Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We're outta here.

Maybe. Try us here and tell us what you think, here or there. We'll go with the flow.

And if that didn't work, try arabianroundabout.wordpress.com.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Momma and her Boyees

A little before her Christmas galavant to St. George (minus dragons), Wendy was feeling enormous parental guilt at abandoning her spawn, and leaving her husband to work, babysit, feed, clothe, clean, and change the diapers (oh, wait: no diapers), and so she decided to treat them to a day at the zoo, followed by steamers at Starbucks, which has evolved into something of a personal coping strategy, and thus it is a great honour to share in the ritual.

Ahem. Back on track. Number 1 elected to stay home, being far too old for zoos, and far too cool for anything not deep-fried. He stayed in his room, silent (but deadly), mooning over some girl, no doubt, far away in Castelnuovo di Farfa, who was no doubt mooning over him, but probably in Italian.

I, on the other hand, was not mooning anybody, but was hard at work earning a living in my office, and maybe watching an episode of Prison Break online. Maybe.

Here's what Wenders got up to. I've posted this under her account so she can edit at will, with the proviso she not remove any mooning jokes or the stuff about steamers.

"Oh that ain't the half of it! Oh no, sistah! She was all like, 'oh no you ditint!' And I was like, "Oh yes I ditit!' And she was all like, "Get ouch mah face!" And I was like, "That's yo face? I thought it was yo momma's toupee!' Hee-hee! Girl, I was all up in her bizness, uh-huh!"

"Tyger, tyger, burning bright
"In the forests of the night,
"What immortal hand or eye 
"Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"

"Kgkgkgkgkgkgkguh-kuh-kuh-ngaw. Huh? Sorry. What? You say something? Geez, I musta dozed off for a minute there."

". . . and we have a message we'd like to share with you: 'Nanananabooboo! Plllssllsplspllst!'"

"Hey Doris!"
"Yeah, Merv?"
"You got any uh dat cream left ovah?"
"I dunno, why?"
"My keistah is faschliggudah! That's why!"
"Oh my goodness. Honey, I don't think the cream's gonna cut it this time. Maybe you should go and see my son, the doctah!"

More monkeys, fairly evolved. Makes one almost believe old Chucky D. Well, wholesale, that is.

Nice work on these next two. Look out, ec. Wendy's gonna be all up in yo bizness!

"Ziss precociouss 'jungstehr'--ha ha, zat'ss a liddle choke I made zere (oh, zat's anuzzehr vun: tee-hee, zese are my pesst chokess, all epic-glottiss, you cood ssay!)--vass performing vhut vee call in medicine ein 'autotracheotomy.' Ass you can ssee, he missus zuh sroat, und inssted punckchuhrs hiss left chick. Now all zat happens iss vhen he breazs, he vhistles like a liddle faun viss a pan floot!"

"And then the alien plant thingy says, 'Feed me, Seymour!'"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh, Birthday Brother!

My Jo turned 5 today!!!

I can hardly stand that he is not a wee, fluffy-headed bundle of heaven any more. I miss those days, but look forward each day to witnessing his joy for life. His excitement and love make my day, every day!

Even though he speaks the truth without guile ("Mommy, I like your chubby!"), he also often expresses his love to me and plants a big kiss on my cheek.

He is 5 going on 10, and the large gap between him and "the brothers" is not always enjoyable, but I would never have missed the opportunity to be his mommy and witness to the stages and phases he is going through, and seen the love his older brothers have for him.

Happy Birthday, my Jo! Thanks for another reason to celebrate!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Woo Hoo! I Love Jon!

[Disclaimer: I, Jon, did in now way incite, elicit, or influence this post, except by way of edition (grammar, etc.) at Wendy's request. The opinions found herein are the author's (i.e. Wendy's) and hers exclusively. Okay, I suppose I incited it by being my fabulous self, but other than that, I am innocent of the charge of manipulation of any sort. Nor am I to be held responsible for the jealousy of other wives, or the melancholy impotence of their husbands in comparison. That is all.]

Ok... so he is 37 now and my gift to him is...

