Tag Archives: life

The Magic of Water

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
The Immense Journey, 1957   Loren Eiseley

Water calls to me each summer. I walk and bike along the rivers of my city. I travel to rivers, lakes and oceans to wade and swim.

Some would say it is the summer heat that brings me to the water. That is so very true. It is also the peace water provides. When you look across an expanse of water, your mind quiets. Water is flat and wide and wondrous.

Being near the water is a sensory experience. Your skin feels cool and damp. The rippling sounds slow thought and calm worries. The smells can be a challenge, but then you inhale the fresh scent of mist, salt and dreams.

I remember taking our children to the water.

To cool off…

To rest…

To play…

We bring animals to the water.

And now, we are bringing our grandchildren to the water.

The magic of water is in its gifts.

The gift of life.
The joy of shared experiences.
The blessed peace.

Ridiculous Memories Linger

With aging comes a little more time to sit quietly and reflect. I have no idea why my reflections are often filled with ridiculous memories.

While some people use their time to do mind boggling amazing endeavors (17 Year Old Builds Neural Network to Detect Breast Cancer in a Web App), when I have extra time, I find my mind wandering back to memories from the past. Usually these memories make me giggle or cringe.

In junior high, all 7th graders had to take home economics classes. Boys and girls learned about cooking, sewing and taking care of a home in a classroom setting. I loved the cooking classes. I did not love sharing my cooking space with boys. They often caused trouble. There was the knife tosser, the flame eater and of course the mad scientist who always tried to blow up the mini-kitchen.

One day, I noticed the boys in my group were unusually cheerful. I knew right away that something was up. What to do? Be a tattler and forewarn the teacher or get out of the way and enjoy the show. I got out of the way.

When the teacher finished the lecture portion of her lesson, groups began moving toward their kitchens to cook. Hoping to delay my arrival at our kitchen and thereby be far away from the upcoming disaster, I added some very important notes in my notebook. I am pretty good at dawdling and making it look like I am working hard.

Soon the room was filled with screams. It seems the ingenious boys from my station had taken rubber bands and wrapped them around the water sprayer nozzles. As each group turned on the water to fill pots for boiling, they were doused with a shower of water, right in their faces. It was pretty brilliant.

Unfortunately, the boys in my station forgot to affix a rubber band on our own water sprayer and even worse, did not turn it on and get wet. The teacher, being a smart college graduate, figured out quickly which team was responsible for the mayhem. With no time for explanations, my group was marched down to the office to learn the finer points of kitchen etiquette from the principal. It was the best detention I ever had.

No Expiration Date

This summer, I truly have an empty nest. Our kids are launched into adulthood, their own lives and homes.

My empty nest is yielding hours and hours of time. What do I do with this abundance of time? Travel, read, spend time with family and friends and deep clean our house. How deep? Well, I was scrubbing the kitchen tile grout with a toothbrush yesterday. Never did that before.

Today, I organized mom’s handwritten recipes. While I was digging through the recipes, I found a folder labeled ‘Coupons’. I was about to toss the whole pile in the garbage when I started looking through them. Mom had meticulously stored hundreds of coupons with no expiration date from the 1980s and early ’90s.

I am sitting on a gold mine!

Or so I thought until I spotted products that no longer look familiar…

Oh the memories these products resurrect.

In mom’s pile, I also found coupons for brands still being sold today.

I plan to redeem these ‘no expiration date’ coupons at our local grocery store. Should be interesting as I use them to purchase crescent rolls, cheerios, band-aids and toilet paper. Products that stand the test of time.

While I did not actually discover a gold mine today,
it certainly has been a (gold) rush… {I sure did love those bars}

A Spectacular Fall

I have been reducing my reliance on fossil fuels by biking everywhere. To the library, grocery store, post office, breakfast club, you name it. My car has been in the garage getting a much needed rest…until last Wednesday when my bike riding came to a crashing halt.

So what happened? Since I have been out in the sun a lot, I decided to purchase a hat. I had been using sunscreen but figured a cute hat was necessary for added protection.

