Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How do you remember that?!?

I know people who remember precise details from their childhoods...everything from the exciting memories to the mundane ones. Happy events and those not so happy ones. They remember what they wore on their first day of school. The names of every single family pet ever owned. I am not one of those people.

Oh, I can recall a few happy gems, but it's alarming the number of things that seem to have slipped away forever. Every once in a while I'll hear a sound, see an object, or catch the scent of something that takes me back. Or my mind tries to take me back. I get that warm feeling of nostalgia but I often can't quite put my finger on the exact memory my senses are trying to conjure up. I know instinctively that it's a pleasant memory...but the memory itself is just out of my mind's reach. Grrrrrrr

I do remember what I wore to school on that first day....but only because my mom has it saved in photographic history. I also remember the painfully large splinter Dr. Daughtery had to remove from my foot, but I'm sure that's because my mom still has the offending piece of wood wrapped in gauze so I've seen it regularly over the years. I can recall warmly our family's vacations and trips to our cabin...well at least I remember that we did it often and I remember most of the locations, the details are kinda sketchy.

Don't get me wrong. There are bright lights of recollection that occur and memories that are vivid and real. And I cherish them. Playing baseball, tag, hide & seek, and wading in the creek with my brother and cousins. Car rides, walks, and watching "Lost in Space" with mom and dad. Playing hot/cold and catching crawdads with my Pappaw and eating sliced fresh tomatoes topped with sugar with my Mammaw. Going to Rinks and Shanks and the Ark. School shopping at Kmart. (Yes, Kmart!!!) And watching the "XXXXX million hamburgers sold" sign number increase at the McDonalds on Rt 4 in Hamilton.

I guess, come to think of it, I actually do have a better recollection of my childhood than I thought. More details emerge the longer I think about it. Faces, places, events...and yes, even the name of my Pappaw's dog. Roscoe. Cool!!! And also, I remember quite clearly how incredibly cold the outhouse toilet seat was in the winter time. I think I remember that TOO well. Brrrrrrrrrrr.

Perhaps, there's hope for my memory yet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A mother's melting heart...

Hubby and I visited my oldest son and his family this week. My son and his baby daughter were the only ones home when we arrived. I walked in to find my son in a recliner holding--no, more accurately cuddling--my sleeping granddaughter. I couldn't help but smile and my heart filled with love.

There's something about watching your own child become the parent you always knew he or she could be..the kind of parent that you are proud to have produced or in some small part have played a role in. I have watched both my son and my daughter with their children and they both make me so proud. I am so thankful that they are such wonderful, loving, patient parents to my precious grandchildren.

As I watched my son gently and lovingly gazing down at my granddaughter cuddled against his chest, I fondly remembered what he must be feeling at that very moment. That almost overwhelming, heart-melting, wave of indescribable love that fills not only your heart but your entire being, washing through your mind and body making you weak from the strength and power of it. I remember that feeling. I remember it well. As life gets busy and your children grow into adults, you still love them just as much, you still would give your life for each one of them, you still would want to murder anyone who harms them....but those moments of heart-stopping, heart-melting waves of love become fewer and further between. And you miss them.

But, then you see your grown-up child lovingly protecting and holding his own child while she sleeps peacefully...and that feeling comes flooding back making you weak at the knees. It's still there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Do your turn signals not work???

Honestly, people, is it so difficult to use a turn signal? Or to wait and pull out when you actually have the time and space? Or to not go until it's your turn at the four-way stop? Or...well, I could go on and on. Proper, respectful, responsible driver etiquette has all but disappeared. Poof! If it weren't for the cute little elderly lady who waited well beyond her allotted time at the four-way stop today, I'd be giving up on all driving man(and woman)kind.

What has happened that we can't be bothered with alerting other drivers to our intentions, that we are in such a hurry to get nowhere that we drive irresponsibily with no care to the law, standard driving practices, or common courtesy?

