Monday, April 28, 2008

medical update

Thanks everyone so much for keeping my family in your prayers. Sean's surgery went great. They took out all the old hardware (the screws and metal plates that held his shoulder together after he broke his clavicle a while back). They thought they would have to file the bone and do some other painful stuff...but they didn't have to! So his recovery should be faster and less painful.
More amazingly, my time in the waiting room with my parents went absolutely stunning. Better than I could ever have expected. I actually got them to laugh...I read them my blog about the grandparents. It was a nice relief.
I am so grateful.

BY the way...while we were driving to Dallas. I saw a billboard for a strip club called "Peppermint Rhino." I thought. That is an oddity. Why rhinos? Why a peppermint one?

my multifarious weekend...

...ends with a new addition to my vocabulary. Maybe Nick and Courtney know this word, "multifarious," because they've been studying for the GRE. I discovered it today. Multifarious is having many varied parts or aspects. That describes my weekend perfectly. Let me break it down for you.

Friday night: Arrive at my mom's house. She is not there. However, my 18 year old brother and 20 other members of his high school are. They are having a small party in the backyard. The teenage girls are screaming shrilly every minute or so...probably some dense web of high school flirtation being played out within my earshot. I just know it is extremely annoying. All these girls seem to be shallower than a puddle (and by the way...very "pretty"...if perfect blonde hair...and thin...and wearing juicy your style). My respect for my brother is plummeting quickly. I overhear a thickly "valley-girl" accented voice tell the shocking news that "so-and-so is an atheist!" and watched the registered shock hit the other girls faces. How much damage will these girls do to the name of "Chrisitan?" I shiver to wonder at it.

Saturday morning: 6AM wake up. entirely too early. My sister and a friend from OU are competing in the "Old College Tri," a local triathlon. I'm to be their photographer. Kara, the friend, is very nervous because she has never done a triathlon before. I would have been nervous too. 300 meters of swimming, 13 miles of biking, and 3 miles of running. basically 5 hours of non-stop gut-wrenching exercisers. Your surrounded by major muscles and super fit people, that make you feel in comparison like jello jigglers. Yet, I had a good time. This was more of an amateur contest. My sister and I (after she finished....wonder woman that she is) stood about 400 meters from the finish line and cheered/whooped everyone as they slowly sauntered along. That was a blast! Darby teared up...she thinks its really precious to see them get some energy from the cheers.

Saturday evening: Visit with old youth minister! And she is going to support me for France! Then I went to the Village Church with her. Oh it was a wonderful respite from the dry crunchy church environment out in east Texas. It was a nice glass of cold water.

Saturday night: Teach my grandmother how to use a DVD player. Have to explain to her that the menu display is not the movie playing.

Sunday morning: attend the 39ers Sunday School with my grandmother. 39ers seems to describe the year that the members of this class were born. although my grandmother was born in the 20's. so maybe they were older. they certainly were a wrinkly, well-dressed, old bunch. They were lovely, of course, and I gleaned wisdom from their slowly spoken exchanges. At one point the withered teacher asked if anyone knew a certain fact...and another old grandpa stuttered..."why don't we google it?" WoW! I am impressed, they all knew how to google?

AND I actually sat in front of Mel Brewer, founder of Sky Ranch, in the church service. He wore a faded banana-yellow leisure suit. Shook my hand and was very glad to see me. He is so cute!

Sunday afternoon: visit my other grandparents. Peep and Pop. Pop always cooks something extravagant when I come over. Even though he can hardly walk. This time it was crawfish étouffée. He can't chop things anymore...really he can only stir the cauldron of cajun goo. So Peep and I were running around to do his culinary bidding. Cut this, Peep. Open this, Shannon. Hand me the green chiles. One of the most important aspects of this dish...the ingredient that really makes it the roux, a mixture of fat (esp. butter) and flour used in making sauces. Anyway, my Pop is obsessive about his roux. He and Peep continually antagonize each other in comic exchanges as they scurry about. (or really Peep scurries and Pop sits on his chair...stirring above the oven).

Pop: Aren't you finished cutting the onions, yet. Hurry up!
Peep: I can't hurry! If I went any faster I would cut my finger!
Pop: Oh don't do that. It would ruin my roux.
Peep: I'm not talking to you anymore today.
(5 seconds later)
Peep: What time is it?
Pop: I'm not going to tell you.

