The Best Surprise

The last few months, I get this panicked feeling every Monday evening. I sift through the events of my week looking for a nugget that might be of interest to someone. Thinking, how can I expand a moment into a blog worthy post? I don’t know what has happened, but my life seems to have slowed down. I work at my desk. I fix dinner. I watch TV while reading on-line and interacting via games on the internet in the evening. I go to bed. Repeat, day after day.

Where will my slice come from, I worry. Maybe I will skip this week, I think. But then I read slices and I find myself at the computer tapping out my thoughts. So once again, no thought of a slice until I read an email from Oprah titled 11 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Before the Year Ends. I clicked on the link, curious as to what every woman should write down and found my nugget for today. It was #8 The Best Surprise You’ve Ever Had. The caption under the title said, “There’s no better way to celebrate the rich, full life you’ve lived so far—and the big, bright future ahead—than telling your story.”

An example was given, a 40th birthday party. That brought back memories. I did have a fabulous 40th birthday party. It was a party that included a pina colada in a pineapple with a paper umbrella and hula dancing men wearing coconut bras. But that was not the best surprise ever.

Here is the best surprise, ever:

Mike, my husband, and I were on our way to a Ben Folds concert in June. We had purchased these tickets months before. We only knew Ben Folds from his role on the TV show The Sing-Off. Since we enjoyed his humor and comments, we decided to see what he would do in a live performance.

It was a Sunday, late afternoon, a time when my son might place his weekly call to me. Just as we were parallel parking, my phone rang with the unique ringtone indicating it was David. Since we were in the car, the phone went right to bluetooth, so we could both chat with David.

After a few minutes of chatting, catching up on everyday happenings David said, “I have something to tell you.” My heart dropped, those words often indicated that something was not right in his world. But the next two words were the best surprise ever. Words I didn’t ever think I would hear. “Allie’s pregnant.”

The feeling of worry and dread exploded into joy that cannot be described. We had a baby coming into our life! I cannot wait for this baby girl to arrive! (due date: Jan. 1) So here’s to the big, bright future ahead as our family grows. :-)

 

Pausing This Morning

I cracked one eye open, the window was still dark. I gratefully closed that eye, did an internal sigh of contentment, and settled back into the bed, pulling the blanket just a bit closer. Today I don’t have to get up. Today I can enjoy the softness and warmth of the bed a few minutes longer. Tomorrow I can’t.

Outside was brittle cold. Record lows were noted for the record books. I knew I had a busy day ahead, but I had the luxury of setting my own time schedule. I was in no hurry to begin. Twenty minutes later, the sun was just making its presence known. It was time to get the day started, but I smiled as I thought of the extra few minutes I could take today.

Those moments used to be a rare happening. Busy family life always kept everyone on a frantic pace. Now, there is less family in the house. The pace has slowed. There are more quiet moments now. I enjoy the quiet, but yet I miss the earlier life too.

The Difference in a Day

How much difference can there be in just one day? Here’s my answer to that . . .

Yesterday: I began the day with long sleeves and long pants, but by noon I changed into short sleeves, capris, and barefoot.

Today: Layers are needed, warm fleece, soft knits that hug, and cozy socks.

Yesterday: Bright blue skies, winds that played with the leaves still clutching their branches.

Today: Gray skies, dampness that chills, winds that howl.

Yesterday: Lounging on the patio, savoring the warming rays of sunshine while enjoying the final pages of a book, iced tea at hand.

Today: Barricaded in my office, a small space heater to take the chill off, steaming coffee at hand.

Yesterday: During the night, a sheet for a cover, occasionally tossed aside.

Tonight: A fleece blanket will be tucked close to my chin trapping the warmth.

It seems that winter has announced he is back and plans to stay for quite a while. Sigh . . . one day makes a difference.

 

Creation of a List

A few weeks back I received notice from Twitter that I was mentioned in a tweet. Of course, I immediately was curious because I am a wish-I-could understand-Twitter-and-use-it-more-but-I-don’t kind of Twitterer. Terje (Just for a Month) had tossed a challenge my way. Create a list of 100 things I am grateful for. Whew, that’s a lot, but I let the idea simmer in my mind. Then last week Jaana (Jaana’s Writing Blog) created and delivered her list. I knew I had to get started. So here is my list of 100 things I am grateful for:

 