I must admit here, for the sake of integrity, that I do drive a little faster than the limit occasionally. :) That I sometimes get frustrated by the painfully slow driver in front of me and I hate an up-my-butt tailgater as much as the next person...but I still try to be a courteous driver the rest of the time. I use my damn turn signals. I don't cut other drivers off and I don't proceed at the four way stop until it's my turn. Is it too much to ask that other drivers do the same? I think not.

And another thing...I never get into the 10-items-or-less lane with more than 10 items. But don't get me started on that.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reaching our potential...

How do we know if we ever reach our potential? Do each of us even know what our potential is? Do we care? And if we do know what it is, do we have any idea how to get there? I've heard people exclaim--usually when they believe someone is underachieving--"...but he [or she] has so much potential." Hmmmm. And they base that opinion on what? Assumed intelligence? Talent? Ambition? Age? Personality? Strength of character? What?

Someone once said that, "Nothing is more common than unfulfilled potential." That must mean that we all have it, we all just don't do much with it. Right? That's a fair statement, I suppose, but how do any of us determine let alone reach our potential? How can we figure out what incredible feat or personal strength we are capable of? How do we know when to push ourselves, when to reach for a higher rung, when to strive for a goal that seems at worst unreachable and at best just beyond our grasp? Then, if we do step out on that limb, how do we know when we haven't chosen the wrong path of potentiality or if we haven't barked up the wrong potential tree?

Do only the strong and the fittest reach their potentials? The driven, workaholics? Is it the innovative or the inquisitive that do it? Or is it the brightest and smartest that grab their potential and shake it in the face of the world?

I believe that every day we get up and seek new knowledge or enlightenment, when we are unsatisfied with the status quo in our lives, when we strive to perfect a new skill or gain a strength we did not know we possessed, when we question what appears to be life's limits or the bounds of our own goals or dreams, and when we encourage others to do the same...then we are striving for and realizing our potential. Sir Winston Churchill said that, "Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential." Continuous effort. Every day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's up with Canadians and their hockey obsession...

First, I should disclose that I'm married to a Canadian, have two beautiful Canadian step-daughters, and a group of wonderful, warm, funny friends and in-law family members up north that I often wish I lived much closer to. But I have to admit...when it comes to hockey, these people are crazy.

Not the just the quirky, funny weird crazy, but the rambling, ranting, raging, one-small-step-from-a-straight-jacket crazy. The I-would-give-up-my-home-for-MapleLeafs-tickets crazy. Have mercy! During yesterday's olympic hockey game between the USA and Canadian, I had a feeling things were going to get ugly. I was outnumbered in my house with both hubby and step-daughter rooting on their home team. I feared for my life.

To say Canadians love their hockey is like saying a bear *poops* in the woods. More appropriately it's like saying a MOOSE *poops* in the woods. It's a monumental understatement--a statement so obvious in truth that it's a waste of breath to even utter it. They don't just love their hockey....they breath it, live it, would trade their firstborn for it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm also a big hockey fan (it was a requirement for the marriage!). It's an exciting sport, and working at a university which boasts one of the best NCAA collegiate hockey teams in the country (GO REDHAWKS!!), you can't help but catch the hockey fever. But I draw the line at naming my pets--or kids--Gretzky or Gordie.

And now back to last night's hockey game. The USA's 5-3 win over the Canadian team was a blow to all Canadians. Our good ol' U. S. of A couldn't be more out of favor with our neighbors to the north if we had beaten all their children, slept with their spouses, and insulted all their mothers. Canadians are wounded, bitter, grumpy, and stunned. And they are now out for blood. With their entire countrymen/women behind them, the Canadian hockey team will likely make mincemeat out of their opponents in the next few olympic games.

Then it will likely come down to the USA and Canada in the final game for the gold. I hope it does. What an exciting game that will be. The two best teams going at it again. YeeeHaww! Go USA!! But if USA wins again...wish me luck. It may just get mean and nasty around my house.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's my anniversary today...

