Monday, April 27, 2009

Abundance and Respite

I feel somewhat guilty in posting this but we are on yet another vacation, heading on our way to a favorite spot at Hilton Head that we go to once a year. We have a lovely three bedroom reserved and no one who has time to share with us! So sad. We will rattle around and maybe sleep in a different bedroom each night!

Two days before we departed the yard clean-up included harvesting oak leaf lettuce and the remaining pak choi from the garden. I was washing huge heads of pak choi that had turned juicy and green from the recent rains. It was like the dance of spring watching sprays of water go everywhere across deep green broad leaf abundance. We also have bunches of oak leaf lettuce that is ready to eat along with the delicious arugula. We will be gone for a week and did not want this abundance to go to waste. Fortunately there is a nearby church group that gives away food and we have packed two large boxes of these healthy vegetables and taken them there.

I cannot begin to explain how wonderful I feel that something that has been a labor of love for me, is healthy sustenance for someone else.

I do not have a laptop, so unless hubby brings his, I will not be blogging until I return. This is a pre-planned post and I am hoping as I write this that the North Carolina fires (a similar experience to our trip last year) will not be a problem in our travel. It is somewhat hard for me to get into another vacation mode when I know there are people who are losing their homes.

I will be visiting one of my favorite places, Pinckney Island Nature Preserve, and taking bird pictures. Some I am sure I will post on my other blog. Also plan to eat at least once in Savannah! This will be our first visit here without family, so the only negotiating will be over the number of canoe trips and the number of beach sits!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Fixer

I did not get enough sleep last night. I was busy "fixing things" or trying to fix things:

I thought about fixing my son's relationship with women so that he has a stable relationship with one and gets married.

I thought about fixing my daughter's job so that she likes it more and doesn't have the worry of being fired at the end of the month hanging over her head.

I thought about fixing the spoiled attitude my Xman seems to be getting with everyone falling all over themselves to keep him happy.

I thought about fixing my age so that I don't have the worry of poor health hanging over me that we all will face as our bodies decline sooner or later.

I thought about fixing the automatic gate to the deer fence as the solar panel (or battery) does not seem to be working.

I thought about fixing my retirement investments and actually studying the statements instead of hiding them the minute they come in.

I thought about fixing the departures of my dear departed middle sister, my dear departed dad and my departed mom, wondering if I could have done something more when they were alive.

I thought about bloggers I had gotten close to who have passed away just as quickly as they appeared in my life.

About 3:30 I finally fell asleep.

This morning I was like a crazy woman cleaning the floors, washing the throw rugs, getting hubby to clean out the fireplace, going over the bathrooms with a detailed cleaning. I know this energy today is to assure myself that there is at least one thing I can fix.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

This home we have been given to live on is much too wonderful for us not to try each and every day to leave less than footprints on our life journey.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's All About the Hair

The first is a photo of my hair color about 5 years ago.
The second is the color I took with me on the cruise,
but I could not seem to get
the color true in this photo.

Several years ago when my husband was traveling in Korea with a business friend he noticed a number of young Korean women and commented on how lovely their hair was swinging in the sun. (He has always been a bit of a hair man and almost divorced me when I cut my long swinging hair in my 30's.) The Korean friend added that, since these ladies were at their sexual peak, their shiny hair was what caught a young man's eye.

We talk about breasts and hips and luscious lips, but hair is a big deal. They even made a a song about it.

"Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen"

The health and shine of hair is noticeable in all animals. The shiny coat of hair means more than beauty, it means the ability to reproduce. (And for those of you who read my other blog this truth also translates to the brilliant new spring feathers...which are the avian version of hair.)

Age is cruel to mankind and womankind. It causes us to lose our hair so that it no longer swings in beauty but sits lightly on top like errant peach fuzz. Aging takes away the color and peroxides our follicles until they are sooty gray. Some elders are rewarded with a mane of striking silver white...but most of us settle for something far less. Our hair becomes dry and brittle and thin. Only the last word - thin - is used when talking about how sexy and attractive someone is.

