Thursday, October 27, 2005

painting dreams

This weekend I get to paint.


Dad has a new house that needs painting and since I'm the resident painter, I get the job. So this weekend I get to drive up to WY to paint all weekend. So much for enjoying my hour that we get back this weekend.

It also means that I get to drive to WY in the middle of the night with Vicky. Joy of all joys.

Painting is not my idea of a way to spend a weekend, but if it gets dad moved into his house, then I'm up for it.

So, who wants to feed my cat this weekend??

Monday, October 24, 2005

hugs around the world

As mentioned in my last post, last week we had about 400 international staff in the Springs for our Global Conference. Every time I am fortunate enough to have cross-cultural experiences with our staff I am reminded that humanity is the same all over the globe. Just some of it is better than the rest.

Take hugging. Hugging is one of those things that you either love or hate. Some cultures are more prone to it than others. American's tend to fall in the middle. We hug but it's not our strongest interpersonal skill.

I've been told I'm a good hugger. Not one that hangs limp arms around your shoulders. I'm a strong hugger that isn't afraid to squeeze, especially if you are a great friend, if you (or I) look like you need a hug and if you ask for one. I thought I knew how to hug well. Then I meet George.

George is from Kenya but currently working in Burkina Faso. He is about my height, maybe an inch or two taller (I'm 5 foot 4 inches for the uninformed), and not skinny but not massive either. He doesn't appear to be of great strength. He sat with me at dinner on Thursday and we chatted. After dinner, as we were all preparing to leave, he went to give me a hug.

He about squeezed all the air out of me, not to mention he somehow lifted me off my feet.

That was a hug!

I saw him again Friday afternoon and wanted to wish him a good trip home. Again, he gave me a hug. I think I know now what it would be to be picked up and hugged by a gorilla. They aren't tall but they are strong, even if they appear gentle and unassuming.

If I forget every other hug I've ever received, I think I'll remember this one. It was amazing, warm, strong, and everything a hug should be.

If you ever need a hug, let me know. I'm taking lessons from George!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

international shopping brooha

They say you haven't shopped until you do so in a country not your own.

Well, I say you haven't shopped until you have escorted someone from another country through your familiar shopping grounds.

This last week I had the chance to take my four Peruvian friends shopping here in the Springs. What a blast! I have a new appreciation on how we act in their markets and shops after watching my friends in our stores.

First, they wanted to go to a thrift store, so we headed to GoodWill. They ran like children into the store, anxious to see what treasures awaited. They sorted through children's clothing to take home, stuffed animals, books and kicknacks (but they did not buy knicknacks).

Then we went to the mall where the first big challenge was explaining salad dressing to my friend Jose. Our visiting staff know English but some things are easier to explain and grasp than others. After dinner, we started in search of a toy store or doll shop. Along the way, I kept losing one or more of my party into various shops. I was a nervous wreck. While I know our malls are very safe (especially the one we were at) and that there were no crowds, I didn't want to lose one of my friends or having something happen to them.

Finally, we went through Borders (large bookstore for the uninformed). It was the release day for Wess Stafford's book (he Compassion's president) and we thought we would see if they had it. So my four Peruvian friends walk in and accost the staff with "We want Too Small to Ignore by Wess."

Not, by Wess Stafford.

Not, by Dr. Wesley K. Stafford.

Not by Dr. Wesley K. Stafford and Dean Merrill.

Just by Wess.

I was laughing so hard it took a few moments before I could help finish the author's name for the very confused staff.

Sadly, they didn't have it yet. But we made a big enough stink that they hopefully have it out now. I'll be going back in a day or so to check.

After that I took them back to the hotel to catch some z's before the next day's meetings and events. I think they enjoyed their shopping trip. I'm glad I was able to help them like they have helped me when I've visited their country.

And next time you see a shopper that seems a bit confused and has an accent, be kind to them, they may be shopping in a country other than their own. We look pretty silly to them when we go visiting and shopping in their homelands as well!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

herding cats

No, this has nothing to do with my previous post (but I still miss 007, and his brother really misses him which is hard to watch). Rather, it has to do with the month of November and National Novel Writing Month.

You see, each region has an appointed leader, the Municipal Liaison. And this year, they opened it up for each region to have two. Guess who was asked to be the second leader... me.

There is a forum just for ML's and it's tag lines says that leading writers is like herding cats. I would say it's more like teaching preschool. For some unknown reason, trouble started cropping up just when I get ML standing. Someone doesn't like the language someone else is using, why do we have to have the kids in our group (NaNo is open to 13 and up and CS has several high schoolers signed up) and so on.

I met with our head ML yesterday to plan our kick-off party and she was shocked and relieved when I said I was fine in laying down some ground rules for our write in meetings. She hasn't felt like she could put her foot down before (she's one of those really nice people who cares a lot). Thankfully she has me this year, the mean, don't care, do what's right and don't feel bad about it person.

So if you don't see much of me for the next month and a half, don't panic. I'm just writing my novel, putting temperamental writers into their corners and getting everyone to play nice.

And thanks to Tara and Emily for commenting on the last post, it meant a lot to me.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Because I'm crying too much to say anything else...

Putting Down the Cat

by Billy Collins

The assistant holds her on the table,
the fur hanging limp from her tiny skeleton,
and the veterinarian raises the needle of fluid
which will put the line through her ninth life.

"Painless," he reassures me, "like counting
backwards from a hundred," but I want to tell him
that our poor cat cannot count at all,
much less to a hundred, much less backwards.

Goodbye to our old friend. I miss you already.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

did you miss me

I've been "out" for a few days. Life has just got a bit busy, work crazy and I've been tired. Sorry if I wasn't here to provide you with fresh with on a regular basis.

As I mentioned in my last post, it's that time of year again when I write a novel. I can't wait. This year I'm a co-ML (Municipal Liaison) which means I have to be very adult and responsible and go to all the activities.

Last night, Miss Pottenger and Dara and I went to see Serenity. It was great, funny and well worth the Friday night ticket price.

Today I've made a half-hearted attempt at cleaning. With dad moving (he bought the house yesterday) I need to clean up just a bit. So when the movers come in they are frightened and we have a place to store the stuff that is being left behind.

I'm planning on going to my first hockey game in November as well. For his birthday I gave Jake (my eight year old, sports fanatic friend) a promise to go to a hockey game. So now he asks me about it every weekend. Cute kid.

Okay, that's my update. Maybe I'll have a wonderful encounter this afternoon that will be worthy of writing about. How's that for leaving you in anticipation?

Monday, October 03, 2005

in the lovely month of

Yes, it's almost time again.

November is almost here. And that means total insanity as I write at least 50,000 on a new novel starting on Nov. 1 and finishing on Nov. 30.

And I am so excited because I have the best idea now for this year's novel.

I'll tell you more about it when I have time (or maybe not, I don't want to kill my creative jucies by saying too much just yet). But I am looking forward to another year of NaNoWriMo (that is National Novel Writing Month for those who are unaware).

And if you want to join, you should give it a try. Visit their site here. You can't sign up for another day or so due to technical troubles, but soon!!!