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Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Video Scavenger Hunt

The Youth Group at the church has its annual video scavenger hunt. The particularly cruel Youth Pastor delights in making up the list of "must do" things to get points. This years list included: getting locked up in jail/convincing someone to buy chicken instead of burgers at a fast food place/finding someone named Sally/milking a cow/convincing someone to do 25 push-ups/hugging moms/drinking a soda out of a team members sock/convincing strangers to "surf" on a member of the team/asking people to help you look for your llama/getting people to Honk if they love Elvis/eating goldfish and much, much more. Points are awarded based on degree of difficulty. Half the fun is getting all of the action on video tape. The other half is watching the various teams (this year there were 8 teams of 3-6 players each) videos. I am proud that this year my team won 2nd place at least we didn't win first place. The first place team earned 277 points. My team earned 270 points. Note to Family: No, none of the kids pictured in this article are Livingstons, alas.

Friday, May 23, 2003

The War Has Begun

Friday night: the hour of the Nerfball Wars had begun. The church gym was transformed into a battlefield with overturned chairs, tables and all manner of "holy" junk. The weapons of war (70 air-powered nerfball guns) were pulled out of storage and distributed to otherwise peaceful young suburbanites. The guns were charged (four D-cell batteries) and loaded ( each gun has three chambers and holds 15 rounds) and readied for battle (capture the flag). After an hour and a half there was a lull in the fighting: just enough time for some MRE's (Mom Readied Eats) and some words of encouragement (Bible study) from the commander (Youth Pastor).

The brutal battle then continued until nearly 10:00 p.m. By 10:30 p.m. the battlefield had been restored and the armies departed (picked up by mom or dad) tired, but not defeated, and ready to fight another day.

BoyHead Earns his Keep

BoyHead guaranteed himself another week of room and board (oh yeah, and income, clothing allowance, health plan, dental plan, college savings plan. Not to mention car and driver, personal chef, maid service and many other intangibles) after a grueling one hour lawn mowing session. Cruel Father even made him bag the front yard. But doesn't it look lovely.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Ski Club off to a Chilly Start

Lovely Daughter had her first ski club practice of the season today. Air temperatures peaked in the mid 60's. Water temperature: three degrees above solid. Once school ends (next week) she'll have three practies per week culminating in the Annual Forth of July Ski Show. The picture to the right (L.D. is far left) shows a few of the girls practicing the FLYING DOCK START. They are on one ski, arms locked and are all pulled off the dock together in this picture they have just come off the dock which is immediately out of frame to the left. L.D. is in the Junior Ballet line which has like 12-14 girls all behind one boat doing a little show. To the left is a picture of some older girls who have been practicing for a while. The show includes all kinds of skiers (barefoot skiing, pyramids, ski jumps, doubles, swivel skiers, wakeboards, you name it) and includes over 100 skiers from all age groups. Look for some pics of this event on July 4th.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Lovely Daughter: Live in Concert

Lovely Daughter was the star of the annual spring concert for the 7th grade band. They played "Pride of the Regiment" and "The Forge of Vulcan". It's truly amazing how far this band has come in two years. Shelby is 8th chair on flute (out of 26).

Sunday, May 18, 2003


you're outta line, mister

BoyHead played tennis with his friend today. BoyHead has a mean serve! His serve was on all day. Everything was going BoyHead's way. Then the nasty ref made a bad call. BoyHead was in a rage! That ball was clearly on the line. THIS CANNOT STAND!!! Kind of reminds me of a young (but good looking) John McEnroe. But the ref looks like an honest chap. Turns out BoyHead won handily: 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.

click to hear Lovely Daughter play the flute

Click on the picture of Lovely Daughter to hear her play Voyager March, by Frank Halferty. Lovely Daughter is in her second year of band. She has a concert this Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. If you can't be there, we will have a live streaming webcast on this site. Oh, come on now. You're not really that gullible, are you? I will include a couple of pics though. For real. no, really.

Lovely Wife and I went to the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra last night with some friends and had a lovely time. They must have known I was in the audience: they played the "Beef, it's what' for Dinner" song. I really like that one. They also played the "Lone Ranger" song. See, I got culcha!

Saturday, May 17, 2003

BoyHead has First Drivers Lesson

BoyHead exhibited rapid progress in development of driving skills. He has learned to accelerate without spinning the tires and has learned to stop without causing whiplash--both of which have been deemed by Dad to be important driving skills although some teenagers disagree . He's well on his way to becoming King of the Road actually not that close--we stopped at Burger King for lunch . This took place in the abandoned outlet mall parking lot (the only people who actually use this mall are "blue-haired mall walkers").

