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Family Newsletter - Winter, 2007


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"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger that announces peace!" (Bible - Isaiah 52)
"He who walks with peace - walk with him!" (Koran)


From: Frank and Jo

We just returned from Baltimore, where we had a chance to see Paul in his new home. Barb and Bryan have made a cozy room for him where he can rest and also work on his many projects. It was so good to have a chance to visit and talk about family memories.

We also got to show him the wonderful video we sisters had made for him: "This is Your Life, Paul Gordon Hiebert." In it we acted out different segments of his life:
-playing cars in Kennedy yard when he was supposed to be at his piano lessons
-reading during his bath & then realizing he didn't have water in the tub
-talking about his famous monopoly games with Betty when he had all the land and Bets had all the money
-demonstrating his well-known love for arguing
-trying to trace his whereabouts in an episode called "Where is Paul?"

Great fun! We can get you a DVD of this once Jo figures out how to burn these. Frank and I also had a chance to explore Ellicott City, where the first railroad (B&O Railroad) was built.

In February we sisters gathered at Betty's place in Omaha. The summer birthday sisters (Loey, Bets and Phyl) celebrated winter birthdays by putting on a beautifying salon. Margy, Gwen and I were treated to foot cleansing, toenail polish, Merle Norman facials. Once we were thoroughly beautified, we each got to have a wig (with real color, not gray!). We were rested and gorgeous.

We had hoped to have this time with Paul and beautify him as well. Since Paul was unable to make it, we made him the lovely video of his life. I found a photo of Paul taken during one of our sibling get-togethers and have put it in as the Photo-of-the-Month. I love this photo--and the brother it depicts.


From: Harlan

We had a case of influenza sweep through the house, something I think that I must have picked up on the flight home from Thanksgiving in Omaha and gave to everyone else in the house. Fortunately, it wasn't that bad -- it took the rest of us a couple of weeks to recover, but Katherine was really sick for a few days and then suddenly one morning was completely well.

We went to Walt Disney World (in Orlando) for the week before Christmas to spend time with my father and his friend Virginia. We got a 3 bedroom condo very close to Epcot, and had perfect weather and a very relaxing time. Katherine has gotten old enough (she just turned 12) that she worries about missing school and being away from her friends, so we've promised that next year we'll stay home in December. (Missing 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas was just too much for her.)

Carol has reorganized her staff and responsibilities to give herself a more manageable job. She's still adjusting to the change, but we're all looking forward to her having a smaller workload and getting away from some of the more contentious issues at work. She's also started going to golf lessons with us, and even going to the driving range.

Katherine has been taking voice lessons for almost a year now, and had her first recital on Monday. Mary videotaped (actually, the recorder uses an internal disc drive, but I'm not sure what the new verb for that is) her performance, so we plan to make a copies for the grandparents soon. (I missed it because I came down with a stomach bug that morning, which I'm happy to say hasn't hit anyone else.) The tiny speaker on the camera doesn't do her lovely voice justice, but I was very proud of how well she sang, even though she was quite nervous at her first public performance.

Mary continues to work hard on her studies, and is concentrating on Economics since the beginning of the month. She is more than halfway through the AP syllabus. (She's also writing a story and doing a little math, but most of the day is econ right now.)

Work is going well for me, too, although derailed for a few days because of the stomach thing. Last week I went to a farewell lunch for the last manager I had at Oracle (he's going on leave to travel for a couple of months, but the best guess is that he won't actually return to Oracle, so they wanted to give him a party). Several people commented to me that I seemed quite happy, and I know that while I was very glad to see everyone again, I felt pleased to be working at Stanford and not the slightest desire to be back at Oracle.

We are returning to Kauai again in March, and hope that this year won't be so rainy for them. We had great weather during out trip, but a dam broke a couple of days after we left and washed out the main road (and actually the road north of us was closed the last day we were there because the rains started up again just before we left). Anyway, we had a wonderful time last year, and are going back the same place, and we hope and expect that Carl will come with us again this year. Carol has promised to play golf with me at least once when we go


Gwen

Tips for Overseas Travel - partly gleaned from Paul's advice and from Dick and Gwen's recent trip to the Antarctic that ended with an extra week in a hospital in Brazil.

