A Very Happy Birthday

Today’s post comes from Jacque.

I found my perfect communication medium when I discovered texting. I was not an early adapter, but once I tried it, the medium became mine. It is succinct and I can look at it when I want to and respond (well maybe, usually). That is all I want from most communication, especially when simple things are involved.

And then there are the emoticons. I realize that many folks abhor those little ditties, but I adore them. This morning I saw a girl wearing a T-shirt displaying emotion-identifying emoticons labeling the emotions in French. How engaging! And clever. And sappy, but I don’t care. I love them.

Back to texting, though.   I am the first to admit that texting is not worthy of communicating about more complicated matters. The issue of more nuanced conversation set aside, the following text sequence between my son and I occurred recently (backstory—he has ADHD and struggles with organization. If asked to do so, I will help):

Son: I would like to rent a car for a week. Are you available to help me out tomorrow evening? I also need help with the upcoming move. Need a mover and cleaner.

 Me: My birthday is Friday. If I do this then I want LOTS of attention, a very large gift acknowledging that I am the world’s best mother, as well as undying gratitude and my say forever. Those are my terms.

 Son: Sounds reasonable enough.

 Time passes. Said services are arranged.

Thursday afternoon at 2:00 pm there was a knock on my office door. When I answered it standing there was this:


The balloon bouquet is 8 feet tall accompanied by the following card:


I was happy. He was happy. Texting rules.

What is your favorite mode of communication which does not occur in person? (Hint: Alpine horns, Scottish pipes, smoke signals, yodeling and drums all count).

105 thoughts on “A Very Happy Birthday”

  1. Morning all.

    I am an e-mailer. I am so slow at texting that it is too frustrating to use for more than “where are you” types of missives! Typing though? Sign me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PSA from Mike Pengra — The first broadcast of “Keepers By Request” is Friday, Sept. 4th at noon. We’ll repeat it Sunday, Sept. 6th at 7pm.

    (I keep repeating this to make sure as many folks as possible see it!)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If you are going to survive raising children, you have to sharpen negotiation skills!

      Because I am Minnesota Nice, people think I am a pushover. Not so. There is a former office mate out there, that assessed that incorrectly. I have the office and the business. I don’t know what she is doing now.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Well done, Jacque and Ben!

    We are currently in the training stage on asking for and appreciating help. It has all the charm of toddler-era training, but I am cautiously optimistic it will end in a similar good result, but the wear and tear on the nerves is right up there with toddler training.

    I had my baby right about the time cordless phones and email were coming into common usage. I am convinced there was never a better innovation for new mothers. It was excellent to be freed of any need to answer the phone (16 years later, it is still impossible for my parents, who use email for other people, just not me, to realize that my not answering the phone does not mean I am out of the house. sigh). I feel about email the way you do about texting, and I like texting for that reason too.

    Then there is the less techie mode of communication I miss sorely: My late, great, neighbor standing on her sidedoor step and calling into my living room window, “Kathy????…….” summoning sometimes to a little task, or send over the boy, but more often to pick up a treat.

    And then there was the light in the kitchen window check…..

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Another favorite communication method that I used to use when raising a teen whose bedroom was int he basement: The laundry chute. This is now gone from the house. As a laundry chute it was useless! The incompetent builders had allowed a nail to poke through the chute duct. The chute itself was positioned to deliver the item to the top surface of the wash machine. Nothing arrived there due to the nail and the sender was put in the position of having to get the laundry item off the nail.

    So we used it to communicate with the teen. Open the door, yell down the chute (i.e. “SUPPER” or “EMPTY THE GARBAGE” or “ARE YOU UP?”).

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We had an intercom in the house. Mom would call from the kitchen to my bedroom downstairs. Seems like 1/2 the time it didn’t work. But when it did it was pretty cool.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My mother’s non-verbal call to us as kids was a bell. Not sure where she got it – it was about the size of a school marm type bell, but the handle was a flat piece of metal that stuck off the side that clipped it into a bracket connected to the house when not in use. She would use it to call us home (at dinner time, when it was time to come in for the night in the summer, etc.) – you could hear it a block away. Most of the other neighborhood kids used it as their “five minute warning” – if the Pete and Anna needed to go home, they would need to head back soon, too.

