which isn't as bad as it sounds, because our local Meijers has a Culligan water system, which provides filtered water in gallon jugs for $0.59. If you bring your own jug, you only have to pay $0.29 a gallon. Of course, you have to fill your own, which is part of why it's cheaper than just grabbing a jug of water off the shelf, but it doesn't take that long, really, to fill a bunch of them. And fifty gallons of water is only a little less that $15.00. Wish I could have gotten those prices when we lived in the city!

However, at our Meijers (which just opened up, by the way, less than a month ago) the Culligan water system has been out of order for a few weeks. Very annoying. Michael went there with all the jugs in the back of the minivan last time, but it was still out of order. So, instead of putting the jugs back into the van and going all the way there, I decided to call Meijers to make sure the water system was working again.

I thought, perhaps, (since we're in the country and all) I'd actually get a real person on the other end of the phone, but alas, it was a recording. And not just any recording, but one of those "smart" recordings, the kind that attempt to identify what you say in order to transfer you to the correct department. I hate those.

This time, right when the recording asked, "How can I help you?"-- I sneezed. I've had a cold, and all of a sudden, ACHOO! The recording replied: "I'm sorry, I didn't get that..." Which just cracked me up. I started laughing, and the recording replied, "I'm sorry, in order not to waste any more of your time, I'll transfer you..."

Perfect! I got to bypass fighting with the recording without even trying. Mental note to self: whenever recordings come on, just sneeze to get to the head of the line! :)

The good news is, the woman I did get tranferred to said the Culligan water machine is working again. Yay! Time to go get me some cheap water!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Secret?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of The Secret...

Not that, you know, it really is a big secret or anything. The idea of The Law of Attraction has been around since... well, probably since before there were humans. I mean, that's kind of what those "Law" things are. They exist, apriori, and we discover and name them. Usually after the egoic scientists who discover them. Like Newton's Laws, or Boyle's Law or Occam's Razor (which is the only one I think is really cool, just because of the way it sounds.)

Now, granted, those are scientific laws/theories. The Secret, or The Law of Attraction, is more a new-age kind of philosophy than a "law" exactly. Although, on some level, I really do think it works.

The Law of Attraction basically says that you get what you think about--your thoughts determine your experience.

It's an interesting concept. Yes, I know it has no basis whatsoever in scientific thought. In spite of the supposed roots in quantum physics (i.e. thoughts have energy that attracts like energy) it's definitely not a quantifiable thing. But, since you already know I'm incredibly gullible, I fall into the "it can't hurt, and it might help" school of thought. So why not?
You're supposed to do four things:

1. Know what you want and ask for it. Meaning, ask God, or the "universe." However you qualify that thing that moves the world, that's greater than we are.

2. Be grateful for what you have, and be enthusiastic/grateful for what you want.
3. Imagine and act as if you already have what you want.

4. Be open to receiving what you want.

And the last part... don't think about what you DON'T have or DON'T want. Think about not having only perpetuates not having. Scarcity breeds scarcity. Prosperity breeds prosperity.

Does it work?

Well... anecdotally, yes. For example, when we wanted this house, I made this:

We put it on our computer backgrounds and we printed several copies and hung them all over. We began to "act as if." As if it was already our home. It felt like our home, it really did. And it quickly became our home.

Now, we're looking to sell our old house. In a really bad housing market. And we haven't done anything, so far, "secret-like," in order to try to manifest that. We've just listed it and hoped. It's been months, and I still feel like I'm holding my breath, and I realized... doh! Wrong attitude! That isn't gonna get the house sold...

So today, I made this:

I put it on my computer background, Michael put it on his (home and work) and I printed out several copies to hang around the house.

Now it's time to start acting "as if." So send some "SOLD!" house vibes our way, will ya? The more energy in that direction, the better...

Can't hurt, and it could help... right?

Friday, September 21, 2007


Okay, so I'm a wus! Okay, so I don't like mice or bugs or dirt or anything creepy or crawly!

But I swear to you, the biggest, blackest spider I have ever seen just crawled across my carpet, disappeared under my bookcase, and I CAN'T FIND IT!


I'm now perched up on the arm of my couch, laptop in my lap, spider spray on the coffee table, waiting for it to appear again. Unfortunately, Michael's at work, and "Going home to kill arachnids" isn't an acceptable reason to leave work... even if I give him a note signed "Epstien's Mother."

You should have seen this thing. Huge, I tell you. HUGE! I screamed out loud and said, "Oh my God!" so loud the dogs started barking at it! Which probably hastened its retreat under the bookcase, which prevented me from squishing it with my husband's size ten and a half boots (the ones with the revolutionary lacing system... he tells me that every time he puts them on... at least they're good for something!)

I'm actually afraid to walk barefoot in the house now. The only other time I've seen a bigger one was at the old house, climbing up the wall near the door. Michael chased it outside, and it was apparently a Mama Wolf Spider--they carry their baby sacks around behind their backs--and it literally REARED UP when he went to kill it, and then all the babies burst out when he squished it, and he had to kill THOSE too.

(I squealed and moaned and rolled around on the couch the entire time he told me this story, and I heralded his bravery, of course, to the utmost extreme!)

Just last night, I was reading a gardening book, anticipating the spring and nice, plump, ripe vegetables... until I got to the part about the insects. There are apparently these bugs that eat your garden stuff whose defense is some sort of stinging/burning sensation when you touch them. (I forget the name already!) And there is, apparently, not really a good solution to getting rid of them, other than donning gloves, pulling them off your plants, and SQUISHING them!


Some gardener I'm gonna make. *gulp*

Thursday, September 20, 2007

There's One Born Every Minute...

Is anyone else out there as much of a sucker as I am?