Last week, I set off wearing my adorable hat. As I was biking down our hill, the wind caught my hat and sent it airborne. In a moment of reflexive stupidity, I reached up to make a grab for the hat while braking with my right hand, all while careening down a hill.

Next thing I knew, I was tipping, then landing and finally skidding across the black pavement. Luckily, no one apparently witnessed this spectacular fall. I started cataloging the injuries. Knees, bloody. Hands and forearms, scraped and bloody. Right shoulder, scraped raw through my shirt. And, oh no, the face. Scraped and with a cut where my sunglasses had split open the skin.

I dragged my damaged bike and self to the shade of a tree, reached into my backpack and pulled out tissues to begin blotting the scrapes and bruises. Noticing my hat sitting innocently in the middle of the street, I retrieved it and plopped it on my head, carefully.

After more wound triage, I gave in and called my husband at work. He ran out to the parking lot where he realized he didn’t have his car, just the bike he had ridden to work that day. So, he hopped on and raced home to help me.

A visit to the doctor (we drove) yielded a choice between stitches and butterfly sutures. I chose the bandage option. No broken bones. No sprains. Just scrapes, bruises and a free dermabrasion skin treatment. The nurse commented “You sure are taking this well. I would be balling.” I said, “Well, I would be balling if it wasn’t my own stupid fault.”

The bike is in the shop getting repaired and will be back in action on July 5th. Hopefully, I will be more cautious as I take the hills and remember to always keep two hands on the handlebars! For added insurance, I have gone out and purchased some new gear. So the lady wearing Under Armour, biking gloves and helmet while riding at a sedate pace will be me. No stylish hat in sight.

The song Falling Down, by Joe Purdy, has taken on a whole new meaning for me…

Those Chickens ~ Part One {The History}

I am not far removed from rural living. Both my parents grew up on farms in North Dakota. While these farms were vastly different (Norwegian/grain/some livestock farm versus German/livestock/some grain ranch), I learned early how to use an outhouse and that food doesn’t actually originate in a grocery store.

My Aunt Vi,  dad’s sister, lived on the home farm most her life and had broilers. These are chickens specifically raised for meat production. Yes, you read that correctly, these chickens become Sunday dinner. Broilers do not receive cute names. They are not pets. They are future food.

Some summers, if I was unlucky enough, our visit to Aunt Vi’s farm coincided with the butchering of her chickens. Growing up in a big city, and being me, the thought of killing anything is abhorrent. Therefore, I never witnessed the actual event. I always hid in the house with a book and pretended the meat later served came from far, far away. Possibly a magical land where everyone is happy and meat is grown from the ground, similar to crops.

My younger brother and sister didn’t understand this thinking. For them watching was a rare, exciting treat. Maybe they were more connected to the ebb and flow of life than me. Whatever. Getting your younger siblings to cease talking about chicken butchering was a monumental task. They would run into the farmhouse, talking excitedly about the ‘goings-on’ outside. No, I do not want to know what is happening outside. No, I do not want to know what a chicken does when its head is chopped off. No, I do not want to know how clean, swift and humane the process was.

With no form of escape, I would whine to mom. “Make them stop.” “I am going to throw up.” “Do not make me eat any, and I mean any, chickens this visit!”

Mom, my wise, wise counsel, would put her arms around me, suggest a better place to hide but also nudge me to think deeply about life, food and personal preferences. If I was going to be a meat eater, I needed to realize that meat came from animals. Otherwise, I needed to change, drastically.

I flirted with vegetarianism for a while, it didn’t take. I still eat a number of meatless meals each week, but I have come to realize that meat is a part of my life. I am trying to be more conscious where my food comes from, whether fruits, vegetables or meat.

Which leads me back full circle to my family. My brother has laying hens and broilers on his hobby farm. My daughter, who lives in a suburb of a big city, has purchased laying hens.

Chickens, the real, living, breathing kind… no matter how hard I try, I cannot get away from them.