Later that night he called her his "sweetie-cutie." They are a pair.

Monday at butt-crack of dawn: Could anything more random happen this weekend? ...I ponder in a surgery waiting room...while my brother goes under the knife.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I have three giant boxes full to the brim with old National Geographic magazines. The most recent issue is over twenty years I relish in 1970’s advertisements. I often chuckle to myself when I spy an old car, a past king of luxury. Or ads for technology, in a world where computers were the size of an entire room and barely accessible to the normal joe. I actually should spend the cash and buy a year long subscription, now, in the present age. Yet, I am having so much fun peeking through these old journals. I have barely plumbed the depths of articles and pictures. The boxes were a gift from my grandmother, Peep (that is her grandmother name. I’m the oldest grandchild and somehow my toddler mind decided that “Peep” was the only name for her. It may have had something to do with the fact that she always poked my nose and said, “PEEP.”)
This sultry evening (thunder echoes in billowing waves...first closer) I’ve been reading from a 1980 edition of National Geographic. First, I read an article about water. Since I teach a class about Limnology (the study of fresh water) at Sky Ranch, I found the article very informative. I know I need to remember that it might be out of date...but I found the data about the Colorado River to be shockingly up to date with an episode of Planet Earth. The mighty river doesn’t manage to trickle into the Pacific Ocean some years. Too much of its water is pumped into our thirsty western lands. Even in 1980, the river was reduced to a trickle by the time it reached Mexico. I also read about Hans Christian Anderson, an ancient Mayan civilization, and the city of Milwaukee.
I was focused to such an extent that the contents of my tea cup, long forgotten, were frosty (or so it seemed). I could hear music echoing (along with the thunder) from my computer in the living room. The song: Ramblin Man’ by the Allman Brothers Band. As the lyrics wound their way into my room...”Lord I was born a ramblin’ man...” I heard in it a kindred realization. and felt this overwhelming hunger. A need to “ramble” somewhere. I am so tired of living a routine of work, even though I do enjoy my job, tons!
The first flash of lightning interrupted my typing. The thunder is now growing monumental. It adds excitement to my current small town life. I truly feel that I am a rambling woman. I haven’t been able to stay in one place for more that two years, since I graduated high school. I adore travel. I adore picking up and starting over. There is something so exciting about packing. I love choosing a favorite shirt to travel in. When I buy a piece of clothing I think in terms well does this pack in a suitcase. Could I wear it on a mountain?
I like to surround myself with items from different places. In Mexico, at a small town mercado. I bought a bright yellow “moomoo;” you know, those old lady bag-like dresses. The abuela that sold her wares, stroked the fabric with her weathered hands, and assured me, “Hecho de mano.” Made with her hands. I couldn’t leave it behind. The treasured moomoo hangs over my closet door. A bright hand-woven beacon of a distant place and a remarkable old lady. It hangs there, a decoration. Feeding my longing to go somewhere again.
I know that I don’t have long to wait. I leave for France in two months. Yet, tonight, those two months become two eons. The phrase “I can’t wait.” Literally, resonates throughout my being. I want to go....I want to go...I want to go

Sunday, April 20, 2008

a nice place to stroll

I have recently discovered a wonderful place to walk or bike around. The Mineola nature preserve. In a town, where the store fronts turn dark and lock their doors at 5pm, and restaurants remain open only a few hours longer. (not to mention the lack of funds in my pocket book) I find myself searching for things to do, quite frequently. One of my searches lead me to the preserve. The Sabine River flows through this little sanctuary, or rather flows over. Its flooded banks wind through the trees and make the forest floor look like it's made of glass. As far as you can look, the woods grow up through a watery forest floor. My Pop (grandfather) told me a story once. When he was a boy in the 1930's, the woods around their cabin in Pennsylvania flooded and then an unusually late and shockingly cold spring freeze turned the woods into arctic playland. He and his sisters tied blades to their feet and ice-skated through the trees and ice clothed leaves. I watch his face when he tells me this story and I can see in his eyes: gliding through the frozen forest is one of his happiest memories. It must have been stunning. so out of the ordinary. like a tall tale. Could this really be happening? I plan to borrow some rubber boots (the ones that reach up above your knees) and splash my way through the woods sometime soon. The water is no more than 6-8 inches deep. I was going to invent a new recreational activity...hydro-biking. And try to bike through the water covered bike path. A friend pointed out that wouldn't be a wise option for bike chains. The rubber boot option sounds like a good romp, though.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

