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Sunday, May 10, 2009
Come See This Reminds Me

I launched this blog on Father's Day, 2005 as a surprise gift for Keith.  So it seems only appropriate to announce its movement four years and 62,845 hits later on Mother's Day.

We're moving to:  http://thisreminds.me  We'll be hosting thisreminds.me ourselves, which will give us a lot of flexibility and I'm hoping the ability to print, because I want a copy of the 300+ posts for the girls.   So if you're subscribed to this blog, go visit thisremindsme and subscribe yourself over there.  You'll get "read me" notices, just like before.  Or, you can just send me an email and I'll enroll you.

Why the blog title "thisreminds.me?"  After I'd been blogging a bit, I really regretted the choice of name I'd chosen.  "Woodworthfamily."  Blah.  Borrrring.  I wanted something to reflect more whom I was, and whom I wanted to be.  So this is from the "About" page on thisremindsme.   Which you need to go visit.  Right now.

Becky

Why “This Reminds Me…?” One night we were driving hopelessly in circles, trying to return a confused friend home who muttered “This reminds me…” at every seemingly familiar landmark. Eventually, she arrived home. As the most blessed of us do.

I’m wife to Keith and mom to four girls - three homegrown, and one brought home from St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2006. In fact - this picture of me was taken moments after we met her. I like it so much, it’s on my AT&T employee badge slung around my neck on a silver chain every workday.

San Antonio has been home since we moved from Houston in 2000. But - as Mercy Me sings - “Then I’ll gaze upon the throne of the King frozen in my steps, and all the questions that I swore I would ask, words just won’t come yet. So amazed at what I’ve seen so much more than this old mind can hold. When I finally make it home.”

So until I, too, finally make it home - “This reminds me…”


I won't be updating here any more.  So really - come visit thisremindsme.  And post a comment!  You know I live for them.



Posted at 11:31 am by beckyww
Comments (3)  

Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Mother(s) Earth

I don't like animals.  Period.  Which is why I surprised myself enjoying the movie "earth," to which Hannah and Julia dragged me last week.  The film followed three female-led animal families - polar bears, whales and elephants - on their annual migrations with their young.

Interestingly, predators typically attacked the youngest offspring most separated from the herd.  Visit the sidewalk near any orphanage in Eastern Europe, any bus station in the U.S. or any whacko religious gathering to confirm the life lesson there. 

I've been pondering the African elephant migration and why it moved me so much.  Mother elephants (no males) surrounded their calves in a protective, impregnable circle when lions prowled.  As long as those strong females stood shoulder to shoulder in the daylight, their young were safe.   When darkness fell - the mothers were at risk.  In fact, one was lost - with a terrified night-camera stare and frantic last-dash as the entire pride of lions chased her down.

The elephant story line really got to me.  I think I understood it because - with no dad around - I, too, was blessed with a similarly protective cadre of females.  I loved and admired my mother and even when the darkness would dim her joy from time to time, I acknowledged the still-essential "her" that would argue HISD into the ground about David's special education needs, or remind me about being inside when the street lights came on.

Judy, Mom and Me

Mom, Judy and me in 1956,  Having a sister 11 years older is a wonderful thing.  I think Julia is very, very fortunate to have Rachel nine years older than is she.  Judy always had time for me - just like Rachel has had time for Julia. 

My sister Judy always looked out for David and me - even when it was neither convenient nor realistic to expect her to do so.   Mom gave us life, but Judy taught us how to live.

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I'm sure David's one finger added a stunning harmony to Judy's melody.  That's the same piano I convinced balloon-tied David to climb atop and jump off of three times in a quest for flight - but that's another blog.

My mom was always close to her three Hoosier sisters, so I've always been close to my aunts, too.  When at age six I whined to Aunt Zum that Judy was getting all these neat gifts for graduating high school and here I was graduating kindergarten and I was getting squat - Aunt Zum sent me a can of Avon Topaz bath power with a faux "jewel" on the lid.  Heaven!   When the teenage me went shopping with Aunt Neva, she bought the expensive pair of shoes and let me have the "second pair for a penny."   Aunt Mary has decorated every home I've had with beautiful hand-painted ceramics, compensating for my peculiar lack of genteel taste.

