Monday, February 28, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Today is my husband's birthday. Those of you familiar with him (The Terrible Swede) should go to his site and wish him a happy birthday. You know you want to, and you know he'll just love it! :D

Happy birthday, Ron! I love you!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

BTK may be responsible for more killings

Sources are investigating the possibility of BTK being responsible for even more killings, bringing the current total to 13. You can find more information, including a story that an AP (Associated Press) reporter presented, by clicking here. Apparently, the local reporting agencies (ABC, NBC, etc.) are saying that the report is false, because Dennis Rader (a.k.a. BTK) has not actually confessed to them. It's a seriously disturbing, yet intriguing story, though. I highly suggest you read this story, if you have any interest in this story at all.

He has officially confessed to 10 killings.

I'm sure that in the next few days, even more information will come out, possibly about more murders and other crimes that Dennis Rader was responsible for in his role as BTK. Stay tuned. I'll keep you informed as I, myself, become informed.

My husband wants me to make sure my readers know that he would do anything in his power to protect me from anyone who would wish harm against us or me. Just because he's skeptical doesn't mean he doesn't take threats seriously.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

BTK is arrested after 31 years!

Wichita's most notorious murder case is finally solved!

Yesterday, police and FBI agents surrounded a house in a Wichita suburb and apprehended a man suspected in the murder of ten people in the Wichita area, some of whom were murdered 31 years ago, and two of which were unsolved until now. He apparently confessed after being apprehended without incident. Police had been looking at this individual for at least a week, under surveillance.

The murderer was nicknamed BTK because of his serial style of murdering his victims: he would bind them up, torture them, and then kill them. One of the first cases the police dealt with involving BTK was an entire family that was killed. In nearly every case, BTK entered the home after first cutting phone lines, bound up his victims, tortured them, and then killed them.

It was known through a series of communications the killer made with the media (including The Wichita Eagle and KAKE TV, the ABC affiliate, and most recently KSAS, the Fox affiliate), that he was a graduate of Wichita State University, had some kind of connection to an instructor in the literature department, and had military experience, among other things. He recently (within the last year) sent a list of what appeared to be chapters for a book to KAKE TV. Many of the titles were thought to be clues, others were thought to be predictive of his capture.

Other communications came in the form of items that had been taken from victims' homes, including driver's licenses of the victims and some of their jewelry that had been taken, police suspected, as trophies by the killer. Recently, a postcard was sent to KAKE that led investigators to the side of a rural road where a Kelloggs Toasties cereal box was found with a brick on top (a brick was used to enter one of the victim's homes), and a number of items were found inside that were taken from victims' homes, but the police would not say what those items were.

Police, at this point, are still calling the man they arrested a suspect. He's 59 years old, married and has two grown children. His name is Dennis Rader, and he lived in Park City, Kansas, where he's lived since 1976, just after the first murder. He was a compliance officer and the chief animal control officer, and worked in the Park City city hall building, which was right across from the police station. He also, apparently, was the president of the congregation of Christ Lutheran Church, an E*CA church!

District Attorney Nola Foulston spoke of the death penalty in this case. "The law that was applicable at the time of the crimes... Kansas did not have a death penalty through all those periods of years when the allegations were made. None of them would fall within an applicable death penalty in the State of Kansas... This is not a Federal prosecution." The case will be tried in Wichita, but it does not look like he will be given the death penalty.

He was arrested while on duty driving a company vehicle. He spent four years in the Air Force, worked at ADT Security, was a graduate of Wichita Heights High School and graduated in 1979 from Wichita State University with a degree in administration of justice. He was a Boy Scout leader, too! This according to a news report on KAKE TV that I'm watching as I type.

He may have used his job at ADT to be able to break into and find his victims. That's probably why people trusted him. It's suspected that he was responsible for a number of other crimes, as well, for instance possibly burglaries, according to law enforcement officials.

