Friday, April 25, 2008

Shiny happy people

Most of you have not seen Kevin for about a year or longer, and that was when he was still the strong, silent type. He now talks a lot, and he is so funny. We are constantly laughing at what he comes up with. We read from the Book of Mormon every night, everybody just reads one verse. When it's Kevin's turn, I usually say a few words and he repeats the last word I said. For example:
Me: And it came to pass. . .(pause)
Kevin: Pass.

Several weeks ago, for some reason, he started to say "shiny" in front of everything.
Me: And it came to pass. . .
Kevin: Shiny pass.
Much laughter from the other children (and me).
After we settle down a little. . .Me: that Alma. . .
Kevin: Shiny Elmo (he can't say Alma, and this leads to even more laughter, this is usually when John breaks down and starts laughing too).

We're not really sure why he started this, though it might be because John bought a "new" car and Kevin started off by calling it Dad's shiny new car. Maybe he thinks everything should be shiny and new. So. . .we tried kind of ignoring it for a long time, but the kids of course would still bust up laughing, sometimes John and I too. Finally we decided to crack down on it. Now this is the usual result:

Me: And Alma said unto the people
K: shiny people (this almost breaks me as I think of the song, but I am strong and don't laugh)
Me: Just people
K: What kind of people?
Me: Just say people.
K: What kind of people?
Me: Just regular people.
K: Really people?
Me: Yes. . . "people of the city"
K: Shiny city
Me: Just city.
K: Shiny city
Me: Just say city.
K: What kind of city?
Me: *reaching the end of my rope and about to burst out laughing* Just a regular city.
K: Really city? Or shiny city?

By this time usually John is snickering quietly behind his hand, and the kids are of course giggling, and how can I hold it together with all that? So we all laugh and then just continue letting him say shiny before everything. I guess we'll just let him say it and ignore him again. I don't really care that he says it, it makes scripture time more interesting because we all wonder what will be shiny today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earthquake in Illinois

So at 4:36 am this morning I was making my lunch (I go to work real early!) and felt a little shake but mostly heard the windows rattle and it sounded like everyone was coming down the stairs. Just as soon as it started it all of the sudden stopped. I thought that it was very odd and didn't think anything about it. It's not like an earthquake could occur here. I was watching the news to see the weather and they reported that an earthquake just hit Illinois, 240 miles south near Salem. It was a 5.4 and was felt here in Chicago but as far as 450 miles away. My sister lives in Louisville KY, about 90 miles from the epicenter. She said that her bed was shaking like crazy and things moving around. From what I've seen so far there hasn't been any damage.

I had no idea there was a fault line here and the last time an earthquake hit here was 1968, so not like I would know that anyway. But it got me thinking about earthquakes in diverse places. A few years back there was that tornado that occurred right in downtown Salt Lake City, how strange was that! I guess this earthquake doesn't beat that tornado in oddity, but it comes close. We hear about earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, and drought throughout the earth. But it something different when you realize it is happening where you live. We had that earthquake, severe flooding occurred just this fall in mid-Illinois (in our stake! The church and our ward assisted with the clean up and helping families in the area), last summer over 200 people died in Chicago related to heat (in 1995 almost 600 people died in a freak heat wave in Chicago), and this winter was one of the coldest on record with record amount of snow.

I could talk about global warming, our human impact, and our responsibility and stewardship in caring for this wonderful Earth...but I'll avoid the backlash and endless comments...this time. However I will note my own feeling as I have lived in 6 States and have family living in many different States, that what is happening in the world is also really happening in not as noticeable (or publicised) ways everywhere. Sign of the times? I think so. But I find it interesting that we have been so used to the strange tornadoes or odd earthquakes that it almost seems normal, almost not even news worthy. I can see how people can be lulled away into not seeing what is actually happening in front of all of us. Well...that is just what I've been thinking.

--- John

A funny note is that Lajuana slept right through the earthquake! Now she can't make fun of me for sleeping through an earthquake we went through in Oregon. It is all very funny in light of my commentary above!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's in a name?

