Saturday, January 29, 2011

Three Short Stories

1) Boy about 10 and his mom are in the line behind us to get yogurt. When they have theirs, mom says, let's sit over there so we can talk and they go to a corner table where she is able to shelter him from the prying eyes and ears of the rest of us. And he talks to his mom. Seriously and quietly and she listens.

2) Family in same yogurt shop: mom, older sister (I presume) and 11 or 12 year old boy. They get up to leave. Sister has one of those flat footed walking casts/boots on one leg and she is moving slowly and unevenly and she is holding the boy's hand. He holds on without any show of embarrassment or problem. He tightens his grip as they go down a curb and across the street.

3) Young man - 13 or 14 - walks out department store door with his arm on his dad's back. He is still a little short to put it all the way across his shoulder. Later as we drive out of the parking lot, he is crossing in front of us, stops, and with a smile and a dramatic gesture motions us to go on. As I grin and wave thank you, he grins and waves back.

Little instances of grace and kindness noticed and recorded by a doting grandmother ~ blessings

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wheeeee ~

Oh wow - fluid in the ears - room rocking like a ship in a storm unless I was lying flat on my back. Scary the first time it happened - had No Idea what was happening. Now that allergy meds are clearing it up and I am steady again the little twirlies are almost fun. Like a ride at the amusement park. And ~ no thank you, I will take my rides at the park itself. Glad that's over.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Year Begins

What a Delightful birthday weekend!

Last night we went to dinner at La Fondu and it is always good to eat like that once in a while. I can't really say "once a year" because there are Thanksgiving and Christmas and a few other splurges. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Every bite: cheese fondu appetizer, meat and veggies fondu entree, and chocolate fondu dessert. Everyone else at the table was "good" and didn't have dessert. I was at my birthday dinner, however, and knew I wanted chocolate fondu for dessert. Delicious, decadent and delightful!!

And now my "new year" begins. This morning's PT gym will be more for working off that dinner than for strengthening my hip. :D

When asked the highlight of last year, I of course responded, surgery. And so I begin this year pain free and moving. Suggestions of various kinds are now met with energy instead of ennui ~ and I have realized that is because it won't hurt to participate in that activity.

If I come upstairs without something, I simply turn around and go back down and get it. So simple when you don't hurt.

I have started being interested in cooking again. Haven't Really cooked in Years - and now I am ready to move without pain into the kitchen and create. Who knows what this year will bring?

I am interested in traveling again. For over a year, the idea of walking through an airport or sitting in a car for a number of hours has almost made me sick to think about. Now I am ready to go. Who knows what, where and whom I will see this year?

Even sitting by our morning fire has become more inviting because I can snuggle into the comfy chair without pain and get up without having to think about it too much. Who knows what books will be read and thoughts thought by the fire this winter?

Recently I have needed to help Dean in the office and instead of moaning when asked, I have said OK with energy, because there is no pain getting up and down the stairs to the office. Who knows, I may become a business woman this year! (HA! ~ just a little humor for your morning)

The year is open and wide ~ the path through it is pain free and lovely ~ and I am ready to go.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Birthday Blog

Tomorrow is the actual day -- and it started on Thursday with a Facebook Happy Birthday early post from a friend. Then a note from another friend that her youngest was born on January 23rd as well. This morning came an email from a friend who is exactly one year younger and they will be toasting me as well as her at dinner tomorrow night. Today a friend is taking me to lunch. Tomorrow night Dean and I are going out to eat with friends and we too will toast across the country to my friend who will be toasting me.

And so - my birthday is growing a bit - a birth weekend maybe. Of course by the time my father was my age, he had a birth month. He was a beloved and active man and so everyone wanted to fete him on and around his birthday. The neighborhood - and a few select neighbors. The Sunday School class - and a few select couples from the class. The law firm partners - and the secretaries - and a few select, been with him longer than most, lawyers - or lawyers at lunch at the Petroleum Club and then with their wives and my dad and step-mother for dinner at the PC or somewhere else. Add up all those folks and it takes at least a month to get them all in. He was a very gracious, unassuming man so he would smile and say thank you and enjoy all the parties.

Hmmmm - maybe it's a good thing for my weight and figure that my birthday has only increased to a weekend. :D

Friday, January 21, 2011

Random thoughts on Birth and Death

This blog as originally thought of has taken a few turns and so you get it all this morning.

When your last parent dies, no matter what our age or circumstance, there is an "orphan-ish" feel about life. I remember when my father died and I rushed to Texas, the gathered family were all my step-family. Wonderful, loving, caring people. Then my husband came. Wonderful, loving, caring man and "related" to me for almost 30 years. It was not until my daughter arrived that I felt less "alone" -- there was something about hurting that much in a house full of "unrelated" people that made me feel Very alone. I realized later it had to do with that orphan feel. There is something for me about blood kin that is very special.