No more information is going to be disclosed on the case after charges have been filed, which will happen early next week. We may hear something after the case has gone to trial, and hopefully after the trial has ended. Until then, there may be more information on the websites of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, The Wichita Eagle, KAKE TV and KSN TV (the NBC affiliate). Also check out America's Most Wanted. They have pictures of Dennis Rader, a.k.a. BTK, along with information about the investigation leading to his arrest. You may also be hearing about this on the national news, as did my brother-in-law in Colorado.

BTW, I should add that Ron, my husband, is skeptical and thinks that this may not be the man.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Purpose Driven Drinking blog

Yes, my husband has finally taken his love of beer to a healthy level (so to speak). He and several other people have been posting their thoughts about the joy of drinking beer (which, by the way, I don't share), and a lot of it is actually quite humorous!

The name of the blog came from the Purpose Driven series of Bible studies that have been used and criticized by a number of people we know. We are on the critical end, in case you were wondering, but that's a whole other post that I won't get into here. Anyway, the origination came from a picture that was taken by someone with the book "The Purpose Driven Life" set between a couple of liquor bottles, and at the bottom was labeled "Purpose Driven Drinking." It's now been "Lutheranized" with the new metablog.

If you have a fancy for beer, which goes hand-in-hand with Lutheranism (hee, hee!), or if you just want to see what these guys are up to, you should check it out! I'm not a beer fan, but I love reading the posts!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Just before I left for work

E's haircut my style
Originally uploaded by Edited Copy.
Since I don't have a flatiron like the lady who did my hair at the beauty school, I did the best I could with my hot air round brush (not sure if that's a proper phrase for it).

Anyway, in this picture, my makeup was fresh and I had just done my hair. Sorry for not smiling, but I was concentrating on getting my whole face in the picture and was getting ready to leave.

You can still tell that I've got a perm in my hair, but I try to straighten it as much as possible so that I end up with a slight wave.

Which look do you like better: this one or the way my hair looked just after the beauty school student did it?

By the way, check out my Cosmetic Charisma blog, too. I'm going to be posting something that I'm really excited about, but it's not really appropriate for this blog. CHECK IT OUT!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The only bad thing was how long it took...

Erica's haircut 2-16-05
Originally uploaded by Edited Copy.
A couple of months ago, I let my mom give me a perm, which probably wasn't the best idea because I looked like a poodle and couldn't do anything with it to make it look good. I've been trying to grow it out and do with it what I could.

Since there are a number of beauty schools in town, and one of them is on the same block on which I live, I decided to give them a chance to help me out. Also, they don't charge as much for their services as most salons in town.

The lady who cut my hair was a senior, but she still had to get some guidance from one of the instructors there. She did a really nice job getting the curl out of my hair (although I'll have to continue trying to do this until the perm is actually gone).

My appointment was at 2 p.m., but I didn't get done with my hair until almost 4 p.m. The school was running a special on their services (BOGO 1/2 off), so I decided to get my eyebrows waxed, too.

I got a really nice cut and had my eyebrows waxed for less than $15! As I said in the title, the only bad thing was that it took so long.

So tell me... What do you think? Give me your honest opinion so I know whether to go back to the same lady next time.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A message of LOVE for my Sweetheart

This year, my husband and I will celebrate our thrid anniversary, as well as five years of being together. I couldn't be happier!

Saturday, we went to a Valentine dinner and dance at a local LCMS church, and we had a great time. Yesterday, we just had fun together, hung out, spent quality time together, and it was great! We won't get to do much today because by the time he gets home from work, I'll be in my graduate class, but the best part is knowing that I'm coming home to him.

We have endured a lot of pain and suffering since we've been together, especially before we were married. There were some people who didn't want us to be together, and they made us miserable with their manipulations. But we perservered. They stopped trying to separate us when we got married. Then, Ron was laid off from his job at Cessna Aircraft Co. only six months after we got married. I had a very difficult time finding work over the last two years, and also underwent two very painful foot surgeries. I never had better help or love during that time.

