Thursday, December 23, 2010

Read between the lines.

Why do people say what they mean in a way where they aren't saying what it means when they say it? You don't usually think about it, but when you do you have to read between the lines. It's a risk factor for reading too much and/or reading too less into things.

I'm talking about social politeness and cover up phrases here. I myself like to call these "throw away phrases". For example:

"We should catch up some time"

Vague. Non-committal. Nice-to-see-you-again-but-my-life-didn't-change-without-you. Socially polite and a way of saying thankyou for filling in my usually mentally blank time during my train ride home. There are no real intentions to put in effort and organise a "catch up", it's just something you say.

It should only be used by old friends or acquaintances from a past shared era not by someone you hardly know wherein "catching up" (on a whole lifetime of experiences to that current moment?? don't be silly) is irrational. When used in this context, "we should catch up some time" really means, "we should go on a date some time" or along those lines.

Here's another:

"hanging out/chilling"

Well yeah sure, let's hang out, as long as it's just HANGING OUT and not a cover up for a date because when I think it's just chillin' with a G and am putting in no efforts to impress, unbeknownst to little me the G is actually preying, there can be some awkward moments (including but not limited to the excess of personal questions asked, a lack of crap talking, the obvious attempt at trying to develop a deep conversation and the exchange of "funny" looks when you don't linger in the passenger seat longer than necessary).

Again, vague. Sneaky way of getting the equivalent of a date. Used to not show over-platonic interest in a person.

So why don't we say what we mean and mean what we say?

Mostly to avoid over exposure.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Free the Birdies.

So I don't usually post spiritual things, in fact I never do, this is a first but I wanted to share a story my grandma gave to me the other day which she wanted me to hold on to. At first I was a bit, "yeah thanks G", but I read it last night and it touched me a little:

"Last summer my family had a spiritual experience that has had a lasting and profound impact on us, one we feel must be shared. It's a message of love. It's a message of regaining perspective, and restoring proper balance and renewing priorities.

In humility, I pray that I might, in relating this story, give you a gift my little son, Brian, gave our family one warm summer day last year. On July 22nd I was en route to Washington, D.C. for a business trip. It was all so very ordinary until we landed in. Denver for a plane change. As I collected my belongings from the overhead bin, an announcement was made for Mr. Lloyd Glenn to see the United customer service representative immediately. I thought nothing of this until I reached the door to leave the plane and I heard a gentleman asking every male if they were Mr. Glenn. At this point I knew something was wrong and my heart sunk.

When I got off the plane a solemn-faced young man came toward me and said, "Mr. Glenn, there has been an emergency at your home. I do not know what the emergency is, or who is involved, but I will take you to a phone so you can call the hospital.

My heart was now pounding, but the will to be calm took over. Woodenly, I followed this stranger to a distant telephone where I called the number he gave me for the Mission Hospital. My call was put through to the trauma center where I learned that my three-year-old son had been trapped underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes, and that when my wife had found him, he was dead. CPR had been performed by a neighbor, who is a doctor, and the paramedics had continued that treatment as Brian was transported to the hospital. By the time of my call, Brian was revived and they believed he would live, but they did not know how much damage had been done to his brain, nor to his heart. They explained that the door had completely closed on his little sternum right over his heart. He had been severely crushed.

After speaking with the medical staff, my wife informed me that our Bishop and hometeacher were there and were waiting for the doctors to give them the go ahead to administer to Brian. She sounded worried, but not hysterical,. and I took comfort in her calmness.

The return flight seemed to last forever, but finally I arrived at the hospital six hours after the garage door had come down. When I walked into the intensive care unit, nothing could have prepared me to see my little son laying so still on a great big bed with tubes and monitors everywhere. He was on a respirator. I glanced at my wife who stood and tried to give me a reassuring smile. It all seemed like a terrible dream. I was filled in on all the details and given the guarded prognosis. Brian was going to live, and the preliminary tests indicated that his heart was okay - two miracles, in and of themselves. But, only time would tell if his brain received any damage.

Throughout these seemingly endless hours, my wife was calm. She told me that the Bishop had given a blessing so powerful and so reassuring that she felt that Brian would eventually be all right. I hung on to her words and faith like a lifeline.

All that night and all the next day Brian remained unconscious. It seemed like forever since I had left for my business trip the day before. Finally, at two o'clock that afternoon, our son regained consciousness and sat up uttering the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken. He said, "Daddy, hold me," as he reached for me with his little tiny arms.

By the next day he was pronounced as having no neurological or physical deficits, and the story of his miraculous survival spread throughout the hospital. You cannot imagine our gratitude and joy. As we took Brian home we felt the unique reverence for life and love of our Heavenly Father that comes to those who brush death so closely. In the days that followed there was a special spirit about our home. Our two older children were much closer to their little brother. My wife and I were closer to each other, and all of us were very close as a whole family. Life took on a less stressful pace. Perspective seemed to be much more focused, and balance much easier to gain and maintain. We felt deeply blessed. Our gratitude was truly profound.

