23 October 2014

The Last of Thursday Favorites

Yeah, he sure knows how to take a memorable picture
Today marked our last official MTC P-Day email bonanza / letter from The Missionary formerly known as The Boy. He departs in just a few days for parts (kind of) unknown in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico and its 'hood. He proudly entitled today's email missive "Last Letter from the CCM." His excitement about getting to Mexico was not to be contained. He's ready.

From our point of view, it hardly seems possible that he's already leaving for Mexico. It was only a few short days, I mean weeks, ago that we said our 'See you laters' and now he is on the precipice of leaving the country for his field of labor.

We've loved Thursdays as it was the appointed day to hear from him. As parents, it's been a bittersweet experience to watch him grow from afar. We've seen the growth in him through his letters. We've seen a bit of the challenges he's experienced that have led to that growth. You're excited for that growth but wish you could be there with him to help him (so not an endorsement of helicopter parenting!!!). But you sit back, suck it up, and realize how these experiences are helping him see and achieve his potential in ways that may not have been possible if you were there to help him. It's probably been harder for us than him.

So, our new favorite day will be Monday as Mondays are his prep day in the field. I'm already counting the days for that first e-mail. Tick tock....

18 October 2014


Because this.
There is precious little left in this world that appalls me. Aside from Fox News and the Four Whores (whoops, too easy - no pun intended) Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Kardashians and their ilk, there just isn't much that leaves me appalled. Until today, when a seemingly simple trip to the grocery store left me speechless at the end cap of Aisle Three.

Because Glo Balls.

Tell your inner sixth grade boy to stop snickering. Right. Now. This is real and it's not a malady that GI's were warned about before heading overseas. Glo Balls are a food, and I'm using that description in the loosest terms possible, item that a once dead company, Hostess Brands, is foisting upon the public in order to celebrate Halloween.

One would think given my wont to enjoy the more bizarre foods that the world offers, that these 'snack' items would not terrify me the way they do. I mean I've eaten baloot. I've eaten what may or may not have been pidgeon cooked on the inside of an oil barrel in an alley in Shanghai. I've eaten what I still to this day hope was asparagus doused in what most likely was motor oil in Istanbul. Tadpoles for dessert in the wet markets near Wan Chai  in Hong Kong were actually pretty tasty. Worst of all, I've eaten poutine in Montreal and lived to tell the tale. Yet, these orange orbs leave me stricken.

Let's consider a few things. Firstly, they are covered in coconut shavings. You might as well be eating hair off your barber's floor. The consistency has got to be the same. Secondly, the orange coloring. Where did they get that? It looks like it's from one of the murky vats of tanning dye that the cast of 'Jersey Shore' was dipped in before every shoot. In a not so ironic twist, the Hostess web site offers zero information on their nutritional value. You'll note my shock. I cannot imagine eating one. However, thanks to the miracle of the interwebs, I've found someone who did. You can read his review here. It's pretty much brilliant.

I think I need to go lie down now. Maybe I'll have some kind of nightmare that will be worse than what is the Glo Ball.

16 October 2014

I may have created a First Class monster

Eyemask and ear plugs, just like on the plane
As it's Thursday, it can only mean that it was 'Letter Day' from The Missionary formerly known as The Boy (TMFKATB). He has been sending pictures with his letters and today's letter was no different. Included in the gallery of pictures was the gem you see to the left. You see 'Sleeping Beauty' in his bunk, donning an eye mask and ear plugs that are normally reserved for in-flight sleeping. He looks comfortable, right? I'm concerned though that this may be the same blanket I had when I was a 'guest' of the MTC thirty years or so ago.

He should look comfortable in that he, of all our children, benefited the most from 'turning left' upon boarding an airplane or in more basic terms, not having to sit in The Village. He got lucky on far too many occasions when flying with me or by himself and enjoyed the relative comforts of the 'front of the bus.' Knowing that he should get his flight plans in the next few days, this is what manifested itself in a bit of our real-time email conversation today:

ME: Time is really flying! Excited to get your flight info.
TMFKATB: can you upgrade me to first class? its gonna be terrible. haha.
ME: I'd have to upgrade your companion too. Can't separate you!
TMFKATB: haha ok that sounds good to me. you know im too spoiled to deal with that
ME: Um you best be prepared for life in Coach, my friend.

Suffice to say, he'll be enjoying a lovely ride in Coach. Clearly, though, I may or may not have created a First Class monster. But as far as monsters go, this one is pretty tame.

If you had asked to follow The Boy's mission blog and have not been able to access it, or not gotten the invite and are still interested in reading along, would you please message me directly. It's been brought to my attention that a lot of you were not able to access it. I've found the Blogger invite system to be really tempermental, too.

13 October 2014

Columbus Day - disease and shopping

C'mon, can you name these three ships?
Today is the day the U.S. marks the observance of Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples Day (no, I'm serious - it's a thing) if one insists that I be all Alameda County Politically Correct, a day in which we celebrate the day in which Columbus discovered the Americas. See what I did there? I said 'the Americas.' It's a fairly common misconception that it was Columbus who discovered America. He did not. It's not like he sailed up to a beach near Daytona and announced, "It's 'Merica. Now somebody get me a hot dog!"

I was thinking about Senor Columbus and what his arrival brought to the Americas late last week while I was talking to a colleague in London about the fact that our U.S. offices would be closed in observance of this auspicious day. He'd just been talking about how excited our media seemed about the Ebola issue and I noted that on Monday we'd get a chance to honor Columbus and thank him for bringing mass communicable disease to the new world. Because flu, scurvy, and STD's.

You may recall the little ditty from elementary school that helped us remember the achievements of that voyage from 1492. You know the one..."In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." I've reworked just a few lines:

In fourteen ninety two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue

He had three ships and left from Spain
He sailed through sunshine and brought with him a world of pain

Of his arrival the natives would soon rue
Lamenting, "If only he'd brought a mild case of ague"

I wanted to put my spin on the whole thing but you try finding something that rhymes with 'gonorrhea.' It's not easy and I don't have that kind of time. That said, the legacy of Columbus does go far beyond bringing the agony of communicable disease among other travesties. I mean, where would we be without half off sales on sheets and minor household electronics without him and the observance of this day? If you get upset about the concept of Columbus Day sales, that's kind of ironic. The basis of Columbus' expedition in the first place was to increase trade. The fact that you can get a toaster for an additional 30% off today is simply a fulfillment of legacy.