Sunday, February 28, 2010


Is this normal? My wife has this ability -- she KNOWS stuff. Stuff about her family. Mostly that stuff has to do with changes in personal circumstances. And those changes often -- although not always -- have to do with movement. For instance, say I'm out running errands, going to the post office, the grocery store, Walmart (I should have my paycheck direct deposited to Walmart). If she's not up when I leave the house, I leave a note saying where I'm going and when I left. I CANNOT TELL YOU  how many times I have been gone for a couple of hours, am finally heading home, turn onto the road to our home or into our driveway, and my cell phone rings. It's her, and her first question is, "Where are you?" I CANNOT TELL YOU how many times I have driven home from work in Santa Fe, turned onto our road or into our driveway, and gotten "the call."
Before our daughter and then our son went off to college, they went through the same thing. Frequently. Pull into the driveway and get "the call." When they were in college, one in Kentucky, the other in Arkansas, the same thing would happen. Maybe no phone call for a couple of days, Mom didn't know where they were or what they were doing, but as soon as they pulled into the campus or up to the dorm, they got "the call." "Where are you?"
Now they're both out of college, married, out on their own. Mom still knows stuff. Might not be when they pull into their driveways, but it will be other stuff. It's not always about movement, particularly with the kids. Something changes and Mom knows.
In our family we call it "Momdar." Like radar, she is always sending out signals, bouncing waves off the cosmos or something (ooh, that sound pretty New Agey, doesn't it?), and getting signals and waves bounced back. Then she knows stuff.
Is that normal? 

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Zen of Competition

It's snowing today. So far, we have about a foot at our house and it's supposed to snow more later today. That's good! I might even take tomorrow off and go skiing.
The bad thing about this particular snowfall is that we lost our satellite TV feed because of snow on the dish. So I had to put on my Carharts and Ginger's wellies and go sweep the snow off the dish. Then I noticed that the birds were out of food, so I had to fill the feeders. Then I thought I would shovel some of the driveway. By the time I came back inside, I had missed a curling competition at the Olympics.

I love curling -- it's a very Zen competition.
Q: "How do we compete without competition?" 
A: (spoken in a hushed voice) "We push a large rock across ice, sweeping the ice so that the game becomes a unification of our lives and the rock's. Be one with the rock because the rock's journey across the ice is one with your journey in the game. You are the rock, the rock is you. As you make the rock's path across the ice, you make your own path through life."

I don't know where curling originated, although it apparently came from Europe. There seems to be an on-going debate about whether it originated in Scotland or was introduced to Scotland by continental Europeans ( Yeah, whatever. Seriously, can you see the Scots -- the people of Rob Roy and William Wallace (Braveheart) -- engaging in a quiet, contemplative, exercise in which humans carefully, thoughtfully assist a rock on its journey across a frozen pond? How about other northern Europeans? These are all people whose ancestors painted their faces blue, rubbed manure in their hair, and ate their enemies. I know -- I'm northern European by genetic heritage. We are NOT quiet, meditative, one-with-the-rock people by nature. We throw rocks. At other people. The Scottish highland games still include a competition in which large men throw really large rocks -- small boulders, really -- across a field. Sometimes, I am told, at each other. The only help that rock needs is a strong arm and back so it gets lots of speed and distance through the air. Why waste a perfectly good rock sliding it across a pond?
No, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that curling actually originated in Tibet, China, or Japan (Zen was born in the China and flourished in Japan). I can see a Zen monk needing something to keep him meditatively occupied in the winter when the sand in his garden was frozen solid and not amenable to raking. I can see the Dalai Lama (not a Zen practitioner, by the way, but the world's most well-known Buddhist) helping a rock across a frozen pond because it seems the right thing to do. I CANNOT see your everyday European becoming one with the rock in order to assist the rock in its journey, knowing that as he did, the rock would also help the man in his journey.
I am certainly not a Buddhist, Zen or otherwise. But I love curling. It helps me calm down after I jump up and down and yell at the TV during the downhill, slalom, and skier-cross races. Watching the Olympics can be so stressful. That ice dancing is aggravating my ulcer. GO CURLING! Oops -- sorry. Whispering: go curling.