1. Take out the trip insurance (when stuck unexpectedly in a hospital in Brazil, the trip insurance company called every single day, made all travel arrangements, and sent a nurse from Canada just to make sure Dick got home without further heart problems!)

2. Pack an extra set of clothing in your carry-on luggage, preferably items that can be washed in a sink. You never know when your luggage will arrive and in an emergency it may be several days before it catches up with you, if ever.

3. Take twice the number of pills/meds you think you will need.

4. Inform your health insurance company of your intentions to travel out of the country

5. Inform your credit card company of your intended travels and increase the amount you can charge to as much as you can talk them into.

6. Inform you children of your neighbors' phone numbers and give your children's numbers to your neighbors.

7. Smile a lot, but, if all fails, cry. (This tip comes from our granddaughers who were traveling with us but had to fly home from Brazil on their own.)

Postscript:

When two sisters go shopping for fabric, things get dangerous, as Loey can testify. Marg and I went to Hancocks when we were visiting Betty a few weeks ago. Among the delicous oriental fabrics we found this print. Marg now has to send pictures of what she did with the very same fabric. (Yes, those are beads at the bottom.)


From: Steve

Well, here in Colorado we are on our 6th straight weekend with snow coming down.

We are all very tired of winter by now. Though we cannot complain too much, since the majority of our drinking water in the summer comes from snowfall, and it will help us slowly get out of the drought we have had for the past 5 years.

And if we look past the nasty driving conditions, the gray skies and cold temperatures, we discover that there is actually a mountain backcountry around us that takes on an entirely different look under these conditions. So I took advantage of the latest snowstorm this Saturday morning and went up to wander around the foothills here at the edge of Boulder and take photos of the place (photos below).

The snow was coming down hard, the cold temperatures froze my fingers and my camera lens kept fogging up. But the muffled silence in the middle of the pine forest more than made up for any minor inconveniences.

Besides, the alternative to going out hiking was to sit at home and do my "Data Analysis for Managers" homework for one of my MBA classes.

I can always do that tomorrow...


From: Loey

Hi guys, these have been occurring to me so I thought I would 'share'.

Reflections on being a "baldy"

1. one assumes that being called "baldy" is a sign of affection and love--right?

2. one does not resent the fact that everyone comments on how wonderful the "new hairdo" is--if they only knew!

3. one gets used to having very short showers as the time taken up in shampooing and conditioning one's hair is now a quick swipe with the Irish Spring.

4. one appreciates the fact that the bald look was not obtained by spending time in Dachau or Treblinka--even though it looks like it.

5. one realizes that wild dancing is a thing of the past--at least in public--or one risks sending one's "new do" into someone's soup.

6. one knows how one would look as a Buddhist nun/monk

7. one can have multiple looks per day...1) start off as Buddhist monk, 2) with the wig cap, progress to pope or amish woman, and 3) with the wig, end up as a brunette Farah Fawcett.

8. one regrets that nose and chin hairs don't fall out at the same rate as head hair.

9. one can spend "haircut money" on funner treats--like eyebrow pencil or fake eyelashes--.

10. one can have a great time appearing "au natural" and seeing who still gives the kisses!

These last couple of months have been very eventful...some good and some not so great. Our remodel is progressing so we might yet feel settled in our cozy small town in Montana, I'm down to 2 chemos (by the time this is published maybe even finished), Gary is getting ready for a major wholesale craft show in Baltimore - another important step in his craft business, Nikhil was here from Nigeria for Christmas, just after his Nigerian wedding, and Priya made a 2 week trip to Uganda and Rwanda for the Foundation to learn about village level insurance needs. I'll be happy to see Spring arrive so I can sit on our sunny front porch, drink tea, and look at the mountains. Come join me.


From: Pete and Kristin

Pete, Kristin and Gentry, John & Noah headed to the Bahamas in mid-December. It was the first time the boys had been out of the U.S. Next time they'll need to have passports--which is the family tradition, right? They had a really good time.

Gentry just won the DAR Award for 5th graders in the area. He wrote a piece about the settling of Jamestown, and read this for the DAR group. He's becoming a good writer.


