Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To box ... or Shadowbox?



Like so many of their generation, my folks were Savers.

Only recently, have I allowed myself to revisit their carefully preserved mementos:   Hope-chest treasures 'n trinkets... prayers and prose -- some dating back to the early 1800’s.   I’d barely paid them any mind.

Still, most are chronicled, for surely momma sensed there’d be a time her daughter would come looking.

Maternal grandparents' marriage certificate.
Their wedding picture, below.

Grandma's curling iron ... she used to heat on the stovetop!


My mother's dress and sweet shoe.




So, I had the notion to create shadowboxes for my son and his family.

Did I just say, "had"?

Not being blessed with a single “crafty” gene in my body, I wasn’t deterred. It’s just …. the sheer ENORMITY of material that’s scary. 

What to showcase; what to put back?   Paralyzed by indecision .... then came an epiphany:  
Most likely, I'm trying to project ....not stopping to think if this would be a welcomed gift, particularly for girls still in their teens.

So, in spite of the holidays "to-do" lists, I'm crafting a memento for Me, Myself and I!  

If you’ve any hands-on experience …. or words of wisdom, I’d love to hear!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Have you ever been driving down an ordinary road, minding your own business .... and some long-forgotten lyric just pops into your head?

So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

Today?  Wait a sec while I look for my "happy" crayon.  

Many of you may already know Sherry.   (If'n you don't, better hustle over to Country Wings!) 


We'd had occassion to meet, oh a LONG time ago, but never made time 'til today for a good old-fashioned, "gab n' grub."    And what fun it was!    

Haven't we all been in a position (sometimes more than we'd like) of having to put on masks just to get by .... get through?     Well, there was no room for that sort of nonsense ...or posturing.    To borrow a line, I felt "touched by an angel."

Would you just look at this precious notebook she created for me?    I was like, totally blown away!!!


I'm crazy for "olden" stuff, particularly vintage keys.   Doesn't this sweet face just beg for a caption?
What means the most, of course, is realizing it was crafted with such caring!
  
So yeah.  There are no accidental encounters.  Somewhere in my youth (or childhood), I must've done something good. 

(Thanking Sherry for the photo credits while my camera's still on the disabled list!  

And thanking whoever invented CHEESECAKE.   Heaven!!!)     





Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tricked ...

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Tonight I'm remembering a tumultuous evening years past ....
when mother discovered the wadded-up, empty "candy" wrappers my best pal and I'd forgotten to destroy:
Most details escape me.   Most, that is, except mother's face as she hung up the telephone; her words:  "Doctor said to start you drinking raw eggs.   Right now."    Aaaaargh!!!!

Fast-forward another decade, when I accidentally-on-purpose OD'd on Cherry Milkshakes.   (45 years later that word, "cherry", still makes me shudder!)

So, why is my crazy consciousness going there?   

It's a lovely evening in the desert.  I'm wearing my comfy "glad-rags" ... there's a pretty wine glass beside me.   UNFORTUNATELY, the glass contains

Cherry-flavored, no less.

Yup.  
Until a few months ago, I was known as the gal with a cast-iron stomach.  Then ... finally, I scared myself silly while checking symptoms online.  (Ya, I'm dumb that way.)  

Amazed.  I'm totally puzzled how intelligent men (and women) ... who put other men on the moon, can't develop something less VILE than TryLyte.

While I'm not so worried about tomorrow (right now, that is) .... I'd certainly appreciate your prayers and/or good wishes.  

Happpppppppppppy Halloween!

(ca. 1953)
I was supposed to be "Little Red Riding Hood" --
Almost makes you feel sad for the big-bad wolf!



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Interview

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Having concluded a grueling month-long project, I’m trying to just relax and recapture a few ordinary experiences I wanted to share.
Off the top of my head ….

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Surprised – I was somewhat reluctant when asked to join a few members of management  last month ~ conducting panel interviews for an Accounting Supervisor.
All these years later, that word “interview” still creeps me out!

Reviewing a list of politically-correct questions, I had to smile .... remembering my own early interview experiences: “Do you attend church? Which one?”
(How far we’ve come, eh?)

I’m almost embarrassed to share one question I was assigned to ask:
In your own words, how do you define the word ‘integrity’?”
I felt like Bert Parks in drag.

The first finalist – a lady about my own age – presented nicely, albeit nervously.

I’d taken an immediate liking to “J.” Her answers were obviously unrehearsed; at times she stumbled. Her need to be liked was almost palatable.

She reminded me of me.

The others disagreed: “We’ve no time to nurture. ‘D’ would chew her up and spit her out in a few weeks time.”

Hmmph!
"Mevely-the-nice judge" was fully prepared to dislike Finalist #2.