Missed the car guys (you know, click and clack--the guys on NPR) this morning. Instead, I made a sumptuous breakfast for the crew--BoyHead had two other BoyHeads spend the night they got busted by the neighbors for playing basketball at 11:00 p.m. last night--I did not stir. On the menu: Belgian waffles (light and crispy), cheese eggs, hash browns, bacon, coffee, juice and milk. They say don't celebrate my gluttony, but everyone's a willing participant.

After I get over breakfast, it's lawn additive time! Also must get some vittles for the tomato plants. I have "Miracle Grow for Tomatoes", but I have been loathe to put any more liquid on the poor tots. My quest: Jobe's Tomato Spikes (oh yeah, and catfood). I used the spikes two years ago and had tomatoes as big as softballs--great for "mater sammiches".

Friday, May 16, 2003

Hippy the Cat. Actually, his given name is Hippocrates, but we just call him Hippy--he's a longhair. We usually cut him some slack cause he's going on 19 years old. He's older than BoyHead and Lovely Daughter. I've known the Hip-dog longer than I've known Lovely Wife. Anyway, this evening I fed him the last can of cat food in the house. No, I'm not going to the store tonight to get the royal feline some vittles. No Way! I don't care if you're down to the last can Noooooohhhhhhh, the last can. No! You'll just have to wait til tomorrow. Meow.

As it turns out, the pictures of the eclipse came out OK. Here are some in the latter stages.

It's Friday! Ahh, the joys of Friday. The unexplored landscape of the weekend lies before me with its treasures hidden between the hills of the known landmarks. I can see the small hill (perhaps it's a depression--the distance distorts) of "Click and Clack" well ahead of me on Saturday morning. Further, I can see Mount St. Louis Symphony and the church steeple in the distance. Between and beyond these lies unknown territory. One thing's for sure: I can smell the distinct aroma of Ribeye on the grill. Okay, this is very hokey--I'll quit.

BoyHead cut the grass yesterday (see how exciting my life really is). He wanted a Lincoln no, not a penny; certainly not a Towncar to do the diagonal cut. Diagonal cuts look $5 better, but they are not $5 harder. I declined his generous offer.

5:00 a.m. ugh! Too early to get up. We stayed up late to see the eclipse. I was all "umbras" and "penumbras" (yes, I read the Sky and Telescope article so I could be a smarty-pants). We sat at the end of the driveway on lawnchairs in the chilly air. Neighbors were out with their families and dogs and telescopes. Unfortunately, much of our view was obscured by clouds. I got a few pics of the late stages of the eclipse. If they're any good I'll post them.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Here's an excellent poem that Kristie wrote to Nathan:

Dear Nathan,

Thank you and Charlie Co. for taking on this awesome task.
For a better group than you, our country couldn’t ask.
On our behalf, you left the comfort of your family’s warm embrace,
To boldly serve far from your home in a hostile ungodly place.

As you bravely defend what you know to be right and stand up for us back here,
We’ll be praying for you each day and night and in our hearts, we’ll keep you near.
May the Lord guide your every step and shine on you His glory.
Please, pass on the promises He kept, by sharing with all, His story.

Be assured, He’s there with you, because He knows first hand,
All about the lonely sacrifice you make, there, in the sand.
So go on, get it done, you troop, so strong and mobile.
From here, we’ll cheer you on: Go, valiant force, so noble!

We wish this world was a peaceful place where there was never need for war;
But, at least, the battlefield is not as harsh today, as it used to be before.
Our forefathers stood with muskets in the snow, with the training of a farmer.
Now you warriors have email, fierce weaponry, tanks, and armor.

Even so, we bet you wish you didn’t have to be there.
So we’re writing you these verses to let you know we care.
You haven’t heard from us often; we’ve been neglectful. We admit it.
But, your service to our country is so big, we can’t forget it.

Carry on, Commander, in victory, you will lead.
Because of you and others like you, our nation will succeed.
Dear Brother-in-law, take care. Use your weapon! Don your mask!
For your safe return to your family, in Christ’s name, we humbly ask.

All our love, Kristie, Eric, Scott, and Shelby Livingston

Work, nah you don't want to hear it. Well, I did hire a part-time employee to work for us in Peoria, IL (that's PIA for those fancy-dancy in-the-know airline types).

Just like all red-blooded, testosterone-filled American men,I've been thinking about my lawn. This is the best time of year for lawns. Since it rains every 37 hours, growth is amazing. Now that I think about it, all of my troubles with proper lawn care stem from the frequency of the rainfall. With all the growth, cutting every five days is a necessity--not that I actually cut the lawn, that's BoyHead's job. No, the real nut is the timing of the various lawn additives. Weed-B-Gone: must be applied 1-2 days after grass is cut, and must not cut grass for 1-2 days after application. Small window indeed. Add to that the caveat: must not water or rain for at least six hours after application. That rain is a double edged sword.

