Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Life on the Planet

I enjoyed my time in Williamsburg mostly because there was no agenda. The first two days my hubby and I just goofed off, enjoying not having any kind of schedule. We slept late and then went to bed late. When my daughter joined us with the littlest one several days later, the pace slowed down even more due to stopping for diaper changes and feedings.

Then the very next week daughter and her family headed to Orlando for time with the in-laws and some last minute Florida sun--the condo was paid for, so why not? Hubby headed down to the house and this left me with a week of time alone at my daughter's house between working. I did receive a call two days in from my daughter with the reminder to not set the alarm on the day the housekeeper worked, water the mums each day, take the garbage to the curb on Tuesday morning, pick up the mail and make sure the bags and boxes in the garage were also taken to the curb. (Just a few directives! I kind of felt a deja view like the roles had been reversed.)

But for the most part I was all alone, eating what I wanted when I wanted, watching what I wanted when I wanted...sort of a third dimension experience. I was totally laid back and not quite prepared for the re-entry,

Friday here was drenching rains and this weather made my normal 30 minute commute drag out to an hour and a half. Daughter and son-in-law returned with kids late on Friday. Two hours delayed due to the rains

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A New Take on Writing Your Own Obituary

Many of us have taken at least one training class or self-improvement seminar where the leader asks you to write your own obituary and then read it and see if you are leading your life in the right direction so that you are remembered for what you love or what you do well. It is sort of an exercise where you look at what you have done so far and what you think people would say about you. It works pretty well if you do it honestly, although like most activities of this nature, you need to take it home with you and apply the lesson learned every single day. That is a difficult thing to do, unless the lesson learned stimulates you to make a major change or two in your life.

A few days ago, I got home from work and turned on the last half of the Oprah Winfrey show and found a very inspiring new take on this type of activity. A Carnegie Mellon professor talks about the "last lecture". If we could all face our mortality so impressively, the world would be a much better place. Watch this video and see if you aren't as challenged as I was to meet his level of humanity. "There's an academic tradition called the 'Last Lecture.' Hypothetically, if you knew you were going to die and you had one last lecture, what would you say to your students?" Randy says. "Well, for me, there's an elephant in the room. And the elephant in the room, for me, it wasn't hypothetical."
For some reason the link above does not seem to be working. The original video not edited for TV can be found doing a Google video search with the words "last lecture of Randy Pausch" There are several versions with longer introductions so you need to search through them for the thumbnail with his picture. The Winfrey program video can be found using the search
"Randy Pausch reprising his "Last Lecture..."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time for Thought

I have been thinking a lot about aging these days, probably because I am looking forward to retirement and realize that I must plan my future carefully if I expect to get the most out of my remaining years. I think when you reach that certain age, if you are lucky, you begin to realize that life is giving you a second change chance. When you are young and raising a family you are busy living in your waking hours. Each day is auto-filled with necessary deeds and tasks. People need you, so you spend time working on filling those needs---whether it is earning a living to pay bills or cooking and cleaning and kissing boo-boos or consoling a broken teenage heart.

It is a daily race and you fall into bed at the end of the day, hoping your mind will slow down enough so that you can sleep.

Then, almost suddenly, but not without warning (children entering college, getting married, having their own little ones) you realize that the race is slowing way down. You have time to look to each side and not always ahead. You are going slow enough that you now no longer worry about tripping or mis-reading signs and taking the wrong side road. As a matter of fact, a side road is most appealing.

If you have good health and your finances are secure your side roads are more interesting and more available. But even if life didn't end up like a bushel of sweet peaches, there are still different opportunities and angles that you can think about.

I watched a movie starring one of my favorite actors, Judi Dench, called Ladies in Lavender last night. A scene in which Dench is lost in thought about missed opportunities in her life and future choices she must make remains in my thoughts. Dench is lying casually on her bed with daylight crossing her face showing how lost in thought she is. The scene hangs in my memory because the impression given was that she had been lying there thinking for a long time. I realized that I have not had an opportunity to be lost in thought for quite a while.

