Sunday, May 18, 2008


I have no ornithological idea whether cardinals really mate for life or not, but I am happy to firmly believe that they do. At any rate, they're my marriage bird. Sure enough, on our anniversary trip, there were cardinals outside our bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg, in our campsite (on the picnic table!) at Garner State Park, and waiting for me near the second flet on our zipline canopy tour at Cypress Valley.

Twentyfive more up than down. Some to go. Good. And, thanks for the cardinals...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Aca y Alla

I'm done! Yay! Grades turned in, any residual fires to be put out later, whew, yay.

Now off to play in the Hill Country. Gotta make a trip cd.

In the meantime, Diane got "memory jewelry" today; a sterling locket and bracelet, each with essential ID information engraved on the back. They're beautiful, beat an index card on a lanyard, and take some worry out of our lives. But what an utterly strange disease: you know who you are, but not where; you worry about some routine self-care issues very much, others hardly at all (kind of reverting to being a typical freshman guy, that). You don't know if you've eaten, but can follow Obama and McCain closely and in detail on MSNBC. Very, very odd.

I voted this morning. So as Richard Nixon used to phrase it, let me say this about that. Big school districts, like big government, big business, and, actually, anything else that's a really big persistent organization, have huge standing flaws. But I want you to know that we had about as good an experience as a family could have had, and had it in Dallas public schools.

Mind you, we planned on raising the kids in the local mine school or the British / Indian international school in Lusaka. We didn't, back then, know if we'd have to send them away to boarding for high school at RVA (Rift Valley Academy, near Nairobi, where jillions of missionary and other kids are educated). And Jonathan started kindergarten in Louisville, a town I much prefer overall for family-raising to Dallas.

But you know, Stonewall Jackson was and is one of the best elementary schools around. Jonathan's kindergarten teacher there didn't blink when I described our and Jonathan's situation, but set to work making him feel at home and be successful right away. And the sign language they got into kept their multilingualism alive.

Of course junior high was mediocre, at least from a parent point of view, because, so far as I can tell, it just is. But the School for the Talented and Gifted was rated number one public high school in the country the past two or three years running, and it just baffles me that people in Dallas don't know that.

So yes, I voted Yes on the billion-three dollar school bond issue. Is that a lot? I guess; Plano's is $700 million. So maybe it's not. Anyway, why in the world say we should save money on property taxes when the end result of that must eventually be to destroy the school system, parks, libraries, police, and so on, that make your property valuable enough to live in, and to tax, in the first place?

So that's done. And now, without further ado, I give you: Our Anniversary Vacation.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


To be in one's mid-twenties is no bad thing. One should never have to apologize for being the age one is at the time in history that one is that age. John Mark was twelve when the biggest thing in his life happened; Anna the prophetess was eightyfour...

Hence: twentyfive (of a jillion) things I associate with Dawn and my marriage turning twentyfive...

1. Camping
2. Backpacking
3. Scrabble
4. Jon Stewart
5. Miami Vice nights, 1984
6. thirtysomething
7. MASH reruns
8. Princess Bride quotes
9. all the Lord of the Rings movies and Matrix movies at midnight of the day they came out
10. "Chef" episodes (the British Lenny Henry series) recorded for us by friend Susan
11. all the Christmas specials on one tape recorded by sister Rachel
12. Steve Martin, especially "L.A. Story," Stephen Wright, and Eddie Izzard
13. Chipangali Wildlife Refuge in Bulawayo, and the Arboretum in Dallas
14. Jonathan's birthday party at Munda Wanga zoo south of Lusaka, and the Egyptian Mystery birthday party at the Vickery house
15. Beth singing, at age 4 or 5, "nobody knows the sorrow I've seen," after our first family meeting about how kids have to do chores
16. Dawn's amazing preplanned anniversary trip to Austin
17. "Sneakers" and "Hunt for Red October" and "Spy Game"
18. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver costumes the year of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe"
19. Cinnamon and Ginger and Kapushi and Prickles and Allora and Dixie
20. St. James Art Fair in Louisville
21. Mike Cross and West Point on the Eno in Durham
22. the Richmond house, the Food Hole, brunch, and Christmas tree bonfires
23. in the dark house together after Dawn killed power to the house when I got electrocuted in the attic
24. Jonathan's birth after 18 hours and Beth's after 6 or so
25. now

We're off to the Hill Country come Sunday, through next Saturday.

Thanks to Dawn, and thanks to the grace of God, we are here. Thanks to you, as well.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Random thoughts about transportation and communication...

I am happy to report that it now costs about half as much to take a train from Seattle to Chicago as it does to fly...although it takes about ten times as long. Now if it were half as much for twice as long, we'd do it.

It seems to me that since you can't talk to everyone instantly at the same time (even blogging only approximates that), that talking to someone for the first time in five weeks happens at the same speed whether you've written a letter in longhand and posted it, or you text them.

I'm trying not to lose the communication in the bandwidth...

Chesterton tells the story about the guy taking the train from London to Edinburgh, who ran to the front of the train to speed up the trip. As Claudius supposedly told the Senate upon his nomination as Emperor, surely it is the content of what one says, not the speed with which one says it, that counts.

But I am about talked out this semester, come fast or come slow. Time for a break, not just R & R, although that, but also quiet and listening and waiting until there is, again, something to say. I need this.