June Monday

Photo by californiafishingonline.com

Photo by californiafishingonline.com

I managed to squeak in a quick 3-mile run this morning.  The blue sky beckoned. No breeze stirred the early morning air.  The scent of flowers hung heavy, leftover from the night season.  Petunia, honeysuckle and rose lingered in patchy pockets.  I ran through them. They hit my face – invisible, aromatic spider webs.  The trees lent me their shade so I could stay cool despite the sunshine.

I didn’t have a lot of get-up-and-go.  In fact, I overslept.  I’d planned to go longer but I ran out of time.  In fact, the whole day felt like “catch up”.  I rushed Ruby into getting dressed and out the door. I felt nauseated and grumpy.  My brain lurched into gear reluctantly after my morning cup of joe.

I struggled to get anything done at work. After a bit, I was sure I’d been there an age.  I peeked at the screen. My computer said  9:06.  Ugh!

Some days, the limits of our humanity hit us between the eyes.  Some days, you simply have to press through.  Some days last a year.  Some days are, well, actual Mondays.  But you can still do things and be productive.

It’s days like these I remember who I belong to and that this too shall pass. His grace is sufficient for me. I remember to be grateful for all God has done for me. The sun keeps shining and flowers bloom.  It’s going to be alright.

 

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The Places You’ll Go

New running shooz

Just got these babies last night. I find it hard to to find my size (5) in shoes.  Running shoes are no exception.  I’ve gotten away with 6s or even 6 1/2s, but it’s rough.  Thick socks.  Extra insoles.  But these, friends, are 5 1/2s.  They fit like a dream.  I tested then out for a long, slow run on the treadmill this morning – 6 miles.  They are wonderful.  Looking forward to making memories with my camouflage puddle-jumpers.  Feels like a new beginning. I’ve spent a lot of time on “streets that are blocked”.  I want to get back out on the highway.

And so, I leave you with Dr. Seuss.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets.  Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry.  Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored.  there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame!  You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Copper Love

Today, Jonathon and I have been married 22 years.  Note:  This is not a plug for gifts.  Yet if you’ve ever been curious about what to get someone on their 22nd anniversary – or any anniversary for that matter – wonder no more.  Look right here. For 22 years, it’s copper. Copper.  Really? Kind of a stumper, huh?  We thought so, too.  Pennies?  Copper wire we can fence on the black market?  Perhaps tasteful copper statuary for our front yard?

However, I don’t think anyone is following this list.  Now they have a traditional and a modern interpretation for each year. I don’t remember getting any wool for our 7th anniversary.  I think I would have remembered sheep.  I know I didn’t get any lace on our 13th.  Nor did anyone pass along items of citrine.

Shiny, boss!

Shiny, boss!

For our 18th anniversary, somebody forgot to give us cat’s eye jewelry.

I'm watching you.

I’m watching you.

On second thought, never mind.  We have cats with their own eyes, two of them.  Let’s count it as done.

I truly don’t expect anyone else to remember our anniversary.  My parents do, and some of our close friends who attended our wedding all those years ago recall the event. I’m thankful for congratulations. But this ridiculous list of what to purchase or make for folks based on the anniversary year is rather outdated, if not presumptuous.  I think it hearkens back to the days when people were in each others’ lives, celebrating each milestone. Maybe it provided a sort of puzzle to solve. “Hey, Jane.  It’s the Jones’ 11th anniversary party.  We need to get them something steel.  Ooh, a magnet?”

It’s hard to believe the two of us idealistic nincompoops stayed together all these years. We didn’t know how much we didn’t know. Seems like that was a piece of mercy right there. Wedding anniversaries remind the couple involved how much they still love each other and how far they’ve come. We’ve learned a lot, about life, God and each other.  And we’re still going forward. The Lord has been faithful.

 

Rosadente

Today, just making breakfast conversation, I asked Ruby what her favorite flower was.

She thought for a moment.

“Rosadente,” she said without hesitation.

Huh?

“Uh…I don’t think I heard of that flower before.  Can you tell me about it?”

