Manuka's Place

Friday, February 24, 2006

Handbells and Capzasin




Many of you may know that I like music. As I mentioned in the last post, I listen to music all the time. Some of you may also know that I like to play music as well. I play the guitar and took piano lessons last year. My mother played the clarinet so I guess I get it naturally. Most of you probably don't know that the instrument I am most proficient at is the handbells. Yep you heard me correctly, handbells. Let's get in the way-back machine and let me tell you how this all started. When I was in 3rd grade our church wanted to buy a set of handbells. Now handbells were pretty new back then and they cost a lot of money so we had a spaghetti dinner as a fundraiser. Like most events at church, I was there to help out and of course eat. The evening was a big success and soon we had a set of handbells. Like most new things there was plenty of excitement when the arrived and soon there were three or four groups playing the bells. They even let us little kids play. We each had two bells and we marked our music with R and L to tell us what bell to ring and when. Things went well and but soon we had to put up or shut up. By 5th grade we needed to actually read the notes. Since I couldn't hack piano lessons with sergeant Schultz (that is another post all together) I had a steep learning curve. I managed to learn the old "every good boy does fine" and "FACE" as well as "good boys do fine always" and "All cows eat grass". Those of you who read music know what I am talking about. I continued to play handbells all throughout elementary school and junior high. I even played a bit in high school. When I got to college I auditioned for the handbell program and low and behold I made it. I was placed in the middle (of three) groups at Christ College and man was I pushed. Dr. Geisler was a great director although he was a bit hard to get along with at times. He pushed us and expected perfection. I really grew in my abilities there. After a year and a half I got called up to the big leagues...Concert Bells. I was stoked. We had a great bunch of musicians in that group and it was a ton of fun. We went on tour during spring break and performed concerts at local churches. It was a blast. In my senior year a few things changed. Many of my good friends in the group graduated and the group dynamics were very different. I was not having fun and there was no way I was going to be able to afford to go to Europe with the group so I left (with some serious drama from Dr. Geisler) and focused on being in Concert Choir (which I started my senior year). It was strange not playing bells since I had done it at least once a year since about third grade. So there was about three years when I did't even pick up a bell let alone hear a choir play. It was a bit sad but when I started teaching, I found out that the church where the school was at had a bell choir and I joined. I was a bit disappointed as I knew way more about bells than the director and I played almost the whole bass clef by myself. It was not very challenging but it was music. When I moved to Long Beach I joined the bell choir at Bethany. I thought it would be your typical church choir but I was wrong. This was a good group. Most of them had been playing together for many years and they were doing level 4 music (that is some hard stuff) not to mention they had a full five octave set of bells. I had not seen a church choir that played more than three octaves. Well I played with them for about three years and then I started seminary and I have class on Thursdays so I had to take a leave of absence for a while. That was until last month. Because of scheduling of life etc. The bells were rehearsing on Wednesdays until Lent. So I joined again. It has been great!! I have really missed playing bells with a group. The one problem is that I somehow tweaked my elbow on the first night of rehearsal and it has been giving me problems since. So feeling like an old man I went to the store to get some type of cream to ease the pain. I saw a commercial for this stuff called Capzasin that is supposed to be really good so I picked it up for... gulp...$12 a tube. What was I thinking!! All seemed to going fine until this Wednesday. I got home about 7:30 and I needed some quick comfort of Capzasin (hey I should write an ad for them). I was feeling better when for some reason my eyes started to itch. Now mind you I washed my hands after applying, since that is what the directions say and I have to follow directions, but obviously I did not get off all the goodness that is Capzasin. About three seconds later I realize that I am in trouble. I get up and stumble to the back of the house and before I can get to the bathroom it feels like fire is shooting out of my eye!!!!! I yell for Jill and she comes running and I am hunched over in the bedroom groping for the bathroom door. I am in some serious pain here folks. I had that thought run through my head of "Holy, Crap!!! This could be really Bad!!! The other time that happened was when I was white water rafting and I was stuck underwater in a "hole" on the Kings River (again that is another post all together). I finally make it into the bathroom and by now lava is pouring out of my head. Little did I know that Capzasin gets its "heat" from the stuff inside of hot peppers. Now I know what it is like to be pepper sprayed. NOT FUN!!! I start to think about how to explain this all to the nurse at Memorial Hospital when the pain starts to subside. Jill puts some eyedrops in and then I flush my eye with water for about 10 min. So I blame the handbells and my old age (wink...wink) to this calamity. As a public service to all who read this. Wash your hands (and I mean scrub them) after using any sort of cream or balm or ointment. You will be glad you did. So that is my sad tale. Handbell rehearsals have moved back to Thursdays and I will have to wait a few more years until I can rejoin the bell choir. Until then I will help out this Easter. Thanks for listening (or I guess its reading) to my long story. Have a great week!!!

