Monday, October 29, 2012

Men Are Different

Today was one of those days I try not to hate, but can’t help myself. There was not even a hint of sunshine all day long. It was necessary to have lights on in every room.

I kept trying to put into practice what my favorite doctor used to suggest.
When I’d tell him how a dreary day depresses me, he’d say, “Spend the day doing what you like to do; read, write, sleep, watch TV, and listen to your favorite music. Make no demands on yourself.”

“Just be!”

I loved the idea, but when I tried it, I always got sidetracked and started doing something else.

“You get distracted easier than anyone I’ve ever known,” said Mr. H.

I admit it. I do get distracted easily. As appealing as it sounds, it’s difficult for me to “just be.” There has to be a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day or I feel worthless and unhappy.

Men are different. Mr. H. couldn’t get distracted if he tried. His day doesn’t even begin until he's worked all of the crossword puzzles in the newspaper after breakfast each day. Nothing takes precedence over these! And in the evening, from right after dinner until bedtime, it’s non-stop TV! The only time I can talk to him is during commercials.

And a dark day like this one? Doesn’t bother him a bit! It’s just another day.

Let’s face it. Men don’t sweat the small stuff like women do. If I believed in reincarnation (which I don’t), I’d definitely want to come back as a man the next time. I think they hold exclusive rights to the ability to “Just be.”

Makes sense. The doctor who made the suggestion is a man!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Emotional or Clairvoyant?

Sometimes so many things hit at once that it’s not only tiring physically but also confusing mentally and emotionally. Exactly one week ago today, Mr. H. and I traveled to North Carolina to visit our eldest daughter and her family.

We had a wonderful visit, although our enjoyment was overshadowed somewhat by the fact that her father-in-law was in the hospital. Knowing this, we had hesitated to go, but our daughter and her husband, Mike, insisted, saying he’d be fine.

But on Saturday evening, when Mike received the news that his father had been moved to a Hospice facility, he decided to leave on Sunday morning and head for West Virginia to see him. We stayed until early afternoon, enjoying as much time as possible with our daughter and her children. We see them only about three times a year. That’s not enough.

When we finally got packed up, the three of them walked to the car with us. We gave hugs all around, said our good-byes and waved until we were out of sight. I fought back tears, as I always do when we leave them. Somehow, this lovely fall day only added to my despair. The joy I felt just drinking in its beauty – coupled with the sadness of leaving those I love were conflicting emotions that were almost painful. A dreary day might have been easier.

But a few miles out, I began to smile again. I listened to some of my favorite music, and had a conversation with Mr. H. about the visit, the way the kids had grown up and the sorrow of an almost certain impending death. We remembered that another granddaughter’s birthday was today and decided to stop at her house, just a few miles from ours, and wish her a happy birthday before going home.

Once again, thoughts of a happy occasion merged with a sad one, confusing my emotions.

The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative. My favorite month – October – was on her best behavior. It was a sunny, breezy seventy degree day. And the mountains! How can I possibly describe the magnificence of these mountains on this particular late October afternoon?

Varied hues of red, yellow, orange, rust, green and brown took my breath away. I snapped picture after picture from the car windows, wanting the breathtaking scenery of the three states we traveled in to last forever! My eyes had seen all the glory they could embrace and now I had to trust the camera to capture the rest of it. For a couple of hours I bounced back and forth from weepy and sad to an uncanny state of euphoria triggered by the intense beauty of these surrounding mountains!

I’d think of Mike’s father dying and relive the pain of leaving my loved ones and tears would flow. Then I’d survey the mountains of a thousand colors glowing in the sunlight and envision the beautiful face of our young granddaughter who was celebrating a birthday and I'd feel happy again.

I was as puzzled by my shifting emotions as was Mr. H.

“I have a peculiar feeling in my heart and soul and mind,” I told him. “If only I could put it into words!”

A man who knows when it’s best to keep quiet, he said nothing.

Shortly after we got home, Mike phoned to inform us that he was going to stay overnight; his father was worse than he’d expected. He passed away early Monday morning.

