Friday, December 30, 2011

2011- Year of the Roller Coaster

*image from

Please buckle the safety belt and pull the bar down firmly to your lap until it clicks.  Keep all appendages inside the car for the duration of the ride and secure any loose personal belongings.

It should come as no surprise to you that I enjoy roller amusement a lifestyle, not so much. This past year and a significant portion of the previous year were complete roller coasters.  At times it seemed like a combo pack of roller coaster and spinning teacups (which I loathe entirely, they make me feel like vomiting)

The year opened with chronic mystery illness and a new scary health event  Oh yeah, baby!  Throw those hands up and scream your head off as the coaster car hits the first drop hard!  Heading into the curves we have outrageous arguments with car AND health insurance companies playing the "Not my problem" game.  We have a series of twists, loops, hills, and drops the entire school year never knowing what to expect with Calypso.  Throw in a few more big hills with perilous drops with each specialist we see and one who turns out to be just plain evil. When you think you're about to pull into the straightaway at the end we're going to surprise you with one more upside down loop by threatening graduation.  Just to keep the view interesting all along the way let's add one person loosing a Driver's license, another dropping out of college, hitting a deer, a car crapping out permanently, and just so the year could get its last dig in...a death in the family this week.

Lord have mercy, I want off this ride! Enough! Really!  Just let me go sit on a park bench with my head between my knees for a few minutes.

I stagger to the bench and assume the position.  Moaning, I am sure I'm going to toss my cookies just when I am nudged by someone sitting next to me who offers a bit of refreshment.  If this past year was one of seemingly unrelenting trials it's also one when I was given so much encouragement, love, and support from people and places I never expected.  If the trials were the heart-stopping drops and nauseating twists of the roller coaster, friends were the exhilarating high points or the soothing straightaways.  From one friend who is a licensed counselor and came to teach some anxiety managing techniques to us all, to all the friends who helped Mr. Lime get where he needed to be for six months of not having a driver's license, to those of you who kept in contact and provided encouragement and laughs through dark days, to Susie and those who responded to her request on my daughter's behalf, I do not know how I would have survived without the kindness and love of faithful friends.

Then there were the joyous times spent with friends in contexts not related to crisis at all.  Getting to meet Susie and Logo in Seattle was such a wonderful trip.  The provision of a free airline ticket, Mr. Lime's idea that I go, having vacation days left to have enough time, all of it worked together to make for a fantastically memorable time I never would have thought possible just one year ago.

And now I am coming off the time spent with my Trini family.  Far too many years passed without us being able to see each other but what pure joy it was to spend the holidays together and make memories that will last a lifetime. I have hope that much less time will pass before we can be reunited again.

Of course there are also the blessings within the family.  Seeing Calypso well again is high on the list, not just well enough to get through a regular day but strong enough to get through days involving heavy labor on a daily basis.  She's also come out more confident in her abilities to endure and the provision of God as well as more sensitive to folks around her who are suffering in various ways.  Though she had the exquisite pain of friends who left her in her darkest hour she also has the joy of knowing the ones who endured are as true as they come.  Mr. Lime has clean bills of health and seems to be well.  He has a new openness to my online friendships for which I am grateful.  Isaac has grown (Boy howdy, has he grown!  He hit 6'2" before his 16th birthday!) in ways I did not expect and has begun taking some initiative or at least helping out more willingly now that he's the only Limelet left at home.  Diana is learning some hard lessons from some of her own decisions but seems to be handling them.

I have to admit, most of those good things would not have been as evident or occurred at all if the trials hadn't come so the roller coaster had its purpose.  I can be thankful for that and I am, truly.

Nonetheless, my adrenals are a bit taxed and I would not mind at all if 2012 were the year of the carousel.  Just let me ride along and enjoy the sights to rest a bit and I'll grab for the brass ring when it comes around.
 *image from here

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Endurance of Friendship

My childhood was not one marked by permanence of relationships.  I won't go into the details but there was a lot of fluctuation due to my parents' divorce and the resulting introduction of new people who frequently did not hang around very long.  My own childhood friendships were a little tenuous as well.  Our family was regarded with a certain degree of suspicion so at times other kids were hesitant to become friends or once relationships were established their parents may have decided to put the brakes on.  I learned never to over-estimate my value in someone else's eyes.