discussion about a topic that is talked to death: Leadership

One of the leaders at my work just came up to me.
Clinton: “Shannon, I need you to work an hour (later than scheduled) tomorrow. Which would you prefer to work? 4-5pm or 5-6pm?”
Hmmmm. Let me think. Of course, I picked the earlier option. I had plans for the afternoon that included a bike and a rocky dirt trail at a nearby park. Then I heard my boss talking to himself as he walked away.
“Good, I’ll work from 5-6.”
Immediately, I wished I had picked the later time.
‘Wait! I will work from 5-6,” I called after him.
Yet, he insisted. He would work the later shift.
He didn’t have to ask me. He is in charge of the schedule and could have assigned me a time. But he did ask.
I think all of the staff I work with would undoubtedly agree. That Clinton is a great leader.
None of us would quail from completing a task he asked us to do. We can trust his character and know that he is the one who never shirks from doing a job harder than the one he is asking us to do. I have seen his selflessness numerous times. He has earned my respect as a leader.

I think respect is important for a leader. I have a hard time submitting to a leader I don’t respect. In fact, my behavior turns downright rebellious.
What I’m trying to if this tendency is a good or bad thing.

In some ways, I think it is a bad thing. There are authority figures in our lives that we should follow. If we don’t want to loose our job, we need to adhere to the orders of our boss. When we were teenagers (I can’t believe I am admitting this now) we needed to listen to our parents. Most hormonal teenagers aren’t the best judges of authority. With a few exceptions, our parents really did know that being home the night before a test was better than staying out until 2 am. Even if I was just innocently spending time with my friends.

Some institutions/occupations (dangerous jobs, fireman, police men, armies, I guess) can’t function without rigid rules and complete submission to authority without question. Lives hang in the balance. One miss-step could lead to disaster. I can only wonder...
who would want to be in that leadership position?

Civil War generals decided which regiments marched into the face of enemy muskets first. Those men would march their last step. Would they take those orders without a whole-hearted respect for their general? If their general displayed laziness, or never kept his details straight, would they have followed the order? Maybe this is a bad example, because they really didn’t have a choice. Leaving the field of battle without authorization meant receiving a bullet for desertion. I guess...the “cause’’ of the war factors into a battle situation and not just the leader. So perhaps I digress. But I’m sure a respected general’s troops were more productive.

Back to the main subject.

Is respect a requirement for a leader? Or am I totally wrong when I grow rebellious?

Questions I have pondered this week...due to a discussion with a which we did not agree. What do you think?

As an ending note... the respect I have for a friend is different than that for a leader. Leaders must earn a more demanding respect than people I love to hang out with!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Setting out...

am I joining the popular trend of blogging that is circulating around our office? of course. I am a band wagon jumper, apparently. and of course, I shall refuse to use proper grammar. especially, proper punctuation. or complete sentences. because I like short choppy monologue. I am joining the rabble. of blogging. I like rabbles. I looked it up. I guess that sometimes the word could have a bad connotation ("disorderly mob"). but another definition is "ordinary people." I want to join them. the millions of brilliant minds that perhaps shall never be famous or grace the surface of a television screen or hear their words quoted by generations to come. instead they log them in digital history in online blogs. great stuff. great stories. imaginative. comical. all by "ordinary" minds.

then again. maybe they will become famous. and millionaires. that would be great.

I know that I have had a spectacular evening. and I probably could not relate with human words (maybe if I was a poet, I could) how much I enjoyed my bike ride through a twilight stricken swamp in east texas along the Sabine River wet lands. Or how delicious my turkey artichoke pannini was...slowing savoring each taste as I sunk in a giant leather chair next to a stone fireplace. fire radiating heat while it danced. or how much I loved talking to an old acquaintance on the phone. and remembering our memories. or how much I love driving with my windows down. on a warmish cool night. with great music. or how much I laughed at an extremely awkward and long anticipated episode of the Office. or how funny my friend's dog looked while I rubbed her ears. or how much i love my new old hat...from the thrift store...that may have once belonged to a very old gentleman.

so it has begun...I have a blog. and i have less hours of sleep tonight. than i originally intended