Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Theme is Imperfection

This time of year, I find photos in magazines of the "perfect Christmas tree". They are themed and beautiful and perfect. I am a person who LOVES a theme, but somehow this has never worked out on our Christmas tree. As much as part of me would love the color coordination and symmetry, I can't bring myself to create one that looks that way.
As I open the drawers where I store our ornaments, I find ones that we purchased in our travels: Hawaii, Alaska, Banff, the East Coast, Brianhead, Mexico and more. I find the homemade ones from my children where they used too much glue or wrote in an unsteady six year old hand. I find the ones with photos of my kids and grandkids that captured a moment in time never to be relived. I find the most hideous and rudimentary craft ability ones that I can't bear to toss as they were made by my sweet aunt and godmother, long dead. And they each have a spot on the tree.
My life is not perfect. Our tree is not perfect, but it is OUR tree. It speaks to who we are as a family. It remind us of fun moments we shared. It reminds us that love and people matter. It reminds us that who we are today, is partially because of where we went, who we met, and what we experienced together.
Actually, now that I think about it, it is perfect!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Long Time...No Blog

I borrowed the title of this blog from my BFF who also said it had been a long time since she blogged. Months without blogging...nothing to say or so much life, no time to say it?!
 Lots of things going on, mostly good, but, dang, life is messy too! Thank goodness it was October and the month my best friend and I take a trip. This year was a BIG one as we went all the way to the east coast for my 40th half marathon. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton and enjoyed being pampered by the hotel staff. How do they remember our names?! Kind of creepy along with classy!!
 I took this photo right before I started ,my half marathon. It was a unusually cold morning for Florida. And, while I froze waiting in the wind, I was thankful for the temperature about a half mile into the race.
 The last two tenths of the race was on the sand. It was a brutal ending, but also very memorable. My BFF was waiting at the finish line and I can't tell you how much that meant to me. I usually am solo at my races, which is fine, but when you have somebody there for you, it is the exclamation point on the 13.1 miles.
 We shopped the darling town of Amelia Island and also enjoyed some much needed down time relaxing on the beach by our hotel. Perfect weather every day, not too hot and not too cold.
 At the airport in Jacksonville, FL, they have a huge group of rocking chairs. What a fun idea for weary travelers!
We even rented a car and drove two hours to Savannah, GA and explored the city. Lunch was in a beautiful spot right on the river. We both noticed how very friendly EVERYONE was. There must be something to the "southern hospitality" people talk about as we definitely experienced it.
We spent five days laughing and talking and exploring and eating and shopping. I've said it before and I'll say it again ~ we travel well together! Lucky us!!
We are already talking about where we will go in 2017!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Shi**y Blog

This is MY neighborhood. This is OUR neighborhood.
Yes, these are photos of dog poop!
I walk my dog two or three times a day, every day! I live in an upscale neighborhood with houses that cost a fair amount of money. I don't say this to brag, I say it to let you know how appalled I am that people do not pick up their dog's poop when they are walking them. I simply cannot understand what kind of person does this ~ thoughtless? dirty? selfish? Maybe they are perfectly lovely people in every other aspect of their life except this. Hmmm, I somehow doubt this! When my grandkids go along on the walks, I always point out the poop. I tell them that the definition of being a good citizen is doing the right thing...even when no one is looking!
This is MY neighborhood. This is OUR neighborhood.
I have a small dog which means her poops are small. I still pick them up on every walk! I buy these great bags at the dollar store (see photo). They are actually in the baby section and are scented with powder! All this for $1 and you get 75 of them!! What a deal! You don't even have to purchase poop bags. You can recycle the plastic bags you get from the grocery store and use them. For a while, someone was actually bagging up their dog's poop and then leaving it on the sidewalk, IN THE BAG!! This means they bent down, scooped it up but didn't take it with them. I know it was the same person because it was always the same blue bags. Again I ask, who does this??
This is MY neighborhood. This is OUR neighborhood.
One house I walk by just redid their landscape down the side. I am sure he spent a lot of money to have it done. It is now, riddled with dog poop throughout the bark!! I will keep asking, who does this??
Yes, there are bigger problems in the world today than dog poop riddled streets and yet maybe this speaks to an ever growing attitude of, "It's not my problem." "Let somebody else take care of things." "If I don't get caught, it doesn't count." "Who cares?" The definition of conscience is:
 "an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior"
Have we stopped listening to that inner feeling or voice? Right and wrong still exist and they make the world a more livable, civilized place. I don't always do right, none of us do, but I'd like to believe that I do what's right way more often than what's wrong. If you do right more often than wrong, it becomes your "go to", default behavior. That's how it's supposed to be. That is a good citizen.
I will keep picking up my dog's poop. I hope you will do the same.
This is MY neighborhood. This is OUR neighborhood.
Respect it!

Monday, August 22, 2016

What a Week!

