a Monday list

This is a Monday list that I’m posting on Tuesday but since I wrote it on Monday I’m going to stick by my guns and call it a Monday list. Even though it’s Tuesday. I’m stubborn like that.

1. On Saturday my younger son got shocked enough to break the skin. The kids had found an old mixer and were happily blending up weeds and water. I gave them a big lecture about sticking their phalanges in the running beaters, but I never thought to check the cord. So when my son went to plug it in, or unplug it or something, he got one whammy of a zapper. He cried for a while, and when he cries for longer than ten seconds, I know he’s really hurt ‘cause he’s one tough cookie.

(And yes, the shocking mixer has been banished from the playing field.)

2. Then on Sunday afternoon, my older daughter jumped over the hammock, got her feet tangled up in it, and hit the concrete face-shoulder-arm first. Now she’s all sorts of stiff and she says it hurts to chew hard food.

Blowing on one of the ouchies.

I don’t know how much longer we can maintain our track record of zero broken bones. (I didn’t just jinx myself, did I?)

3. My older son sat in a chair and it broke. No injuries, except for the chair’s (but it was already almost done for anyway, so it doesn’t count).


Interlude for Semi-Relevant Story

When my husband and I were getting ready to leave Nicaragua, oh, about 13 years ago, we decided we wanted to take some rocking chairs home with us. So we went to the market in Managua and found a rocking chair vendor. My husband circled the chairs, prodding them with his foot, testing the weave of the seats with his hand, and grilling the vendor on the price. And then, to test out the comfort level, he plunked his skinny behind down in a chair and CRASH!—the chair dissolved in a pile of pieces on the floor, and my husband found himself inelegantly sprawled across the hard concrete in the center of the bustling market. He leapt to his feet, eyes sparking rage, while the vendor flooded him with apologies and explanations and I tried not to pee my pants from laughing. The chairs, it turns out, weren’t fully assembled. They were just stuck together to show what they looked like. They were actually well-made and would not, under any circumstances, fall apart once properly assembled, the vendor promised in a rush. But my husband had already stalked off. I had to track him down and talk him off the ledge. Then we went back and bought two chairs.

End of Interlude


4. My younger daughter, unlike the rest of her siblings, had no mishaps to speak off. She did, however, magic marker her lips a startling red.

We call her Marilyn.

5. I am reading Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures to my older children. A week ago, some friends loaned us the book and I promptly devoured it, lightbulbs flickering on every step of the way. Then my husband read it, and now my children.

Author Sarah A. Lanier talks about the differences between hot cultures (usually poorer countries, hotter climates, more relationship-based) and cold cultures (industrialized countries, cooler climates, task-oriented).

My husband and I are often confused and baffled by all the “wrong” answers we get when asking Guatemalans for directions, opinions, and pointers. What’s so hard about giving a straight answer? we wonder. We just want the facts! But! To the Guatemalans, it’s not about information—it’s about relationships.They don’t want to hurt our feelings by giving us an answer we don’t want to hear, or by telling us they simply don’t know.

The book, while quite helpful, leaves me with lots of questions. Namely, how do I, a task-oriented person, go about communicating, living, and working with people who don’t say what they think, or relay the facts accurately? I wish the author would give more how-tos, tips, and directives for dealing with this “problem” because I’m from Virginia and I want information.

6. My kids finally had a successful skype visit with their homies. The computer got carried around so the Virginia friends could take a tour of the house, meet the neighbor kids, and see the dogs.

Overheard: Aw, they’re so cute! I want to touch them but there’s this screen in the way!

Afterwards, my children were glowing. Even though they’re handling the seismic lifestyle changes with a stellar amount of grace and good humor, they miss their friends.

7. As I was working on this post, I came across a link to a youtube poetry slamming performance. While it loaded, I went out to the kitchen, made my coffee, and helped myself to a piece of chocolate cake. Back in my room, I clicked “play.” And then I tweeted this: Poetry slammer Katie Makkai on “Pretty.” Catching my breath, wiping my eyes, and reposting as fast as I can. WATCH IT.


  • jenny_o

    I found your comments on the culture fascinating – that people would give answers based not on facts but on how it would affect the listener. So interesting! Maybe you could do a search on tips for dealing with that issue; surely there's something out there on the internet?

    I hope you continue to avoid the broken bones 🙂 Your kids must be tough cookies!

  • Anonymous

    As always, I find your posts interesting and illuminating. But………the piece on "Pretty" was pretty amazing, awesome (and I never use this word), moving, powerful, etc. Thanks, Angela Muller

  • Anonymous

    Ouch! Ouch! and triple Ouch!!! Growing up is a risky business….Gotta say though that the red marker lipstick is lovely. Think I'm going to try that myself. ~Sherry

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