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Monday, January 23, 2006
The wheels on the what?

Keith and I are now bus riders.  We are They Who Ride the Bus.

I would like to say we are riding the VIA bus 20 mi. downtown every morning because the idea occured to us in a flash of environmental brilliance at our last "Save The Whales*" conference, or when we huddled around a campfire, whining "Kumbaya" with the Sierra Club.  Alas, our motivations are economic.  We're saving $40/month in parking, $6 - $9 daily in gasoline plus vehicle depreciation - all for the cost of two $20 bus passes we can buy with pre-tax dollars, plus, of course, we're throwing in a bucket of flexibility.


All Aboard the #6 Express At O'Dark:30

Rachel - never one to confuse frugality with fashion - sniffed to a group of her church friends that her parents rode the bus, "just like ghetto people."

While we joggle down 281 toward the mighty McCullough towers, I mostly read novels, or sleep, or listen to my Rio.  Keith mostly huddles behind the paper, shuffles through work stuff, or - if he doesn't have something interesting to peruse - tries to keep me from reading. 

We've ridden for about two months, and I'm now branding many of our fellow passengers.  There's "Bosomy Blonde Woman with the Starbucks" who always boards before us.  She's generally across from "Hospital Worker with Blue Sweater Who Sleeps."   Always sitting ramrod straight by the back door, there's "Secretary with Hair Bun and Tote Bag."  Lately we've been enjoying - or at least hearing - the rather loud one-way conversations of "Mr. Grew Up in San Antonio And Knows Everything About Everything."

So I wonder - how would our fellow riders brand Keith?  "Wookie With the Paper?"  Or, "AT&T Man Who Mumbles Over Drawings?"  And what about me?  "Gray Woman Dragging Jingly Laptop Bag?"  Or, "Crazy Woman Who Audibly Corrects Billboard Grammar?"

I dunno.  But since I wear a cross around my neck most days, maybe I should think about that.   I'm supposed to be Jesus with skin on.   What would Jesus ride?  I think he might ride VIA, too.  But he wouldn't hog the seat next to him with his purse and he wouldn't silently curse at the Quarry slowdown.

Gabriel the Angelic Afternoon Driver Says, "Move on Back"

The wheels on the bus go round and round.  The baby on the bus says "Wah wah wah."  The mommy on the bus says "Shhh sshhh sshhh."  The horn on the bus goes "beep beep beep."  And however you get to work - have a safe safe week.

*  We are trying to save the whales, though.  We want to collect the whole set.

 


Posted at 05:17 pm by beckyww
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Monday, January 16, 2006
Presents & Presence

My sister Judy and (brilliant) niece Sarah feted me with a truly delightful early birthday party in Houston on Saturday afternoon.  My real 50th isn't until 1/31, but this (long holiday) weekend was a great time for a party in the large parlor at our old church, Westbury Baptist. 

Sarah hired a professional photographer; I asked Rachel to take pictures also so I could blog about them quickly.  After we returned home on Sunday, I discovered her pictures were of herself and her goofy friends messing around in the church baptistery.  Imagine my delight at this discovery of evidence of their deeply spiritual interests.  I think she was too busy letting a large flight of helium balloons loose in the sanctuary to concrete on her duties; I only hope the colorful spheres drifted to the pews before or after Sabbath worship.

Fortunately - my dear friend Marilyn Dodd pinged me a picture today of the two of us at the party taken on her camera - great, my excuse to blog!  (When I can link to an online album - expect more pictures!)

So maybe I'm no longer her pupil, but she's still my teacher.

Marilyn tapped me to be yearbook editor of the all new and quite exciting 1974 Mariner at Madison High School in Houston.  She invested herself in me, and I will always be grateful.  The writing, editorial and photography experience led to more responsibility at Remco TV Rental (college job) which led to employment with AT&T in 1979...well, you get the picture.

Speaking of yearebooks and pictures - yeah, "Rebecca Hoffman," bottom right, that's me...

Mom made photo albums for all three of us when we were kids.  Judy asked me to bring them to display; I happily complied, and - purely coincidentally - spotted this picture of Mom on her 50th birthday, 1/15/71.  Since her 85th birthday would have been yesterday, I thought posting it here was a fine idea.  David and I made her cake. 

1/15/71 - Two boxes of icing helped hold the 50 candles together.

I appreciate all the gifts brought for our Samaritan's Purse boxes next year (and yes, Charlotte, Debbie and Gloria, the unexpected gifts for me, too!)  But really, Saturday wasn't about "presents."  It was about "presence."  The presence of John, who gave blood for Lois and me.  The presence of Mary, Kimothy, B.C., Dennis, Konen and Gaylos, who made Station 90.51 Parkwest the place to Bock'n'Roll.  The presence of Goldie, who let us kids drink Koolaid in her kitchen instead of water from the hose.  The presence of Beth and Lisa and all our babies that shared the nursery, and of Jim & Rosalie, whom my babies rushed to greet.  The presence of Steve & Jo and Dan & Sandi, who were so good to Mom, and Martha, Mario & Ruth, who are so good to our whole family.  It was great to see Patsy and Andy walking in the door, like they did when we were present on O'Meara.  I'd like to have Lisa's bravery, Lorelei's hips, Jackie's smile and Kip's good sense - but Saturday, I was just happy to bask in their presence.   