My years in college were when I finally found friends who I truly believed might stick around for the long-haul.  I'm glad to say I was right since all these years later I am still in contact with a few college pals.  My time in Trinidad introduced me to people who felt like kindred spirits in a way no one else ever had.  I fell in love...hard.

It was extreme circumstances which necessitated our departure from Trinidad.  I couldn't deny the logic in leaving but I still left kicking and screaming.  Each visit there afterward resulted in me spending a significant portion of the return trip to the US in tears.  My husband never quite understood why my reaction was so strong.  When he finally worked up the courage to ask I told him it was because I was terrified that the friendships I had formed there would die due to the physical distance; I did not know how to love people long distance and imagining the loss of such nourishing relationships was exquisitely painful.

In the first few years after our return, there were two friends with whom I regularly exchanged letters.  It was reassuring that they'd take the time to write because I knew that was not really the norm for the culture.  I feared somewhat with my friends who were not inclined to keep in touch.  I was encouraged though when I'd go back to visit and be received with the same affection and warmth that had been shown when I lived there.  In fact, a couple friends specifically told me they were sorry they were not good about writing but they hoped I knew I was always in their hearts and there was always a space in their homes when I wanted to visit.

I've been blessed to have a few different Trini friends come visit me in the US.  Each time was a complete joy.  Being able to lavish back on them some of the love they gave us when we lived there was a delight.  There was a bit more confidence given to me that they'd spend the time and the expense to come to my house whether it was only for the day when someone was passing through or if they came for a week or more.

Nineteen years have come and gone since we moved to Trinidad.  Our closest friends from there have just spent a week with us over Christmas.  The husband was last here 11 years ago and this is the first time his whole family has come with him.  There was rejoicing at the reunion, lots of laughter as we reminisced and made new memories, and tears on cheeks other than my own when they left.  Though I am not happy about the separation that will now resume I am deeply grateful for the time we had together and for the proof that love and friendship can endure and deepen in spite of time and distance.  It is a gift I never dared imagine existing before and one that only time could have revealed.

Happy Hanukkah

And for those friends celebrating the eight nights...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Lime

We gone lime all day wit we friends.  Once yuh belly ready to burst yuh could sit back and enjoy a bit of parang and Christmas Calypso wit we.

This is the award winning parang group from the high school where our friends' daughters attend. A traditional parang group goes from house to house like a group of carolers only instead of at night they begin before dawn singing to announce the birth of Christ.

After a parang band has sung its announcement the members hope for certain treats from those they've sung to.

Rum is self-explanatory. Ponche a creme is more or less arum spiked eggnog sort of drink.

We allagree this is our favorite silly Trini Christmas calypso. We will bring out de ham today....along with plenty of traditional American dishes.

Merry Christmas, all yuh!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

They're Heeeeeere...

....and my heart is filled with gladness.

They aren't so sure about this "cold" but there's a whole lot of warmth to share amongst friends.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Goodies

I'm waiting for Mr. Lime to return from the airport with our friends.  In the meantime.....

These are just some fun things I've found around the interwebs that make me smile.

This one is from  I quite agree.  Let's not politicize the holidays.  Let's just celebrate them.

This is the kind of senior citizen I intend to be.  Who's with me?

Suldog will especially like this one.

This is wrong, you know.  (but perversely funny)

If I got this tree I'd consider that the gift!  Actually, I probably have enough books in my to read pile to build this myself. Maybe I should do that next year.

Here is a video I have posted in past years but it still makes me giggle every time I watch it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spring Cleaning in December?

(I first posted this way back in December of 2006 when I did weekly Trini Tuesday posts.  Since probably only one or two of you who read me now read me back then I think it's safe to do a re-run.  I picked this post because I am currently trying to get the house in order before our friends arrive tomorrow night.  It seemed fitting.)

Spring cleaning you ask? Well, ok, not really. But for lack of a better description it is what goes on in Trinidad during December. Is it Springtime in Trinidad? No. It is however, time to get ready for Christmas and this means some serious cleaning.

Now when we spring clean, we may throw open the windows for some fresh air to clear out all the staleness of a house locked up all winter. We scrub surfaces we normally ignore. We wash curtains. We do all those little tasks that build up over time but are a bit too much to do more often.

