25 02 2006

Well, I’ve been “tagged” twice now (thanks Anthony and Carter!), so I guess I’d better play. Looking at the categories, I can tell this is going to be a bit torturous for one who lives so far from home, but I think I can manage. I’ve also taken the liberty of adding a “Four Favorite Pets” category.

Four Places I’ve Lived:

Davenport, IA – My only home until I left for college. Great place to grow up.

Memphis, TN – Lived here while in grad school, preparing to leave for Togo. The best BBQ in the world can be found at The Cozy Corner.

University Park, TX This is actually in Dallas, but the Park cities have their own police, city council, etc. Very upper class. We would have lived there if our sponsoring church, Preston Road Church of Christ, wasn’t located there and owned an apartment next door. We had to laugh driving our beat up Honda Civic around while everyone else was driving a BMW, Mercedes, Hummer or Rolls Royce!

Albertville, France We lived here for 8 month while in French language school. It is right in the French Alps, definitely the most beautiful place we’ve ever lived. Outside our living room window, we had a great view of the medieval town Conflans and the mountains. You know, my French isn’t as good as it should be, maybe we need to go back for a refresher course…

Four Jobs I’ve Had:

Counter clerk – Village Bakery – Bettendorf, IA – My high school job where I baked cookies, sold merchandise, cleaned the shop and washed more cooking trays that I could ever count! Sweet (literally) perks were all-you-can eat goodies and trading day old stuff for leftover Happy Joe’s Pizza (see below).

Laborer – DRI Railroad – Davenport, IA – “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad…” I did this for two summers and one winter break my first two years of college. While repairing railroad track, I learned to really appreciate getting an education — shoveling rock for 8 hours in sweltering heat will have that effect on a young man! I also learned that one actually can smoke 4 packs of cigarettes a day (Rod), use more curse words than not (forgot that guy’s name) and be a complete idiot except when behind the controls of a backhoe…most of the time (Rick)!

Chemistry Lab Assistant – Harding Univ. – Searcy, AR – Not much excitement here, it was just fun to mix chemicals and help students do their experiments.

Youth Minister – Holmes Rd. Church of Christ – Memphis, TN — I kind of fell into this job, but it was a great experience that taught me a ton about people, churches and ministry. All those kids we worked with are in or out of college now. Scary how time goes by!

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:

Since we don’t have a Blockbuster nearby, we re-watch movies often. It is tough to narrow it down to four.

Hoosiers – I get goose bumps whenever I hear the theme music. After watching, I have to go shoot some hoops.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – A couple of days ago, I was telling a friend how I wish I could see them all over again, as if it were for the first time.

U2 – Rattle and Hum – The most movie-like of the U2 concert DVDs I own. I remember seeing it on the big screen when it was released. The last 30 min. is golden.

Any comedy with my teammate David Reeves – His laughter is highly contagious. Rat Race and Barbershop particularly stand out, but just about any funny movie will do the trick for us. (I’m actually afraid to watch Napoleon Dynamite with him for fear that one of us will end up with a hernia!)

Four Books I Could Read Over and Over:

The Gospel of John – My favorite book in the Good Book.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis – So very poignant and still relevant. This book reminds me what really is important in Christianity.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – Read it for the first time in 2000 and have read it thrice more since. Better than the movies (but it takes longer).

The Brothers K by David James Duncan – This book tackles religion, Vietnam, baseball and family in a beautifully woven, majestically written story. It is outright hilarious in parts and heartbreakingly tragic in others. (I’ll get your copy back to you someday Andy!)

Four TV Shows I Watch:

On tape (sent by our dear friends and family)…
Law & Order
Without A Trace
Everybody Loves Raymond

On DVD (we are year behind on these as we wait for the DVD release – no spoilers please!)

*Ed — The one show we really, really wish was out on DVD, but isn’t.

Four Places I’ve Been on Vacation:

Yosemite National Park – Tracey’s favorite place to go when she was growing up. We went here on our honeymoon.

San Diego, CAOur kids love the zoo & wild animal park, we love the beach and great weather. We also get our favorite Mexican food there. Would love to live there someday…if we could ever afford it!

Coconut Grove Beach Resort, Ghana – Another family favorite. We thought it was paradise the first time we went (it isn’t, but we were in culture shock then) and it hasn’t disappointed us in the many visits since.

Pendjari National Game Park, Benin – Our ‘home’ game park is only 4 hours away. I try to go at least twice a year. It’s the best game park in W. Africa. We seen elephants, lions, hippos, antelope and all kinds of exotic birds.

Three Websites I Visit Daily:
My Yahoo

Four Favorite Foods:

This is the killer category. I can’t tell you how many times we think about these foods…
By the way, Tracey is an awesome cook! I’m just listing my favorite specialty foods.

Happy Joe’s Pizza with Whitey’s Ice Cream for dessert — The best pizza and ice cream in the world and you can find it only in the Quad Cities! Each place was within 2 blocks of our house growing up.

Cozy Corner BBQ –- Memphis, TN – The best of the best Memphis BBQ. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Got to go for lunch or early dinner, though, the neighborhood is too rough for them to be open at night!

Nati’s Mexican Food San Diego, CA – A family favorite for generations (Tracey’s side). It’s 3 blocks from the Ocean Beach pier and less than a mile away from Grandma’s house. Owen had been there 5 times before he was even a month old (we lost count of the inutero visits)!

Les TrappeursCol de Tamie, France – Fantastic fondue and crème brule. You can also grill you own meat at the table (‘La Braserade’). We loved going here while were living in Albertville. Need to get back there someday…

Four Places I’d Like to Be Right Now:

Another tough category as it is something we think about often…

First/Second round site of the NCAA tournament – 6 games in two days, (plus all the others you watch on TV). The only thing make this sweeter is if I get cheer the Hawkeyes on to victory in person.

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains – I love the mountains and could use some cold weather.

Mare Bali, Pendjari Game Park – A relaxing, if not comfortable, place to sit and watch all kinds of animals come and get a drink of water – and, if you’re lucky, a meal!

Anywhere with Tracey
– Corny, but true!

Four Favorite Pets

Shama – The first dog I ever had, she was part beagle, part dauchund. She’d keep my feet warm at night during the winter.

Smoky – The first cat we ever had. He was a tom that came and went as he pleased. One time he brought home a live mouse which he released in the middle of my sister’s slumber party. I couldn’t have done a better job of scaring those girls myself. Who said the only good cat is a dead cat?

LaRoy – Our chameleon former known as Leroy (we changed her name when we found out that she was she, not a he). She changes colors all day and is great fun to watch eating dragonflies, grasshoppers and praying mantises. And she was free! I caught on the road outside our teammates’ house.

Hawkeye – Our first family dog. He’s a hyper German Shepherd who loves to jump and play fetch. He also has a pretty mean bark which scares off any unwanted visitors. (He’s got a great name too!)

People to Tag:
David Reeves
Matt Miller
Brett Emerson