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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Sacrifice and Giving

My little Cole. I'm sure glad he attends a Catholic School.

Last night, as he clutched his tummy in pain, complaining about the daunting fast for Ash Wednesday and consequently, his lack of meat for the day, I reminded him what Jesus did for us.

Cole stood up, eyes wide, (apparently no more hunger pains) and began to describe the scene at Golgotha. It was a pretty bloody depiction. “Blood was squirting EVERYWHERE!” And on and on, my sweet little boy went.

So much for my lesson on sacrifice. At least the crucifixion got his mind off his hungry belly…

The Catholic School has embarked on a very worthwhile mission during Lent called Kids Against Hunger. Both Alex and Cole have little jars in the kitchen where they deposit coins. Both saw the same presentation on the hunger program. Alex was obviously more affected than Cole. She immediately went through her change and deposited over $6 in coins. I was quite proud of her. As for Cole? He has nothing to give, so he said. (I know he’s lying. The Tooth Fairy just came last weekend and she was VERY generous.)

Sigh. At what age do they learn that giving and sacrificing is often a gift in and of itself? Alex seems to get it. But she has been a sweetie pie (despite spoiled) ever since I can remember. Again, sigh. Will Cole ever get it? Or will he always be the center of his universe. Just as soon as I see signs of a turnaround, I'll let you know.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Love and Vampires, Villains and Friends

So, after the urging of my daughter and my own curiosity over the vampire infatuation, I plunged into Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. As predicted, I’m completely engrossed in the tale of Edward and Bella as I await the delivery of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

Doug asked me what Twilight is all about.

“It’s about a vampire who falls in love with someone whom he greatly desires to kill.”

“That pretty much sums it up for all men.”

Hmm. That’s why I like to obtain perspectives of others. Apparently, I haven’t looked at the vampire metaphor from all angles.

Then, as we were watching The Dark Knight for the 53rd time since Christmas, I asked Doug if he would turn evil and avenge my death, like Harvey Dent. Without hesitation, my sweet hubby said, “Of course.”

I wonder though.

Fantasy is good. It reminds me how magical reality is. Seriously. I told my husband the other day (after reading New Moon) how lucky I am to be married to the same person I fell in love with nearly 18 years ago. He, of course, was suspicious because it’s not something I say everyday. But I should.

In other news…Cole seems to be recovered from the flu (hallelujah)...Grease was awesome. How fun it was to experience one of my childhood infatuations with Alex...Flash is still alive, despite his escape due to my own negligence. He showed up in the bathroom, staring at me as I dried my hair... I’m relishing in a headache as a result from a bottle of wine shared with one of my best friends last night. But it is one of those few headaches without regret – we laughed a lot as we sat on the couch and whispered about lots of stuff we never have time to discuss. It reminded me of those nights, long ago, when our youthful spirits stayed up late and giggled ourselves to sleep. Another thing I should do more.

Here's a picture of Lyn and me, as Velma and Ginger of course.

Monday, February 16, 2009

...some Fun that is Funny...

After feeling sorry for myself this weekend for a rather stupid reason (not winning a short story contest), my poor little son ends up with Influenza B. There's nothing like a sick child to make you realize what's really important. Anyway, the 48-pounder seems to be rebounding as he is currently working on one of his "projects" right now.

Anyway, God continued to confirm the pettiness of my self-pity, by a few other events. Today our Bank celebrated President's Day with an all-staff meeting. One of our presentations came from Alegent's EAP program and was entitled, "Using Humor in the Workplace." Truth be told, our staff probably needed that presentation as much as a child needs candy. Cleverly, our presenter had sprinkled some humor through the slideshow, but for some reason kept fast-forwarding through the jokes -- the parts we were all waiting for. We didn't care about the facts(laughing has health benefits, humor reduces stress, yada yada yada.) Get to the good stuff! Give us George Costanza's advice on looking busy at work!

But seriously, our presenter quizzed us on our own humor development. What type of household were you brought up in? What kind of humor was used? What comedies did you watch? Red Skelton? Johnny Carson? Did your Dad play practical jokes!

Not my family.

Oh, sure. We dabbled in the usual bathroom humor that all families enjoy. "Did you hear that fart?" "No, but I smell it!") But we also dabbled in something I would describe as offbeat, on the cusp of morbid, fairly dry and not without sarcasm.