“Well, it looks kinda like a rose,” Ruby explained.

“Where does it grow?”

“It grows in the forest and sometimes on the savannah,” Ruby said, including a couple of different ecosystems.

Okay.

“What color is it?” I started to get pretty curious.

“It has polka dots and stripes. ”

Whoa.

“Could you draw one for me?  I’d love to see one. Maybe you could use your felt pens?” Curious now, I waited.

Ruby tore off a small piece of heart-shaped paper and drew with a black pen.

“It is white, so I don’t need to color it,” she said.

Cheater!

She produced the drawing you see here.

IMG_20140625_171931_763

And as for scent…”Rosadente smells like cherries,” she told me.

Who knew?

Wednesday Wings

summer-31

I taught kettlebells class again today.  The teacher had an emergency she needed to deal with. I had a small class today, just me and a good friend of mine.  It gave us a chance to catch up while we sweated.

My mom moved up  to Shelton over the weekend.  So glad to have her local now, instead of all the way down in Portland.  Owner of two cats, she and I are kindred pet lovers. She transported her fat ginger tabby up here.  Once placed in the house, he promptly stepped into the great unknown and disappeared into the brush behind her house.  Hasn’t been seen since.  Only the local deer know his whereabouts. The other kitty, a sweet boy, ran away during the moving process.  She drove down yesterday to retrieve him but no luck.

“Hey, I think it’s a sign!” I said.

No response, just “the Mom look”. I guess she didn’t appreciate my interpretation.

Ruby spent time with Mom this week, helping her unpack and doing art projects over there.  Ruby’s got a jolly spirit.  She livens things up when she’s around. She might not actually *do* much, but you’re glad she’s there. Hence her many friends.

Zac watched Ruby for me a ton the past 2 weeks.  He’s continuing to grow in maturity and understanding every day, learning how to apply kindness to other humans. This includes his little sister. He racked up $90 of babysitting, including allowance.  He got to upgrade his video game with money to spare.

My job at the city goes well.  I spent several hours reviewing the SEPA files, intending to start the archiving process.  Some of it I found tedious.  But as I read and purged duplicate documents, I uncovered a history of Shelton I never knew before.  Someone donated 38,000 acres to the city to put in the huge Walmart complex.  Another firm built the strip mall in the late 1990s.  My chiropractor built his office in 2003.  I saw the report on building the new middle school. In my mind’s eye, I can see the city’s businesses and residences coming together on a timeline.  Very cool.  It makes me like living here even more.

Last but not least, I love summer. I don’t think I can say it enough.  Shorts every day, baby!  Sunshine and blue skies. Fresh berries. Running outside whenever I can, the flowers perfuming the air, a nice breeze blowing.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

How’s your summer shaping up?

 

 

Asking and Telling

Last night, I couldn’t sleep.  I got my Bible out.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, Susan, are you saying the Bible is so boring you knew it would put you to sleep?  Not exactly.  I knew it would ease my mind.  I had lots of little thought-lets floating around, loose ends I couldn’t tie up.  I thought the comforting, familiar word of God would help.

Somehow, I turned to the book of Esther.  I’ve posted about Esther before.  Still an admirable woman, standing in the gap for her people and taking her life in her hands while doing it. But I don’t want to talk about that today.

What I noticed this time is that there is an awful lot of dictating and bossing going on, and a little asking.

If you recall, the story starts out on a high note.  King Xerxes showed off by throwing an extended, lavish banquet.  This shebang lasted 180 days.  That’s 6 months, people.  He knew how to throw it down.

In the midst of this, King Xerxes  his experiences at least one moment of high spirits.  He commands his 7-eunuch crew to bring Queen Vashti to the assembly.  The queen, hosting her own party for the ladies in another part of the palace, flatly refused.  Speculation as to why abounds.  Could be he wanted her to appear in the buff to greater, ahem, appreciate her finer points.  Could be King X was drunker than a skunk and she didn’t want to be around him and possibly be publicly pawed in the process. No matter, in the end.  Vashti refuses to come at the king’s summons.

