Gratitude

Early Morning Gratitude Check

  

Tea kettle on the stove.  Check.

Purring cat on the couch.  Check.

Furnace rumbling in the basement.  Check.

Family sleeping upstairs.  Check.

Day on the horizon.  Check.

Gratitude within.  Check and check.

When is your best time of day for a gratitude check?

Photo:  I bought this papier mache sun on a trip to Mexico about twenty years ago.  Mr. or MRS. Sun greets me every morning when I come into this old kitchen to make my first cup of tea.  I’m a Lipton girl all the way.

Giveaway:  Congratulations to Judy, who won the happiness book.  Happy reading!

Gratitude, Hot Flashes, Menopause, Skin

Turtle Thoughts with a Slight Link to Menopause

The other night, I had a dream I was wading through dozens of  enormous turtles.  And so the next day I tried to figure out the dream’s message for this menopausal blogger.

Should I up my efforts to declutter the house so we can fit into a smaller shell in a few years?

Do I need to increase my walking pace?  Wear stronger sunscreen to prevent leathery skin?  Buy some funky placemats in an earth-toned geometric print?  Eat more greens?   Be more patient?  Be less patient?

Should I tuck in my head, think deeper, and write harder?

Or does dreaming of turtles suggest I am behaving much too turtle-like?  Do I need to stop writing with such intensity and abandon my semi-turtle shell life?   More party and less keyboard pounding?

Is the dream urging Cliff and me to put our shells in gear and get going on the world travel we long for.  (The dream was vaguely set on the Galapagos Islands.)

Was the dream’s purpose to teach me, once and for all, that I need to get over the frustration of not being able to solve the world’s mysteries?  I’ve always wondered how it feels to be a turtle, and I will NEVER have the privilege of knowing.  Chill, Barbara.  But I still wonder:  Do lady turtles go through menopause?  Bless their turtle hearts if they do.  Menopause and a shell can’t be a great combination.

OR (and I promise this is the final “or”) does my dream mean, plain, happy, and simple, that I’m lucky, very lucky, to live in a world graced by amazing and intriguing creatures?

And now a hypothetical question for you, my dear human readers:  What would you MOST like to ask  one of the world’s creatures?  Leave a comment by clicking on “Comments ” below.

Photo:  I found this lovely turtle, who is really a tortoise, on Mongabay.com.  I’m pretending she has in-shell access to the Internet  and is a fan of Friend for the Ride.  I’d love to have some readers in the Galapagos!

Change Your Life!  Learn once and for all, the difference between a turtle and a tortoise by watching this SHORT video.

Celebrations, Gratitude, Life, Losing a Parent

Valentine’s Day 1965 Redux

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Ya’ll are sweethearts  to read my blog.

Do you have one?  A Valentine’s Day gone wrong?  I did.  1965.  The Fifth Grade Valentine’s Day Square Dance.  Hampton Elementary School.  Towson, Maryland.

At the practice dance the day before, one of the cool, cute boys asked me to be his partner.  Yes!  I was set for the real shindig.  I was sure of it.   We would dance together again on February 14.

On Valentine’s morning, the boys began inviting girls to be their partners.  (No, we girls didn’t ask the boys in 1965.)  The oh so cute, cool boy asked another girl.  Devastation for this eleven-year-old.

Soon almost everyone was paired up. Poor Barbara.  No one to do-si-do with.

Finally, one of my friends did some negotiating, and Eddie Pissaro asked me to be his dance partner.  Not anywhere near my first choice.  I still remember how lumpy and sweaty his arm felt as we promenaded right and left.

Fast forward 45 years to my dad’s memorial service.

“Barbara, I’m Eddie Pissaro.”

The name shot through me like an arrow from a winged cherub.

“Eddie!  How wonderful to see you!  You knew my father?”

“I live in your old neighborhood now.   When your dad was out raking leaves, I’d stop and chat with him.”

We reminisced a bit about Hampton Elementary School and the kids we knew there.

And now, TA DA!   I would make his day.  (My girls had told me that despite my lack of eye makeup, I looked pretty good in my funeral dress.)

“I haven’t forgotten you were my partner for the Fifth Grade Square Dance.”

“I was?” said Eddie.  “I don’t remember.”

“You don’t?”

 Eddie shook his head.  “No.”

How could he forget?

That week, when I came home to Hillsborough, I did a bit of archival research in my closet.  Note the goofy-looking girl with the glasses in the bright pink velvet  jumper.  Does she look like a dream date?

“Your dad was a good guy,” Eddie said as he left the church that August day.

“Thanks, Eddie.”

I should have added, “You’re a good guy too, and on 2-14-65, you were a REALLY good guy.   What an honor to be your square dance partner.”

P.S.  I circled Eddie.  The boy who passed me over shall go uncircled.

Now tell us your worst Valentine story by clicking on “Comments” below.  Have the years mellowed or enlightened that story at all?


Aging, Celebrations, Gratitude

Ditch the Old Model? A Question to Consider

A few months ago, Cliff said, “I have something for you to consider.”

That line always makes me nervous.  And although the question ended up being a generous one, it did reach deep into the OH NO WHAT SHOULD I DO region of my brain.

“Would you like a new stove?”

Normally, I spring at the chance for something new.   The word “new”  suggests small miracles like more heat or a washing machine that doesn’t dance across the floor.

But a new stove.

Our stove is sixty years old.  It came with the house.  It’s roasted turkeys, sent fudge to a rolling boil, baked birthday cakes, simmered spaghetti sauce, heated hot chocolate and winter wine, and melted Shrinky Dinks  (actually not so many Shrinky Dinks lately but I’m hoping those days will come again).

The stove is down to two burners, one of two ovens, and wouldn’t think of self-cleaning itself.  If you look at the picture, you’ll see  a strip of masking tape on the left.  That’s to remind us not to press those switches because if we do, we might recreate the Christmas Eve Stove Fire of 2004.

But still, the answer to the stove question was NO.  Our stove is the Senior Stateswoman of the Kitchen.  For now, she stays.

And here’s another question.  If I could trade ME in for a newer version, would I?

When I look at the age spots on my face, hear the creak of my feet, or feel the tinges that I suspect are the start of arthritic hands, I am tempted to trade this one in.

But then I remember the birthday parties, the Thanksgivings, the spaghetti suppers, and the Shrinky Dink Festivals this  body has helped engineer.  Good times.  Great times!

For now, I’ll keep this model.  I suspect the day may come when I shout, “Yes!  Send something new.”

But not yet.

What about you?

No matter your age, if you could trade your body for someone else’s, would you?

If you could trade your older body for a younger version of you, would you?

Photo:  Laura’s boyfriend Matt flipping Christmas pancakes 2011.  Thanks, Matt and thanks, Stove!   Photo was taken by Laura for her blog, Taking Back My Twenties.  Matt’s flipping Great Harvest Charlottesville pancakes!