Saturday Smile: Channeling Kramer

There is an episode of the television classic Seinfeld in which Kramer begins working at a company. He isn’t hired. He simply starts coming into the office every day, attending meetings, hanging out in the lunchroom. It’s a very long time before anyone figures out that he wasn’t ever actually hired…..

Heather told us a funny story this week about our 6-year-old grandson Micah…..

Micah and his brother Joseph attend a day camp all summer long. It’s a wonderful camp with all sorts of activities. It is, in fact, the camp that their mother Lauren attended as a child. Horseback riding is one of the activities that can be chosen. Heather and Lauren elected not to sign Micah up for horseback riding last summer.

The thing is, he kept coming home talking about horses. Heather said they merely assumed that all of the kids had some sort of contact with the horses. At the end-of-summer party, one of the camp counselors began telling Heather and Lauren just how wonderfully Micah rode, and how excited the camp was that they had signed him up for horseback riding.

Well, the thing is, Heather told them, we didn’t sign him up for horseback riding.

It turns out that Micah — in Kramer-like fashion — had simply started going to the horseback riding activities, and the camp counselors all assumed he was signed up.

As they drove home that night, Micah told Heather, “Mom, don’t sign me up for horseback riding next summer. I didn’t like it that much.”

That boy will always make me laugh.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Book Whimsy: Cemetery Road

You can count on a few things when you pick up a Greg Isles novel. It’s going to be lengthy. It’s going to be violent and include a lot of pretty, well, imaginative sex. It’s going to take place in the south, probably Mississippi, in the most corrupt town imaginable. And you aren’t going to be able to put it down.

Cemetery Road, the author Greg Isles’ latest offering, fits the bill perfectly.

Marshall McEwan left his hometown in Mississippi after college, with no plans to return. He becomes a well-respected Washington D.C. journalist. Unfortunately, his father becomes ill. McEwan comes home to try and save the newspaper his father published for years.

It takes no time before he starts up an affair with his old girlfriend, a gorgeous woman named Jet, who happens to be married to a childhood friend who saved his life in Afghanistan. It also takes no time before he becomes immersed in the corruption of a group of men called the Bienville Poker Club. These men have gotten into bed with a group of Chinese businessmen who have invested in a huge project that could be held up by the murder of one of McEwan’s closest friends, an archeologist who has discovered historical evidence of Indian tribes in the very land that is to be developed.

Chaos, corruption, murder, and general mayhem ensue, leaving in its wake a town nearly destroyed by its very existence.

Isles is one of the best mystery writers around, which is why I’m willing to read books that I would otherwise put down without a second thought. I finished the lengthy book in a day-and-a-half!

Here is a link to the book.

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughtless
Last Thursday, my sister Jen commented on my blog post. I really liked today’s post, she said. But I missed Thursday Thoughts. That made me laugh to myself, because I had completely forgotten that it was Thursday. In fact, since we got back to Denver (two weeks ago tomorrow), I have barely had a minute to think at all. My days run into each other. I have scarcely cooked a meal. I haven’t even picked up a cloth to wipe down my dusty furniture. Maybe next week will be the time when I will finally feel like things are settling down. Of course the down side is that I will have no excuse for not dusting my furniture.

Springtime in the Rockies
I made my way to my favorite garden center on Tuesday to find still largely empty shelves following the Mothers’ Day gardening extravaganza. Nevertheless, I still was able to figure out how to spend a couple of hundred George Washingtons on garden plants. Yesterday I spent a bit of time in the afternoon putting a few of them in the ground. Today is the day that I plan on making sure that the flowers are in place and the garden vegetable plants are properly in the ground. I’m hoping to have a few extra hands — grandchild hands — to help me…..

Sniffles?
I got this photo yesterday afternoon from my daughter-in-law, in which she explained that Mylee had taken the day off of school because of sniffles. Apparently, however, she controlled the sniffles long enough to enjoy a dessert about the size of her. And judging from the smile, weeeelllll, I’m a touch suspicious…….

I don’t know whether she was able to eat the entire thing, but I do suspect she enjoyed a day off alone with Mommy.