From:Gentry

What two questions can you not answer "Yes" to:

1. Are you asleep?

2. Do you always say "no?"


From: Betty

I'm still busy taking pottery classes each Monday morning. I've completed quite a number of pieces for sisters and friends, including an angel for Margy, elephant for Gwen, flower vase for Loey and fairy for Jo. I also make pieces to put into our Fontenelle Home sales.

Carl will be going to Hawaii with Harlan, Carol, Mary and Katherine later this March. He enjoys these trips with his kids and grandkids.


From: Phyllis

Just a quick report on trip to India. Hyderabad is much the same, especially the old city: incredible crowding of traffic, lorries, buses, auto-rickshaws, bicycles, motorbikes, and a few water buffaloes, everybody honking constantly, dust, people walking, big and little shops, at one place a band playing in front of a new sari shop just opening, saw three men on the side of the road doing their private business (what else is new?). Shamshabad compound is also much the same except a cement track has been laid down so one can drive or walk in without smothering in dust. Everything is very dry, a few ornamental plants in pots struggle to stay alive, the grape vines in the country have dried up. A new international airport is being built a few kilmeters from the compound, so that land prices have skyrocketed. Shamshabad will become a suburb of Hyderabad.

I gave two lectures to a pastoral training class at the college. Elmer taught a lot more, also set up four weekends of training course for pastors--Shamshabad, Jadcherla, Gadwal area, and Yemminganur. There were several building dedications, which take 2 hours at least--we counted 15 prayers at one of them. I think the dignitaries all have to be on the program, and that's what is left. There were also two sports days, a flag-raising day celebrating independence of India including "Junna gunna munna," the Hindi national anthem. Every other day somebody would announce himself at our front door to ask Elmer to preach at yet another occasion including a birthday party. So he's busy enough. I wore a sari twice, then left it for Chandraleela, our long-time friend and cook.

Some other people came through. A singing family: parents and eight children (youngest was 15) who were on tour. MBMSI team (mission board). And some others. Fortunately the bungalow can house several families. Chandraleela's Indian food is super, western food good too. So it was a sort of vacation: no telephone, no newspaper, no TV, meals served up plus tea every morning and afternoon. The bed was comfortable. Pour baths with water heated in a bucket using an immersion heater (being careful not to get electrocuted). Laundry washed in a bucket. Time to read. Indian friends to help on trips, etc.

The trip home took 50 hours or more, counting from the first trip into Hyderabad. Thai airline, flight scheduled for 1:45 pm. on Feb. 2. We trundled to the airport through traffic as described above, an hour plus. But the international airport section was deserted--a man sitting at the gate, when he saw us coming up with luggage, said "Cancelled." No question which flight; ours was the only one. The Indian friend with us took charge and found out, eventually, that Thai had changed their schedule Feb. 1 and the flight was now to leave at midnight. No good place to wait in the city, so after Elmer did some business we headed home.

We finally took off at 8:40. In good time, as it turned out. Lots of people at the airport now. 2 hr 40 min. flight + time change, arrived in Bangkok about 5 am. The Hyderabad agent had said 1 1/2 hr. layover. We all had to get new boarding passes (Bangkok a hub), and there were hundreds of people in line, a flight from Chennai having also come in. I got worried, asked an agent when the LA flight was due to leave. She said "7:40 in the evening!" The Hyderabad guy must have got his AM and PM mixed up. Thirteen hours and a half (not one and a half) to wait. Fortunately Bangkok airport is new, nice lounges, shops, restaurants. At 3 pm. I finally went to get my boarding pass...the agent looked at my ticket and said "You missed your flight." I told him the story. He had to check on this, admitted it was the airline's fault, said this flight was very full (wait another 24 hours??) but he upgraded me to "Premium Economy" and I got on. Main difference in Premium Economy seemed to be cloth napkins with meals and lots of heavy silverware--I counted 3 knives, 2 forks, 2 small spoons and 1 big spoon on one tray. Maybe slightly better seats, also posh blanket. We landed in LA half an hour early, giving me time to get my luggage, find the bus to Bakersfield, and call Karen to pick me up. All went well, and I got home at midnight Feb 3, a day later than planned. I am GLAD to be home.


I came across this Kodai yearbook clipping of Paul. I'm impressed: he has BOTH reason and judgement. How come I somehow missed out on the judgement??? - Jo