Ron did everything for me while I was going through and recovering from those surgeries. He cooked, cleaned, and even helped me bathe. He made sure I was as comfortable as possible and found ways to be close to me when I had to take up the whole couch with my leg. I've never been more grateful.

We love each other now more than we've ever loved each other before, and it seems that every day we find something else to love about one another. This is the mark of true love and devotion.

We may not have any children yet, but we do plan to have children. We just don't know when yet, but it would be nice to start in the next year or two. (Especially since Ron wants us to have at least six kids!! Ouch!)

So, thank you, Ron, for loving me with your whole heart and mind and with everything you are. I will love you always and forever. May God bless us both.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I love a good Monty Python quiz!

You are a silly English Knnnnnniggit! Brave, loyal, and (somewhat) chaste, you follow your leader without question...even though you're not really that smart.
You are a silly English Knnnnnniggit! Brave, loyal,
and (somewhat) chaste, you follow your leader
without question...even though you're not
really that smart.

Which Monty Python & the Holy Grail Character are you REALLY?
brought to you by Quizilla

I resent the notion that I'm not smart. How dare those silly Frenchmen call me not smart! Now, I think I'll fetch myself a shrubbery!

Imagine this...

How evil are you?

I guess I'm just a crazy, mixed-up variety of things that might not really go together. Ron could probably have told you that, anyway. ;D

I'm not really at all evil, but I will stand up for myself if confronted by wicked offenses. I find pleasure in keeping peace between people, and also in confusing them with my blonde ways. Hee, hee!

(By the way, whoever made this quiz misspelled "decision".) I dare you to take the quiz, yourself.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I guess I'm more mature than I thought!

Thanks, Devona, for making me realize just how old I am at heart. Now I feel really old!

You Are 31 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down...

You know, I never thought much about this little rhyme before, but it has significance for Ash Wednesday. When you went to church today (I'm assuming here), and received the ashes on your forehead in the shape of a cross, the pastor probably said something like this: "Ashes you are and to ashes you shall return."

There it is: we're all just a bunch of ashes, and at the end of our lives here, we, too, will all fall down. But the good news is that even though we're nothing but ashes, we're so very much alive because Jesus paid the price for our sins. Sure, we'll all return to the ashes we started as, but we're living ashes. What a paradox!

Monday, February 07, 2005

My brain hurts, but I like it!

Although I grossly misunderstood the length at which I was to read one of the five texts required for my graduate class (thinking I had 150 pages to read in a week when it was closer to 300), I was intrigued by the subject matter when we discussed it (the whole book). This is what (in a nutshell) we talked about:

First, the pragmatics of communication, which referrs to the analogue (or behavior) and digital (or verbal) aspects of communication. Second, the communication about communication, or what's referred to as metacommunication, or in other words communication about how we communicate. Next, meta-metacommunication, or communication about the communication we communicate. (Is your brain hurting yet?) Finally, the fourth stage of knowledge which is explainable only by saying that we've had a Gestalt moment (the point at which we say "aha!") but can't explain how we know we know. This, my professor said, is more or less the basis of believing in religion. We don't know how we know, and we can't adequately explain what we know or how we know it, but we do. Get it?

This subject matter is so incredibly deep that it almost makes your stomach turn to think about it, but it's kind of fun to think about the mind-boggling theories!

I can kind of relate this kind of thinking to Ron, in a way: He likes to think about the mind-bogglingness (my term!) of mathematics. He's always thinking about probabilities of occurances, the way things interact mathematically, etc., and it's always way over my head. But that's just because I never had to take any mathematics past college algebra, and I didn't. That was in 1999, and I haven't touched a math book since. Ron, on the other hand, likes to check out math books for the reading at the library. Just for fun!

I guess we're both nerds. Oh well! We like it like this! I hope our kids are smart. They'll almost have to be in order to keep up with us. Most likely, they'll surpass us, though. That would be cool! Do you think they'll be good at communicating in the mathematical realm? Or good at figuring out communications mathematically? Who knows? I guess I'll have to think more about Gestalt theories in relation to my metacommunication on this topic...


