The Friday Playlist ... LIVE AND IN CONCERT

I love live music. Except for the fact that most concerts start after my bed time….and ticket prices are ridiculous ( even more ridiculous when you factor in a baby sitter).
Last night we went to the Palladium to see Tegan and Sara. The show was greatness. You can read about the last time we saw them here:
But this week I decided to do a live playlist…meaning only bands that I have seen perform live.

1. The Chair – George Strait. ( this was my first concert ever and I think Patty Lovelace opened….I wore acid washed Guess jeans and baby blue boots and thought I was sooooooo cool. Keep in mind that this was College Station and I was limited to mainly country artists.

Next concert
2. To Make You Feel My Love -- Garth Brooks (yes more country. College Station remember, and I was in high school………I don’t think Boys 2 Men and their matching outfits ever made it to the big BCS. Sure some of my friends had already discovered college music and were sneaking into clubs that I didn’t even know about listening to bands I’d never heard of like Tripping Daisy…but I was not yet this cool. Ok, I’m still not that cool and I still don’t like Tripping Daisy…but my musical tastes have much improved some)

3. Sweet River Roll – Waterdeep
Fast forward to fall semester of my freshman year….most of these concerts were the small coffee shop Christian variety. They opened up for Caedmons Call and they were just this little hippie newlywed couple that no one had heard of yet. They came out barefooted and played their guitars and chattered and blew me away. Lots of good Christian concerts can go here ( Jennifer Knapp, Bebo Norman, Shane Banard, etc…) and all great. What I loved about them most is this genre tends to tell more stories and talk a lot on stage.

4. Typical Situation – Dave Mathews Band Ok concert itself was kind of a disaster……too many people….too much beer……and outside in the HOT HOT texas heat. But it was Dave so they still killed.

5. Carney Man – Cross Canadian Ragweed ( this was just the beginning of my TX country phase…..which I still heart…and should also include greats like Willie, Jerry Jeff Walker and Robert Earl Keen)

6. Your Next Bold Move – Ani Difranco. Saw her in Austin and she did not disappoint. Although Shaun was slightly uncomfortable as one of the ONLY males in the audience.

7. Time after Time - Cindy Lauper. So this was at a Taste of Addison and so after her prime………but still loved it.

7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Lookin For – U2. Tess had a super high fever and Shaun took one for the team and stayed home with her. The acoustics in the Cowboys stadium were AWFUL but….I was in the same zipcode as Bono so I don’t really care. Although I wish I could have the 2 hours of my life stuck in line to get out of the parking lot back.

8. Cannonball - Damien Rice. He was actually the opening act for Fionna Apple ....but totally stole the show.

9. Aumbulance – Eisley. Shaun loves this band…….and trust me I’d rather go to this kind of concert with him than a Flogging Molly one.

10. Divided – Tegan and Sara. Last night’s great adventure. This is the second time I have seen them and love love loved it. Actually being so crazy tired from being out hours past my bedtime and making me forget all the other great concerts I've been I'll just have to cut it off here. what is the best show you have ever caught live?

shades of grey...or gray

The other day, I found my first true grey hair.
A big thick one that I am sure will be filled in with more as the year go by.
And lately, my hair isn't the only thing turning grey.

Back in high school, my world was pretty black and white.
Rap music was from the devil.
I thought pot really was the gateway drug.
I was super homophobic.
Anything over 1st base was a ticket straight to hell, or atleast guarenteed for teen pregnancy.
I wrote speaches in English class on prayer in school.
If they had those christian fishes eating a darwin fish ( the ones with legs) ...I probably would have put it on my car.
The tv show Friends was nothing but a bunch of fornicators ( even though I watched it religously).
And Micheal W. Smith could bring me to tears almost on cue.

I am not saying I was perfect.
I cussed like a sailor.
I snuck beer when I could.
and of course Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog couldn't be silenced for very long.
but at least I felt guilty for these things.
and my sins were the socially acceptable kind.

Most of my allusions were dumb and over simplified,
but I do miss the clarity.
Of knowing.
The clear lines of right and wrong and black and white....
that just seem to get more and more muddled and grey as I get older.
I realize I have less and less answers.
And maybe I had somethings right back in highschool.
but then again maybe I didn't.
Whose to say.
And my God isn't a God of rules.
so much as a God of love.
that part is crystal clear.