Instead, “S” was engaging – and soon engaged everyone at the table. Polished and charismatic, his answers were spot-on. No question who’d be asked to join the team.

So, weeks after the fact, everyone's learning to play nicely with one another.   And the "nice judge" is trying to shake comparing "S" with those kids in high school to whom popularity and perfectionism came so effortlessly. 

Oh yeah, I've gotta give "Mr. Annoying" the benefit of the doubt... stop fantasizing about purchasing a saddle for his high horse.

But every now and then, I catch myself wondering if “J” found her own happy landing spot.

Mostly, I give thanks for not ever having to endure a panel interview!

I don’t know …. do you think panel interviews are effective?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anticipation!

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Anticipation. What an amazing thing that does to our bodies and mind!

Despite the calendar, I wasn’t so sure Fall would ever arrive. Then, a few weeks back …worn down by a long, sad stretch of hot weather, we were granted a reprieve. (Never mind that we bounced right back to 100 degrees a few days later…… I’m a believer!)


Being a confirmed “seasonal” eater, I marked by occasion by purchasing 2011’s first container of THIS.
A simple pleasure, yes … years later, I’m still paying homage to International Café’s heartwarming commercials.


Like so many others, I’m crazy for all-things Autumn -- the colors, the aromas -- even the GEE-normous mums we used to wear at football games.
(Do they even exist, anymore?)

While it’s not possible to wiggle my nose and transport to New England …. I’m going out this afternoon to purchase a big-ole pot of yellow mums and drop the a/c a few degrees. (shhhh!)

Magic moments, red-letter days. Here are a few of mine:
Pumpkin spice latte …. thick, beef-and fat-carrot stew ….. stop-top simmered Dr. Pepper w/ lemon …. even preparing DH’s favorite super-cheddar meatloaf.

Have you any seasonal, red-letter rituals?

PS: Mr. Weatherman has promised us 80-degree highs before too long. Yes, it’s all about perspective – but won’t you pardon me a “Woot!!!”  Here in the Valley of the Sun, it’s practically time to roll out the cozy hoodie and just ……breathe!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Anniversary Gift

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At first he was amused. These days, when I pause to gaze lovingly at some kitchen gizmo, DH’s likely to sigh.

A paradox, really. I’m besotted by anything “culinary” … but can’t don’t cook!
“And why do you want that?”
“I don’t know .. it looks neat.”

…. and so it goes – each of us knowing I’m not inclined to suddenly become pals with the stovetop.

You see, lots of years ago I toured a spec “waterfall” house, featuring this whiz-bang, all-black kitchen. (A peculiarity in those days of harvest gold and avocado appliances!)     Love at first sight!

So, I’ve finally my very own black-clad room.
Admittedly, it’s a sturdy, no-frills kind – which matters little to the Chef-in-Charge. DH delights in cooking in practically any environment! (And I delight in eating – how cool is that?!)

Still. Like an otherwise harmless splinter, I’ve considered our utilitarian faucet “annoying.” Since it’s perfectly OK, we resisted spending the $$$ to upgrade. “If it ain’t broke ….”

Imagine my delight when we recently discovered a PUDDLE under the sink. A handyman-by-trade, DH soon declared the entire mechanism D.O.A. 

“Right over there …that’s it!”
Not 30 seconds in front of Lowes' display, my mind’s made up.



No, it’s not long and cylindrical ..... but neither am I.

Impromptu and born of necessity, yes.    But I LOVE my “happy anniversary” faucet!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Pilot Reflects

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I don't know about you, but it doesn't seem possible 10 years have passed so quickly!   
A "good" part of my weekend was spent in quiet reflection -- uplifted, too, by those of you who shared your recollections and prayers .... far more poignantly than I might.  

One of my hubby's friends forwarded this e-mail yesterday, written by a former Delta commercial pilot.   I thought his recollections were very interesting, and wanted to share a portion of the story.

My experience on 9/11.

We were just ready to close the door for our Delta 767 flight from CVG to MCO when the gate agent came on board and asked if we had heard anything about a small plane hitting the World Trade Center, we had not, so she said goodbye and closed the door.

Shortly thereafter we were airborne climbing out on a beautifully clear crisp fall morning heading to Florida with not a cloud in the sky or a care in the world. I heard a bizjet ask for a reroute since he could not get to New York and I thought that was strange. Then another bizjet said "well I guess we won't be going there either" and asked for a clearance to an alternate.

At that point I asked center what was going on. There was a pause and then the controller came back in a very excited voice and said "they have hit both of the Trade Center Towers, they have hit the Pentagon, they have hit the Capitol and the White House"

...well you can imagine it got really lively on the frequency. I turned to my Co-Pilot and said "I don't know what has happened, but I do know that things will never be the same", and I think I got that right!