I remember days as a young child daydreaming for hours. Do children have time to do that today? Are their days so programmed with activities or so filled with technological temptations that they fail to exercise their thinking muscles and in turn their imagination growth? Are we becoming a nation of doers and not thinkers?

I guess this is why activities such as camping and canoeing appeal to my soul. There is usually time for thought. Walking is another thought-provoking activity I enjoy.

I have decided that getting a little more peace in my life for thought and helping others realize how important thought is will be a new goal in retirement. The next time someone asks me what I will do when I retire, I will answer "Think more."

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Visual Aids for the Blogentry Below.

OK, here come the gray-haired ladies (AND the red-headed granny carrying three full shopping bags). Someone please pull the blanket over my head!!

This is what I am really feeling!!

But this is how I will express myself. This has been a very long day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Center of the Universe II

There seems to be an ongoing inter generational saga within my family. As you will remember from my prior blog I realized that my birthday (and therefore my arrival on the face of the earth) was significant. Recent events have confirmed this power has been transferred to those who follow me.

Let me elaborate. This week I am spending some vacation time with my husband and daughter and granddaughter in Williamsburg Virginia. This area is full of history on the beginning of our country. Williamsburg, Jamestown and nearby Yorktown are filled with historic places and museums and street plays about the beginning of our country. With the beautiful fall weather we have loved sauntering through the tree lined streets and reading about the fight of our ancestors against the Spanish and the British to gain their liberty. We attended a wonderful lecture by "Patrick Henry" where in getting a personal history filled with amusing anecdotes, I learned Patrick had something like 77 grandchildren before his 60-sum years came to an end.

Now, I am certain you are eager to see how I will tie Patrick Henry to my family as the Center of the Universe. No, I am not related to the gentlemen...although with 77 grandchildren, I am sure there are many ancestors who could step forward.

My granddaughter is also the Center of the Universe ---not just my universe--- but the universe in Williamsburg. We were continually, constantly, endlessly stopped on the streets so that people could comment on her "darlingness," ask her age and coo and fawn over her. Yes, most of these people were my age...already grandparents or wannabees. They were totally entranced. (It was beginning to get on my nerves.) We entered a lovely giftshop to look at holiday garlands and decorations and all three retail sales ladies stopped everything they were doing and talked to my granddaughter AND daughter for at least 15 minutes. Angel (my granddaughter) cooed and smiled and put on a perfect show for them. At two months she has already got this flirting thing down. My daughter got no shopping done.

My husband (who was the frequent babysitter on the benches outside while my daughter and I perused the shops), was always visting with 'a gray haired grande olde dame when we returned with our wares.' He was so amazed at this human phenomenon. If we could bottle it, imagine the drugs we could create.

The climax came today when eating lunch at a nearby Friday's before bidding goodbye to my daughter, a lovely elderly couple (he was the age of 91 and she 88) that sat across from us engaged us in a lengthy conversation once they saw there was a little baby under that blanket. This fascination with a small baby doesn't not seem to diminish with age. He was a jaded journalist who had retired from work at the White House just a year ago...and he still was interested in Angel!

(Pictures to follow...)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Center of the Universe

I am pretty sure my mother thought, for a very short time, that I was the Center of the Universe. After all, I was the first born of five sweet cherubs. The first of five smart futures. The first of five beautiful replicates. Unfortunately, she got over that idea in a few short months. Fortunately, I have never really accepted her theory that I am not one of the most important people in the world and that the Cosmos is not linked to the date of my entry into the world. Why, you may ask, in your serious interest in my life, do I think this? BECAUSE, recently this was confirmed by a number of cosmologists---note I did not write cosmetologists. (They are too expensive.)