37 reasons why I LOVE Jon-a-thon

1. I love that he is my best friend.
2. I love that he works hard to provide for his family.
3. I love that he does not like for there to be contention between us.
4. I love his scrumptious lips.
5. I love to hear him sing.
6. I love his feet.
7. I love that he dives in and helps around the house.
8. I love that he plays basketball.
9. I love how he loves his children--enough to even be their coach and seminary teacher.
10. I love that he took us to Italy and that he had amazing friends there.
11. I love that he makes killer spaghetti (did I write that?).
12. I love that he does the dish AND tidies the kitchen, too.
13. I love that we work as a team.
14. I love how mushy he is with babies.
15. I love to hear him having a mature talk with Jonah.
16. I love his bald shins.
17. I love his dilligence with and in the Gospel.
18. I love his unconditional love and forgiveness of others. Especially me.
19. I love his wit and charm.
20. I love his hair everywhere.
21. I love to see his big blues looking at me.
22. I love that he gets the door for me.
23. I love that he is willing to care for the kids so I can get away.
24. I love when we sing Bohemian Rhapsody really loud together in the Merv.
25. I love when he snuggles with me.
26. I love that he is handy around the house even when it means drilling through cement.
27. I love our life.
28. I love his boys.
29. I love the memories we share.
30. I love that he has stuck with me through unstickable times.
31. I even love him for the times he has had to set me straight.
32. I love that he is always willing to be up with the crying baby or the bad dreams.
33. I love that he swept me off my feet and married me barely 4 months from our first (official) date.
34. I love that we have lived in 3 different countries (yes, I love you here, I love you there, I love you everywhere).
35. I love that his parents taught him well and love us both.
36. I love that he loves me everyday, not just on special days.
37. Last one.... I love him because he is the one for me: he IS my home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hej! Hyj-hyj! Yep!

Ah, der Dansk! Musik til myn earsers!

Just came back from a 3-day conference in Arhus (actually A with a little superscript circle on its top: Oar-hoos) with a bunch of very nice and very smart people from places far and flung, including a Doblinner wit de classic Oirish axe-nt, a right delightful Scot whoo stahrted huz caree-er as a Bot'nist and ennded uhp a Bible scoller, a "why so pale and wan" Brit going back for his PhD in his translucent years, two feisty Franco-Belgian grad students, a big burly bearded American, a sweet little Swedish lady, and an Israeli academician with a c.v as long as three arms.

Volks I got to Knolks (or is that Folken I got to Knolken?):
The Scotanist, name of Hugh--wry, humble, erudite, and a friend to all he's met:

Hugh really does put the gentle in gentleman. We walked many a kilometre together, and he was very patient with my blathergeist. I stayed long enough on Sunday to hear his fascinating paper on a new setting of the Passion of Saint John, and its odd placement in a secular auditorium. Broad and brilliant.

The Pale 'un, Alan, who I assumed was an august professor already, but is really a spring rooster:

Alan and I were on the same panel, and he offered up a delightful paper on the poem and/as spiritual experience. We laughed often and heartily throughout the conference about language and the ways we speak it. Well, mostly about the way other people speak it. Ahem.

The Belgian Tag team, Ingrid and Marie (Cahoons: of whom does Marie--on the right--remind you?):

Marie was fun to talk with because her father is from Manchester, though he stopped speaking English to her when she was three years old, so she has this great French accent with Man accents. Ingrid was fun to talk with because she is delightfully shy, though for no apparent reason: sharp as a whip and smart as a knife. I appreciated them as well for their moderation with the liquor--hardly touched, which made me much more comfortable at table.

The Sweet:

Marion is a firecracker: a little nervous in front of the bigger crowd, but quick and interested in everything and everyone. We escorted her to her hotel once or twice, and she was graciously grateful: even Denmark can be dangerous, what with mad princes on the loose.

Our Eats (piatter du):

The banquet was refined and fine: I hadn't ever eaten sculpted food before--indeed, I was surprised to feel full at the evening's end. We were regaled with tales of conferences past, and entertained by some lovely Danish folk and jazz. On the whole a lovely evening. Wish Wendy had been there to enjoy it as well.

Belong these ruddy tongues as one
Whose fundal wonders have out-clung
The long divorce of time and land
And, met, fit almost glove o'er hand.

English is a Germanic language, coming as it does from Anglo-Saxon, however influenced (and enriched) by Celtic dialects, Latin, and French.

The Danes, whose language is also Germanic, also had a significant impact, and the relationship between the two is kinda fun to spot. For instance, a lady on the train (not headed at all for spain, thought there was rain, on the main, and a lovely, verdant plain) was reading a book called "En scaersommernytsdrom." Couldn't figure out the "scaer" part, and neither could the delightful Danish kid I chatted with all the way to Kobynhavn on Sunday.

