Saturday, April 29, 2017

5 Things

Re-running, I yam. :) 
Here, I was searching for something else entirely and this - largely forgotten - post came up.  (Back in '09, I received this piece - authors unknown - from our company's then-CEO.)

Hope one or more of these snippets touch your heart like they have mine!  

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First Important Lesson – The Cleaning Lady
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:" What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall,dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers,you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older black woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.
A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Third Important Lesson - Always Remember Those Who Serve
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Fourth Important Lesson - The Obstacle in Our Path
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand: Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it CountsMany years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring(-ish) Hodgepodge

Volume 305
Joyce, thank you for these gentle prompts
 ... helping jump-start my writing block!

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"April showers bring May flowers", or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers?

Um, no.  Last week our humidity levels hovered between 7% - 9%.

Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it?

I love umbrellas!  Then again, given all the product I put in my hair, the raindrops would probably bounce right off.

Besides rain, what else has filled your April?

Too many doctors' appointments and worry genes running amok.  Not going there right now. 

What's something you could give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment's notice and with zero preparation?

Oh wow, just the idea of giving a presentation makes my teeth chatter!
'Suppose I could stretch out the preparation of seafood crepes with champagne sauce ..... my only take-away from cooking class.

Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.

On the few occasions when my dad was home for Sunday dinner -- once the roast was ready, he'd give me a little crust of bread smeared with salted marrow.  It's been more than 50 years, but I'll never forget that seemed like the best taste in the history of EVER.

What's a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?

No one song comes to mind, but I've championed the art of "la-la-la'ing" along to more than a few stanzas!

According to one travel website, the most over-rated tourist attractions in America are:  Niagra Falls, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Times Square, Epcot, Seattle Space Needle and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.  How many of these have you seen in person?

I've not visited the Space Needle or Faneuil Hall.

Did you feel like a tourist?  Did you care?

Aside from someone (in Manhattan) cautioning me, "Please don't embarrass me by standing on the street corner and looking up." I never considered being a tourist a bad thing.

Tell us about a place (not on the list) you've visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.

Your signature clothing item?

I've worn heels for so many years, my feet sometimes feel 'off' in sneakers.

What's an experience you've had you think everyone should experience at least once?

Seeing the Grand Canyon up close and in person can't be beat.

Unlike her more exuberant sister ...a few years ago our pragmatic g'daughter cracked me up: "Wow.  I thought we were just going to see a big hole in the ground."

Insert your own random thought here.

Color me excited!
We recently finalized plans to visit son and family in Alabama next month.  Not only does our long layover in Tampa allow for lunch with BF Debbie ... but I'm hoping to meet and break bread with blog pal Rick and his wife!

Have yourselves a beautiful rest of the week, m'friends!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sunday Stealing!

If you could say anything you wanted to say to Donald Trump, what would you say?

"Thank you, Mr. President."   
(That's all.  Those who agree require nothing more.  You don't?  Well, nothing I might say is likely to change your mind.)

If you had to be the mother of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, who would you choose -- and why?

Neither, thank you.  I'm not that familiar with either young lady, so it's not my place to think I could parent any better.

You get to be Queen for a Day.  The kids are all taken care of, and you can spend as much money as you want.  What do you do all day?

Sure, I can imagine lots of indulgent behaviors; but I'm already so blessed.
To tell you the truth, my enjoyment would be diminished if I couldn't share it with those I love, making memories.   Money's no object, you say?  OK!

I'd send a private jet to collect my son and family, two close friends, and all my blog pals (Yes, you too; I see you over there)  to come aboard a private yacht charter around Tampa Bay.  (To be fair, I stole this idea from a former co-worker who did just that to celebrate the occasion of his elopement.)  

Because I've never been one for mindless chit-chat, our vessel would boast cozy settings (both indoors and out on deck) for warm conversation.
... and, of course, a dizzying array of comfort food and drinks.  (Any special requests?)

Is there a song that brings tears to your eyes every time you hear it?  If so, which one.