Thursday, February 03, 2005

How difficult can it really be?

I've never dealt with someone so unintelligent on the phone before. For something so self-explanatory, it just didn't make sense that someone should be so confused! I'm referencing a phone call I got at work today from a young lady who was having trouble figuring out how to fill out her engagement announcement form.

Girl: Now, on the line next to where it says "bride-elect's name," is that where I put my first name and maiden name?
Me: Yes.
Girl: And where it says "prospective bridegroom's name," is that where I write his name? (meaning her fiance's name)
Me: Yes.
Girl: And what about beside the names where it says "City" and "State"? Do you want to know where we were born?
Me: No, that's where you live right now.

It would have been somewhat excusable, but she called me back to ask more questions like that. I was helping a lady customer at my window at the time to place a wedding announcement. While I was on the phone, she was looking at me like, "What's going on?" I couldn't help but tell her about the questions I was getting from this girl. The lady and her friend were in hysterics. That's when I got the second call from the girl. When I got off with her again, I said, "That poor girl." The ladies started laughing again and the one placing her announcement said, "You mean she called back to ask you more questions?"

Wow. Whether that girl is blonde or not, she makes this blonde look like Einstein! And I ain't no Einstein!

I told my co-worker about it when she called me this afternoon. She said it could have been worse. She said that a few times, she's come across people at the window who had to have her walk them through the entire form!

"Location of wedding," "Location of reception," "Honeymoon plans," "Where the couple will reside," "Bride's occupation," "Groom's occupation"... What's so difficult about that? I wonder if people like that were dropped on their heads or their mothers did drugs or drank while they were pregnant. You know what I mean? That's just dumb!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"The Spirituality of the Cross" by Gene Edward Veith Jr. meets Communication Studies

I wanted to post this, in part, because it struck me as I'm studying contemporary theories in communication as a graduate course. My instructor, as I was told by someone else, used to be a minister. I'm not sure what denomination he preached in, but he wholeheartedly disagrees with the notion that the Bible is accurate, simply because it wasn't put into print until a few generations after Jesus ascended.

Anyway, now for the quoted text from Mr. Veith (starting at p. 34):