P.S. Before posting this…I thought I should look up how to actually spell grey. With an e or with an a. And turns out – both are right. Grey is usually how they spell it in England and it is gray in America. Do not miss the irony that they are both right. That even the word itself has more than one right answer.

much much later

Greif and anguish aren't easy to witness. Usually we need to do enough in response to make ourselves feel better. Send a card. Offer our prayers, and then thank our God that it wasn't us.
But after the initial shock, it is just easier to forget.
I don't think we really forget, but it is just so hard to know what to say when something goes horribly wrong.
The test results come back positive.
A loved one is lost.
or yet another friend is laid off.
The moment forces us to respond. And most of us do. Sometimes well. Sometimes not.
That isn't the moment I am talking about.
I mean the one 2 weeks later. Or a month later or even a year.

For example, almost a year ago my neighbor lost her husband. I brought flowers and later food. But still every time I see her my heart breaks a little. I often think I need to inviter her over for dinner, or at least stop by and chat. Instead the most I usually do is wave across the driveway. A little too eagerly.

But I have another friend who lost a baby six months or so ago. Which I imagine to be the most miserable kind of ache. It would be real easy to send her flowers. Squeeze my babies a little bit tighter when I tuck them in at night and move on. Easier to forget simply because I can.
But I just can't seem to.
We are old friends, and until this hadn’t hardly spoken in years.
So it would be especially easy to not know.
To not think about her.
To not check her facebook status.
I am thinking this is probably the socially acceptable thing to do.
Maybe if I am really good, I could add her to my "prayer list".
Well, let me be honest.
I don't really have a prayer list.
Yes, I pray.
But I usually forget who and what I am supposed to be praying for before accidentally falling asleep.

But these women have been pressed on my heart.
Which sounds like a real churchy phrase, but I don't know how else to say it. Because you see I am not that kind of friend. I'm not naturally good at being mushy or nice and it makes me so uncomfortable. But sometimes you just can’t help it.

God has called us to bear each others burdens.

So go back in your brain a few months to when that friend or neighbor was going through something unbearable.
and remember that they still are.
even if they are back to smiling in public.
Their heart is still a bit broken.
and remember them.
Stop in. Say hi. Send a card. Buy them coffee.
Let them know that you didn't forget either.

big hair

No not me.
I haven't owned a bottle of hairspray since high school.
I won’t even mention the Stiff Stuff or bottles of foot long Vavoom I used back in the day for my 2 curls back one curl forward 80s bangs.
This post is about Beth Moore.
And well when I think Beth Moore, I think hair.
And of course Hebrew and Jesus and hard questions and margins and some serious study.
And part of me doesn’t want to like her.
Because she seems a little too something. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it is too Southern Baptisty or too perfect or perky or sappy. And I like to picture myself as a little more of an Ann Lammott than Beth Moore kind of girl.
But I every single book or study that she has written (and I have probably read close to a dozen) has spoken to me.

Big hair and all.

I have been reading her blog lately and bought her latest book so that I could participate in the study online.

And let me tell you this book has a giant picture of her and her slightly less big but still perfect hair on the cover.
And a really corny title, “So Long Insecurity, You’ve been a Bad Friend to Me”.
I was honestly embarrassed to purchase it.
Because well, if someone saw me standing in line with a giant book about insecurity...what would they think?

And I wasn’t really sure what I’d get out of it.
I mean I am pretty secure.
I mean I have had phases of insecurity and occasionally get self conscious.
But I am mostly ok.
I mean I could lose a few pounds.
I could clean out my car so that I am not humiliated when someone new climbs inside and has to sweep out the goldfish and empty cups and extra jackets just to find a seat.
I could have more in my savings account (like I could actually have a savings account).
I could spell better.
I could pray more.
I could teach like the teacher next door.
I could do something real with this writing rather than just pretending.
I could let my kids watch less cartoons.
……..oh gosh maybe I need to read this book after all.

But surely everyone thinks like this.
And I do have a lot going for me.
And for the most part I don’t care what other people think.
Or at least I try not to.
Or at least I try really hard to let on how much I really do care.

