Your Space is Incredible, My Space is Incredible

Recently I spent time in New Jersey and Connecticut. Turning into a street or onto a country road in those places gives one the feel of entering a tunnel.  And in October, those tunnels are composed of brilliantly colored leaves: oranges, yellows, and reds mixed with the various greens of leaves that have yet to decide to change color.

Yearly precipitation close to fifty inches contributes to the beauty of these places.  I felt a little (okay, maybe a lot) envious.

Beautiful Connecticut View

But when I arrived home after my trip to the Northeast, I found that while we were away, the tree in our front yard had donned its colorful fall garb. Yes, it’s just one tree, but it’s a beautiful one. So I decided to stop with the envy and enjoy the beautiful display in my own yard.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that even though Connecticut and New Jersey fall colors are incredible, Colorado fall colors are incredible, too.

Beautiful Tree in Our Yard


Three-Year-Olds and Fun

At various times during the past month I have had the privilege of spending time with great-grandchildren and great-nephews.  Two of them are three-year-olds who were born on the same day. These two toddlers look enough alike to be siblings: blond hair, big blue eyes, big smiles, light complexions. It’s easy to see the family resemblance.

Both of these little people have baby brothers. Based on my experiences as the only sibling of an older brother for ten years, I think it is guaranteed that the older siblings will be in charge. I’m fairly certain the in-charge thing starts to happen the minute a new “bundle of joy” is introduced to an older brother or sister.

My jobs while visiting two homes, separated by almost 2,500 miles, were to play with three-year-olds and hold babies. Really great assignments!

Olivia, my great-granddaughter, loves princesses, so we played with princess dolls in her room. I was Princess Jasmine. Clearly, I need to assimilate more Disney information. Princess Jasmine is not a princess who is allowed to follow Princess Belle as she scales the bed post. She also does not have as many speaking parts as does Princess Belle.

Olivia’s second love is her new swing set that has a playhouse built below the platform of the slide. “We” decided to swing, which means I pushed as she glided through the air yelling, “Higher, higher!” The little playhouse was a challenge to the old knees when it was pointed out to me that I needed to come in rather than peer in from the outside.

Olivia is an informer. I now know which things in the formal living room can’t be touched and that the declaration, “I Love You,” on the chalkboard in her playhouse was written by her grandpa who “came last night.” Hubby was the grandpa referred to when talking to me as “the grandpa who came with you.” A child with as many grandparents/great-grandparents as Olivia has definitely needs to develop a system for keeping track of who belongs to whom.

Carter is my great-nephew and a very active little boy. Upon my arrival at his house, he ushered me into his playroom. I was impressed with a playroom that is almost as big as our den. But he needs that space for his many toys. Carter makes and initiates the plans. I like to read books; he likes more action. We played cars. Unlike playing with gentle princesses, his cars crashed into my cars and wiped them out. This caused hearty laughter on his part. My cars were targets, not the bullet-type super cars that instigated the crashes. They were not allowed to cause crashes, only to be involved in them.

I was impressed when Carter introduced us to his daddy. We were sitting around the dining room table when Carter’s dad opened the front door.  Daddy works in New York and commutes home by train, so he arrived home late in the evening. Carter’s excitement at having Daddy home was obvious. “Daddy’s home!” he yelled.  Then he said to his daddy, “This is Uncle Elvin and Aunt Verla” as he pointed to me and Hubby. Then he pointed to his daddy and said, “This is my Daddy.”  Making the introductions – definitely the role of an initiator.

Precious toddlers; precious baby boys; precious memories. I am so blessed!


Sunday Dinner

On Sundays Hubby and I find a place to eat dinner after we attend church. Sunday is my day for not cooking. I’m sure there is something in the Bible that supports the need for a break from the kitchen, but I've yet to locate it. When I find it, I think the wording will go something like: “No woman shall be required to labor in the kitchen for the purpose of preparing Sunday dinner.” 

When we enter restaurants on Sundays, we are often the only ones dressed up in what we view as “Sunday-go-to-meeting duds.” Our town is a town of casual dress, and sometimes I have to wonder what others might be thinking about us. But I don’t wonder enough to wear my jeans and sweatshirt to worship service.