"Central to every level of Lutheran theology and spirituality -- its source, its method, and its practice -- is the insight that God Himself addresses human beings through human language. Other religions look for 'visions' of God; other theologies expect God to manifest Himself through a particular experience. Some Christians assume the Holy Spirit communicates to them directly, as an inner impulse or a personal revelation. For Lutherans, God comes from the outside; the Holy Spirit is to be found objectively. [Erica's note: not to be found subjectively.] God speaks directly and effectually to us in His Word.
All human beings, of every culture, have language, which is the means by which individuals can form relationships with each other. Language enables individuals to communicate themselves with others, to form relationships, from friendships to families to societies. Language makes thought possible, opening up the possiblility of ideas, the accumulation of knowledge, the creation of arts and inventions. Scholars are just now discovering the depths upon depths of human language, how it is innate to the mind, how it shapes culture, how it, in effect, defines what is human. Many scientiests are going further, finding that language seems to be built into existence itself. The genetic codes of DNA, the structures of chemistry, and the laws of physics seem to be analagous to the grammatical structures of language.
No wonder, since God created the whole universe by His Word (Psalm 33:6; John 1:1-3). God is no abstract force, as in many religions, but a Person. As such, He thinks, loves, and expresses Himself, so that He has language. He created human beings in His image, as persons, and so we too have language. The fall marred the gift of language, sin tainting language so that it degenerated into confusion and misunderstanding as we see in the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11); but the Holy Spirit at Pentecost enabled people to understand, once again, each other's tongues (Acts 2).
On the simplest level, it is language -- of some kind, including signs of the deaf [Erica's note: I've also studied ASL extensively] -- that makes possible all relationships. We must communicate or we feel alone. Language enables us to share what we are thinking and feeling -- our very selves -- with someone else. Friends and lovers must talk to each other. The lack of communication wrecks marriages, not to mention businesses and governments.
Why shouldn't God also communicate and establish relationships by means of language? Not by vague intimations or mystical intuitions, but real language, with words and grammar and meanings -- language that is accessible to everyone, that can be written down. The Christian's relationship to God, like all other relationships, thrives on two-way conversations -- the Christian speaks to God by prayer, and God speaks to the Christian who reads His Word.
[And here's where my professor would disagree with us:] Critics of Lutheranism say that, well, the Bible is a human document, written over centuries by many different human authors working in specific cultural and historical contexts. Moreover, through the gospels of Christ's life and the epistles of the apostles date from the very beginnings of the church, the complete canon of Scripture was not even established until the fourth century. Surely, then, the church -- which decided which books would be included in Scripture -- is prior to the Word.
Lutherans insist that the Bible, though written by human beings, is indeed the Word of God. But the Word of God is not the Bible alone. The Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, is described in that Bible as the Word of God, so that Jesus is 'the Word made flesh' (John 1:1-3, 14). What the pastor preaches is the Word of God. Every proclamation of the Gospel, whether in a sermon or in a layperson's informal witnessing to a friend, is a dissemination of God's Word. This oral word, insofar as it is the message of the Bible, is God's Word delivered by a human voice.
It is a Lutheran truism that God generally works through means. Just as God is not ashamed to inspire the utterances of fallen human beings, to have His truths written in human language with paper and ink, He is not ashamed to have His Word communicated by the halting speech of His followers. The main difference between God's Word and merely human words, is that God -- the Holy Spirit -- promises to be at work whenever His Word is spoken. 'My word that goes out from my mouth,' says the Lord, 'will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it' (Isaiah 55:11).
To return to the objections, the Word is, in fact, prior to the church. Even before the Bible was completely written, no one could know about Jesus -- and thus join the church -- unless they heard about Him. The words used to explain who Jesus was, what He did, and the forgiveness He offers, were the Word of God. The early evangelists were proclaiming the Gospel (God's Word), a message which could be traced back to the teachings of the first apostles (who taught God's word), who heard it from Jesus, himself (God's Word made flesh). The apostolic testimony was written down from the beginning, along with the more ancient prophetic writings of the Old Testament, and later the various books were collected and printed together, but it was always the Word that God was using to bring people to Himself.
'How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?' asks St. Paul. 'Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ' (Romans 10:14, 17). And that Word, whether oral or written, enfleshed in Jesus or preached from a modern-day pulpit, is powerful, incisive, and convicting: 'For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart' (Hebrews 4:12)."

Sorry to quote such a large block of information from Mr. Veith's book, but I found this so very interesting as our Lutheran theology intersects with the study of human communication and our acquisition of language and learning. I think it is so interesting that God used/uses language to communicate with us, and that communication is something that we cannot ever be without.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Perfect Job? I thought so...

It turns out that the place I've been wanting to work for years won't allow me to work more than 16 hours in a week! I'll have to work for three weeks in order to make enough money to make one insurance payment! Ron's only working 20 hours per week because he's going to school full time, so he can't work anymore hours than that, but I've had my bachelor's degree for a year already and can't find anyone to give me full time work, pay and benefits!

I was going to talk to my boss this morning, but the owner of the company, Knight Ridder, had representatives at the paper today and he wasn't able to get away. Now I have to wait until at least Thursday. I'm going to ask if there are any other opportunities elsewhere in the paper for me to be able to fill in the extra 24 hours in every work week. If not, I'm going to have to start my job search again. And it took me two years to find this one! This sucks!

Update: I forgot (until reminded by a phone call from my co-worker today) that once in a while we get bonuses at work for making the budget. I guess in a couple of weeks, I'll get a nice bonus of a couple hundred dollars, to be added to my regular paycheck! Wahoooo! (That'll be absorbed rather quickly, though. But I'm thankful that I'm getting it!)