Saturday, December 20, 2014

Oh no!, Christmas Tree

I couldn't believe my ears!
...  On the other end of the phone line, Mother was saying there would be no Christmas tree at her house when I arrived.   "After all", she rationalized, "Troy and Lois won't be travelling to Florida this year; and it's not my turn to host bridge club."

After we hung up, I was at a loss to identify my dismay.  
Was there something wrong with her health she wasn't ready to share?   
Had her finances suffered?
 ... Had she suffered a crisis of faith?   
Ya, I've tendency to worry about the craziest things!

Truth be told, my perception of Christmas always included a tree.    Not a stately creature whose delicate branches gently curve in unison.
Oh, nooooo!   Not until DH and I found a pre-lit, faux evergreen on sale a few years ago ... most of the trees in my life may well be described as 'Charlie Brown' affairs.    (Not sure if my father felt sorry for the misshapen creatures, or if there was a 'deal' to be had!)

Mother and Troy, ca. 1981

Mother and I were left to transform the ugly ducklings.  
Bless her heart, there must have been scars on her tongue - not saying a cross word when I'd throw clumps of icicles in the direction of an exposed branch.  
Then, there was the year our arms broke out in a rash from some nasty pink stuff billed as 'angel hair.'    
Mostly, I remember the laughter.

Fast forward 40-some years, there was little laughter when my brand-new boss assigned me the task of decorating the lobby tree.   Alone.  Looking back, it's a wonder my association with the Company didn't conclude then and there!
Having no interest - and even less talent - I was sure I'd died and gone 'down there.'    Only when a friendly engineer stopped by with a ladder and a bit o'wit did I find humor in the situation:   In response to my grumbling, "I'd rather be scrubbing toilets", Glenn observed, "Well, that could be arranged."

For lots of reasons, our artificial tree remains in hibernation this year.   We've visiting privileges to others' trees.   And come to think of it, there's a brand new, nicely-adored tree in the lobby, just a few steps from my office!

Warming hugs from Phoenix!

Did I tell you?   No, I don't think I did!
This may sound incredibly childish ... but every day after Christmas when I pass a sad, abandoned 'tree lot', my heart breaks a little for the un-chosen ones.    A blogging friend who shall remain anonymous (it's HER story to tell, after all) recently shared a sweet story over breakfast:
One December 26 her hubby approached a vendor and made him an offer he couldn't refuse for the remaining trees.    He brought them home and planted around the periphery of their property, and today they thrive!   Isn't that neat?!



Friday, December 19, 2014

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas!

... well, not exactly like the White Christmases I enjoyed as a child.
Still, when there's cause to pull extra covers from the closet, and my decades-old sweaters make a cameo appearance  ... I smile!

A month I've been gone?  Yikes!  
It's not for having nothing to say -- as DH would be happy to attest.  
Rather, I don't suppose you good folks would be interested in hearing me re-hash the agony of this year's Iron Bowl ...
nor, my shiny new (albeit, UNwanted) washing machine, clothes dryer and garbage disposal.
 (Yuppers.   No sooner did one go kaput, but the others followed in short order.)  

On a happier note, Tom's recovery is amazing.    He developed some nasty abrasions as a result of a allergy to the tape, but the home care nurse got us back on track.   We were so blessed that our insurance allowed her 9 visits!
 ... reassuring for someone who was ready to wave a white flag after the first 24 hours.    Caregiver, I'm NOT!

There's so, sooooo much for which to be thankful!

... not the least of which is my (sometimes unexpected) treasure trove of memories.

For instance?    During my early morning commute yesterday, I had this great visceral craving for hot cheese queso dip and tortilla chips.   At 6AM. 
What's odd?   I probably haven't indulged in that goodness since leaving West Texas more than 20 years ago!  

Thanks in huge part to 'Etsy', the Master List was complete weeks ago.    We had to cut back this year, but ever since I was a little kid - armed with the Miles Kimball Christmas catalog -  I get this absurd delight finding the 'perfect' gift for everyone on my list.   (Sometimes I think mine's a sickness.)