But oh my gosh.
There are too many different convictions and connections to write a single blog about all the things in just the first 4 chapters that have hit home.
So be warned. While I finish the book, I might be processing some of that here.
If I go on about my insecurities for a while. Don’t worry and gently hint in your comments that I might want to consider therapy.
This is my therapy.

So today I have caught myself wanting to read ahead.
Get as fast to the end as I can to find the answer.

And I have resisted that urge.
Mainly because I don’t want to read a book that way.

Looking for an answer.

It won’t be there.
Sure it will be full of insight and scripture and compelling stories. It will hit the nail on the head. It will be easy to read and relate to and funny and occasionally a little too corny for my tastes.

But the answer is somewhere a little closer than my bedside table but...
Much much harder to get to than reading a few chapters.

In other words don’t let the hair fool you.
My flat too-tired-to properly-do-most-days-hair.
Or Beth’s perfectly placed locks.
Because we all occasionally (or more than occasionally) look to the wrong places for security.
And there is really only one place to find it.

And here is a hint.
It is not in a book.
Or in a bottle of hair spray.

Friday Playlist - Girls Only

Tomorrow I am hosting a brunch for a local Women’s Shelter……..and I’m feeling the girl vibe. So today’s list will be in honor of all those women who have such a heavy load to carry. And 10 is just not enough……but I'll try to cap it at a dozen.

1.Tori Amos– Silent All These Years (neither Tori, nor this song, need any commentary…and is pretty fitting for the occasion)
2.Fesit – I feel it all (this group just makes me happy)
3.Kendall Payne – Scratch (so many songs to choose from, but this is my favorite-est…and yes I know that isn’t really a word, but it should be).
4.JJ Heller _ Hands ( favorite new find. Watch the video below and you too will fall in love)
5.Priscilla Ahn - Dream ( this song is heaven)
6.Schuyler Fisk – Fall Apart Today (ridiculously hopeful without being sappy)
7.Katie Sawicki – For the Quiet (could listen to this song a hundred times in the car and drive forever…warning it is sad and quiet like that).
8.Indigo Girls - Mystery ( takes me back to lying flat on my back on some Loma Linda tennis courts looking at the stars)
9.Dolly Parton – 9 to 5 ( I love me some Dolly, seriously, and lately I have been hitting snooze too many times. This song can get me moving in the morning like no other)
10.Sarah McLaughlin – Ordinary Miracle (did you see her kill this at the opening ceremonies for the Olympics)
11.Ani difranco – Wishin and Hopin (ok, not your typical Ani song……but so fun)
12.A Fine Frenzy - What I wouldn’t Do ( happy and pretty, if you like Feist, or Regina Spektor or things like that you will love her)

I am leaving so many out that belong here………but I will save them for another week!
And you? Your favorite female artist?

Fishy Fridays

(repost I wrote for a Lenton devo a few years ago...but equally fitting for today and the ashes I recieved last night)

The school cafeteria always served fish sandwiches on Fridays during Lent. I hated most things from the school cafeteria and wasn’t too fond of fish to begin with. Combine the two and it made for some hungry Friday afternoons. For the longest time I thought this was what Lent was all about. Fish on Fridays. The symbol for Christians was an icthus, or a fish. I thought it was related.

Like so many things in the Christian faith. I didn’t get it. A few years later, I thought I did. Lent meant giving something up. Giving up sodas or my watching 90210 for forty days would somehow better help me understand the sacrifice Christ made for me on the cross. If he could lay down his life, maybe I could lay off the caffeine for awhile. I never chose anything too difficult to give up. I always picked something that I would miss, but would be good for me anyways. Hey, I can be holy and try to lose weight too. Christ didn’t really have that option. He couldn’t choose between french fries, candy or music downloads. He didn’t have any nasty habits or vices to set aside for forty short days. He had to give it all. Just like we are asked to do. And most of us do. In little itty bitty spurts. We surrender. We occasionally even surrender everything. Only to pick most of it back up even before we get off of our knees. Christ didn’t really have that luxury either. His hands were nailed down.

So maybe I still don’t quite get it, but a I do have more of the picture. A few days ago I went to an Ash Wednesday service. There is something holy about a preacher smearing ashes on your forehead and telling you that you are forgiven. Saying those words outloud just for me. I know them. I have read them. I have heard them preached to congregations. It is just sometimes hard to remember that they are for me. Even me. Just me. In spite of me. Really realizing that I am forgiven. All those sins. The little ones like making personal copies at work, to the not so little ones that come slipping out of my mouth are wiped clean. Just like that.

