Friday, February 19, 2010

This 'n That and Wind

I think I've said that the sun always shines in Las Vegas...well not every minute of the daylight hours. Like this morning, it was a little overcast when we started out for Gretchen and Brian's. I was a little sorry I had not brought my sweater.

Brian is replacing all the carpet in their upstairs with bamboo flooring. It is going to be beautiful. Jim went over today to help him a little so I went along and did my walk in their neighborhood. The sun did manage to come out a little, but as the sun came out, the wind picked up. On my way back home, I worked much harder as I walked into the wind. Must have burned a lot of extra calories pushing against that wind.

Yesterday we joined the new Senior Center near our condo. Membership is free, even to us Snowbirds. We toured the center and stopped in the Cafe for a treat. We had two coffees and two cookies for $1 - total. There really some perks to growing older.

Wednesday found me back fellowshipping with Women of Spirit at our church home away from home. It was so wonderful for me to get back to worship with those women. It being Ash Wednesday, we attended the service in the sanctuary which was so moving. I love Ash Wednesday and this service was especially moving to me.

Wednesday evening we had dinner with Brian and Gretchen. We played a new game called IMAGINEIF. What a fun game. We laughed ourselves silly. For sure, we are buying that one.

Speaking of buying, we bought a George Forman grill today. When we try to broil meat in this oven, the whole condo is filled with smoke. We have great hopes for this new grill. I'll keep you posted.

I guess that's a good recap of our first week in the desert. We have walked every day, although I'm not sure the diet has been that good. We'll keep trying. Maybe next week will be better.

Until later....

~Hippo Hugs~

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Looking at Disabilities

As many of you know, our friends, Bruce and Shelly, were in a serious automobile accident in October. I think some of the most devastating words I have ever heard uttered were from the spinal surgeon who said to Shelly, "As of this moment, your husband is paraplegic." As I held my arm tight around Shelly, I felt my own heart sink to my feet.

Paraplegic, what does that mean? The thought was overwhelming. It was as if our whole world had suddenly gone dark. As we huddled together in that waiting room while Bruce went through emergency spinal surgery, each of us dealt with the demon of wondering what this would mean to, not only Bruce's future, but to ours in our relationship to him.

Of course, Shelly was confronted by the thought that her life was changed forever. His daughters were wondering how he would deal with this change in his life. His sister, oh how her heart must have been breaking for her precious brother. And Jim and I, how could we be the friends he would need.

Four months later we are rejoicing in the fact that, number one, Bruce's spinal cord was not severed in the accident; he is recovering and has been told that in the next month he will probably go home....walking. Perhaps with the aid of a walker, but nevertheless, walking.

Everyone involved in this scenario sees Bruce's recovery as a miracle. We are all rejoicing in this good news. Which bring me to where I am today.

Our daughter, Gretchen, who has a bachelor's degree in Dance Performance, has gone back to school to get an Outdoor Recreation degree. At 34, with a dance injury, she has found her niche in dealing with children and teens in summer camps. As part of this degree she is taking a class in diversity in leisure. Today, she had to spend the day in a wheel chair.

She asked her dad and I if we would like to spend the day with her. Although she was determined to do this on her own, she felt the need to have a little support nearby. We met her and Brian at a shopping, dining, outdoor park for coffee this morning. I guess I wasn't prepared for seeing my beautiful daughter sitting in a wheelchair. Even though I knew that this was just a simulation, it gave me pause to see her sitting there.

As we shopped, had lunch and went to the movies, all the time Gretchen in that chair, I kept thinking, "This is Gretchen. She is the same, wonderful, cheerful, talented young woman she has always been. This chair doesn't change anything." And yet, I also wondered what the saleswoman in Pottery Barn thought a Gretchen told her about how Brian was going to be laying the new flooring in their house as she wasn't about to help him. Or what was going through the mind of the gal in Anthropologie who talked to Gretchen about buying a dress for her brother-in-law's wedding, all while sitting in a wheel chair.

The most poignant moment of the day came when Gretchen rolled into the movie theater and the ticket taker was in a wheel chair. I could just feel the affinity between the two. At that moment, it was all I could do not to break down in tears.

As I watched Gretchen cheerfully rolling around The District I kept thinking that at the end of the day she would fold up the chair and return it to campus while there are millions of young people all over the world who are tied to that chair for life.

I think I've been changed today, by this experience, but I'm still not sure how. I know I will view people with disabilities with more respect, and less pity.

~Hippo Hugs~

Monday, February 15, 2010

We're Here!!

Well, we have arrived here in Nevada. The trip was interesting to say the least. We left Upstate NY early on Tuesday, February 9. As is our tradition when leaving on a trip, we stopped at a local supermarket where we purchased coffee and a donut for $1. We don't consume said goodies on site. Rather, we go to the McDonald's at the thruway entrance and purchase an Egg McMuffin. After we eat the McMuffin, we have our donut. Then we go to the thruway and officially begin our journey.

We knew we were driving into a predicted snow storm, but were really hopeful as we drove toward Cleveland. Alas, shortly into Ohio, our hopes were dashed and the snow began. We drove through some pretty ugly weather on our way to Indiana, but believe me, the worst was yet to come.

I took this picture out the car window. You can see the snowy landscape. We left Richmond, IN at 7 A.M. on the second day to 19 degree temperatures and blowing snow. The first hour on the road we drove 35 miles because of black ice. The second hour we drove 18 miles. The roads were absolutely treacherous. We saw 17 vehicles off the road.

