Friday, January 11, 2019

Navigating the DMV

In California if you are over 70 you have to take a written test to renew your driver’s license every 5 years. So off I went yesterday to take the test. I passed. License renewed. No problem. There were some things I noticed, however, that make me ponder. 

Yes, I had to take the test and I also had to fill out an application to take the test! oops. First I clicked on the wrong side of the screen so that took a while to adjust and get me started on actually filling out the form. Most of the questions are standard: name, age, height, weight.  

But let’s think about these for a moment: hair color ~ I have now gone from black to grey so no problem. They do have a place to check “other” and I guess that’s where my daughters and lots of young people would check and fill in neon green, purple, or electric pink. I’m not sure hair color is a solid identifier these days. 

Eye color: my color is there ~ hazel. Hmmm - what color is hazel? As far as I know eye color is the only place we use the word hazel for a color. I think I will paint the wall hazel. Nope. Doesn’t work. Other than eye color, I can only think of two other places the word is used: hazel nut and Hazel, a maid from an ancient cartoon and tv show. I have nice eyes. Evidently if the light is bright and my pupils very small, you can see gold around them ~ so nice eyes with an odd or unique color. 

Of course then I think of my college friend with the classic Irish look: red hair, pale skin and beautiful green eyes. Wow, she had amazing green eyes ~ and then I discovered she wore colored contacts. 

And finally there was the interesting question: have you ever applied for a license under a different name? Well, yes, when I was 16, 60 years ago! And that’s what they meant and wanted. Made me glad I hadn’t changed my name when I got married a second time. 

All in all it took me a lot longer to navigate the application than the test. In five years, I think I will fill out the application on line before I go. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve Feast

For the first time at my own dinner table, Crab! 
Can you tell that beside the plate of crab is a set of crackers and little tiny forks?
Those were our Christmas present from Meredith and David and because of them, 
we had crab at home for the first time for either one of us.
We bought two of them at Costco and only ate one tonight, cold with cocktail
sauce. So - tomorrow night we will have the other hot with butter and lemon dip.
Oh yum!! And at Costco, not that expensive or extravagant. 
The perfect New Year's Eve celebrate meal.
Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve Happiness

This morning has brought tears of joy, smiles and much pleasure to The Mama Susan.
It started with a delightful video that I can't quite figure out how to post here of our youngest grands singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". The 5 year old sang the whole song on key in her beautiful soprano voice. The almost 3 year old made it through a measure or two and then was much more interested in what mom was doing with the camera. I was so proud of his sister who just kept singing and was not at all bothered by his defection. 

Next came this gorgeous sunset from last night with two more gorgeous grands sending greetings.

This morning a McKay family tradition continued as Emily helped her mom make her Grandma Nancy's chocolate cake. I love the concentration ~ 

~ which is definitely helped with the proper placement of the tongue. 

And finally came pictures of the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia which Meredith pointed out is our time's version of the market The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge (in George C. Scott's Christmas Carol).

We love that movie, the best rendition of Dickens' that I have ever seen, and so this makes me very happy as well. 

It may be a rainy, grey Monday and it is Christmas Eve and there is Joy and Hope and Gratitude for all manner of things. Blessed be ~ 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

On this final Sunday of Advent, I offer you a poem that I have quoted here before.
By Madeleine L'Engle, it remains appropriate, year after year.

God did not wait till the world was ready,
Till . . . nations were at peace.
God came when the Heavens were unsteady
and prisoners cried out for release.

God did not wait for the perfect time.
God came when the need was deep and great.
God dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

God did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
God came, 
and God's Light would not go out.

God came to a world which did not mesh
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot what till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Friday, December 21, 2018

It's a Huge Learning Curve!

Dean and I decided to list our two guest rooms on AirBnB. Of course we finalized it during high season in Tahoe. He listed them last Friday night and 48 hours later we were booked solid through the 5th of January. Phew.

Now hosting is not a problem for me. Most of you know me ~ I know how to spread hospitality, arrange rooms, offer amenities and in general make folks feel at home. Hosting is not the issue.

The issue is learning to navigate the AirBnB website and when and how to answer requests and deciding on when it is ok to ignore your own rules and when it is better to stay with the plan.

Of course when we posted, we were not Quite ready for guests and so the days between Friday's posting and yesterday afternoon's arrival of the first guests were a flurry of activity. Dean and I both worked through list after list. Housekeeping came and cast a professional eye over the space and went to work deep cleaning ~ one woman cleaned corners I didn't know I had!! A very handy man came to attach door locks and touch up paint and even repair some dry wall that had been neglected for ages. Housekeeping came again for one last check up.

We were ready though - and when our first guests arrived at the door about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, we were glad to see them and welcome them to our home. So far so good. There were still some website issues today and mostly routine has set in: people in, people out, people in and people ~ well, you get the idea.

Once this routine gets really set, we are going to have fun, meet a lot of delightful people, and enjoy the guests who come through our door.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Do I Want This Responsibility?

We decided a while back to list our guest rooms with AirBnB and we finally got around to it this week. It is high season in Tahoe and we were booked solid within the first 48 hours of the listings. Phew ~ busy time. So I wrote to my best friend since childhood to tell her of all the busy-ness we have been doing and she replied:

Wow, you're an Innkeeper at Christmas. If a pregnant couple shows up, be sure to let them in.

I hadn't thought of it exactly like that and she is right. We have no stable, but by golly, I will find a place even if it is an air mattress on the den floor.

May we always find room ~

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Third Sunday of Advent

This year I have been thinking a lot about Light in the darkness. The church I attended in Virginia is having people write Advent meditations based on finding God's light in the darkness that pervades our lives. Those stories have been wonderful and inspiring. And it has occurred to me that our darkness is not always tragedy or trauma. 

Sometimes it is just being overwhelmed by something as simple as a dinner party or Christmas event or realizing your whole family is coming for the holidays. "What have I gotten myself into??"

We can feel the darkness closing in. And then we get up, put one foot in front of the other, do one task at a time and slowly the stress is relieved, the burden lightened, The List shortened. So ordinary that we don't even see God's hand in the process. 

Remember though when many Biblical folks met Jesus: going about their ordinary lives. The woman getting water from the well; Martha cooking and busy in the kitchen; Peter fishing; Zaccheaus collecting taxes. All these folks were going about their daily lives and Jesus was there to bring light and life to those mundane chores, raising spirits and pointing the way to Hope. That is the way God moves in our lives, always with Light and Love and Hope even if we don't recognize it. May we be blessed with the ability to recognize the Light of the Spirit even in our most ordinary darkness.