In Trinidad the yearly cleaning is quite a bit more intense. Part of it is due to the effect of the tropical sun. Houses are painted, inside and out. Curtains are not merely washed, they are replaced. The intense sun at 11 degrees above the equator has a way of fading paint and causing curtain fabrics to deteriotrate rapidly. As people go about their Christmas shopping, the paint and fabric stores are as full as any other store.

Every corner of the house is swept out and scrubbed. Most houses are surrounded by walls or fences. Even the surrounding walls are scrubbed. Furniture may be re-upholstered. If certain fixtures have been needing to be replaced, if at all possible, people will replace them now. If an addition has been in the process of construction during the year, now is the time to make a heavy push to complete it.

Anyone not engaging in the cleaning/repairing frenzy has their housekeeping and maintenance skills called into serious question during one of the many times friends and neighbors drop over to share a bit of Trinidad Black Cake and Ponche a Creme (traditional seasonal food, more about that in the future). 'Oh gosh, gyal! But I was at Flora's house an' as yet she ain't even bought fabric fuh she curtains!'

The activity rises to a crescendo on Christmas Eve night. Families will stay up into the wee hours, not assembling toys they have bought, but making sure every last bit of dirt has been removed, every hidden nook has been cleared out. Once satisfied that surgery could be performed in any room, folks will finally collapse into bed and dream of the tropical Christmas morn with all it's fresh bright color.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Sense of Freedom in Trinidad

Our dear friends expect to arrive here on Monday night.  I'm getting very excited.  In addition to giddy anticipation I've been ruminating on my time in Trinidad.  The coverage of GOP debates and the blathering about how the USA is the greatest nation on Earth (which makes me want to gag) always gets me to thinking about the beauty I see in other cultures and how blind ethnocentrism really ignores all of that.  I am glad to have born and raised in this country as it has afforded me incredible blessings that so many others in this world cannot even imagine.  I want good things for my nation and countrymen but I do not believe that patriotism needs to come at the cost of recognizing the good in other cultures.

One of the things that always amazed me was the openness and acceptance of difference in Trinidad.  Ethnically its people are roughly 40% of African descent, 40% East Indian descent.  The remaining 20% includes significant Portuguese, Chinese, and Syrian groups along with a good smattering of other Europeans.  Religiously, there is a majority of Anglicans (followed by a number of other Christian denominations) but a very large Hindu population, a significant Muslim population, and the local syncretic sect known as the Spiritual Baptists.  Looking at that break down might make you think each group is entirely separate and distinct from the other but there is a great deal of intermarriage among the ethnicities; it's to the point that there are specific terms for various ethnic blends.  The terms are in no way derogatory, merely descriptive.  A common question upon meeting someone is, "What's your mix?"  It's more or less assumed that most people have more than one ethnicity.

The mingling isn't only among the various ethnic groups but even among religions.  At one point we had neighbors whose family was quite mixed.  The husband was a practicing Muslim.  The wife was a practicing Hindu.  The children attended Catholic school.  A common boasting point for Trinis is that they have more public holidays than any other nation (I never researched the veracity) because each religion on the island has at least one holiday recognized by the government.  On such holidays neighborhoods and friends readily celebrate each other's holidays in a secular but neighborly sense.  It's how we were introduced to the beautiful lights of Divali Hindus set up and some of the tasty Eid al-Fitr treats Muslims enjoy after fasting during Ramadan.

In the US we get all worked up about children being exposed to religious ideas in school.  Oh, the shouting matches and righteous indignation that occurs over this state sponsored indoctrination on one hand or the impingement of religious freedom for others.  It's all really ridiculous.  Quite honestly, I think the Trinis seem to have a much better handle on this than we do. Public schools there do offer religious instruction classes but they are all entirely voluntary.  If Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Spiritual Baptists families want their children to participate in corresponding classes they may.  If they don't want to they don't have to.  As long as parents approve, children can participate in classes from religions other than that of the family.  Imagine that, no one is coerced, no one has to pretend faith doesn't exist, no one gets bent out of shape.  There is respect all around.  Isn't that what freedom is really for, so everyone can follow his or her conscience without interference?

Another area of freedom I enjoyed was the relaxed expressions of warmth among friends.  People in Trinidad touch each other.  They aren't afraid they might get cooties the way folks in the US are, especially the Northeast.  Then again, Trinis are absolutely fastidious about personal hygiene so you're less likely to get cooties there.  I have a whole post on how I feel about the wonders of physical contact in Trinidad.  You can check it here if you want.