    With the start of middle school, Daughter has received a cell phone. She now has a one mile walk to and from and most days will arrive home to an empty house (if she comes straight home). Phone means she can call if she’s stopping at a friend’s to do homework and/or call when she gets home. Personally, I prefer texting (which she also does – especially with a handful of pals). Daughter is a fan of FaceTime (though apparently not with me…sniff).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. For the short period of time that I worked for the Danish diplomatic family in Moscow, I was relegated to the kitchen for my dinner while the family would gather around the dining room table. Whenever the missus wanted something, she’d chime her little silver bell and I was supposed to come running. Never felt so denigrated in my life. I also didn’t do well as a waitress when someone would snap their fingers and yell “waitress.” Bossing me around, no matter how, is not a good idea. Ask me politely, and I’ll do most anything for you, but treat me with respect.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. i was always amazed by chinese drivers.
        they are a vital link to the world in china. to be able to negotiate through the hubub and then sit in the adjoining area and wait to be needed again . they woill sit for hours while a meeting is going on and be on the ready for an opportunity to be needed. a different take on being expected to be ready to engage on a moments notice.


      2. Certain actors in my memory were fool enough to yell, “dresser!” when they wanted something.

        They quit once it was clear this was a poor choice if you actually wanted help from the people backstage you were dependent on to get you out there on time and looking good.

        Calling them “actor” also worked in most cases. As is ever the case, a really big star never did this, always the wannabes.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Never piss off your dresser or your costumer. Never. They are in a position to do you the most harm (because they can take out individuals, unlike lighting and set designers who might have to take out whole swaths of vermin…er…actors to make a point with one of them).

          Liked by 3 people

  6. Great topic, Jacque. I can’t give much of an answer now because the one fixed point in my mushy life is writing my morning letter to my friend, which I’m doing right now. I usually spend two hours each morning writing an email letter to Marilynn. The letters are about 900 words long, and many have photos tucked in among the words.

    I adore letters. Writing them and getting them. Just love ’em! I’m thrilled by the speed and convenience of email. Over the decades I have developed an idiosyncratic structure that lets me write emails that wind drunkenly from topic to topic, and yet the finished letters often have more form than is immediately apparent.

    My communications with my artistic friend on the east coast were different, for the relationship was different. We learned that typing IM comments back and forth suited us better than anything else. The conversation was unplanned, and yet the time required to think and type allowed us both to speak more intelligently than if we’d just yakked on the phone. Some of those conversations lasted four hours. I had disabling repetitive motion pain after one. I have copies of three of those conversations. When I bring them out to read them again, I’m amazed and thrilled at how well we communicated.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. it used to be in the bottom right corner of aol when you got on. all the other people who were in your network who were there at that moment. . if you started a conversation you pretty much had uninterrupted conversation until you were done. \i seeit now with the people on line and or how long they have been off.


  7. text email phone . its a spinning top and the text portion has become a choice of text facebook instagram snapchat etc whatever the current social ditty is
    you need to be adaptive enough to be there.
    it feels like you need to figure out who you are communicating with, discover their preferrence and jump in.
    video is the new trend. most people will look to the screen for 5 seconds instead of reading i am told
    youtube and the facebook version will be the coming thing


        1. I always wondered what the inside of the toilet looked like.
          Just replaced the guts on one last weekend.
          I can’t say I am able to fathom any affection for rats, but they are pretty amazing resourceful creatures…

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Daughter and I text most of the time these days, although she phones when she is excited or upset. Last night she couldn’t wait to tell me that her African coworkers at the group home made couscous with chicken feet for supper and that it was pretty good. She even nibbled on a chicken foot. We have a code, WAYAWAYD?, which stands for “Where are you and what are you doing?” I text mostly with son and dil as well. Husband writes grammatically pristine texts, so he is sort of a slow texter. The email rules at work.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Balloons are still in the living room, but droopy. I loved them so much I still cannot throw them. The card goes int he upper desk drawer for lifetime enjoyment. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Think about that, tim. Jacque’s birthday can’t be today if she had time to write and post a blog about it. It was on the 21st.


