Friday, November 27, 2009

Smacked by a Random Act of Kindness!

It was one of those days. Last weekend Ash was diagnosed with not one, but two, DVT's. What a shock. Only 22 years old and very health conscious (eats right, exercises regularly, doesn't smoke), we figured she had pulled a muscle exercising. The doctors said, "What an interesting case!" (she's not amused). So this week turned into a whirlwind of doctor visits, lab tests, and pharmacy runs. This morning we made the trek back over to the hospital lab for another blood test, then stopped in downtown Monterey to get some special supplies she needed at the medical supply store. It had started raining and when we got back to the car I looked over and realized my front tire was almost flat. Argh!

Driving ever so slowly until we found a station with 'air' (had to pay a buck for air!), I squatted in the rain and inflated the tire. Got back in the car and Ash said, "Mom, what happened to your hand?" Blood was dripping down the back of it. I must have cut it on something fiddling around with the air machine. Fortunately one of the things I stocked up on at the med supply shop was bandaids, so I slapped one of those on it.

We decided after a morning like this we deserved Starbucks. There is a drive-through Starbucks on the way home so we got in line and put in our drink order -- then as an after thought decided to order a couple of blueberry muffins, too. Why not splurge -- Ash had been through the mill this week!

When we pulled up to the window to retrieve our order the cashier said, "The lady in the car in front of you wanted to spread some holiday cheer -- she has paid for your entire order!"

What a lovely surprise! I don't know when the last time was that we were on the receiving end of such a kind deed by a stranger! I wanted to cry. It made me realize that we are all just people, each dealing with our own set of problems and set backs. We need to be kind to one another. We don't always know what is going on in one another's lives, but we can be kinder and gentler to our fellow travelers on this earth.

The least I can do to repay that lovely lady is to hop on board and spread the holiday cheer she started! So here is the challenge (and feel free to comment on it here, if you like): Find at least one person this week, preferably a stranger, and do a random act of kindness.

Happy Holiday Season indeed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving!

My daughters and I will be having a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year. We have been dealing with some health issues this week (Lys is recovering from a cold, I'm getting a cold, and poor Ash has something more serious), but we won't let that stop us from cooking our turkey, dressing, Gulliver's corn, yams, and other favorites just the same. No siree! It may be a less formal banquet than usual for Thanksgiving, but every holiday is special in my book, and we have so much to be thankful for!

And now for the top five American Thanksgiving traditions (drum roll, please -- or should that be drumstick roll, please):

1. A turkey and the trimmings -- 95% of Americans eat turkey for Thanksgiving.

2. Football (American football, that is)

3. The Macy's Day Parade in New York City -- yes, we usually have bits of it running in the background as we start our cooking.

4. Making a wish on the wish bone.

5. Giving thanks -- this should be #1 as this is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Hope you have a blessed day!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf

Last weekend was beautiful so Ash and I decided to go down to the wharf, walk on the beach, take pictures, and enjoy a leisurely lunch.

We finally decided on a restaurant (there are many), and were thrilled with the view from our windowside table:
We could even watch the whale watcher boats come in...
and the sailboats go by...

I've always wondered how other people live -- there is a houseboat tucked in this photo, and I try to imagine what life must be like living on a houseboat:
A truly lovely day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

King Tut

Last month we went to the King Tutankhamun Exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It was fascinating! It is hard to imagine that he lived more than 3000 years ago -- harder still to imagine that the treasures found in his tomb were undiscovered until this last century! To truly appreciate this fact, read the following passage from the exhibit site:

"On November 26, 1922, Lord Carnarvon, his daughter Evelyn Herbert, and architect Arthur Callendar, anxiously stood by as Howard Carter made an exploratory hole in the doorway. After letting the 3,000-year-old air vent from the chamber, Carter widened the hole and peered inside. As his eyes grew accustomed to the dark, he began to make out the treasures packed haphazardly into the room. He was, in his words, “Struck dumb with amazement. Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense, inquired 'Can you see anything?' to which Carter famously replied 'Yes, wonderful things'."

"Wonderful things" doesn't even begin to describe the exquisite detail of the items on display. We were unable to take photos inside the exhibit, but click here for a small taste of what we saw:
King Tut Exhibit Preview

After enjoying the exhibit, we had lunch in the museum cafe's pavilion, then stepped outside into a beautiful little park-within-the-park to take photos. The whimsical sculptures in this small garden were fun and impressive. We enjoyed the fall colors, as well.

The "sack race people" (my name for them) look 'soft' but are solid sculptures:

We thought this was a reflecting ball from a distance -- mirroring nearby monuments and buildings, until we got up close and realized the ball had actually been carved out:

I LOVE apples -- and loved these "Land of the Giant Apples" sculptures:

After exercising serious restraint in the gift shops, we stepped outside the museum to head back to the car. Our ears and eyes were met with the sounds and sites of a Sunday in a San Francisco Park -- music playing, people dancing and hula-hooping.

We passed by a few more park monuments we had photographed:

We had a gloriously fun day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Sense Magic In The Air

The holidays are arriving! It won't be long now! There is a chill in the air at night and our fireplace has been aglow with crackling logs after work each night. I've started my holiday cleaning, the girls have started their lists and shopping, I even bought my Christmas cards and stamps this past week.

I'm working through The Three Musketeers and finding there is nothing like settling into a warm bed with a cup of cocoa and a good book at the end the week. Cheers!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reading the Classics

I joined a book club. Not just any book club. A Classic Books book club. I've read my share of classics through the years -- some required in high school and college, some picked up for fun and knowledge. But discussing classics with a group of articulate people will be a welcomed (I hope!) challenge.

We are reading The Three Musketeers this month -- a book that actually was not on my list of previously read literature. I'm on chapter 4 and already hooked!

Members of the club actually explored why people are hesitant to read classics - some suggested it is simply because it is difficult for people to get into the 'language' used, to put themselves back in time to a different set of values and opinions. It does seem to take more effort to work through a classic than to jump into a modern light novel. As a lover of words, I'll give it a try.

Here is a great article about reading the classics (the best part of the discussion starts at Lunchtime at the Museum):