 Looking back at last week, all I have to say is "Whew!" I think we are jamming the last few days before school starts with as many adventures as we can. Monday, I took the trio to San Juan Capistrano via the Amtrak. It only takes 30 minutes, but what a fun ride.
 After lunch at Ruby's, we went to the petting zoo and I could barely get them out of there after almost 2 hours! They were calm and relaxed. There were no electronics in sight. They were full of smiles and sweetness. It made my heart happy.
 Love, love, love this photo of all four of us by the train tracks before we departed for home. A good time had by all.
 Thursday, after Jack had a birthday party (no photos available ~ I guess keeping up with 15 ten year old boys kept us too busy!), the girls and I went to see Broadway in the Park's production of Beauty and the Beast. What amazing talent and singing voices the actors had. They were enthralled throughout the entire play. They are growing up and can appreciate things like this.
 Friday, Maddy had girlfriends over for an end of summer pool party. As you can see, they were a lively bunch of cuties. These girls will probably remain friends throughout middle and high school. Hosting them and seeing them all laughing together was as much fun for me as it was for them.
Jack has been asking and asking  to run a 5K race with me. We finished out the weekend with the Tiki Beach 5K in Huntington Beach. He shot out right from the start and left me in the dust! I kept plodding along and, eventually, at about the 2.5 mile mark, I caught up to him. We finished the race side by side and I felt nothing but pride for him. Yes, he is an athlete, but running, any distance, is a challenge. He admitted to me later that it was harder than he thought it was going to be. Then he asked me when we can do another one!!
Looking back over the week, it may seem pretty bland to some. I didn't get on an airplane. I didn't go on a cruise. In fact, I never left Orange County. The common thread in all the adventures is that I spent each and every one of them with my grandchildren. We laughed a lot together. We made a lot of memories together. I won't forget these adventures and I hope they won't either.
They make my life so very full and my heart so very happy.

Monday, August 15, 2016

What a Ride!

Our wedding photos are fading, but our love is not. OK, that was so corny, I think I threw up a little in my mouth! Look, I have very realistic thoughts about marriage, especially after being married for 41 years! Some years are great and some years are not. Sometimes you are soul mates and sometimes it feels like cell mates. We make each other smile and we make each other growl. Being married is hard work and I think people forget that fact. "I don't want to do this any more." "It's not fun any more." You hear this all the time. Heck, we've said this from time to time in the past 41 years! And, yet, here we are, still riding side by side in the car together, sometimes in stony silence and sometimes laughing the whole way. That I talked him into recreating this wedding photo just shows what a good man he is.
Mark, on our anniversary, I want you to know how much I have enjoyed annoying you all this time and how excited I am to keep doing it in the future!
Yea, that's love!!!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Camp Grammie

 Welcome to Camp Grammie!
During the summer we invite kids to come and spend a few hours with us having fun in the pool with games and races followed by lunch. I caught this photo of Maddy and thought it was pretty amazing...or maybe SHE is just amazing. Look out, junior high! Here she comes!
 We had nine kiddos this time and they were all SO GOOD!! Listening to them laugh in the pool just makes me smile.
 Of course, we had to have a few silly contests. These crazy kids are total daredevils and I sometimes cringe at what they do.
 Abbey just turns the diving board into her gymnastics platform and away she goes!
 Any good contest needs judges, complete with scoring to hold up after each contestant. They took turns doing tricks and then being a judge. Such great kids and so kind to each other. I made sure the lowest score was only a "6", so nobody got their feelings hurt. Most scored them an 8 - 10. Once Jack said, "That was such an amazing trick, I wish I had a higher number than the "10"!!!"
 Lunch was mini pizzas (rave reviews), watermelon, pretzels and fruit snacks, followed by brownies and ice cream for dessert. Nobody leaves Grammie's house hungry!!!
A big hit of the day was the many games we played with about 175 ping pong balls. We had team games and individual games. I even managed to get them to do some math by writing numbers on each ball and they had to add up what they collected to see who had the highest score. This photo is titled, "Having a ball at Camp Grammie!"
What they all don't realize is that I have as much fun as they do at Camp Grammie. Thanks to al the parents that entrust me with their kids for a few hours.
Some days are simply meant for playing!


Friday, July 8, 2016

Sad Truth/My Truth

I grew up in a world where we were taught respect for our elders. I met some adults who, clearly, didn’t seem to deserve my respect, but I was still taught to give it, if only in my silence. I grew up in a world where teachers were respected. If I brought a note home from the teacher, my parents first words were, “What did you do?!” Now, the first thing parents say is, “What did that teacher do?” I grew up in a world where police officers were respected. They were heroes, just like firemen. If we saw one in the coffee shop, we stopped and said hello. They seemed so big and brave and we respected them and the badge they wore. Today, we spew hate behind the safety of our computer screens. We judge the actions of police officers in a few stories that go viral. We read the headline only and write the whole story from there. Using our cell phones and computers we easily edit any situation to make it seem the way we want it to be seen.
Today, every group, every race, every faction, asks for our respect. Usually, it is demanded. Often, neither side wants to be the first one to grant that respect. It’s a “I’ll like you if you like me.” mentality. Our political correctness has reached such absurd levels, that, in trying to be so fair, so unbiased, so equal, we have actually isolated some groups for the sake of others. Where is the correctness of that? I am a white (not black) heterosexual (not gay) woman (not man) who works (not on welfare), lives in a home I pay for (not homeless). I am poorer than some and richer than others. All this makes me, what? An oddball? I don’t fall into any of the “hot topic” stereotypes. I am asked to accept, even embrace, every single person and all their differences, or risk being called racist, homophobe, heartless, godless and more.
Stop telling me I have to accept you. Act in a way that deserves that I accept you. Stop telling me I have to listen to your words. Act in a way that your actions make me want to hear more of your words. Stop telling me that life is not fair and you are oppressed. Act in a way that makes your life and the lives of others better and, therefore, less oppressed. Stop telling me you have to fight, protest and spew more hate to get your agenda heard. Act in a way that your attitude, passion and goodness make me want to be around you.
We have lost our people-ness. We have lost our people. We have lost…