Category Archives: family

That would be Season for Caring

I referred to the Statesman’s holiday campaign as Season of Giving, but it’s actually Season for Caring. The family from my church is the one whose last name begins with M*. If you click on the above link, you can see the video they filmed during church. I’m glad to say that I’m not in it. My mom makes an appearance, however.

I hadn’t mentioned on here, but the day before Thanksgiving, C. (the mom) asked me to take her to the grocery store. It was a madhouse, but amazingly, HEB had enough cashiers so that we made it through the line very quickly. I think that’s the first time I’ve gone to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving; when we were little, my great-uncle used to take Leah and I to the grocery store to buy a treat (and any extra supplies) on Thanksgiving. There was never a crowd then.

Anyway, the family is worthy of any help that comes their way. The church is still working to get her husband brought over from Africa. It was looking promising for a bit; Doggett’s office was working on it. But I haven’t heard anything about it in a couple weeks, so I’m just not sure what that means.

*For privacy reasons, I’m not spelling out their names. Another note – they were nominated by Catholic Charities, but attend my church (which is Presbyterian).

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Restful Thanksgiving weekend

After the other crazy-busy weekends I have had this month, I was so happy not to have much planned for the long weekend. I finally watched the DVD of Talk to Me that I’d had out from Netflix for half a month. Saturday was yucky weather-wise, so I spent the whole day at home. It was wonderful.

The only plans I had were for Thanksgiving day and yesterday: to eat with family and friends on Thursday, and go to church and take the youth to ARCH yesterday. And so I did.

I hadn’t volunteered at ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless) before. We walked over from the church around 5:45 and were back at church by 7:50pm. We served a fish and chips meal, with veggies on the side. I was afraid that there were too many of us (this after I had been worried there wouldn’t be enough of us), but there was something for everyone to do. I served the chips, some of which we had helped prepare. This was one of the best volunteer/mission jobs I’ve done; the kids loved it, it was so easy, and we got to see up close the people we were helping.

So we’ll probably be doing that again in the Spring.

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One of my favorite authors has died.

When Leah and I were very, very small, my mom used to read to us from A Wrinkle in Time. All the tesseract stuff was over my head as a 6 year old, but I loved the story of a girl and her genius brother searching for their father. I went on to read any L’Engle book I could get my hands on: Many Waters, An Acceptable Time, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, etc.

In college, I re-read A Wrinkle in Time, and it still touched me. I actually handwrote a fan letter to Madeleine L’Engle (one of the three fan letters I’ve ever written in my life), and got a Christmas letter from her that year, with the handwritten addition: “Elizabeth – Thank you for your lovely note.”

She’s just one of those authors that I thought would always be around, even though I knew she was getting up there in years. I’m so gobsmacked. I probably won’t be very productive the rest of the afternoon at work. . .

[Madeleine L’Engle, Children’s Writer, Is Dead]

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Farewell, Pavarotti

I called my dad this morning when I saw the top story on BBC World News – that Pavarotti had died. I almost feel like a family friend has died, one that I knew better when I was younger and I had lost touch with in recent years. I’m sad, but given the state his health was in recently (not very good), I think his death was less of a surprise.

I won’t go so far to say that Pavarotti was the best tenor ever, but I do appreciate the way he took his voice to the masses. In more recent years he had been having vocal problems, and his voice wasn’t comparable to what it had been in the ’70s. Check this scene out from La Boheme and hear the amazing clarity and powerful sound he had back then.

While I love his version of “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot, I think his performance of Schubert’s “Ave Maria” will always have a special place in my heart – most likely because of that special he filmed in the 1980s with the Vienna Boys Choir that PBS used to show every Christmas. I can’t find a clip of that performance, so this will have to do . . . even though it isn’t the same.

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Longest. Memorial service. Ever.

This weekend I attended a memorial service for a pleasant fellow who had attended my old church. Going to the service reminded me of all the reasons I don’t attend that church anymore. The service included a sermon, 5 remembrances, a Psalter, at least two really long prayers, and communion (among all the other high church aspects that this church sticks with). Past hour one, I started getting antsy. I actually texted Leah during the service (I know, awful) because I couldn’t voice my frustration any other way after an hour and 20 minutes: “Omg the service is still going”. The family friend I was sitting next to, who is going into 9th grade this year, tried to peer over and read what I was saying. He probably saw it. I’m not ashamed. I am just disappointed, and almost disgusted. The service seemed to be a way for the preacher to show off for a congregation audience instead of truly celebrating the long and full life of the dead.

I was glad I was there to hear the remembrances from his family and friends, but that’s really it.

I saw one of the librarians from my favorite library there and wanted to catch him afterwards, but he left about an hour and a half in. I mean, one can only take so much.

All in all, the service was 2 hours long. I’m afraid I’ll remember this service for all the wrong reasons now. . . and I don’t think I’m ever going back to that church for another service. It’s just so sad in the end, isn’t it?

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Swimming at Dottie Jordan

Yesterday at church, N. (one of the girlies) cornered me on the stairs and asked me to take her to the pool that afternoon. She said that they usually get to swim in her class at day-camp, but that because of some bad-behaved kids, they didn’t get to swim this week.

So my sister and I ended up at Dottie Jordan pool around 3ish with one girl who had to stay in the baby pool, a girl who can’t swim well enough by herself yet in the big pool, and the oldest girl who swims like a fish. We hadn’t swum at Dottie Jordan before. We expected it to be as amass of swimmers as Bartholomew used to be . . . back when we were younger and still frequented public pools.

But it really wasn’t. There were a number of people there, but it wasn’t overly crowded. We had room to splash and play. Leah swam with the two girls in the big pool while I sat on the side of the baby pool with S., the youngest. Small groups/families came and went from the pool while we were there, letting S. use their floaties, their kids playing with each other.

At one point in the afternoon, N. told me, “If you’re not too busy, you could take us every Saturday!” Later on, Leah and I told her that we would definitely take them again (in a couple weeks). After swimming with the older girls, Leah was worn out, and just dealing with small children is a bit wearing in itself. But the girlies are so sweet, silly and fun. Before next time, we’re going to buy some arm-floaties for S., and maybe some noodles if they want to come swim in our pool. And next time, I’m swimming.

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Open window policy

Last week I took a co-worker to pick up her car at the shop and on the way we stopped at Wendy’s. After we paid for the food, I tried rolling my window back up. It stuck hard, and was pretty hesitant, until I really pushed it so it finally went up.

Then, given the busy week I had, I forgot about it.

Saturday morning Leah and I planned to go to the credit union and then on to Einstein’s Bagels for breakfast. At the credit union they are celebrating the merger of some smaller credit union with UFCU, or something to that effect. Employees are walking around the drive-thru, handing out bottled water and car air-fresheners.

As soon as I’m done with the drive-thru, I try rolling up my window, and this time, there’s no moving the handle. When I finally do force it, I hear a click of breakage. The window is stuck open, dark clouds are looming, and I’m hungry. Continue reading

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