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Sisters Oklahoma (Mary), Wyoming (Wy), Nevada (Neva) and Arizona (Zum) in 1972.  How I loved to listen to their stories of Quaker church services, moonshinin' uncles and wayward brothers.  When she was upset, I used to tease Mom by saying, "Oh, Wyoming - you're in such a state."  Now my Aunt Mary is the only sibling (of eight) still living, and I treasure our frequent phone visits.

Mom had great friends, too, like Jean - who was at the hospital the day I was born, and with whom I visit regularly online and by phone.  And Jo - who still remembers special occasions with calligraph'ed letters remarkable not only for their beauty, but also for their depth.  And friends who've gone on - Maxine, Dottie, Clara, Frannie - but not before they closed ranks around the young in their sphere of influence.  Mom's friends shared countless notes, letters, scriptures, discussions, books and words of encouragement with me - to my eternal betterment.

I was also blessed with patient Sunday School teachers, dedicated Girl Scout leaders and excellent educators.  My high school yearbook sponsor - Marilyn Dodd - saw a literary spark in me and fanned it to flame.

So I understand those wary-eyed mama elephants - shuffling nervously - trumpeting and swatting the herd's babies to keep them safe as night approached and the predators circled.  I understand keeping one eye on a dangerous world, and the other on children for whom you would die rather than sacrifice to it.  

I understand it.  I lived it.  And I am grateful to the strong circle of women who closed ranks around me.

Happy Mother's Day.  Too all who protect the young of the herd.


Posted at 06:45 pm by beckyww
Comments (8)  

Sunday, May 03, 2009
Shut De Do

When Rachel, Lois and Hannah are practicing for school or church choirs, I like them to open their bedroom doors so I can listen.  That's pure selfishness on my part.  I have nothing to contribute to their efforts.  They're 100X better than I ever was. 

When practicing "Shut De Do," Hannah was amazed I knew the song.  I had to tell her:  I used to harmonize this one in Tuesday night sings and Thursday night devos.  My friend Donnette and I sang it along with Acapella at a city-wide gathering.  Baby, I know how to "shut de do." 

So leave yours open when you practice.  Mom loves it.




Posted at 11:03 am by beckyww
Comments (7)  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Deep in the Heart of Textes

You know I contribute to an AT&T blog about working moms and cell phones?   Which the girls think is hysterical, since they are so much more techy than am I. 

But here's something even I use (though Rachel's the one who told me about it) -  Cha-Cha.  242-242, texted on your wireless phone to get answers to questions.  Last's week's CalmCoolConnected post about Cha-Cha generated numerous email questions to me, plus (at last count) 16 of the comments that I so desire.  I live for comments.  I love comments.  I want to marry comments.  So please - if you go watch this little video clip - click the "Comments" link, scroll to the bottom, and "Leave A Reply."  They're why I get up in the morning.

Here's the clip:  Learn About Cha-Cha

And here are questions I've been asked:

What's the catch?  They have to charge something.
They do.  But they charge their advertisers, not you (the textor.) 

Is it really free?  Or, as Rachel say, "Free 99!?"
As long as you have a texting plan on your phone.

Will they start spamming me with all sorts of ads?
Not according to their privacy policy.  We use cha-cha all the time and so far - no weirdness.

Who actually answers the questions?
I suspect folks in a call center far, far away.  I would not pursue "Cha-Cha Specialist" as a career choice.

Are their answers any good?
For us they have been.  I've not asked the meaning of life or anything like that.

