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When I think of the things that make me the happiest, it’s always the little things in life.  When I went out to dinner last night with my hubby, we walked past the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop and memories came rushing back from my days in high school.  My dad loved Baskin Robbins Burgundy Cherry.  My mom’s favorite was Daquiri Ice. I still remember them ordering those over 35 years ago.  It wasn’t an expensive treat or that unusual.  But I remember those trips to BR like it was yesterday.  We all had such a good time looking at those 31 (or more) flavors and trying to decide what we would have…only to go back to the tried and true favorites!  We’d get a scoop (or two) and laugh and talk about whatever was on our minds, enjoying the afternoon together.

Today I went to lunch with a friend.  It wasn’t a special lunch…nothing fancy.  But it was one of those little things in life…time with a friend.  Last night, I worked at commencement and had the chance to help hood the master’s candidates.  All I was doing was making sure their hoods were on correctly before they participated in commencement.  They were wonderfully appreciative for the help.  And it felt great!  The little things.

This morning, my little baby kitty (5 year old baby, that is) curled up with me in bed as my alarm was going off, purring and rubbing his nose on mine and then he licked the tip of my nose.  It’s the little things in life…

Tonight, as I was driving home and the sun was shining and my sunroof was open to let the sunbeams in and the fresh breeze blow across my face, I realized how great it feels.  Little things make me smile.

Fourth of July fireworks, a walk on the beach picking up shells, a beautiful sunrise, snuggled up on the couch with a roaring fire and a glass of wine, a drive in the country down a tree-lined lane or a rainy day curled up in bed reading a good book.

“It’s the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

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When I was a kid, there were 3 channels.  Black and White Television.  No remote channel changers…unless you count my brother and me.  We were the human channel changers.  And I vividly remember when we got our first color television.  I could not get enough of those three channels.  And then…there were four!  How were we possibly going to have enough time to see all there was to see?  I know, that makes me old.

I loved watching the old Shirley Temple movies.  And there was nothing better than seeing commercials in color.  I could finally see the avocado green appliances and the color of the shag rugs in the homes of the characters who were wearing bell bottom jeans and psychedelic mini dresses.  They were awesome colors!  But I also remember being shocked that black & white movies didn’t turn to color just because the tv was a color tv.  🙂

This love of television did not stop at the shows.  Since my early childhood, I have been fascinated by commercials.  The funny ones, the sad ones, the ones with catchy jingles.  I love commercials.  Nothing made me cry as much as the Hallmark card commercials.  And the old commercials like “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop” and “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan…” still run through my head like they were just shown yesterday.  And who can forget the Spot commercials from 7-Up? My favorite was Spot climbing up the chimney and finding a forgotten toy on the roof (and then swooping down the roof in that toy fire engine, through the tree and a window, landing under the Christmas tree).

Looking back now, I can’t get over how much fun television was back then.  Sometimes, I wish we could go back to that simpler time.  And then I turn on the tv and find hundreds of channels to view…and one dedicated to old movies, another dedicated to old sitcoms from back in the day…and the Food Network.  I LOVE the Food Network. And since we CAN’T go back in time, I’ll stay in the here-and-now and enjoy it.

Although the shows have changed and the channels have drastically increased over the years, my fascination with television ( and with commercials) hasn’t changed at all.

“Television is more interesting than people. If it were not, we would have people standing in the corners of our rooms.” ~ Alan Corenk

We may have to cancel weekends if they get any shorter.  Really.  After all, how can an evening and two full days fly by so quickly they are gone in a flash?  And the weeks just run on endlessly.  Each weekday feels like 48 hours (0r more).  Especially the hours at work.  Especially in April.  It’s almost the end of the year.  No, I’m not on any weird calendar or having flashbacks to December.  I live on the academic calendar.

The school year is coming to a close and I just don’t see how we can cram anything more into the week.  Yet, somehow we do.  Writing speeches, finishing up the leadership program for faculty and staff, an endless array of end-of-the-year banquets and award ceremonies for students, staff, faculty…the list seems never-ending.  But I see the end in sight.  We’ve just proof-read the commencement program.  The much-awaited commencement ceremony has been planned and the month of endless banquets/awards/speeches is half over.

With all the things going on during the week, I leave work and head for the comfiest chair in the house on Friday evening…and fall asleep.  Saturday starts off by dragging myself out of bed and running those necessary errands that are required (grocery shopping, car wash, dry cleaners–you know, the necessary evils) and events that are held on weekends, like the spring scrimmage for the football team, Fiesta events (yes, I live in San Antonio), and get-togethers.  Add in housework, laundry, and dishes (after cooking), and the weekend is now gone.  Disappeared in front of my eyes.  Almost like it was never there.  Back to work.  And another week of craziness looms ahead.  Good thing I still enjoy my job.  Just think what it would be like otherwise.

