Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tennis Anyone?

Today I invested in something very exciting and important to me. I believe so strongly about this that I am hoping you will find your own passion and do the same.

We all know what a busy society we live in. We see and feel priorities tugging at our sleeve all day long. We multitask and do our best to keep our lives and others on track. It's frightening to think about how precarious we see ourselves in this big world. Just imagine what it would be like if we didn't invest in the most important part of the ladder we cling to.

Today I bought a fancy new pair of tennis shoes! Not a cheap pair, but a pair that certainly must be revolutionary. I have a mind set that guides me to believe that with the purchasing and wearing of these shoes, I will truly be transformed. My investment in the above said shoes makes a statement (if only to myself) that I am worth investing in.

Now some women used to think a new hat would lift their spirit or perhaps a great pair of stilettos would surely make a difference in their life. But you see, getting a pair of good-looking, comfortable tennis shoes for one of my age who has a bunion and flat, well-worn feet, is a well deserved "high".

I've now got three consecutive days of walking around the neighbor under my belt. My dear husband says we have made it to the mile mark! (Yes, that's when you add all three days up...stop that laughing.). Keep in mind I just had back surgery and I've just started breaking in the new shoes.

If you see me and my new shoes prancing around the street, please take the time to slow me down so we can have a chat and I can take a breather.

Remember, make an investment in yourself today. You are the glue that keeps this world spinning. You are important to your family and to me.

Uphill again?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Soaring Wings

Last weekend we finally had one of those perfect nights. The kind where you sit outside and marvel at the weather, the scenery and the friends that have come together to create the perfect evening.

It was our first time to visit a local winery located just a few miles from our neighborhood. After arriving to "Soaring Wings" it was difficult to remember we were in Nebraska, not Sonoma. The grape vines greeted us, the rolling hills were lush with greenery, the landscapes looked as though they had been plucked from a picture.

While tasting a myriad of wines, we enjoyed watching the hang-gliders slicing through the air and when the hot air balloons drifted by on que, we knew we were in a special place and time.

I had planned to write about this adventure a few days ago but now I am glad I put it off so I can truly share with you what "Soaring Wings" means to me.

My friend, my sister-in-law, received her wings on Tuesday. She and I had a lot in common. We had married brothers (even though her marriage didn't last), which meant we had the same mother-in-law to emulate. Our children are cousins and similar in age. We kept in touch through lunches, phone calls and emails. January 8th, 2010, we accidentally met in the lobby of Methodist Hospital as we were both being checked in for diagnostic testing. She ended up with a blood cancer and I with brain cancer. Needless to say, we were prayer warriors for each other.

I shall always remember how peaceful the evening with friends, good, music and great weather was. Surely it must be only a snippet of what heaven is like.

"Sister" use your soaring wings to enjoy what God has in store for you. We will miss you but know that in time we will all dance again together!

Until later,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bionic Woman

I cannot remember the last time I actually went shopping and did not constantly browse the store to scope out a chair, I might be able to jaunt to, to relieve my back from pain. Today was the first post-surgery day (one month and one day to be exact) I have had the opportunity to try out my "new" back while shopping.

I am sure the clerks and other patrons were wondering why I continued to grin, from ear to ear, while finding nothing to buy. NO PAIN! Absolutely amazing to say the least. Talk about a miracle...

I guess getting older isn't all down hill. If I can manage to mingle with the real people out doing everyday things, perhaps there's even more in store for this piece of art God has created.

Many of you know how true it is when I remark that "I sometimes don't know who I am, when I get up in the morning". The last time I was "just me" was approximately 21 years ago. At that I time I received a gift from a wonderful donor of a pancreas and kidney. I also received blood from over forty donors. Now if that doesn't confuse a person's body, throw in another kidney three years ago and more transfusions and finally titanium rods and screws. Perhaps there ought to be a TV series named the "Bionic Woman" and I could try out for the part.

Many of you also know that I attended the High School Academy with Mary Hart (from Entertainment Tonight), great lady even in high school. I wonder if she naturally looks that good or if she has had a little help like I have.

Life is good and God is great!

Watch out girls, I may someday join you for a walk around the neighborhood.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Prom Night!

Do you remember your prom night?  The excitement of being asked out by someone special, the picking out of the dress and hoping they guy would adorn you with the perfect flower corsage to make others drool.  Yes, just thinking about prom night does bring back some good memories.