But it wasn’t just like that. The cost was big and huge and painful. The ashy cross on my forehead represents one that was real. Lent is about that. About the cost of our forgiveness. About what Christ gave up. About preparing for that cross. And maybe, for just a breif period, trying to carry it for a little while.

Move This

Last night I happened to get to the Y minutes before a popular Zumba class was starting.
If you don’t know what Zumba is it is a cross between salsa dancing, aerobics and those naughty moves from dance videos that you never want to see your kids doing.

This class is always full and I have watched it from my treadmill a few times. I’m not really sure why, but last night I wandered in.

Let me preface this with a few things.
I don’t do formal aerobics.
Not since that crazy aerobics fad about a dozen years ago where you slid on a slippery pad with these little footie things and I slid completely off and about broke my face.
Or the time I took out not only my own “step” but also the two people’s next to me in step aerobics and the instructor kindly encourage me to try the circuit room.
Or the time I managed to almost knock myself out in kickboxing.
Or my perpetual fear of farting during pilates/yoga ( and I’m just not stretchy like that).
Or not being able to sit down for a week after spin class.

I also don’t dance.
I mean back in the day I did do a mean MC Hammer and I entertained a very brief club face that did involve some dancing. ( if that is what you want to call it).
And I also lost many a pound post baby #1 making my way up to the intermediate level on Dance Dance Revolution.
And we do have dance parties in the living room every time the “family song” comes on…….
but I don’t dance (or sing) in front of other people (without much liquid encouragement), and this is the way we want to keep it.
For safety reasons.

But….Zumba always looks like so much fun.
And I just wasn’t feeling the treadmill last night.
I thought maybe I could sneak into the back and go un-noticed.
I stood next to a mousy looking Asian woman with glasses, another woman who looked about 10 months pregnant, and anther older than my mom. Thinking surely I could hang with these girls.

And let me tell you, pregnant girl, mousy Asian woman and grandma have some serious moves.
This overweight white girl DOES NOT.
I tired.
I so tried.
I cumbiaed, salsaed, popped it, shook it, rolled it and did some moves that make my club days look tame.
If I were Catholic I’d have to go to confession.

I was stiff and off beat and went the wrong way and looked ridiculously silly.
But silly and slightly skinnier.

an extra ticket

Today a friend called me up with an extra ticket.
To the ballet.

I said yes, even though I’m not really into that kind of thing.
Because I like hanging out with the friend who asked me.
Because I like doing new things.
And well, I didn’t have anything besides laundry planned for the afternoon.

Another friend, called and asked me what I was doing that day.
I warned her that it was a little bit random for me,
But that I would be attending the ballet at Bass Hall.
And she responded with, “You are going to run your butt off!”
She misheard and thought I said that I was going to be a valet, not go to the ballet.
I quickly corrected her and she responded;
“Wow that is really random!”
Apparently because I have about as much culture as a bag of chilli cheese fritos.
And my friends are more comfortable with the idea of me working as a valet at Bass Hall than actually attending the ballet.

So I got dressed up ( meaning I shaved my legs, wore black and used an iron).
I was relieved to learn that the ballet we would be watching was Romeo and Juliet, because I actually know that story.
And settled in as the lights went down.

Let me preface this with, I did take dance when I was little.
And somewhere out there is a Polaroid of me in a blank leotard and pink tights to prove it. But I have the grace of an emu and didn’t last very long in the world of pink tutus and pirouettes. And I have been to a few ballets before. I distinctly remember going on a field trip to the Nutcracker in elementary school. I also really liked the movie Save the Last Dance.

But somehow in all my previous experience, I forgot that ballets do not have words.
And it took me a few minutes in to realize that this version of Shakespeare would have no “romeo romeo wherefore art thou romeo”s, or “it is the East and Juliet is the Sun” or even a single “parting is such sweet sorrow”.
Panic sunk in for a second wondering how I would be able to pay attention for three hours or how I would be able to understand what was happening or what part of the story they were on.
I mean it has been a long time since my 10th grade English class and there is only so much men jumping around in tights I can handle ( and I so could write an entire blog post on those tights but even though I have the culture of a bag of fritos I won’t go there!)