Oh by the way Jill and I start parenting classes next Wednesday. Classes go for six weeks and then we should be ready for placement. Pray for us!!!

Friday, February 17, 2006


So I have had quite a week. I have been buried under a ton of homework. My seminary class has required four papers and a ton of reading. Not to mention my Spanish class has been difficult. I still don't like the vibe there and I am definitely out of the loop. I think I am the only one in class who wasn't in first semester Spanish at Golden West. Everyone else seems to know what to do and I am left to fend for myself. I have met a few people who have helped me out but even the syllabus is vague. This is definitely my only class I will be taking there. I also had a test this week and I did not do very well. It was on the past tense and it was tough. I bombed my quiz on the same info last week. I guess I will be speding a lot of time in the language lab. I start a new round of seminary classes next week. I will be taking a class on Romans and one on the Literature of John. I am looking forward to digging into the Greek texts and learning from some great professors. Dr. Middendorf will be teaching Romans. He was my Greek professor and he is awesome. He wrote his thesis on Romans 8 so he should be able to share some cool stuff with us. Dr. Brighton will be teaching my other class and his dad wrote one of the textbooks we will be using. How intimidating is that!!! No B.S.ing there. I hope to learn a lot from both of them. They are both great teachers but very demanding. So needless to say I will be feeling the stress once again in a few weeks.

Nothing new on the adoption front. We start parenting classes next month and then things should proceed rapidly. I think that is about all for now. Take care and have a great week!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Risky Post!!


Well it is 10:55 PM as I start this entry and I don't really have a direction for this post. That could be a dangerous thing. I just got home from class and the house is empty. Jill is at a conference and my mother-in-law is watching the grandkids in Orange. So needless to say it is pretty quiet around here, except for my iTunes playing some U2. Nothing like the Joshua Tree album!! I remember the very first day I ever heard that record. That was way back in 1987 and I was in High School. I was in Tower Records in Buena Park (I think it was Buena Park, I do remember that it was right by Knott's Berry Farm). It just happened to be the very day that the album came out. They were playing it over the PA in the store. Now I was looking for some other record (probably The Cure or something like that) but I was mezmorized by the Joshua Tree Album. It was like someone finally recorded the music that was playing in my soul (I know that may sound a bit corny to you but it is the truth). Well I gave up my search for whatever I was looking for and ponied up my $7, or something, and never regretted that purchase. I still have the record in the garage. Now of course I have that album on tape, on CD and on my computer. That gives me an idea. What album, record, CD, LP whatever you want to call it has made the most impact on you? I believe that music is a driving force for many people. I am definitely one of them. I love to listen to music all the time. It gives me balance in my life. No I'm not going Zen or anything, I just feel that I music speaks to me. I know it is impossible to pick just one album so if you need to I will let you pick three, no more. Here are my three in no particular order:

U2- The Joshua Tree
Dave Matthews Band- Crash
The Samples- Transmissions from the Sea of Tranquility

And just missing the list would be The Cure- Disintegration. Now tomorrow morning I may go...ARGHH I wish I would have thought of that album (whatever it may be) so I may change this list at some point but we will see where this one is going. At any rate there are a few newer albums that are slowly moving up on the charts for me they include:

Switchfoot-Nothing But Sound
Mae- The Everglow
U2- How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

I know that it is risky posting about music since everyone seems to take it so personally. I don't want any trash-talkin' here. This is not the NBA!! Let me know what albums are important to you. I might even check them out. All right its time for bed. Talk to you later.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I can't wait!!