P.T. Barnum was talking about me... he just knew I was gonna be born.

I think almost anyone could convince me of almost anything. I can be incredibly naive. When I was thirteen, I had a guy convince me he was really an alien. I was one of those kids who believed that pennies could be flattened on railroad tracks by oncoming trains and Bloody Mary would really show up in the mirror if you said her name 100 times in the dark.

As an adult, I have propigated way too many Internet hoaxes, somehow sure that Bill Gates was giving away his fortune and that the picture of God's hands in the clouds was really a natural phenomenon. And can we really prove that crop circles, Bigfoot, and the Bermuda Triangle DON'T exist?

I've stopped bothering friends and family with those emails since I discovered snopes.com, which was kindly developed for people like me--and more importantly, for all those friends and family tired of getting email from people like me!

So while I've learned my lesson on the Internet and realize that the President of Nigeria doesn't really want me to help him in some way with his bank account, I am, however, still susceptible to salesmen. Less than I used to be, but still... me and a salesman alone in a room can be a dangerous thing. Especially if I happen to have any money.

For example... I once bought a vaccum from a vaccum cleaner salesman. Not just any vaccum cleaner. A KIRBY vaccum cleaner. It's like the Cadillac of vaccum cleaners. Which means, yeah... it's expensive. Very. Back then (we're talking ten years ago, now) it was in the neighborhood of $1400.

Now, in my defense, the nice Kirby salesman offered to clean my carpets with the machine. Which he did, even though we had a new puppy who wasn't house trained yet. He also showed me, to my horror, how much dirt resided in places I hadn't even thought of--like my mattress! Okay, okay, so he had me at "Hello..."

My ex-husband came home to find me with a brand new vaccum cleaner, a spotless carpet (besides the one spot the puppy christened right after the Kirby salesman had finished cleaning) and a finance agreement in both our names. And no, that isn't why we got divorced...

I am glad to know, though, that it isn't just me. My sister-in-law also bought a Kirby... and my sister almost bought one, except her husband came home just in time!

I've been thoroughly warned that I am not allowed under any circumstances to allow a salesman into the house when my husband isn't home. If a salesman calls, I have to hand the phone to my husband, and if I'm home alone, I have to hang up without listening to his spiel and refuse to answer if he calls back.

I know it's for my own protection.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #1: My 13 Favorite Muppets

My 13 Favorite Muppets

1. Statler and Waldorf

2. Animal

3. Beaker

4. Bunsen

5. Clifford

6. Janice

7. Sam

8. Scooter

9. Swedish Chef

10. Sweetums

11. Snuffleupagus (Sesame Street)

12. Sherlock Hemlock (Sesame Street)

13. The "Yip Yip" Martians (Sesame Street)

Thursday Thirteen Participants
1. vigilant20
2. Jen
3. secret agent mama
4. julia
5. Emmyrose
6. damozel
7. Kate Davies
8. nesting mommma
9. Blessed Nest
10. Cecily
11. Rae
12. A Cowboy\'s Wife
13. Marie Peck
14. Mama Pajama
15. shiloh
16. Lorelei James
17. Christine d\'Abo
18. Dane Bramage
19. Joanne
20. Carrie Lofty
21. Unusual Historicals
22. Elle Fredrix
23. Sue
24. Starrlight

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Field of Dreams: If You Build It...

We have three free months of HBO and Cinemax with our satellite TV package, so I'm stocking up on movie watching while I can. In the midst of all the "new" movies they play (which, of course, are only new the first time you watch them, and then decidedly not-so-new the next 300 times they run them during the month) are a bunch of old ones. Some old-old ones (like Marlene Dietrich old) and some just old-er ones.

Today, I watched Field of Dreams. Remember that one? Kevin Coster still couldn't act, even back then... Guy buys a farm, starts to hear voices, and plows under his corn field to build a baseball diamond, with floodlights and everything. You know: If you build it, they will come... and, of course, they do... and everyone lives happily ever after. Taa daa!

It was actually kind of fun to re-watch. I don't think I've seen it since it came out in 1989! Even if Kevin Costner is a horrible actor... (at least he wasn't trying to do a British accent, like in that awful 80's version of Robin Hood... *shudder*) Amy Madigan and James Earl Jones were awesome. And that guy that was in Thirtysomething plays a great villian. And the concept appeals... because, frankly, it's a pretty crazy thing to do, plowing under your cash crop to make a place for people to play some silly game. That someone could do something THAT nuts... and come out on top? I mean, what are the odds?

Most people spend their whole lives playing things pretty safe. When do we ever make decisions without a net? We go to school, we get good grades, we get good jobs, we plan for our retirement... that's the "good" life, isn't it? How often do we listen to that little voice? The one that tells us to take a major risk? To jump without a net?

What does it take for us to listen to that voice? If you build it, they will come... When it goes against every ounce of logic, when it puts your livelihood at risk, when it might make you look like a complete and total idiot... would you still listen to that voice?

Life isn't a movie, of course... we don't always get the happy ending. Sometimes we build it, and darnit, they just don't show up. They get stuck in traffic, or they just don't get the message. And we're stuck with no cash crop and an empty baseball diamond.

Take our moving here... it certainly wasn't the logical decision, considering the housing market. Our other house still hasn't sold, and it's only had a few showings. But we didn't wait for our house to sell... we followed that little voice. Move. Now. We found this place, and that's what we did...

I still don't know what's going to happen, of course. We could end up in foreclosure after all. It's a risk. But isn't everything? Isn't safety really the illusion? And sometimes...sometimes that voice really does know what it's talking about, when we listen to it.

So, maybe, sometimes: if we build it, they will come...

But there's no maybe about this: if we don't build it, they can never come...