      1. i thought we were so well organized that she got to post her birthday blog on her birthday. bumped up in order out of special prioritization. yesterday would require quick action but now that you mention it it is obvious my brain wasnt working correctly.
        a familiar scenario

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Robin and I used to be psychically connected, but only about food. We may still be, but we are no longer separated all day, so other forms of communication predominate. In one memorable instance, Robin had been thinking all day about a lemon meringue pie and arrived home to find I had just made one. All the more peculiar because I don’t make many lemon meringue pies.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lest you presume we are just a couple of those so-called “pie psychics”, we also sometimes psychically communicate about main courses and beverages as well.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Man, I could use someone like you in my life, Bill. Do you think if I think really hard about what treat I want and then come to your house, you might have the Treat of the Day ready for me?


        1. TGITH use to sit up front of the State Fair Show near Dear Leader and Jim Ed, blogging the show why the merriment proceeded. At 6am-9am. I loved those shows.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I see, thanks. I’ve probably been in attendance at one of those shows, just hadn’t met you yet. They were fun. Something special about sitting there in the early morning sunlight and all that ambient noise and activity.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. I usually use email if I need to communicate with someone who isn’t close enough to talk to. Don’t like the phone much, but will use it as necessary. Texting, forget it. I still don’t have a cell phone, and am not keen to get one. (I know, I know, I should have one at least for emergencies.)

    But food is my favorite means of communication. Nothing says “I care” more than a home cooked meal. If you’re frail, sick or lonely, a friend stopping by with one of your favorite meals speaks volumes. I’m blessed to know quite a few wonderful cooks, and they have taken good care of me when I needed it. I’m just enjoying paying it forward.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A now former neighbor lost her partner of many many years quite suddenly (he had a heart attack as I recall while she was at work). There are no “right words” in those situations – it’s too devastating. So I brought over muffins. She was in the midst of cleaning and not knowing what to do – her sister was over as I recall when I stopped by. Only time I was ever in the house (though I chatted with her out on the sidewalk, especially when she was out with her very friendly dog). She stops by every now and again and still talks about those muffins – said it made her realize that, yes, neighbors were paying attention and cared and life was still out there. A lot loaded into those blueberry muffins I guess.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d add Time to touch. So many shut-ins, people who can’t get around for physical or other reasons, become isolated and lonely. They love companionship, someone to talk with for a little while, maybe share a meal.

      There are so many things I can’t do anymore, but I can still drive my car. I can visit with old friends who can’t come to me, and I can bring them a meal to share. One of the things I love about being retired, I have time to do it. Went to Farmer’s Market this morning, and have just cooked up a large batch of ratatouille. I’ll be breaking bread with several old friends next week.

      Madislandgirl, I’m sure your neighbor who recently passed away really appreciated the companionship you and s&h provided. How did s&h take the news that she had died, when he came home from camp?


      1. I recently ran across a card from her that she gave us earlier this summer. The envelope had, “you make life worth living” on it. That’s in the treasure box.

        You may have never seen a 16-year-old boy cry so hard.

        Now we sit and wait for what indirect signals will tell us who moves in. House not on the market yet, so a sort of reprieve.

        Liked by 5 people

  11. Good morning. I have made some small attempts to learn to text. I do plan to start using texting. However, I don’t know when I will mange to start doing it. Also, I should learn to tweet and I don’t known when I will do that. I use Facebook in a very limited way. I am okay at email and I like that. In fact, I am not even very good at using my cell phone. I like good old simple communication devices such as land line phones. Even the most basic cell phone has all kinds operating procedures that are not very straight forward.

