Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apples, Apples, Apples!

I had a delightful Saturday morning!  My friend and neighbor, Cynthia, hosted an apple party for the neighborhood.  Cynthia and her family had recently headed to Eastern Washington to pick apples.  And in a typically generous gesture for her, she invited her friends and neighbors to come spend Saturday morning making pies and crisps out of the apples they brought home.

So, a kitchen full of women peeled, sliced, sugared and mixed giant bowls of apples while others rolled out pie crusts and made crisp toppings out of oatmeal.   The smell of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and apples filled the room as we assembled pie after pie and visited with old and new friends.

After all the "hard" work was done, we gathered around the kitchen table and enjoyed steaming bowls of soup, salad, chips and salsa, all washed down with freshly squeezed apple cider.  And to top it all off, there was  apple crisp for dessert!

As I walked home, carrying my apple pie that was ready to pop in the oven, I thanked God for the blessing of friends.  Those few hours spent  enjoying food, fun and fellowship were a salve for my often weary soul.  Thank you, dear friends, for creating a Fall memory for me to treasure!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Snow, Dr. Seuss, and the Grandma Thing

I've really been thinking about "The Grandma Thing" a lot lately.  Maybe it's because I sat next to my daughter-in-law, Monika, with her baby bump at my niece's baby shower last Sunday. Maybe it's because I've been having a blast shopping for baby girl clothes.  And maybe it's because we are over half way there and I know that the next few months will fly by and it will be February before I know it!

But there are a couple of things that make me a little apprehensive when I think about becoming a grandma.  I believe I handled the motherhood thing pretty well. We ended up with two fantastic kids and I'd like to think that I had a little something to do with that. 

But every grandparent that I talk to tells me that having grand kids is the BEST thing ever.  So I really want to do it right.  I want my granddaughter to be absolutely crazy about me.  I want her to beg Mom and Dad to take her to Grandma's house.  I want her to think I'm crazy fun!

But here I am, confessing to the whole world, that I have two grandma flaws.  I'm not happy about it, but I admit it.  From a grand kid's perspective these could be deal-breakers, at least that's my fear.  So here they are.

Number one...I hate snow.  No, let me re-phrase that.  I HATE SNOW! I know that I must have liked it when I was a kid and it meant I got out of school.  It must have been fun to play in when I didn't have to worry about driving to work in it. But that was a very long time ago and nowadays, even the mention of a possibility of snow makes my palms sweat and my heart beat fast.  So here's my dilemma, can a grand child really love a grandparent who hates the white stuff?  I just don't know.

And then, there's the other thing.  I don't like Dr. Seuss.  Never have, never will.  I know that makes me un-American or something, but I can't help it.  He annoys me.  In fact, he annoys me so much that I wrote a poem about it. It explains my feelings better than mere prose ever could so I'll share it with you here.

The Trouble with Dr. Seuss
By Laura Miles

I do not like this Dr. Seuss
I think his books are all a ruse
to waste my time, they’re of no use!

I try to read and think they’re fun.
But every single one seems dumb.

The words repeat, repeat, repeat,
sometimes they rhyme, sometimes they don’t!

I do not like these books at all.
I do not like them, big or small.
I do not like them red or blue,
I do not like them at the zoo.
I do not like them with my lunch,
I do not like them in a bunch.

And now I find that it’s no use,
I can’t stop talking like Dr. Seuss!

But what kid doesn't adore Dr. Seuss?  Oh, wait  a minute...I didn't like him, even as a kid!  Hey, maybe there's a chance that my granddaughter won't like Dr. Seuss either.  Maybe she'll follow in her English-Major-Grandmother's footsteps and prefer Robert Frost!  It's possible!  Hey, I think I'm feeling better! 

But then again, there is still that whole snow thing...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn in My Little Town

Alas, this is a picture from last autumn's colorful display!

I love autumn in my little hometown.  And today was a perfect example of why.

After running a few errands, I ended up at the library.  I'm not sure why, but libraries always make me feel comfy and cozy.  Maybe it's that whole settle-down-with-a-good-book thing.  But libraries and autumn shout "Cozy!" to me.

I was delighted as I pulled into the library parking lot. Every tree in that lot was doing its seasonal metamorphosis. Up until now, it has felt like fall has been slow in bringing out its big paint pallette.  Sure, a few trees have started changing colors. But today, the flames of fall were out in full force.

The trees were magnificent! The fiery orange-reds were brillant. Some trees seemed to be blushing a pale pink from their inner leaves out toward the tips of their branches. It was all so beautiful that I whipped out cell phone and started snapping pictures right and left!

There was a woman sitting in her car, also enjoying the splendor.  After watching me taking my pictures, she called me over to her car so I could see the spectacular view she was enjoying.  We chatted a bit about the beauty of the season and then I headed on into the library where I continued to breathe in the feel of fall. 

On my way home, I couldn't help but appreciate the small town feel of my little town. I drove past the local coffee shop.  I smiled as an older couple, walking hand-in-hand, crossed the street to the park.  And I thought about how just down the road a ways, there are fields full of pumpkins ready to be picked.

 The feel of autumn has arrived and I'm glad, because it feels like home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Time for Prayers

I have a habit.  I admit that I'm addicted to it.  And when I don't feed this habit I suffer.  My habit?  A daily prayer time. 

Over the years, I have gotten in the habit of getting up about a half an hour earlier than I need to in order to spend time in prayer before I head off to work.  I treasure this time with just God and me.

My life feels so busy and overwhelming on a daily basis that I need the strength that comes with prayer  Yet, sometimes I forget to spend some quiet time with Him before I rush into my list of requests. I did this the other morning and was stopped short when I realized how I would feel if one of my kids walked in, and without even saying "hello," began asking me for things.  Even if they were asking for good things...for others, I'd still miss their greeting!