Yes, a lot can happen in a week.

Mr. H. and I were at Mike and Toney's house in North Carolina last Friday and everyone was happy. Today, exactly one week later, they were at our house and we attended his father’s funeral.

I can’t see how my emotional binge of last Sunday and the death of our son-in-law’s father could be related, but it's a well-known fact that highly sensitive people feel things more deeply than the non-sensitive. Some believe they're also extremely intuitive.
That would explain a lot, wouldn't it?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time Flows Like A River~

Mr. H. and I are planning a trip to North Carolina this weekend to visit our oldest daughter and her family. We’re really looking forward to it! With everyone so busy these days, we don’t get to see them nearly as often as we’d like. It seems her two kids grew up when we weren't looking! Her son has already graduated from college and is working, while her daughter is in her third year of college. Seems like just yesterday they were coming to visit with two energetic toddlers who turned the house upside down!

We were always happy to have them visit, but when they left, we had to rest for at least two days! To say they were active kids would be an understatement. And I’ve never seen little kids survive on so little sleep. My daughter would not allow afternoon naps because that meant they wouldn’t want to go to bed at night. So all the sleep they got was from about 8:30 to 9 P.M. until around 6:30 A.M.

Well, no morning person this gal; that was pure torture for me! During the winter months, it was still dark when they woke us and I had to get up and start cooking breakfast. Then it was a whole day of playing games and chasing after them, making lunch and dinner and bedtime snacks. It’s just a good thing we were much younger then.

Somehow, we survived those visits, but as happy as we were to see their headlights as they pulled into the driveway, I must confess, we were sometimes just as happy to see their taillights moving out of the driveway as they were leaving, the smiling and waving continuing until they were out of sight. The love you feel for your children and grandchildren is genuine but it doesn’t stop you from getting exhausted, especially when their schedule is totally different from yours.

The years passed, the kids started school, began making friends and getting involved in their own activities, and the visits became fewer... and fewer. Guess what? We miss those hectic times! As we watched them grow up - from afar - we would love to have stopped time or gone back a few years. But, as you know, we can't do that. Once a day is gone - it's gone forever! The only way we can go is forward.

Now, we visit them about twice a year and, of course, we have phone calls and e-mail. And they always come home for the major holidays. These are wonderful times. The holiday memories will live forever in all of us!

We have other grandchildren who live closer and have spent more time with us, so we don’t have this feeling of “missing” so much of their lives like we do with the two who’ve always lived several hundred miles away.

And yet, they’ve grown up quickly, too. Time seems to evaporate. If only we could hold onto the special times forever. But we cannot. That's why we must squeeze every bit of joy possible from each day, and cherish each moment we spend with those we love. 

Remember, tomorrow, today will be yesterday!

Monday, October 15, 2012


As Mr. H. and I were driving home from a little outing this evening, we heard John Tesh on the radio offering one of his well-researched suggestions. He said if you have trouble with your eyes tearing up when you chop onions, just stick your head in the freezer for a few minutes. We looked at each other, paused for a few seconds, and then laughed aloud.

After several meaningless remarks, we agreed that we wouldn’t be trying JT’s suggestion because we’d rather have tears coming out of our eyes than have “eye-sicles” hanging from them.


Yes, of course. But anything that makes you laugh can’t be all bad, can it?

Here's another one of JT's offerings that's a little more serious:

Did you know you could be spending 40 hours every week doing something that’ll kill you? It’s sitting! Here are some ways researchers say that sitting damages our health:

      • It ruins your sleep! When you sit still for long periods, fluid builds up in your legs. And when you eventually stretch out in bed that fluid travels up to your throat muscles causing them to swell. And that can quickly lead to sleep apnea – where you partially wake up several times an hour just to breathe. Even if you don’t realize you’re waking up – you’re not getting quality rest.
     • It makes your rear end bigger! That’s because sitting puts weight on the fat cells in your rear – causing them to produce twice as much fat, at a faster rate, as when you’re standing. And worse – when we sit or lie on fat cells, they produce more triglycerides, the fat that increases your risk of stroke.

