Friday, October 10, 2008

Introducing the Band

I feel that I should stop and "introduce my band." Brian, Karyn, Amy and are my regular back-up, and my Grandma Willis says that she enjoys the comments just as much as the blog itself, so you have just received a compliment from a 92 year-old. Many people write and confess their intimidation with my witty commenters...they just can't bring themselves to compete.

When my brother, especially, doesn't post a comment for a few days, I lose my will to post anything and told him last night that I may go on strike because he was three posts behind. He went on and on about being busy or something totally unrelated to me.

OK, so, instead of me telling people about the four of you, you all have to tell about yourselves: who you are, what you do, and how you got wrapped up in my blog (and me). OK, go.

And a few follow-ups:

My Uncle Rex did not build the road in the picture (see the "Charlie Chaplin Peace, then War" post. He built roads on the base and through the jungle for military use. Also, he asked me if I saw the six foot tall ant hills at Cu Chi...evidently, the VC had tunnels going to some of them and that is where the shots came from that were killing so many GI's. I did not see the ant hills.

And this is from an email my condo neighbor, Jane, sent. She was in Vietnam a few years ago (shared with permission):

"I remember well the Coa Dai temple! Wacky is the best word to describe it! And I bet Victor Hugo would be amazed to know he is a god.

I remember well when the picture of the girl running from the napalm was first published, but I never knew she was running from the Coa Dai temple. The napalm blast blew her cothes off, and her back was on fire. She had many surgeries to treat the burns and scaring. She's a doctor now - got her degree in Cuba. The picture was one of half a dozen that appalled the nation. So many people thought war was glamorous, and that awful picture was part of Americans learning what war is really about. And then we blamed the soldiers! Crazy - they didn't declare the "conflict," they were soldiers doing what soldiers always have done... And kids have always been hurt. To make things worse, the communists often used kids as unknowing suicide bombers. Little kids would be given a bunch of flower or some such to give to American soldiers, and insde would be a detonated hand grenade. Both the kid and the American soldier would be blown up. So soldiers learned to be suspicious of kids and often shot first. But we in American had a vision of American goodness doing good around the world. Because of the Viet Nam conflict, Americans learned we're not the saviors of the world and we're not all good. That's why I went to Viet Nam - I wanted to see where America lost her idealism about herself..."


...Cu Chi was one of the most important parts of my trip. I did go into the enlarged part of the tunnel but had to leave early because of the lack of oxygen. The American government never realized how totally dedicated the Viet Namese people were to rid their country of invaders. Go to the National History Museum by (or in) the zoo. It's a history of centuries of trying to get invaders out of Viet Nam - Chinese, French, and Americans. The communit army was totally dedicated, and we were half assed muddling around. My tour guide was very different than yours - he was very proud of what the communist army accomplished, the cleverness of the booby traps, etc.

Thank you, everyone. I am off to the Mekong Delta this weekend, so I will see you in a few days!


Brian Bowker said...

Marjie wants us to put the spotlight on ourselves?? Well, ok then...

I am Marjie's little brother, and I owe my existence to her. When Marjie was 4 years old she decided that she wanted a little brother, so she adopted a three pronged strategy to get it done:

1) She wished on a star
2) She won a wishbone pulling contest and she used that wish as well, and
3) She prayed to God

Marjie is fairly certain that it was the wishbone that did the trick.

When our mom came back from the doctor a few months later and told my sisters that she had something in her tummy that began with a "B" my other sister, Angie, was allegedly full of guesses. "A ball? A balloon? A basket?" But Marjie knew immediately what it was; "A BROTHER!".

Over the years, through being held down and tickled until I cried, or being sung mean songs to until I cried, I developed a great respect and admiration for Marjie. Which is how I got wrapped up in this Blog...

Several years ago Marjie spent some time teaching in Norway, and at that time she was emailing her travel adventures to a very large recipients list. The list was big enough that sometimes there were issues with people receiving it, and new comers added to the list had no way of going back and catching up. And besides, Marjie's writings were priceless, and I thought a broader world audience might appreciate them. So being the proud little brother that I am, I started posting them online.

Well, a new teacher to Marjie's school found them and enjoyed them and told Marjie so. In a flash Marjie realized that she had written some things that she had not intended a few of her co-workers to read (I'm sure it wasn't anything about any Norwegians that currently read her blog now, but you should ask her.) and it sent a panicked chill down her spine. She had me take it down post haste!

A little while later she decided to start an online blog for real, and she asked me to help her set it up.

Well, that’s about everything I can think of to say about myself. I hope I didn’t get too carried away – once I get started talking about myself I can just blather on forever!

The Norris Clan said...

First of all... wow. I am in Marjie's band. I need to get over that first...

ok. next. Brian, EXCELLENT use of The Bard's "post haste". One of my favorite phrases...

Now. I am a meer speck in the vastness that is Marjie's Fan Club. I just have a big mouth and can't keep my comments to myself. I first discovered M through her aforementioned brother, Brian. He told me about her obsession with Craig's List and the now infamous Craig's List hoax (see Jan. 7, 2007). After this story, I was hooked. I followed her journey, somewhat secretly, to China. My fav character was Sunny.