This gobsmacks the king.  He asks his law experts what to do.  “Oh king, you must nip this in the bud!  Word will get around the kingdom that Vashti defied you, and wives all over the city will stop minding their husbands.  It will cause rebellion and confusion.  You must banish her” (Susan paraphrase of Esther 1:16-20). Vashti disappears, never heard from again.

Somehow, in this entire book, the King makes very few decisions for himself.  He asks his advisers time and again what to do.  What next, guys?  Round up all the beautiful virgins in the land!  So when Haman asks to destroy the Jews, Xerxes is so out of touch with his own kingdom, he simply assents.  I’d like to assume he had huge matters of state weighing on his mind, but as I reread the story, all I could think was, He seems like a puppet, pull this string and he signs this into law.  Pull that one and he creates a rebuttal for the one he just signed yesterday.

Enter Esther.  Favored by the eunuch in charge of the women, she follows instructions.  Esther possesses beauty, brains and poise.  Esther wins the king and he chooses her as his next queen.  Esther must’ve thought she’d died and gone to heaven.

Not quite yet.

Mordecai, Esther’s guardian, informs her of Haman’s plot to kill the Jews (Esther 4:6-17).  She waffles momentarily, frightened to lose her life.  She and her handmaidens fast and pray for 3 days.  Then Esther moves forward.  She dresses in her bedazzling best and enters the king’s inner court, unbidden.  The king, pleased to see her, recognizes her.  He asks her what she wants and she invites him and Haman to a banquet.  She keeps the king and Haman guessing by inviting them to another banquet the following night, possibly to give herself time to gain the chutzpah to state her case.

When Esther finally does come out with the impending annihilation of her people in Esther 7, she asks the king to spare her life and the lives of her people.  Another question, this time posed to the king. King Xerxes immediately becomes enraged.  If you know the story, you remember Haman gets hanged that very day. Asked and answered. Yet because the law of the Medes and Persians cannot be changed, the king writes in a new decree:  the Jews can defend themselves, stockpiling weapons and ammo, to fight off their attackers (Esther 8).  Sounds a bit like a western, no?

I’ve left out some of the subplots of the story, but you get the gist. What I found upon this reading led me to think about influence.  How many decisions do we truly make on our own? How many flow from pressure from others? And how amazing that one little question can change the course of human history.  It did for Vashti and Esther.

 

You Can’t Take It With You

Thanks to the friend who posted this on Facebook today.

That human life is brief when placed in time’s wider perspective is something we all know. I am asking you to consider it on a more visceral level, that’s all.

 What will you do? Well, I’ll tell you one thing you’re not going to do, and that’s take it with you. I’m worth I don’t exactly know how many millions of dollars–I’m still in the Third World compared to Bill Gates, but on the whole I’m doing OK–and a couple of years ago I found out what “you can’t take it with you” means. I found out while I was lying in the ditch at the side of a country road, covered with mud and blood and with the tibia of my right leg poking out the side of my jeans like the branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm. I had a MasterCard in my wallet, but when you’re lying in the ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts MasterCard.

We all know that life is ephemeral, but on that particular day and in the months that followed, I got a painful but extremely valuable look at life’s simple backstage truths. We come in naked and broke. We may be dressed when we go out, but we’re just as broke. Warren Buffett? Going to go out broke. Bill Gates? Going to go out broke. Tom Hanks? Going out broke. Steve King? Broke. Not a crying dime. And how long in between? How long have you got to be in the chips? “I’m aware of the time passin’ by, they say in the end it’s the blink of an eye.” That’s how long. Just the blink of an eye.

Should you give away what you have? Of course you should. I want you to consider making your lives one long gift to others, and why not? All you have is on loan, anyway. All want to get at the getting place, from the Maserati you may dream about to the retirement fund some broker will try to sell you on, none of that is real. All that lasts is what you pass on. The rest is smoke and mirrors. – Stephen King
Amen. Mr. King nailed it. Share your time, talent and love with others.  They’re the most beautiful currencies we possess.