But they jumped around in there tights.
And twirled gracefully.
And spun on there toes.
And the story unfurled with ease.

And I’ll be honest.
Ballet still isn’t really my thing.
Although I did like getting dressed up and I always love Bass hall.
And am glad that my friend thought to call me.
The staging and scenery were amazing.
And even though the didn’t say a word.
Not even the Shakespeare kind that are hard to understand anyways.
The story came across loud and clear.

Which means that maybe words,
especially the important ones
aren’t always as important as we think they are.
If we can act them out convincingly.
With grace.

And maybe some pink tights and a bag of fritos.

friday playlist: the double-stuffed mushy edition

In honor of Valentines and my honey this list will ALL be love songs.....particuarly our songs (even though Shaun won't claim all 20).....and I couldn't choose just 10..

1. Fade into you - Mazzy Star ( our dog is named Mazzy for this very song!)
2. The Sweetest Thing - U2 (this was was a toss up between One also by U2)
3. Both of Us'll Feel the Blast - Waterdeep ( the best morbid love song there is)
4. Forever - Ben Harper (had me at "not talkin bout a year, no not 3 or 4)
5. Paperweight - Josh Radin (this song is in Dear John, but it has been on my ipod for years)
6. The Luckiest - Ben Folds (always a sucker for some good piano in a song)
7. Ice Cream - Sarah McLachlan (if I wrote this song it would be "your better than chips and salsa"
8. Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson (Shaun makes way better pancakes than me....and I love lazy mornings with him)
9. It's oh so Quiet - Bjork (this song is magical, like falling in love over and over again)
10. Such Great Heights - Iron and Wine (love this song and the movie it was in - garden state, and the Postal Service has nothing on Iron and Wine's version of this song).
11. All I Wnt is You - Barry Louis Pollisar ( if you were a wink, I'd be a nod)
12. Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer (suprisingly, this was Shaun's addition)
13 Follow You Into the Dark - Deathcab for Cutie ( the second best morbid love song, naked as we came by Iron in Wine is the third...just in case you were wondering....and did you like how I snuck in an extra song like that)
14. As Is - Ani Difranco (ok, this is probably my favorite ani song of all times....and there are tons and tons to choose from).
15. Grow Old With You - Adam Sandler (couldn't find this one on itunes, but it is from the Wedding Singer and you can find plenty of renditions on you tube. It is funny and sweet all at the same time).
16. The Way I Am - Ingrid Michealson ( the rogaine line makes it sound mysteriously like #15 but still love it even though it subconciously makes me want to buy sweaters at Old Navy).
17. Take It From Me - The Weepies (another toss up between their Gotta Have You)
18. First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes ( I could listen to this song a hundred times in a row and not get tired of it)
19. Anyone Else But You - Micheal Cera and Ellen Page ( really the Moldy Peaches sing this song, but I like their version of it better)
20. Open Arms - Journey ( ok, Shaun hates all things 80s but back in the day I had a tape of this song over and over and over. The entire side was THIS song and I sitll turn it up when it comes on the radio....and Shaun turns it back down)

And, yes I realize that this is lacking some complete genres....but Shaun doesn't do country or pop or the Indigo Girls...

What is your favorite love song?

snow angels

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Outside it is really cold.
And wet
And nasty.

But it is beautiful.
All covered in white and the snowflakes continue to come down.
And I wish that I was out there.
Snapping pictures and shaping snowballs.
And maybe even make a snow angel or two.
Rather than in here in my concrete classroom without a window.

Because snow does that.
It makes ugly and miserable inviting.
And you forget that your nose and hands tingle and that your socks are getting wet.
It covers up everything.
The cars and naked trees and the rooftops until the sparkle
in their dusting of white.
and sometimes even me.