Within seconds the controller had composed himself and said all flights on this frequency standby, and it was dead quiet. He then said all flights are to land immediately and went down the list of the planes under his control..."American 235 turn right heading 230 you're landing at Pittsburgh, Continental 456 turn left heading 180 for Cincinnati, Delta 235 (that's me) turn right to 250 and descend to 8000, you're landing at Knoxville, airport your 2 o'clock 40 miles....etc" It was the best, fastest and most efficient handling I have ever had from ATC...they had everyone on the ground all over the country in minimum time.

After all the initial confusion, their professionalism, and that of all the flight crews was exemplary!   We spent two days in Knoxville and then ferried an empty 757 back to Atlanta and I believe were one of the first flights to land back at our main hub.

Our arrival at ATL was one of the most moving experiences of my flying career. The airspace was totally empty, there was no talk on the radio, and we were the only plane in the sky over ATL, the busiest airport in the U.S., but we did have, unknown to us until informed by the controller, an F-16 right on our tail, but we never saw him! When we taxied in the normally frantic ramp area was dead quiet, all the ground equipment, tugs, baggage carts, tugs, fuelers etc. were lined up in military precision and the ground crews were standing at attention and saluted...wow, I'll never forget that.

They needed a sign that things were getting back to normal...that we were moving and flying again.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~






... and the people said, "Amen!"



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Splendidly Imperfect



Wow.  It's hard to realize, tomorrow's our "Happy #7 Anniversary"!




When I haphardly-fashioned these invites, I could never have imagined how prophetic the word "Imperfect" would become.

Oh, we'd both been down this road (er, aisle) before ... but fantasized just the same.  What's that saying?   "Man plans ... God chuckles."

But!  Would I do it again?   You bet-cha :)




May I have this dance, for the rest of my life ...........
  












We're off for a brief adventure, but look forward to catching up later next week.  

Meanwhile, won't you please stay SAFE out there!
    

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hotel!

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Do you remember that 80's television series, "Hotel"?

I loved the gracious surroundings and well-mannered guests.... and how, by evening's end, any challenges were happily resolved.



Color me "guilty."   Guilty of sometimes falling into that old "grass is greener" theory.  Those discouraging days it seems I can't satisfy all the people all the time.  (Ya, I'm naive that way.)  
.....Those days I fantasize swapping my desk's geography for one a few miles north.  On Camelback, perhaps.  No doubt, you "locals" know of which I speak.
 
So, I shared my silly reverie with a co-worker the other day.  Startled by her response:  "I think I prefer rubbing shoulders with those in my own tax bracket."  I'd forgotten, "D" once lived and worked in Santa Barbara!   Of course ... she's right.

People are people, each of us with certain expectations.  It's how I react to those UNreasonable expectations -- and not to take things so personally -- that counts.

Which begs a question: Have you ever endured experienced an disappointing vacation?

I can certainly recall a couple!  I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t conduct myself exactly graciously.   In retrospect, somebody should’ve shoved this list under my nose!

The Traveler’s Ten Commandments


Thou shalt not expect to find things as they were at home, for thou hast left thy home to find things different.


Thou shalt not take anything too seriously, for a carefree mind is the beginning of an enjoyable vacation.


Thou shalt not let others get on thy nerves, for thou art paying good money to have a good time.


Keep thy passport with thee at all times, for a person without a passport is a person without a country.


Thou shalt have respect for thy fellow travelers and their feelings, even as thou expectest them to have respect for thee.


Blessed is the person who can say "thank you" to those who strive to give good service.


Thou shalt not worry He who worrieth hath no pleasure..and few things are ever fatal.


Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by one person with whom thou hast had trouble.


When in Rome, thou shalt do somewhat as the Romans do; if in doubt, use common sense and friendliness.


Remember thou art a guest in the land of another..and he who treateth his host with respect shall be treated as an honored guest.



Before saying, "Goodnight", I'd like to show you the charmer who lives under my phone.....

.....Gifted as (I suspect) a not-so-subtle reminder!

 Tomorrow morning, welcome to my world!
 


Have you a funny story or a memorable customer service experience you'd like to share?  I'd love to learn!
.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Simple Pleasures - A child who reads!

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It happened again!

Just last weekend ... as has happened almost every Saturday,  DH and I made a pilgrimage to the public library... and I spotted this:



No matter my "mood d'jour" or what else may be going on ... this crazy smile pops out across my face.  Every time.

More often than not, the child's parents right there, to assist.   Clutching an armload of story-books to his chest, the little one might look up at me with this sooooo -satisfied smile...... and for a just a moment, all is RIGHT in the world.