I actually attended three proms during my high school years.  No, I didn't repeat any grades in order to go three times, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents moved us to a small town of 1,600 people where half the kids attended the Catholic school and the rest of us went to the very old, asbestos-filled public school.  It was spring and I was the new girl in a class of approximately 25 students.  Most of my fellow classmates had attended school together since the start of time.  Needless to say, I was an outsider.  Somehow the junior class selected me to be a server for the junior/senior class banquet.  This was a coveted position most sophomores dreamed of having.  I, on the other hand knew nothing of this tradition and gladly accepted the task.

I showed up for my duties at the banquet (in the basement of the Church of Christ) wearing the required uniform, a sailor dress, served the honored guests and sang the song "Ebb Tide".  Later, "my date" Bob, picked me up for the dance.  Bob was a big, football player, farm boy.  The dance was held at the local golf clubhouse.  I thought I had it made.  I wore a short dress, which I had made, had a date with a gentleman and went home at a reasonable time.

Let me tell you, probably not the way to start your second month at a very small school.  The girls were not impressed that the "preacher's kid" was a server, the soloist and had a date.  Oh well!

The second semester of my junior year, I once again transferred schools.  My parents had known I was not excited with my current school and also knew I had been begging them since eighth grade to allow me to go to a boarding school in South Dakota.  This was a Lutheran school which specialized in music.  Music was my interest, so they finally relented and allowed me to make the move from home.

Prom, my junior and senior years seem to blend together, except for my dresses.  How I could even imagine the thought of wearing either one of them to prom, is beyond me.  One was gold brocade, the other one was light yellow crepe on the bottom with a dark gold velvet top with long sleeves.  Both were long and did absolutely nothing for my coloring or my shape.  (The shape thing is my biggest regret because I actually had a shape back then.)

Dancing was not allowed at our school, therefore we dressed up, did each other's hair and proceeded to the gymnasium for snacks and to enjoy a string quartet.  Needless to say, the entire group returned to our dorms at a very appropriate time.

Now, some of you may wonder what brought all this reminiscing about.  We are involved in a dinner club in our neighborhood.  We meet every month at a different home.  We have been doing this for about eight years.  Most months we don't necessarily have a theme, just meet to enjoy the food and each other's company.  This month however, is PROM NIGHT!  So, I think you get the drift.

Sure hope my corsage matches,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Duck, Duck, Goose

Hold your hat and be sure you wear camouflage.  As residents surrounding a golf course, we are privileged to enjoy nature of all kinds.  We have the casual mid-aged walking golfers, the sharp (out to impress) spirited post teen inebriated golfers, the dressed to the hilt, women golfers, a few deer, badgers and lots of geese.  I share this information so you can understand the the scenery out our back door.

From a non-golfer state of mind, all looks well.  I am used to the early morning wake up drill of the mowers parade and the inspirational sounds of the birds near by.  I love living here and had no idea there was a feud going on.

Apparently our golf course, along with others in the area, are experiencing an onslaught of uninvited guests.  These guest ignore the rules of play, they leave behind unsightly litter, damage the greens and talk back to the patrons in a demanding tone.  They don't wear regulation golf shoes nor are they attired in official golf shirts.  The club owners have decided it is time to give them notice that they are no longer welcome.

We received an email this past week to inform us of what regulations had been taken to eradicate these unwelcome foul and to not be alarmed when the attack started.  Residences should not be alarmed if they noticed people, on the course, wearing brightly colored fatigues and appearing to be armed.  We should also make note, not to call authorities, or the club house, after hearing what may appear as gunshots.  The "gunshots" are only harmless rubber balls released towards the "unwanted" only to scare the rascals away.

We have been assured, no geese will be hurt during this forced migration from our beautiful course to perhaps another course, where they may be welcomed with open arms.

The attack began today.  I noticed the attackers and identified the popping noise of the pellet guns.  A huge group of geese promptly left their perch and I did not notice any stranded golfers in the fairway, so I am assuming all is under control.

I'll let you know how the rest of the week goes.  I think I'll make a few signs for the geese to give them a "heads up".  "Spread your wings and poop somewhere else."


Friday, August 5, 2011

You Are Not A Guest, You Are Family - Part Two - You're Here!

Remember your first day in this family? Remember when you finally made your debut and everyone heard your first cry? Everyone in the room smiled with an expression of delight. You were the center of attention! Your every sound, no matter how quiet or loud, met with full approval from each one present. You had announced your arrival and a "star" was born!

Just a side note, little one, this won't last.

