HAPPY EASTER

I have been reading a Lenten study about Jesus’ last week on earth.  At the end it asked the question “What can we learn from Jesus’ last week on earth?”  You knew that somewhere the question ”what  would we do with our last week” was coming; it was kind of a given.  I have a love/hate relationship with this type of question.  I like to ponder deep topics but I also believe that it is silly.  None of us know what we are going to do with any given situation until we are in it. 

For instance, when I had friends who talked about what they would do if they got divorced, I am here to tell you that you don’t do anything you think you might.  Mostly, you hurt.  And one day you put one foot in front of the other and move forward.  A different life begins and you hurt less.  All that TV drama that you see was certainly not what happened in MY life.  I survived.  And later, I thrived.

The “winning the lottery” fantasy is another thing to ponder.  What would I do with a MILLION DOLLARS?  For me, that dream changes from day to day.  What I would do depends on how selfish I am feeling at the moment of my pondering.  It also depends on who in my life is hurting.  I rarely dream of a big house or fancy cars, well maybe fancy cars, but never a big house.  The only consistent thing I have said for years is that I would get on a plane and fly to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.  I would look at the mountains and wait for God to tell me what is next.  Anyone who has ever been to Garmish can understand this desire.  It is the most beautiful place I have ever visited.

So, back to the original question, what would I do if I knew I only had a week left?  I don’t have a clue.  Really, I don’t.  I have not lived a perfect life but I also have freed myself from regret.  I do my best to make amends when I mess up and I do not harbor resentments that need forgiveness.  I have dealt with all that garbage long ago.  I love my family and I am pretty sure they all know it. 

I accept that I am probably not going to write a book that sells 50 copies, let alone a million, and am thrilled for those of you that have that ability.  My friend Pete is working on making that dream come true and I am thrilled for him.  He is a very talented writer.

I know so many people waiting for things to happen, for someday.  I am here to say that someday is here.  If you are waiting to know when the end is near stop waiting.  Call an old friend, forgive someone you need to forgive, let go of the junk, tell someone you love them….whatever is it, the time is now.  It is a cliché that today is all we have but sometimes clichés are right on target.  We will never have enough time, money or love.  I am learning to be satisfied with what I have and know that it is enough. 

Just in case you were wondering what Jesus did on his last days, Saturday He visited with friends (Martha, Mary & Lazarus), Sunday He rode a donkey in the Palm Sunday celebration, Monday He showed His temper and overturned the tables in the temple, Tuesday He taught about His Father, Wednesday He took a day of rest, then Thursday celebrated Passover with His disciples and actually washed their feet(!); and finally was arrested died and was buried Friday.  (Para-phrased from an article written by Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois). 

He was on a mission and knew He was going to die.  Everything He did seemed “normal” for the time in which He lived.  His story is still amazing to me, no matter how many times I read it. 

 HAPPY EASTER!

Advertisements

AGING

I don’t have time to give aging attention.  I don’t like to put a lot of emphasis on something I cannot control.  I have no intention of going the Botox route although I don’t care if you do.  I knew that my body would go through changes as I aged and I expected things to happen.  I knew that I would move slower or even think slower.  I knew that I would probably need more sleep and that my hair would become gray.  I get it.  I accept it as part of life and intend to grow old naturally and gracefully.  And really, after you turn 50 and have your colonoscopy there is really little left to the imagination. 

 But all of a sudden strange moles are popping up all over my body.  And, little tiny red dots are starting to appear.  It isn’t a bump or a rash; it looks like someone touched me with a red ink pen.  What on earth are those things?  Why is it that the hair on my head is getting thinner and overnight a hair can grow two inches on my chin?

 Two weeks ago I had to go to the foot doctor because of my toe nail.  Apparently getting pedicures so your toe nails look beautiful is really a tub full of fungus.  Once you are lucky enough to get one of these fungi it takes a year for your nail to grow back to normal.  Great …

Several friends told me that they get an accumulation of ear wax and go to the doctor to have it removed.   Gross!  But my ears were feeling clogged so I made an appointment with an ENT, I thought that must be the problem.  Turns out my ears are not clogged; they are clear as a whistle.  (YEA! Good for me right?)  They gave me a hearing test and I need hearing aids!  Yes AIDS, in both ears.  You have to be kidding me!  I am only 55, how did that happen so fast?