When she came home (and stopped blogging), I was lost. I kept checking DAILY, sometimes hourly, to see if she happened to post ANYTHING - what she ate for lunch (which she does freqently, as you know), what she was watching on TV, what her latest travel would be... After much pleading, she began again. I finally met M after I ran a triathlon in June of last year, and was her self-titled stalker fan :-). You can imagine my joy when she left town for NYC and began blogging daily again. Then she came home... I won one of her blog contests in NYC and got to have a home-cooked meal by M herself! MOLE and her famous beets! Unbelievable. (see Aug. 17.2007)

Is it creeping you out that I know the dates?

OH, and one of my all-time favorite posts of M's was not about traveling, but of Saturday nights and Ms. Julie McCoy (see Dec. 2006).

Now... I spent the last year WAITING for M to leave again so I could get my blogging fix. You can imagine my joy when she posted she was moving to Vietnam. And I mean that in the most loving way, M.

Me - I am in my last year of RN school, so I have little time to enjoy for myself. What do I do with that time... wait for M's next post. It seriously is my entertainment. I live vicariously through her adventures, as I am sure most of us do.

I am going to be a Labor & Delivery RN, I love musical theatre, I sing, I have naturally curly hair, and I love sour candy. I have two funny kids and one amazing rockstar husband. Life is crazy, but it wouldn't be fun if it wasn't.

Thanks M for letting me in your band. Can I be the singer? I would tot settle for back-up...

Oh, and I am sure M would make room in her band for any of you who are too timid to comment... get typing!

Brian Bowker said...

I agree with Karyn - That was a good use of 'post haste'...

But seriously - Karyn is right - having comments left on your blog is extremely affirming. It doesn't have to be anything profound, or witty... Just a simple "Good post!" or "You're making me hungry!" really makes a blogger's day. Help support our girl and try posting something today!

marjie said...

I have returned from the Mekong and I am speechless. Allow me to collect my thoughts..

Anonymous said...

Wow-you guys are so worthy of being in the band. Brian-how you shared how you came to us is absolutely perfect. The way cool thing is it is all true!
Karyn-love that you know all of the dates and are huge Marj Blog groupie. Also so impressed you do all you do and still keep up with everything-you must be Wonder Woman! M's anon friend-jaci

kumma said...

I deeply apologize for being SO behind on my smarjblog reading. I know very few, if any, people will read this comment, now that I am several days behind. But, I will take a moment to interduce mesef.

I am PROUD to be a member of this here smarjband! Ms. Bowker is a one-of-a-kind lead singer, and I love backing her up.

Let's see, where did it all begin with smarj and I? I guess we can go back to memories of Russian burping frogs in Lynda Hughes' freshman English class at LHS. Smarj and I hung out together at some big carnival dealybob our freshman year, where we had our picture taken with E.T. (I still have the Polaroid! I'll have to track it down and post it...). It was then that I fell madly in love with not only E.T., but smarj herself. Tried as I may to woo her, the feelings were unmutual, but a friendship, kinship, bond began at that time that continues to this day.

Our junior year of high school solidified our friendship when we were both elected into junior class officership. I was elected president and smarj was secretary. I did nary a thing as president, and smarj did it all. Although I held the title of president, I am here to say now, for the record, in thought, word and deed, smarj WAS the ACTUAL junior class president. And don't you ever forget it.

Our senior year put our friendship into the pantheonic historical arena of friendships of the vast history of mankind (huh?): we became locker partners. This ensured that I would be able to see smarj on a daily basis (since I had been "dumbed-down" into less sophisticated classes after flunking out of the smarter, advanced classes of which I used to be enrolled along with the more intelligent smarj), and we were able to lean on each other through those oh, so turbulent teenage years. Not only that, I was HONORED to be asked by smarj to attend our senior year Grub Tolo together - the best time I had all four years at any dinner/dance event.

Okay, so, now it is twenty-three-plus years since we graduated from good ol' LHS, but our locker partner bond continues to this day. I have been inspired by her, encouraged by her, supported by her, and overwhelmed by her, hoping, in some small way, that I have been as much of a friend to her as she has been to me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: smarj rocks.

"But what about the whole "smarj" and "sbill" thing?" you may ask; I have no idea. Ask smarj.

Brian Bowker said...

I read your comment and liked it!

But I do still want to know where the "smarj" and "sbill" comes from...

[Oh, and Kumma - if you can find and scan that Polaroid I will post it to the blog even if Marjie won't!]

marjie said...

Band Member Amy posted in the wrong is her response so that they are all together:

Marj and I began teaching at the same time and we were, I might add, great creative colleagues together ... unusual in the high school. We both love teaching, traveling, writing, ... and I used to love to eat. My life turned toward the traditional, while Marjie has done a chest bump with the gods of traveling and lives my path not taken. I have loads of time to obsess on her blog as I avoid mopping and PTO meetings.

Marjie, I assume you meant your Large Band.

marjie said...

And one more comment from me about this: I am somewhere between embarrassment and gratitude over this post and response. I'm embarrassed over how humble my band members are and over how I can see now how manipulative my comment was that made them say all of these great things about me. Reading all of it is the equivalent of having a "This is Your Life Party." So thank you.

And I honestly can't remember where Smarj and Sbill came from.I think Tom Fadden started putting s's before all of his words during some strange phase and I added one to Bill's. Something dumb like that.

Sbill, if you can find that picture of us with ET, I will definitely post it, POSTE HASTE!

kumma said...

You do NOT need to manipulate ANYONE into making wonderful comments about you, lady...

And, I think you're right about it being stom who started it all.

I will definitely look for that ET pic - I know I have it, but where is another matter...