The only 'to-do' remaining is my annual Starbucks expedition.  Having an addictive personality, I only allow myself a visit to 'Mr. Bucks' once each year for a seasonal delight ... which, of course, must be slowly savored like a fine wine.  LOL!    (Hey, I take my simple pleasures where I can find them!)I

Those of you who know me on Facebook are familiar with this tableau ... but I wanted to share our lil' substitute-for-a-tree impromptu scene.   The wee book was gifted to my mother when she was but 5 years (ca. 1920).  In turn, she grew up and 'stuffed' this sweet tree for her own daughter.   And that little stool with mis-matched paint?   It's a survivor ... of my own tumultuous toddler days. 


In the coming days, I hope to share some vignettes from the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - both past and present.    I hope you'll stay tuned!

Hugs from Phoenix!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Best Laid Plans ...

Update ...
Thank you all for your prayers n' positivity!   Tom's surgery went well, albeit a little longer than expected -- doc says his bones are like 'concrete.'
(To which his former admin wrote, "so's his head!")

Off to physical therapy/boot camp now.   Have a great day everyone.   Stay warm, stay safe!

You'd think by the time I'd reach this age, I'd know better.   I'd curb my enthusiasm.

Oh nooooo.    For a few years now, we've I've toyed with the idea of revisiting Santa Fe and my hometown -  but set it aside as being fiscally irresponsible.   Then, this powerful post made me sit up and re-examine my priorities.   

Game on!   Reservations were finalized for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and the anticipation of tasting authentic New Mexico cuisine again had me salivating.     

Then, after two years of DH's oncologists' "maybe's" and "we'll have to see's" ..... Tom got a call a couple of weeks ago ... an 'all-clear' for hip replacement surgery.  

Have to admit, at first I was less than gracious when hubby called.   (Control freaks hate having their plans changed, don't-cha-know!)
In lightning-like speed one thing led to another, and the deed's being done tomorrow at 11:30.      

While the mechanics seem almost as routine as a tonsillectomy, my only concern is how Tom's oncologist and orthopedic-dude agree to orchestrate his blood thinner.   
Seriously, it's like when I used to work for a couple CPA's who'd often feud over the silliest things:   "Myra, would you tell Doyle ...."  
Followed shortly by, "Myra, tell Cliff ...."

Driving home tonight, Doc #1's assistant calls to ask me to tell Doc #2 tomorrow not to do the filter, but instead resume the shots.   
(Seriously? ... I wanted to say, "Tell him yourself!")

I'm pretty sure everything will turn out fine and Tom will be able to return to his beloved game of golf come Spring.
... Still, prayers are certainly appreciated!

... and the good thing?   I don't have to worry about eating turkey next Thursday! :)
If anyone has some great tapas recipes, won't you let me know?

Hugs from Phoenix!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I've been Liebster-ed!

One of my favorite blog-friends, Paula, has nominated me for the Liebster Award!
 I'm not necessarily big on awards ... but as I told her, I'm delighted to let my 'inner Barbara Walters' out of the closet! 
Here are the rules:
  1. Post 11 random facts yourself
  2. Answer 11 questions posed by Paula
  3. Nominate bloggers with less than 200 followers to do the same
  4. Let those bloggers know that you've chosen them

OK, random facts about myself:
  1. Take away the part about water, and I'm a typical Pisces
  2. Rainy days get me down -- but I love the snow and ice!
  3. I like to think I'm a good listener
  4. Conservative?  Yes.  Both in my politics and lifestyle
  5. I still care WAY too much what others think of me
  6. On account I'm a lousy backer-upper, I go out of my way to find a pass-through parking space
  7. Ya, I'm "that" person who makes 3 right turns to avoid a left
  8. I've never once had to parallel park, and don't plan to start!
  9. Given my druthers, I'd most enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at a nice restaurant
  10. If I'm 'on time' ... I'm late
  11. I can't stand having an unmade bed

My nominees?
Dang, this is hard!   I don't want to put anyone on the spot.
I'd love to see what Kim and Tarryterre have to say ... Anne and Mary, too.  Heck, I invite all my circle of friends to come play!
Paula's questions for me:

Why do you blog?
To see myself think.   (No, that sounds flippant - not my intent.)
I suppose, when all's said and done, I blog so my granddaughters will have a good idea of who I was and what mattered to me.