 John has been telling me that my hearing was a problem but I thought he was just being mean.  He is MUCH older than me as I tell him all the time.  I figure he has been through this so he is just messing with me about things to come.  Turns out, he was right and I hate it when that happens.  His big compassion is that my hair is getting longer so it will cover the hearing aids.  Isn’t THAT a blessing?!  Thank you God, always full of surprises!

 As John and I discussed this, I realized that this has been going on for some time.  When we are at parties or restaurants I have trouble hearing.  Places where there is a lot of commotion going on are the biggest problem.  John always tells me that I have the TV too loud.  I noticed a couple months ago I say “what?” a lot more than I used to.  Last time John and I went dancing he told me I was off beat.  Excuse ME?  I am a good dancer thank you very much.  I am constantly getting missed calls on my cell when the stupid thing never rings.  People also have been telling me I am talking loud but I always talk loud so that, I ignore.  I have never really been a whisperer, you know? 

 So now I am on this new path, coming to terms with needing hearing aids.  I do not want to be vain about it.  I need them; not want them.  There is a big difference.  I could have much worse issues to deal with.  I am not deaf but the doctor says it will continue to get worse.  If I deal with it now I will have a much easier time adjusting as it does get worse.  So they tell me anyway.  I am waiting to see if my insurance company covers any part of it.  We have a $10,000.00 deductible so my only hope is a discount. 

 This isn’t the end of the world, just an ego bump in the road.  If I stay focused on the moles and hair and ugly toe nails, the hearing aid isn’t so bad at all.  I still have my teeth, at least most of them.  I think I can handle it.  If I ask you “what?” a lot, I changed my mind.

MY COUSIN KAREN

My family moved to Florida in 1960 when I was five years old from the Buffalo area.  I don’t remember living up north but I have wonderful memories of visits that were made at various times in my life.

My mom came from a very large family and because of that, we have a ton of relatives, most I have never met.  The relatives I have gotten to know over the years are ones that came to Florida for vacations.  My cousin Karen and her family spent several Easter holidays with us and I looked forward to those visits. Karen was my age and we had a lot in common.  We spent a lot of time sun bathing, giggling and talking about boys.  What else do teenage girls do?!  (I am on the left, Karen on the right, the good old skinny days!)

When we were younger, we used to write letters to keep in touch although Karen reminds me that I always answered too fast.  Letter writing was never her strong point which is funny since she writes great letters.  When Karen and Fred married in September of ’76, I could not imagine not being there for their wedding.  It didn’t matter that there was no time for long chats because of the wedding, I was there and it was a beautiful wedding.  Karen and Fred have been married 34 years.  Amazing isn’t it?   

Our paths crossed during the years for visits here and there.  When we get together, we both talk non-stop sharing our lives and catching up.   The Internet has made it much easier to keep up with each other’s lives, especially e-mail and Facebook.  I know when Karen sends me a Heart she is telling me she loves me and vice versa.  She did write a beautiful letter for my birthday this year, it made me cry in a very good way.  I have a binder that I keep letters and cards that are very dear to me, you can be sure this letter will be placed in the book. 

Isn’t it funny how you can know everything about each other and yet know nothing?  I know Karen loves dogs, especially Cocker Spaniels and Boxers. Karen loves to garden and from the pictures I’ve seen she does it well.  Her family is the most important thing to her and it shows.  They are a close knit group.  Karen never forgets my birthday and I never remember hers.  I know it is July 23rd but that is thanks to Facebook. 

It is a shame we didn’t live near each other because I am sure we would have spent a lot of time with each other.  I am blessed to have her in my life, even though we don’t see each other often, I know she is there and I am grateful.  Karen is more than a cousin, she is my friend.  I love you bunches Karen.

ANNIVERSARY DINNER

John and I went out to dinner last night to our 8th Anniversary.  John had a favorite Japanese restaurant we occasionally went to but they closed and he has really missed it.  We saw they were re-opening in a new location and wanted to check it out.  I read in the paper that they were having a “soft opening” the end of March but when we finally found the new location, they were not opening for another month.