And with all this, it just proves that the old adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” isn’t necessarily true.  I enjoy my job…it’s hectic, but fun.  And it doesn’t fly by.  But the weekend seems shorter than two days.  By Sunday evening, it feels as if only one day has passed by.  And my weekend is not chock full of fun.

What month of the year is the busiest for you and why?

“Sunday evenings often feel like the weekend is over before it’s even  begun.” ~ Catherine McCormack

 

Yep, I had this recurring dream for years.  I know the first recollection I have of the dream was about the time I was in Kindergarten.  The dream made no sense then and still doesn’t.  I’m not sure I believe in dream interpretation, but I do wish I knew why I had this dream over and over, year after year, until I was well into my adult years.

When I was just a little girl, I woke up with such a strange feeling…like I’d been running.  And I had been.  In my sleep.  I remembered the same part of the dream each time I dreamed it.  It never changed.  And it made absolutely no sense.

The dream started out with me hiding in a large cornfield.  It was a cornfield in the middle of Paris.  France, that is.  Not Texas.  I am not sure how I knew it was in Paris.  I just knew.  And I was crouching down, running through the cornfield, running away from gangsters.  Not gangstas!  Gangsters, like the ones in the movies.  You know.  Al Capone-type guys.  Wise guys.  With fedoras and trench coats over old-style pin-striped suits.  But no guns.  They were carrying scythes.  Cutting down the stalks of corn, trying to find me.

And I was never caught.  I ran up and down the rows of corn, ducking and hiding from the slashing scythes and the scary gangsters.  I don’t know why they were chasing me or why I was running from people who appeared to be from a different time period (at least, clothing-wise).   And I really am not sure what a cornfield was doing in the middle of Paris!  I think that is the part that puzzles me the most.

What is it about recurring dreams that mess with us so much?  I mean, I dream all kinds of strange dreams.  Most are almost immediately out of my head a few minutes after waking up, but I do remember some longer.  And they are usually just as odd as my Cornfield in Paris dream.  But I don’t dream them over and over.

Do you remember your dreams?  Do you have a recurring dream?  Do you believe in interpreting dreams?

” The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious  activities of the mind.” ~ Sigmund Freud

My hubby and I are getting to the age that many of our friends (and we aren’t far behind) are now starting to care for their parents.  Some of them are now complete caretakers and others are starting to give advice to their parents…and others fall into other parts of the spectrum.  So far, my husband has just been giving advice and reviewing their finances to make sure they can continue to do what they need to do on their own.  After hearing bits and pieces of some very sad stories from friends and acquaintances, and the occasional funny one, I realized how lucky I am that my mother is such a go-getter, that I haven’t yet had to consider the options that are available and what I would do if I needed to be her caretaker.  My mother is such an independent person, I just have no idea how I will get her to do what I say is necessary.

Recently, a friend was telling me about her experiences with her mother.  Her mother questioned her about the finances over and over until her daughter had to tell her that she had no choice.  Her mother asked, “Why?” and her daughter had to tell her, “Because I’m in charge now.”  She said it was the hardest thing she has ever had to do.  I could feel her pain as she told the story.  I know exactly how difficult it would be to say the same thing to my mom.

So, how do you know when you are just butting in where you aren’t needed and when you really need to step in and take control?

I worry about the day I need to let my mother know I’m in charge now. I don’t know how she’ll take it, but I hope it’s as good as my friend’s mother. When told her daughter was now in charge, her response was, “Okay.” And that was that.

“We begin our lives being cared for by our parents and we care for them at the end of theirs.  It’s a fair trade.” ~ AEK

Almost 14 years ago, in Independence, Missouri, I was on my way to an appointment to see a Persian kitten.  I had recently lost my beautiful cat, Casper, who had lived a full 18 years.  I missed him and was lonely for the whiskery love of a cat.  For years, I had thought Persian cats were gorgeous and was not thinking beyond that.  I wasn’t sure how to get to the lady’s home and this was pre-GPS days, so I took note of the directions and started out early – I don’t like to be late.  I got to the area a full half-hour early, but saw a PetsMart near her home and wanted to look for a few cat toys.

And that decision to stop at PetsMart changed the course of what was to be and began my love affair with my new cat, Rascal.  When I went into the store, I realized they were running an adoption program for pets from the local animal pound.  I saw an adorable litter of kittens with their tuxedo mom.  Wanting a male cat, I asked if there were any males in the litter and they said, “two”.  I started playing with the male tuxedo kitten and all he was interested in was going back to play with his sisters.

I then asked which other one was male and they pointed out the little mackerel tabby sitting in the corner of the litter box, watching the rough and tumble play of his siblings.  I wasn’t sure he was a cat I was interested in, but I said I’d like to see him.  And that was it.  They placed him on the table in front of me and he ran to me, climbed up my shirt and snuggled at my neck.  I laughed and my heart melted.  I set him back on the table and he did the same thing…purring in my ear and snuggling in for life.  I called the lady with the Persian kitten and apologized that I would not be there.  But I knew I had made the right decision.