    Those people who didn’t grow up during the days of more user friend communication devices don’t have as much trouble using the less user friendly kinds that are widely used today because they grew up with the new technology. I can learn to use less than easy to use communication technology. Never-the-less, it seems to me that at least some of the new technology is not designed to be as user friendly as it could be and should be.


  12. I REALLY like email for so many things – but best when trying to organize events/meetings with more than two people. I’m not a great phone talker – I’d rather see people’s eyes when I’m talking to them. (Don’t like sunglasses much either.) Land lines seem to have a clearer connection, so I prefer that when available.

    But the cell phone really can come in handy, like when I had a flat tire last weekend. I will probably learn to text eventually (some people assume I do, and send me one, in vain), but there hasn’t been a big motivation yet. Video? – bah.

    I also love writing and receiving hand written mail, but it’s getting rarer on both ends.

    My folks had a special 4-note tune they’d whistle to the other when they wanted then to come and … (help, see something good, etc.) I loved hearing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t whistle, so that’s out. Husband and I can always recognize the other’s cough and use that as a signal to find each other in a crowded room or if we get separated in a store. Our kids find it hysterical, and I suppose it is, but it works. Can’t argue with success.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s pretty fun. I like that method.
        I just yell; it’s sort of embarrassing (for both of us) but it makes us laugh too.
        “Kelly?” “Kelly!”
        My niece; when we’re supposed to meet, she texts me ‘Marco!’


  13. Given the workout my hands go through on a regular basis, I confess one of the things I love about email is that typing takes less of a toll than handwriting, and given that the s&h can keyboard like the wind but has never had good handwriting, email is a good thing.

    Recently heard from my dad that my mom is going to have to figure out texting on her flip phone, as her hearing really makes calling her on one almost impossible. I should tell them about Renee’s acronym.

    and they still run around like they always have, so having some way to touch base is important.


  14. Hi–
    I enjoy texting. Especially during rehearsals when I have snotty comments to make about something but I can’t say it out loud. Kelly and I have a good time being sarcastic that way.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The mind boggles. Probably just as well we didn’t text when I was doing opera, although it might have been nicer for the people near us at the Henry V we saw years ago at Shakespeare in the Park.

      I’m not sure theatre people should ever be in a real audience.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I’ve always been a prolific, detailed emailer. When I finally got an iPhone a few months ago, I was thrilled to learn how to text because I falsely assumed that I’d always get an immediate reply. This rarely happens, much to my chagrin.

    The next problem arose: my texts, because each line only makes space for 2-3 words, were done as though it was an email. Meaning, people had to scroll down 10″ to read it all! Part of the problem is that I wrote whole sentences just as I’ve always done with emails. The main problem, however, is that I have way too much to say.

    My daughter corrected my lack of texting etiquette, but everyone else has been kind enough not to comment on it. My daughter was utterly astounded to learn that my long, rambling texts were done with me only using my index finger (one letter at a time). Because of their length, she assumed that I was speaking into the phone (which translates into actual words). I could do this, but I’ve come to actually enjoy the one-finger-at-a-time process.


    1. Most of the posts I put up here are typed that way. I can connect the computer to the phone’s wifi, but mostly just grab the phone and type when I get a minute. I spend far less time at the computer than I used to.

      And that’s a happy thing.


  16. OT- first cross country race of the season. The boy placed third with a new PR of 17:18 (for those of you keeping track-the season goal is a 16:30, but below 17:00 looks pretty realistic).

    Love cross country, standing around pretty places on a fall day, so pleasant.

    Liked by 7 people

  17. Funny how people can communicate. Friends start each day with a lengthy session of toothbrushing. Since they have things to say in those busy early minutes, they’ve worked out a strange wordless way of talking with the brushes in their mouths. Gary: “Hmm, hm, how, hmmm, hur?” Nancy: “Hm, HUMM, he, hoom!” It’s a conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I almost don’t communicate, except here. Communicate on private side with son and daughter. My sister has ceased communicating excerpt in person a couple times a year. Do a bit of emailing with two people. Have no real social life. Too big a pain, and I mean pain, to be among people.