My Dad was near-genius on the art of the game. For those of you who read Goodbye Def Leppard, do you remember the scene when Amy's Dad challenges her to a quick match of the Dead Game? When she must guess the ages of those who died in the paper? Well, that ain't no fiction. It was a common game played (at least twice a week)in the Ronfeldt household.

My Dad also liked to mimic Name That Tune. We played it with a few of my beginner piano songs. After picking a song (without my Dad's help...ahem), Mom and Dad challenged each other with those delicious words, "Sandy, I can name that tune in....notes" Amazingly, my Dad could guess 'Mister Frog is Full of Hops' in one single note.

Mom has always said that humor not only kept their marriage alive -- it saved it. I never really understood what she meant. But now that I've been married for almost 15 years, it's one of those quotes that recurs in my mind frequently. I'd argue that it doesn't only save marriages, but entire families as well. See here? Alex and Cole get it. Of course, kids always do.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Leaders, Valentine's, Trains and AMEN!

I've a bazillion blogs teasing my brain, but I'm too squirrely to give any one topic much attention. So here goes...

I've been teaching some classes on leadership lately. It'd do me good to follow some of my own advice. It also do some good to have a few scandalously-paid executives of failed banks to attend. Although, realistically, I'm not sure that the class can dissolve greed.

I thought it was weird that the school decided not to have a Valentine's Day party this year. So, what in the world would convince me to take Cole's word for it? (Imagine when he's sixteen!)So, as I prepared to pick up the mundane cartoon-ugly-dog valentines from the picked over v-day selection, I was pleasantly surprised to find The Hulk collection. (I purchased an adorable group of Fairy cards for Alex, only to discover that 6th graders don't do that anymore.)

Aren't trains amazing? As I was trucking to Fremont yesterday, I found myself racing against the K-Line and the U.P., staring at the mass of iron, attempting to count the cars and still impressed how the iron horse continues to be a vital part of our economy.

And finally, the best news of all? Grandma Shirley got news today that the cancerous grapefruit removed from her intestines did NOT leave one lick of cancer behind. She is completely cancer-free! Amen. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Grandma Shirley and My Inherited Love for Animals

You know my cool Grandma with the tattoo? The one who plays guitar? The one I don't visit near often enough? Please keep her in your prayers as she is recovering from surgery.A large mass was removed from her intestines. We haven't heard the full report from the pathologist, so I can't tell you much more except that we're all worried.

Anyway, while I hate the fact that it always seems to take a misfortune to bring families together, it's been fun seeing three of my aunts -- Sandy, Kim and Angie. (Aunt Connie was hosting my parents in Phoenix, who were all sitting on pins and needles, waiting for the results of the operation.)

The Ronfeldt side of the family are great lovers of animals. (Perhaps this was what attracted my mother to the clan??) Anyway, my husband's affection for pets can best be described as 'tolerant.' As a matter of fact, our first real fight occurred after I brought a kitten home. And luckily, I found our dog by the bridge on a day when a few cocktails made Doug's heart soft for the abandoned pup. (That was 14 years ago, and we still have the 'pup'.) Anyway, I once picked up a Brittany Spaniel off the Interstate and brought it home. Doug absolutely refused another dog on the place -- luckily I worked with someone who knew of a Brittany Spaniel shelter. Another time, we found another black dog, mysteriously living with us. The destructive Lab bought a ticket to the shelter in Harlan. Anyway, Doug thinks I'm a little cuckoo when it comes to animals. So, after sitting in waiting rooms with my kin this weekend, I think Doug grew a deeper appreciation for my animal affection.

Aunt Sandy just got her fourth dog -- some sort of hairless Chihauhua that walks on its two hind feet.
Aunt Angie has four ferrets, and I lost count of the number of dogs she also owns.
Aunt Kim only has one dog, she refers to as Stupid Dog, but she also lives in an apartment.
My first cousin-once-removed (my cousin's son) has some sort of lizard, a python, a cat and a tarantula. I think he still has the tarantula anyway. There might have been a few other exotic species, but I couldn't quit thinking about the python as they spoke.

Of course my Grandma and step-Grandpa has a dog, who now looks more like a pot-belly pig. But she sure is a sweetie.

Anyway, who couldn't love a family as interesting and loving as mine? They remind me that the most important thing we can do is laugh and love each other while we're here. They also reinforce that just because we have a senile dog, a tomcat who thinks he's a female dog, a stray cat who resembles Shrek, and a rat-like hamster, we're not really crazy. We just like to laugh and love.

God Bless You, Grandma.