Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Five: Road Trip!

Big Sur
We found star fish in a place like this in Big Sur
RevGal Jan has just returned from a great road trip! She invites us to share five road trips of our own, including best and worst. Here goes:

EARLIEST: Fairly regular road trips from El Paso, TX to Cloudcroft, NM. Some of my earliest memories of vacations are of this trek from the desert to the mountains, from hot to cool, from dry sand dunes to lakes and streams and fragrant trees. We stayed in a little motel court, fished in a nearby lake, and learned my dad's rule of fishing: "You catch 'em, you clean 'em, you cook 'em, you eat 'em!"

LONGEST: My family of origin took several summer trips from El Paso to California. The longest of these lasted two weeks and we went to San Clemente, Pismo Beach, and Big Sur. Miscellaneous highlights: the first time I saw blue jays and redwinged blackbirds, eating a halibut my mom caught, the redwood trees, day trip to Monterey and eating shrimp, camping in the pop-up camper, my sister finding a $5 bill (in the early 60's!) in the parking lot of a fancy restaurant where we ate dressed in very casual vacation clothes because my dad said that it didn't matter if you could pay!

WORST: (Let's hide this one in the middle of the pack.)  A summer road trip from Dayton to Maine. I had always wanted to go to Maine, and it is still one of the favorite places I've ever been. The trip itself, a year before the marriage ended, was awful. Words have not yet been invented to describe the pain of that trip.

BEST: Always, kids in the car on trips near and far!  When the kids were 2, 8, and 9 we moved from Dallas to Philadelphia.  One leg of that move involved me driving with just the kids from Richmond VA to Philadelphia in our family van. One of the older kids was "riding shotgun" and trying to read a map while we all sang along to a cassette tape of "Camp Song Sing-A-Long" the songs they had learned at camp or VBS.  At one point, I needed to have a look at the map, so we exited the highway somewhere near Washington DC.  Immediately we found ourselves at a security gate outside of some kind of unmarked compound with armed guards coming out to ask us what we were doing there and making it very clear that we needed to be gone sooner rather than later.  These are the kinds of things that happened before GPS and cellphone support for road trips!  It was not as stressful as it was funny!  And it was typical of the fun I remember having with the kids in the car.

FANTASY: The stereotypical RV fantasy: take the house on the road!  There might be some fun people along (or not). There might be an agenda -- visit all the minor league ball parks or state parks or all the relatives or all 49 land states -- or not. It would be fun to just go and see and be out there, exploring.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Five: Counting Blessings

Newest family member: Daniel
Terri gives us a short and sweet Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals:

Offer five gratitudes you recognize in your life.

OK, then, in no particular order:
  • Very good health.  I was blessed with great genetics and have continued to be blessed by health care that's been accessible enough and affordable enough. I'm approaching another birthday and I am grateful for how it's going.
  • Meaningful work. At this moment, I am grateful that my work life is alive and well and going in some good new directions. Recently, when I thought it might very well be over with, I was called yet again. 
  • Gluten Free Pizza.  I made this recipe for GF pizza crust today for a pizza lunch that I've been wanting. It was easy and it's really really good!  Toppings:  fresh basil, home grown tomatoes, onion and red pepper.
  • Cooler weather.  I can feel autumn in the air. And it feels really really good.
  • Family, family everywhere.  I am really grateful for a scattered family. It's the fact, so let's celebrate the joys of it! They are scattered all the way from Portland, OR to the deep South to NYC and Vermont.  I'm grateful for the experience of anticipating trips to visit them and looking forward to their visits with me.  In the next six weeks, I get to go to Portland, OR and Baton Rouge, LA.  So grateful!  

BONUS: An unexpected blessing today was being touched by  "The Place I Want to Get Back To," the Mary Oliver poem posted by Terri.  Thank you, Terri, for the many ways you speak to our spirits.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm Still Game (Part 3)

Question MarkThis is Part Three of a game that began with Robin's invitation to play.  Here are my Part One and Part Two.  It took me a day or so to respond to Part Three, which got a lot more contemplative:

Third Question:  What do you consider to be the big question or conundrum of your life?

My answer:  "Am I doing the right thing?"  

Which brought up even more questions:

How do you know "when to hold 'em" and "when to fold 'em"?
Is there even a "right thing" anyway?
Is the right thing always the loving thing, and vice versa?
Why do some decisions seem so easy for me and not for others? (and vice versa)
Why can't people get along?
Is choosing love the same thing as choosing God?
Just because it's easy for me, does that mean it's good/right?
Just because it's painful/difficult for me, does that mean it's time to stop?

And wandering off to other things:

Why am I so blessed?
What is my responsibility to the world?
Why does God's way seem to lose to other ways?
Am I on God's way or in God's way?
Is "introspective" the same thing as "contemplative"?
Will I ever find and make a recipe for really good gluten-free bread?

And it goes on . . . and on . . .

Robin's disclaimer:  I should probably warn you at this point that there is absolutely nothing behind these questions other than my own imagination.  I dreamed them up a couple of days ago when I was trying to work something out for myself, and they produced what seemed to me an intriguing insight.

It's OK, Robin.  I'm hooked!  I'm still having fun with it.  You've made me think.  And even more, you've reminded me to celebrate some things I had forgotten were even hanging around.