Below I'll show you some fun near-misses, but I must say that the salutations were delightful: you walk into any establishment, and you're met with the lilting "Hej!" This is "hey," but with a lovely, elven lift at the end that takes the presumption out of it and instead reminds me of wassail. Good friends will say "hyj-hyj!" in greeting or in parting, and you often hear "Yep!" or "Yep?" instead of "next?" at store counters. It's relaxed, and not at all pushy. I liked it.

What I couldn't get over, though, is how these people were ever so fierce with such sunny dispositions and a bouncing lingua danska. I imagine things like this:

"How are you this fine, damp afternoon?"
"Ver well, tak! And you?"
"Oh, tak, tak, very well."
"By the way, I love what you've done with the ship. Is that English Oak?"

"Tak. Ya, ya. Picked it up on our last raid of the Pict outlands. I find it wears really well, and with the right varnish, it wipes clean without any scrubbing or abrasive creams. Blood, vomit, grog, whatever: just hoses right off."
"Yeah, my wife wants me to go oak plank on the next ship."
"It's totally worth it. I'm going to rape and pillage your whole town at the point of my gleaming broadsword, now, alright?"
"Og, sure. I understand. That's the way of it, after all. Next month will be our turn. Just please make sure to close the doors all the way when you're done."
"Of course. And tak for being so accommodating! Hyj-hyj!"

Signs of the Timer

Of course, there are moments of comic infelicity if one tries to bring the signified straight across. Ad exemplum:

Now, I know Norse mythology is polytheistic, and I know that the Vikings were a generally giantesque bunch (though modern Danes are normatively slender and slight), but this is ridiculous. And I really don't think you could fit 12 of them in these tiny elevators. Or maybe that means 12 persons to 1 thousand-pound god.

For a moment I thought I was in a Paul Walker movie: in case of driftsstop, pull back on the throttle and gear down. Somehow, driftsstop just doesn't carry the same weight as "emergency." Maybe that's why we English opted for the Latin: something's coming out to get us, after all, not coming to a gentle cessation.

Parkering is, under every circumstance, forbidden here. And don't you kids forguht it.

Here, however, you can parker one time, but one time only. Then that's it. No more times after that, at least not here. We punch the ticket and you move along so someone else can parker. I remember the first time Wendy and I parkered. It was in dad's car, just out in front to the Stake Center in Red Deer, right before we reportered our missions. We were both very unnervered.

Well, we slept cheap, that's for sure. But the luxury part was a little over-stated. Wish I'd taken pictures: the bathroom was a toilet, a sink, and a drain in the floor with a circular shower rod hanging above it, all crammed into a bout 4 square feet. Perspective: one set of taps controlled both the sink and the shower. If you forgot to throw the control back on sink while brushing your teeth, well, it was lucky you had an extra change of clothes. . . .

Actually, the toilet was cramped, but it wasn't all that bad. The television, on the other hand, was mostly German. And it was pretty bad. High-diving with the stars, anyone? The only thing missing was Hasselhoffen, mit hisn pidgeon chesten all exposeden und singen einen off hisn vunverbarren poppen songens fur der camerageshichte.

I always wondered where one could buy a bog. It was closed, or I'd have gone in to see if the purveyors were bog people, which would kind of make sense. And one can see that in addition to bogs, you can also buy all your boggening tools, like barrows. For ditches and dykes, one has to go to Amsterdam, though.

This one's for Drew: perhaps the single-most charming tandlageskolen I've ever seen.

Is the above pamphlet
a: an evacuation plan for the hotel elevator?
b: the personal menu of a Danish soprano?
c: a schedule of boating tours of the nearby fjords?
d: the list of options for viking funerals?


Yikes! Them's bikes!

Bikes are every where. I didn't have my camera with me on the udgang/indgang gangway above the train platform, but it was lined with bikes: red bikes blue bikes old bikes new bikes hill bikes still bikes quite a few bikes! Bikes with gears and bikes you steer, bikes with baskets, aw you get the point. Lots of bikes. And they're just left where they're parkered. No chains, no locks, no alarms, no socks. All of Denmark is like a giant lending library for bikes, though I don't think one can actually just swap and ride without causing trouble.

Fact, in general they're a law-und-orderly bunch: I had to incite Italian-style j-walking on more than one occasion. But their waiting for the light wasn't the moo-eyed, lowing passivity we'd find in, say, um, a soulless urbanada: this was a bright-eyed, zen-like acceptance of things beyond control but with purpose. I almost waited once or twice, but my ADD got the better of me.