Almost a month later to the day of the accident, Brian awoke from his afternoon nap and said, "Sit down, Mommy. I have something to tell you." At that time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases, so to say such a large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on the bed and he began this sacred and remarkable story.

"Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well, it was so heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you, but you couldn't hear me. I started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then the 'birdies' came."

"The 'birdies'?" my wife asked puzzled. "Yes," he replied. "The 'birdies' made a whooshing sound and flew into the garage. They took care of me." "They did?" she asked. "Yes," he said. "One of the birdies came and got you. She came to tell you I got stuck under the door."

A sweet and reverent feeling filled the room. The spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air. My wife realized that a three-year-old has no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to the beings who came to help him from beyond the veil as "birdies" because they were up in the air like birds that fly.

"What did the 'birdies' look like?" she asked. Brian answered, "They were so beautiful,

They were dressed in white, all white. Some of them had on green and white, but some of them had on just white." My wife thought this was intriguing because Brian had no clue what the color green was.

"Did they say anything?" "Yes," he answered. "They told me the baby would be all right." "The baby?" my wife asked, confused. And Brian answered, "Yes, the baby laying on the garage floor." He went on, "You came out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to stay and not leave." My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this, for she had indeed gone and knelt beside Brian's body, and seeing his crushed chest and unrecognizable features, and knowing he was already dead, she looked up around her and whispered, "Don't leave us, Brian; please stay if you can.

As she listened to Brian telling her the words she had spoken, she realized that his spirit had left his body and was looking down from above on this little lifeless form. "Then what happened?" she asked.

"We went on a trip," he said, "far, far away." He grew agitated trying to say things he didn't seem to have words for. My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be okay. He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very important to him, but finding the words was so difficult. Finally, his eyes alighted on the picture of the Oakland temple that hangs in the room and he ran to it. "I went there!" he shouted. "There, Mommy," he pointed to the temple. "And I went to other ones like this. There are lots of them. They are everywhere, and I went to some of them with the 'birdies'. We flew so fast up in the air."

To which my wife said, "That's one of the temples." "YES! YES!" he shouted. "I went to the temples." "They're so pretty, Mommy," he added. "And there are lots and lots of 'birdies' in the temple. Lots of them are in cages and they want to get out, but they can't by themselves. They need us to let them out of the cages. Mommy, I have to go to the temple and let them out. They are so sad and they need me to let them out. Money, you have to go there now and let them out. And Daddy too. And everyone. We have to let them out of their cages."

My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet spirit enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known. She thought of the spirit world, the spirit prison to those who have not had saving ordinances done, and she knew that such spirits were relying on us to do these ordinances for them. She thought of how Brian had said some of the 'birdies' were wearing green and white, and the significance of that swept her with longing and understanding.

Brian went on to tell her that the 'birdies' told him that he had to come back and tell everyone about the temples and the 'birdies' in their cages. He said they brought him back to the house and that a big fire truck, a little fire truck, and an ambulance were there. A man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man that the baby would be okay, but the man couldn't hear him. He said the 'birdies' told him he had to go with the ambulance, but they would be near him. He said it was so pretty there and so peaceful, and he didn't want to come back.

And then the bright light came. He said the light was so bright and so warm, and he loved the bright light very much. Someone was in the bright light and put their arms around him and told him, "I love you, but you have to go back. You have to play baseball, tell everyone about the temples, and slay the alligators." Then the person in the bright light kissed him and waved bye-bye. Brian got in the ambulance with two of the 'birdies'. The ambulance doors closed after the people got in, and he said, "Then I saw my beautiful, beautiful 'birdies' waving bye-bye. Then whoosh, the big sound came and they went into the clouds."

The story went on for over an hour. He taught us that the "birdies" are always with us, but we don't see them because we look with our eyes, and we don't hear them because we listen with our ears. But, they are there, and you can only see them in here (he put his hand over his heart). They whisper the things to help us do what's right because they love us so much. Brian continued, stating, "I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan. Daddy has a plan. Everyone has a plan. We all must live our plan and keep our promises. And the 'birdies' help us do that 'cause they love us so, so much."

In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all, or part it again and again. Always the story remained the same. The details were never changed or out of order. A few time he added further bits of information that clarified the message he had already delivered. It never ceased to amaze us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he spoke of his "birdies."

Everywhere he went, he told total strangers that they had to go to the temple. Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did this. Rather, they always got a softened look on their face and smiled.

Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray that we never will be. My wife and I have gone to the temple repeatedly since then, and always Brian is waiting to hear how many "birdies" we set free each time we go.

Brothers and Sisters, of all the messages Brian could have brought back, he brought this one -- We must go to the temple and free the "birdies." I testify that the things I have shared with you today are true. They are of sacred worth. They are of eternal consequence to us all and to the spirits who await the work only we can do for them.

May we all go to the temple and free the "birdies" - for this truly is the Lord's work and His glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I leave you with this message in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

-Lloyd Glenn

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Silver lining?

So I slammed the phone down on my boss the other day after 2.5 years of being trampled on and since then he's either:

a) avoiding me
b) giving me silent treatment
or c) a bit of both

Which ever it is, it's suiting me just fine.