Thank you, Judy and Sarah, but one very special day.

Birthdays.  They're about presence.  Because life is the gift.

 


Posted at 05:54 pm by beckyww
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Saturday, January 07, 2006
Episode III of A Man and His Pond

Keith is standing in the bog, which is several feet from the pond.

What is that big black thing?

If you guessed "giant slip and slide" - I sure hope you're wrong.

Keith - assisted by good friends Dan, Brett, Rick and brother Byron - laid the 500 lb. waterproof pond liner today, a crucial new chapter in the saga of "A Man and His Pond."  He paid them in brisket, ribs, beans and pecan pie - certain small (though tasty!) recompense for lugging the equivalent weight and texture of hundreds of deflated inner tubes across baked limestone.

He had one other friend from church help him one day last year.  Other than this assistance - he's done it all himself, even with a nail through his hand, even with his knee in a brace.  No Bobcat, no electric jack hammer, no dynamite (shudder) - just a cement saw, hammers, picks, buckets and lots of elbow grease effecting his vision in the limestone.

Stay tuned to this blog for the next installment of "A Man and His Pond."  I'm thinking we're getting close to it being a wet one.

 


Posted at 02:47 pm by beckyww
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Saturday, December 24, 2005
And To All A Good Night

-yawn-

The delicious caramels and buenellos a friend gave us at church tonight have been properly sampled.

The peppermint ice cream shake residue has been washed from the blender.

The makings of tomorrow's breakfast tacos are ready for quick assembly. 

Lois' homemade chocolate chip cookies and a cup of milk are near the fireplace.  Our DVD of Its A Wonderful Life is lying patiently nearby, awaiting its turn to be enjoyed.  Tomorrow, Jimmy and Donna - tomorrow we visit Bedford Falls.

But tonight - yawn - tonight only a (computer) mouse should be stirring.  And even that, not for long.

Merry Christmas, and to all a good night.

 


Posted at 08:22 pm by beckyww
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Monday, November 21, 2005
Just because I'm paranoid....

...doesn't mean they're not out to get me.  Check out wet-headed Rachel's choice of reading material this evening. 

    

When the girls were younger, I swear every Polly Pocket session started off with, "Let's pretend the mother is dead."  Deep sigh.

I'm thinking I'm watching my back tomorrow.  You do the same, and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Posted at 08:06 pm by beckyww
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Saturday, November 19, 2005
Three little fishies in the iddy biddy poo?

No, no koi.  No fishies yet.  Just a 6'5" bearded man with his knee stitched and braced sitting at the bottom of what Jed Clampett would accurately describe as the "cement pond."  Rachel and Lois have acted as Keith's legs today - fetching, carrying, retrieving.  Don't ask me how he got down there.  I didn't see, and I don't want to know. 



His scr*wdriver is affixed to what I believe to be a "drain hole."  The bricked semi-circle in the background is, I believe, a "bog."  I believe the sides and bottom of the pond will soon be sprayed with some type of plastic.  Beliefs - they are good things to have.

My job is - as always - to bring ice water.

Please stay tuned to this blog for further developments in the continuing saga of "A Man and His Pond."
 

Posted at 02:06 pm by beckyww
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Sunday, November 13, 2005
69...70...71

We set a new record for our family this weekend - 71 plastic shoeboxes filled, labeled and delivered for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child.  I remember our first time filling a single paper shoebox.   Rachel was a toddler.  I paid full price for everything just before packing, and I'm sure the finished product rattled.  We've come a long way, baby!  We use plastic shoeboxes, we shop clearances and collect from friends all year long, and each box undergoes a rigorous "shake test" to ensure no rattling.  If it rattles, pop it open, there's room for another Chapstick, or bubblegum, or pencil.

Like virtually everything that happens under our roof - it was a mess.  Look at some of what Hannah and I dragged out of the guestroom in preparation for sorting and filling....toothbrushes from Barb, stuffed animals from Stephanie, assortments from Sharon, Happy Meal toys from Renee, socks from Aimee and Shelley, a box'o'stuff from Kristen's Scout Troop, shipping help from Laura and Glenda, beads from Lisa - so many gifts, and every item a representation of the heart of the giver.



Good friends Mary Anne and Vicki offered the precious gift of time to help sort and pack, and also do a little shopping.  (I had three toes sliced and diced recently, so Target - my fashion center - hasn't seen much of me and won't until I can drive again.)  Because of their kindness, we finished in time.

