What I Did On My Winter Vacation

I'm sure it will be comforting to many of you that I'm back in the land of the connected. Actually, I never left, I just pulled the plug for a bit. It was an experiment of sorts to see if I could survive a week without blogs, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Turns out it was easier than I thought. When I came back online this morning, it took me less than 2 hours to go through my e-mail and get caught up on the blogs I follow. I checked in on Facebook (not a whole lot new there either) and just let my Twitter feed go. Maybe it's because this is a holiday week and everyone has slowed down, or maybe I place too much importance on those things during the rest of the year.

So what did I do on my week off? Not a whole lot. And that was by design. I slept in every day until at least 9 AM. I normally don't sleep that well, and it takes taking a week off to realize how tired I am most of the time. Possible goal for 2009; go see a sleep specialist and find out why I can't sleep.

My wife, oldest daughter and I walked up and down Summit Ave. in St. Paul one afternoon. For those unfamiliar, Summit Ave contains the largest collection of Victorian architecture in the US. There are some simply amazing houses there. I would have pictures except every one of my rechargeable batteries failed in my camera when I tried to take a few shots. The sidewalks were largely iced over, so it was as much an exercise in balance as anything else. We'll go back in the spring...

After the rechargeable battery debacle, I spent several hours researching battery chemistry. I learned a lot, and once my new batteries get here, I'll have more to say about that. Like everything else, the equipment has to be matched to the application, and mine was not. In the end, it's good news for churches who are looking to spend less money on batteries. Look for some posts on this topic in the coming months.

I got to run the snow blower a few times, which is always fun when you have a new snow blower. I'm sure that will wear off by March, but for now I'm looking forward to more snow...

We watched a lot of Discovery HD. I missed Planet Earth the first time it came out, so I TiVo'd the ones they're running this week. It's truly fascinating, and I found myself asking over and over, "How did they get that shot?" Even the girls enjoyed it. I also became totally addicted to Storm Chasers.

I bought a new DVD player when our 10-year old Sony decided to stop playing brand new CDs. I still can't quite justify spending the coin on Blu-Ray (especially since I can download HD movies to my TiVo from Netflix), so I spent $58 on an upconverting Toshiba. I'll have to say the picture of an upconverted DVD sent to my 50" DLP is pretty amazing. We watched Prince Caspian last night and the picture blew me away.

I also spent some time just listening to music. I haven't been able to do that in a while, and it was good to sit and listen. Of course, I had to fiddle with the various surround modes of my receiver, tweak the tone controls and mess with speaker distances, but I did enjoy the music.

Having some time off gave me an opportunity to read as well. I re-read a book from my college days, On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I had forgotten what a great book that is. I have also started The Shack. I wasn't prepared for how good that was going to be either. 

Finally, I put some structure to a book that's been rattling around in my head for nearly a year. I have started writing it twice, and now that I have a plan, I expect to make some good progress on it by mid-year. Though the primary topic is the technical arts in the church, it's probably not going to be what you expect. More to come.

So that was my week off. I still have 3 more days before I'm back to work. We have a few more movies to watch, and tomorrow the girls and I are trekking down to Minneapolis to walk around and have lunch. And it's supposed to snow, so I may get the snow blower out again!

Happy New Year!