Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Officially, I am a wimp.  For more than a few years, I used to go as a leader, to girls' camp with church, for 6 days in seemingly unbearable heat and humidity, but always leaving camp with a sense of accomplishment for surviving and with the knowledge that I'd do just fine in the event of disaster, etc.  The first 3 days were always miserable, while my body attempted to physically adjust to the elements.  Irritable, too hot to eat (or to be very happy about having to build a fire and cook over it), couldn't drink enough water and sleeping (or not) on sheets that were completely wet from humidity. Then, magically as the 4th day was born,  I felt I would live to enjoy camping once again. Absolutely nothing had changed except me.  I had somehow become "climatized".  

However, when we came back from hurricane evacuation last year, we were 12 days without power and I did not experience a positive change in myself on the 4th day. In fact, I was growing less comfortable with each passing day!   What happened to all that resilience I was so proud of?  Age?  Infirmity?  Impatience? Entitlement?  A combination of the above?

All I know is, a couple weeks ago I had an offer from an A/C company to "check out" my cooling system for a fee and it sounded like a good idea to me . . . sort of a proactive approach to a hot summer.  Happy with their services, I felt confident I was in good shape ( a/c wise).  That was my first mistake.  Yesterday I spent the day in Houston and when I got home about 8pm last night, I found my thermostat registered at 85 degrees inside the house and the motor running like crazy for who knows how long.  

Being the sceptic I am, my initial thought was "have I been sabotaged?"   The a/c company was the first to know about it, so they came late this afternoon, replaced the culprit, waived the call out fee and for a mere total of  $300 or so for both visits, I was back in business!  I've gotta believe it was just one of life's little coincidences.  Hence, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

During the wait though, I was reminded slightly of camp and hurricane season.   Too hot to care about much of anything except parking myself under a ceiling fan and being grateful that at least I have electricity.  It's amazing how energized I became two minutes after it began to cool off in the house.  Visions of cleaning house, laundry and the various details of homemaking made me almost giddy enough to get busy.  Almost.   

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Favorite Movie

Being the self-professed movie enthusiast that I am, I've seen quite a few movies since school let out for the summer, as I have more time now to waste, I mean, to expand my mind.

Of late, a new favorite has surfaced. My Chelle innocently saw it by chance and because she knows me and my taste in films, recommended it to me. It was already on my Netflix queue, but she went as far as to bump it up for me so it would come quicker. I am so happy she did. I've seen it twice and tomorrow I'm gonna put everybody in straightjackets if need be so my other two daughters can see it (and I can watch it again)!

Lars and the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling (of The Notebook and Remember the Titans, among others) is NOTHING like I thought it would be and after a slow start, had me hanging on every word. It was an amazing observation of psychology with a combination of sweet humor, love and sorrow, all at the same time. Gosling is the master of facial expressions, proving that one picture is indeed worth a thousand words. The supportive roles, especially by Lars'  brother, sister-in-law and female co-worker were amazing. The script is much deeper than seems at first glance. I am reminded that "slow but sure, wins the race." 

It surpassed "Dan In Real Life" as my all-time favorite movie. There was only one noticeable inappropriate word in the whole story, (I know, Jen, only a little garbage in the brownies) but it was pure human interest, my favorite!

When I especially enjoy a film, I like to watch the Selected Features afterward. Learning all about the making of a movie endears it to me even more. Lars and the Real Girl will be the very next purchase for my limited collection. I buy few movies because they are so easy and inexpensive to rent, but the thought-provoking ones, I must own. My counsel would be to run, do not walk, to the nearest rental and if you don't like it, well then, we just don't have the same taste in movies. But I loved it enough that it continues to randomly occupy my idle thoughts.

P.S. We all watched it again today. Still love it, but apparently there are several more than the one inappropriate word in the movie. Didn't notice it so much when there were no children around to protect. Guess I'm not the best critic unless you count double standards.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dreams Can Come True

My brother Dan's employer requires him to travel to the Dallas area monthly for meetings and I am always invited to ride along to visit friends, or the many family members on our Dad's side that live there.  

This time, I made arrangements for someone to teach my adult Sunday School class and  jumped at the chance to go.  As you may remember, my previous blog entry described a dream that brought on a persistent pining for my friend Dave and his family.  

Dan and I left about noon on Sunday and met Dave at an agreed upon destination where he scooped me up.   Like a tall drink of water on a scorching day, the long overdue visit was every bit as pleasant as I had imagined it would be.  

Sadly, Dave and I did not find ourselves participating in any garage band performances as my dream had implied, but their home is lovely, beautifully decorated as only Gil could, and their children were so delightful, it made me miss my own little ones that I left behind for all of 36 hours.  I stayed in an amazingly comfortable guest room and even slipped in a nap today!  We did what friends do . . . we hugged, we ate, we chatted about nothing of any significance and yet, it was exactly what I needed to make my dream come true.

