Friday, February 27, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

I started to watch the Academy Awards last weekend. But the Academy Awards in and of itself isn't the highlight. Ohhh, nooo! The Bawbrwa Wawlters interveiws before the Academy Awards is the real deal! It's just not the same until you've seen some celebrity cry on Barbara's shoulder right before the show.

This year, they showed a clip of last year's highlights before the actual crying began. Her first interview was with Ellen DeGeneres. Now, I like Ellen. She is hysterical. And no one, no where, no way will ever be a better voice of Dory in Finding Nemo! She has dry humor, warmth, and style. Anyway, Ellen was discussing the ups & downs of her life. Like most of us, Ellen has had some really big successes, but she has also had some very painful things happen to her along the way. They showed an early clip of Ellen when she was on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, where she did a thing about calling God on the telephone. So Barbara asked Ellen what she would say to God if she really could call him on the phone, and Ellen got very teary-eyed (it is Bawbrwa Wawlters after all) and said with all sincerity, "I'd say thank you, I've got nothing but gratitude. My whole life, I am blessed. I feel it everyday."

I was so convicted by her words, I turned off the TV.

I don't know what Ellen's religious beliefs are, but that's not my point. The point is the overwhelming gratitude at the life she's been given. She recognizes her blessings and I had to ask myself if I am as quick to recognize mine, or do I get consumed with other things?

When I pray, which is really a telephone call to God, how much time do I spend thanking Him for what is already in my life? Do I tell Him thank you for already blessing me more than I deserve? Do I tell Him that if He never did anything for me but sending His son 2000 years ago to die on the cross for my salvation, that's more than I could ever repay?

I never telephone my friends and say "Let me tell ya what you can do for me today" and I'm betting my calls would soon be screened if I did. I'm quick to say thank you to my friends, it's just good manners. But I'd never say, "Well that's nice but if you really wanted to help you could do this ..."

As a mama, I spent lots of time teaching my kids to say please and thank you. That's just what nice people do. So why am I so quick to say thank you to the cashier at Paradise Bakery for the buddy bucks, but so slow to tell God thank you for the air I breath, the family that I love, the friends that I adore, and the blessed life that is so much more than I deserve?

I never thought a Barbara Walters special would cause me to think spiritually, but it did. Maybe I'm "in the zone" now -- and last year I was not. I just know that Ellen's words made me stop and think. And I made a telephone call to God, just to say thank you.

Isaiah 58:11: The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

DC Visit with Brandt

TIP: Hold cursor over any picture to see caption. I had a great visit with Brandt! Many of the pics are from the Newseum (just opened in April 2008), which has five centuries of news history, including a piece of the Berlin Wall, the mangled antenna from one of the twin towers destroyed on 9/11 which was oh so important to the news reporters as they filed their stories with the Associated Press, and get this ... the First Dogs exhibit, featuring many Presidents and their loyal best friend!

Speaking of loyal best friend, Brandt was dog-sitting for his good friend and neighbor, Jennifer, so I made friends with Tilly! She's now part of Brandt's gang.

Off we went to spend the day at the National Gallery of Art, with another one of Brandt's gang - Allen, who is retired and volunteers 3 days a week at the Art Gallery. What an unforgetable tour and guide! I've been to Pompeii! Well, sorta. The rediscovery of Pompeii and it's artifacts is like vacationing in Rome!

We enjoyed evening dinners with Brandt and Sara. No one calls her Sara, really. It's Sara Barton. Just rolls off the tongue, yes? Sara has a beautiful smile and a quick sense of humor, and makes my son happy. Happy son = happy mom. Thank you Sara Barton.

Thanks to my dear, long-time friend, Debbie, for letting me be her travel companion. Your good company, fun sense of humor, agreeable attitude (even while walking many many blocks in the snow and rain) are filed away in my forever drawer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Rambling

Kay has been a busy girl! I flew to DC on the day after Valentines to hang with Brandt. He ran me around like I'm 21 again, and when I returned home, I realized I was not. 21, that is. Perhaps I will work on that at my next b-day. We went to four museums, had dinner in Chinatown, shopped in Georgetown, met friends along the way, and spent time at Brandt's loft and hanging with neighbor Jennifer's dog, Tilly. Jennifer had the nerve to be in Thailand, so I missed her this time! I enjoyed spending time with Brandt's new girlfriend, Sara Fun Barton {emphasis added}. I'll post pics later ... I'm still trying to make my way back to my real age.