Monday, February 15, 2010

An unusual personal note

Okay, most of this stuff so far has been either just plain silly or masquerading as cerebral. Two unusual personal notes:
First, we give thanks to our God that our son-in-law Brad, Meg's loving husband and the really-good father of our grandgirls Emmie and Josie, is recuperating at home after a week in the hospital in Lake Charles. Brad was admitted with a severe case of double pneumonia brought on by the-docs-are-still-trying-to-figure-that-out. That's an uncomfortable diagnosis in this age of "docs are supposed to know everything." What they did figure out is that, after several days in ICU (you can't even imagine the hospital bill), they vacuumed his lungs, removing the goo that filled them about 80% full (yep, you read that correctly), got him to breathing on his own again, and put him in a regular room where he, his mom Dianne, and his girls could have a Whodat Party while they watched his beloved Nola Saints win the Superbowl. We got to skype with him and them during the game -- what a blessing!
We are particularly grateful that his parents, Dianne and Ray, could rush over to be with him (where else would they be, of course) and to help Meg and the girls. We were about as worried about our Meg as we were about Brad, and we are so grateful to Dianne for staying around and being mom and grandmom (she's Nana to our shared grandgirls). Dianne, we don't know what Meg would have done without you. And Ray had to tend to himself while she stayed in Lake Charles -- we know he's glad to have her home!
We mobilized the prayer warriors at Faith Mountain Fellowship, our church in Red River, and the effective prayers of faithful people were very productive. They joined only-the-Lord-knows-how-many other pray-ers from Lakewood Bible Fellowship, where Brad is "Senior Archbishop His Holiness Right Reverend Pastor" (that's my title for him; the believers at Lakewood just call him Pastor Brad) and many other congregations. It is so cool to be part of the Body of Christ.
Brad remains a sick boy and his doc is watching him like a hawk, empowered by Meg (you have no idea how watchful she can be, so Brad has to be minding his ps and qs right now), but he has received God's grace and will, we are confident, continue to do so.
Brad's been putting down heavy hints that we are to come see them asap -- which we've been trying to do since before Christmas and haven't made it yet. He says they all want to see us, but a phone call from Meg this afternoon confirmed that the real issue is that they are out of posole and red chili and need a fix. Soon, God willing.
Second, and only because this was a much less acute situation than Brad's illness, we just finished enjoying Valentine's Weekend with Miles and Melissa, who drove out from Walmartville, Arkansas (aka, Bentonville) last Wednesday and left this morning. This was their first Valentine's Day as a married couple and we were so blessed that they would share it with us. Oh, and they also brought birthday presents for Ginger, whose big day is next month but they wanted to share them in person rather than by mail -- you should have seen the silly grin on her face. We would never have believed that Miles, although he has always needed to be part of a couple, could be so domestic. As near as we can tell, they just love being married. My son actually calls his wife "Lovey." Really. Miles. No, really. "Lovey." They have all the makin's of a great married couple.

We are reminded from time to time that our kids are growing into remarkable, God-loving, God-serving people. We tried as hard as we could raising them, but are completely confident that their lives are the result of God's love for them, and we are very grateful for that.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Department of Redundancy Department

At the grocery store yesterday: a sign advertising a special price for "DRIED PRUNES."
Do they cost more or less if they're not dried?

Which led to a discussion with the cashier, who pointed out that he always notices when a package from the meat department comes through: "Ground Buffalo."
He wonders if there are other kinds of buffalo, like Tree Buffalos.
I pointed out to him that Ginger saw a story on TV about a marsupial that lives in New Guinea called the Tree Kangaroo. It is a kangaroo that lives in trees. So . . . if a kangaroo can live in trees, can a buffalo . . . ?