Birthday Blessings
Today is actually Maggie Faith’s 11th birthday. We celebrated last night, however, in pure French fashion, thanks to Allen and Emma. Not many girls get raclette for their 11th birthday celebration, and bake their own birthday cake!…..

Thinking Back

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from one of my very good friends. Attached to the email was a letter that a mutual friend had sent to her to forward to me, as she didn’t have my email address. The date of the letter was January 28, 1978.

Apparently, in packing for a move, this friend came across a variety of letters and photos and other mementos that she had saved for, well, at least 40 years. For the record, I am lucky to find a single lock of my son’s baby hair. I take after my mother in that I rarely save memorabilia. Often to my chagrin, I’m afraid.

The particular letter was two pages of fairly small, and remarkably neat, handwriting. My handwriting. Again, for the record, I complain about addressing envelopes containing Easter cards for my grandkids. It KILLS me to sign my name to a check. And yet, I wrote a two-page letter to my girlfriends, something I think I did very often back in those days.

This particular letter was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, as I said, it was written in the neatest cursive handwriting possible. If this letter was placed in a time capsule and opened in 2035, whoever opened the envelope would without hesitation say, “This letter was written by a girl who attended Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade in the 1950s,1960s, and 1970s.”

Except for one thing. Let’s see, in 1978, I had just graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in journalism. And yet. AND YET, I insisted on not capitalizing anything but the first word of every sentence. Names were not capitalized. Proper nouns were not capitalized. I was apparently channeling e.e. cummings. But even while channeling the famous poet, I was unable to not capitalize the first word of each sentence. It was like I could feel Sr. Calista’s looming wooden ruler.

The second interesting thing about the letter was that it was written in part as a thank you note following my marriage to my first husband. A marriage that, if you asked me today, I would tell you there really wasn’t a single happy minute. #bigfatlie, because according to this letter, my husband and I were living a life of complete contentment. Quite honestly, I think I was telling the truth. I think the reality is that we actually did have some happy years. Well, maybe happy months.

It was a fascinating study in sociology to read this letter from so long ago. As I read, I kept trying to remember this young woman of only 25 years old, who, at that point had lived most of her life in Nebraska. She seemed someone totally foreign to me, what with her excitement over the casserole dishes (with baskets!) that these two friends had given her and the shower massage head that she and her new husband had bought with their wedding money. It is just kicks, this strange woman wrote to her friends.

But here’s the thing that struck me the most: this letter — written 40 years ago — still exists. I could still hold it in my hand. While it was difficult to recognize myself, it was solid proof of my life back in 1978. I don’t think emails or texts or tweets or Instagram posts will ever meet our needs in the same way.

And imagine that these women are still friends even today…..

It’s a Pronghorn Deer, Stupid

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day. – Dr. Brewster M. Higley

One of my major takeaways from our visit to Antelope Canyon was that songwriter Dr. Higley didn’t know an antelope from his Siamese cat. And neither did the white people who named Antelope Canyon. In fact, the young Navaho woman who guided Bill and me (along with 12 or 14 Japanese tourists) through the amazingly beautiful slot canyon could scarcely keep from rolling her eyes as she explained that antelopes are indigenous to Africa and parts of Asia ONLY. Not the United States. What the white folks who named the canyon saw, she explained with a sparkle in her eyes, were pronghorn deer.

I’d like to argue that they might just have thought that Pronghorn Deer Canyon didn’t have the same ring, but I’m pretty sure she is right. They were just boobs.

Antelope Canyon is located very near Page, AZ, located smack dab in the Navaho nation that makes up much of northeast AZ. The Navaho people call it Tsé bighánílíní, which means ‘the place where water runs through rocks’.

Antelope Canyon has long been on Bill’s bucket list, and for good reason. So we decided to make our way back to Denver via the famous canyon as opposed to our usual route.

Antelope Canyon is called a slot canyon because the canyon is made up of sandstone that has been eroded over the course of a very long time, creating very narrow passageways. In fact, the canyon continues to erode, ever-changing when the rains come. It never stays exactly the same. Because of the nature of the canyon and its particular geology, tourists are not allowed to wander through the canyon on their own. That privilege ended a number of years ago when an unexpected rainfall sent water roaring through the slot, killing a number of people. Now, tours are provided by the Navaho nation, upon whose land the canyon lies. And believe me, based on our experience, the tours are interesting and much better than going it alone.