I never have been much of an "end of days" or "apocolypse" person. S**t happens and we don't need to try to predict it. (Believe me, after living with two small people in diapers I know this.) But I saw a re-run of a program on TV a few nights ago and found that the Mayan Calendar ends on my 66th birthday. According to this calendar the poles of the earth and the magnetic forces shift on my 66th birthday. There is some re-alignment of milky way...I mean, are you surprised...really?

On August 3rd, the History Channel aired a program about my 66th birthday. See! According to the documentary my birthday will start a cataclysmic event in the history of the earth or perhaps it will mean an opportunity for monumental change for the good depending on which expert you believe. The History Channel is favoring disaster it appears, because after all, it sells. Disasters with blondes (Hilton, Spears, Lohan) sell. Why not disasters of the world? (Disasters with our illustrious leader are not nearly as commercially significant to the media...maybe too predictable?)

But some of the touchy feely experts think this change is going to be a transition to a better way of life. Go on and read this, I will wait.............And why not? I think that this version is just as good. (I sent my hubby this link and he sent me an email saying that this was perfectly understandable since marrying me was the beginning of his life...I know are sooo jealous.)

Regardless of the outcome, it will happen on my 66th birthday. Let's all get together somewhere cool and celebrate!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday, Sunday

I am providing childcare this weekend. One parent is on a four-day golf trip and the other parent is on an overnight to watch a dance show!

My conversations with this small person revolve around Sally and McQueen although I have to listen carefully as it sounds like Sayee and Keen when discussing their various attributes or where they have hidden themselves. If you don't know who Sally and McQueen are, your life is bereft of meaning...what can I say.

He discovered his pockets this morning and found that both Sally and McQueen can fit inside them. This is a very good talent, because Grandma pointed out that his suicidal trips up and down stairs can now be hands free so that he can hang on to the banister, as opposed to holding a toy in both hands and attempting a heart stopping gymnastic balancing act. His Mother now has the fun of learning what small boys can cram in their pockets before or after doing the laundry. (This basement gets some rather large crickets as the weather cools, so that should be interesting.)

As I am writing this blog, the little guy went upstairs to the kitchen and I heard his little footfalls on the dining room floor. Then I heard him calling my name in great excitement. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying. It sounded like "Neeaa! Sum up!!" and when I made it to the dining room I saw it was filled with rays of bright golden sun and realized he was telling me that the Sun was up! This was what was making his day. (As you can guess he got me up before the sun.)

His grandfather cannot understand why all the doors and windows in the house must be closed as he goes from room to room and yet Xman wants none of his toys to remain in their containers when we straighten up the playroom.

He is the energizer bunny. My daughter was fighting a nasty cold earlier in the week and he was home from daycare fighting the last of the same germ, so she had both little ones to care for as well as herself. When I got home from work a little early she was so relieved. Near tears she told me that keeping up with one sick boy and a new baby when feeling so bad herself was about all she could take for the day. She told me just one of her adventures. She had to go to the bathroom (of course) and asked Xman to be a good little boy while she placed Angel in the baby rocker and then went to relieve herself. She told the me the results with tears in the corners of her eyes and a smile in the corners of her mouth. "Mom, everything was very quiet, but when I left the bathroom as I went to pick up the baby I saw that Angel had train stickers all over her forehead!"

We are going to the zoo this morning after Grandpa and I hit I-Hop. I will be bringing the camera and adding to my album of Xman. Probably to the thousands of photos already and he is only 2 and half. What will I do when his Sister, Angel, begins her activities?

Well, it is now 9:00 and I am still in my pajamas and wearing bedhead. Must get moving.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fall Freedom

The days are now crisp and clean and clear and the sky is children’s storybook blue. Clouds are downy and plump as they drift above. Below, the water dances with light as if diamonds had been sprinkled across its surface. Nighttime brings the big fat moon smiling down in the cool of the evening. Reptiles are now seen only in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The last of the summer birds have started their long, hard journey south. The few species of birds that come to stay over the winter months from up north will be arriving shortly. The last of the Pawpaws are making forest floor wine. This is my favorite time of the year.