Saturday, December 19, 2009

"...she was counted too"

There are moments with my kids that sneak up unexpected-like on an ordinary day and parade by with a slight wave or a faint smile of acknowledgment. Then, if I am fortunate, they wake me up early so that I will savor them. This one woke me today.

El got a letter yesterday from Margaret, her eight year old sponsored child in Kenya. Margaret's letters are dictated so this one is filled with quotations. "She says" this and "she asks" that and in the end, "Bye, bye and God bless you," she concludes.

This part - "She informs you that in Kenya last month there was a census where people were counted and she was counted too. "Have you ever heard of a census?" she asks." - got the biggest 'awww' from El and prompted her to write back immediately. El told Margaret that she first learned of censuses when he learned the story about Jesus' birth. She told her she was glad that Margaret was counted in the census.

So sweet. She was really saying that Margaret matters to her.

She counts.

Grateful #257

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Indignities of the Day

"And now...Indignities of the Day! Brought to you by your sponsor, Perry Menno Pause. What do you have for us today, Perry?"

"Well, Stefanie, first someone - we would never say who - won't be able to see that pesky chin whisker due to their failing eyesight! They'll have to tweezer that bugger by feel!"

"OK, I'm sure they can handle that, that's nothing new."

"There's more! Once they yank it out and hold it at arms length so they can see it, they'll find that it's THAT color."

"THAT color, oh no!"

"Yes, Stefanie, and to further make their day undignified, they won't be able to remember if THAT color is spelled with an 'e' or an 'a'!"

"Thank you, Perry! Thank you!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Harley, you've been talkin' for a thousand miles!

I started writing this a month ago, and left it in draft because it wasn't going anywhere. Perhaps it hasn't gone anywhere yet, but I feel a need to complete something, even if it's just a bunch of related/disjointed thoughts.

***

I'd bet our family has spent more than the average amount of time in the car. Our extended road trips are a result, some would say punishment, for moving so far away from family. One of our first long trips was Utah to Iowa and back when the girls were four and two years old.

It may help to interject here and now that both girls were early talkers. I know that everyone thinks their kids are the smartest ever, the most highly advanced, blah, blah, and blah. But really, our kids started talking early. Mo's first word came at nine months when the 'b' sound she was experimenting with became 'b' words. Ball, button, balloon, bottle, baby - 'bah', 'buh-n', 'buh-nnn', 'ba', 'beh'. I counted her words on her first birthday, and the more than one hundred words in her vocabulary included strawberry and butterfly. ('BAH-deh-lee-deh-lee' and 'BUH--deh-lee-deh-lee'. They count. Yes, they do.) El's trajectory was similar to that point, though not as diligently documented since she is second.

Maybe all those 'b' words should have been a warning bell, a beam lighting futurity. I come from a quiet family. In my memory, dinners were often silent until I grew weary of only hearing silverware clicking on plates and faint eating noises and did something about it. I was the youngest, so there must have been noisier times in our home, but many of my memories begin about the time my older siblings reached the sullen, silent teenager phase. I had, for the most part, control of the noise level for a considerable number of years. I liked it that way.

***

The ramble above was a result of what follows.

Steve just looked over our phone bill. Keep in mind we were gone for ten days in Italy.

Texts sent last month:
Me: 31
Steve: 102
Mo: 241
El: 2118

Assuming that the bill is for around 20 days, that's further proof El talks nearly 70 times more than I do and close to 10 times more than her sister.

And Steve talks three times as much as me.

***

We've started a new Bible study at church, and this one is about the tongue. Someone brought up the 'fact' that women speak 3 times or 4 times or however many times more words in a day than men do. Familiar with that theory? It does not hold true with Steve and I. I even said so, out loud, but I don't think I was heard. I am most often the silent one. Not always, but often. In some ways my silence is my defense against saying something I will later regret. In spite of the fact that I am quiet by nature, I am still quite practiced in speaking, then thinking. This study should be good.

***

When we were in Iowa, on that road trip when the girls were four and two, my mom gave El a Happy Meal toy to play with. Pluto (or Goofy?) was on a little boat and a big blue fish was wound up to the end of the boat by a string. Pull - I can't think of a good sound for that - the fish, and whirr, the fish went back to the boat.

The drive home, for me, is characterized by two things:

PULLLLLL
WHIRRRRRR
PULLLLLL
WHIRRRRRR
PULLLLLL
WHIRRRRRR

And:

Steve, as we neared Roundaboutthemiddleofnowhere, Wyoming quoted Jimmy Stewart in The Cheyenne Social Club: Harley, you've been talkin' for a thousand miles!


***



Some journeys require a lot of miles and a lot of words. You can quote me on that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Choices

You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
You have reached us during a high call volume.
If you would like to leave a message please press one,
or please continue to hold.
Please hold.
We are answering calls in the order received.
Please remain on the line.
We'll be right with you.
We welcome this opportunity to serve you.
Someone will be speaking with you momentarily.
RINNNNGGGGG!
RINNNNGGGGG!
RINNNNGGGGG!
Dr. Someone and Someone Else's office, can you please hold?

(Sure.)

Your call is very important to us.
Please stay on the line....
...
...
...

Elie is sick. Steve lit up her throat with a flashlight and pronounced, "STREP!"

I make the call.
I am on hold.
I need something to do.
I make two right eared phone calls while the home phone asks my left ear to make a choice.
While hunting and pecking.
I am woman, see me multi-task.

After twenty minutes of the above, we have an appointment.

I congratulate myself for making the right choice.

Now, how to stop the annoying phone music in my head?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

256th Grateful, and more on our trip

is at Steve's blog.

We're home.

Last minute packing, Naples, Rome, Newark, and then driving home took about 20 hours. We all went to sleep shortly after 8 pm yesterday and we were all awake by 5 am. How often are our two teenagers awake by 5 without having set their alarms? Only once. Today. So we had a Jetlag Party. I made my first (lame) attempt at cappucino and we had Nutella on toast. We laughed as we remembered the funny things we said and heard and saw over the last 10 days.

I'm thankful we got to go to Italy together, that the seminars went well, and that our families enjoyed each other so much.