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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Threats

tropicalstormbrewMy husband and I marked our 30th wedding anniversary in August, and decided we’d celebrate it in September after the kids were back in school. Where? We weren’t sure. We began thinking about all the places in the U.S. we’ve never been, and, after much deliberation decided upon Key West. We’d start out in Miami, then take a leisurely drive through the Keys, sampling conch and key lime pie all along the way. I busily began planning. Remembering that I had a Southwest Airlines companion pass, meaning my hubby could travel for free anywhere that I flew, I felt like I’d hit the jackpot. Then, I found out that the closest SWA gets to Key West is Ft. Lauderdale, north of Miami and many hours from the Keys. Oh well, the road trip will be fun, I told myself.  I booked the flight, my husband rented a convertible and we were set. September 24 (today) was the day we’d take off. For weeks we anticipated the fresh seafood, the sunsets that would rival those we’ve enjoyed on Grand Cayman, and the relaxing days by the pool of our fabulous hotel. All that and the Hemingway Museum? What could be better? Then, last week Hurricane Odile hit Cabo San Lucas and I watched the news reports of desperate tourists trying to get off the island, saying “Be sure to check the weather forecast before you take a trip!” So, on Sunday night, I did. It did not look good. Rain, rain, and more rain was predicted for days before we arrived, throughout our planned vacation, and beyond. I felt a tinge of panic. The next morning, I tuned in to the Today Show, as usual. Al Roker pointed out the thick green blob of moisture hovering over Florida and announced that there was some sort of stationary front causing massive rain throughout the state that would continue all week. I tried to ignore it, but that picture stayed with me all day. When my husband came home later that afternoon, we looked at the forecast together. We even dialed up the Hurricane Center and watched the Atlantic for disturbances. We agreed that things looked bad. So, Monday night I called and cancelled our beautiful hotel suite. He called and cancelled the beautiful Mustang convertible. Then, we looked at each other, dejected.

“You’ve got the time off,”  I said, “let’s go somewhere else.” We started planning anew. He offered San Francisco. I reminded him we were there last September. But, I agreed to start there, then travel down Pacific Highway 1, with stops in Carmel and Big Sur. As I began investigating, he said, “Wait! How about further up the coast, like Seattle?” to which I replied, “Yes, and Victoria and the San Juan Islands!” I called my sister and brother-in-law, who had recently vacationed there, and got lots of good tips. Our Pacific coast adventure was in sight. My husband was on our desktop computer in an adjoining room, while I sat at the kitchen table with my laptop. We were each researching and communicating our findings by yelling across the room. “Oh no. The ferries run only sporadically between Seattle and the Islands in September. Better nix that.” ” But, look, there’s a great train trip to Vancouver! Beautiful scenery!” “But, what is there to do when we get there?” I was manically typing when my husband walked into the room. “Let’s just go to New York. It’s so much easier. We’re familiar with the city and there won’t be a lot of planning to do.” Ok! I’ll settle for New York any day. I called the airlines and re-booked our flights. I got a great hotel room. My husband and I each resumed our positions and the frantic typing began again. I recalled hearing recently that Jeff Goldblum (star of Jurassic Park and The Fly) was performing at the Carlyle – “We’ve got to see this man of many talents! And, Carole King’s play, “Beautiful” is still on Broadway, a MUST-SEE!” My husband suddenly realized that now that he’s a member of the Canyon Lake Yacht Club, having docked his sailboat there, perhaps we’d be able to dine at the NY Yacht Club! And he’s always wanted to try a juicy steak at Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn! We suddenly realized it was near midnight and we hadn’t eaten supper. We went to sleep hungry, yet happy with the realization that we’d be in New York City in just a couple of days.

The next morning, my hubby texted from work. “No reciprocity with NYYC. Luger’s is fully booked.” To which I replied, “Goldblum has already left the building, and there are no tickets available for Beautiful.” That evening we tried to make the most of the situation, while watching the last episode of Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts” on PBS. At the same instant, we looked at each other. Teddy Roosevelt’s summer home was at Sagamore Hill on Long Island! I excitedly reached for my laptop. “CLOSED for renovation,” reported the website.  I began madly searching for restaurant reservations. Many hours later, I had a few that looked promising, although most were late at night. “We can nap,” we reassured each other, and called it a day.

Today, I awoke to hear the governor of New York proclaim that the nation should be on high alert due to potential terror threats from ISIS and other radicalized groups. “No place is more vulnerable than New York City,” he said. Great. I cancelled a perfectly good trip due to the threat of thunderstorms. We leave for NYC in the morning. Pray for us!

 

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Stuff

In the last few months, I’ve been sorting through my parents’ belongings which they  acquired during their 59-year marriage, and housed throughout their 5-bedroom, century-old home. Friends have sympathized and empathized and asked if it’s been hard. Actually, it’s been very therapeutic and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’ve found pictures of my parents and their friends that I haven’t seen before; I’ve found their high school yearbooks and a scrapbook that my grandfather kept for my mother, his only daughter. I’ve found unique gifts with sweet notes from their friends, and some riveting “Letters to the Editor,” that my father penned. I’ve boxed up my grandmother’s china and Mom’s Christmas Spode. It’s been rewarding and fun, and helped me remember special times with my parents. But, the process has also caused me to do some culling of my own stuff. I’m here to share with you the benefits of what I’ve learned in the last few months since my parents passed away.

First, thbest-grandparents-ever-grandparents-day-greeting-card-1pgc5187_1470_1row away all those cards and letters that say nothing more than, “Happy Birthday!” Or Anniversary or Mother’s Day, or whatever Hallmark occasion. If there’s nothing more written in it, toss it immediately upon reading. When you consider how many holidays Hallmark marks per year, these can add up over decades. You may want to hold on to charming hand-written notes from your children and grandchildren, but, face it…most aren’t that charming.

41I8sBtrL9L._SY355_Second, after some time, give away all those knick-knacks friends and grandchildren gave you over the years, such as figurines holding signs reading, “World’s Best Grandma,”  and little what-nots, i.e. glass angels, porcelain crosses, and stone garden animals. If you have a “thing” for New Mexico like our family does, don’t hold onto all those piñon incense burners and sand sculptures. They really aren’t attractive once you leave the Land of Enchantment. And, if you’re from “wildflower country,” (i.e. DeWitt County), as we are, you probably don’t need to hold on to all those trinkets painted with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. They’re beautiful in the wild, just not on tea cups and guest towels.

Unknown-1   Third, while we all love our music, I must encourage you to get rid of your old vinyl records. Will you ever listen to them again? Probably not. Frame them for your man cave, or find a collector. Same goes for 8-tracks, cassettes and MOST c.d.’s Have you heard of iTunes, people? Moving on to movies, throw away your old VHS movies and, likewise, most of your dvd’s. There’s a new thing called Netflix and it is a true space-saver. As a matter of fact, throw away any t.v. that pre-dates this century. Really, just put it out curbside.

I will stop myself here; you probably get the idea. Why do we hold on to these things, this stuff?  Because they mean something to us at the time. It’s similar to those items we cling to when our children are young; their stuffed animals, special books and Legos. We can visualize the sweet angels playing with them, cuddling with them as they fall asleep. How could we part with them? Even as we watch them leave for college we can’t part with some of these things. I admit it, I still have boxes of children’s books and even some of their clothing. (Just ballet costumes, some smocked dresses and a Harry Potter robe!) It’s ok. Hold onto it for awhile. Just look through it every now and then. And, when you can, pass it along to someone else who can use and enjoy it. Your children will thank you for it.