I think we’ll be changing our names on the blog for privacy reasons, and this week I’ve been thinking a lot about my name. I was named after my mom’s aunt Juanita Brooks, an LDS historian/author. For some reason, they decided “La” in front of the name made it sound even better, and that’s what I got. I always joke that by the time they got to me (9th out of 10), they were running out of names and had to make up one, and I used to say “I’m not just any Juana, I’m THE Juana (“la” means “the” in Spanish).” Here's a picture of me when I was about 4, with my best friend and my older brother (not sure what he's doing with this pose). I have my name shirt on that my parents had made for me in Las Vegas. I remember always being sad that I never got personalized things like those little licence plates, so they got a shirt made for me.

My brothers all called me Juana or Juani, and most of my good friends picked up one of those. John calls me Juani at least half the time. A lot of people think my name starts with Lu, more like Luanne or something, which doesn’t bother me at all. I answer to anything remotely sounding like my name. My basketball coach was entirely unable to pronounce my name and just started calling me Lou after the first day. So then the whole team called me Lou, Louie, or LuLu. Some of my friends from high school still call me that. One day, my older brother’s friends sat at lunch and made a huge long list of nicknames for me, including:
Lajuanasaurus Rex,
Lackawana (tribe of Native Americans in NJ),
Mahana (from Johnny Lingo, as in “Mahana you ugly. . .come down from that tree”),
Hermana Lajuana, and a bunch of others I don’t remember or have intentionally shut out of my memory. This was the "awkward time" in my life, and I was mortified at so much attention from Seniors. Here's a picture of me between two friends when I was 15. Like the glasses?

When I was called to go to Spain, I was excited to go to the land of my ancestors (my dad’s family was from there), and was fiercely proud of my name. I started to realize in the MTC, however, that my name was not just unique, it was downright weird. Imagine your name being Thejulie or Themary. People would think you were a little strange, and your parents too. I learned on my mission that people sometimes use an article in front of someone’s name, but it’s used in kind of a derogatory way, or at least disrespectful. I can’t think of something similar in English. When I first got to Spain, when people would ask my first name, I would say Lajuana and they thought I was crazy. I would have to explain in my limited Spanish why they named me that, and still at the end, they would say “It’s just not right” and they would lecture me on why my name was so wrong. In my next area, I decided to fix the problem. When people would ask my first name, I said Juana. “You mean Joanna.” “No, it’s Juana.” “How could you be named Juana, I don’t believe it.” Then I would have to prove it to them, I had to show them my real name engraved on my scriptures was Lajuana, and then have the whole conversation again about it being wrong to name your child Lajuana. Finally, in my next area, when anyone asked my first name, I would say Joanna, and they would say “Oh, that’s like the name Juana in Spanish.” “Exactly.”

It's also interesting to note that John and I have the same name, almost. Juan y Juani. That might be the new title of our blog.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunny St. George

We went to St. George, UT during Spring Break to visit my parents. They are doing well, though my dad continues to decline in his verbal abilities (he has Alzheimer's). The kids don't really notice and just love him for his silliness and his love of adventure. It was warm and sunny there, a nice change from the chilly wind of the Chicago area. Spring has arrived there, and the flowers and trees were blooming. We let our eyes feast on the mountain vistas, and we felt as if we were home. We REALLY miss the mountains. The drive out there was brutal, but interestingly enough, our drive home was a little better. Kevin loves the trucks and cars that Grandma has in her toy box, and Garrett and Hannah enjoyed coloring pictures to hang on the fridge. Kevin followed Grandpa around like a little shadow, helping him water the plants and using his measuring tape to make sure everything was the correct length :)

A new start

Hello friends and family, here we are trying a new format. John is tired of all the blogging resting on his shoulders, so now we're starting this one to see if I'll actually participate a little. I can promise that I will try to write pretty often, so you can all see what the crazy Sapps are up to now.