PS -
I really, really wanted to capture a photo!   Once, I even whupped out my cell phone to capture the backs of a mother/daughter .... then felt so guilty, like someone would think me a pervert!   It's sad, but in today's world, I don't think I'd cotton to a stranger asking for a photo of my little one.  

For more "feel-good" moments and points of view, please visit the nice folks over at Dayle's place!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spiritual Sundays: Deception

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I think everyone would agree, we live in a world where appearances mask reality. 

For example, they ("they", whose vast knowledge makes my teeth ache) tell us we are sitting on this giant ball that's spinning approximately 1,000 mph ..... while our perception swears we're not moving!

Sara Rigler writes, "Perhaps the most false appearance is an illusion of Divine absence, a world devoid of God.  In truth, we know God is not only the source of all that exists, nothing exists except God.  Denying His existence is like a fish denying the existence of water!"

A world disconnected from its Divine source is a fool's gold world.   You've heard of fool's gold, right?  

One of Ms. Rigler's recent articles recalls her experience touring an old gold mine at the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa:

"I pointed my flashlight at the rocky wall where I saw glittering specks of gold." 

Instead, the guide pointed to a shiny black spot of brick.  "This is real gold. 99% gold."

"To make it look like gold, you have to go through a complicated process:
First you crush the rock.  Then you pulverize it, until it's like powder.  Then you have to add cyanide, a deadly poison."

She went on to explain additional stages of the process until, finally "the gold looks like gold."  

The author reminds us, "to penetrate beneath the mask of physical appearance requires a mental process more arduous than turning black rock into gold jewelry." 

"In a fool's gold world, the worst eventuality is death.
In reality, the worst eventuality is a life devoid of meaning and purpose."

"In a fool's gold world, your essential identity appears to be your body, so you invest your time, attention and money in beautifying/strengthening/preserving the body.
In reality, your essential identity is your soul."

"Unearthing the real gold may require going deep below the surface and undergoing an intricate process of refinement ... but is investing in counterfeit ever worth it?"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Long time no speak!

Oh, it wasn't for lack of intent.  I started ...then STOPPED a dozen times. 
Not even our resident canine was much inclined to suffer my bouts of "August-itis" or "budget-itis."  
Given the choice, I opted to nap.   A lot.

So, what's new?




The GOOD news is, I can put away this signage outside my boss's office for another year.

Wooo-hoooooo -- budgets were approved just yesterday!!!  



  







In between the aforementioned naps, good friends coaxed me out of the house to celebrate National Ice-Cream Day.

Guess who was too full-up on pot-roast to sample the main event?   Must return to the scene!








Last Saturday we took a recommendation from Monica and travelled up the road to Cave Creek's storied El Encanto.   Soooo awesome!
Borrowed snapshot here.  Go figure, one out of two days a month I'm enjoying a "Good Hair Day" and no-one wants their picture taken!  



Despite sometimes evidence to the contrary, I still believe GOOD things happen to GOOD people!  

For instance?   A long, long time ago in a Land Far-away, there lived two young ladies who believed the world was their oyster.    One, the female half of a popular morning radio show with mega-watt looks and personality .... and me, along for the ride.   An Odd Couple to be sure, her spontaneity was probably good for me.




Following my move to Florida, we eventually drifted apart -- only to reconnect our jigsaw pieces a few years ago.   Whadda ya know?   The former wild child was all settled down with a clone child of her own.










So, a few weeks ago came some exciting news and this picture on Facebook.
The little record-player that lives in my head began that beloved, bittersweet tune from Fiddler on the Roof:  "I don't remember growing older ... when did they?

Often imitated ...never equalled, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!  Yea, Cassie!!!

I'd not thought of this episode for a while now, but a few months back, one of DH's friends from Chicago was poking fun of me when I inadvertently dropped a "ya'all" into our conversation.   (Hubby says I do that a lot.)  
Know what?   I had my feelings hurt for like, 5 minutes.   Then, decided he's just jealous.  (Hrummmpf!)

Tho'  I've not lived there for too many years ~ and I'm ridiculously in love with Arizona ~ suppose I'll always consider Texas my "heart's home."

Thanks to those of you who've stuck by me!   Now's time I return the favor and spend some quality time this weekend catching up with YOU! :)))))



Friday, July 15, 2011

Two Thumb's Up!

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Stereotypes. We all make stereotypes, right?

I’m actually delighted at having been found guilty…. not once, but twice!

For instance?

I’m thinking Mr. Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”
(Any other fans out there?)

Who’d have guessed, Lil’ Jon had such smarts going on under those dreads!?!   I'm still not fond of his music … but came away capital-letter Impressed.

Lately I’ve been thinking of a prior season finalist, Trace Adkins. Long-hair, slow-talking country fellow, right?  