Guess what?  I asked Cha-Cha what a penguin, boot, train, whale and piano have in common!
Me too.  And I got the same answer you did:  "Black and white."  Which tells me the puzzle must be really old, because not all boots and trains are black now.  But at least - mystery solved.  Or as solved as it's likely going to get.  Where's Nancy Drew and Nero Wolfe when you need them?

Can you call Cha-Cha?
You can call 1-800-2-cha-cha but we don't.  In fact, I'm not sure my kids would know how - you know, that whole "talking on the phone" thing they used to do.   I'm not sure Rachel, Lois or Hannah actually speak words now, other than, "I need...." and "She took...."

Is Cha-Cha 24 x 7?
They say they are but I can't verify it because I'm not.

I don't have AT&T Wireless.  Will Cha-Cha work with my service?
(sigh)  Yes.   But you should get AT&T Wireless.  And you should call or ping me so I can hook you up.  Do it now.  Operators are standing by.


I have another very handy texting trick that I'm saving for another day. You're going to want to know it.  So.....

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Posted at 07:10 pm by beckyww
Comments (5)  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Honorable Mentions

Hannah was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society tonight, as were 170 other 7th and 8th graders at Bush Middle School.   To my amazement (and gratitude), they finished in an hour.  I'm considering this a dry run for Rachel's high school graduation in June, when I'll make sure every family member has at least one book or a DS Lite with fresh batteries in-hand for the duration.  Her class has 650+ upcoming graduates.  So maybe we'll also pack water bottles and snacks.  And blankets.  And jammies.





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The scholar and her parents.  With three teenage daughters around, Keith and me, we ain't too smart right now.  Most evenings, we are totally void of any intelligence, say our progeny.  But we're a figurin' we'll get a whole lot smarter in 'bout 10 - 15 years....

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Keith usually stays home w/Julia (strict bedtime) on Wednesday nights while the older girls and I go to church.  Tonight, Rachel and Lois had to take Julia with them.  Rachel was so afraid she'd forget to run by the children's room and pick up her youngest sister that she wrote "Julia" in what she thought was erasable marker on her hand.  Well, it was a Sharpie.  Fail!  Honorable intention, though....


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Still no real answer - but some Honorable Mentions....

Speaking of "Fail" - well, I still don't have an answer to this puzzler.  Friends contributed some Honorable Mentions, but none of the answers sang to me.  Connie, Aimee and Lois R. all thought it might be the objects' ability to make sounds.  Well...they do....but dang, the boot is a stretch.  Connie and I also shared the "black and white" idea, which proves how smart she really is.  Aimee and I also pursued an oil thread.  Whales were hunted for oil, you have to oil a piano and a train, there is polishing oil for boots and it turns out even penguins have oil in them.  But why not a spouted can?  Or a dipstick?  Or Jed Clampett?  Mayme was thinking maybe they were the "largest" of something which they could be, but....  Vicki - who teaches - said based on her experience, a student's real-life answer would be "ummmm....."    Renee - always the pragmatist - questioned whether the bottom left object was really a penguin at all.

I've got a copy of this puzzler in my inbox at work and at home.  I can't file it or delete it until I've got an answer.  Just can't.  It's a matter of honor now.


Posted at 07:15 pm by beckyww
Comments (9)  

Sunday, April 19, 2009
I Wonder

I've purchased a package of 10 plastic hangers every Saturday for the last six weeks.  That's 60 hangers.  Today I yelled from the utility room, "I need hangers.  Lots of hangers."   Silence.  Then a few sputtering, "I don't have any."  "No extras in my closet." 

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I wonder where they go.  I added 60 hangers to the (undoubtedly) hundreds already in the house.

I cooked six lbs. of hamburger after lunch today (which was - surprisingly - burgers) to freeze in two-lb bags.  Most of our favorite recipes begin, "Brown two lbs. of lean ground beef" - and in the evening, there's time only to assemble, so I cook the meat ahead.  And what do I find but an empty snack box.

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I wonder who puts an empty snack box in the freezer?  I'm suspecting it's the same person who puts empty Pringles cans back in the pantry.  And leaves 1/2 of one pretzel in the jar on the counter.