Psalm 51:7 “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

awkward excuses

The other day I was off to a dinner at a swanky place downtown. I was running a little late and not feeling so great about my outfit choice.
At the red light I was checking the makeup (or lack there of) in the vanity mirror when I saw a hunched figure in the background.
She was on the side of the road digging through one of the many plastic bags she carried.
Which probably held everything she owned.
She wore a Cowboys jersey and an old worn coat. Her face looked weathered but I tried not to look and to keep driving.
So I hit the gas instead of the blinker when the light turned green.
As I drove past the next two side streets I kept thinking that I should turn around. Run through a drive through for her or offer her some money.
But I kept going straight.
And not really because I was short on time and cash (which I was), but because I was afraid.
Afraid of what to say.
Afraid of her response.
Afraid that she would want more from me than my small bills would be able to provide.
Afraid of the awkwardness that these situations are filled with.

Eventually, a few blocks later, I finally turned around.
And went back.
And I rolled down my window and asked her how I could help.
She looked surprised and mostly didn’t want my help. She looked hard at the concrete and mumbled something about some cash.
Which I handed over, even though it meant that I’d have to borrow money to cover my dinner tab. And I am not niave enough to think she was necessarily going to be spending it on food.
She then said, “God Bless You” which is what homeless people always say when you give them money or food or even just look them in the eye and smile at them like they are a real person.

As I drove off to my swanky dinner I didn’t wonder what she spent my cash on.
That isn’t my business.
My business is to give.
But was caught up on how much I wanted to keep driving.
How I always want to keep driving.
This weird irrational fear that creeps in before doing something good.
How often I let that fear of not knowing what to say,
or being afraid of offending, get in the way of helping someone.

How to play football according to Owen

I hope Peyton's parents are suiting up, so he can throw it to them.

(and let's just pretend that I don't still have some Christmas decorations up).

Friday Playlist

Ok, Going to try something new and start a Friday playlist.
Or my own personal top 10 for the week if you will.

My taste is a little ecclectic. Try not to judge if you see a little Miley Sirus or something equally embarrassing thrown in to the mix. Currently my tastes run a little sleepy-folky with the occasional bad workout song thrown in ( blame kid kraddick). So here goes......

I also take suggestions........b/c well my cool factor has totally worn off. (30+, 2 babies and the cartoon network will do that to a girl). And am hoping for an excuse to spend more time and dollars on itunes. Anything in the name of research, right?

1. Love you Now - Madi Diaz.
love her. and this song. and pretty much all her others :)

2. Alligator -- Tegan and Sara
just a warning, i have tickets to T&S late this month and there will probably be one of their songs on the list for weeks. They are the finest thing to come out of Canada ever...and they almost make up for Celein Dion and Shania Twain.

3. Umbrellas -- Sleeping at Last
read about this group in Cold Tangerines by shauna niequest, which is a book i love even more than this band.

4.When Doves Cry -- the Be Good Tanyas
yes, that when doves cry. just listen, you will be surprised.

5. By your Side - Tenth Avenue North
ok, I'll admit it.... I don't like most Christian music...but this song is GOOD.

6. Need you Now - Lady Antebellum
blame all the radio play for this choice, but I just like it

7. Soul Sister - Train
(see #6) I'm still hooked on Meet Virginia.

8. I Know You Know - The Friendly Indians
This is the theme song for Psych.....which just started a new season. This song and this show and Shawn and Gus can always put a smile on my face.

9. Chicken Fried - The Zach Brown Band
I can't explain this choice only that I love it and I always run faster when it comes on my ipod.

10. When I Dream of Michealangelo -- Counting Crows.
It has rained for about the last week. And next week it is supposed to rain some more.
Nothing compliments wet and dreary like Counting Crows. what song is stuck in your head this week?


For the last few weeks in class I have been teaching about circles.
No, I don't teach math.....but physics.....which I guess is close enough.
We have spent the last few weeks on centripetal force and torque and the likes. My head has been spinning on pretty much a million other subjects.

Today, I met my friend Beth at Panera.
And we ordered coffee and we talked about friendships and careers and babies and fiber and loss and secrets and sex and coffee and music and friendships and careers and babies and fasting and loss and friendships and futures and husbands and sisters and hope and friendships and jesus and facebook and blogs and bagels and friendships....
and well i think you get the idea.
we jumped in and out of topics and back in again seamlessly.
Suddenly I looked down and it was two and half hours later and we had made lots of loops.

And there is no magic formula for good conversation but I am pretty sure it involves coffee and plenty of circles.

lost and broken

I mean this title literally.

Lost: my wallet.

Broken: my laptop (and our one and only home computer).