     • Sitting can turn your lungs into ticking time bombs! A study found that sedentary people have more than double the risk of developing a deadly pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in your lung! That’s because any time you sit, your blood flow slows, and is much more likely to form clots that settle in your lungs.

The fix? Stand up! Experts say that every 20 minutes, you should stand up and stretch your legs for a minute. Also, get in the habit of standing up while doing mindless things, like talking on the phone and texting.

 That’s important to know, but consider this:

A friend gave me a morsel of information last night that tops John’s collection – for now anyway. It seems she had learned that a certain group of people in this country are said to wear “magic underwear.” According to my research, wearing the underwear has strong meaning to those who believe in it and is of great importance to their faith.

Now, I really don’t care what kind of underwear anyone wears, but, in my opinion, labeling it “magic” is going out on a limb. It’s supposed to protect them from evil; some even claim it gives them x-ray vision. Hmmmm...
 I’ll ponder that and get back to you!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

One Of Those Days

Ever have one of those mornings when you know right away that it’s not going to be a good day? Mine started as soon as I got out of bed this morning. The phone rang before I’d even had breakfast. That’s always a bad sign. If my phone starts ringing that early, it does something weird to the ringer and it keeps ringing all day!

It’s sort of like that button under the seat cushion of my recliner. Did you ever notice – when you grab a cup of coffee and get all prepared to watch your favorite TV show, just as you sit down in your chair, the phone rings! I’ve looked high and low for the button that activates that ringer so I can disconnect that bad boy! (Just between you and me, there’s one under the toilet seat, too).

So, after too many phone calls and my cat depositing a giant hairball on the living room carpet, I was not in a very good mood by dinner time.

However I tried to do as a popular TV evangelist often says: “No matter what happens, be happy on purpose,” she touts, with a smile on her face. So I forced a big smile and started rattling those pots and pans. Well, I must not be living right ‘cause this “happy on purpose” thing didn’t work for me. Everything I did went awry. I’m not sure I belong in the kitchen!

When I peeled potatoes, most of them had to be thrown away because they had black spots in them, but I was finally able to salvage enough good ones to make a “batch.” I put them on to cook and started cooking my pork chops. Wouldn’t you know it? They stuck to the pan like they were super-glued and when I tried to pry them loose, grease popped everywhere, making a big, greasy mess and burning my finger. I felt like throwing the chops away – pan and all! But remembering the words, “No matter what happens, be happy on purpose,” I plastered the smile back on my face and took on the next task – opening a new jar of cornstarch. What a disaster that turned out to be!

Removing the lid, I found a foil cover over the top of the jar. It had little tabs on it and I thought I could just pull on one of those and, Voila! Off would come the foil. Wrong! I pulled and pulled to no avail, and finally used a paring knife to pry one side of the foil up. When it finally let go, the whole thing sort of burst off at once and it was as if a sudden snowstorm had hit my kitchen! This fine, white powder, about the consistency of baby powder, settled all over the counter tops, canisters, coffee pot, assorted knick knacks – and me.

Mr. H. walked into the kitchen just in time to see me throw my arms in the air and yell, “Calgon, take me away!”

He laughed and casually asked, “What’s that mean?”

“What do you mean, ‘what’s that mean?’ ” I said. “Didn’t you ever hear the expression, “Calgon, take me away?”

“No,” he said, in all seriousness.

After going into a lot of detail about the Calgon commercial from a few years back, and explaining that all women understand the plea when they’re having a bad day, he answered with, “I think you’re making that up. I never heard of such a thing!”

“I am not! You just ask anyone,” I said.

He started laughing, making me angry, even though I realized we were acting like kids.

“What’s so funny?” I said, more than a little disgruntled.

He reached out, wiped at my face with his hand and said, “You’ve got something white all over your face.”

Breaking into a giggle, I told him about the cornstarch incident and he pitched in to help with a little clean-up before we ate our slightly over-cooked dinner.

And just as we sat down – the phone rang.