Rachel and Lois have gotten me hooked on Fail Blog, which I now peruse about once a week.  Every day for two weeks, I've stared at this page from a child's workbook, wondering what a whale, piano, penguin, train and boot have in common.  At first I thought "five letter words" - whale, piano, train, oops, "penguin" and "boot" blow it.  Then I thought maybe it was some first vowel pattern, like train, penguin,  piano, boot....oops, "whale" blows it.    Then I thought color pattern - black and white piano keys, black and white penguin, black and white whale...oops, the train and boot blow it.  Then I thought "track," like maybe it's a player piano with music on a track, the boot and the penguin leave tracks, the train runs on a track..but what about the whale?  I even googled the words, and found others have posted their frustrations with deciphering the pattern.

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So what's the pattern for the bottom right box?  I am not getting it.  And it's bugging the heck out of me.  And I wonder why it bugs me so much, too.


Wishing you a wonder-ful week....and please let me know if you figure out the pattern.  Then I can go back to fretting about hangers and snack boxes.


Posted at 01:55 pm by beckyww
Comments (6)  

Thursday, April 16, 2009
Keep the Change

Just in case you were wondering what Ted Nugent sounds like when he's playing the National Anthem at the home of Texas liberty - the Alamo.

 



Keith was one of the 16,000 at the San Antonio Tea Party last night.  I would have loved to have gone, but someone had to manage the home front.   

Keith's video reminded me of when I talked my way into a press pass at 1986 San Jacinto Day festivities because I really wanted to to hear - and be near - Jerry Jeff Walker. 

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Read my lips:  #41 (to be) was there, too.


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But Jerry Jeff was da man of the hour.

That was then.  This is now.  And now it's time.  Really - it's time.

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Add hot water.  And stir.

 


Posted at 08:00 pm by beckyww
Comments (2)  

Saturday, April 11, 2009
And That Means

Easter weekend.  And that means...

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Lots and lots of cookies on Friday, with an assortment of sprinkles which - for some reason - included Batman and Sponge Bob.  Had to finish the cookies before Saturday because Saturday means....


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The church Easter Egg hunt, with three goofy, bunny-eared hiders.  While they were hiding plastic eggs (to be counted and redeemed for candy post-hunt), the little kids were busy which means....

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Learning about Jesus' last days, including the Last Supper and after which means...

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Praying the garden of Gethsemane, and writing the name of someone you pray for on a rock.  After several serious lessons are reviewed, it's time for a little fun and that means....

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Lining up for the egg hunt.  Julia has a basket but chose a plastic grocery bag because it's less likely to spill.  Get ready...get set....and that means...



Go!  Julia found a wooden egg, too, which got her a special Easter game as a surprise.  And now it's almost time to leave, and that means....

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A little parting gift for a big sister.  "Rachel - I need to show you something."  Rachel fell for it - and got a headfulla cascarones for her naievte.

So Saturday is almost over.  And that means it's time for Sunday. 


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Please, Lord, do not ever let me forget the cross and the empty grave amidst all the fun and frolic. 

Because that's what Easter really means.


Posted at 01:35 pm by beckyww
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Saturday, April 04, 2009
Serendipity Saturday

Here's some randomness on Serendipity Saturday.  Nothing relates or really makes  sense.  Sort of like real life.

You will recall my progeny dissing my 20+-year-old lipstick last year.  Today Rachel bought me a new lipstick, a gift which I accepted because my treasured lipstick case finally broke.  So I will be utterly gorgeous at church tomorrow.  Don't sit near us - I'll be such a vision of loveliness, your thoughts will not dwell on spiritual matters.



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Goodbye, old friend.  (sniff)

Rachel went to get this new lipstick in her Focus.  Which wooks a widdle Lagomorpha-like. 

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Ummmm....what's up, Doc?