How did you choose the name of your blog?
Respice Prospice came from an inscription on an old locket given me some years ago.  I was really taken with the translation:  Look to the future, learn from the past.

What makes you laugh out loud?
Our year-old Malti-poo puppies, Macie and Grace.  They're crazy!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a morning gal.  My day starts at 4:00.  (Mind you, I'm a basket case after 9!)

Favorite TV show and why?
The Bachelor/Bachelorette -- not sure why.
Jeopardy always makes me think (how little I know!)
Family Feud never fails to crack me up!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A homicide detective.  (If I can pay someone else to do the science stuff.)

How do you cope when things are not going well in your life?
Wine and prayer.  (Not necessarily in that order.)

A favorite quote:
There's so many, but my 'right now' favorite:
"So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good."  - Helen Keller
(Thank you, Jack!)

Your favorite food to snack on when no-one is around?
Ice-cold, extra-crunchy JIF.

What is your favorite social media?

What is one destination that you dream of traveling to?
It used to be St. Petersburg, Russia..  Today, between the TSA and terror threats, my sights are set closer to home -- Breckenridge, CO for the International Snow Sculpting championships.

My questions for y'all! 
(...and yes, you over there!)
  1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. Everyone's heard of TV's "The Apprentice."  If you could apprentice under anyone in the world for one year, who would that be?
  3. What's your favorite way of relaxing?
  4. What would be the most enjoyable way for you to spend $100?
  5. What type of entertainment that others enjoy would you have a really hard time sitting through?
  6. Name a taste that makes you melt.
  7. If you could have chosen your own first name, what would it be?
  8. What CD is currently playing in your car?
  9. Have you any present-day heroes?
  10. If, like a product, your behavior came with a guarantee, what could you honestly guarantee about yourself?
  11. What would be a good theme song for you?
As Paula says, "Please jump in and let's all get to know each other a bit better."  

Hugs from Phoenix!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Charmed Life?

"Is every one of Michele's family ridiculously good looking?"
... so an associate asked me a few years back.   My boss' daughter was to be married in a few days, and extended family members from here-there-and-everywhere gathered to check-in.
Yes.  To a person, their faces appeared to have been crafted by heavenly hosts.

I probably shouldn't say this out loud .... but it's been on my mind a while now.   And at this stage of my life, I'm all about transparency.

For too many years, I might have disliked them - and their seemingly 'charmed lives' - on sight.   For no good reason.

Since grade school, I resented those whose effortless good looks and charisma made me want to shrink further and further into the shadows.    Janice's poignant "At Seventeen" may well have been written about yours truly.

Thank God, we grow and get over ourselves!
And learn what Real Beauty is all about.
Still, every now and then I wonder.   What is it about the presence of others' larger-than-life appearances that makes us feel clumsy or inadequate?  
Sure, every once in a great I can still hear a classmate's words, "Myra?  You mean the one with the big nose?"  
Then I reassure myself, recalling another similarly-afflicted soul's laugh: "All this oxygen we get to breathe, and I'm sure lucky to get more than the next fellow."
I was sobered recently by a news story whose headline teased:  "What the Dying Really Regret."  
As Erma Bombeck once lamented - I presumed the answer to be not taking more chances.
No.  They regretted wasting so much time hating their own bodies!   Isn't that incredibly sad?
Oh, and by the way.  
One of Michele's  "ridiculously good looking" family members - a vibrant young man with a lovely, loving wife and two little girls recently passed away from brain cancer age 34.     
Tommy's story is but one of hundreds, maybe thousands.  
Didn't we used to refer to the Kennedy family as 'charmed'?
It's a little early to be talking about Thanksgiving, but I'm incredibly grateful to be right here, right now .... and especially for you allowing me to be part of your charmed lives.  
I promise to be back with a more upbeat tone next time.
Hugsfrom Phoenix!
Myra :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Do you smell that?


So, I've been doing a lot of smiling in the last 48 hours.
Not just because DH's latest CT scan warranted a great review from his oncologist (which is pretty awesome!)

... but I think Summer's finally releasing her grip on the valley.  Woo-hoo!

Just yesterday morning - instead of automatically hitting the A/C, I felt like rolling my car's window down.    Not 10 minutes later, I caught the unmistakable aroma of a commercial bakery, and my toes began to curl in unison.