Right now, there are many people in my life who are in need of prayer.  So I pray for new jobs, restoration of relationships, courage to end relationships and move on, healing of diseases, and strength to simply endure painfully difficult circumstances.  And I do so because I believe, not only in the power of prayer, but most importantly in the One who hears my prayers.

My prayers are heard and answered by an omnipotent, loving God who desires the very best for us.  And while His ways are not my ways, I know that He desires my prayers. Throughout the Scriptures, we are encouraged, even admonished to bring our requests before God.

So, I'll continue to feed my habit.  I'll continue to come before my Heavenly Father, pleading for the needs of my friends and family.  And I will be diligent in watching for the answers to my prayers which are sure to come.

Friday, October 15, 2010

You're Beautiful

It's been a while since I've included a song in a post.  But recently I shared this song with someone I love dearly who needed to be reminded of this. And the truth is, I think we all could stand to be reminded of this from time to time because this world is pretty good at convincing us that the opposite is true.

Take a few minutes to hear the truth about you.  It's a beautiful truth that God wants you to understand and embrace.

I Love the Night Life

I don't know what's been going on recently.  Usually, I'm a get-home-immediately-after-work-and-don't-venture-out-until-morning kind of gal. But lately, it's just been one night out after another.  Get a load of this schedule...and try not to be jealous.

Monday, I got my eyes checked after work. 

Tuesday, I got a haircut after work.

Thursday, I went to Costco and bought two pairs of glasses frames after dinner.

I mean the evenings really fly by when I'm out gallivanting like that every night.  Oh, and it doesn't stop there.

This coming Monday...I'm getting my mammogram, after work. 

Nothing like livin' on the wild side!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Eyes Have it!

I went to the eye doctor yesterday.  I really should have waited until Halloween.  My freaky-looking giant black pupils gave me a distinctly scary-eyed look that would have been perfect for All Hallows Eve! 

As I sat in the little room waiting for my pupils to finish dilating, I thought about how these appointments always go.  The assistant briefly greets me, and takes me back to a tiny examining booth where apparently small talk is prohibited.  Even though we are the only two people in this closet-sized space, and we are breathing each other's air, it's important not to acknowledge that I am a human being...only a pair of eyes.

After a quick wipe down with a damp tissue of a monsterish-looking machine, it is swung towards me and I am instructed to look into the eye piece and focus on the image of a hot air balloon hovering over a country road. I think I pass this test with flying colors.  I see the balloon.  I focus on the balloon.

Then it's time for the eye drops which I feverishly blink into my eyes.  This should be a sign to Miss Assistant that the whole eye measuring thing where she tries to actually touch my eyeball with some ridiculous tool is not going to go smoothly. After multiple attempts, she finally decides that my eyeball isn't numb enough so in go some more drops.  Finally, the assistant either gets the measurement she needs or simply gives up because we move on to the next step.

And it's this step that always makes my palms sweat.  At this point, the assistant starts flashing lines of letters for me to look at and in a no-nonsense-voice instructs me to tell her "Which is clearer, one or two?"  "One," I say with confidence.  "Two or three?" "Two!"  "Three or four?" "Uh...three."  "Four or five?" "Five...I think, yes, five."  "Five or six?"  "Can I see five again?" (This is where the palms start sweating.) 

This exercise goes on for thirty minutes or so.  Well, maybe thirty seconds, but it feels like minutes.  Suddenly, I'm stripped of my ability to make a confident decision.  What if I make a mistake and choose the wrong number?  What if I tell them that five was clearer when really it was four?  Will I end up with a pair of glasses with coke bottle lenses?  Are they going to mock me when I leave because I can't make a decision?  Really, it's too much.

So, I'm relieved when suddenly the torture comes to an end and another assistant wisks me away to an actual examination room where I can sit and wait for the doctor.  I always wonder if those little examination rooms have hidden cameras in them.  There you are, waiting and waiting for the doctor to come in and in the meantime, you might accidently need to adjust your underwear or make faces at yourself in the mirror with those freakish eyes.  I mean, some people might need to do that.

But thankfully, the doctor's visit is over in a blink of an eye (get it?).  After a quick look into my eyes, he writes me a stronger prescription for a new pair of specs and I'm ready to face the glaring light of day as I hop in my car and head home.  Really, the whole thing is not such a big deal.  I spent the rest of the night with my owlish eyes, squinting every time I walked into a brightly lit room. 

But now the real fun begins..trying on glasses frames that I can't even begin to see because they have stickers all over the lenses and they're not my prescription.  Oh well, if I don't get it right this time, there's always next year to look forward to.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What a Guy!

I just have to tell you, I am married to a wonderful man!  These past weeks have taken a toll on me.  I've been stressed and overworked, and as much as I try to leave the ickiness of work at work, I'm not always successful.  So guess who has to be a round Mrs. Groucho.  That's right, my poor husband.

But Friday night, he showed me how much he loves me.  I arrived home after a very long week that was topped off with my weekly grocery shopping.  As I pulled into the driveway, I saw my husband, Bud, standing there, waiting for me.  He does that sometimes. Just because. 

But as I got out my car, and started toward the trunk, Bud came and took my arm and steered me toward the house.  He wouldn't let me get an armload of groceries.  Instead, he led me into the house, up the stairs where he flung open the bathroom door. 

There waiting for me was a steaming bubble bath, glowing candles, and soft music.  It was my very own little spa! So, following my husband's instructions, I soaked and relaxed  and felt totally pampered. And for the first time in weeks, I was able to let the stress melt away.

I'm very lucky in that my husband tells me all the time how much he loves me. But Friday, he didn't just tell me, he showed me. What a blessing from a great husband!