Not so fast!
I just finished reading his book, A Personal Stand ….. and can’t stop chattering!

Though I’m no accomplished reviewer, I’d like to try – with a little LOT of help from the internet:





At 6'6" and sporting a blonde ponytail, #1 country music superstar Trace Adkins isn't your typical conservative pundit. Brash, persuasive, and controversial, A Personal Stand isn't just the story of Trace Adkins's life; it's the story of what life can teach all of us.





Trace Adkins on personal responsibility: "I stand for personal responsibility and against anything that undermines it. So much what I see in our country today represents a flight hell-bent from responsibility to victimhood. From acting on one's convictions, to going along just to get along. From making decisions based on moral principles, to taking the easy way out. That's not what the United States of America is all about, and that's not the legacy our children should inherit."

On blame games and pity parties: "Life is messy. When you fall down, pick yourself up and go on. Don't waste time trying to pin the blame on somebody, even if you did get some rotten breaks. Life has thrown me some hellacious curve balls, stuff that would make for a dandy pity party on the Oprah Winfrey Show. But life has also given me plenty of blessings."

Personally?
I’ve never before experienced the urge to stand up and do a “fist pump” while reading, --but I did just that on a couple of occasions (much to the amusement of DH’s and our reigning canine).
Just wish I’d the discretionary dollars to buy each of you a copy!
.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Day the Music Died

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Out-take from the homefront:
“Now she wants to learn the saxophone.”

Outwardly, my left hand signals “Thumb’s up!” ..... while opposite fingers are crossed "good luck" behind my back.

I’m curious. Did you ever play a musical instrument? Do you still play?

Long before I came along, momma played piano. Daddy studied the violin. Factor in one child … you can guess the rest.

Like it was yesterday, I recall my folks’ phone call, promising a “big surprise.”

Yessssss …. a horse!

I was practically doing pirouettes – my mind leap-frogging to time spent riding “Flicka” across the high mesa.

“Dismayed” doesn’t begin to describe my feelings when the big surprise turned out to be a piano. I despised it on sight. My tutor ~ and that pesky violin ~ fared no better. But at 8 years old, does one have a choice?

Summer Camp 1961
Come high school, my parents reluctantly agreed to let me quit orchestra and join the school’s choir. Mind you, I did NOT have a great singing voice. (Theirs was the FUN crowd!)

Ironic, but these days, I’m married to The Music Man. While he no longer plays professionally, DH adores tinkering. His results seem effortless.

Sooner or later it had to happen. A few weeks ago I ventured to DH’s sanctum. Assuming a seat at the keyboard, I glared at the keyboard.

Nothing.
Squiggles and symbols on sheet music bear no more resemblance than say, the Russian alphabet.

I like to think my memory’s keen, but this????
Somewhere along the way a large chunk of my brain cells simply EVAPORATED.

Chagrined? Yes.
Regrets? I’m still trying to sort it out.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to live out my days as the designed applause-maker.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gratitude Opens Every Door

(Excerpted from Aish.com)


The following story really struck a chord when I read it! You see, DH and I experienced the same thing last fall at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport!

Maybe it was one of those “you had to be there” moments; but I still appreciate Sara Rigler’s telling:

* * * * *

One of the most moving scenes I ever witnessed took place at Gate B2 of the Baltimore airport.

I had set down my carry-on and taken out my prayer book, when I suddenly heard a sound I had never before heard in any airport: applause.

Are people greeting a rock star?, I wondered. 
A couple of minutes later another wave of applause picked me up and carried me to Gate B2 where a crowd of about 30 people was gathered. Lined up against the wall were 5 uniformed sailors and sundry civilians, including a TSA official.

I weaved my way through to glimpse the object of all this adulation. At the entrance to the jet-way I spotted him: an old man in a wheelchair.

The follow pushing the wheelchair stopped to let the old man absorb his rousing welcome. The man smiled and weakly lifted his right hand to acknowledge the crowd. As the wheelchair slowly moved past the receiving line, the sailors saluted, others nodded, and the TSA official stepped forward, shook the old man’s hand and said in a heartfelt voice, “Thank you for your service.”

A quiet lull ensued, and then another round of applause for the next deplaning passenger – another old man, standing wobbly on his own legs, leaning on a cane. He paused, looked up in surprise at his hero’s welcome, as if not quite understanding all the hullabaloo, then continued his limping gait.  He stopped only when the TSA official stepped forward, grasped his hand and said, “Thank you for your service.”

What’s going on here””, I asked the young woman beside me.

“They’re WWII veterans; they’ve come to see their monument in Washington DC.”