One thing I was surprised by was the freedom I felt in being a homemaker.  Mr. Lime and I always agreed that I'd be at home while the kids were small.  We both wanted that.  It was not imposed on me.  In the US I have always felt pressured to defend that decision, as if I somehow do not pull my weight in society or I am just taking it easy or somehow being untrue to all the feminists who worked for my freedom to have a career.  None of that in Trinidad.  And that's not because women don't have career there.  Granted there are a higher number of women who stay home but it's also not hard to find very successful career women.  Our friends who are coming next week are and example.  Petal has worked at the Ministry of Agriculture doing research and field work for the entomology division since her children were very young.  She was sent to the Netherlands to gain her Master's degree.  She is a very bright, highly educated, capable woman. As far as I know she hasn't had to defend her choices either.

I don't want to leave the idea that Trinidad is some Utopia because that's not true.  The entire reason we were there was due to a certain lack of educational freedom for kids who had even minor learning problems.  At the time we lived there students took  a test when they were about 12.  At that time the Common Entrance Exam determined whether or not students would receive any secondary education at all, not college....junior high and high school.  Failure meant no school unless their parents could afford a private school.  There were some very serious societal consequences as a result of the numbers of students not afforded education beyond elementary grades.  This situation has since changed and now all students are guaranteed education through high school. 

Ok, so I have rambled on and I hope I haven't put you all to sleep.  In my mind it boils down to this, neither the US nor any other nation has cornered the market on creating a flawless society but I really believe there is something we can learn from each other that might just help us each grow toward a better version of ourselves if we are willing to be open. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


One of the sites I like to peruse on occasion is Awful Library Books.  They highlight books in local libraries that desperately need to be weeded but have somehow escaped that fate.  Examples might include a book on the latest advances in home computing that describes the wonders of a Commodore 64 or great careers in switchboard operation.

This evening I found this gem and just had to laugh.  Go take a moment to check it out.  It's one small paragraph with several pictures.  Then come back and I'll explain my amusement.

Whistles....checks on feet while waiting.

Ok, now here is where I out Mr. Lime.  Once upon a time, back when the limelets were wee things, our church had a Sunday night kids' group for school age children but nothing for the pre-kindergarten set due to lack of volunteers.  I was already helping with another group so Mr. Lime took it upon himself to lead the pre-schoolers so they could have their own fun time.  He was responsible for puppet-time, story-time, and craft-time. 

Fortunately for him, snacks were provided by a lovely grandmotherly type of lady.  Unfortunately, he was on his own for craft-time.  I gave him some suggestions but he preferred to forge ahead boldly with his own notions.  Some of his ideas proved quite successful, others not so much.  One truly terrified me...when he announced his plan to put power tools into the hands of 3 year olds.

The project was to be a jointed stick puppet made out of tongue depressors.  The limbs would be attached with paper fasteners. He intended to have the kids drill the holes for the fasteners...with a cordless power drill.  I told him he was out of his mind.  He assured me he'd keep his hands over the hands of the little kids.  I still envisioned disaster.

At the end of the club time all the kids lined up beaming with pride over their personally drilled stick figures...and still in possession of all their own original digits and eyes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meme-y Christmas

The Queen's Meme #105 ~ The How Many Christmas Meme

Welcome to The Queen's Meme #105
7 Royal Questions on Tuesday

The How Many Christmas Meme

This meme is so easy it's ridiculous. And that too.

1. How many Wisemen were there?
According to tradition or historical record?

2. How many reindeer pull Santa's sleigh?
 I'm still trying to figure out how the Bernoulli principle applies to reindeer and a fat guy.

3. How many gifts are under your tree?

I was told it was the thought that counted.

4. How many classic holiday movies can you name?
What would you like me to name them?

5. How many stockings are hanging from your mantel?

Mr. Lime thought it was inappropriate for my stockings, and bras, and panties to be hanging there.

