Probably Didn’t Find What They Were Looking For

Not long after beginning this blog in August, 2008 I added a plug-in that tracks, among a number of things, the search engine searches that have led people to my website. As a way to celebrate the 6-month birthday of Moore Tokens, my dear friend, Amy, gave me the idea of listing some of the entertaining searches that have linked to my posts.

Of course one might expect “token” searches to arrive here at Moore Tokens, but who knew there were so many tokens to be had in the world?  Here is just a sampling of the tokens for which people have been searching —

my brother my friend tokens
tokens for friends
handmade cardboard tokens
bear paw tokens
pilgrimage tokens
olympics tokens
us tokens
memory verse tokens

I really enjoy talking about home decorating, though I haven’t written any posts on this topic yet, which is why it is so interesting to see that people in search of home decor have arrived on my website.  Searches: the entertainer ottoman; ninja throwing star drink coaster.  I wish I had ninja throwing star drink coasters to compliment the numchuks I have on the wall above the couch flanking the 20×30 Chuck Norris portrait, but more on my home decor later.

Others that may have been disappointed by linking to the Moore Tokens site were, oh I don’t know, shopping for children’s gifts?  Searches: 1st generation hungry hippo; stuffed shnitzel doll.

I can only imagine the tired, frustrated mother who is trying to teach her children discipline and responsibility.  She buys a chore chart and gold star stickers, apprehensive about the new task at hand for her, but excited about a new learning opportunity for her children.  Shortly after implementing the chart comes the bickering of who should do what chore and who’s turn is it to empty the dishwasher and why does my sister have to do soooo much less work than me?!  It’s not fair!  To the internet mom goes in search of wise counsel.  She types in fairness among chores, clicks search, and desperately waits for Google to perform magic and suggest websites with answers.  What a let down it must’ve been when she clicked on one of Google’s top suggestions which brought her to my post Fairness Among Siblings.  The title sounds so promising, but eh, not so much…unless the lady is fond of cats that can single handedly supply enough fur to stuff four king-size down comforters.

Search: how long to wait to take a tub bath after.  After what?  After what?!  I shutter at the thought of someone seeking medical advice stumbling on to my blog – not before I finish the online course to earn my “Certificate of Completion to Practice Medicine Online in a Personal Blog.”  Hmmm, perhaps that search had nothing to do with medical advice.  Perhaps the entire search was, “how long to wait to take a tub bath after accidentally soiling pants.”  In which case, I’m happy to advise that person now to TAKE A BATH IMMEDIATELY.  This person’s co-workers can only hope that he found answers sooner than later.

I am intrigued that someone out there searched for j shaped stomach, particularly since I was told recently that I have my very own notably j-shaped stomach.  Are there many of us out there?  If so, I think I see a new Facebook group in my future.

The hello kitty pajama butt hit tells me I need to rethink my fashion sense.  The homemade christmas gift hit reminds me that I haven’t talked at all about craft projects on this site even though I’d like to.  The dippin dots external factors, working at dq funny, and dq buster bar hits warn me that I might be talking too much about ice cream.  The “if i were a doll” + not feeling hit just outright confuses me.

So if you’re shopping for rollaters, hunting for dinner party speeches, searching for Charles Stanley sermons, or trying to print a copy of a “find the praying mantis in this picture” worksheet activity, sorry, Google or Yahoo! seem to have misled you.  But while you’re here, can I interest you in a friendly picture of a camel, a few words on my sweet husband, or some lovely thoughts on my backyard hydrangeas?

Perspective

Yesterday afternoon I went to the doctor to find answers for the back spasms that I’ve been having. The first episode was in late September, here and gone in a painful, scary night. The spasms didn’t rear their ugly face again until early November, but again they were over within a night. The past week or two though, the spasms, or at least an aching and discomfort, have been nearly constant. On Saturday night it was painful to the point of inducing vomiting.

During the doctor’s examination yesterday, we discussed what might have caused this recurrence with such intensity. Among a number of possible culprits, the doc asked me if I have been stressed.

For the two seconds that I said, “Uhhhhh,” the last three months of my life zipped through my head. My grandmother’s death. The October grant deadline, the intense two-week deadline for part one of my comprehensive exams, and the general chaos of graduate student life that keeps me straddling the edge of sanity. My brother’s November house fire. Tough conversations about travel expectations to visit family, especially around the busy holiday season. The busy holiday season. My step-dad’s admittance to the ICU with numbers in his blood report skyrocketed to levels that bodies don’t survive. Crying with my mom as we discuss end-of-life decisions for this husband, this father of ours.