When the last wheelchair rolled off, I approached the official:
“I want you to know that I was very moved at how you thanked each and every veteran.” I told him.   “We all clapped, but you were the only one who put the gratitude into words. And words are very important.”

“Well,” he said humbly, “I myself served, so I know what they’ve been through.”
Unexpressed gratitude is like a gift purchased and wrapped, but never given.

Gratitude opens every door!


Happy Spiritual Sunday ...
and Happy Independence Day!

(Please, stay safe out there!)


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Simple Pleasures

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So, mine's neither exciting or novel ... but, my vote for this week's Simple Pleasures has got to be early morning!

There was a time I couldn't (or wouldn't) "get" my parents commentary: “This is the best part of the day.”  
What do you know?   They were right!

In days gone by I've been oblivious and taken much for granted .... but hope to never grow weary of ordinary moments spent watching the day begin!

Here’s a favorite spot, just a few steps outside my office.



What-cha say?

Let’s cue up those little record-players in our heads ….

Remember The Rascals song, “It’s a Beautiful Morning”?

.................Are you feeling it yet?

Raise those arms HIGH above your head,
and let’s do the wave!


When you’re finished, please stop by Dayle’s for more “feel-good” moments!
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thank Heaven

....for little girls.  And little boys!

I'm a little late, but wanted to share some photo memories of Father's Day spent with (2/3-rd's of) our offspring. 

These are the days we remember!


 Sweet Audrey blue eyes!

Mitchell's just groovin' ....on a Sunday afternoon.
   
 No, I don't want to hold it, Estefan .... 
but thanks for the offer!

 
DH donated an old keyboard ....
perhaps Brian will follow in Grandpa's footsteps?
  
 Cousin's garage band!

 Grandpa's ~ and Grandma Myra's happy place!
  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This is Why

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Feeling unable to write is embarrassing .. and habit forming.

Perhaps, my intertia is due to a need to act "correctly"
... and the accompanying fear that I'll sound foolish.
Or worse, chronically negative.

If you can't say anything nice ....


So then, why I do I blog?



Several years ago I discovered one of my favorite authors maintained a blog of her own.  Before I knew it, I'd devoured the whole of her down-to-earth, often humorous reflections.

Her website invites feedback, and though I've never been given to "fan mail" I posed a question and hit "send."   Her thoughtful reply, only a few hours later, expressed surprise that I'd read her entire blog.  "Wow, Myra.  That must feel like reading my autobiography ... which, I suppose in a way it is."

Have you seen that popular slide show set to Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "final goodbye"?    One phrase just "popped" --
Nobody will remember you if you keep your thoughts secret.  Force yourself to express them."

I suppose, that is why I blog.  The good, bad. and occasionally. the ugly.  

What do you say, let's encourage one another to share what they feel.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

You say it best, when you say nothing at all???

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Steve Goodier asks, "Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to find the 'right' words?"

There are "Hallmark" individuals whose eloquence seems effortless. 
And then, there's me.
 I struggle.

Without benefit of facial expressions or body language, we're left to supplement our words with smiley faces, hearts and italics.    Allison Krause's lovely lyrics just don't cut it.  "When you say nothing at all" might just be interpreted, "No-one cares."

Wait a minute!... I don't mean this to sound so serious!

I saved one of Goodier's recent articles (lifesupport.com) because it made me laugh out loud ... and helped me realize, there are lots of us in the same boat!   Here is an excerpt:


There are times I am certain the right words don't exist.
What's important, we try. 


It was once said that Al Smith, former governor of New York, was making his first inspection of Sing Sing prison.  The warden asked him if he might say a few words to the prisoners.

The governor began, "My fellow citizens."
But he suddenly felt confused about whether the inmates may have forfeited their citizenship.

So he took a second stab at it.  "My fellow convicts." 
There was a roar of laughter and now he became flustered.   He gallantly tried a third time: 

"Well, anyhow, I'm glad to see so many of you here."

There is no record of what he said after that.


As Goodier says, we try.  And in the end, isn't that what really matters?
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Power of Ten

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I had to smile when my boss shared her friend's story last week, and thought you might like it, too.  

Out of the mouth's of babes!


Years ago, when tucking her youngest son into bed, he looked up to say, "I love you, Momma."

"I love you, too, sweetie."

Then, "What's that, Momma?"

"What?"

"2?"

"No, no!  I mean "TOO" ... as in, 'I love you, also."

Uncomprehending, the boy was obviously miffed.  Turning away, he muttered,
"Well, I love you 10."

Ah!, She saw where this was going.   She asked, "10?".

His response ...
"That's as high as I can count. momma."


That little boy is now an adult, but his close-knit family is still overheard telling one another, "I love you 10."
..