6. How many Christmas trees do you have?
How many do I need?

7. How many days are in the twelve days of Christmas?
Depends how many times you cross the international date line during that period of time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Train of Thought

  • I am REALLY relieved that Mr. Lime finally got a deer so we have a freezer full of venison for the year.
  • I can't believe I will soon have a kid old enough to drink alcohol.
  • I can't believe when I was her age I'd already been married for nearly a year.
  • I'm really glad the guy I married is handy enough to fix a shower faucet that leaks incessantly because the perpetually slimy stall and bathroom floor was really disgusting and I have enough things to spend money on these days without having to hire a handyman.
  • Handymen make me think of the Red Green Show, which I first saw in Trinidad in 1992.  I find it utterly hilarious that I was introduced to such distinctly Canadian humor while living 11 degrees above the equator.  It definitely enhanced the humor of the show.
  • I can't wait for my friends to arrive from Trinidad and yet I'd like a little more time to get ready for the visit because....
  • Back pain REALLY sucks hairy donkey balls and it is messing with my ability to get everything done I need to do before my friends and Christmas arrive.  Hell, it's messing with my ability to do ANYTHING at all.
  • Having an anniversary and a child born in December makes for a busier month than it is already by default.
  • Have I mentioned the suckwadageness of back pain during such a busy month?
  • I am thankful for coworkers willing to help me get through the day at work and a boss who treats me for free and for every increment of improvement to counteract the suckwadageness.
  • I like a cappella music. (This random thought brought to you by my random flipping through the channels)
  • I am NOT a fan of extra twangy country music. (This random thought also brought to you by random channel flipping)
  • I'm glad the house is done being decorated.
  • I wish I had my shopping and cards done.
  • I cannot believe I have lived in this house for 8 years and yet I am working on my THIRD address for the same location.  If I wanted a new address I'd sell this house, pack up all my stuff and haul it to a new location, thank you very much.
  • It only took the post office and various utility companies and banks and credit card companies and doctors offices and our extended families to all get our last address right and all the mail delivered when and where it was sent.  I wonder how long it will take this time.
  • I'm cold because we turn the heat down at night.  One of the benefits of having out friends from Trinidad come visit is we will be keeping the house warmer since the standard there is quilts on the bed when the nights plummet to a frosty 70 degrees Fahrenheit and we don't want them to die of frostbite INSIDE our house.
  • I think no matter what they will find the toilet seats cold so I will warn them of this regional hazard since I now know what a horrendous shock it is after another Trini friend told us.
  • At least the bathroom will be dry and non-slimy, thanks to Mr. Lime.
  • And they can enjoy a big pot of curried venison thanks to him.
  • Thanks to THEM, Diana and Calypso should each have their own tawah and dabla for frying up roti to go with the curry.  Ssshhh...don't tell.  It's a surprise!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Crappy Gift

It truly is a miraculous season and blog fodder in terms of weird gift ideas is flowing a cow on laxatives.  Speaking of bovine scatology I have another bizarre stocking stuffer for all you shoppers looking  for unique and memorable gifts to give.

This was plopped at my feet via an email from a friend.  Today's gift idea is PooPooPaper

It's paper made from animal poo.  The site explains that several species of large, herbivorous mammals have very inefficient digestive systems so their poo is very heavy in fibrous material.  Some might suggest anyone wanting to turn poo into paper might have shit for brains but apparently the inventors of PooPooPaper wanted to find an alternative, ecologically sound source for paper other that wood pulp.  Maybe they have shit for brains, maybe that rationale is a steaming pile, but maybe...just maybe they have fertilized the seeds of genius which have blossomed into a sound business.

The site allows you to shop according to item type such as social stationery, greeting cards, photo albums, and other items.  If you prefer you can shop according to which animal's excrement was used to produce the paper.  My favorite part of the site is where they sell Poo-litical PooPooPaper.  There you can find elephant poo and donkey dung derived papers all with appropriately scathing commentary on the respective parties represented.

After the assurances of odorless products and explanations of the process and rational I only wonder why they haven't begun to produce rolls of toilet paper.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Slow Day

It always amazes me how I can work 11 hours, get home 5 hours AFTER my son and when I get home, eat, and want to use my laptop that's when he needs it for the next 3 hours to type a paper....but I digress....

It's been slow at work lately.  I hate when it's slow.  I'd much rather have work to do than have to go looking for things to do.  A few months ago I undertook a big overhaul of the filing system to streamline things for everyone but I'm done with that and now the thumb twiddling happens when we aren't busy.  With out crew it can be a little dangerous to leave us idle for too long.  We are a creative bunch and at least two of us are in touch with out inner 12 year old boys.  That can spell trouble.