Without fail, "The Way We Were"

A fairy taps you on the shoulder and tells you that you can either have a perfect face or a perfect body for the rest of your life.  Which do you choose?

I don't believe perfection exists -- on this plane, anyway.  But playing along, I'll say my body, because sickness, disease - even achy muscles - could not exist.

If you could live any place in the world and money was no object, where would you live, and why?

Vail, Colorado - one of  the most beautiful  places I've ever seen.   I adore the changing seasons - particularly Rocky Mountain winters where the snow audibly crunches underfoot.  The only drawback might be (our) having little-to-nothing in common with their privileged residents.  Then again, I'm way past the point of needing camaraderie from my neighbors.

What is your biggest regret in life?

Believing those who said my father would be OK ... and not seizing the opportunity to jump on a plane to Florida following his heart-attack.

If you could go back and visit one person in your life who is now dead, and ask one question, what would that question be and why would you ask it.

Uh-uh, too personal.  May I be excused?
(Well maybe, I'd ask JFK, "Who really pulled the trigger?")

If you had the chance to age forward (like we are now) or aging backwards (think Benjamin Buttons) which would you choose and why?

Definitely backwards.   Sure, I'd miss the benefit of modern medicine ... central air conditioning .... even, especially, the internet.    Generally speaking, I believe folks of my parents' and grandparents' generations behaved more respectably and in a kinder fashion to one another ... to law enforcement and our military.  Sad, what rage exists, even on our roadways.

What will the epitaph on your headstone say?

Some of you may recall what I shared on Facebook:  
I'd ditto what Charlie Mechem is credited as having said:  
"Dear God, Thanks for letting me visit.  I had a wonderful time." 


Yes, thanks for visiting!
If you're so inclined, I'd love to hear how you might answer some of these questions!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

On a lighter note!

Volume 303

Joyce asks ... and we respond.   Easy-peasy!
Won't you click here, and join the fun!

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April is Lawn and Garden Month.  On a scale of 1-10, what's the current state of your lawn and/or garden?  (10 = showpiece, 1 = send in the professionals).   Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

Okay, my first inclination was to answer "2" ... but that's not being fair to Tom.  He has some great ideas to restore the back yard and pool deck.  But(!) I worry about his stamina, particularly in Phoenix's unrelenting heat.
It's a balancing act, wanting to hire a professional service without insulting his ego.

"Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there." (Thomas Fuller)  What does this quote mean to you?

My DIL has an amazing knack for turning bare earth into beauty ... and sharing her passion with our grand-darlings.
(Not so sure they still enjoy it, but that's what came to mind!)

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

Merciful (and Mighty)

If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?

Embarrassing.  More often than not, I'm not even aware (that) I'm gnawing on my cuticles or worrying the sides of my thumbnails raw.  
(Eeeew, right?  Maybe I should take to wearing gloves.)

Do you like the color yellow?  Would I find any in your home or wardrobe?  Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lily, black-eyed Susan ... which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?

I adore yellow!
From this list, I'd have to say tulips ... or sunflowers.
Nevertheless, I delight in dandelions.  Yes, I know they're technically weeds ...  not sure why they got such a bad rep.

I can't wear yellow, but that's no excuse for my not having more of it around our home.  It's such an optimistic color, don't you think?

Flip-flops or bare feet?

Bare feet!  
Personally, I think flip-flops are dangerous.  A while back, while sitting at a red light -  my BF's mother's flip-flop began sliding off her foot.  Fearing the car was rolling she stomped on the brake pedal ... except it was the gas.
Thank goodness, no other vehicle was involved, but she suffered some significant injuries when her car catapulted into a big tree.  

Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations or traditions you'll carry out this month.

!To Be Determined!
(I really want to attend church, so we'll probably skip Sunday's family brunch and arrive just in time for grandson's birthday cake n' ice cream.  Eat dessert first, right?!)

Tom has such great memories surrounding his extended Polish family's Easter observances - blessing of the baskets, etc.  
I'm a little envious!  

Insert your own random thought here.