Now before anyone starts asking why we were going to John’s favorite restaurant on our anniversary, I will explain.  First reason is because we go out to eat all the time and we go to my choices more often than not.  I do have to be fair on occasion and let John have his pick.  Our official anniversary was March 28th and we have gone to dinner several times between then and last night. 

Also, I make a lot of fun about going out for sushi, which is John’s absolute favorite but the truth is that I am learning to enjoy it.  I offer to go more often now than ever.   I have discovered that sushi is a much better Lenten meal than fried fish from the local fish and chips fast food stop. 

We were both disappointed that the restaurant, Ran Getsu was not open yet but decided since we were in a different part of town to try some place that we normally would not visit.  Our normal spot is a mid priced casual dining chain and we enjoy it very much.  We agreed on a high end steak restaurant that would be a real treat for us.  Since we were dining early a reservation was not necessary. 

I was amazed at the difference in an upscale restaurant.  When we pulled in, they have complimentary valet parking.  Driving around looking for a parking spot is the norm at Texas Roadhouse.  It would be great to not have to deal with that issue.  And, to be fair, I guess you expect a valet at finer restaurants.  What was really surprising though is they would wash your car for $15.00 while you ate.

As we were seated, the hostess told us Rachel would be our server so when a tall young man approached the table we were confused.  Her accent made Richard sound like Rachel.  I think we might be out of our league!  As Richard was explaining the menu, someone brought us a basket of fresh baked bread with two kinds of herbed butter.  Then we had to decide between ice water (the polite way of saying tap water) and bottled water from someone else.  Ice water was fine for us.  Next was the wine list.  Luckily our server had a sense of humor and was used to ducks out of water.  They do not have a “house wine” because they serve over a hundred different kinds of wine.  That didn’t help me much; I just wanted a glass of Merlot or Pinot Nior.  How do you say a bottle with a screw top is ok for me?  I am really not that picky or educated on wines. I went with Richard’s suggestion, which turned out to be $9 a glass.  Yikes, I should have asked the price before I had the 2nd glass!

After reviewing the menu, Richard explained to us that they also had two specials, Steak Maxwell was a filet with lobster on top and Steak Oscar that had lump crab on top.  I DID ask the price of those because he conveniently didn’t reveal that information.  John got the Lobster Maxwell and I got the Oscar.  We also had a Caesar salad to split.  All the sides, salad included were ala carte.  The salad was perfect; I do love a good Caesar salad.  I get very irritated when I go to a decent restaurant and get bottled dressing.  YUK.  I think I might be a salad dressing snob. 

Just as our salad was finished, out came our steaks.  They were perfection.  My lump crab was a very nice addition but John’s lobster was tiny.  I don’t think he expected a full lobster tail but this was more like a large shrimp.  He said the flavor was good but he wasn’t about to share it since it was so small.  I couldn’t complain because I didn’t share my crab either!  John did let me taste his sauce but I didn’t share mine.  (I really don’t like sharing my food.)

I noticed as we were eating that the valet guys kept walking in and out the restaurant carrying glasses of water and I commented to John that I hope that wasn’t the water they were using to wash our car!

I had a piece of chocolate walnut pie for dessert and they brought a small bowl of homemade whipped cream, I pushed the pie aside and ate the cream and John was a bit embarrassed.  The waiter said that was normal so I didn’t feel so bad.  No cool whip there!  It was so good.

Then the waiter asked if we valet parked and took our ticket out to the valet so they would have our car ready for us as we walked out the door,  In some ways it would have been fun to be driving a clunker, don’t you think?

John paid the bill and out we went; our vehicle all clean and shinny, was waiting for us.  We were pleasantly surprised that they had a hose and bucket and didn’t use the glasses of water after all.  They did a great job! 

It was really a nice dinner and our not going back has nothing to do with them and everything to do with us.  It is nice to see how the other half lives every once in awhile but I don’t want to get used to it.  I like the real world that I live in better.  We could have had four or five meals at Texas Roadhouse for the money we spent on one meal there.  I am not sure I’d give my keys to a valet at Roadhouse anyway; we might never see the car again!