I had to come back to work to relax! I came home to a full in-box, an un-full refrigerator, a full bin of laundry, and oh, company's coming! Kevin's family arrived on Friday to spend the weekend celebrating Jane's 74th b-day. Kevin is the most wonderful brother, you would want him even if you already have a brother. He took care of everything. He reserved the activities room at Rosegate, invited Jane's friends and family, ordered b-day cake and balloons, and brought in Crave Cases full of White Castle hamburgers. Now that's a party - so say the 80+ year old friends from Rosegate! I'll post pics later ... did I mention that I'm still trying to make my way back to my real age?!

Saturday ... time to load 'em up and move 'em out to Clayton's best-ever b-ball game. The kid was on fire! His team won by 2 points, and the package of Reese Pieces I gave him after the game was well deserved. Uber-excitement! All the while it was snowing outside, which uber-excites Aunt Audra. "Let's make snow angels, let's build an igloo, let's crawl underneath the branches of that tree and look up at the snow!" She's 80+ and she means every word. We could hardly yank her inside the car! Off to Red Robin for lunch, then a stop at Barnes & Noble, and then we converged on mom's house for leftover b-day cake. Mom loves it when we mess up her kitchen. Seriously. I'll post pics later ... did I mention that I'm still trying to make my way back to my real age?!

Sunday ... Jane has an upper respiratory infection but she is still smiling after Kevin spent half the night with her in ER getting real drugs. Aunt Audra happily read her new Glenn Beck book. Harold watched GunSmoke while Vivian hung out with me until it was time to hit the road, Jack.

Take every opportunity to breathe blessings into the hearts of those you love.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A New Look

The blog got a facelift! Thanks to The Cutest Blog On The Block. Stay tuned for more. I'm on a roll.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Weekend

Why celebrate just one day? On this Valentine's Weekend, here are 14 real everyday things that I love about my Valentine. I could list 114, but this will do.

1. Kevin always remembers Valentine's Day and he makes it special for us. My favorite part is the card because I read between the lines and feel like the luckiest girl in the universe. And I am! Diamonds and flowers and movies .... it's all good. But the card. The card is the heart of it.

2. He is a father who shows love to his children in so many ways. He thinks beyond "I love you" and he is always there for his family - no matter what the circumstances.

3. Kevin always wakes up happy. Enough said.

4. He makes me laugh ... sometimes out of control funny! He is friendly and talkative in public. Did I mention talkative?

5. He fixes things. It's like waving a magic wand.

6. He loves to see me happy and hummy. (as in humming tunes from my IPod). When I'm excited, he wants to hear about it. He encourages me to go and do and have fun.

7. He is amazingly mannerly and polite, a real gentleman. He opens doors for strangers, carries things (even my purse!), helps the elderly across the road, and has a way with kids and babies. He says hello to everyone.

8. He goes the extra mile. Kevin works hard. Not only for his family, but for friends and neighbors. He is everyone's hero when it comes to clearing snowy driveways, or running to the grocery, or helping someone with a project.

9. He loves my mother to no end, and he is really her son. He is a very caring brother and caregiver to his sister, Jane, who has Alzheimers and lives near us. He does everything on both of their "honey do" lists, and makes it fun.

10. He enjoys playing games - cards, board games, word games. Time spent together is time well spent.

11. Our lives are fast - but he always takes the time to say hello and goodbye with a kiss.

12. I love that he is sentimental. Memories really mean something to him. Making them are a priority.

13. He even loves ... well, at least likes, the cat.

14. I like being known as Mrs. Squires. My Valentine is a keeper!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wind and Pork Chops

Been having some crazy weather here lately! Wind, sheets of rain, sun pops out and then a do-over of it all. Today at lunch, I got caught in parts (a) and (b) so I looked like a drowned rat when I returned to the office. But I had high heels on, so I was good.