Hannah was particularly proud of stuffing a raccoon hand puppet full of candy and gigglingly beseeching me to "Look, Mom, there's Tootsie Pop sticking out of his butt." Now there's a festive visual.  I noticed Lois inserted a small rubber duck into each boy's box, aged 10 - 14.  Why?  "Mom, those boxes were way too serious."  Ooookay.  Rachel-The-Hair-Straightener Queen stressed that not every box had a hairbrush.

If you gave us something - thanks!  It's on its way to some child right now.  Samaritan's Purse boxes will "be Christmas" for the millions of children who get them.  Their parents won't be worrying about having enough batteries, or if the beautifully-wrapped video game is the latest version.  These boxes filled with small toys, stuffed animals, candy, toiletries, clothing, school supplies, etc. are "it" for these kids.  They'll never be able to thank you personally for being Jesus with skin on.  So just know that you were.





Posted at 04:06 pm by beckyww
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Sunday, October 02, 2005
Proverbs 15:1 from the Gospel of Rachel

Actual quotes from Rachel of Casa Woodworth today - yes, the Sabbath -

"I wish I had green eyes.  Green eyes are so pretty.  Brown eyes look like poop.  It's a wonder I don't have corn chunks in my eyes."

"The only reason you have friends is that we pay for them.  So that you don't go off and slit your wrists and then we'd have to clean up the blood."

"Go somewhere else to cry out your feelings because nobody cares over here.  Cry, cry, cry but don't get the floor wet."

"A cow had the milk torn from her udder for you."

"It's a wonder Mom bought you from that crackhead."

"When you grow up, you're going to live in a refrigerator box on the side of the road."

"You used to be a boy, you know that, don't you?"

Here's Rachel's favorite verse of the bible; the chapter and verse are inscribed on her brick at Stone Oak Elementary.

  • Proverbs 15:1
    A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
    Go figure.  And while you're at it, have a nice week.

  • Posted at 07:21 pm by beckyww
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    Friday, August 26, 2005
    "Chopped Nuts Make Deluxe"

    My wonderful husband has requested that I make apple crisp sometime this weekend, so, naturally, it's off to HEB for a few nice Granny Smiths.  For a recipe, I scurried to my favorite source:  Hand-written recipes that my mom gave me at my bridal shower.  I especially love them because they're in her handwriting, which I have much missed seeing on cards and notes in my mail for seven years and four days. 

    As I was scrounging through my recipe box, I couldn't help but notice the stains and variances accompanying the ingredients and instructions.  At that same bridal shower, I also got a recipe for "Cris' Favorite Chicken Spaghetti" from Konen, with a bowl that is one of my favorites.  Here's the splotch of Diet Coke that David got on my baked potato soup recipe the last time he, Judy and I were together for Christmas.  Now here's a recipe printed online - must have happened after 1993, when we got our first computer.   Here's Aunt Zum's recipe for cornbread, with a very firm Kentucky-esque, "No Sugar Please" command.  And Aunt Neva's "Better than Sex" cake ---- my, my, a little risque for a pastor's wife, doncha think?

    It struck me - this recipe box is really a history box.  It guards wafts of flavor drifting across thousands of miles and scores of years, down generations, up I-10 and slowly circling a multitude of mitts and mixers.  The pile of flip-flops is my family crest, but the contents of the recipe box is my personal history.

    You're right, Mom.  Chopped nuts - they do make it deluxe.



    Posted at 07:29 pm by beckyww
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    Monday, August 22, 2005
    Exodus 20:8 - "Remember the Sabbath...

    ...and keep it holy." Or was it really, "HOLY MOLEY, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?" Here is a selection of phrases muttered or sputtered from the mouths of Rachel and Lois between 6:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. on yester Lord's Day:

    In response to a thought-provoking series of questions from our worship leader including, "Why are you here today? What motivated you to get up and come to God's house," I heard Lois sigh and whisper, "That would be my mother."

    Rachel:  "If you shaved Hannah's head, you'd see a '666.' I swear that will be her locker number."

    Lois: "The light - it burns us."

    Lois:  "You'll be the crazy who attacks 37 people with a butter knife."

    Rachel:  "I need to go to the 'New Family Store.' I want a dad who will give me all the money I want, a mom who won't make me clean my room, a little sister who looks up to me and a little brother just for fun."

    Lois:  "Is your new hobby annoying people?"

    Rachel:  "When you see 'chicken terrayiki' on the school lunch menu, be sure to take."

    Lois:  "I thought of some famous last words. 'What's the worst that could happen?'"

    Rachel:  "Lois, do you feed that hampster living in your (unbrushed) hair?"

    And finally - my personal favorite, from Lois, who pops in unannounced to watch the TV in our bedroom because it has the DVR: "Ewwwww, put some clothes on, Mom, I can't afford therapy right now."

    Posted at 04:53 pm by beckyww
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