Monday, December 30, 2013


December 30, 2013

I finally figured out that Boxing Day (December 26) wasn't about pugilism, like I once thought.  It might be about the tradition of opening the alms boxes in churches and distributing what has been collected to the poor in the parish or village.  It may, more widely, be concerned with gifting servants and tradesmen if you are a boss or employee.

Of course, that is the observance in the UK and the former territories of the British Empire.  Here at Leisure Lake, Boxing Day has morphed into Boxing Week and then Boxing Month, and will possibly become Boxing Forever.  Walter and I made the decision this fall to do one more (final?) renovation on our house.  Every other time, we have reserved at least part of the house as a sanctuary from chaos.  I must have been drinking heavily, because this time there is no such thing.  By choosing to replace all of the flooring, do interior and exterior painting in all rooms but one, and pull out and rebuild the kitchen and both bathrooms, I think we have doomed our lives.

The first step was easy enough (isn't that the way gateway drugs always are?).  We started with our bedroom--just enough cleaning, sorting, and storing to get our feet wet and feel good about the process.   We patted ourselves on the back for thinning our drawers and closets to make them manageable when we had to actually pack it all away.  

There were some humiliating moments.  Is it really possible that I had accumulated over 80 pairs of socks?  What type of snob needs enough socks to go almost three months without doing a load of sock laundry?  Hint:  if you can't close your sock drawer, even when a third of your socks are in a hamper somewhere, you have probably gone over the edge.

And what can I say about the 26 different knee braces that we pulled out of Walter's closet, some still in the original packaging, except, do you suppose we could become a vendor for Amazon's sports portal?

There have been discovered treasures.  The most obvious one was a written conversation between me and Erin apparently held during church when she was about a second grader and forgotten in the bottom of a purse last used who knows when.  Here is the first of 8 pages:

Erin:  I wont to riet to spek 
(I want to write to speak).

Mom:  Ok.  Do you want to go to Gina's after church?

Erin:  Yes.  What time is DaD cuming home?  
(Yes.  What time is dad coming home?

Mom:  Dad will meet us a Gina's.  You sang well and smiled pretty!

Erin:  I want to tok about what to tock about something.  I want you to think of one 
(I want to talk about what to talk about something.  I want you to think of one.)

Mom:  Do you think Cinderella will be fun?  What will it be like?

Erin:  I think I hav ben to Cinderella be for.  
(I think I have been to Cinderella before.)

Mom:  What did you do in Sunday school?

Erin:  I raed about Mary and Martha wan Jases cam to there hom   Martha wus rising around but Mery wus listing to Jeses and Martha sed why is my sister nat helping me  Jeses sed she is doing rite  she is lising to me  
( I read about Mary and Martha when Jesus came to their home.  Martha was rushing around but Mary was listening to Jesus and Martha said "Why is my sister not helping me?"  Jesus said, "She is doing right.  She is listening to me."

Mom:  That is a good story and you remembered it in good detail.  What are you hungry for?

Erin:  I dont no.
(I don't know.)

Mom:  What does Davis want (and passes the note paper to Davis, who is in high school)?

Davis:  I want the Fireman's Special, queso, and a breakfast taco (BTW, this is what he ordered every time during this period of his life).

Erin:  Is it all most over?
(Is it almost over?)

Mom:  Yes.

Erin:  Im tierd mom.  Can you see the firshers neet
(I'm tired, mom.  Can you see the [I don't have any idea what this is!]

Given her limited skill set at this point, I'll bet this written exchange served the purpose of distracting her for the entire sermon, if not the entire service.  Win!


At least now the floor of my closet is ready and available to pull out the old and put in the new and the bureaus and chests of drawers are movable.  The loft office hasn't been quite a one-day job.

Happy Boxing Whatever!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Lyndon's Christmas Message

December 25, 2013

We got a special invitation to Ohio for Christmas this year:

And consequently, Lyndon, the newest member of our family asked if he could do A Christmas Letter from the Buenger family.  He was so charming when he asked, that I was duped into it:
Hello Everyone in Blog-Land and Merry Christmus,
Of course, those people better show up back at the homestead sooner rather than later this morning.  I fear for their safety.  There is a tiny powdering of snow on the ground (just enough to make it fun to wee it away) and you know how terrible Texas drivers are with any hint of cold in the air.  They will probably slide all over the road on imaginary ice before they get back over, and Dad said I couldn't chew open any of the presents until Mimi and Oompa go back.  
Maybe it is colder in that big place they are staying downtown.  Mimi told us that when she woke up yesterday morning and pulled back the floor length curtains that the window and sill and all the window parts (sorry, slippery on those special human words) was covered with ice (I thought, "no kidding, it is 16 degrees outside and snowing") but then she said "ON THE INSIDE so thick that she couldn't even see out at all."  Then, she showed me a picture.

It wasn't just a little bit, like you can see in the picture, it was everywhere--maybe even a thicker than my nails, which dad complains about every time I jump up and snag his sweater or leave the little bittiest mark on his arm.  And I thought it was bad that they make me go out barefoot to do my business.  I would never consider sleeping in an ice room.
I think Oompa agrees with me.

Given a chance, I'm sticking with him.  He has the sense in in the family, not to mention style and civility.  I think Mimi was fooled by the way someone decorated that room she was sleeping in.  As if some cheap lights from Lowe's could transform a hotel room with ice into a holiday wonderland.  Sheesh.  

 Anyway, from the talk, this isn't like their usual Christmas.  They did something called shopping.  I felt like saying to them. . . like they do on all those really stupid dog videos. . ."Did you do this?" over and over again.  "Did you do this?  Did you really do this?  Mimi, look at me.  Did you do this thing called shopping on Christmas Eve?"  Unlike those dogs on the videos, she didn't even look sorry one bit.
I think they did this thing called shopping and whatever it is (because of course, I refused to go and stayed tucked into my crate in the middle of a pile of comforting and warm blankets) made dad VERY HAPPY.
In fact they all seem very happy, even though they have to bundle up like walking burritos every time they take me outside, even though they went to something called Easton Mall on Christmas Eve, even though they broke the news to me that they were eating Chinese food and not a "piggy pudding" for Christmas dinner this afternoon (actually I was a little relieved about this).   
Mimi said that you didn't have to have all that other stuff to have a great Christmas.  I think she is right, especially if you have three times as many laps to sit on and the occasional pistachio treat.   
Merry Christmas, everybody!   

Thursday, December 5, 2013


December 5, 2013


N_MandelaOut of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

It matters not how strait the gate, 
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul. 

I still remember memorizing Invictus.

I also remember posting this on June 10, 2010

We went to Nelson Mandela Square this morning after we picked up our game tickets.. . . .As I was looking for fans worth photographing, I spotted an ancient woman wearing a tall yellow and green hat, being led through the crowd by a young woman and man. I stopped to let them pass in front of me and saw that she was blind, crying, and smiling. Her young friend/relative explained that she had waited for years to come and touch the 20 foot statue of Nelson Mandela. She was 86 years old and had lived a very hard life under apartheid. Now she was gripped by the World Cup and ready to follow every match on the radio.

And this on June 29, 2010