  1. my husband
  2. my son
  3. a daughter-in-law
  4. a granddaughter
  5. a granddaughter waiting to be born
  6. family near and far
  7. friends near
  8. friends from long ago
  9. a comfortable home
  10. a teaching career
  11. connections through blogging
  12. opportunities for learning
  13. Friends of the Library sale
  14. good health
  15. time to savor life
  16. ocean cruises
  17. wandering
  18. pizza
  19. scarves
  20. picture books
  21. a comfortable car to travel in
  22. sunshine
  23. awesome neighbors
  24. road trips
  25. having an office for my “stuff”
  26. professional books
  27. a son who usually calls weekly
  28. grilled cheese
  29. camera in my phone
  30. nieces and nephews
  31. blue cheese
  32. work colleagues
  33. toasty fires
  34. Italian cream cake
  35. visiting family
  36. new recipes to try
  37. Draw Something friends
  38. iPad with photos
  39. key lime pie concretes at Andy’s Frozen Custard in July
  40. biking
  41. Thanksgiving with family
  42. cousins who cook fabulous dinners (yes, that is you Phillip)
  43. eating out
  44. pumpkin food in the fall
  45. mail
  46. bright colors
  47. husband who keeps everything clean
  48. coffee with friends
  49. some time alone (not a lot)
  50. meeting slicers (17 so far)
  51. anything with coconut
  52. a great teacher retirement system
  53. fuzzy lined moccasin slippers
  54. granite counter tops
  55. comfortable patio furniture where I can read and enjoy sunshine
  56. heated seats in cars
  57. internet connection
  58. surprises
  59. discovering nature’s wonder
  60. bead stores
  61. bead stores with a sale
  62. blog comments
  63. Pandora
  64. Christmas celebrations
  65. diet cherry Dr. Pepper
  66. just picked peaches
  67. pedicures
  68. river cruises
  69. hamburgers
  70. freedoms of our country
  71. down pillows
  72. watermelon in summer
  73. computer techs
  74. teachers who want to learn
  75. pasta meals
  76. juicy berries
  77. cups that don’t sweat
  78. taking my mom out for a meal
  79. on-line shopping
  80. ice cream
  81. hot running water
  82. bookstores
  83. cozy comforters
  84. NCIS reruns (love Gibbs)
  85. Instagram
  86. changing seasons
  87. finding bargains
  88. garden tomatoes
  89. crispy bacon
  90. getting into a sun-warmed car on a cold day
  91. dark chocolate
  92. fleece vests
  93. appliances that make life easier
  94. snow days
  95. snow blower
  96. ice makers
  97. fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm when I type
  98. friendly smiles
  99. All Write Conference
  100. a husband who helped me get to 100 items when my brain shut down

gratitude

If you made it all the way to the end, I congratulate you. Now I challenge you to develop your own list. :-)

Declined!

Slip the credit card in to the slot, pull it out, wait for authorization. Simple procedure to get gas, one that has been done countless times. Not so simple when the message that flashes includes the word declined.

Immediately the mind goes into a panic mode. The heart races, blood pressure rises, the bottom falls out of your stomach. What could be the cause of this? Has someone stolen the credit card number through air waves? Miles from home this is not the message one wants to read.

Another credit card is used for the gas, so we can continue the trip, but I must also begin the task of finding out the cause for being declined. A quick call to the customer service number on the back of the card sets the mind back at ease.

“Did you purchase gas in Apple City, Minnesota this morning?”

“Yes.”

“Did you just now try to purchase gas in Bethany, Missouri?”

“Yes.”

“So sorry for the declined purchase, but everything is fine now. You may use your card. I will put a note on your account that you are traveling.”

“We will be home later this afternoon, so our travel is almost over. Thank you for keeping an eye on our account.”

A moment of panic, followed by relief. It is comforting to know that someone is watching for unusual activity.

 

Thoughts from a Bathroom Door

You just never know where you might find your next slice of life. Sometimes they blow in and land on you. Sometimes they crawl up from underground and invade your space. They even startle you as you calmly are eating lunch. As the title stated, you might find a slice hanging on the back of a bathroom door.

It was lunchtime, my husband and I were hungry, so we began the search for some place to eat. We were in Kansas, where the road was long and not very populated. Finally, a small town appeared and as we drove through we spotted a coffee shop advertising sandwiches. We stopped.

The menu was written on a board over the counter. The daily special was blank. I inquired if there was a special for the day.

The owner said, “Monday comes with it’s own set of troubles, we don’t need to add to it by having a special.” Interesting attitude I thought.

So we chose something from the menu. I went to the restroom to wash my hands and discovered a new way of looking at things.

photo 1 (16) photo 2 (17)

Once lunch was over and we were back in the car, the lists I had just read pushed me to think of creating a few phrases that were just for me.

Savor the sights around you.
Enjoy the company of the one(s) you are with today.
Relish relationships.
Dream big.
Bask in the delight of others.
Share a smile.
Make a discovery.

What thoughts would you add? You just never know where you will find a slice! :-)

 

Battling Bunny

A growl erupts from my husband and he flies out of his chair into the backyard. The first time this happened I wondered what horrible thing had occurred in the yard. I discovered it was a small four-legged creature taunting my husband.

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

 

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I can keep an eye on what's happening in this yard.

Here I can keep an eye on what’s happening in this yard.

 

I need to check out this new land.

I need to check out this new land.

Running, clapping, chasing only sent the bunny into the bushes. This called for a new plan. The hose was brought into action. Bunny did not like the hose! It bounded out of the yard to escape the spray.

The dreaded hose!

The dreaded hose!

However, either it has a short memory or it is a new one who is back and exploring the patio. I guess the war isn’t over, yet.

photo (4)