I look forward to the final part that -- my guess and my hope -- will produce my own intriguing insight. Or something else entirely!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I'm Game! (part 2)

Dallas skyline at night
The Dallas skyline at night
This is a continuation of this post from yesterday.

Today's question:  Within each of your groups, do you see commonalities?

I responded to today's question in RED!

1. Five colors: Magenta, lavender, forest green, ivory, Christmas red -- These are colors found in nature and also in interesting interiors.

2. Five cities: Dallas, TX; Portland, OR; Baton Rouge, LA; Portland, ME; Santa Fe, NM -- I have been to each of these and each has a sentimental attachment of some kind.  I've actually lived in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

3.  Five landscapes: Central American jungle, organic farm, Cajun bayou, Smoky Mountains, open sea -- Each of these is a combination of exotic and comforting. These are places I've been, more specifically, places that I'm grateful to have been and experienced.

4.  Five interiors: Hogwarts, rustic cabin, castle, country church, general store -- I'm gonna take a guess that these are all quirky, surprising, spiritual to me.

5. Five things you might wear: skirt, t-shirt, jeans, pj's, sweater -- comfort, definitely comfort, and casual and relaxed.

Looking forward to part three, Robin!

Monday, August 08, 2011

I'm Game!

Day 362: What's your game?Robin at Metanoia has invited her readers to play a multi-part game of some kind.  She has posted the first step, and when at least 10 people have responded, we get to find out the next step.  I have so appreciated Robin's depth, and so I trust her whimsy.  Wanna play?

Robin's game:

Take a minute and write down your responses to the following.  No context ~ just whatever responses pop into your mind.  Be as general or specific as you want, using as few words as possible.

1. Five colors: Magenta, lavender, forest green, ivory, Christmas red

2. Five cities: Dallas, TX; Portland, OR; Baton Rouge, LA; Portland, ME; Santa Fe, NM

3.  Five landscapes: Central American jungle, organic farm, Cajun bayou, Smoky Mountains, open sea

4.  Five interiors: Hogwarts, rustic cabin, castle, country church, general store

5. Five things you might wear: skirt, t-shirt, jeans, pj's, sweater

When at least  ten people have responded, either in their comments or in their own blogs, I'll tell you the next step.  There are four steps in all.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wednesday Randomness: Breast-feeding, Jesus, etc. Edition

amadona69Last week, "the Cat" from Sweet Memes commented on my Friday Five. I enjoyed visiting that blog which plays blog memes and has a nice blog roll of them, too.  Here are today's random questions posed by the W.T.F. Weekly Meme (which stands for Wed., Thurs., Fri., of course!):

1) Veterinarians always say people should not feed their leftover food to their pets, but one of my dogs has eaten people food for his entire 16 years of life and has no health issues. Do you feel it's okay to feed people food to pets or should you always follow the vet's instructions? 
I haven't usually fed my cats people food.  For a special treat one Thanksgiving, I put a small plate of turkey by her food. She ignored it. That said, the other day, I found her licking clean my dinner plate when my back was turned.  Cats!

2) Have you ever become addicted to a game (of any sort)? If so, what was it?  
I can easily get addicted to things I enjoy!  My son and I played an online game "Final Fantasy" over several months and it definitely captured my attention.

3) This week is World Breastfeeding Week. Should women be able to breastfeed in public places (assuming their [sic] covered up)?  

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  And why should they cover up? The trouble is with the eyes of the beholder, not with the visibility of the most natural and healthy food source for new children.

4) It is National Clown Week. Because of my ex-husband, clowns freak me out. Have clowns ever scared you?  
I don't remember being scared of them, but I'm not a big fan of the clown or the circus, which did scare me on a regular basis.

5) If you became a spy and could pick anyone (living or dead, real or fictional) as your partner, who would it be?  
Patrick Jane, "The Mentalist"!

6) Last week my boyfriend told me this, "I get life philosophy from pop culture." Where do you (or did you) get the majority of your life philosophy?  
I am captivated by the Jesus philosophy, even if I'm not always enamored with the so-called Jesus religion and its claimants. That's a shameless paraphrase of Gandhi:  "I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike your Christ."  Can you tell I'm stinging a little right now?

7) My local newspaper did a story over the weekend about stories taxi cab drivers hear while driving passengers. It was a "taxi cab confessions" type story. Have you ever had a deep conversation with a cab driver? 

8) Cottonelle has introduced a toilet paper cover. (Watch a V commercial here.) Do you think toilet paper should be hidden or is it okay for people to see it "naked" in your bathroom? 
This is what advertising is all about!

9) The Food Network's show "Meat & Potatoes" is rated "M" for "Meat." Many movies are rated "PG" for "Parental Guidance." Some video games are rated "E" for "Everyone." What is your life rated? 
"A" for "Amazing"!

10) What was a quick decision you once made that changed your life? 
Due to certain family situations and pressures, it was an instantaneous decision, made under duress, that my college major would be medical technology.  Some of the future consequences of that decision: ditching my severe fear of needles, moving to Dallas as a young adult to do a med tech internship, and a terrific fall-back career that has been very good to me.