Today in between waiting for the beep and taking care of the few patients we had I generated several boredom alleviating activities....or at least signs that the schedule is too slow.

  • Painting an entire wall with a white-out and highlighter mural
  • Emulating PeeWee Herman with the scotch-tape (you only need to watch from 2:35-3:09 in the video)
  • Alphabetize the bills in the cash drawer by serial number
  • Create a full line of paper clip jewelry
  • Do this with sticky notes
  • Make wigs out of the paper shredder remnants
  • Using the desk phone as a bola
  • Recreating the pointilist works of Georges Seurat with the holes from the paper punch

Then I thought of staging Chiropractic Office Olympics and all the events
  • The phone book shred (I am the current defending champ here)
  • Chair races
  • The monitor toss
  • The enhanced high jump (enhanced by attaching electrodes for the electro-muscle stim machine to the competitor and giving them a high voltage jolt)
  • File stacking followed by hurdling the stacks
  • Patient launch (using the hydraulic adjusting table as a catapult)
  • 100 meter spider stomp (we are in the woods and seem to be regularly invaded by arachnids)

Of course, on a slow day, there's also the benefit of having time to generate a blog post idea or if I could just work on computer access at home in order to execute the ideas...

Feel free to add some of your own ideas to either list.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Stocking Stuffer

You just never know what sorts of interesting ideas you will come across when you pick up a magazine NOT targeted for your particular demographic.  Our office receives the Men's Health Magazine.  If you've never read it just imagine Cosmopolitan for men.  Today I was thumbing through it looking for material for another project and found some blog-fodder.  Way in the back, where all the miniature ads are (you know the ones...if you were reading a comic book it they'd be for x-ray specs, sea monkeys, and Charles Atlas bodybuilding), I found a gem...or perhaps it was jewels.

I discovered that for the low, low price of $14.99 all the gentlemen out there with personal moisture problems can take care of their annoyance with Fresh Balls. Don't believe me?  Check it out.

According to the FAQs on the website it is all natural, has no taste (I kid you not) and can be applied as often as desired.  Under the testimonials one guy says he has gone through 22 tubes of the stuff already.  I'm thinking he either has the sweatiest balls around or he just reeeeeeally likes applying Fresh Balls.

This Christmas along with festive, shiny balls on the tree all the men out there can have Fresh Balls without the frosted look baby powder gives.  So be sure to ask Santa to stuff your stocking with Fresh Balls!

Sunday, December 04, 2011


As part of my job I am required to make daily confirmation calls for appointments.  As such I get to hear an absurd number of voice mail messages.  Most of them are pretty standard but some of them stand out.  Allow me to share.

Hi, this is Mary.  I'm REALLY sorry I'm not available.  I promise to call you back as soon as I can if you leave me a message.
On the surface it seems pretty standard but the apologetic tone and earnest promise make me wonder why she seems to have such a guilt complex about phone messages.

Hi, this is Jack and Jill, we're probably home but just screening our calls in case we don't want to talk to you.  You can leave a message but if we don't return it you probably shouldn't bother calling back...ever.
Alrighty then, so much for social conventions.  On a positive note, it's one less person I have to call, right?

Hi, this is Jane.  You may not like leaving messages but I like hang-ups even less so just leave me a message when it beeps.
What if I have a hang-up about leaving messages?

I like smiling.  It's my favorite.  What's your favorite?
Literally, that's all the voice mail says.  No identification.  No request for a message.  It tempts me to respond with, "My favorite is when grown people sound like they have brains in their skulls instead of like they were abducted by some weird airport dwelling cult."

Revelation 3:20 says Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with with me.  Please don't miss this opportunity to accept Christ's invitation...etc, etc...(insert mini sermon you think may use up whatever space is on voicemail) . Please leave a message and consider reading God's message in the Bible.
Father, forgive me for the violent thoughts I had waiting to be able to leave my message.

This is Susan, I can't come to the phone right now but if you leave a message with your name and number I'll return your call as soon as possible.  I bid you a good day and good thoughts.
Good thoughts?  Good idea.  I needed the reminder.

At one point during my call list I wondered aloud how many minutes of my life have been spent waiting for the beep.  Ironically, we had a very math oriented patient in the waiting room who overheard me and decided this was a question he had to answer.  According to him I spend between 45-60 minutes a week waiting for the beep.  I think I preferred when it was a rhetorical question.