Thursday, June 18 2020

coffee messes, skateboarding, and Dr. Ben Parks




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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday. If this week has you feeling gassed, and you’re having a hard time staying on top of things today, hopefully it helps knowing that we’re in the same boat together. This morning, I slept right through my morning alarm and woke up in the limbo right before Rodney is allowed out of his room.

“I don’t understand how this happens,” I said to Marissa as she poured me a cup of coffee. “My new phone’s alarm is like a thousand decibels. Every morning I sit up in a panic to shut it off.”

“Maybe you’ve been home for so long that we’re starting to synchronize,” replied Marissa sleepily. “You’re turning into a rissa.”

And to further complicate the morning, it took three tries to brew our second pot of coffee today. Yesterday, I was feeling just too clever and had the brilliant idea of brewing our coffee by weight instead of by volume. After perusing some hipster coffee blogs, I found a weight ratio that they all seemed to agree on, marking the amount with a beautiful thin sharpie ring around the inside of our coffee grinder. But while 75 grams may be an ideal mass of coffee, it was just slightly too much for our drip brewer, and gritty warm coffee spilled down the sides and ran all over our coffee bar.

“Must have just been a fluke,” I thought. “I’ll do the exact same thing.”

And so after cleaning up the same coffee mess twice, I’ve abandoned the coffee-by-weight experiment. I’ll go back to eye-balling it. Looking on the bright side of things, now I’ve figured out the exact amount of beans to cause our coffee brewer to overflow, and marked the amount with a beautiful thin sharpie ring around the inside of our coffee grinder.

Sip. So how are we feeling today? Rodney and I are taking it easy today. Ziggy is fast asleep in his lap, and Rodney is using her wrinkled, limp head as a motorcycle ramp for Canada Man. And as always, Blippi’s shrill, patronizing voice echoes throughout the house.

Rodney and I certainly earned this low key morning. Yesterday, the two of us kicked off Wednesday by rolling over to the Goodman skatepark - although I was the one that did all the rolling. For being so into skateboarding, Rodney is reluctant to ride his board anytime he doesn’t have to. Together, the two of us walked to the park with helmets and boards in hand, the hot summer sun already drawing beads of sweat down our backs.

We had the whole skatepark to ourselves. Rodney kicked his board aside, and instead of riding around, he got way more excited about just taking pictures of me with my phone and fiddling with things that were left around the park.

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I given up trying to stop him from picking up garbage. I consider it a victory if he just doesn't put things in his mouth.

Rodney also acted as a trick caller. Using my board, he’d act out an elaborate flip-trick and grind combination for me to try. After a decade of on-and-off skateboarding, I can still barely get my wheels off the ground, but I gave it the college try anyway.

“Nice try, Dada,” he yelled from across the park. “Try again.”

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If not ollying is cool, I'm freakin' Miles Davis.

After our great skate park adventure, lunch and quiet time followed. I took a long, glorious afternoon nap before emerging from our bedroom and heading into the kitchen to start on dinner. And for dinner, I hit two birds with one stone, cleaning out most of the leftover ingredients in our fridge to make a very eclectic rice pilaf. It had little triangular cuts of sausage, carrot, celery, shallot, leek, and parsnip. I also plucked a leaf from our rallying lemon tree to make a summery bouquet garnis.

I transitioned from dinner into giving the kitchen a thorough cleaning. I also started a new loaf of bread, and turned a few stale cuts into bread crumbs. I found it interesting that the Krang bread I made earlier this week and the beer bread I made only a day ago turned stale at the same time. If anything, the much older loaf of sourdough was actually softer. I read somewhere that the fermentation process of sourdough is more natural, and produces a much more shelf stable product. As a result, sourdough lasts much longer.

And while I cleaned the kitchen, I listened to my friend Ben’s recorded PhD defense. I’m not going to lie to you - it was pretty heady stuff. And I have a feeling that years of listening to inane podcast banter, sitcoms, and Blippi videos has left me academically rusty, but I still found some takeaways.

I’m probably going to butcher this, but from what I can tell, his thesis was around exploring the relationship between myth, magic, and technology and how it relates to Christianity and bioethics. He also somehow tied it into a thorough analysis of the book Frankenstein.

The Q&A portion was also very interesting. As the roundtable of professors pitched him heady questions, I had a lot of fun imagining that I was in the hot seat - which just added to how impressed I felt watching Ben field them with poise, decorum, and ease.

One tidbit I liked - Ben mentioned that in the ancient world, the concept of human dignity and the sanctity of life practically didn’t exist. This was a novel, totally revolutionary idea brought about by Christianity. But ironically, even though Christianity pioneered the concept of human dignity, Ben noted that Christians have done a pretty bang-up job implementing it throughout history.

And so congratulations to Dr. Ben Parks. Watching him in his element in dense scholarly discussion, I felt lucky to call him my friend.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. I hope you have a wonderful Thursday.