Six years. Time seems to have flown by, which I think is a pretty darn good indication that life is good. When a marriage struggles, the time tends to creep and sometimes even stall. But when things are rolling and a marriage is full of contented, secure, fun-filled days (and nights!), the time slips through your fingers before you have the chance to snatch it up. Then, you wake up one morning to find that its been six years. And if you're really lucky, you realize that you can hardly wait for the next six. And the next.

Too often folks take their marriages and each other for granted. They slip into a routine of simply going through the motions of marriage. They live in the same house, do the things that need to be done, and take care of the family's schedules and needs until the spouses finally lose track of their feelings for each other. They forget that a happy, fulfilling marriage requires attention and effort. That the partnership needs extra work and nourishment sometimes...and quite often that occurs when you least feel like providing it. Folks need to take the time to remember and recognize the power of a stolen kiss or a heartfelt hug, the impact of tender words or a simple "I love you" or "I need you." Husbands and wives need to take the time to remind each other and themselves just how important the marriage is and how dedicated they are to it.

This is not to say that marriage is always easy or that six years can fly by without disagreement or even a little angst. This is just to say that as long as the wonderful times far exceed the challenging times, then life is good and times are rolling. And you best try to keep up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Devastation, heartbreak, and hope...

As we all have witnessed via the news reports, the earthquake in Haiti has caused heartbreaking devastation and ruin. There are injuries and death in numbers that are difficult to comprehend. The quake collapsed buildings, infrastructures, homes, and lives. The damage is astronimical, unfathomable, unthinkable. The profound sadness, loss, and desperation of the Haitian people are difficult to watch. I cry watching the clips of those who have lost loved ones and those who are desperately trying to find them. I weep uncontrollably at the stories of mothers losing children, because no matter how hard I try, I just can't imagine the anguish,the pain, and the heartbreak they are going through. I ache for the people who, through no fault or action of their own (and but by the Grace of God go we), have been dealt this cruel and vicious hand of fate.

And then there appears on the screen a shot of rescuers pulling a small, wimpering child from the rubble; and the story of a man who for 24 hours dug his wife out of the rubble with his own, now-bloody and bruised hands; and the joyful reunion of family members as they find each other or learn that a loved one is alive. And I watch the images of the brave men and women who are painstakenly working the recovery grids, the search teams meticulously hunting for life, and the miracle dogs who can sniff out or hear even the smallest signs of life in such a rotten, ugly, hell-hole. And I am enthused. Just a little. I watch the U.S. (and other countries') armed forces, medical personnel, and innumerable volunteers and missionaries who have traveled--at breakneck speed--to assist in any way they can. And I am proud. There is still such a long way to go...and much more heartache to suffer, but there are some good things happening there and around the world as we all, regardless of our heritage or beliefs, rally to assist this defenseless and humbled country.

So, don't just sit there, do something. Donate money to the Red Cross or another legitimate assistance organization. Send a care package via UPS (they are sending packages up to 30 lbs at no cost). Pray. And let's all hope that each day, regardless of what the day holds, brings Haiti closer and closer to recovery.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I don't like really cold weather...

I don't. I really don't. And the older I get, the less I like it or feel the need to tolerate it.

Hubby and I are in Canada visiting friends and family. We're having a wonderful time, but it's cold up here. Very cold. Current temp is a bone-chilling, teeth-chattering, for-the-love-of-God-someone-get-me-some-longjohns 5 degrees (farenheit not celsius!) with a corrected wind chill temp of -14. And it's still dropping.

Have mercy. And these crazy Canucks are out skiing, snowmobiling, snow-shoeing and acting all normal about it. For heavens sake...it's cold outside, people. Take you butts inside, start a fire, cuddle up with someone!

Well....other than the freezing temps and frollicking warm-blooded (yet still ass-freezing)natives, Ontario Canada is a beautiful winter wonderland at the moment. Friends and family are doing well and we're having nothing but fun. Hubby and I are now all snuggled up, warm and cozy, inside looking out. The weather folks are predicting that tomorrow will be another cold, blistery day.

I can hardly wait.