And my blood kin is about to increase as a post on Facebook this morning tells me that a new cousin, three generations down from me, is about to be born. :D

It happens every day - someone dies, someone is born - and when we hear about it, there is a raising of our awareness of hope and grace. A good friend's mother died early this morning. Baby will be born soon - if not already. They have nothing to do with each other except in my head and heart. And yet that feeling is there: life goes on. Tiny, precious souls come to fill the void left by old and ancient wisdom. Baby is born with more cosmic wisdom than I have gained in a lifetime. I have wisdom to share that adds to the collective store.

The circular stream of birth, life, death continues ~ each one in its turn adding to the amazing blessing of being us in the world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Little Things Mean a Lot

I was just about to write this post when I found a friend's blog on really bad customer service. We probably should link our blogs as this one has to do with really good customer service.

I gave daughter a coat for Christmas and it was too big. Early one morning I get her email - they have charged her for the coat she was exchanging. I emailed them immediately explaining and went to PT. When I came back I had another email from her - the money was already back in her account. Shortly there was a note from them explaining the mix up. I wrote and said Thank You for good customer service. (She has her coat and it is wonderful she tells me.)

I am now in the follow-up PT gym program. That means, no appointments, I go as often as I want at whatever time suits me and use the machines when they are free. Monday afternoon the phone rang and it was one of the young women who works at the PT office. If I was coming in on Tuesday they were not opening until 9:15. (She knows I like to come early and insurance will not allow us to use the machines unless the Physical Therapists are there.) Now I am not the only one in the gym program. Maybe they were all there on Monday and she told them and I was the only one she had to call. Maybe she called us all. It really doesn't matter. The fact is - she called me and let me know what time I could come in on Tuesday so I didn't have sit and wait. As it is, today was the first day I could come -- and so she looked up their appointment schedule for this morning so I would know when I could start. I thanked her over and over. And I put down the phone smiling.

Good customer service! It doesn't take much - little acts of kindness and generosity that raise the energy of a whole day. We should all try it. ~ with blessings

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reflections on an 18th Birthday Party

Well, as his Grandpa noted this morning, "he is no longer a boy." When he called to invited us, he said dress was business casual. And so we came ~ actually Grandpa wore an amazing shirt and when I commented on it, he said, "well, this is what the young man requested."

We were met in the yard by a running goddess, whose picture you see below. Dressed in a long maroon gown and glowing like a true hostess. I took pictures quickly before the crowd arrived and so I wouldn't forget like I did on Christmas day.

The Birthday Boy - or young man as it were - and his Mama Susan. Both of us are dressed in our Christmas finery ~ gifts from his aunt and uncle. He was the perfect honoree, mixing equally well with teachers and adult friends as well as with his class mates and peers.
~ the three Grands. I was so proud of the younger two. They moved with grace and ease among the gathering guests. It was not until much later in the evening that there began to be some running and a little bit of noise ~ as if they had held it in just too long and it had to Burst out of them. And even then, the burst was gentle and well handled by their mom.
Please, note that this young man has his arm around his sister. Then note that our older young man has his arm around his Mama Susan. We learn from our role models. :)

The teens came dressed as requested. Young men in suits, vests, even one more tie. Young women came looking like they were in their late 20s instead of late teens. Older adults did as Grandpa and took the dress code seriously. Conversation was divided between teens and adults and Grand saw to it that there was some mixing. I moved from one group of adults to another enjoying whatever conversation came up and especially that in praise of Grand and his parents.

Mom and Dad had catered a lovely dinner: chili, macaroni and cheese (which quickly became chili mac for some of us), two different quiche, crab meat dip, homemade guacamole and humuus, a Huge platter of fresh veggies, chips, other dips and pecan pie. Yum!!! People ate with gusto and there was probably very little left over for the rest of the holiday weekend.

The teens were polite, fun, interesting ~ and I overheard conversation relating to the college decisions of next year and some of that struggle. I know everyone of their moms, including my own daughter, could tell the teenaged stories. No one is perfect. And . . . when you see them like this, and recognize that they are the becoming adults, hear the conversations that matter, listen to a song sung by the young woman who wrote it, hear the medieval drinking song with gusto by Grand and a friend, watch them meet and greet and share with each other the fun of being together, you know there is Great Hope for the world. The "next" generation is almost here.

Eighteen: a time for moving out, making decisions, gathering together, no longer being a "boy". I was thrilled and honored to be invited to a gathering of "those who have meant the most".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whence Comes This Purple?