You have made the trip home in the family car. The new car seat is a little tight and can you believe this? Everything you are seeing for the first time, you get to see backwards. Of course, for your safety, your parents explain, you must be restrained and look at the back cushion of the seat. Now, how exciting is that? May as well get used to it, because this is just the start of your proper position in the family.

Meeting the family seems like such an exciting venture. Your proud parents carry you in, contained in the car seat, while swinging it back and forth. Your breakfast ends up in your lap and the crowd wonders if you have an eating disorder. Grandma claims you first. She is insistent that you conveniently need to be changed into one of the adorable outfits she picked out.

You yawn to let everyone know you are worn out and ready for a royal nap. You are handed to first time uncle, so he can fall in love with your precious self. They explain that all he has to do is hold you as if you were a football and everything will go well. News alert! You are not a football, and to prove it, you cry. This worked so well in the delivery room, certainly it should work as well at home.

Once again a "star" has enlightened the room. A scurry has commenced and lunch is produced. Your place as the favored guest has definitely been secured.

It has been a fews weeks since you were first introduced to home. The newness of your arrival is beginning to fade. Parents are wearing thin and in need of sleep. Breakfast and lunch, can at times, end up on the same sleeper. Your cries, may also be brushed aside with the comment, "just a minute". Your crib seems to be a prison with bars. At times, it would be nice to once again be held like a football by your uncle. Welcome to the family

To the delight of your family, you take your first steps. Your balance, a little precarious, but as time goes on, your welcomed walk has changed into a run. This is followed by your parents sternly reminding you to slow down and walk. One might think if a small person, as yourself, was so encouraged to try and try again to walk, wouldn't those same people be ecstatic to see you perfect the walk into a faster walk?

The same goes for playing with toys. Why would everyone you have ever met and even some of those you have yet to meet, buy you all these toys and books if they did not intend for you to have them spread out all over the floor? You cannot play favorites! It is just not right. You must see all, feel all, smell, and taste all, in order for you to experience the full aspect of said toys. Parents have the notion that a child should only play and experience one toy or book at a time. They believe then you can concentrate on the sole object. Actually, parents are just lazy and only want to pick up one toy at the end of your attention span. Must you be reminded, you are not a guest, you are part of the family and your duty is to put away all of your stuff!

Can you explain to me why it is perfectly sane for relatives to stare at you, to make crazy faces, funny sounds, but when you put your hands to your ears and wave them back and forth while sticking your tongue out, somehow registers as a rude gesture? Isn't that what you had observed family members do in the past to make little ones giggle? Mixed messages are difficult to wade through.

Another intriguing question is, if pets are consider a part of a family, why is it acceptable for the pets to eat off the floor or trot across the counters and then when you copy these behaviors, it is like breaking the law.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Passing on traditions are so important. So many times I wish I had the opportunity to just pick up the phone, call heaven, and ask my mom a "how to" or a "remember this" question. It has been a year since my mother passed a way, but she actually lost her memory long before that. Steve's mom has had numerous aneurysms, so we feel we lost her many years ago, even though her body is still continuing on.

Mornings are hard, at this time, to get up and be motivated. On Friday, it will have been three weeks since back surgery. I see a definite improvement in mobility and pain relief, however it is more difficult to get going each day when there are so many things you want to do and the ole body cannot assist you in doing them. I must remember these times with an attitude of gratefulness. At this time, I am able to take my day at whatever tempo I care to and also to use any excuse in the book to not do something.

Monday afternoon was an unexpected pleasure to pass on tradition, accomplish something I wanted to accomplish and be with my favorite kids. Kyle, a senior this next year and his sister, Katie, a sophomore, arrived late in the afternoon to help with one of my tasks. They are the most fun young adults to be around. After a quick run to the store, they set out to make a double batch "from scratch" buttermilk brownies. this was Steve's mom's recipe.

In between the teasing, laughter and delight, the brownies were finally completed. The first batch was delivered to our neighbors, who just lost a relative, and the other batch, safely in the freezer, for the company we expect to have stay with us this weekend.

The evening came to an end after more family ate dinner provided by Kyle and Grandpa Steve. Good thing we have great cooking male relatives.

When we designed our kitchen, we discussed, at length, how we wanted it to be a community place with lots of room for art, cooking, sewing, etc. The 5 x 7 foot island has and continues to serve us well. Just can't believe how quickly our grandchildren keep maturing and how proud we are of them.

Love you guys,
Grandma Jan