Lucky Man

20160518_161422.jpgToday I have a dinosaur in my pocket and it made  me think of Dad.

Moving through the dozen rooms of our child care center each day, I pick up stray items, dropping small ones in my pocket or purse to take with me to its proper place in the building.  Often I promptly relocate the items.  Other days they go home with me, forgotten, but eventually returned days later.

That’s how little blue man ended up as a gift for my dad.

When we learned dad was to have major surgery, there was little time to get things organized before flying out to be with him. Cleaning out my purse did not make the to-do list. Somewhere above Missouri, before landing in Kansas City, I discovered little blue man among the pens and paperclips that always sink and line the bottom of my purses. Laughing at myself for carrying such an odd item, I decided to present it to dad as a lucky man, for a lucky man.

We always teased Dad about his luck.  In his lifetime he won recliners, televisions, microwaves, and much more.  Not a gambler, and years before State Lotteries were the norm anyway, he won by signing up at every possible free drawing at fairs and business promotions.  So I told him this little blue guy, now dubbed Lucky Man, was to remind him how lucky he had always been, and would be as he faced the major surgery and subsequent cancer treatment.  He laughed and kept it in his hospital room among the balloons and cards. (I knew he’d like it; the goofy gene in our family definitely came from Dad.)

Lucky Man earned a permanent place on Dad’s bedroom dresser for the almost four years Dad battled pancreatic cancer, post surgery. Lucky years for all of us, to have more time together.

We are a family of faith, and credit God with that time, not luck.  For me, counting yourself lucky in life is mostly about deciding to be happy.  It is choosing joy, wherever it can be found.  Even in the midst of fighting cancer, that was Dad’s  choice, and it served him  well.







I’m So Glad You Thought of That!

Little things make me happy. Like foaming soap. So I entertained myself thinking about some of my favorite inventions. Not necessities, but simple things I enjoy on an almost daily basis. Here’s what I came up with, in no particular order.

1) Foaming soap. (I wasn’t kidding.) Warm Vanilla Sugar is my favorite scent.
2) Fans. Electric fans. I love to sleep with one on as many months of the year as my husband will tolerate. Add blankets, but keep the fan. I also appreciate the fan that quickly blows heat into a chilly car these Fall mornings, then fills the car with a cool breeze in the heat of the day. I’m a fan of air conditioning, too. (Oops, inadvertent pun.)
3) Cup holders. Really, how did we drive back in the 70’s? With a can of pop between our knees and the wind blowing hot air through the open window, that’s how. Cup holders are such a wonderful invention that cup makers adapted their designs to fit.
4) Ziplock baggies. I use them for so much more than food storage. They are great for keeping papers neat, clean, and visible. Ditto for kids’ books. They come in all sizes and are great for craft pieces. I use them all the time. And, if someone is car sick? ZIP and PITCH!
5) Insulated bottles you can fill with ice to keep a drink cold all day. AND they fit in my cup holder!
6) The little pill sorters for days of the week/times of the day. Never gave them a thought until I started helping take care of my mom, who takes 18 pills a day. Now I love them. Genius.
7) Task specific adhesives. Post-its. Glue dots for scrapbooks/card making. Super glue. Etc.
8) Sunglasses. Love the sun; hate to squint. I wear them year round. My daughter once told me she could describe me to someone trying to pick me out in a crowd anytime, “My mom? She’s the short blonde with sunglasses and a giant travel mug.”
9) The DVR. I was going to stick with lo-tech, smaller inventions, but I can’t leave this off my list. We watch what we want, when we want, without having to remember to record it, and we can pause it when interrupted and not miss a thing. It still amazes me. This week it caught reruns of Firefly and several season premieres I would have forgotten. Finding time to watch – still a problem.
10) Here’s another I can’t ignore. All forms of instant, written communication: email, instant message, tweet, text, etc., etc., etc. Truly amazing.

Thank you, thank you, inventors, whoever you are. Your idea brightens my days!

If you’re reading this, I’d love to hear what would be on your list.

Bumblebee Breakfast

It’s a slow start summer Saturday
Our dog is sprawled on the porch, still guarding the door, daylight her chance to rest after active duty all night. I joined her with my book and bowl of cereal, the cat coming in as I stepped out.

Bright sun spotlights the porch this morning, so I trade sunglasses for my readers and put the book down. The dog woke to watch me eat. The cat stares plaintively out the door, regretting his quick choice to go in. Quite an audience for a simple breakfast.

Edging the porch the Black-eyed Susans and Hostas are abloom. Bumblebees methodically work from one purple trumpet to another on the hosta. A white butterfly hovers. My husband saw a hummingbird here yesterday, but it is just the bees at work this morning. The Morning Glories I planted recently are beginning to climb the trellis. Funny I get such joy from these little things. Slowing is a luxury for me.

The wind chime above my head rings lazily, a backdrop for the constant bird sounds. I hear the mourning doves and quail (Bob White!), and a high pitched, but gentle warble I can’t identify. My father-in-law used to know most birds by their call – wish I’d learned more. We’ve had the fun sounds of cat-birds and mocking birds from time to time, and often woodpeckers to add percussion to the chorus. I spotted an Indigo Bunting twice this week, a rarer treat. I wonder what they sound like?

The cat races outside as I take my empty bowl in. I am heading to town to get some work done at our business. Saturdays are good for that without the interruptions I face when we are open. Before I leave, my husband and I walk the yard, admiring new growth, new blooms. We confer on what to pull and what to leave as he shows me some of the gardening he plans to do today. He’s found more pleasure in the yard in recent years. The visible signs of accomplishment as he mows and weeds make a welcome break from financial decisions and bill paying.  He waves, as always, as I drive away.

So much to treasure in this quiet start to the day.

It’s not just summer. It’s a slowing season of life for us.