Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bits & Pieces

The last day of May! My time is moving so fast.

Juice-box Soccer
I got to see my 5-year-old grand-daughter play her final soccer game of this season. Such fun! The players on both teams displayed varying degrees of interest, adeptness and aptitude for the game. (Hanging from the frame of the goal net was a favorite activity for the goalies, but they rose to the occasion when the ball came their way. Mostly.) There were two basic rules: every child played and the goal was to have fun. Both teams scored goals, but only the most intently involved families could tell how many and by which child. The final score? You'd have to ask one of them. The coaches were great. They encouraged and helped all the players regardless of team (i.e. "Good job!" and "Psst... you're going the wrong way."). After the game, our team, the coach and assistant coach, and a few parents and 'grand's went to a pizza buffet to celebrate the season. Each player received a tasteful bobble-head trophy. My grand-daughter is looking forward to the next season. Swimming lessons will help bridge the gap.

Time in the Garden
I was at the local botanical garden again yesterday. Some many people, all ages, styles, makes and models united by a love of Nature at her most beautiful. Communed with butterflies in the Conservatory enclosure. Watched a large specimen partake of a sliced banana. A man joined me and said the butterfly was obviously enjoying a snack. I told him I'd been watching awhile... this butterfly was having a three-course lunch. As I walked the path to leave, I recalled someone said " A weed is just a flower in a place you don't want it." Some days I think I'm the flower. Other days, I'm sure I'm the weed.

End of a dream?
Susan Boyle didn't win the contest. But because of the exposure of her talent, the way is now open for new opportunities and experiences. The entertainment establishment was astonished that such beautiful music came from such an ordinary person. (They called her 'dowdy' and 'stocky' and were aghast at her tousled hair. Admit it... if a 'star' had been seen with hair like that, the proceeds from the stampede to salons might have put a small dent in the national debt.) Most of us were not surprised. We know that genius and talent abound everywhere in all kinds of people... just without the notice of the Press.

Living the Commitment
A news story on TV this week was about a couple in Plymouth, England, who will be celebrating their 81st wedding anniversary. They've been married longer than most of us have been alive. Puts to shame the seemingly rampant mindset of today: Marry today - divorce tomorrow. It couldn't have been all kisses and roses; they are human, after all. But they stayed the course. I couldn't. God bless them.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The "S" Factor at work again

I went to a rehab center yesterday to visit a delightful elderly lady. She had just received news that her son had died after a long fight with cancer. This is the second child (both sons) that she has lost. She lost a young grandson last year. She doesn't understand. These events are so out of order. She is the oldest. She is supposed to have gone first. She is grieving again. And asking the un-answerable question: Why?

When leaving the facility, I took a wrong turn and came face-to-face with a young woman who had worked at the same company as I. She had been working part-time while finishing school. I had not seen her since she left her job to start teaching. I've thought of her often, and several times in the past couple of weeks. She still has one of the biggest, sweetest smiles I've ever seen. What a treat.

Today, I drove though a shower of grass clippings thrown from several utility mowers at work in the median. I don't care if it does make me sneeze... I love the smell of freshly-cut grass. Such a good, clean smell. For some reason, it makes me feel so young.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Until I was sixteen, I lived in a town with a population of only 2000 people. My school wasn't one room but my library was. It was half a block off the main street. It's total width was made up of shelves on the left wall, a three-seat-wide sofa, a large one-panel wood and glass entrance door, and shelves on the right. It's depth was less than half a town block from front window to back wall. It was my place of choice in Summer. Reading its books was my favorite activity. The librarian was my guide to people and ideas and adventures beyond those walls. Even today, whenever I think the word 'library,' that room is the first picture in my mind.

My first favorite books had orange covers and were biographies of famous people in history, i.e. George Washington, Patrick Henry, Daniel Boone, Clara Barton, etc. They were stories of heroic deeds with no hint of scandal. They were my heroes. My favorite was Benjamin Franklin. He was so patriotic. And so smart. He invented things. I remember my disappointment in him later on when I found out he was evidently quite fond of women. Human. Feet of clay.

I have to read. It is my main addiction (followed only by potato chips). If no book is available, nothing with writing on it is safe. Cereal boxes, prescription info sheets, the directions for use and care of my sweeper, old greeting cards. The United Laboratories label on the cord of my lamp. Something. Anything.

I never learned a second language. When something I'm reading contains phrases in another language, I'm limited to sounding it out as best as I can. I have become enamored of French. Some words and phrases I've recently come across strike me as almost lyrical. "Festival du fromage." Sounds much more elegant than 'cheese party.' And " Pompage BM," the name of a Canadian company that cleans out septic tanks. Much nicer than a literal translation.

I hope I never need the services of a Pompage BM. Or be one.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Serendipity bits and pieces

I have experienced serendipity so often in my life that I may have become a serendipity junkie. All the bits and pieces that follow have had a serendipity factor to them (which I may or may not explain in future posts).

This month I'm celebrating the 2nd anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. Not the fact that I have cancer, but the fact that I was diagnosed. I finally dragged myself in to have a mammogram that I had been putting off for 5 years and the cancer was discovered. Which allowed me to start treatment. And fully appreciate living each day.

My favorite author is Louis Penny, a Canadian whose writing I discovered just at the time I needed it. She writes intelligent, lyrical mysteries. Her stories are mostly set in the village of Three Pines. I want to live there. Her characters are wonderful. I want to be friends with them. The first in the series is "Still Life." You might also want to check out her blog (LouisePenny on Blogspot). Her last few posts have been hilarious.

Have you ever seen a cloud so unusual that it looked fake? Have you ever seen a diamond-shaped cloud? I have. On the same day. Within minutes of each sighting. I know that these clouds must have been seen by others. But as the odds against any of them verifying my sightings are astronomical, I expect you'll think I may be an egg or two short of a dozen. I don't care. If you'd like to see pictures of other clouds, check out wbangham on Blogspot. He's a professional photographer. Wish he'd been with me.

Have a wonderful day. In italics.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Memories

When I was growing up, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day. My mother would take my grandmother, my uncle and me to the family spot in the country cemetery to weed and leave flowers on the graves of our relatives. Usually other families were there tending to the plots of their kin also. Mom, Grandma and Uncle Glen would reminisce about those that were buried there. The memories were of service in wars and family lore.

The first person of my age that I lost was a sweet boy named Eddie. He loved his horse and would sometimes give me rides. He never teased me or pulled on my pigtails. I always thought Eddie would be an important man when we grew up. He died in Vietnam.

My family moved to a new city right before my Junior year in high school. Jeff, a Senior, was in the school band with me and we would play the piano together before the start of practice and during breaks. I was fascinated with him because he could play Dave Brubeck 'by ear.' He was fascinated with me because I could read Brubeck's music. He was another sweet boy lost in Vietnam.

My Uncle Marvin served in the Army during WWII. I still have a picture of him in uniform with his skis. No smile. And no tales of his duty. Just that he was on ski patrol. He has never spoken of what he and others endured during his service.

My brother served as a Marine in Vietnam. He doesn't discuss it either.

My son was in Desert Storm and again in Iraqi Freedom. He has shared some of his experiences, some dire and some more lighthearted.

I am grateful for the service my kin and others have performed in duty to my country. Thank you