A couple of Sundays ago we decided to go Italian and went to a favorite place that serves up great Italian dishes along with delicious salads and bread. The wait was not long, mainly because we never manage to beat the Presbyterians, or any other group of believers, to the restaurant. By the time we have choir practice and various other after church activities and meetings, the rest of the city’s believers are home taking siestas.

On this particular Sunday there was a table waiting for us and, as the hostess led us to our places, a young lady who was waiting tables stopped in front of my husband, smiled broadly, and commented, “I love your beautiful suit and tie.” 

This out of the blue compliment could be interpreted in one of several ways:
  • Hubby really looks nice in comparison to the other male diners.
  • Hubby looks so out of place in his suit and tie that he caused this shocked reaction.
  • Hubby’s outfit is the first of this type of clothing the young lady has ever seen.
  • Hubby has been mistaken for someone famous who actually wears suits when dressed up – maybe Jay Leno.
  • Hubby looks really great in contrast to the frumpy clothes his wife is wearing.

I’m actually going for the last interpretation.  I think I feel a shopping trip coming on.


Bad Hair Days

Some might picture a bad hair day (BHD) by showing individual strands of hair pointing toward the sky as though the owner just stuck a finger in a light socket. That’s not the picture of a BHD for me. When I have one of those days, despite much blowing, brushing, and spraying, my hair stays plastered to my scalp like a kindergarten child clinging to Mom’s legs on the first day of school.

Many days during summer, I have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad hair days* (THNGVBHD), something probably much better understood by gals than by guys. But the cause of those bad hair days may be over for a while. We just skipped fall here in Colorado, and winter has begun. So I will be trading the bad hair days for snow days, the first of which arrived on Saturday. 

I was not aware that winter had turned up until I looked out my kitchen window mid-morning and saw something white floating in a downward direction toward the ground. At first I thought, What? This is only October 8.  So I kept squinting at the white stuff and thinking it might be seeds blowing out of season from the cottonwoods. It wasn’t. Indeed the cold stuff was here. (They say eyesight is the first thing to go. But in my own defense, cottonwood seeds and snowflakes are very similar in size, shape, and behavior as they travel toward earth.)

I probably should write an Ode to lost autumn. But as a child, when my third grade teacher, Ms. Hodgkinson, said we would be writing a poem for Mother’s Day, that was cause for me to panic. So I know that writing lyrical verse is way out of my league.

I think I’ll just go get my flannel jammies out of storage. But before I do, I should at least try to write a little thankful verse.

            Thankful for hibernating bear,
     Thankful for changes in the air,
            Thankful for soft and fluffy hair,
     Thankful bad hair days will now be rare.

How’d I do, Ms. Hodgkinson?

*Great read – even for adults:  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst


Gummi Bears and Writing

Sometimes I feel inspired to write; sometimes not. Writing a dissertation is a good example of a time when I felt compelled, but not inspired to write. That dissertation is what I now refer to as my “Gummi Bear Project.”

It would seem that a looming deadline should mean scheduling writing into one’s day, thus making it a priority.  Not so for me!  Deadlines cause a little voice inside of my head to whisper, “You can do that later.” Because of my response to the quiet suggestion of the little voice, writing that I do against deadlines almost always takes place in the wee hours of the morning.  This is where the gummi bears come in.  When I’m writing during hours when I should be sleeping, I consume lots and lots of chewy food. After trying many things that messed with the computer keyboard and my waistline, I finally discovered gummi bears.

During the seemingly endless hours of reviewing research and writing “stuff” for my committee, I had probably tried every brand of gummi candy on the market. I also knew which stores to visit in case of a mid-night emergency. So, in light of the many pounds of gummi bears I have consumed, I am a self-proclaimed expert on gummi bears. From my experience, I declare the best of the best to be Haribo® Gold-Bears®. I still crave them while I’m typing.

I know, I know! They are little animal-shaped lumps made with sugar, glucose, corn syrup, starch, citric acid, gelatin, flavoring, coloring, and a few other things thrown in just for good measure. Empty calories!  I also know there are some who contend that gummi candies may harbor prions, cause tooth decay, and contribute to obesity. But, if you ever see an open package of Haribo Gold-Bears® beside my computer, be warned: I’m meeting a deadline. And, just so you know, my mood may be a little bearish. I just might attack in order to protect my food supply!