Once we were west of Indianapolis, the weather was warmer and the roads were bare. We stopped for breakfast and a much needed mental rest. The rest of that day was pretty smooth sailing.

The only other unusual occurrence happened in Oklahoma, a state which if I had my way, I would never visit again. Our AAA trip tik sent us around Oklahoma City on a toll road. Not only did that little jog cost us $10.65, but two of the toll booths were without operators and demanded the exact change...which, of course, we didn't have. Not only that, the bill changer wouldn't accept our bill. Sooooo, we put the $1.10 we had into the basket and drove through the gate to loudly clanging bells. We pulled over and i found a phone number to call. Now here is the kicker. The woman I talked to gave me an address and information on how and where I should mail the $.05 I owed the state of Oklahoma. That evening Jim gave me five pennies taped to a sheet of paper and I mailed them....with a rather sarcastic little note. So, please spare me Oklahoma.

Texas was fine, boring but fine. Well, boring until this.....

Oh yes, Texas also provided the best meal we had on the trip. A wonderful rib eye steak followed by blackberry cobbler. Yummy!

New Mexico is beautiful. Lynilu says it's even more beautiful when you get away from Rt. 40. I think we might have to take a little side trip next year to see for ourselves.

We arrived here in Henderson at noon on Saturday to 68 degrees and sunny skies. It was good to see the condo complex again. After four years it's beginning to feel like home.

Spring is beginning to spring here and love is in bloom also as evidenced by the next pictures.

We had dinner with Gretchen our first night here. Sunday we worshipped with them at their little UMC church and had lunch before they had to go to work. We plan to spend the day with Gretchen tomorrow. So you see, it's not only the weather that draws us to Nevada.

~Hippo Hugs~

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's My (65th) Birthday

Just think, if I live 35 more years, I'll be 100. Not that I'm aiming for that milestone. I'm much more interested in living life fully today. That's why I decided the best way to celebrate turning 65 was to give myself a birthday party. I invited about 20 of my (girl) friends to help me "howl" as I turned 65.

So, last night at 7:30 sixteen women arrived at my house to party. What a delightful way to prepare for Medicare. I decided to serve cupcakes and, no, Cheryl, I didn't bake my own. I ordered them from a new cupcake bakery in the city. They were absolutely scrumptious.

I put the dessert in my craft room hoping that some of the people would settle in there and visit, but alas, everyone crowded first,into the kitchen and then into living room. I guess women are really pack animals. It worked well and everyone seemed to have a good time.

I received wonderful cards and donations to Haiti relief, but the best part is having friends like this with whom to share special occasions.
I feel so blessed to have arrived at this day with precious friends (many of them in Blogland), a wonderful husband who loves and likes me, my dear children, a loving extended family, a modicum of good health and a God who holds my past, present and future in his hands. Who could ask for more?
We will be leaving for our winter sojourn on Tuesday so my next post will be from Henderson, NV.
~Hippo Hugs~

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Just Tuesday

Isn't Tuesday an odd day? It's not the beginning of the week, not hump day, not nearing the weekend. It's just Tuesday. Our Tuesday has become special because it's the day Re*gal Cinema's has $1 popcorn for it's club members. We try to go every week if there is anything at all interesting playing.

Today we saw Mel Gibson in The Edge of Darkness. It was, indeed, dark. I really liked it, but wouldn't recommend it for anyone who struggles with blood and violence. I have always been a fan of Gibson until recently when I think he's gone a little off his rocker. His mental condition aside, I thought his acting was the old Mel. I think it's more a guy movie, but since Jim goes to chick flicks with me, I wouldn't complain about this.

We've also added a visit to Bruce to our Tuesdays. Shelly has musical rehearsal until 10 on Tuesdays. His daughter goes to the nursing home and has dinner with him and Jim and I show up around 7. It helps the evening pass for him, and gives us a chance to visit and catch up on his progress. His progress is still very slow. He is going forward, but at a snail's pace.

Tonight was a tough one as we had to say farewell for a while. We will be leaving for our western sojourn next week and won't see him again until April. It was pretty emotional for all of us.

The last couple of weeks we have been adding dinner out into our Tuesday outing. After the movie, we do dinner at a restaurant near the theater, shop a little and then go on to see Bruce. It works well. Today I had a coupon for a free entree at Un*o's as February is my birthday month. It was a good meal and FREE! We each had one of their $1.99 desserts. A really good deal.

Yesterday our very old style paper shredder decided it didn't want to quit shredding. We pulled the plug, took it apart as best we could, plugged it in and it continued to shred...nothing. So, Jim decided we should buy another one, which we did after the movies. I was disappointed in the price, but in this day and age I think we need to have one, so...

Since we were at the mall, I decided to run into Ma*cy's and check on their coats. I have been looking at this red pea coat for quite a while now. In mid-January I thought for sure it would be on sale. It is the exact coat I have been searching for. Now, I can probably afford the coat at it's regular price, but hey, it's the middle of winter and the thing should go on sale. I was just stubborn enough that I wouldn't buy it. I went back a week later, still not sale. Last Friday, Shelly and I went in to see if it was still there. It sure the same price.

Well, today my stubbornness paid off. The coat was on sale for 60% off. I was delighted to buy a new coat for less than I paid for a paper shredder. Having saved all that money, I went to Dick's and bought some new hiking shoes. WOW! What a Tuesday.

Peace is when time doesn't matter as it passes by.
~Maria Schell