    1. FYI: my yearly fall flair-up has hit hard and early. Cannot see myself guest blogging for a few weeks.
      OT, a sign I am living in the wrong age: we went for supper last night to one of Sandy’s friend’s house. I walked in the door and she started laughing about the dozen eggs, brown eggs she kept reminding me. What a hoot. And about how my sister had invited them.
      Let me explain: our anniversary party had a limited guest list, in part to help me control my chaos-induced pain. My sister, who runs the world, invited relatives I barely know from over Walnut Grove way. The friend of Sandy who thinks it’s a big hoot my sister invited hick relatives, cannot keep from interfering with everything. It was an effort for Sandy to keep the woman from inviting people herself. Oh, how she and her husband laughed about my sister.
      But they laughed more about my hick relatives who did come at my sister’s invitation. It was bring-no-gifts. My second cousin, double cousins, who are at least fifth generation small-town farmers, brought a dozen eggs. Oh, the gales of laughter about that. What a pair of hicks are my relatives, and I suppose by extension me. Brown eggs. what a hoot. Sandy’s friend with her many thousands and thousands of dollars of diamonds on her person, who was lamenting she is tired of her five sets of dishes, grew up on a family dairy farm in the 1950’s near Luverne, and do not connect her to our dear Renee from Luverne.
      Why am I living in the wrong age? I think the gift of eggs was meaningful. It was the way I grew up, it was of the values in which I believe. We did receive a few gifts. The hick relatives also gave $20 in our name to a hunger drive. Two friends in Two Harbors gave books in our name to the local library where Sandy worked. We get a bit of money. But the best gift were those brown eggs.
      Sandy’s friend was also going to attend the TH party. What would she have thought of the hick descendants of fishermen who came to that party.
      Just had to vent this all somewhere. It’s off my chest. Stand at ease and continue communicating.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The eggs sound like a lovely gift to me, and I feel sort of sorry for anyone who would laugh at a gift that contained so much heart and soul and simplicity.

        When we gathered at Steve’s place to take down the fallen part of the hackberry tree, Ben brought eggs. Some were brown, and a few were that lovely seafoam green color. The label said “Eggs laid especially for you.” (I’m not completely sure the hens had me in mind, specifically, but it is a nice sentiment.)

        Many other baboons have given me lovely consumables as well. Eggs from PJ, cookies & pie from VS, cherry tomatoes, beets, pears, peppers, apple juice from BiR & Husband, bread from tim, those decadent chocolate cherry amaretto cookies from ljb, friendship bread starter from Anna, Rock Bend backstage leftovers from Krista, Texas caviar from Donna, the herb & spice collection bequeathed by Steve when he moved, and any number of lovingly prepared goodies that have shown up at BBC gatherings. Jim also brought Seed Savers seeds one BBC meeting. These are gifts that are humble in the best sense of the word.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sandy’s friend is the one who is behind the times.

          People pay top dollar these days for fresh brown eggs from a known farmer. She should get out more.

          And if she is so almighty fabulous, let’s see her lay a dozen.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Sorry Mig… no Mt Dew tonight.
          However we just took a dozen eggs to a dinner party last night…
          Except I’m out of those fancy labels so they didn’t know the eggs were laid ESPECIALLY for them… (I can’t remember how to do italics)

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Clyde, I know how pain makes one less tolerant and more irritable. I hope you find it in your heart to let go of whatever slight or insult you perceived at Sandy’s friend’s comment. Stupid as the comment was, I don’t think it was intended to hurt you. I know that when I’m in pain, I become hyper sensitive to whatever is going on around me, especially anything that can be construed as an insult or hurtful remark. Let it go, and may your pain ease soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. A good friend once said to me when I brought her a dozen eggs on the occasion of her son’s death, “When I was depressed and considering suicide, two things gave me hope: eggs and music.” I bring brown and seafoam green eggs often. Let that friend laugh away, she knows not what she is missing.


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