Scott's II Lawn Fertilizer with Halts:apply before weeds are actively growing; before temperatures are regularly in the 90's; apply when grass is wet. Although not mentioned on the packaging (just using my own good lawn-sense) I try not to cut (i.e. have BoyHead cut) the grass for 2-3 days after application, and I (read: BoyHead) don't (doesn't) bag for one cutting after application.

Well, it's been five days since BoyHead cut the yard (no, I could not convince him to do the fancy diagonal cut), so today's the day. That means that by Saturday (if winds are light and no rain in the immediate forecast) will be the second application of Weed-B-Gone. Sunday would be too soon after Weed-B-Gone application to spread the Scott's/Halts. By Monday, we're already too close to the next scheduled grass cutting (Tuesday). I guess it'll have to wait until the middle of next week. Once the fertilizer gets spread, perhaps BoyHead will have to cut the yard every three days--that'll really make him earn his keep.

So what's the point of all this rambling? The next time you hear a red-blooded, testosterone-filled American man say something like, "I would really love to go to that art show with you, honey, but I really must spray additive on my lawn" know that the stars have aligned and this small window of opportunity really must be exploited.

Speaking of exploiting alignment of stars, don't forget to view the total lunar eclipse. According to Sky and Telescope the partial eclipse begins just after 10:00 p.m. CDT (that's 0300 GMT for you types internationale). Total eclipse begins at 11:14 p.m. CDT. I'll take some pics and post them tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Woke, up. Got out of bed. Dragged a fake plastic wood grain Goody brush across my increasingly graying hair. Thus begins a new day. Work was low--stress. We received our written debriefing on a recent contract award. As Maxwell Smart would have said, "missed it by that much". We were actually priced lower (about 3% on a $11,000,000 contract).I could have written million, but it looks cooler with all those zeros. Unfortunately, our technical proposal was as, should I say robust, as it could have been. I guess that's my fault. The gov't actually considered our proposal to hire several part-time employees as a weakness. Our position is that it 1) Aids in composing a schedule with sufficient flexability to cover absences, vacations, etc. 2) Reduces the bottom line costs because it eliminates overtime costs and 3)Can't actually think of the third point at this time. Oh well, that's too much like work.

Played tennis today with BoyHead and Lovely Daughter. We usually play Canadian doubles (I guess there aren't enough actual Canadian tennis players to play true doubles) with Lovely Daughter and Dad against BoyHead. It's a good configuration because Dad doesn't have to run as much. Shortly into the first set, Lovely Daughter decided to retire to Part-time-when-I-happen-to-be-looking referee. I think she just wanted to sit in the tall ref's chair. BoyHead and I started over on a new set. He had me down one service break early. I was down four games to two. Sweating, breathing, sweating, running, sweating. My serve: four aces. I got to catch my breath. Rejuvinated, refreshed, cooler, motivated. BoyHead serve: I broke him. Now we're tied four games each. BoyHead can't believe it. I begin to see his frustration, heard him say, "I can't lose this". But my serve is on. I even throw in a few Agassi-style grunts for good measure. After my obligatory victory lap, I try to assuage BoyHead's feelings of futility, self-doubt and humiliation. "It's not so much that I won", I say comfortingly, "but that, you lost". I think that made him feel better.

Extra! Extra! Lovely Daughter is inducted into the Junior National Honor Society

Shelby K. Livingston, lovely daughter of doting parents Eric and Kristie Livingston was inducted into the well, you read the headline. Kristie said, "we're all so proud". and Eric exclaimed,"bully!". Out of 940 students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades, only 170 students were academically eligible. Out of those 170 only 30 students met the other requirements which were based on character, service, leadership, integrity, sense of humor, fluffiness and durability (although, I personally believe that fluffiness and durability are mutually exclusive). At any rate, according to my statistical and mathematical analysis, only .0053% of students were inducted into the Society. A great honor, indeed!

"The Boo" came to visit for my birthday (April 4th) and I took her to the Art Museum. Here is a picture of her at the Art Museum. I took the day off (Monday) so that Boo and I could go to the Art Museum. Here is a picture of Boo outside the Art Museum. They would not let us in. The Art Museum is closed on Monday. Instead, we went to the History Museum. We also went to the Saint Louis Cathedral Basillica. It is the most amazing thing--pictures don't do it justice. The entire inside is covered in mosaics. It took nearly 100 years to complete. Simply amazing

Kristie proves that Jesus lives

A Christian courtroom drama exploring the facts about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection are explored in a current day courtroom setting. Contemporaries of Jesus (Pontius Pilate, High Priest Caiphas, Peter, Roman Guard, Mary and others) are transported to the present time to give their testimony and are cross-examined by members of the defense and opposing counsels. Kristie Livingston, adapted the script, designed and made the costumes, designed and constructed the set, directed the play and shined the shoes of the entire audience. As chief counsel for the defense, Eric Livingston was relentless in his closing arguments and surely swayed a great many of the undecided.