The familiar term 'crowning glory' intimates the power that great hair can have. Female news correspondents and female politicians spend at least part of their career defending their hair style choices or trying to ignore the hair comments of critics and stay on subject. (Jane Pauley and Katie Couric are just two that come to mind.) It is hard to let go of this power that hair has over a woman (or a man).

I started to gray in my 40's and began with a semi-permanent coloring and like most addicts switched to the hard stuff as the years went by. When keeping the silver roots at bay became a major effort, I started the familiar, time consuming, expensive, and hard on the hair follicle process of 'highlighting.' Upon my retirement I admitted to myself that I was not a high maintenance woman in most areas of my life, and therefore, I no longer needed to pretend that I looked better than I did. I stopped dying my hair.

This was painful. I mean really painful. I aged instantly and instantly lost the drama that is much of my persona. After four months of this I asked my hair dresser to try a glaze to see if I could at least have a shine. That worked...sort of. But it was still too blah in color. A week before the cruise she suggested a temporary charcoal rinse that would blend everything and covered the highlighted ends. This worked, because I was gently gray and had drama once again. But the rinse slowly washed out and my true gray returned, and as a last resort, I went in and asked for a pixie haircut. Something perky, spiky, flirty and young. That helped. It was much easier to care for and it did make me look less dumpy. (Right, I know most women do not want to settle for 'less dumpy'.)

It has been about 6 months since I started this whole madness and I now have bright silver peaking through at my temples. I am going to see if I can live with this a little longer if I have silver hair! I will wait through until fall leaving my hair just as it is. Then if I can't stand it, I will go back to dying it. I hate so much being a shallow gal, but in some ways I guess I just might be. (On a positive note, several people loved the pixie haircut and said it made me look much younger and didn't seem dismayed by my grayness.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Have You Seen Peter Pan?

This is a photo of our ship taken from the highest point
on Nassau during our one-day visit.

Four nights and five days cruising the Caribbean with Disney can leave one a little overwhelmed. Too tired and overstimulated to write anything of depth I will briefly describe for those who want to try this adventure someday.
  1. These ships don't 'cruise' on all days. On some days they go in circles just outside the shipping lanes very slowly to make you think you are moving somewhere. If you don't believe me, watch currents and sun angles on your next cruise. (And you can also test one of the navigators as we did and they will admit to you are just moving around.)

  2. Even though Disney "owns" the Disney Island, other than the free food, the cost of everything else from bicycles, snorkeling gear, cold drinks delivered to your chair, etc. is VERY MUCH like being on any other resort island.

  3. Every event on the cruise is all about being in the party mood and if I hadn't had small children along, I might have felt a bit too pressured to be happy!

    Yes, that is a new mother hovering over the table with the
    "Drink of the Day" I did not have to wear one of these.

  4. Every cruise has a safety drill and it occurs before the drinking and partying. The deck where the lifeboats were stored ended up being my favorite place as it had a nostalgic old world feel complete with shuffleboard.

  5. The cheapest rooms on the cruise (which we had booked) are very nice, clean and more roomy than I anticipated.

  6. Disney is the master of service and the staff are almost Stepfordish in their pleasant demeanor, efficiency in service and pretending they are interested in every little thing you have to say about your trip...sort of reminds me of my dog years ago.

  7. The live theater shows are wonderful and free and I think as good as any Broadway play although only an hour long. Lots of great talent.

  8. The food is reasonably good, but I have very high standards, and when you are trying to feed 2,700 people it does get to taste a little like cafeteria food after a while, even if they are serving you lobster bisque or rum baba.

  9. Your wait staff follows you from restaurant to restaurant---assigned seating in the evenings---so they get to know your preferences and demands really well. Most of them are from countries other than the U.S. We had a girl from Belgium (although she was Vietnamese) and a man from Thailand. Our room staff was from Indonesia and the Philippines. Most of the staff at the cruise director level were from Australia although we met one fellow from France. It is a small world after all.