Rascal was a one-person cat.  He adored me and hissed and growled at almost everyone else, especially the vet – and anyone who worked there.  He purred like a motor-boat if I looked at him.  When I stroked his lovely chin and forehead, he squinted his gorgeous, green eyes and purred louder.  He loved me and I loved him.

My beautiful boy, Rascal.  His nose was reddish brown, with a dark outline.  It almost looked like a heart shape.

My beautiful boy, Rascal. His nose was reddish brown, with a dark outline. It almost looked like a heart shape.

Rascal spent the next two years with me, keeping me company and we were happy to hang out on the couch, curled up with a book or watching television.  His adventurous spirit was limited to hanging out on the windowsill, watching the birds, other cats and some squirrels playing in the yard.  He didn’t like the outdoors at all and if the door opened, he ran to the bedroom, hiding under the bed.

When he was two, my new love, Beau came to visit my house for the first time.  I expected that Rascal would hide until he was gone, but my shock could not have been bigger.  Rascal walked over to him and the doorway, rubbed against his legs and purred.  And when Beau sat down on a chair in the living room, Rascal hopped up behind his head and curled up, content to hang out with him.  My sweet, one-person cat had just become a two-person cat.  And that would last for the rest of Rascal’s life.

Beau and I were married several months later and Rascal and I flew from the United States to Germany to live with my new hubby while he finished the last bit of his 5 years working for the US Government in Germany.  Rascal thrived in Germany!  He loved the marble windowsills and the radiators that heated them in winter.  His favorite places were on those sills, watching the birds, the comings and goings of the neighbors and the distance he maintained from our landlord’s beagle and sitting in front of the balcony door.  But our time in Germany ended and we hopped on another plane, back to the United States and Texas – our new home.

Rascal

Rascal’s next nine years were years of love, contentment and his happiness being a two-person cat. His favorite window was in the patio door. He pushed the curtain aside and would stare out – and panic if I was outside. I think he couldn’t quite comprehend why anyone, ever, would want to be outdoors. He’d watch every move I made until I came back inside.

And then he seemed to get hair balls all the time, started losing weight, and I knew that something was wrong.  His frequent visits to the vet began last May.  We dealt with treatments for the hairballs, he had a few bad teeth removed and he seemed to stabilize.  And then he began to lose more weight.  At first, we assumed it was because we had changed his diet to accommodate his fewer teeth, the need to keep his food more moist.

But then six weeks later, he was sick again.  And we returned to the vet…again and again.  Finally, I realized there was something much more wrong with him.  I saw him every day, but even I knew he was losing a lot of weight.  My once fat, fluffy cat who had weighed in at one point over 17 lbs was now at 11 lbs.  And that was when he was diagnosed with an intestinal tumor.

Our wonderful vet removed the tumor and sent it in for a biopsy.  We were told that Rascal’s tumor was cancerous, but that of the two types, it was the lesser and the margins were clean and it had not progressed to lymph nodes.  My optimism returned.  I thought we were going to still keep my baby with us for a few more years.  A month later, we discovered more issues and then the diagnosis that there was likely another mass in his intestines.

At that point, we took him home to enjoy his last days.  To the bitter end, my sweet, loveable Rascal looked at me with love, wanted to be held, snuggled and purred whenever I looked at him or stroked his beautiful face.  I adore him still and miss that face and the love he gave me from that first day at PetsMart.  I will never love a cat the way I loved him.  He was there for me during my time alone and accepted my husband into our life unconditionally…and with no hesitation.

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” ~ Charles Dickens 

Well, I started watching The View years ago.  And that was before the rolling heads (Star, Rosie, Debbie, Elizabeth).  My mother has quite a fascination with The Chew.  At first, I thought she was talking about The View, until I realized it was a new show. It tickled my funny-bone that the shows’ titles rhymed.  And then, today, my brain just went with that thought and I started imagining an entire line-up of talk shows…with names all rhyming with The View.

So, first of all is the new crafting show called The Glue.  Can you imagine the corporate sponsorship possibilities?  Between Elmers and Loctite alone, the show will do well.

My husband was fascinated with The Sue, a look at all those crazy court cases where people sue corporations and each other over things like too hot coffee or sandwiches that don’t quite measure 12 inches.

Then there’s The Pew…Jim Bakker’s next foray into televangelism.  And who would want to miss out on The Shrew, Joy Behar’s newest talk show, now that she won’t be on The View anymore.  Her first guest will be Joan Rivers.

And my favorite…The Cue.  It’s all about the theatre scene, with shows being reviewed, guests from Broadway productions and performances from some of the best shows being produced on the road.  And that’s my cue…to ask you what show you would have on this new network called The Zoo.

“Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television.” ~ Woody Allen

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