Monday, June 26, 2017

Babysitting Grandchildren

“Grandchildren don’t make a woman feel old
It’s being married to a grandfather that bothers her.”

Grandma Jan

Our San Diego family needed a babysitter.  Our daughter and her husband are finally at a place in their lives where they can break away from routine and get away alone for a few days at a time.  It blessed us to have little three-year old Amy for a few days here with us in Arizona.   

Everything Changes When a Three Year Old Visits.

The uncanny triple digit heat wave nixed our outdoor plans.  Amy loves animals and we live close to Out of Africa, a wildlife park and zoo.   We couldn’t take Amy with her fair complexion.   We did, however, visit the indoor swimming pool.  Watching Amy running gleefully under the pop up sprays and loving the water slide put a big smile on my face.   

Interesting to hear Papa’s version of Cinderella.  Did you know that Cinderella called her dog “Bruno?”  Me either.

Bye, bye, Bruno and I am missing her already!

“No cowgirl was ever faster on the draw 
than a grandma pulling baby pictures out of her handbag.” 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Dog

“A man is incomplete
Until he is married.
After that, he’s finished.”
                                                                      Zsa Zsa Gabor

I knew that when I married my husband, pets of various kinds would come to live with us.  The man loves animals.  Especially dogs.

I’ve always had a dog as a kid.

Like so many newly married couples, we got a practice dog before kids.  The kids and the dogs followed over a lifetime.

I like big dogs.  I miss Frankie, our yellow lab, who died just as we retired, but I love the freedom of being able to go anywhere for days without having to make arrangements for Frankie.  I like the bonus, too, of not having to vacuum dog hair from my area rugs.

I stood my ground for three years refusing to house another pet, even a goldfish.  And then I caved to my husband's pleas.

“You can have a dog if you promise to be its master, feed him and be the one to walk him.”  Check.

“You can have a dog if you rebuild the old chicken coup and make it a comfortable dog house when he’s outside.”  Check.

“You can have a dog if you rebuild the back deck and build it as pretty as you did the front deck.”  Check.

“You can have a dog if you promise me that you will still prefer me over the dog.”  Check.

A few weeks ago, Tom found his new companion.  On his umpteenth trip to the Sedona Humane Society, they remembered his criteria.  The dog can’t be too big or too small; it has to be middle size with floppy ears, short hair and no yippy barking.

The transition becomes easier with each day and even I get a kick out of our dog jumping in between us on the couch, giving Tom a slobbering kiss and then giving one to me.

Meet Bruno!

The Humane Society guessed that Bruno is two years old and house broken.  He’s had some accidents but I guess that’s to be expected.   They were not sure, but suggested that he’s part Beagle and Pembroke Corgi.

Once, the UPS man delivered a parcel on our doorstep.  I was working in the kitchen wearing my Bluetooth headphones; I didn't hear him.  Bruno did and barked!

Bruno barks when strangers step into our home.  Even family.  I wonder how he will do when three-year-old Amy visits.

Happy Father’s Day, Tom, and to all the dads out there!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

When Self Pity Joined Us for Dinner

Graphics and quotes tickle me on the inside when they instruct us to let go of all bad feelings we harbor and carry on like they're not there.   I like the Polish proverb that says: "Not my circus, not my monkeys!"

I never find it easy to shrug off those negative feelings whether it is my own drama or another's regardless of those cute memes and their powerful messages.  Honestly, I struggle.

When I felt like a target.

I looked forward to a friend's  invitation for my husband and I to join her for dinner in a fancy part of town.  I dressed for the dinner date carefully choosing the best outfit in my closet with just the right shoes.  Tom and I can't afford to dine in this kind of exquisite fashion and I imagined a wonderful experience.

Except, it wasn't!

Oh, the ambiance and wait staff impressed us.  I resisted the temptation to photograph my fancy dinner plate less they think I'm a classy chick who never gets a chance to go out like this.

Our friend seemed on edge from the beginning.  I felt uncomfortable like walking on eggshells.  We asked enough questions to analyze her negative mood and to help her climb out of the pit.  Her emotions were not clear to her either.