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Still, Learning to Pray

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So, tonight I'm thinking of that line from so many fictional dramas, where the presiding Judge declares, "The jury will disregard ....".   That always cracks me up! Can anyone really UN-hear something?  And would we want to?

A while back, I was half-listening to a radio host dissing a group of religious fundamentalists who planned to gather at a filling station to pray for lower gasoline prices. He opined, "Oh, come on! God is too busy with meetings and stuff to deal with the price of gas."

I probably uttered a little "huh?" and shook my head ... moved to my mind's "spam" box.

Or, so I thought.
Towards the end of April, I "came down" with a loathsome cold/flu bug, whose after-effects seemed to linger.   Most of May I spent just going through the motions. Not actually "sick"=sick, but feeling as if someone had let the air out of my balloon.   Know what I mean?  Sleep appeared impossible.

I recall closing my eyes each night and saying, "Please, God. Just let me sleep throughout the night."

Then. "I'm sorry! You've more important things going on."

I mean, all we have to do is turn on our TV or radio ... or Blogland. It's truly frightening out there. And here, I'm asking for Divine help to stop coughing.   Geesh.

I love what Rabbi Packouz says about prayer in his Shabbat Shalom "fax of life."

Many people mistakenly feel that they should only pray for big things. Not so. Prayer is about creating a relationship; it's about understanding and appreciating the Source of all blessing. God is the loving parent who wants only good for us.


Prayer not only helps create the relationship with the Almighty, it keeps the relationship strong. Imagine the difficulties of asking your father or mother for help after not speaking with them for years? God will listen to us when we call out to Him. It is just easier to ask Him if you keep your relationship current.


A prayer has three components: 1) Praise of God. (He doesn't need our praises; it focuses us on Who we are talking to. 2) Requests. 3) Thanks. It is the height of good manners to show appreciation!


Man proposes and God disposes. 

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderfully blessed evening ...  thank you Charlotte and Ginger for this "House Built on Love"!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Simple Pleasures -- Recess!

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So, what’s a gal to do … when that ugly Stress Virus threatens and nerves become frayed?

Gently suggest  ~ in the nicest way I know how! ~ the team puts aside those pesky BEO's and ADR's ... and step out back to the Tot Lot!  

Even our GM got in the act!
Hi-ho Silver!
Monkey see?  Myra does!

Sometimes we need to just let go of our problems and remember what it was like to be kids!

Happy people are healthier than crabby ones – and we’re a lot more fun to be around!

For more Simple Pleasures, why not treat your heart ... right here!

Forever Young

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Wow, it's hard to believe Marilyn Monroe would've been 85 years YOUNG today!


My coworker sent me this quote -- purportedly written by MM .... who'd have guessed?!    I certainly liked it ~ and hope you do, as well!

"I believe that everything happens for a reason.
People change so that you can learn to let go,
Things go wrong so that you
appreciate them when they're right,
You believe lies so you
eventually learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes,
good things fall apart so better things can fall together."

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a friend!

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While I've always loved "What a Friend we Have in Jesus", I never stopped to consider the back-story.   Sobering, wouldn't you agree?

* * *

What a Friend We Have in Jesus” emerged from a life assaulted by and associated with much grief and pain and loss which make the words of this familiar hymn all the more genuine and authoritative.

Its author, Joseph Scriven, born in 1819 of prosperous parents in Dublin, Ireland, had graduated from college, and began his life untroubled facing a promising future. Then, the night before his marriage, his bride was found in a pool of water where she had accidentally drowned. He never recovered from the loss.

He emigrated to Canada and became associated with the Plymouth Brethren. He freely gave of his possessions, even his own clothes. His life focused on the poor with whom he was close in times of trouble and sickness. He repaired their homes and chopped their wood. He performed menial tasks for the handicapped, the sick, and the poor.

He never had a home of his own, moving from place to place. He again fell in love, but his second fiancée contracted pneumonia and died.

In 1857 he learned that his mother was seriously ill. Due to his poverty, he was unable to travel to her and bring comfort. He wrote her a letter and enclosed a poem.

Some years later, he himself was seriously ill and a visiting friend happened to see a copy of the poem he wrote his mother.

During his illness in October, 1886, he left his house and was found dead the next morning, drowned in a nearby lake in what was a strange parallel to the death of his sweetheart forty years earlier.

The poem he had sent his mother is the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” While not particularly literary, there are few hymns that prove to be as great a source of solace and comfort to those distressed and burdened!

--Pastor Ray William Stubbe

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daydreams n' Old Things

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Thank you, Dayle, for hosting, Simple Pleasures ... what a mid-week "lift"! 

Having spent the last few days trying to out-wit a stubborn head cold,  I've rediscovered crazy pleasure -- simply by recalling a childhood ritual. 