  10. The last morning of the cruise prior to disembarkation (this is how you talk when you have been on a cruise) they had scheduled us for a 6:45 A.M. breakfast. One could always go to the top deck buffet if they wanted and some of our party of 13 did that. Some of us were drug along whether we wanted to go or not. Below is my grand daughter who woke up at 4:00 and whom I brought to our bed. Getting her dressed at 6:30 was an Herculean task. I got the diaper off and changed but had to give up on the dress!

  11. The title of this post was due to Xman meeting Wendy on the first day and her sending him on the mission to find Peter Pan. A mission asked by a beautiful girl is taken very seriously by a small boy. He met lots of characters.

  12. Would I do it again? Perhaps. It was much more pleasant than I thought, but I think much of this is due to having small children with which to interact. And there was also plenty of areas on the boat or the beach to get away from all the little ones. Disney is also the master of programming activities for all ages including teenagers.

    (Unfortunately, while we enjoyed the entire trip, the time in the airport before we headed home is definitely blog-worthy of a future "life story blog" as it was a comedy of errors that had nightmarish proportions.)

  13. It is good to be home!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cautious and Secretive

As you are reading this I am probably on a cruise ship heading to Nassau, or perhaps on the Disney Island beach watching my grandchildren run in the surf, or maybe in the bar of the ship having that final nightcap after all the Disney creatures get tucked into bed (least likely scenario). I have pre-scheduled this post so you don't forget me. I look forward to reading your comments when I get back.

It seems to me that the more popular blogs are those where people post their true identity and their actual pictures. I think we are more comfortable reading about someone we know is real and then it seems more honest because they show us who they are and tell us where they live either generically or more specifically. They are up front with us and we like that.

I think I commented once on my blog about my need for anonymity as I blog. I comment about relatives and friends and want the freedom to say exactly what is in/on my mind and not feel I have to couch terms to avoid hurt feelings or misunderstandings. A reader of my blog might think I do not say anything too controversial about others that I know, and perhaps they are right. But I still like to be able to write whatever I feel at the time. While I might be a liberal in many areas I am rather conservative in terms of my privacy. I really don't need those I love/dislike to know I am going through a down time or having second thoughts about decisions in my life. But it gives me pleasure to post this personal journal for my loyal blogger friends to comment on. (As Colleen writes
"Things I would not tell anyone, I tell the public." ~ Michel de Montaigne.")

There are other reasons why I do not blog more honestly. While I admire those who are 'out there' in all truth with their identities, I am a bit of a worry wart. I fear that being able to learn much about my grand-children from reading this blog could give a lurking pedophile an edge up on contacting them and becoming friends. Carefully reading several years of posts can give a good detective many clues about an identity. Sure, the odds are stupendous that this would happen. (Really, Tabor, how many people do you think actually read your blog?)

Also, I worry that telling others when I am on travel is like putting a sign up for lurkers who can find my house and take advantage of it. It is just like the community/church newsletter where people put in comments about their trips AFTER they return.

I guess the thought is always in the back of my mind that whatever you blog can end up on the front pages of the major newspaper. People have lost jobs, gotten divorced and even committed suicide due to something published on their or another's blog. This process is not as private as we tend to think, and unfortunately, people are not as nice as we like to think.

When ML came to visit last winter on her book promotion tour, I had to reveal my honest name and email so that she could stay with us. But that was no problem as I am not hiding my identity from my readers, just those millions of lurkers out there. (Yes, I repeat, probably very few lurk at my blog...but it only takes one crazy person.)

Therefore, I will continue to remain a mysterious woman of culture and education and sensitivity!

Now that I think of it, this post might be a story-line for the Butler and Bagman Chronicles. Although he would make it funny and sexy while I seem to be making it sad and scary.

