"We're all just fragile threads, but what a tapestry we make." – Jerry Ellis

Archive for July, 2015

Erroneous First Impressions: A Subtle Reminder

assumptions

I was irritable.  I’m not sure if it was due to the oppressive heat, the stress of all that I needed to squeeze into the afternoon or that I was just plain hungry, but the crowded restaurant walls seemed to be closing in. Uncharacteristically I found myself thinking unkind thoughts about all the people sitting around me that were simply enjoying their lunch.

As Emily, Erin and I waited for our sandwiches at a cozy table for three, a uniformed paramedic came in.  After he ordered his lunch, he navigated towards the front counter near our table.  No sooner had he gotten there, than a young guy in his teens, dressed in long sweat pants and a hoodie with the hood pulled up over his head, approached him and told him he wanted to thank him for doing his job as a paramedic.  He went on to say that his brother had been saved from a fire by a paramedic with the Fire Department, and how much it meant to him.  The paramedic graciously thanked him, and it looked like he was truly flattered that this young man had taken a moment to come by and talk to him and show his gratitude.

I sat there with a mouthful of chicken salad sandwich and tried to swallow without letting tears escape.  I’m not sure why it touched my heart the way it did, but the kid was so sincere and his heart full of genuine gratitude.  My selfish mood was changed, and I felt ashamed of my previous outlook.  It also got me to thinking about how, had I not heard this exchange, I would have probably thought that kid was a wanna-be-hoodlum-type.  How wrong of an assumption that would have been!

Lesson learned.

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Happy Anniversary!

Wedding pic

Twenty two years ago today, Darrell and I tied the knot. We’ve had wonderful times during those years, and I hope that we have at least twice as many more years together to have even more. After being with one person for that long, it’s so easy to take one another for granted and to let the little things, that in truth do not really matter, take up a lot of precious time and energy. Here are just the first twenty-two things I thought of when I thought about what a great husband I have (there are more!).

 Happy Anniversary!

  1. You kiss me in the morning even when I have morning breath.
  2. You know how to fix just about anything.
  3. You always answer my questions about politics or history—stuff that I should know, but don’t—patiently and don’t make me feel stupid.
  4. You love dogs.
  5. You know how to build awesome decks and remodel bathrooms.
  6. You show compassion towards people that other people ignore.
  7. You try to make me happy every day.
  8. You go with the kids to shop for presents when it’s my birthday or Christmas.
  9. You never complain about my housekeeping, even when you should.
  10. You help the kids with their math homework.
  11. You always drive the kids to school, even though it inconveniences you.
  12. You don’t complain when I watch my ghost shows, even though I know you don’t really like them.
  13. You never say no to Italian food.
  14. You always bring me a cup of coffee in the morning.
  15. You work hard to provide for us.
  16. You endure going to the doctor and having wires attached to you so that you can snore less and I can sleep much better.
  17. You help me be a more loving daughter.
  18. You are an excellent role model for our kids.
  19. You are always willing to share the last beer.
  20. You make me feel beautiful, even on days when I feel dumpy and gross.
  21. You love to reminisce with me about our good old days together. Bonus: You actually remember stuff.
  22. You are my voice of reason when I need one.

Reset, Please!

Remember when the cure for “fixing” a computer was to re-boot by turning it off and restarting it?  It seems like my PC doesn’t do that quite as often anymore, but that’s still my go-to cure with anything that has an on/off button.  Note this does not work well with coffee makers—when the machine says to descale, it’s time to get out the vinegar and not keep unplugging it.  While my body doesn’t have a plug-in cord or an actual reset button, there are times when I mentally feel like a reset is in order.

Often it’s our circumstances that reset life for us.  It could be a move to a new school when you’re a kid, the death of a loved one or a new city when a job change occurs.  All can be daunting and attitude plays a huge role.  One thing I’ve found is that big changes don’t tend to happen in a singular fashion—it’s typically the accompanying little changes that piggy back one another that alter our life’s course.  It’s those little ones that make it hard to tell what the catalyst for inner change actually was.

Other times in our lives require that we orchestrate a reset to get out of a funk or a less than ideal situation.  For me, these can be harder to do, because they involve making a big decision to change something and following through.  It’s letting go of the comfortable and moving into unchartered territory.  Those types of difficult resets—the kind that make your whole hand shake as you press that little reset button—but can be extremely empowering.  As a person of faith, for me they involve soul searching and prayer.  Ultimately I feel when I’ve contemplated those resets with those two components I don’t make rash decisions I later regret.  However even then, very rarely does that mean they turn out how I expected.

Blame it on my Astrological sign (I’m a Gemini), but I enjoy coming up with various ways to renew life to feel refreshed.  Or maybe I have a little ADD.  Either way, as much as my kids might argue that I am stuck in my ways about some things (yes, I have to order cashew chicken with hot and sour soup every time I’m at Green China), I feel like mini resets are how to continue to grow as a person.  When life becomes too routine and comfortable, it becomes stagnant.  I try to keep that from happening, sometimes at the risk of failure.  Yeah, I tried to eat strictly Paleo—it lasted about three weeks.

Fortunately, when you’re raising a family, the natural progression of life keeps it from standing still in any one spot too long.  There’s no doubt that kids keep things fresh.  New interests, sport seasons, friends, and grade in school once a year ensure something’s just beginning or ending.  It keeps life interesting, but in truth it is their annual reset, that involve a few logistical tweaks for me.  At this point in time, our “life events”, as defined by insurance plans everywhere, usually revolve around the status of our children.  With all that craziness going on, my reset can be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep.  And sometimes that’s as close to a PC re-boot I’m going to get—this week!

For All Those Times When Spell Check is Unavailable

Graffiti--otherwise known as thought provoking reading on those eight-mile hikes

Graffiti–otherwise known as thought provoking reading on those eight-mile hikes

Found this on a bridge pier during a hike at the Katy Trail in St. Charles and couldn’t resist sharing.  It’s good to know that there are some conscientious graffiti artists that have their fellow cartoonists’ backs in the spell check department, even if it’s a bit of an admonishing tone. Spell check, Bro!

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