Dan and I safely arrived back home tonight at 9pm (as he predicted) and I am now content to carry on with my abundantly blessed life.  Thank you one and all!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Uplifting Conversations

If it weren't for the daily trips in the car, where one is a captive audience, I would rarely be privileged to know what goes on in the deep recesses of my grandchildren's minds.  Case in point:  While I was driving, one of them (they sound identical sometimes and I was so blown away, I didn't think to care which one it was) asked me, "How old is Mr. Moreno?  Is he younger than you or older?  Who is the oldest of you and him?"  Please be advised that Zeke Moreno is the gentleman who mows my yard for me.  He retired from Dow Chemical as a bus driver where he picked up employees from the gate and drove them to their destinations inside the plant.  He knows my dad from Dow and also my late husband, Michael.

Back in 1997 when the effects of simultaneous chemo and radiation rendered Mike unable to do yard work, he refused to let me or my daughters do it but finally relented when I asked him if Mr. Moreno could start mowing for us on a regular basis so he's been doing it ever since.  Zeke wears a mask when he works, because he has allergies that have developed into pneumonia more than once, but it isn't like the kids have never seen him without it!  He is 87 years old, wears hearing aids in both ears and works circles around most individuals, especially me.  As if keeping my yard looking good isn't enough, Zeke brings me vegetables from his garden!
Although I get around like I'm at least 90, I definitely am the younger.  In fact, he is the kind of person I aspire to be when I grow up, which apparently, from the looks of things, won't be long. It's a good thing that I love my grandchildren unconditionally.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Had A Dream

Growing up, I seldom dreamed anything I could remember but since I have "matured", I find the need to swallow half a Benadryl at night to sleep and a pleasant side benefit is that I have memorable dreams almost every night.

This time it was about my good friend, Dave.  You see, he served an honorable mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this area some time ago and immediately became one of my favorite people.  Dave then carried a photograph of his exquisite girlfriend waiting back home, Gillian (who he referred to as his "Babalicious").  Upon his return, they married, had a gaggle of children and are presently living the dream (not this one, but their's).  Dave has a great job, they have literally tons of friends, absolutely beautiful children and Gillian, an extraordinary individual in her own right, is the quintessential woman behind the man.

So, you know how bizarre dreams can get . . . apparently I went to see Dave's family and he and I wound up playing in a garage band.  I was on the drums (see addendum to this blog) and Dave had an electric guitar, sort of crouched down, hiding behind someone, acting all shy.  If you knew Dave like I know Dave, you'd acknowledge how weird THAT is.  Dave may be many things to many people, but none of them include his being shy.  He leans more toward gregariousness. There he was, looking as handsome as ever.  In contrast to most of us who actually age, Dave is more like Benjamin Button, seeming to grow younger every year.  

Alas, in the time it has taken me to post this entry, I have forgotten the remainder of the dream.  But as we so often ask ourselves after a dream, " what does it mean?"  I have decided that I must be missing them and should make arrangements to go visit sometime when I am awake.  That explains why someone shows up in my dreams that I may or may not have seen in the last few decades.  Out of nowhere, the strangest of acquaintances appear in my slumber when I least expect them. 

There are so many of those neglected visits that come to mind.  I am sure hoping that in the hereafter, it will somehow be the standard to be able to mingle with all those we love . . . that missing someone will no longer be an affliction like it is in this life. 

Addendum:  Once upon a time, long long ago, I had been riding in the sweltering heat, suffocating humidity and relentless mosquitos on a trail ride.  Usually there was a wagon adjoining us that carried cold water and soft drinks, but this particular year, they were out of everything but beer, a staple on trail rides.  

 At one point we stopped to rest when my dad drove up to check on me and my horse.  I shared my pitiful story with him and even though there was little he could do about the elements, he could surely get me something to quench my thirst. Off he went and I assumed he would find the nearest convenience store, but he quickly returned with a HUGE container of ice cold beer from said wagon.  Sorely underage, I questioned it about two seconds and sitting down, I chugalugged the beer, which contained ice crystals, something I had never enjoyed so much before (nor since).  When I stood up, it was clear to me that I was much more than rehydrated.

Very shortly after, we stopped at our destination for the night and the typical festivities began, to include a small band on a stage set up high, nearly in the trees.  Feeling "enlightened" from my previous beverage, somehow I managed to find myself talking to the drummer, who convinced me it was so easy to play the drums for slow country music, kind of an oom-pa-pa beat and he showed me how to do it.  It WAS easy!

When Daddy came to pick me up, he looked all around, but finally found me up on the stage, pounding out the heartbeat for some slow country song and he was so excited, he immediately bought a second-hand trap set.  Hoping I was a child prodigy (or an organ-grinder monkey), he would implore me to play for company who might drop by.  With no obvious talent, not having had the benefit of lessons,  or even some background music to accompany me, I just froze.  I'm sure it's not the only time he's ever been disappointed in me, but I'd bet it's right up there at the top.

Good parents know the importance of exposing their children to an eclectic assortment of activities to learn what they may be naturally good at.  Apparently, without the influence of a huge bucket of ale, I cannot play the drums.  At all.