Any other fans of grilled cheese sandwiches out there?
The other day, Kroger's was demo-ing an amazing twist!

Slice of California white sourdough, brushed on both sides with unsalted butter and layered with --
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Grated Bourbon Bellavitano (cheese)
Roasted Red Pepper
Thin-sliced Salami
Fresh Spinach Leaf
.....Grilled on low heat to a gooey, delicious finish.

No, I didn't buy the ingredients, but I'm definitely going to do so next weekend!   
I wonder what substituting fresh basil for the spinach would taste like. ... too overpowering, maybe?

'Tween now and then, have a wonderful week and take good care!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Clearing the Air?

Hey, I know!  It's not always practical to speak up ... to say what you're really feeling.  
I've always been a sort of milquetoast; never one to stir the water.

It's pretty embarrassing, but I have to admit, there are big chunks of memory missing from my adolescent and teen years ..... not a particularly pleasant time.  Without sounding like a total drama queen - a fair amount of bullying went on.  (Except, back in the 60's, that wasn't a popular colloquialism.)

Imagine my surprise when, not long ago, I received a Facebook friend request from someone I vaguely remember as being one of my tormentors ... a "mean girl."  More curious than anything, I accepted C's request. 

OK, I was probably hoping she'd grown into a Real Hag.  No such luck.  C seems like an attractive, pleasant-enough soul; and in fact, she's commented nicely about remembering good times spent at my house and my "adorable" little dog, Pepper.   Would it be terribly rude to admit, I have NO recollection ... only the taunts, the put-downs.  Part of me just wants to know, "Why?" 

Conversely!  On several occasions I've attempted to hook up with one of my earliest play-mates.  After graduation we all scattered in differing directions.  But a few years ago, I spotted A's name on Facebook and sent a friend request ... a private message ... even a hand-written note to her address of record.  "For the good times."
As you can probably guess, there's been zero response.  I've considered asking our mutual friends, "Do you remember me doing something or saying something hurtful?"  If so, I'd really like the opportunity to apologize.  You know?

I'm guessing most of us recall past, unreconciled hurts we'd like to make right.  Loose ends drive me wonky!

Then again, to what end would any of that serve?

Well.  Rather than fret about folks I'll never have see again, I'm hoping to clear the air a little closer to home.  Because DH isn't entirely on board, I thought I'd use one of my 'lifelines' and 'ask the audience.'  

Tom's son is a really good guy.
Unfortunately, since he married, our interactions have been few and well, strained.   Coming from  a very large, uber-close family, I get that she wanted to buy a home in the immediate area where her parents and most siblings reside.   Because we don't belong to - or espouse - their (seeming) exclusionary religion ... they've never been especially interested in engaging with us.
Seriously awkward, each of the grand's birthdays. My heart hurts, watching DH try time and again to strike up conversation with her dad. 

Obligatory.  I get it.  I appreciate that son and DIL care enough to invite us to their home 3-4 times a year.

Their children are adorable, but really.  When you're 4 (or 5) (or 6), high on cake, tearing around the backyard with a dozen or more of your 'besties'  ... do you really want to sit and make conversation with some old people you don't really know?

Their parents?  They've siblings and buddies of their own drinking wine in the kitchen, manning the BBQ.
No-one's ignoring anyone on purpose ... I get it.  I remember.
Yes, I remember being that young woman who, so preoccupied, had little time for more than a smile at an in-law's elderly mother ... the obligatory guest. 

Grandson has a birthday coming up. 
Without finger-pointing or rancor, I'd like to say something like, "We appreciate your invitation, but." 
... and instead, propose a get-together at a burger joint like we all enjoyed on Christmas eve.  (Our place is out of the question because son dislikes our dogs and well, they live here, you don't.)

Before (hopefully) relocating next year, I'd like to clear the air. 
Or, do you think the risk of hurt feelings is worth it? 

Ma reminds us, today is National Reconciliation Day.
Is there anyone with whom you'd like to reconcile?
Life's so short!

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As always, thanks for listening.  Have a beautiful week!

Hugs from Phoenix,