I don't know whether I should be a little worried though, I know him, and I know he can be quite calculating. But I also know what the firm is without me - stressed and messed up.

What ever happens though, it's time for a new environment anyway :)


We all know dads only exist to embarrass their children and wives. Everybody knows. It's a fact. But I mean, really, there's no need for the constant reminder.

Last night, for example, was one outing - to a primary school Christmas concert, so no real biggie, but at least four times, FOUR TIMES, I wanted to crawl inside a hole and stay there internally groaning the rest of my existence away.

First off, the combination of brown moccasins, grey holden track suit pants, navy blue grandpa cardi, army cap and popped collar, large reading glasses and a balding white head do not mesh. Like, at all. I don't know who let him out of the house... My father is the type of man who always claps the loudest and longest, and in the primary school court yard where there's decent echo and acoustics its like clapping next to a megaphone.

"No, he's not with me".

He's the type of man who feels the need to give a running commentary on how the person next to us is consuming their hot dog or how they should consume their hot dog, not troubling to lower his voice, play downball with a bunch of preppies with the same enthusiasm you'd expect whilst watching the footy and oh, get this, force me into social annihilation in the space of five minutes.

Some background info for that last one: My 6 year old niece, Tyra, wants to hook me up with her sports teacher - Mr Briggs.

Need I say any more? Of course not, but I will just so you can live this pain with me.

Dad, the old codger, took it seriously when I joked to Tyra about only going to the concert to see Mr Briggs (who, I have to say, I had never seen before - and is quite fit actually). So dad, in his tactless and wannabe-cupid-way, goes off after the concert to go and speak to one of the teachers. Me, wanting to leave asap (I was hungry ok? I hadn't had dinner), went on a search for the car keys. So I find him, chatting away as he does, and as I approach I hear him say "Here she is, this is the one I was talking about". All that was going through my head was "Nooooooooo!".

"This is the one that likes Mr Briggs". Just like that.

As I scramble to save face, "What?! I don't like Mr Briggs!"

"Yes you do, you said so in the car"

"I was joking! Tyra is the one who wanted to set us up, I've never even seen Mr Briggs!"

"OHHH, TYYYYRA", as he nudges Mr Briggs' co-worker.

"Well, that's Mr Briggs over there, he was a very promising football player until he did his hip", smirked Mr Briggs' co-worker.

"Yes he looks like a decent football player. Handsome young fellow"

"Dad I need the keys"

"Why don't you go over and say hello, this fellow here is just filling in for him"

"Dad, seriously I'm not interested!"

"Of course you are, he's strapping young lad"


"Come on, I'll go over with you"


Dad and Mr Briggs' co-worker: chuckle, chuckle, chortle, chortle.

1. Dad, don't ever try to help in that department.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Diary of a tourist 8/10/2010

So I was cleaning my room last night (pause for applause) and I found the diary that I attempted to use whilst I was overseas. Admittedly it only lasted a couple of days (typical me behaviour) but I thought I would maybe share the first entry with y'all - just so you can scahdenfreude at my futile attempt to express the inner workings of my all-over-the-place mind:

"Wake up, it's a beautiful morning" emits through the little plastic sound holes of my earphones as I sit in Hong Kong waiting for my transit flight. Daylight struggles through the miserable looking clouds and tinted windows of the airport at 7am - I'm not exactly sure The Drums is entirely appropriate for this moment. Nevertheless, despite the gloomy weather that has promised itself to Hong Kong, after 9 hours of being cooped up in pretty much a 30cm radius and my sleeping travel companions for riveting conversation, I'm grateful for the stop, if only to freshen up and stretch.

How shall I sum up the last 9 hours? Four movies started and rejected (I'm a hard woman to please), two toilet trips, five attempts at catching shut eye, no spare vegan or even vegetarian meals (feeling peculiar movements in my stomach) and absolutely no success at getting semi comfortable.

And that's only one third of the flight over.. But hey, who am I to complain?


So I'm back. Boredom  has once again set in during the flight from Hong Kong to London. After finally finishing a movie (the selection is something shocking), a chapter or two of lady Chatterley's Confession and finally a bit of a snooze, I find myself staring at voluminous, fluffy, pure white clouds (yes I scored the window seat). Earphones back in, waiting for the perfect song to make this the perfect moment. I'm so at peace.


Flying over deserts now, still somewhere in Asia, the flight information on the little screen in front of me promises we're close to Xining, heading in the direction of Delhi, 8.5 hours still to go till London. Errrrrh!


FINALLY, in London, only 3 more hours of flying left to get to Barcelona.

You're feet swell up when you fly, did you know?.

Just here to vent.

OF ALL THE ARROGANT, PRETENTIOUS, COLD-HEARTED GITS!! PLUS at least ten additional profane and obscene adjectives!

He's a downright Scrooge! If he thinks I will be working on Christmas Eve whilst he is off holidaying overseas he can think again.

Christmas Eve for crying out loud!

I'm going to write a letter!