* * *

In momma's household, there was no room for argument!

At the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat, out came the ceremonial application of Vicks VapoRub.   Liberally coated from chest to throat, my neck was swaddled in an ancient strip of flannel, then securely pinned.
Salt-water gargle,  a vaporizer and extra steamer blanket might accompany the ritual.


On special occasions, I was permitted to come downstairs to watch TV… to loll(!) on the living room sofa ~ which boasted not one, but two (top and bottom!) freshly ironed sheets.

Warmed “honey milk” and tapioca pudding.  Why, being sick was almost pleasurable!  

Who has time for that sort of thing nowdays?  
All grown up now, I'd laugh off any suggestion to re-enact.

Just the same, I like what Flavia has written:  "Remembering is a journey our heart takes into a time that was ... and our thoughts are the only tickets needed to ride."

Yes, Vicks still has a place in my medicine cabinet … and in my heart.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

They say there's a tree in the forest ....

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Did you know .... there is such a thing as an Easter tree?!   


Around 1945, when he was just a young boy, Volker Kraft saw his very first Easter Tree (Eierbaum, Osterbaum or Ostereirbaum, in German), and decided he would have one of his very own, when he grew up. Time passed and young Volker became a married man, with a family. But his childhood dream stuck with him and he decorated his first Easter Tree, in 1965. He used 18 colored plastic eggs.

But the tree was growing fast and he and his wife, Christa couldn't afford to waste so many Easter eggs. So they began drilling holes into the eggs, using the contents in the kitchen, and the painted shells as decorations. When their children grew up, they started helping with the decorating,and the Easter Tree became a family tradition, known not only in their home town of Saalfeld, but all of Germany.


After their kids moved out of the house, it seemed the Easter Tree would finally catch a break, but grandsons arrived and the Krafts went back to decorating their giant tree. The number of Easter eggs hung on the tree branches grew every year,and in 2010 it reached an incredible 9,500 eggs!


Thank you to gal-pal Doris, for sharing this delightful bit of whimsy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beholden!


Like my parents and grandparents before, I've a convoluted sense of pride; of independence if you will ... that's prone to backfire on more than one occasion.    

You see, I'm practically allergic to ask for help.  More comfortable in the role of giver, I'm not keen on feeling obligated.   Isn't that silly?

This week, we are focused on Jesus' having paid for our sins.   To receive ~ with grace ~ that which God has done for us ... I'm happy to be beholden!

I hope you enjoy the following parable.  Miles apart, I'm reminded we not only feed ~ but are fed ~ by one another's caring and concern.   Again, I'm happy to be beholden! 

* * *
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said,
Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.'

The Lord led the holy man to two doors.  He opened one of the doors:

In the middle of the room there was a large round table.  In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly.  They appeared to be famished.  They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms.  Each found it possible to reach into the pot and take a spoonful.  However, because the handle was longer than their arms they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The Lord said, 'You have seen Hell.'

They went to the next room and opened the door.  It was exactly the same as the first one:  There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water.
The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The holy man said, 'I don't understand!'

'It is simple', said the Lord.  'It requires but one skill.  You see, they have learned to feed each other.'

  Wishing you all a most blessed and JOYful Easter!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Panda Therapy!
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What’s that old saying, “If you want to hear God chuckle, tell him your future plans.”
If that’s true, I’ve provided the Almighty plenty of comic relief these last couple of weeks!

It’s been a Spring Fever circus both at work and home!
Just last night DH made the observation, “You’re singing commercials again.”

All the same, I’m bent on keeping my big toe in the game!
Some mind(less) musings ...

…After two years’ rationalizing (and lots of whining), I’m the proud new momma of a “grown-up” phone. No, I don’t need all the bells and whistles … truth be told, I probably just wanted to look cool. LOL!
But!!!  After 10 days, it’s anyone’s guess which of us is the Alpha. No, I’m definitely NOT smarter than a 5th grader!

…Methinks we’ve all been guilty of making unfounded generalizations about others at one time or another?
What a pleasant surprise to learn the Suit from Park Avenue (yes, that Park Avenue) was just as nice and down-to-earth as home-made dirt! (Well, maybe not the “dirt” part.)
And, no matter my role, anyone who takes a moment to stop and shake my hand … making honest-to-goodness eye contact, has me at “hello.”

…Am I the only one who feels rebuffed if I yield to another vehicle (or pedestrian) and they don’t nod …or smile ….or even make one of those little finger-waves in return. Ya, I’ve got to quit taking things so personally.

…and finally, I wanted to share a quote from my granddaughter’s FB page.  Don't-cha love it?
"Never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting." -Peter Pan

TTFN dear ones!
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