Our church's Women's Ministry hosted its annual Spring Fling last night with a 50's theme.   Hannah went with me to help take pictures.  But not this one.

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Why Keith handles Driver's Ed

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Rachel worked childcare (Parent's Night Out), accompanied by her favorite assistant.  I offered to take Julia home with Hannah and me when our dinner finished at 9 p.m.  Nope.  She wanted to stay with Rachel until closing at 11 p.m.  I know where I rank.

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Keith and I have been checking online today, trying to get a sense for how the strike talks are going.  Or not.  In 1983 in Houston, we had a three-week strike, followed by Hurricane Alicia, followed by a major late-September flood....all in the midst of pre-Divestiture tasks.  I worked every day from August 7 through mid-January, with two days off:  Thanksgiving and Christmas.  If they strike this time, Keith will be working 12 x 6, but, at least at the moment, I won't have to do so.  And I am thankful.
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In 1983, I worked six days a week in my Comptrollers unit, then Sundays in Directory Assistance (DA).  This might be an ear piece I...ummm...."borrowed" from DA.  It just might be in my scrapbook, with a notation of my average call handle time of 32.8 seconds.  Eleven-year-old Sarah and her best friend Eileen spent one Sunday afternoon calling 1411 and asking for "Aunt Becky", to the tune of $100 worth of DA charges (400 calls.) 
 

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Donnette, Gaye, Kim and me (front)....when we were still energetic enough to work 12 x 7. 

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Settle....settle....settle......


Posted at 03:32 pm by beckyww
Comments (5)  

Sunday, March 29, 2009
Teacher, teacher!

Our church recognized Julia and 40 other kiddos this morning for their "Pastor's Pals" bible memory work.  With each grade level, the requirements are more stringent.  For second grade, Julia memorized the 10 Commandments, the greatest commandments and a regular verse.  When Rachel, Lois and Hannah were doing this, they always hoped the children's minister would add John 11:35 to the list of eligible verses.  Ummmm.....no.

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That's my girl - bottom row, second from the right  When I go to heaven, God's giving me her beautiful glossy hair.


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After church, the children's minister treated all the Pastor's Pals to Incredible Pizza.  Rachel, Hannah and I went along for fun.  Julia tried to act "cool" and distract me while Rachel seruptitiously salted her already over-salty mac'n'cheese, thinking Mom was too dumb to notice.  Fail!

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Rachel and Hannah demo'ed their mad hoop skills in quest for more tickets.  Rachel gaves hers to Julia, who receemed them for a ball and some manner of tongue-dying candy.  Hannah is now the proud owner of a gynormous Hannah Montana pencil.

Julia and I continue to slug away at a children's story bible every night.  She gets so excited when she recognizes a story, or relates a story to what she's heard in Sunday School.  Two weeks ago, I casually mentioned I was worried about something.  Julia immediately scolded me with, "Mom, we're not supposed to worry.  We're supposed to pray."  When we started the read the story of Jonah traveling to Ninevah via whale gut, her face lit up and she stabbed the page telling me, "Mom, I know this story, Jonah wanted to get away from the Lord, but he couldn't - because God is everywhere."  Well, yes.  Yes He is.

I know many people would scoff at Pastor's Pals and bible story books.  After all - bible story books are diluted, they're not the pure Word of God.  And why should kids be bribed/rewarded to learn scripture?  The knowledge itself should be its own reward.  And I could have argued that position, too - before I had kids.  And before I had a child that didn't hear a single bible story until she started learning English at age six.

Reality is that Pastor's Pals and bible story books are venues not only to teach Julia about God, but also to make me examine what I truly believe myself.  If my faith is so etheral and jargon-packed that I can't explain it to a child...well, then, I really don't know what I believe.   I just know the pretty words to spit up and hope no one challenges my pablum.

Julia told me at Christmas, "You are my Jesus teacher."  But she's wrong about that.  She's the one who's teaching me..


Posted at 02:18 pm by beckyww
Comments (5)  

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