... Which got me pondering.  
Aside from baking bread, or a porterhouse steak sizzling over a mesquite-wood fire, here's a baker's dozen of my favorite, happy aromas.

Bubble gum

Garlic and onions simmering in olive oil
Movie theater lobbies
Brand-new textbooks
Wooden matches
Supermarket freezer-chests (it's been a long time since I stuck my head deep inside and inhaled ... only on account grown-ups aren't supposed to do that sort of thing.)
Ponderosa pines

Elmer's rubber cement (remember those adorable pots in elementary school?)
Original Jergens lotion
The lumber section of a warehouse
Horse stables
A lit pipe (preferably held by a gent wearing a smoking jacket, cradling a cognac in his other hand.   Ahhh!)

Have I struck a chord with anyone?  
What would you recommend?
Thank you for pausing to visit, and please, have yourselves a sweet new week!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Killing me softly, with his song

I hadn't planned to chat about Those.Who.Entertain today, but learning of Paul Revere's passing leaves me a bit reflective.  
Inquisitive, too.

Do you recall your first concert?

Growing up in a community the size of your average saucer, I longed to live in New York City or Los Angeles.  I longed sit alongside those screaming in Sullivan's audience.   Instead, I sat cross-legged, inches in front of our black/white television, dreaming of the day I'd reside in a Big City.

A few years later, I was thrilled to attend a campus concert by one of my favorite artists.   Unfortunately, the poor fellow was so messed up on gosh-knows-what he couldn't recall the words of the opening song and had to be led off-stage.    Na├»ve, yes, but I remember feeling soooo sorry for him -- and really upset at my supposedly-religious fellow students' jeers and boos.   (Thankfully, I learned he subsequently cleaned up his act and turned his craft to a 'contemporary Christian' genre.)

All the same, I was hooked -- on the smells and sounds and energy -- even before the artist(s) took the stage!   One of my favorite memories involves a B.Y.O.B. affair in the early 80's where we sat at portable tables and danced in front of an "up-and-coming singer" by the name of George Strait.   I wasn't really 'into' c/w music at the time, but had to admit he was pretty cute!

Obviously, some were better than others.  Perhaps my biggest let-down was a surprise trip I'd planned for my then-husband to see Ole' Blue Eyes at Reunion Arena in Dallas.   Unlike "R", I wasn't especially fond of Sinatra - and even less so after the lukewarm performance where he appeared wholly disinterested.

A few years later I began work at Tampa Bay's CBS affiliate where I was astonished to realize, concert and theatre tickets could practically be had for the asking!  Crazy, the things I used to take for granted.  (It may be a common practice, but now that I'm on the "other side-looking in", I don't think that's especially fair.   LOL!)

These days, DH and I've not attended a concert in ages.   Oh, a few years ago I won a radio contest to see Neil Diamond, and his show was just as amazing as I remembered from 1972.   Unfortunately, transportation in and around the newly-constructed stadium was poorly orchestrated, and at least one concert-goer was trampled and badly injured in the exodus.    Tom sometimes experiences difficulty maneuvering, so I do my best to avoid crowds.  

Sure, there are times I miss the energy.
... But I was only mildly disappointed recently at being "Caller #5" when the tickets to see Kris Kristofferson were meant for "Caller #6."   
Aside from the obvious, most nights I find myself yawning uncontrollably after 9! 

Irrational, perhaps ... but I'm always concerned that someone I've adored for years will turn out to be a huge disappointment.    I may be the only person on the planet who disliked George Strait's much ballyhooed farewell concert.   Has something like that ever happened to you?

All else aside, is there someone I'm still dying to see?   You bet-cha! :) 

(Say, I never claimed not to be a square!)
When we were in Vegas a couple years ago and had a chance to purchase tickets I balked at the prices.  Instead we returned to our rental, stuck a bag of popcorn in the microwave and watched one of his 'live' performances on DVD.   Not so sure I'd do the same today. 

If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to hear your own concert-going stories -- the good, the bad and the ugly!    Is there a special someone you're still longing to see?

Hugs from a deliciously-cooling Phoenix.   Have a great week, everyone!