Now that the Super Bowl is over I just have one thing to say... 9 days till pitchers and catchers report!!!! I can almost hear the grass growing from here.

Friday, February 03, 2006

It sure is good to be back!


Man is it good to be able to blog again. I have really enjoyed putting "pen to paper" as they say. The past month has been a blur for me. My stint in 7th grade was great. I learned some interesting things during the month. First of all, God confirmed in me that I have been given the gift to teach. I really enjoyed communicating information to the students. I love to see that light bulb turn on in their head, there is nothing better. I also realized that I don't miss grading papers and doing all the "paperwork" that comes with being a teacher. If I could just teach and hang out with the kids and build relationships that would be great. So needless to say I feel that God was telling me that I am doing the right thing now.

School is going well. The class I am taking right now is called "Pastor as Missionary". It has been a very practical class and I have enjoyed it a lot, even though I have had to read about 700 pages. I have three papers to do in the next three weeks so that should be fun. I am taking Spanish at Golden West College right now. It is OK. I don't really like the vibe at Golden West. It is not as nice as Cypress College but I needed some more work in basic Spanish and I could not retake any of the classes at Cypress. It could just be some pre-conceived notions I have about Golden West. When I was in high school we called that place "Golden Waste". It did not have a great reputation then and the campus is kinda ugly. Oh well it is just for one semester. I will go back to Cypress in the fall.

On the adoption front, our home has been approved for placement. That is one big hurdle we have passed. It was not easy let me tell you. We had an appointment on the 20th so Jill and I got our classes covered (which was not easy) and went home to meet the inspector. Let me back up a bit. The lady at the licensing office called us to set up an appointment and Jill asked her what evenings she was available. She promptly informed Jill that she only works until 4:30 every day and the last appointment of the day was at 2:30. So Jill asked about Saturday and the lady just about laughed at her and told her she only works Monday through Friday. Now come on people! How many people can just leave their jobs to meet in the middle of the day to be licensed? And how many kids are in the foster care system that would love to have a loving home? This system has many problems. Man they make it so tough to get this done. So back to the story. Jill and I are at home waiting, and waiting, and waiting......... nothing. No phone call, no message. Now we are both ticked that we took the time off for nothing. We call our inspector to leave a message and then try to go on with life. On the one hand I was hoping that nothing had happened to our dear home inspector and on the other I hope she had a good reason for not showing up. After fuming for a few hours I got over it and remembered that we are working with a government agency. So on Monday Jill calls and gets a hold of Adelle (the inspector). She is very apologetic and we set up another appointment for Friday the 27th. So Jill and I take off more time and meet Adelle. She is on time but she got lost trying to find our house (those of you who have been here can relate). Now let me tell you Adelle is a very nice, God fearing woman, but she is one year away from retirement and it showed. She hardly looked around and she didn't even go upstairs. She is supposed to look at the whole house, all the rooms, outside, closets, etc. She hardly did any of it. We could have had a stash of cocaine and firearms in the bedroom and she would not have seen it. I was a bit disturbed by this and then I reminded myself that we are working with a government agency. I could tell you more but you get the idea. We also found out that the next round of parenting classes do not begin until March. So it will be that much longer until we will be approved for placement. I know that the children God has in plan for our house are not quite ready yet. I remind myself of that daily as I pray for them. I ask for your prayers too. Please pray for us as we continue the process and please pray for the children that will placed in our home. We don't know their names yet or what they look like but we know that God has a plan.

That is about all for now. Talk to you all soon.