I was surprised early on when our guide told us that we could touch the walls as much as we wanted, but (obviously) we couldn’t write on the wall. It didn’t take me long to realize that the reason we could put our hands on the wall was that the walls change all the time — every time it rains.

Our guide not only told us of the history of the canyon, but used our individual cameras to take spectacular photos that most of us would have bombed…..

There are numerous tours available, all offered by Navaho-owned companies. When Bill made the reservations, he sort of closed his eyes and picked one. It happened to be one that seemingly was geared towards visiting Japanese tourists, of which there were many. It worked fine for us, however, because they had their own interpreters, a good thing because our tour guide likely was no more able to speak Japanese than I.

The tours of Antelope Canyon are available year-round, as long as it isn’t the rainy season. The colors of the rocks and the light that filters through the scant openings changes based on time of day and time of year. The land is sacred to the Navaho tribe, which isn’t surprising at all.

Antelope Canyon is nature at its finest and God’s handiwork at its best…..

M is for the Million Things I Gave You

I find Mother’s Day to be somewhat of a poignant holiday. Don’t get me wrong; being a mother is one of the great blessings of my life. I never imagined life without children. I planned on having lots of children, but circumstances dictated that I have only one. And then circumstances dictated that I have three stepchildren and a total of nine grandchildren! I am truly blessed.

This year, as other years, Bill and I celebrated Mothers’ Day via one of the best traditions in my life: our Mothers’ Day brunch at Greenbriar Inn outside of Boulder. Once again, for perhaps the 15th or 16th time, Bill and I shared Mothers’ Day with my sister Jen and her son B.J., an almost-son. Though we say it nearly every year, this was perhaps the best one yet.

We didn’t say it last year, however. In fact, we neglected to make the reservations early enough and were unable to find room at the inn. I’m pretty sure Bill and I had beanie-weenies for Mothers’ Day brunch. But to make up for the error, we had brunch instead during the summer when my sister Bec was visiting from AZ. Unfortunately, the brunch was an abject failure.

It really was. It was clear from the get-go that day that walking in the door was going to be the high point of the event. Because NO OYSTERS. And perhaps as bad, only a few limp shrimp sitting in melted ice (otherwise known as water).

So when B.J. told Jen he was going to make the reservations for Mothers’ Day brunch in February, she reluctantly agreed, telling him, however, that she was giving them one more try. If there was another oyster crisis, Greenbriar Inn was dead to her.

B.J.’s response? Gosh Mom. I’m going to really miss you next year when I’m sitting alone at the Greenbriar eating my brunch. As you can see, B.J. is a much more forgiving person than his mother and auntie.

At the end of the day, B.J. proved us wrong. Our brunch couldn’t possibly have been any better. There were endless oysters with spicy red sauce and horseradish to make it spicier. There were numerous kinds of cheese and crackers and salads. The shrimp were firm and delicious as they nestled in their icy bed.

And that was just the salad table.

There were eggs benedict and French toast and bagels with lox and cream cheese. The buffet included the most delicious mussels I have ever eaten with a spicy sauce that none of us foodies could identify. Did it have mustard? Was it curry or turmeric that accounted for its beautiful gold color? And then there was the carving station that included beef, ham, and roasted leg of lamb.

At the end of the meal, Bill finally got to experience HIS version of nirvana…..According to Bill, it was the only time he would have chosen bread pudding over the chocolate desserts. Thank goodness he didn’t have to make that choice.

My day was topped off with a visit from Court and his family. I opened the door to Cole holding a pretty bouquet of flowers. I was the perfect way to end a Mothers’ Day.

I hope you all had a wonderful Sunday, whether or not you are a mother.

 

Saturday Smile: A Bug or a Mouse?

This is what made me smile this week…..

At first glance, you might think I am posting a photo of my own Yellow Bug. It’s true, it almost always makes me smile (though the $295 I had to spend to get a new battery this past week made my smile a little wobbly).

This yellow bug, however, was a surprise gift from my friend Megan. Much to my delight, this yellow bug is a computer mouse!…..

What can I say? I’m still smiling.

Have a great weekend.