~ as the sun rose this morning the sky was awash with color. The lake through the trees reflected pink and orange. The mountains were a deep blue. The sky - ah, the sky. First there was a metallic yellow - not deep, almost so colorless as to defy color description and yellow it had to be. Then the traditional sunrise orange. Then Purple. Purple that has just recently begun to appear in the sunrise. Purple that is rich and deep and no longer grey. My computer screen has a back ground that looks sort of like the sunrise I am describing - and yet the purple on the screen is a purple we all recognize. The purple in the sky is different. How did it get there? Why does it start appearing now? What does it signify if anything? Perhaps it is just that - a new and different shade of purple and I rejoice in having seen it, recognized it and be grateful for it. That in itself is miracle enough. One should perhaps not wonder if more is indicated. And yet . . . and yet, if humans for millennium had not wondered if more were indicated, we would not have come so far nor have so much knowledge nor care so deeply about our way in the world.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Irony

Tucson is gearing up to wrap the upcoming funerals in angels' wings so that the grieving families will be protected from the hostility of a church that plans to picket the funeral.

Ironic that the church has the right to assemble freely and speak and proclaim all the ugly thoughts they want and they choose to invade the grief of family and friends of those who have died tragically. However ~ the city of Tucson also has the right to assembly freely and wrap those grieving people in love and light and the power of solidarity.

And so it will be that two groups will come together with totally separate agenda - one dark, one Light - both taking advantage of the Constitution's promise to allow us to assemble. (And yes, my bias shows in my declaring that one group represents the dark and the other Light - that is part of my freedom as well).

This tragedy in Tucson has cut deeply into our national beliefs about what our Constitution really means for each and every one of us. May we ponder with grace and blessings ~

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Ironies of a Republic

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords walks to the congressional podium on the first day of her third term in office to read with her colleagues the Constitution of the United States. Her passage turns out to be the First Amendment, proclaiming the right of free and unfettered assembly.

She returns to hometown Tucson, Arizona to apply that very amendment to her life and the lives of her constituents. She holds a Congress on Your Corner meeting as she has done often in the past. She is shot along with 19 of her constituents some of whom die while she continues to fight for her life.

One of those who died was a nine-year-old girl (born on September 11, 2001) who was becoming interested in the political process and so wanted to attend this meeting on the corner to see her government at work.

Another was a Federal District Court Judge who had gone to the grocery store on Saturday morning and seen his governmental colleague holding a meeting and stopped to say hello. No matter how famous, how important we are, we all have ordinary lives and do ordinary things like go to the grocery on a Saturday morning.

Several others of those killed were in their late 70s and early 80s and it occurs that they may have been there to have their say about the health care bill ~ tell the Congresswoman how they felt and find out her thoughts and how she planned to vote.

A young staff member was killed and all that has been said about him is how wonderful he was, a social worker, a caring, compassionate member of society doing his best to make the world a better place. He thought he might be able to do that by working with a caring and compassionate woman in Congress.

Rep. Giffords, willing to get deeply involved in the muck and mire that can sometimes be politics in this country, was married to a military pilot who had piloted the Space Shuttle, a man who was willing to fight for and explore for the freedoms this country stands for.

Amidst all the partisan politics, ugly rhetoric and infighting taking place in government right now, everyone I heard speak about Rep. Giffords, said she was honest, hardworking, kind, and open. When the soul of the nation is ripped open, we become a small, caring, wiser community. We recognize our similarities and how special we are, each and every one. We come together if only for a few brief moments to declare with one voice that Evil shall not win and Light and Love are the prominent characteristics that define us.

It is ironic that it takes the blood of our citizens to remind us of that. ~ blessings on us all

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

One of my favorite bloggers has reflected on gifts rather than resolutions and that started me thinking. What if, instead of making some sort of resolution to change myself (and probably fail), I thought about what gifts I might bring to the world in this clean, crisp new year?

Compassion: the world needs the gift compassion. Too often we judge when compassion would bring us together in a positive helping way. A little compassion might go a long way to calming the rhetoric and cooling the hostility.

Forgiveness: and we have it within our power to give the gift of forgiveness at this very moment. All we have to do is forgive. It really works that way. Forgiveness is so often personal ~ we forgive ourselves or some wrong done specifically to us. We can however also forgive at a distance ~ forgiving the hostile rhetoric mentioned earlier, or the battles, or the Congressional decisions with which we disagree.

Choice: you have the choice, the moment you wake, to decide how you will approach the day. You can decide to be judgmental, angry, intolerant ~ OR, you can make the choice to be compassionate, forgiving and loving of the world in which you live and move and have your being. The choice is yours. Mine.

May the gifts you bring to the world this year be positive and life-giving ~ and who knows, just maybe you will be giving them to yourself as well. Happy New Year! ~ with blessings