Friday, December 24, 2010

Love Cousins, Love Facebook, Love These 2 Guys

My godfather and favorite uncle is on the right.  Sonny Jurgensen is on the left.

I reconnected with far-flung cousins on facebook.  And I got so incredibly lucky - one cousin had kept this photo that I had long ago lost. AND the same cousin was so kind to track it down and send me a copy.

My heroes.  I cried when I opened it up.  And I almost never cry.

Some people occupy very very big spaces in our lives.   Joy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Damn It - Being an Ass Again

Why is gratitude so difficult to remember in the throes of day-to-day life?  Such an ass I can be.  Yesterday I volunteered at a shelter - food prep and serving.  I wish I could say I do this often, but truth is that I don't.  On a day like that, it is easy to remember gratitude.  Grateful for much of my life, for unspeakable gifts, grateful for people I cherish, grateful that I am one of the 2% who survive Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  I remembered  all that yesterday.

Then forward 24 hours and I have forgotten it.  All of it.  Every last bit.  Today I was frazzled and bitching - I have a joint flare, can't exercise, working hard and intensely to make up for not having worked hard last week,struggling with upcoming trip arrangements.  And then, the proverbial capper.... a friend has done me a great kindness and I realized with a start that I needed to go out to dreaded stores and get a gift.  That REALLY annoyed me - having to shop 3 days before Christmas - I just forgot somehow that it was shopping because of a wonderful, unexpected kindness.

And then the last bit of the day - I grew progressively more annoyed at how much effort, how many phone calls, how many fax attempts it was taking to get a Cayman condo stocked for our arrival in a couple days.  Embarrassing, but true; I was fizzing because I needed to be sure that there was beer and wine on arrival - and not one single moment later.  Embarrassing to say that it seemed an actual urgency, if not bona fide crisis.

People don't have jobs or have jobs they hate or jobs that don't pay enough.  People don't have homes or don't have the right one or are in danger of losing it.  Life smacks people around.  My heart stopped without symptom or warning -  and I didn't die.

My only hope is that I can learn to remember gratitude as quickly as I forget it.  Ridiculous.  That is me in the photo.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Boats as Prism

All through the fall and early winter, I rented boats.  I have not gone out alone yet - my skills are not at that level.  Each of my companions had more experience than I do, but only one is expert in the local waters,  And the local waters here, as in many places, are tricky. Sandbars lurk.

The boat owners provide a briefing on the basics and finer points of the boat and some insight into the local waters.  My companions hear the briefing in remarkably different ways.  And I have learned how I will hear the briefing when my turn comes.

The least experienced of the bunch had the least patience for the briefing.  She thinks you  need to know  only on/off, forward/reverse, anchor and depth finder.  Navigational markers are superfluous.

Then the men.  One responded with visible signs of irritation; no overt brusqueness, but non-verbally communicating that he had a great deal of boating experience and did not need the information on the boat.  Had little interest in the local water information as well. Outwardly polite, but point made clearly and sharply - not a newbie.

Then the next verbalized in a blustery, I-blew-by-the-Jones's sort of way.  You know how this goes: he had owned boats far bigger than this one, grew up on the water,  navigated far trickier seas, caught bigger and better fish -  he knew all he wanted to know.

And then there is the class act who will be my role model when my time finally comes to receive my very own briefing. This friend has been out on the rental boat with me several times; he has heard the entire briefing more than once; he grew up here and has been boating these waters for 40+ years.  But he was silent, smiling, gracious and attentive - even the second or third time through.  The first time, he turned to me after we had gotten underway to explain why he had let the briefing run through even though there was no new information for him --- but an explanation was not necessary.  It was already clear.

This is one of the kindest people I have ever known; he will grant each person time, patience and respect for their expertise; what he already knows is just not the point.

Boat as prism - kindness trumps.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Creepiness at the Gym

Well, I was going to write about boating having given way to Beef Stew.  Yes, it's cold.  I heard we may break a record this week for most consecutive days with below freezing temperatures.  Who the hell keeps such records??
Just a week ago it was 68, sunny , no wind and boated with friends.

Today it will top out at 45 or so - the beef stew will be made in time for the end of second football game.  Hoping a friend comes by to share it.

Back to creepiness at the gym.  This AM, next to me on an elliptical machine was a 60-65 year old fit guy.  Each machine has its own TV screen and he was flipping channels and settled on - -- wait for it --- High School cheer-leading championships.
Come on, now.  The only people who watch cheer-leading championships are blood relatives of participants.  I don't even think you could get the related-by-marriage folks to sit through this.

But this dude was rapt.  Ick.  If it's possible to have a lascivious lean on an elliptical machine, he had it.  Ick, Ick Ick.
When I see guys like that, I feel for the inevitable wife and daughter.


Back to prepping the stew.