Honesty leads to victory.

Stuffing feelings down leads to anger and it doesn't stay stuffed.  It pops up in surprising ways.  In my friend's case, she opened a door to self pity that day and those distasteful spirits came to our dinner and tried to ruin it.

Tom and I decided not to take it personally.  However, our hearts weighed heavy on the drive home.   He broke the silence with a question.  Hey, do you want to go to the gym with me early tomorrow morning and then go out for breakfast?"

Sometimes, he says just the right thing.  I gave the man a high five.  We invited our friend to join us the next morning and after we all worked out together, we took her to our favorite greasy spoon diner that caters to the locals. The owner comes around to every patron with a pot of coffee in each hand and makes delightful conversation.  You can get an egg burrito special there for $4.99!  We always bump into neighbors, friends or people from church. It reminds me of a big dining room where invisible parents wait for you to come in so they can hug you and feed you.

"Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred."  Proverbs 15:17

So this is what I know:  negativity repels people but acceptance and genuine love attracts them.

I like the graphic that reminds me that it is my responsibility to chase after my own happiness.  When you personally know the Giver of happy, it's a cake walk.   

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Thick Crust or Thin?

You can take a girl out of Chicago but you can’t take Chicago out of her especially when it comes to deep dish pizza.

The aircraft slowed its speed over Lake Michigan and gently landed at O’Hare in Chicago just as the sun began to go down.  I turned to the friendly passenger on my left as we peered out the plane’s little window together and I thanked her for the pleasant conversation we enjoyed over the 3.5 hour flight from Phoenx.  In turn, she asked where I thought I might dine out during my week’s stay in Chicago.  I asked her for suggestions.

“Do not leave Chicago and fly back to Phoenix without Lou Malnoti’s deep dish Chicago pizza!”

I had never heard of this place.

My younger brother picked me up at the airport.  It was dinner time and I felt hungry.  He suggested we go back to his house in the Chicago suburbs and order pizza with the family.  When he asked me if I like deep dish or thin crust, I told him that I drool for deep dish!  I almost fell off my chair when the pizza arrived and I noticed the colorful cardboard box advertising “Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria.”

I learned that Rudy Malnati developed a recipe for deep dish pizza and the family enjoyed it over the years.  His son, Lou, decided to open up a pizzeria in Chicago.  It became a franchise with stores reaching out into the suburbs.

Imagine a homemade pie with crunchy, butter crust.  Top that with extra rich tomato sauce with chunks of tomatoes and garlic. On top of the sauce lay Mozzerella Cheese.   Layer it with wall-to-wall Italian sausage not the fatty kind the grocery chains sell, but tasty, lean sausage in every bite.  Top it off with more sauce.

It's the best pizza I've ever eaten!  It is so rich I can only handle one slice!

They make thin crust too; we enjoyed it as well when we celebrated my nephew's birthday.

Drum roll…Here’s the Good News

Lou Malnati’s opened a franchise in Phoenix, Arizona!

When I told my husband about this Chicago pizza story, he was up for the idea of going out to lunch with me at Lou Malnati's on the way home from his VA appointment in Phoenix this week.  We ordered the deep dish style.  Now he loves it too!

On a Serious note…

Friends, my sister passed away and I am relieved that she no longer suffers.  Please know how much I appreciate your loving comments, your emails, and your prayers for us.  Our family thanks you!

My sister had a lot of pizzazz!  I really thought she would go out the same day in May that she was born but with her work here completed, she eased into eternity just a few days before her birthday.

She always liked my homemade cards.   I share my words in cyberspace and hope they reach her in Heaven.

You were the one with the tiny frame and big personality.
You could talk to anyone about anything.
You were the one
Who taught me how to dance to all the fast songs in our parent’s living room
and how to harmonize when we sang Christmas carols.
You were the one that got the small feet and red hair
…And I always loved you.
Can you hear me in Heaven as I whisper “Happy Birthday?”

We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to Himself together with you.  2 Corinthians 4:14