Kevin had plans with his sister tonight, so I worked a bit later. I arrived home in the dark, wind, and rain to find we had no power. No getting the car in the garage! Don't ya just love it when things we take for granted are gone?! Not having a garage door opener, I fumbled for my house key. Finally found it! Got the door unlocked, only to learn that the deadbolt was locked too. Now what?

Eleanore to the rescue! My cell phone actually rang as I was standing in the dark, wind and rain on my porch fumbling with my keys. "Can you see?" said Miss Eleanore. "Nope, and I'm locked out of my house and I'm coming over to yours!" replied me. I zipped around the corner, and found Brent/Eleanore playing backgammon in the dark with candles. She gave me pork chops for dinner and I waited for my hero Kevin to come home and get us into our dark house.

What a fun evening! Power JUST came back. Don't you just LOVE it when things we take for granted are gone?!

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Middle Age Monday

Ten Things I knew I would never forget, even in middle age

(Okay, never mind)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

How do you say I love you?

Do you say it with a heart shaped M&M ring on a paper plate?

Or a phone call to a friend? How many ways do you say I love you?

Thoughts in Threes:

Things I did this past week:

1. Went with my sister to our first dinner theater show this season, feature presentation "Don't Dress for Dinner". Maybe for some, but for me? Not so much. Really would not be a good idea, not to mention you might freeze something off. The play was hysterically funny! We laughed till we .... ummm, we had to go to the bathroom.

2. Bought semi-flat shiny black penny loafers to wear with Jean's as knock-around shoes. Funny story here -- suffice it to say that Judge Gray (whom I respect and respond to in her courtroom on a regular basis) found me in the shoe department and a good time was had by all! "How about these? You're too picky! No, not those nerdy ones. Why must you look taller? You just need to hem your Jeans. Yes, those are the ones!"

3. Had my Jeans hemmed.

Things I talked with people about:

1. The last 20 years with an old friend.
2. Life in general ... with my sweetheart. I love doing that.
3. Upcoming trip to DC ... with Debbie.

Biggest surprises this week:

1. We learned that Kevin has shingles. Pain, much pain. So he thinks happy thoughts instead. If I had them, I would die dead. Instead of dying, Kevin took me to a movie on Friday night. Clint Eastwood is, like 100 years old, but his new movie "Grand Torino" is absolutely grand. Go.

2. A fun surprise --- After stamp club on Thursday night with the "hood" girls, we stopped off at McDonalds and got jittered up on Sprite and laughed so hard!

3. Want to know how many times a day I talk to the cat when I see him? Me too.

Things I just want to say:

1. I love Jesus, oh yes I do!

2. I got myself all ready to go outside and walk around the block with my spiffy new retractable ear phones for my IPod and my Kathy Smith Walk Fit tunes, and I told Kevin if I was not back in 30 minutes to send out an A.P.B. because if I don't come back it probably means I had a heart attack. He did not. I did not. Phew.

3. A few months ago I joined Facebook. (and yes, I will gladly be your friend if you ask). Facebook is the new smoking. It's horribly addicting and fun. It's a place where people report on important things in their life, such as "Doing laundry today" and "Enjoying doing nothing today" and "Getting good at Guitar Hero today". But then again ... connecting with family and friends, on any level, is good, yes? No matter how good or bad you type.

Not only does love make the world go round, but it makes the ride worthwhile!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Go-Go the Snowman

Meet Go-Go the Snowman. Everyone say it with me - awwwww! Go-Go resides in my grandkids' neighborhood, and his life expectancy is looking good with the additional 2 inches of snow and freezing temps that have descended upon us from the heavens.

Princess Rhegan (above) and her brother Clayton (below) spent 34 1/2 minutes playing outside with Go-Go. It was Grandpa Kevin's job to watch the clock before Mr. Frostbite paid a visit.

Why is it that cold and snow is never a bother to kids? Could it be because they don't have to drive? Or push a shopping cart full of groceries through the snowy parking lot? Or pay the high heating bill? Probably.

Now this is what little bro' Parker did while the others were outside playing with Go-Go the Snowman. Do we see a similarity between infants and us old farts?

Some days, don't you just want to do this? I love to throw a good hissy fit. It soothes the soul. In this particular hissy fit, Rhegan was unhappy that I was taking a picture of her brother without her being in it. I asked her if she could please hold that pose "For Like Ever" ... and she did!
The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.