“Uhhhhh, yeah. I think so.”

***
Saturday night around 3 a.m. I thought Brian was asleep. I was tossing and turning in bed, frustrated that no position worked comfortably and feeling hopelessly miserable with the aching and throbbing. I swung my arm behind me and gripped mid-back where the pain was the worst. Moments later a hand touched me in that same spot.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing.”

“What are you doing?!”

“I just felt like I was supposed to be praying for your back right now.”

I burst into hot tears, “It hurts so much!” Brian prayed. He put a hot cloth on my back. He held my hair as I threw up. He made me a bubble bath at which we laughed as the bubbles seeped over the edge of the tub. He coaxed me to sleep after 4 a.m. even though he had to be up in less than two hours. I tried to apologize over and over for the inconvenience, but he never let me.

***

What would we do without the strength and support of our loved ones during our stressful, weak times in life? I feel the touch of their hands on me, praying for me, lifting me, easing the weight of my burden. Sure, when the doctor asked me if I have been stressed all of these events from this fall flooded into my mind, but the woes from the past three months have rarely been in the forefront of my thinking. It’s the blessings that I see. I see the fortitude and devotion of family and friends. I see love and joy that surpasses understanding. I see the eternal perspective in my soul that tells me that a house, a job, suffering, life on this Earth,…these are all temporary. There is so much more for which to hope and to live.

Yes, I am so richly blessed.

Details, Details

My friend’s water broke last night, another friend is going to the doctor today and may get induced, and about a dozen other friends and family members have due dates set for late 2008/early 2009.  With all of the birthing around me, especially the one(s) this week, I’ve begun to wonder what kind of phone chains will be established to deliver news of the deliveries.  This thought immediately took me to last November.

At that time, Brian and I had the same cell phone model.  Of all days, OF ALL DAYS for Brian to grab my cell phone and take it to work with him, it happened to be the day that a dear friend, Christie, went into labor.  I was given the high honor of relaying her news to some other friends, and now my phone was in the hands of…A MAN!  Not just any man…MY HUSBAND (you’ll see what I mean by this in a minute)!

On my way to work I took Brian’s cell phone and did two things: 1) called my friend’s husband, Mark, and left a voicemail saying that the best way to get a hold of me was via Brian’s cell, and 2) called Brian and told him to call me as soon as he heard any baby news (in case Mark didn’t get the voicemail).

Later that day I received a phone call from the proud father.  He said that he sent a text to my cell phone first, but then got my message to call me on Brian’s phone.  Christie had done wonderfully during labor and the baby boy was healthy and beautiful.  Awww, a boy!  I had waited nine months to find that out.  I was so ecstatic for them.  Immediately after Mark and I got off the phone, I carried out my duties as phone chain messenger.  There was so much excitement in the air that it wasn’t until hours later that I realized there could have been a real kink in the chain —  Brian understood the importance of relaying any messages right away, why didn’t he contact me as soon as he had received the text from Mark?

So I called him to find out…

Brian: Hello?

Me: Hey.

Brian: Hey.

Me: I heard that Mark texted you. Why didn’t you call me?

Brian: Oh yeah. They had their baby. It’s a girl!

Me: A GIRL?! No it’s not! It’s a boy!

Brian: Wait a second. [Checks text message.] Oh yeah. It’s a boy.

In the Spirit of the Olympics

It is impossible to watch the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing without evoking a sense of nostalgia for my Olympic experience over a decade ago. As college sophomores, three of my girlfriends and I worked as security guards at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. Yes, security guards. Not so much the gun and cuffs type of guards, more like the crowd control type of guards armed with walkie talkies and hip sacks.

The crowds we managed usually took us seriously, though we did not look or feel serious. Our uniforms screamed FOREST RANGER! more than security guard, and as our Ranger Rick hat and black Reeboks went on each day, we tried so hard to transform into no-nonsense guards, but never made it much past giggling teenagers.

At first we worked eight-hour days, but during the second half of our stint our shifts increased to twelve hours. We had a whole lot of thick polyester going on for our company to expect us to withstand twelve hours in Atlanta in August, but somehow we endured. Well, I know how we endured…

…Walkie talkies. Our supervisor reprimanded us repeatedly for abusing our walkie talkie privileges, but the urge to update each other with famous people sightings, event scores, and A Few Good Men quotes was too tempting. In our minds, seeing the Dream Team, Dennis Hopper, Jamie Lee Curtis, etc. were legitimate reasons for walkie talkie usage.