(I wonder if I am getting seasick right now....?)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thursday Thoughts #24---Exhausted

Thoughts after an extended weekend with immediate and distant family:
  • Legos are still fascinating toys but involve tiny detailed work! And, of course, Tabor still follows the directions and her projects look like the picture on the box!
  • Hubby does not follow directions (as you will recall in a prior post) and he skipped an important step in putting together the birthday plastic basketball kit and was told in no uncertain terms by son-in-law that he would have appreciated a more organized approach. One is a biology major and one an accounting major...can you guess which is which?
  • My son was at the birthday party and when we hugged good-bye he told me he loved me! OMG was I in heaven for days.
  • This big party for my favorite 4-year-old's birthday was a bowling party where they used regular bowling balls and no one broke a toe or mashed anything! I don't recall any strikes being made either. Kind of gives you a feel for this recession when they allow 4-year-olds to drop bowling balls on these nice alleys.
  • A new experience for me was having a 4-year-old I didn't know sit in my lap at the birthday party while I pushed the accelerator and he did the driving on a video game at the bowling alley. We wiped out a ton of stuff!
  • I had Xman the first three days after his party down at the house and am totally wiped...!
  • 4-year-olds cannot eat at the table or play games on the computer unless all four appendages are moving around like crazy at all times. This leads to your dinner plate being moved while you are eating as the table slides away and your computer DVD loader opening and closing as little toes keep kicking the button!! You have to be a pretty sharp grandparent to keep up. (I learned the last day, if you are eating at a small drop leaf table, this toe tapping leads to the drop leaf dropping and Xman's entire plate hitting the floor and shattering into a half dozen pieces!)
  • I taught Xman about collecting colored rocks on the beach and putting them in his pocket. He asked if I was sure he could put rocks in his pocket and I said "SURE, always!" (I am a sneaky little grandma.)
  • We also were the first for the new season to have him take off his shoes and socks and walk on the beach and actually wade in the cold bay water. He loved it.
  • I made a promise to hubby that I was no longer going on international trips just because others wanted me to, and instead, my money was being saved for my next big trip in the coming year to somewhere I really wanted to go. But recently I have been asked to fly to South America to babysit grandchildren for a wedding over Thanksgiving (on my dime of course) and my SIL wants me to join them on their annual trip to Denmark this fall. I love them both and am going to have the courage to say 'no.' (help me...)
  • Sky asked about my gray hair decision and you will just have to wait until I get back from the cruise...too busy to elaborate. And Tammy, bless her heart, actually wants pictures of the cruise!!
  • Tied into my 360 degree prior post, the Italy earthquake was very near the area where some of my ancestors were born and raised...very globally intense and thought provoking as I saw people that looked like my Dad when I visited years ago.
  • This will be my final post for a number of days as I will be heading out on a ship with animals with large noses and big ears. Everyone together now...awwww, gee!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

It Is Easy Being Green

It is oh so nice when one has company to have a fresh vegetable stand so close to the house! This Bok Choy or Pak Choi is at is peak with the weather staying in the high 60's F daytime and the low is in the high 40's F during the evening. The white stems are so juicy and have a very light cabbage taste while the leaves have another delicious but different taste. They are tender now and can be eaten without cooking. Later in the gardening season, the plants that are left will be used in stir fry.

We have two beds of this and may be tired of it after the next couple of weeks. But right now we pick a few outer stems from the larger plants and cut them up. Add some grape tomatoes from the store and then a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and you have a salad to die for.

(And of course, the garden looks so nice pre-weed eruption and pre-insect dining. But the blue bird is helping and I will post that on my other blog.)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Touching Base...I'm Out

The new house was filled with visiting relatives these last few days and we will be traveling this weekend to the city for Xman's birthday and then bringing back Xman to stay for a few days with us. We then are returning him and packing for that infamous cruise mid-week next week. My mind is spinning with busyness and cannot seem to focus enough to create coherant blogthoughts. Teaser...anyone know what this is?