Every roof looks like a barn. Must snow or something. Huh.

It's offical: I, too, am missing seasons. It was fun to wear a coat for a change.

Love the weathercocks on every watchamacallit. I believe there's a Scandic children's tale about that, isn't there? The one with the pile of animals? Anyway, best thing about them was their silence. Good little roosters.

So I didn't talk about it earlier, but I really dig that "gang" word (gahng), which crops up in Scots English as well ("'Til a' the seas gang dry, [my luve]"), and of course in English English has become "going."

"I used to belong to a going."
"Arrr, he broke the pirate code, he did. He'll walk the going-plank for it, he will!"
"Going way! We're coming down the goingway!"

"Gang" is far more charming, I think: it's nice when someone is udgang, especially if you're shy and need a little help, or if you don't like them. I wonder if Danish soldiers shout "indgang!" when under missile fire, or if they say "indkommen" instead. Probably the latter. Hmm. Maybe it means "I'm going to India." Or perhaps it's a euphemism for "going native." That or it just means "entrance."

Yeah, entrance is likely. I like this pairing more than the British-inspired "Way In" and "Way Out" we see here all the time. The latter always makes me feel like I've done something egregious.

Naeste timer: an update on the gangs on in the Penny villa, including pictures of our trespassing outing with the Dubai Stewarts, which resulted in Jamie getting a date with a bag, or rather a bag full of date. Also, updates on the romantic lives of J and C, featuring "She's on my nerves today" and "She's a girl? Huh. Hadn't noticed."

Darren: Irony is always welcome, though brassery is better left in Paris.
Adam: welcome back to the land of the living. Now that you're almost a Newfie, I just might have to keep my promise and write you that poem. So are you a "Newby," given that you're in NB?
Chrystal: talked with Kathy coupla days ago. We're psyched.
Skulkers: As they say in Sweden, "Ikea!"

And, finally, heard a great paper on funeral poetry, as in a turning away from scripture and liturgy to "Candle-in-the-Wind" theology. Fascinating stuff. Here's my response:

DED (for Jess)

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust:
Dig out the middle, throw out the crust;

Pay out the taxes, divvy the stuff;
Take the insurance, forget all the fuss.

If I don't get at least 15 comments on this one, I'm packing it in. You've been warned. Maybe I should try putting up a picture of ec's kids, and say something sweet about motherhood. . . .

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cuppa Nuttin

In the absence of anything cute or wondrous to report this week, the following observation and recommendation.

We occasionally stumble across things that surprise us here, most of them apparently trivial and easily explained by the merest of rational speculations. But they are surprising nonetheless. Here's an example.

It isn't so much the popularity of movies that surprises us, but rather that movies such as this--the one ardently, even radically, Catholic, and the other nominally mormon, and very obscure (though we know the director very well: he and his wife, a childhood friend, were in our ward at BYU, and I once raced against and then hung out with him when we were kids at a stake track meet)--would show up over here. In fact, though we didn't get a picture of it this time, we've seen The Work and the Glory many times over. Unfortunately. At least it wasn't Legacy or (horrors!) The BoM Movie.

Curioser and curioser, this place. Inscrutable its peoples. And that ain't orientalism, Herr Said, it's just otherness.

Here's a recommendation to all who love literature as literature, and don't mind occasional, if cautious, ickyness: read Julian Barnes' Arthur & George (with the ampersand, if you please).

Here is my preferred cover--the Canadian edition. I just likes it, I does. All mustardy and diminutive.

It is written by this bloke, who is, if I am pressed to generate such a list, one of my "favourites" with a 'u.'

It is about this old boy, a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

and his doings in clearing the name of this unfortunate but apparently stoic and stolid solicitor of Parsee-Scotch parentage and English identity.

A wonderfully warm read, finely researched, humane as Barnes' work always is, and in the main both skeptical and credulous in equal and endearing measure. Just finished it, after owning it for more than a year. Read it in the last two days at a leisurely amble, and thought it very fine indeed. Dew tell us wot ewe finks uv it, guv. We'll be waiting to hear.

Shout-out: HEY! Is anybody beside ec and Smash out there? Hello? Geezum crow! I might have to resort to a canning "accident" or retread the old trespass-til-they-dismember-you trick so we can get some action here. No need to say anything clever, just let us know you're listening is all. It helps.

Bon weekend. And happy conference to all for whom that means anything.