We also endured the long days by trading sponsor pins, an extremely popular hobby during the ’96 Games. Fortunately for us, three stations to which we were frequently assigned were located at the entrances to the Sponsor Village in Centennial Park (the town square of the Olympics). Manning the entrances to Sponsor Village in a sponsor pin-trading world would be equivalent to striking oil in your backyard or finding a Dorito in the shape of Elvis, which you know would sell for millions on eBay. “I need to see your credentials before entering, please. Ah yes, you are with Kodak. And do you happen to have any extra pins today, sir?” In the picture below, Tracy and I had exchanged pins for a gourmet lunch while on duty at Post 33. This station was much tamer than the ones surrounding Sponsor Village and it also had seating, which was not the case with all posts, so we capitalized on these little luxuries as they came our way. (Note my neck garment, a cooler that you could fill with water and freeze.)

But not every moment as an Olympic security guard was bliss. Sometimes the masses leaving a venue were nearly riotous, swarming at us like Alfred Hitchcock’s birds. Sweaty, smelly people angrily pecked at us for denying them permission to take the short-cut through Sponsor Village to other venues. Additionally, the same day Tracy and I enjoyed our shrimp cocktail at Post 33, we regretted turning our walkie talkies to channel 3 (the police channel) as incoming reports warned policemen about a bomb threat in the kitchen immediately behind us.

Then there was the actual bomb. Until this point in our Olympic adventure, our gravest perils were 1) the punctured water bed at my brother’s (Cliff’s) apartment and 2) the non-friend of Cliff that stayed at the apartment for several days during our stay despite Cliff’s demands for him to leave. This non-friend closely resembled Cliff’s cat, Pookie, in that he laid on the couch all day and left one of the bathrooms gritty and smelling of something in the same genus as kitty litter. The water bed and the loitering non-friend were such minor inconveniences though, really arousing more laughter than aggravation. Cliff’s apartment was otherwise ideal. It had the frill of leather couches, yet the environmentally-friendly flare of cardboard coffee tables – perfect for scribbling phone numbers, messages to roommates, and haikus without wasting unnecessary paper.

And Cliff (and his roommate/best bud, Bill) were incredibly hospitable.

Surely I didn't deserve this

On the night of July 27, 1996, however, we encountered peril on a different scale. Off duty and in civilian attire, a group of about ten of us visited Centennial Park to enjoy the sights and live entertainment. As rockin’ as the Jack Mack and the Heart Attack concert was on this stage…

…after about twenty minutes of Jack Mackin’ we were ready to call it a night. Just as we were leaving the park the bomb detonated near this concert sound tower (far left in photo).

We estimated being less than fifty yards from the explosion, a distance that could have easily resulted in serious injury if we were in the explosion’s line of fire. Providentially we did not exit at the same end of the park that we had entered, which kept us away from most or all of the shrapnel. The two people who were killed and 100+ who were injured could not say the same. A couple people in our group suffered from minor scrapes when mass exodus induced mild trampling, but generally we were all safe. We all handled the crisis differently – tears, panic, humor – but each one of us felt blessed.

When we showed up for work the next day, Centennial Park was closed and wrapped in police tape. This pulsating, dynamic time square had become lifeless and eerie overnight. It was a relief to be assigned to stations at other venues for the several days that the park was closed. I spent some time working at the Olympic stadium that hosted the track and field events. I appreciated having the liberty to walk on to the field if I so desired. You know, in case U.S. star sprinter Michael Johnson needed a pep talk or a high five or help carrying his gold medals.

We saw many different sporting events on our time off. The most exciting moment of this volleyball game was sneaking over to the gymnastics side of the building during the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team practice and receiving a friendly wave from the team, including Kerri Strug (pre-broken ankle). The second most exciting thing was discovering that Dippin’ Dots were served at the venue. Not to say that the volleyball game itself was not a thrill, but this was a time when Dippin’ Dots were starting to come alive in popularity. Ice cream of the future?! That’s a big deal!

During a free day reserved for shopping, we stumbled upon a rare opportunity to hold the torch that carried the Olympic flame first from Greece to Los Angeles, and then across the United States…

…before it was passed to Muhammad Ali so he could ignite THE Olympic torch and thus commence the 1996 Games.

It is unfathomable what kind of experience it must be for athletes to participate in the Olympic Games, but I have come to learn that the life-changing experience belongs not just to the athletes and the teams competing, but to anyone who has the opportunity to participate in an event of this magnitude in which the entire planet participates, sometimes with intense competition, but almost always with peace and sportsmanship. It is no wonder the Olympic theme song stirs such nostalgia within me – the tune carries a piece of the world’s history, but it also carries a piece of my history as well.